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Ask Steve

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Ask Steve was a feature on The Amazing Invader Zim Website where fans could send emails to Steve Ressel.

Steve no longer answers emails from fans, at least in this fashion. The Fansite would later replace it in 2004 with "Ask Jason" in which post-production supervisor Jason Stiff would reply to e-mails in the same fashion. Much like with "Ask Steve", this went inactive as well.

Note: Typos may be present in the following text, but will be kept to preserve historical accuracy.

August 2003

August 14, 2003


  • Raina asks: Is there or was there ever a plan for a ZIM game?

As far as I know- NO! But I am sure they were ready to make one if the show took off. You can see Zim in that one Nickelodean videogame that came out last year...Nick's Picnic Party dance something or other. I think you can play as Zim or some such. That was as far as a Zim game went.

  • MO(D)VDO asks: If someone was to say to you "I'm willing to invest one million dollars so you'd get zim back on the air in another station but nick", would you do it?

No. I will not go back to Zim. Ever. Its over with. Time for new things.

  • Sara asks: Who's your favorite IZ character, and why?

GIR - he's cute, silly, and the only counter point to that rather severe and angry cast of characters.

  • Eric asks: Can you give us an idea of the craziest idea pitched for an episode?

I don't know, really. They all started out sounding very weird, but then seemed tame after working on the shows for several months. Each show seemed to have some component that made people cringe either from lack of taste, lack of humor, technical complications, etc. etc. I think the kookiest ideas all got made into shows. The tamer stuff fell to the wayside.

  • Manda asks: Do you liiike cheeeeeeese?!

Yes. Hard stuff like Gouda is fine. American on a steak sandwich is quite pleasant. Camembert on watercress crackers is excellent as well. Cheese is my favorite cultured food....and should be yours too. What? You wanted to know. I could launch into a long, informed, semi-accurate diatribe about cheese, its making, wonderous properties, tastes and uses....but I'm tired and want to go to bed. Good night.

August 18, 2003


  • Manda asks: What's your naame?

I am you.

  • Jac asks: Jace wants me to ask an 'intelligent' question...That's going to be quite hard...Uuuhh...Do you bite?

Only on demand.

  • Sara asks: Which character do you think is most like you? (besides your cameo self)

In Zim? Frau Verminstrasser- Germanic, key base word MANIC, seeing things others don't understand despite being ludicrous and overly emphatic, torturous.

  • MO(D)VDO asks: What's your favorite movie? (say back to the future part 2)

Back to the Future 2...it was better than CATS. Actually, BTTF2 is my favorite of the trilogy because it adeptly told story, tied together multiple threads (with some sci-fi liberties) and used great effects for the time it was made. I think I saw it 5 times in the first week after I initially saw it. However, it isn't on my TOP TOP list, but it is a fave anyway. My tops rank as CASABLANCA, then Evil Dead 2, Death Wish 3, Fight Club, Fear and Loathing In Vegas, Red, M, and others piled behind in any order. I think those are my favorites....Good, Bad and the Ugly....I can watch these films all over the place and never get bored with them because the stories, filming and acting are so fresh and lively. The one ODD BALL almost no one understands is DEATH WISH 3, but you REALLY gotta be a film nerd or action freak to get that film. Once you understand the absolute creative miracle that spawned such a magnificent train wreck, you will never have fears again. DW3 is the ultimate indulgent crap film, but it has SO much weird stuff mixed with lively acting and strange editing, music, etc. I can't describe the glee. I've seen it about 1000 times so far. I only know 2 or 3 other people that get that film and find it engrossing, yet it is rated as one of the most successful 'cable' films in rotation. Watch the tape (no DVD yet) because it gets a little choppy when broadcast on TV, plus the sound and lighting and everything needs all the help it can get.

  • Shannon Farley asks: Are you going to put the new episodes on dvd or something?

Something. I don't think Zim will see DVD for years and years until the horror is forgotten or forgiven. Since the ratings were such crap, they don't have it on the radar. Plus it isn't what Nick wants to portray as their 'genre', tho they are flailing to find action shows to cram on their pukey kiddie network, and failing horribly by imitating every lack luster semi-success Disney or anime has done so far. We'll see when they hit the air in a year or more. Anyway, don't hold your breath, unless someone does a pirate version and sells slyly on eBay or somewhere at cons. Sorry. What you see on internet and TV doesn't do justice to the actual original video and sound (stereo) that we saw in the editing bays. Nick took the stereo to mono for broadcast (their channel is primitive mono, STILL) and the colors would get washed out as well.

August 21, 2003


  • Sara asks: What exactly was your job on Zim? I know it said at the beginning of episodes 'directed by Steve Ressel', but what exactly does that mean?

Directing and Producing can be variable positions in animation or movie making. In the case of Zim, directing meant I was the guy everything funnelled through so that the art, writing and animation worked together and made sense. The biggest 'creative' streak I put into the show was the pacing, timing and visual style of filming. While I actually boarded little of the show, I handled organizing the scripts into the boards so the artists had a comprehensive and cohesive standard which they could relate to and then know how to shoot the film and act the characters so they worked towards the central idea behind the script. In timing, I plotted out the pacing of every show except the Christmas special, which I actaully did timing sheets for 1/3 and checked and revised ALL the timing. Then when the shows came back I was THE force in editing and tweaking the show to make it play snappier or 'better' in post production as well as doing the revisions to most boards and timing. As a producer, I slung together the crew and hired about 80 percent of the crew. I then got them centered into their jobs, how they would approach the art and work with others. My hand as producer was in nearly EVERY part of the production where I was basically getting the pieces to work together. My position at Zim didn't really change over the 27 episodes, tho I was pushed out of some areas and let go of supervising others once they were running properly to focus on trouble spots. A vast and vague job....a central planner, and central figure who plans, organizes and boosts morale and understanding through my understanding of animation and expectations for the series. Nice huh?

  • Jon Anderson asks: Where you and you cast happy with the show, meaning, did you feel like helped to create something great but ended up falling short due to ratings?

