• Nightmare Nights Interview With Ishi Rudell and Katrina Hadley

    Sunset Shimmer header image because Best Human
    With all the season finale stuff going on this interview was released a bit later than originally planned, but better late than never ;-)

    At Nightmare Nights 2015 Calpain and I had the pleasure to interview Ishi Rudell, director for the Equestria Girls specials and Katrina Hadley (a.k.a. Lunchie), storyboard artist for Rainbow Rocks and Friendship Games and parts of season 5.

    Find it below the break!

    Leon: So we are here at Nightmare Nights with...

    Ishi: Ishi Rudell

    Leon: And...

    Katrina: Katrina Hadley

    Leon: So why don't we start with a short introduction?

    Ishi: My name is Ishi Rudell and I was the director on Friendship Games, co-director on Rainbow Rocks, animation supervisor and layout supervisor for the first one and animation supervisor for MLP seasons 1-3.

    Katrina: I am Katrina Hadley and I was storyboard artist on Rainbow Rocks, did the end credits illustrations and did the boards for the season 5 premiere and the 100th episode. Then they said maybe you should storyboard and surpervise for Friendship Games and I said "Ok".

    Cal: Well, thank you very much guys for joining us today, we really appreciate the work you guys do for the fandom and for the official show and as well as the Equestria Girls series.
    We've got some questions for you guys today and one of the questions we'd like to ask first is how did you get involved with the Equestria Girls project? 

    Ishi: I started on the first DVD, was on the second DVD and the third DVD. Katrina: And all the shorts.

    Cal: Yeah, I remember Jason telling me about the amazing work you did on those.

    Ishi: Yeah, yeah, me and Jason both collaborated on all those shorts. Katrina was actually involved with a lot of the later ones as well. Katrina: I did the Sunset Shimmer 'My Past is Not Today' and I did Rarity's 'Life is a Runway'

    Cal: So how did you guys first get into that project (the shorts)?

    Ishi: Hasbro approached us and said they wanted to do a few shorts and it started off with the eight shorts that came before Rainbow Rocks. They wanted to put some content out on the internet to kind of hype people for DVD 2. So, yeah, they got in touch with us and said 'Let's do some shorts, some two minute shorts.'

    Katrina: For me, I was at another studio, some Leapfrog project, and that wound up done and I needed another job. So I phoned Jim (Big Jim Miller), 'What's going on over there?' and he said 'They're doing this second Equestria Girls thing'. I said 'Well, I used to work Monster High so I could totally do, like, eight girls on screen at all time. So yeah sure, can you give them my info?' and Sarah Wall, producer, phoned me and said 'Yeah, come on down.'

    Ishi: And she immediately stood out on the team. When Jason and I first saw her boards and thumbnails we were like, 'Wow! This girl is good!'

    Katrina: Shut up, Ishi


    Cal: I can definitely see that considering we did get to see what you did for the end credits for Rainbow Rocks.

    Katrina: Aw, thank you. Yeah, I also got to do the kitchen scene. When I read the script I was, 'Well, I'm cherry picking that! I'm going to fight people because I want that scene'


    Leon: It's a good scene.

    Katrina: It was a good scene. Meghan did a good job writing that scene so I was just like 'This is the heart of the movie right here, and I want it.'

    Cal: So Ishi, you said you are directing the Equestria Girls specials now, right? How did that come about, from working on the shorts to directing?

    Ishi: It basically came about because we've got Jim and Jayson who are working on the main series. It was difficult for Jayson handle working on a season and working on a DVD by himself. So they brought me on to Rainbow Rocks as kind of his assistant director, that was my chance to kind of learn what was involved with directing and Jayson did a great job showing me what I needed to do. Then he got so busy that for Friendship Games he wasn't able to be there as much as he was on Rainbow Rocks and I kind of stepped up and sort of took over.

    Cal: Speaking of that, for both of you, what would you say was your hardest challenge coming into all that? Especially with you (Ishi) in the directors position?

    Ishi: Uh, hardest challenge? For me being director was a challenge in itself but it was a great thing. It was just learning all this new information of what's involved with directing. Because I was an animation director, but as an animation director I was just focused on one thing. That's just making sure the characters move right and look good, that was my job. So becoming a full time director there is so much involved from dealing with scripts to voice records, to layout, storyboards...

    Katrina: Designs.

