NMND Interview: "Big" Jim Miller! by

Sauce n shit

During the final NMND (Press f to pay respects) , I got the chance to sit down with "Big" Jim Miller, Director of the show. The following is the interview n shit.






HN: Can you describe the structure of DHX and how it works, between the different projects and the different people that work within these projects?

Jim: In terms of what? I just want to know like…

HN: Like, logistically, how it works. Do you have people who work on one project one day and another project a different day?

Jim: No, you're sort of assigned to have a show for a term right. Picture it like, a mall right, so there's a bunch of stores in that mall. DHX is the mall and the individual shows are the stores. So, when you need a new pair of pants, you go to the pants store. When you're assigned to pony, you work on pony for the duration of your contract and then, if there's more pony, you can stay and work on that if you want. If you want to move on to something else, in between seasons, you can go work on another project and come back. That's pretty standard for a larger Animation Studios to have multiple projects going on the same time.

HN: And there isn't people who work in between like, Monday to Wednesday on one show and then, Thursday, Friday

Jim: Sure! there's PA's who go and get coffee and run errands and deliver packages and stuff but, you know, those aren’t necessary. That's a totally different position. In terms of the creative side, you're usually on a show for a set duration to do a specific job and when your contract is up, you can decide to move to a different show or you can move to a different studio if you want.

HN: What would be the usual thing to do when you’re in between seasons?

Jim: It’s up to the individual. Some people, if they can afford it, take time off. Some people work on their own stuff, some people go work on different shows, some people go to different studios. It really depends on your financial situation too. If you can't afford to not be paid for a couple months, you try and find a job somewhere else if there’s nothing going on in DHX.

HN: How about when it comes to bringing someone on board for the show, do you personally direct that with DHX or is that somebody else and you just direct pony itself.

Jim: I just deal with pony itself. There's a whole human resources department that's in charge of it. There’s someone who is specifically for looking for employees to hire from externally for the show, the studio and then there's someone who's in charge of trying to make sure the people who are already in the studio have jobs and moving them from show to show when they need them and all that kind of stuff. I could say, it's not just a small studio, it's a corporation. So, they have all those sort of, big corporate positions in addition to all of that stuff.

HN: And do you decide who gets on the team, who doesn't get on the pony team?

Jim: Not entirely, no. I mean, for keep positions, I'm involved with some of the decision-making process, I'm allowed to give my opinion. Sometimes the only person who is applying for the job is the person you have to take so, it doesn't matter. There's recommendations that would come from the human resources department and then you get the producer and the production manager involved in that and then also with animation being, such an incestuous industry you can talk to people who maybe have worked at this person before and get their opinion and it's not just one person making that decision.

HN: Can you give us a bit of a history about, you know, what you've done, your career?

Jim: I started out in animation in 1998, I worked at AK Cartoon on Ed, Edd, n Eddy for 10 years. After that I took some well-deserved time off. When I tried to come back to animation, it was 2008 and it was the whole economic crash. DHX hired me on as a part time on call revisionist for story voices because there was not enough work for people even though I had that point had like, 10-11 years of story boarding experience. So, I started working on a show called “Martha speaks”, just coming in and doing revisions when they needed extra help. things start to pick up a little bit. I worked on boards for the second season of ”Kid vs. Cat”. Pony was starting up around that time and one of the board artists left for; I don't remember the reason, if they got a better gig or wasn’t more than the right fit for the show, and I came in to fill in on a board slot so, I did a chunk or half of Cutie Mark Chronicles, it’s usually two people on a half hour board rotation. “Cutie Mark Chronicles” was the first board I did on the show. And I had worked with both Jason and Rudy before and they asked me to stay on to oversee their revision department for the rest of the season. Because I had so much story boarding experience moving into season two, they asked me to head up their storyboard apartment as supervisor. So, two and three and the first Equestria Girls Movie I was a storyboard supervisor and then, Rudy moved on to other projects at the end of season 3 and I was the natural fit to sort of, fall into that slot working with Jason and then once he moved on to the feature film at the end of season 5, I was sort of, the senior man on the top and Paul moved up into the supervisory director position.

HN: I think this is one question I think people have been really want to ask: dealing with criticism online like, what do you feel is your best approach, personally to you?

Jim: I've been terrible at it. Like, I've made a lot of mistakes. I've done some real dumb stuff and said some dumb things, tried to be really open to differing points of view. If someone comes at me with a very polite criticism, I'm open to hearing it, but I have a hard time not being reactionary when they're attacking my character or my crew’s level of commitment. They don't know me, they don't know them, they don't know what we do. So, that's when I get really touchy.

HN: Because you’re willing going to bat for your guys.