Hey! How is YES doing these days? You still singing? Anyway- it was a very frustrating show to work on because the staff never felt settled or appreciated despite trying very hard. Many look back and believe it was a step in the right direction, but there was a lot of good and bad. i think about 95 percent of the staff was moving in a decent direction but the door was left open for politics and indulgences to swallow the show whole. And surprise, surprise, IT DID! The 'low ratings' excuse is kind of odd and no one really believes that is the absolute reason the show was laid to rest, and basically SHOVED into obscurity (unlike ANY other show Nick ever did). It was a severe cheat that the people who had the ability to keep the show afloat were so self absorbed and inarticulate that they couldn't take a show touted by Nick as 'THE NEW THING' in its infantcy and make it last for 5 seasons. The absolutely crass, selfish downside was that it proved to many artists that 'working hard doesn't pay' since some of the staff put in twice the hours without pay (illegal) to give their all in making a show that could showcase some awesome talents and keep them employed for 4 years (so they don't have to look for work) and instead they got 1.5 years work and a boot out the door. 'Thanks assholes' was the subtextual message from Nick and the top people on Zim. Its not an uplifting experience aside from the fact that it allowed us to become something more than dull average animators, which most all shows demand you be and quash attempts at excellence.

  • Buzzy asks: How did you get involved with Zim?

Its a thread that lasted my career. In '93 I worked with Mary Harrington on Rocko (first animation job in LA as board clean-up). Being fired, I was hired by the producer's wife over at Duckman/Klasky where I boarded and worked up to director. At Klasky I worked for Margo Pipkin, producer of Duckman after 2nd season, and we got along well (she's a seasoned and sagatious animation talent in producing). One day in '99 Margot called me up at Rocket Power and asked if I wanted to driect 'God the Devil and Bob', so i jumped to Carsey Werner with a bunch of pre-zim artists from Klasky. At the end of 'GDB' margot got a call from Mary, they know each other because they both worked with and for Klasky at some time, and Mary desperately needed a director for a pilot going to series named 'Invader Zim'. Margot believed I was the best candidate because I always had a very severe bent in directing or boarding, and was kind of 'young and wild'. Mary was having HELL problems finding anyone Jhonen didn't think was a mere hack-tool-user in the field I understand...and on interview Mary had it in her mind that I WAS the one, and I guess (I never heard Jhonen say this, but second hand through Mary) Jhonen thought I was the candidate to do the job as well. So I was hired. Lengthy...but you can see all the connections.

  • MO(D)VDO asks: When rotating the IZ logo, you get a the sentence "WIZ RED VAIN". any comment?

Yes. You have too much time on your hands.

  • Corey Meyer asks: If you could've completed two of the scrapped season two Episodes, which two would you chose?

Well, funny you ask because that WAS something that came up at the end. 'Taster of Pork' was such an amazing heap of driveley crap that Mary Harrinton put forth the idea to scrap it and put two others in its place. i was solidly behind it since Pork is probably the worst episode of Zim ever...in my mind. My choices were 'Nubs of Doom' (the Minimoose kick off which was already boarded and ready to go) and '10 mintues to Doom' which was an excellent script and a great show to KILL ZIM with. We could have wrapped up the series in flair, humor, good writing and talent! But, Mary had a choice- redo the two shows or make a Christmas Special. The Christmas Special put money in her and Jhonen's pockets, so it was done instead.

August 23, 2003


  • Corey asks: Who do think win the election for California's Governor?(Gary Coleman all the Way)

Arnold will, I bet. Betcha betcha betcha. He is a centrist masquerading as the conservative's only hope for SOMETHING. So he has the vote unless something sick happens. Coleman would be great, just for the shock value. I think if Arnold goes full right wing he will sweep the state, despite the cryin' and whinin' by the lefties that made California suck. Ever live is CA and own a house?? I am surprised no one shot the governor yet.

  • Sara asks: Was there any mistakes ever with the voice acting, such as reading someone else's lines?

haha Yes. there were ALWAYS errors with line reads. Line reading and mistakes go hand in hand, really. There are always 2 takes of each line, regardless, but giggles, misreadings and bad acting come roaring down the pike with any acting/entertainment.

  • Mathy Doodie asks: 2^3+(8-4)-2*4=?

3 1/3 ?? i don't know what the little peaky symbol is...is that 2/3 or two to the third? if it is the answer is 4....why are you ASKING this?!

  • Melanie Mallios asks: Wasn't it Nick's fault the show got low ratings? I mean the time slot was awful!

haha Yes. it was. Actually, it was partly the show, partly Nick and partly the audience. The show wasn't a MASS GRABBER of a TV show. Nick really dropped it like a hot potato once someone began acting like a full scale asshole. And the audience was too old to 'show up' on Nick's rating system, as well as being an audience that taped once and never watched again, or saw it on the net and didn't care to watch the show. It's a bigger problem then Nickelodeon, but they could have taken care of MANY of those problems.

  • GarbageGirl asks: If you were to find another cool cartoon, named, let's say, "garbagemonster", will you help getting it on the air?

haha You kids ask funny questions today. I don't think I have that much clout to actually get it 'on the air' but I would work on it and do my most to make it be something better than average, or exceptional. Getting stuff onto the air is so complex and difficult; if all the doors don't magically open, then magically close. When you sit and wonder why most stuff on TV, animated, and made in America is so bland, boring or bad...just remember that the most desperate people get the shows, while the better talents usually wash away because they actually believe in making something that isn't compromised to be garbage. AIN'T I NICE? Note from weirdojace: Alright, how do you know about Garbagemonster?! Who are you?!?! Well, at least thanks to you, I now know Steve will help me! :P

August 25, 2003


  • Jessie asks: Are you working on any new cartoons now?

Nope. Retired.

  • Sara asks: Do you think if Jhonen had put Invader Zim on a different channel, such as Sci Fi or Cartoon Network, that the ratings would've been different?

Only if that channel would have promoted the show. Zim failed partially from lack of marketing through repetition, consistency and advertising. Nick is quick to point out that they did ALL they could and even gave us A billboard on Sunset (a split board with Zim and FOP) however, Zim was not typical Nick fare and it needed more time, exposure and encouragement to succeed. They know that. We were very well acclaimed critically and had the eyes of many famous folks.

  • Captain Cricket asks: Do you think Gaz is on depressants?

Yes.