    Ishi: And design, it's like a whole other world. It was a lot to learn in a short amount of time, but it was also a lot of fun.

    Cal: How about on the storyboarding side of things?

    Katrina: Well, they had me storyboard a sequence and be the storyboard supervisor. What I found challenging was making sure I got my work done, but making sure my team, when they needed me, had access. I wish I could have been there for them a little more cause poor Roxy who did the whole pep rally thing. Wasn't that great? She did such a good job. That was her first board.

    Cal: That's her first board? Kudos to her.

    Katrina: That's her first board.  Yeah, she did a wonderful job. But yeah, she was like sweating bullets and I was like, 'You're fine, it's fine. I'm here, just ask me questions.' Meanwhile I'm like, 'Oh God! I have to storyboard the Cinch villain song, Release the Magic, and the whole end battle.' And so I think the hardest for me was turning in my rough thumbnails. For me that was hard because I like to do a really good job and have really clear...

    Ishi: She's a perfectionist.

    Katrina: In that area. I like to have really clear boards you know so that when the layout guys get it I want them to have as much information as possible so they can do their job. It was really hard to hand off something that wasn't as in good of shape as I would have liked it to be. 

    Ishi: But your work is never as good as you would like.

    Katrina: No, no it never is.


    Ishi: If you're ever content and happy with the work you have done then, I don't know, you've stopped.

    Katrina: That's when I worry. Like, 'Man, I did a really good job. They are going to rip it apart.' I like this that they are going to call so many revisions on it because there is no way I could have done a good job. You're never secure. Which is good, like you said, because you always grow, always challenge yourself.

    Cal: That's certainly what I tell my friends. If you're not 100% content you're probably doing it right.


    Cal: So, I see you both have a Sunset Shimmer pin. As you probably know right now she is everyone's favorite pony-human right now.

    Katrina: Should be.


    Cal: So can you share anything about how her development came about?

    Ishi: Yeah, a little bit. When we first got the premise for Rainbow Rocks Sunset was involved but she didn't have as big of a role. But we all saw a lot of potential and the writers saw a lot of potential and we just ended up giving her a bigger role in Rainbow Rocks. It kind of went from there and when DVD 3, Friendship Games, came along we were like 'Oh! Sunset Shimmer!'. We didn't have Twilight in there so Sunset Shimmer was sort of the new sort of leader for the group.

    Leon: Speaking of which. In the third movie, there was this thing on the DVD, this deleted scene. With Sunset Shimmer and Twilight singing a duet, was there a different storyline planned for Sunset Shimmer in the movie or...?

    Katrina: It was like the first pass Josh did, we tried it out and the decision was made that that might be too much going on. So we streamlined it.

    Ishi: We had to adjust things in Sunset's character to make everything flow correctly. It was a really tough decision, removing that duet song, because we loved it

    Katrina: We loved it.

    Cal: The fandom loves it.


    Ishi: Yeah, cause it is amazing! It's a really great song, first time we heard it...

    Katrina: He sent it to my desk and I was like, 'Chills, chills, chills! That one's mine, give it!' I didn't ultimately end up getting that one for myself, but my hands were all over it. But again, that's the process.

    Ishi: Yeah, that's the process. 

    Katrina: The great thing is, you guys got to see it! Hasbro was like, 'This is too good to keep to ourselves so you can have that too.'

    Cal: Yeah, everyone was ecstatic about that. 

    Ishi: And you know what, if we had to put that whole storyline in and cut out the whole storyline that is in there right now there would be people asking, 'Why didn't you go with the other story?'

    Cal: We're just about wrapping up here. Can you give us any hints to Sunset's future?

    Katrina and Ishi: Pretty much wait and see!

    Cal: Well, I'm sure everyone will be happy to see her in the future, that's for sure.

    Katrina: We love her.

    Cal: And I guess, just for a customary thing, most people ask what your favorite pony is, but what is your favorite human in the EqG world?

    Ishi and Katrina: Sunset Shimmer!


    Ishi: Though we do have a soft spot for science Twi.

    Katrina: Yeah, science Twi.

    Leon: She gets second best human status then?


    Cal: Thank you guys so much for speaking with us today! We really appreciate it and we hope you guys have a wonderful time at the convention. 

    Ishi: Thanks a lot!

    Katrina: Great, thank you so much!       

    Katrina's Twitter
    Ishi's Twitter