Jim: Absolutely. They do a lot of work for me, I should be able to do that for them. I think everyone’s entitled to their opinion, that doesn’t mean I have to listen to it. Well, let me rephrase that: I should be open to listening to it but I don't have to agree with it. You know, it's tough and I'm still learning and I'm probably going to make more mistakes. But I'm hoping with each mistake, I'll learn something from it so that I can continue to be better. I don't know, what do you guys do when you get these. Surely, you've gotten some nasty stuff online, HN, and you’ve probably gotten one or two at least Scope. (Scope, Jim’s handler who was in the room at the time in the interview). Everyone says just ignore it, but some days when you're not having a great day, out in your own regular life….

HN: Here's the thing, I can punch back, I can do that but that's just me because I'm me and who gives a fuck about me.

Jim: Right, but I'm also in a position where I can't just go like, “fuck you” because I'm not just representing me, I’m representing the show, I'm representing DHX who has a relationship with Hasbro that they don't want to damage. So, there's a lot on the line. I would love to be completely myself but then I would shoot myself in the face for working ever again, you have to be a team player.

HN: Right, like I said you could do that but, you obviously have that on the responsibilities so, that adds an extra pressure to you.

Jim: Yeah, well, it's a tricky minefield to navigate because you don't. I've done dumb things and told people to go forth and multiply and not only is it rude, it doesn't solve anything, and it makes me look like an asshole, like in a petty asshole.

HN: Well, I mean, just do what I do put like, use random Simpsons images and reaction images.

Jim: I’ve tried that before, it doesn’t always work, some people don't get it. There was just one guy who kept asking me the same question over and over and I couldn't answer, I just kept sending him pictures of mosquitoes, just because he was bugging me and he just did not get it. “why do you keep sending me these mosquito pictures?” and I just sent him another one.

HN: I think everybody in the Staff has had at least one person that randomly keeps asking him the same question. Like Megan McCarthy and that one guy kept asking about this fan fic, that was a fun one. Going away from that topic, what is your daily life like? working in the studio like, what is your usual routine schedule?

Jim: Every day is different I mean, I get to work around 8:15, 8:30.

HN: How is the traffic?

Jim: I walk to work with my dog so, it’s all right, it's about a half hour walk so, that's good. I listen to some pod casts on the way to work and then, it could be any number of things once I get there, it could be a rough cut day, it could be a voice record day, a mix day, looking at storyboards, looking at the scripts, looking at lay out, looking at animation. If I could show you the schedule on my phone, you would see all these different things blocked out like, I have stuff every single day and I sometimes have to take things home at night and review them; I look at them on the weekend sometimes, on my way here, I was looking at stuff on the plane, I’ve been looking at stuff from my hotel room. Work doesn't stop just because I'm at a convention so, it's not really like, 9 o'clock to 10 o'clock, I review scripts and then 10 o'clock to… no, it's different every day. Not a great answer.

HN: I mean, it it's better than most we get. So, you actually go into the voice studio as well.

Jim: I’m at every single voice record, yes.

HN: How is that like?

Jim: It’s super cool. Terry, the voice director, is there to make sure that we get the best performance but myself and Danny unlike the other two directors on the show, we also are there to make sure that we get the right kind of performance for how we envision the visual side to happen. So, if we have a specific idea of how this is all going to play out, I want to make sure that I get what I need from the actors so that we don't have to pick them up again or like it just causes a lot more delays if we have to go back and get stuff to tweak it later on.

HN: How much of your input goes into an average episode?

Jim: Yeah, it's really hard to say. it's such a collaborative thing. The writers write the script but then it gets built up on at storyboards and built upon at layout and built upon at animation and, you know, jokes coming at boards, from the board artists and how they approach these things visually and some of the performance stuff from the actor’s. I'm involved in that but how do you distill it down to say like, “it's ten percent me”, “it's seven percent me”, that's not really fair to everyone else who worked on it and it's not really a quantifiable thing like, I could have suggested something to the board artist who then, ran it through their own filter and how they approach it and draw it and made it better and then it goes to the layout artist who improves it through their own process. Is it still just my idea? No, it's everyone's idea. So, you know, how do you… I can't quantify that. I mean, it's sort of like, being the captain of a ship or the engineer of a train or something like, I'm steering the ship on that episode but there's a lot of people involved in making sure we don't smash into the rocks like, I don't run the rigging but even if I'm telling the guy to set it all up.

HN: The way you answered everything that doing animation is sort of, a different kind of beast that it is to any other kind of other work.

Jim: Absolutely. Our imagining is not that different from filmmaking I mean, ultimately, what a director means is “I got a lot of balls in the air” and I know that Horse News guys will giggle at the word “balls” but it really is me trying to just funnel all of these ideas into a consistent end product. So, I get the final say on certain things, if someone says, “I don't know what to do, should pinkies hat be green or should it be blue, I can't make up my mind”. I'll be the guy who goes, “it's blue” and then we move on.