  • Jon Anderson asks: Do you get tired of answering these questions?

No.

  • Colt Nicol asks: Do you find it hypocritical that Nickelodeon still uses Zim to advertise their network, even though they aren't having new shows created anymore? Or is Viacom/Nickelodeon just taking advantage or the licensing?

No, not at all. Zim is ENTIRELY the property of Nick and always has been. They can do whatever they want with it. If they want to print it frame by frame on rolls of toilet paper, or bury the original prints under yards of sausage, fine. Nick is probably taking advantage of the merchandising. From their own admissions to me, Zim WAS a huge success in Hot Topic, and it still sells there...I wonder if it annoys them, because they want to keep good relations with Hot Topic, but don't really want Zim around (so I hear).

August 28, 2003


  • someone else asks: are you merried? single? dating? something?

Married - No, Single- Yes, Dating- No, Something- Maybe

  • Jon Anderson asks: Was working with Jhonen fun or torture for you and the staff?

Looking back, it was torture.

  • Jon Anderson asks: Is there anything the fans can do to get Nick to show the unseen episodes? Cause I could make all my friends send Nick a bunch of threatening mail and stuff if it will help.

All you can do is write. Don't write threats- those are ignored. Write thousands of letters saying 'I want to see the remaining episodes!' from thousands of fans. Other than that there isn't much that can be done. It seems like a lost cause at this point. Nick was saying that they might show them this fall, but I don't think they will....they don't even show Zim much any more!

  • Sara asks: Who, in your opinion, should've won the fight between Dib and Zim?

Dib...yes.

  • Angie asks: Think Zim will succeed as you said on RWAM? I want it to. :D

I somehow doubt it will succeed at ever coming back now. If it came back it would be when a 'regime change' happens, and only if the NEW regime thought Zim was awesome....I doubt Jhonen will come back unless he is strapped for cash, and I will never go back to that scene, and most of the artists wouldn't go back....it would be New-Zim in a very different vein. Might be better tho.

August 31, 2003


  • Bill Cosby asks: Gaz FINALLY gets a ton of airtime with Taster of Pork, and now you claim it's the worst ever? Say it isn't so (is a Gaz fan).

It isn't so....it was better than CATS.

  • Bob asks: Um.... whats your favorite color?

Orange probably, but don't hold me to it. Colors are meant to work together like the people of this world who meet in our wonderous country hoping to find a better tomorrow in harmony and peace through understanding, brotherhood and the American Way. How's that?

  • MacabreAngel asks: Is Nick really some money grubbing conglamorate, kindalike conglomo on Rocko?

haha Maybe. We can always say YES....I would never say NO. Nick is like a snake with its head jammed up its-

  • Justin asks: Exactly how massive is the Massive? Length, width, height?

Massive, spatially speaking, is very very big. If you have two very big things together it is like the massive. Massive is that large. About 100,000 small things would fill the massive.

Actually,...been a while. i would take a guess it is about a mile long, but don't quote me. We worked it out in the early days from the voot up to the massive and the voot is a little dot next to the massive.

  • Sara asks: What was your favorite episode (I mean ones that have aired somewhere)?

Dark harvest probably. I liked it because I had some sizable input that made it pretty gruesome for kids, and the payoff was that I test screened it with a ton of lil' kids who absolutely wanted to urinate in that last chase sequence. Also, while kids hated it the parents were really in love with it. It was odd. When we test screened it at Nick, a lot of people thought it was amazingly disturbing and NOT WHAT THEY WOULD EVER WANT TO WORK ON. Good, the snobs can work on their wonder fairy shows or Wormy the funny Duck or whatever. After DH it was Nightmare- that was a well put together show. The rest are lesser in my book.

September

September 4, 2003


  • Mario asks: If later seasons (as rumored) would have taken place on Irk, what would have happened to Gaz, the professor, etc?

The later we were getting, the more Jhonen tried to steer events off of earth and into other planets, eventually far more of IRK. It was a bad decision; 1) Nick wanted the show primarily Earth based, 2) Events in space from scripts I saw were pretty mundane. 3) The design, animation and technical aspects of doing shows in other planets would have been so burdensome the show would have turned into total CRAP (take a peek at the art of Hobo 13 for an example). Gaz and everyone else would still be there, we just wouldn't have seen them much. Getting away from earth was really getting away from the central idea of the show - ZIM INVADES EARTH.

  • joe asks: do you like pigs?

Never gave it much thought.

  • A Proud Canadian asks: Do you know who wayne gretzky is, and how god-like he is?

Wayne Gretsky sucks! Nah, I don't follow hockey so i can't say. i just know he has been playing since I graduated HS but the only team I remember him playing on was LA...I think. Is he still playing?? There were a few hockey nuts on Zim, and I followed it in the mid-seventies when the Flyers were winning Stanley cups and playing Russia but since then the only games I watched are some of the cup playoffs in the past 5 years. If he is still playing he must be horribly old for hockey...40 or older.

  • Jon Anderson asks: How long was Zim planning to last on TV until it was canceled?

There was no specific. We had the second year as a verbal contract. Every show aims for a syndication number to make big cash in reruns. Usually about 50 episodes now, it WAS 65 in the 80's and early 90's. So assume that we were supposed to do 50 episodes- twice what we ended up with. Then astound to the fact that half way they dropped the show and hid it....what's that mean to you?

  • Sara asks: Did you ever do voices for any characters?

I only did a couple voice fill ins in post production. Most notably would be the girl Dib runs into as he leaves the school in Nightmare. Her 'Ugh's were me sped up.

September 6, 2003


  • Jon Anderson asks: If the network aloud it, would the characters have said any swears?

Haha, I am not sure. ...well, probably. The whole deal with limits is that SOME people will go to whatever limit is allow. if the freedom is there, most people take it.

  • Buzzy's biggest fan! asks: Will you join buzzy's jim n' zim board? pleeeeease we all worship you there!

haha Sorry. I am exclusively silly on RWAM, and I only go there about once a month on average. Zim boards are just retreading the show I already was intertwined in previously, so its like watch a re-run.

  • Duck asks: Do you have any advice or suggestions for people trying to break into the voice acting or animation craft?

