Hey Guys! Hope you are all enjoying the last days of summer. Thanks for your feedback on the last posting. We figured we'd keep the interview ball rolling, and take a moment to learn more about Mark Risley, the awesome director of the Mr. Men Show. Now, you all know Mark Risley...but how well do you really know him? :) Mark was nice enough to take time and answer our questions so without further introduction...
SM: Hey Mark! Tell us a little bit about yourself (5 sentences or less)
MR: I’m a native Californian; born and raised in San Diego. My favorite pastimes are baking macaroons, watching Chicago Bears football and playing practical jokes on the crew of the Mr. Men Show. I have 3 basenjis (that’s a kind of dog) and a transient coyote (that’s also a kind of dog).
SM: How did you get into Animation, what was your first job?
MR: I actually answered a want ad in the newspaper: “creative-minded person wanted”. First job specifically in animation was as an inbetweener (that’s a kind of assistant animator) on a series called “Attack of the Killer Tomatoes”
SM: When you were a kid, what was your favorite children's book or televisionmseries?
MR: I loved the original Jonny Quest TV show.
SM: What was your first experience with the Mr. Men brand?
MR: I’ve been peripherally aware of the books since the 70’s, but just weeks before I was contacted about directing the series, a friend gave me a copy of Mr. Grumpy. I think it was their way of saying that I share attributes with the title character (Hey! Just like Adam!). I can’t say that I disagree.
SM: Which is your favorite MMLM character and why?
MR: Poor Mr. Bump…I think it’s his unwavering spirit.
SM: What's your favorite thing about the show?
MR: I love the world of Dillydale and the way the characters interact with one another.
SM: The Visual style of the Mr. Men is so unique, where did the inspiration for this come from?
MR: The style was inspired by few sources; the television series LAUGH-IN and the cartoons produced by UPA (United Productions of America) in the 1950’s. Although much of what you see is straight out of the very talented brain of Peter Michail, the series’ art director (and the voice of Mr. Messy in the USA!)
SM: Sketch comedy, as a director, what is the most challenging and rewarding aspects?
MR: The most challenging aspect is keeping track of all the sketches; there can be literally hundreds in a given season. The most rewarding is getting to work with so many fantastic and funny stories!
SM: Are there other TV shows/Movies that you pull inspiration from?
MR: Benny Hill, Saturday Night Live, Monty Python, Kids in the Hall, Ren & Stimpy.
SM: Do you have a favorite sketch/show from season 1?
MR: I adore The Dark. As far as individual sketches go, I love Mr. Persnickety Washes His Car (Car Wash) and Mr. Nervous on Mars (Heatwave)
SM: If you weren't working on Mr. Men what would you love to be doing right now?
MR: Hanging out with the basenjis!
SM: Anything else you want to tell our readers?
MR: I’d like to give a shout out to super fan, Mutt Girl! She’s been watching since day one and I’d like to thank her for her loyalty!