HN: What goes into your decision-making process and going to conventions? For example if convention A wants you to come but convention B wants you to come as well and they’re nearly almost the same weekend…

Jim: It really has to do with scheduling. If I'm going to come to a convention, I usually need a ton of lead time so that I can tell work well in advance, so that they can maybe move a few things around the schedule to accommodate me being away. Like, nightmare nights that we're at right now asked me last year and I said “sure I’d be great to go” and actually was looking really good when we put it all in the calendar work now it was a very busy week for me to be gone from work. So, a lot of time, it’s just timing. I don't have a very flexible schedule for being away. So, that's why I've actually had to turn down certain cons just because things are too busy, it's not as flexible as some of the other people that come to the cons. That's really the only thing that determines and it's nice to go to places I've never been before or would have a reason to go to like, Kansas City, great town, I wouldn't never have thought to go there on my own but it was really cool, go check it out; have a barbecue there, why not.

HN: Now, borrowing anything from the NDA, what can we see from Season 10?

Jim: I'll be dead, maggots will be eating my eyeballs, the room will smell like “poo” I don't know. Like, I don't even know what I'm doing next week, we just finished Season 7 today like, it just aired today so…

HN: So, that was a joke.


Jim: Yeah, I mean, the joke answer is, I don’t know, you want to say like, dick or balls or something, it’s Horse News. 

Comments (13)

  1. Why do you guys keep giving attention to this useless piece of shit?
    He doesn't give a shit about his job, he doesn't give a shit about the fandom, he never gives a shit about improving at all and whenever he's being called out on his bullshit and incompetence he either throws a tantrum or tries to move the goalposts over and over again.

    All what he cares about is getting his ego stroked and getting free praises no matter the cost. Seriously, everything would be betetr with him gone but he's like a parasite who keeps burrowing itself deeper and deeper into the host so there's no way to get rid of him anymore.

    Just give his job to Larson and we will be OK again for the first time on 4 years.

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    1. Hello Murrison.

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    2. Jim's great. You're entitled to your opinion on his work but you're delusional if you think he doesn't care about his job. Look in the mirror sometime and ask yourself why you're so hateful and what you can do to improve that.

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    3. Hey, Jim's already here to whiteknight himself.
      Also, funny how people who keep shilling a cartoon about friendship immediately resort to bash people and label them as haters if they don't praise the show and the cast.

      Makes you think, honestly.

      Also, if you can show me a few tweets or whatever where Lauren Faust is openly praising and expressing her pure love for the show's new direction, I'll admit being Morrison or whatever strawman you guys want to use to deny criticism.
      No "technically praising" or "W-well, it's implied" BS, please. Show me something where Faust is saying "I love what you did to my show, I have no regrets" or something similar and as I said, I'll agree to be whatever you try to label me as.

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    4. Oh boy, it's a Faustfag. No arguing with you because it's on public record that Faust doesn't even pay attention to the show and hasn't since she left.

      Newsflash, douchebag, Lauren hasn't been with the show in six years. Her approval is completely meaningless. And citing her is citing an inconsistent source. It was never "her show" which is exactly why she left. It's bloody Hasbro's show. Stop licking Lauren's asshole, she's never going to notice.

      Jim and Jason have done a great job running the show since Lauren walked away in 2012. You don't have to like it, but for the love of fuck don't use Lauren's approval as the yardstick. Form your own opinion instead of using her silence as justification for hate.

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    5. Here's the thing though, is Lauren actively saying she hates how the show is now? Exactly, I think she's been mostly trying (and failing) to get her next project off the ground, no sooner she's on one she's off it again, though why she ever considered working with Sony Pictures Animation to begin with when the likes of Lord and Miller (who went on to do The LEGO Movie) were saying how shit they were with creatives before she took the Medusa job.

      Hell Wander Over Yonder was better after Lauren left the show, season 2 was superior to season 1. Lauren is not the all conquering goddess of animation that most of the oldest bronies seem to paint her as. She's had far more failures than successes now.

      Just to note, I still find Jim Miller to be close to being the Ted Anderson of the show staff and can't stand the fucker most of the time.

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    6. Other than when he went postal over an ep last season and locked his twitter account for a bit after telling people to fuck off he seems decent to me. Then again I don't follow people on social media so I could be wrong.

      @11:40 Other than her not being fond of Twilight becoming a princess I don't think she talked about the show that much.

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  2. Still waiting for that proof about Faust liking what the cast, Jim included, did to her show after she left.

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    1. I'm waiting for proof she does hate it. See it works both ways.

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    2. Further proof that only austistic people like you can enjoy the current FiM and think that Jim Miller has done any good to the series.

      Oh well, idiotic fans for an idiotic director seems quite fitting. And he looks like a pedophile, to boot.

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    3. Go fuck yourself you self important prick

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    4. @23:26
      Oh hi, Jim! How's that Impostor Syndrome treating you?
      You try, you really try to bury it deep under the constant praises and asspats you desperately try to fish for everywhere, but at a point of the day you still need to leave the internet to sleep and THAT'S when you are alone with your toughts, the same toughts that constantly remind you what a fraud you are.

      Delete