There are a lot of people that ask this. Voice acting is so specialized and odd. I have never done voice acting, but a lot of folks around me do/have done. Assuming you aren't just a title hog/desperate geek who gloms a role by working in the production and sucks the right appendage, then you have to work into the business in pretty specific ways - via acting. Almost ALL voice actor/actresses are actors primarily who are noted for having unique voices. How to get into it? First, learn to act. Learn all you can about acting. Second, Work your voice and become great at enunciation, acting THROUGH voice, doing some different voices. Third, become an actor and ply into the trade, and look for voice acting work. The key is - LEARN THE TRADE END TO END by developing skill.

  • MO(D)VDO asks: They released an episode of zim on DVD! how do ya feel?

They did?

  • Squidman! asks: Which famous folks, specifically, did you have the eyes of? And are you speaking figuratively?

I have the eyes of Koko the Clown with a touch of Clint Eastwood. Actually, I also stole Peter Falk's eye and kept it in a shoe box...thus, his glass eye. And yes, I am.

September 8, 2003


  • Jon Anderson asks: How much would you think it would cost to buy the licensing for Zim from Nick?

Too much blood. I don't believe they would ever sell.

  • Squidman! asks: Boxers or briefs?

Both.

  • Zero asks: Why is Zim so .... whats the word?...oh ya annoying?

I think you know why.

  • Crambo (hehe) asks: Ok. how do you feel about Zim still showing in Brazil (including the second season eps), but not in the U;S.?

That's cool. I am glad it shows somewhere. And that the digitized versions will reach the shores of the US sometime. I can see why they don't air it, in some ways. In July I pulled out the season 2 tapes and watched them...its not that good. Backseat was fantastic art, but aside from that ... well. It wasn't the show Nick was sold in the beginning.

  • chicken asks: cluck

A definite possibility.

September 12, 2003


  • Jon Anderson asks: Have you ever visited Oregon?

I notice these questions get odder and odder. I have visited 46 of the 48 contiguous states. Oregon and Washington are the only two I never got to. Sorry. I've never been to Hawaii or Alaska either. I love to drive around America. I have been through, slept in or hung around every state 3 or more times in the past 10 years. The 'grunge/coffee' thing in Washington wasn't my bag, anbd the Oregon ex-hippie scene seems dreary. But they both seem nicely wooded states. i love the more remote regions of the US.

  • Squidman! asks: Do you have an extra joint on your pinky finger? Some people do... it's weird...

Only at 4:15pm.

  • stupid zim liker asks: why doesn't gir say fudge ripplke ice cream?

DOES HE?! If you listen closely while playing the audio backward, EVERY line of Gir's says 'Fudge Ripple Ice Cream' in a Satanic/Church Lady tone. Dig it. Fudge Ripple is good. I haven't had it since I was about your age. My dad was an ice cream fanatic and had it every night for desert. I eat some maybe once every week or two now.

  • deity asks: Do you know the name of the typeface used in the ending credits of the pilot? And, if you don't know, could you find out? Speaking as a former layout-monkey, I like it, and there are some Zim-related projects that call for something other than INVADER

That font, I believe....was made by Jhonen....no wait. He wanted to but I think chose one to use instead. I have it on my computer somewhere, or something very close, but i have about 2000 fonts and no proper management system. Sorry. I can't spend time looking.

  • xSBS52x asks: do you have any influence over the airing of season 2 episodes in the US? i dont understand why they constantly air it in brazil but never air it here.

1) NO. 2) You probably understand the motives better than I do.

September 15, 2003


  • Prisma asks: How do you think Zim would act of he found out about his fake mission?

He'd never believe it. Zim is too self-absorbed to believe his mission is fake.

  • Kent asks: What TV shows do you like?

Presently? ... Queer Eye for the Straight Guy (I didn't think this would be fun, but it is), Coupling, Manchild, Rouroni Kenshin

  • Squidman! asks: Can I ask you a question?

No.

  • xSBS52x asks: my birthday is coming up, will you buy me a monkey?

No.

  • Invader Moose asks: When is probing day? I'd like to celibrate ::evil grin::

Haha, you don't want to know..... Note from weirdojace: If you must know, the official Probing Day set by the fans is March 30.

September 18, 2003


  • Jon Anderson asks: Can you tell the fans about Zim's past?

Nope. You will understand a bit of it from the 'Frycook' episode in second season.

  • smoffo asks: What do you think of the IZFAS?

I dunno.

  • Bill Cosby asks: What about Gaz and especially Dib did Nickeldeon hate? I heard that Nick wanted episodes to focus more on ZIM and have Dib and Gaz 'killed off'.

No, that's not true. They LOVED GAZ, but the writing of Gaz wasn't making her anything other than a 2 dimensional pouty-hatey machine. That's what I understand. Dib had his place, but in second season it became the DIB SHOW and Dib was written to be almost exactly like Zim. Characters were getting blurred and sloppy, and rather vague in terms of motivation and personality. Almost everyone became ZIM in second season from ranting to yelling to the words they used, etc. THATS what they hated. i wouldn't say Nick hated any of the character, they hated the way they were morphing into a giant ZIMNESS. What Nick got with the earlier episodes was fine by them, I believe.

  • MO(D)VDO asks: 1.Are you still in touch with johnen? 2.Where can I see a pic of you? I want to compare it to the cartoon you

haha I don't know. I don't talk to Jhonen. There is a picture of me on the internet called 'SteveResselLongHair.jpg' or .gif. It is an old Klasky photo, and IO don't know where it is but it can be found in Google with an image search. That is the most precise photo to see what I look like now (tho it is 5 years old). There are newer pics of me floating around from days at Zim, but I have lost 70 lbs and look a bit different.

  • Katt asks: On one of your answers, you said it was torture working with Jhonen. What did he do that was so awful?

I'll leave that to your imagination. Note from weirdojace: Geez!! You didn't have to send that same question 80 FREAKIN' TIMES!!! You nearly froze my computer! JUST BECAUSE THE QUESTION WASN'T ANSWERED THE FIRST TIME DOESN'T MEAN I FORGOT ABOUT IT.

September 27, 2003


  • Invader Moose asks: Do you know of the old show earthworm jim? if you did do you/did you like it?

Yes, No

  • Jon Anderson asks: Have you ever read any of the Fan-Fictions for ZIM?

No, I avoid fanfics. Everyone wants me to read them, but please....I could waste my entire life reading some sad, sad writing merely expressing the sexual/emotional fantasies of the fans. I'd rather read stuff that is new, and personal without piggybacking on an established idea. However, I haven't time to read all this stuff. A few years ago I realized the fiction market (of publish books and otherwise) was a waste of my time. I know so many people that read fictions in rapid succession and never improve vocab, learning, understanding, etc. So I stick to reading non-fiction now.

  • Squidman! asks: Are you down with the sickness?

Please...

  • piggy membrane asks: Is IZ trade marked because I have been creating some IZ comics and am not sure if I should release them around school.

haha Yes. IZ is owned entirely by Nickelodeon/Viacom. They won't hurt you tho unless you are making money off it and barging into their territory.

  • deity asks: Is the Swollen Eyeball copyrighted? I love the symbol and am thinking about Café Press-ing a bumper sticker of an abstract of the symbol.

Anything you see in Zim IS copywritten (is that right terminology?) to Viacom/Nickelodeon. Don't try THAT stunt, because someone might be presenting you with cease/desist papers or an invite to court.

September 29, 2003


  • C.M asks hey Steve, a couple weeks ago i recieved a DVD at Wal*Mart with "The Nightmare Begins", and i was wondering, does this mean a DVD with only ZIM on it coming soon?

I wouldn't count on it.

  • Jon Anderson asks: Do you or Jhonen make any money off the selling of Zim stuff?

None.

  • MO(D)VDO asks: how much wood can a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck would chuck wood?

Ask your mother. I'm busy...

  • ssjvaporeon asks: Hey Steve. I was wondering how you felt about Invader Zim fan sites. Like? Dislike? Did the other IZ crew members ever say anything about them?

I like/indifferent. There seem to be so many that I never visit, but it is great they are out there. YOU the Zim fanbase are the only advertisement we have. Keeping it alive on the net is SOME redemption for the efforts we did on the show. The other IZ people never talked about it.

  • Mooh asks: These days cartoons with so much as a hint of sick humor are usually traced back to John Kricfalusi (aka: creator of Ren and Stimpy), do you like his work much?

haha What a question. I was never a giant John K. fan, but I loved his work when it came out. After a cooling off period of about 5 years where I didn't see it anymore, I watched again and was really underwhelmed. There is some good, but so much bad. But, understanding the kinds of ideas and animation we had in 1991 when it hit the air, you can see why it seemed AMAZING. Most 'animation' guys into the classic goofy cartoons just shat themselves when they saw R&S back then and immediately imitated everything John did. It actually turned the funny-animal animation into something really derivative and sick...and sort of choked the industry at that end. Every fun expression John ever made (or his crew made) was used again and again by these people for no real reason. These faces/actions were just jammed higgledy-piggledy into any cartoon at any moment because they looked funny...but in reality they didn't really pertain to the story. At this point, I am sick and tired of seeing Ren and Stimpy wannabes doing exactly the same crap over and over. Can't someone get some originality???? How's that?

October

October 2, 2003


  • xSBS52x asks: of the episodes of season 2 that i saw, i really liked them, some i liked a lot more than season one episodes. why do you say they are bad?

I believe that many of the episodes are cheap ideas, and, more importantly- Turn the picture off, or leave them on while you are doing something other than watching...if you don't understand then, that's fine. Those episodes were made for YOU.

  • Adreane asks: where does IZ take place? Isn't it somewhere in the northeast?

It was never specified. We never had an idea of where it really took place. In the US, was the only certainty.

  • Raven asks: Have you ever read any of Jhonen's comics?

I read all of them.

  • Jon Anderson asks: A quote from Jhonen, after the show was cancelled, sounded like he disliked his own creation, did he not like the fact the show was cancelled or did he not like IZ at all?

I can't tell what he liked. When it was cancelled he claimed he was the happiest person on the crew.

  • deity asks: What's up with Sizz-Lorr's gigantic Irken shoulderpads?

Bad design? More over- why is Sizz-Lor bigger than the tallest?

October 10, 2003


  • Jenna asks: Why does Gaz have purple hair?

If the radius of the earth is 6378.1 kilometers, which way do doves fly?

  • Mike asks: Why does Nick keep Zim under such heavy lock and key?

Because they own it, and as far as I have been told by executives; Zim isn't the kind of show they want to portray their network.

  • MO(D)VDO asks: Do you remember where all bloody girs are listed, and are you aware to the amazing coolness of its very idea?

No! YES! Thanks!

  • The Master of Snortinessness asks: Is there a rabid ape in your freezer?

No!YES!Thanks!

  • xSBS52x asks:why IS his head so big? WHY is his head so big?

The Treaty of Versailles was signed June 28, 1919, there were NO cheese Danish for any of the delegates present.

October 12, 2003


Invader Zee asks: What do you think of people writing fanfiction and making fan characters? And what about yaoi? Everyone has their own thing. I don't care. GO hog wild! I won't read those tho, so don't expect me to.

  • MO(D)VDO asks: do you relize your last bunch of answer made absoloutly no sense what so ever?

What?? Get out.

  • Invader Jenny asks: If Invader ZIM is actually made into this proposed action figure deal, would you yourself buy one?
  • Rayboy asks: What is up with Gir's waffle obsession?

He likes waffles. Don't YOU??

  • louis asks: i love you

You should, Louie. I rescued you from Klasky-Csupo to work as the storyboard supervisor. Good job, btw.

October 14, 2003


  • Invader Zee asks: Invader Zee asks: If I give you a giant peice of cheese and a pickle will you make a Zim DVD?

NO.

  • Squidman! asks: Do you like Invader ZIM?

MAYBE...

  • deity asks: Was the producer in "Mysterious Mysteries" (the "We Make Magic" lady) a jab at Mary Harrington or any exec at Nick? If it'll get you in trouble, just don't answer. No harm, no foul.

haha It was, but not Mary Harrington. It really applies to almost any mindless producer in the business who lives on catchphrases and morale boosting hyperbole. The designer originally draw a cutaway of that woman showing a tiny person inside operating an exo-skeleton out of the top of which peeked a tiny head (as in, the design)

  • Iodine asks: Will you look me up in the phone book (under Iodine) and make me a VA on the next show you work on?

VA? Virginia? Sure, you can be a Virginia now.

  • I know you miss working with me. just face it. asks: johnen vasquez

Sure.

October 19, 2003


  • Jon Anderson asks: Would you agree that Mortos Der Soul Stealer was the worst Zim episode ever?

Almost. Pork IS the worst episode.

  • Shad0ow K asks: What kind of person is Jhonen?/Is he weird?

You know him from his works.

  • Dookie Master asks: While working with jhonen, did HE ever accidently misspell his own name?

No, but everyone else did.

  • Mr. Insomnia asks: Why had the style changed so much in season 2?

Styles always progress. Our design department switched around and Jhonen wanted those designs changed up.

  • Nyanko asks: Why was there so much confusion about whether Zim has two or three fingers? It changes all the time.

Jhnoen couldn't decide and we switched after a couple episodes.

October 23, 2003


  • deity asks: What was your proudest scene/moment as director?

Nightmare Begins was the best overall package Zim offered to audiences, and it was lauded, awarded and nominated many times. I also had the most influence on that episode. So, I would say NIGHTMARE BEGINS. Tho, I was extremely proud of many of the shows to come after, but the writing, and flow of character relationships shifted into something that wasn't easy to market in America. Many sequences were incredible, and I still can't believe it came together that well: the chase in DARK HARVEST, the pig chase in SAUCER MORONS, the battle in BATTLE DIB, the end action in PLANET JACKERS, the design and shot choices in the alien ship in most of ABDUCTED, DIB'S LIFE, the first half of BACKSEAT DRIVERS, MEGADOOMER (most of it). All together, it almost seems miraculous how the show came together in hind sight...there wasn't a lot that would have had to go wrong to utterly destroy the production. Somehow we avoided a lot of trouble. In all, it was my greatest achievement in fostering and organizing a crew towards a cinematic goal.

  • Squidman! asks: I couldn't finish my sandwich. Do you want the other half? I can take of the mustard if you don't like it.

No thanks.

  • Invader Jenny asks: Do you own any Zim merchandise, like T-shirts, and wear them around town?

No, I never bought any. I have some gifts from the production, but I don't wear them or display them. All Zim stuff I have aside from an OBEY mug is packed in my garage.

  • game over asks: Somehow I think there's a chance Invader Zim could have been really popular in Japan. Were there ever any plans to dub it into Japanese?

I haven't heard of ANY connection between us and Japan. I gave a tape of the show (Dog Brain and Dib's Life and Nightmare) to the director of FLCL when he was at ANIME GAMERS in LA to kick off the dubbing of FLCL. Other than that, I doubt they will ever see the show.

  • SuPeRtAcOs asks: Do you have any fans?

I don't know.

October 26, 2003


  • Mike C. asks: Mike C. asks: Why won't nick air the repeats?

I have NO idea why they won't specifically do it. I hear they will show Zim on their NICKTOON channel.

  • Mr. Insomnia asks: How would a basic day of working on Zim go? Any explosions?

All explosions. I usually woke upo with an explosion and went to bed with an explosion. There was really no basic day of Zim for me. Since I was spread over a lot of tasks, every day was another set of something to look over or do, someone to meet with, some ego to kick down, some problem to solve, and usually some random or calculated error to fret over.

  • Raina asks: A 'Simpsons' DVD just came out, with special voice acting "bloopers". Are there any Zim "bloopers" that we may have?

You may. If you have them, please feel free to use them.

  • BrainMeats asks: If Zim is ever released on DVD would you be willing to do a comentary?

We'll see. I don't think they would ever ask me to do one. But one already exists.....I did one by command for a fan of the show on all 27 episodes. Who, why, where I won't say. I wasn't paid for it, but it was a pain in the butt. Solo, too so I was just wearing down. I wish I had others helping me with that commentary.

  • BlackMage454 asks: What would happen if Inavder Zim were to go to another network?

Some other staff would work on it. I am sure Jhonen would head it up, but how much of the staff returns, I don't know. Somehow I get the feeling it would be like the new Ren & Stimpy was to the OLD Ren & Stimpy.

October 31, 2003


  • The Sonic asks: Recently someone found out that in the begining of season two episodes, It doesnt say Steve Ressel for director? Why is this, oh mighty one.

That's a very interesting question, SONIC. And my answer won't be that interesting...maybe. I was verbally promised a PRODUCER and DIRECTOR credit on the episodes when I began. Normally I directed shows, but for Zim I also organized the crew artistically and was in full communication with all parts aside from music and color (sometimes color). I basically hired and structured the production and was there, responsible for how they worked, when they worked, and basically they felt that could be a producer's title. To me, a producer title is a joke- it gets award recognition, but basically is a title they lump people under when they can't give them more cash (see the Simpson's credits). I'm not complaining about having the credit, I'm just explaining. Personally, I see a [producer as the money person who organizes money and schedules and does the tedious stuff on non-creative ends, sometimes being a creative warning siren ('That makes no sense! We gotta re-write it!', or broad strokes of confirmation or denial). Anyway, after episode 13 (Balttle of the Planets) SOMEONE obviously had a snit. I was taken into an office and said 'You CAN'T be a director....no one can direct ALL the shows' and my title was taken away. In essence, going against a verbal agreement, and taking away a credit that was valid. But nothing was written down and to the outside world it seems no one directed the shows at all. My job didn't change, I still had communication and direction over all shows, and did broad timing, timing check, board directing, revision, editing, etc. etc. etc. etc.....that's all I can say. From this experience I learned something important- NO GENTLEMAN'S AGREEMENTS. Especially with boys and women (actually, with anyone).

  • gemagema asks: if zim ever aired again would it be the same?

Nope. Not in a million years. It changed heavily from Nightmare to Christmas, and the pilot was nothing like the series. Zim was a combo of talents that worked together in a very unique way. Some might be back together again, but not all....and I never will do it again. Jhonen has CLAIMED he would never do it again. Aside from Jhonen, I was the biggest creative input. So it would be different....better? Maybe. But different.

  • Rayboy asks: All the characters seem to have rather large heads, so why is DIB'S gargantuan head the only one pointed out? And WHY DO SQUIRRELS HATE ME?

Ask Jhonen. Ask Squirrels.

  • monk asks: If a tree falls in the middle of the forest and no one is there, can I eat it?

Yes. Give me FIVE DOLLARS, punk.

  • AngryGoatFace asks: Ok, this is pissing me off. IS it illigial to download Zim on to your computer?

On MY computer? Probably. But since I worked on it, they probably would let me slide. Thanks for asking; I never thought of it before.

November

November 5, 2003


  • xSBS52x asks: is there any chance that reruns of zim will air on a different network?

I doubt it will run on any NON-Viacom network within the next 5 years.

  • Dither asks: If aliens such as ZIM were to really try to invade the planet, how close to the way people are portrayed in ZIM do you think YOU would act?

Not at all. Zim goes under the assumption that people are stupid or don't care. That's part of the humor/dilemma facing Dib, but the reality would be fairly different.

  • Jenna asks: Did Gaz go trick or treating? I wanted to see Gaz in her costume.

She did, but was so ashamed of her costume that she asked to be omitted from the episode (she dressed up as a Teletubby)

  • Rayboy asks: Some friends and I are having an argument. I say that the thing on Gaz's necklace is a skull. They say it's an electric socket. Who's right?

Skull. But, it might just be a painted electrical socket.

  • MO(D)VDO asks: johnen is short. why is he so tall on the show? WHY GOD WHY?!?!!?

Why am I so thin on the show? I was way heavier then THAT at the time. It would have been more amazing to draw us closer to normal proportion, but, isn't art interpretive anyway?? Who wants to be fat or short??

November 11, 2003


  • MajorB asks: Was there any "hidden meanings" in the episodes?

Yes. But they are hidden....I hope you didn't see them!!!

  • Katie The Dib Lover asks: When you were a kid, lets say... umm... 12, did you ever dream you'd be answering questions on a website?

Nope. I dreamt of chiseling them on stone tablets...that's all we had in the 70's.

  • Z? asks: I would like to get into directing TV shows. What's the whole process?

Got a few months?? I just finished a manuscript for my book on animation, the animation production process, film language, etc... I hope it will be out later next year, but who can tell? I still have to edit 4/5ths, format, add graphics, get clearance for prof. properties, etc....and get a publisher.

  • weirdojace asks: Heh, it's kinda weird for me to ask a question when I'm the admin of the site but OH WELL! Were there any Bloody GIRs that Nick found out about and took out?

NOPE!

  • Mr. Insomnia asks: How was it working on the Invader Zim Halloween special?

It was.

November 13, 2003


  • Invader Jenny asks: We've been told that the Almighty Tallest's thumbs are cut off when they become the Tallest. This is true, yes?

Very probably, but these guys were slick- they are probably hiding them in the gauntlets and faking it.

  • A smelly peice of cheese asks: How do you feel about the fact that AnimaeWorks(I think I spelled that right) is making an Invader Zim DVD in Spring of 2004?

Very ok.

  • Dark Sonic asks: with the recent news of a dvd, will you be doing any commentary?

Nope.

  • Organizm asks: You said you read all of Jhonen's comics. Who's your favorite character? :)

Dunno. Never had the kind of passion for his comics that creates favorites.

  • ssjvaporeon asks: Do you know anything about the supposed AnimeWorks putting out Invader Zim DVDs next Spring?

Yes. AnimeWorks is putting out a DVD of 27 Invader Zim episodes for spring of 2004! I know as much as you. Obviously they wrangled some deal, and I am VERY surprised they did.

'November 16, 2003'


  • Ex-one asks: You've answering questions without thinking or with short and not-funny answers. can you go back to answering questions regularly?

No. Look, I do this as a courtesy. I don't have to do this. If you don't like my answers, tough. I can't spend hours of my life answering questions about 'What foot Jhonen favors', 'Does Purple like Pop-Tarts' or 'Explain everything about the functioning of the universe, NOW.'. Ask sensible questions, get decent answers. I won't fault people for asking unanswerable or overly complex questions, I just won't spend packets of time replying. Simple. Now, die.

  • ummmmm yaaa asks: if Zim was not canceled how long do you think it would go?

Another episode or two, maybe. Actually, I think it all depended on the viewership. If the show would have been a success it would go for 12 seasons. 4 or 5 (around 50-65 episodes) is the usual length to make a syndication package for TV. We were 1/2 to 1/3 through the natural run. However, Nick can cancel anytime they feel they aren't getting their money's worth. Zim was definitely not getting their money's worth.

  • Dark Sonic asks: Ok, at the begining of Backseat, when Zim is screaming to the tallest, did rikki do a voice for zim there? It REALLY sound like him.

Rikki? No. You mean Richard Horvitz? I assume you are talking about the 'My Tallest (repeat)'. As far as I know, that was Richard.

  • Organizm asks: Invader DIB, that movie that would've aired at the end of season 5...does the Irken race really get destroyed or does Zim have to stop Dib and Dib fails or something? :)

Well, we'll never know because it was just a wish of Jhonen's. It might never have happened. And obviously it never will happen. ANything could have gone on the way the series was mutating.

  • Raina asks: Hey, since the DVD is coming out next spring, will you PLEASE, PLEEEAAASSEE do commentary? It'll make the fans real happy!

No one has asked, and I don't think I will do it if asked. First, I would have to travel to some other part of the country, second that is 13.5 hours of COMMENTARY. 13.5 translates, with a shift key, into !#>%, which will be the exact word I will repeatedly say when doing 13.5 hours of commentary. If they do it over 2 or 3 days, that's a lotta talking. If they do it over a week, that's a lotta sittin' round in some strange berg. Plus, I would want other crew to bounce off of, and they wouldn't fly to NYC or CHICAGO or some far-out city. Slim chances at this time.

November 19, 2003


  • human pig smelly asks: what did you like better? ZIM...or ROCKO?

ZIM, naturally.

  • weirdojace asks: What was the most expensive episode to make?

That's hard to tell because we kind of got a lump budget and then tried to make each episode equal cost. Obviously if we added up specific man-hours it might change despite a rigid schedule we tried to keep. I can tell you the cheapest, by far, was CHRISTMAS. But, if you use 3D as the indicator of where more money was spent...BACKSEAT, FRYCOOK, DIB'S LIFE, NIGHTMARE, B of P, and RUBBER PIGGY were the more expensive shows.

  • Taku Rikishuru asks: Was it really terrible working on Zim? By terrible, I mean "Throwing yourself down several flights of stairs" terrible.

No. No physical abuse. Only mental.

  • Laura asks: Hey, Steve. I'm a poor college student who loves art and is extremely interested in the animation process and such. Where did you go to college/school/whatever? Despite the ups and downs of professional life and the sad, abrupt demise of the Invader Zim cartoon series (I miss you, "cupcake"), would you recommend a career path in animation?

First, if anyone has a LIVE JOURNAL account, get me to 'friend' you and you can read tons of stuff about comics and animation that I've written in the past year. My account there is 'steveressel' or 'steve ressel'. What is your college major? Are you in art? My email is steveressel@mail.com if you need to carry on conversation there. If you are IN COLLEGE FOR ART, and going to....Nebraska U, most likely you are flushing money away, unless you get some proper degree in English or Accounting or something. I went to the JOE KUBERT SCHOOL OF CARTOON AND GRAPHIC ARTS in Dover New Jersey (yep, that's its full name). It is a school where ALL you do is art, 6 hours of art schooling per day, and about 8–12 hours of art at night. They make you draw and paint and ink and letter, and paste-up, and design and do human figure and comic book layouts and animation projects and on and on. No flab. No math, no science, no social studies, no psychology, no basket weaving, no liberal political agenda - YOU DRAW and you learn to draw in preparation for WORK. Most people from the school (they claim 96 or so percent) work in SOME field somewhere doing art. Many become comic guys at big houses (I wanted to do that before I realized how crappy the main comic houses were at the time of graduation). It costs $13,500 per year, now and with supplies and struff tacked on, you might spend $20,000/yr. It's a 3 year school. The first year is the best, the second is good. The third year, when I was there, became a kind of 'capper' and was a bit of a mess because of some weird teachers and class attitude. But, it really is a great place to take people who can't draw and give them basic abilities, or beyond, in comic and sequential art, drawing, inking, coloring, and all sorts of other art skills. There are other schools that will prep you for animation like CALARTS or Pasadena Design Institute, but they are far more expensive. Schools like the 'art institutes' in my opinion (legal disclaimer) are just god awful places that take cash and offer no real education worth a dime. Good education is very hard to come by. There is no ONE place, so the best to do is go to a school with a good track record that you know teaches some of the skills you need, then fashion yourself to go where you have to by some self study and focus. Animation was something I was unexpectedly hired into, and wasn't my prime choice, but after a couple years in the field I understood how much was lacking from it and how I could help, or improve it. At the time I was discovering animation's potential in 1994 (I was watching A-Ko, and NINJA SCROLL, and the YUA OVAs and being blown away) the people I knew and worked with claimed everything I wanted toi do was SHIT, and COULDN'T BE DONE (something many Zim staff said while the show was going, and we really failed at nearly nothing technical in the show's history) and merely wanted to rehash the Bugs Bunny-anvil falls on head stuff OVER and OVER, or rape Disney's dead corpse. So, due to my successes, thanks to Jhonen's willingness and desire to do WILD stuff, I think animation was a good course so far. Made a lot of money (more than by sweeping factory floors) and developed myself through an industry, and my experiences. My problem now comes in 'what do I do??'. What I want to do doesn't have ANY recognition within the industry. Zim failed, most people don't knoiw of it, and most who do don't like it, or don't value what we did. So I can't see where there is a place I can progress forward, easily, in the field at the moment. Animation is in the worst crossroads of its life - do excellent work or vanish as 3D becomes all. No one that I can point to is doing anything amazing in animation in the US; it is all rehash CN stuff or Warner Brothers stuff, or lame kinds of things with half assed approach to writing and animation. The Japanese kick our asses in animation due to diversity and a broad sense of design and fantasy, but their writing sucks so bad most times they never go above cult status. Oh well, we'll see what the future holds. Good luck.

  • yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa asks: If you had to pick a fav episode of ZIM what would it be?

I still think NIGHTMARE was the overall best because the story worked very very well, there were contrasts in character and situations, action, humor, drama, and everything you need to have a great show. A lot of effects and nice compositions, shot flow, etc., helped it. And, it also won all the awards, and I had myself all over that episode in directing, boarding, design, and so on, so to me that makes it a special memory. It was timed well and the timing was supervised by DON JUDGE who left the show after 4 episodes; he did such a tight job that the show came back and didn't really need any editing- it just fit together and was set to roll. The overseas animation director was Mr. Hahn, who was the sharpest, most arduous worker in Korea. Basically, it was a super show among the series, to me. Fans might differ because art style hadn't progressed, but that early simplicity was pretty fun.

November 29, 2003


  • Technodestructo asks: How much did the voice actors bring to the characters? In other words, did the acting choices influence how the characters were written, or was most everything in place in the writing to begin with? I'm thinking primarily of GIR here--his insanity and stupidity are so specific and great, it almost seems like the actor is making it up as he goes along (although I know that's not the case).

I came on after the pilot was done, and that's where most of the character basics were developed.

  • Maniac the Homocidal pyromaniac asks: Steve, I have maneged to find you four times as cameo's in the show. Which one was your favorite?

All. I never thought about it. The 'saving baby' one is good.

  • Tuna Ghost asks: What was cut from "TAK - the Hideous New Girl" after Ms Bitters says "I had a valentine once..."? There seems to be a really abrupt edit at that point.

There was a pan to a thought bubble over her head on the ceiling where a writing mass of tentacles dissolves in next to her. Then abruptly is cut off as the phone rings.

  • Raina asks: Have you noticed that the better episodes all seem to be written by Jhonen and Eric?

nope

  • Yes! I knew it! 2+2=8! asks: Heheheheh.....my brother hates me. What should I dooo?

Nothing. You will both die soon enough to worry about it.

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