Animators by day Animation teachers by night.

Thursday, April 05, 2007


I wanted to respond to some gripes about the quality of the podcasts we do at Spline Doctors. I was recently reading some user comments on the Animation Podcast. Some of the users don't seem to like the quality of our interviews. What I have to say is this...

For one, its a podcast, not 20/20. The fact that we are able to even do them is a miracle in itself. We do them so that not only you, the listener can enjoy them, but so that we can get inspired and learn more about how people do things. I won't appologize for my phone ringing or there being too many um's and wows in the interviews... We are not professional interviewers... We are Animators. The podcast is an amazing thing. It gives people a chance to almost have their own radio station. When I was a student, and professional up until a few years ago, all you might be able to get your hands on was an old lecture taped at Calarts. I remember seeing a copy of a copy of a James Baxter video lecture. The quality was crap, but I didn't care because the info was gold. I felt lucky to be able to watch it. Now, there is so much information online, you can pick and choose where you go to get your education. My point is this, it ain't always about how perfect the recording is. Its about content and understanding that its free. We don't have advertisers paying for equipment. Everything is done with no budget. So those of you who don't like the quality of the podcasts don't have to listen.

Those of you who have supported us and given great feedback, we appreciate this and keep doing these Splinecasts for you.




Blogger Richard Oud said...

I for one think your splinecasts are awesome... It's like you said, who cares about the quality, it's about the information that is being shared. And that information is pure gold for students like me.. plus I really like the sort of lunchbreak/coffeebreak atmosphere!

Keep it up you guys, please don't stop sharing the knowledge!

12:44 AM

Blogger Marcos Gp said...

The information and the content that you guys share so kindly with us all is priceless, it would be priceless even if it were written in a napkin.

We are all so graceful for taking the time on doing the podcast,even inbetwen the production!

By the way, best picture ever! :)


1:20 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Personaly I've never consider there podcast as poor quality. I just recently found these site and I've considered myself blessed ever since. The insight that has be provided couldn't been found anywhere else. I thank you for these amazing pieces on information. And like Richard stated. I like the casual mood that the cast gives you. Its great to listen to while working!

For all the naysayers all I can say is that they've grown up around an era of bit torrents and such. They expect every thing they get at production quality.

2:21 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

andrew and other docs,

I read some of the feedback on animationpodcast today. i wouldnt take any of that junk too seriously. you guys really do a fantastic job.. much better than id be able to do. i know how crazy things can get and im just glad you guys take the time to do it all.

I feel lucky to be learning animation at a time where animators like you are teaching and making this information available. There was a long time when i was much younger when all i had was my illusion of life, but all i wanted was to just meet these guys or hear them talk, and maybe get some little piece of information i might have missed. now every other month i can tune-in and hear all this great stuff. you know what im listening for.. nothing else matters.

anyway, thanks for doing it. dont know how to thank you besides telling ya how much i appreciate it. keep teaching, ill keep learning.

2:42 AM

Blogger Joe Henderson said...

These podcasts are amazing!!! Anyone who say otherwise is full of shit, plain and simple.

2:56 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I find it amazing that people are complaining. i really enjoyed it so, thanks!

5:28 AM

Blogger Rocky said...

hi andrew,
pls don't get upset because of such stupid comments.. ur doing an amazing job.. juz continue with it..
ur splinecasts are mindblowing(i'm not ass kissing)
u juz cant imagine how much i get inspired everytime i listen to it... i've listened to it more than hundred times... and everytime i find a new piece of information which i missed earlier.. which boosts me up and keeps me inspired..
and also i didnt feel the quality was poor or anything lyk that... it was gud...

but pls dont stop posting stuffs...

God Bless U All...

5:33 AM

Blogger BadMange said...

Andrew, don't get hung up on the complaints, especially when they're on another blog. People complained to Clay about the Animation Podcast being to "produced" and Clay gave some good reasons as to why he edits the 'casts.

The problem isn't the quality of your podcasts, it's that some people have come to expect "digital cleanliness". I'll take tape hiss over digital silence any time (I grew up in the 80's afterall)! I'm with you and the others who just want to listen to the information you're sharing with us. You could record it on a subway train and we'd crank up the volume and listen to it multiple times.

I used to work in a record store back in the early 90's and remember when Robert Plant released a new album. He had one song on it that had cracks and pops like an old record because he was going for a certain mood. Well, needless to say that we got a lot of returns and complaints that their CD was scratched or defective due to it. All because people are so used to that clean digital sound. Well, I'll hear that clean sound in hell! ...from heaven...

6:01 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

You know... I was ecstatic when I found that such audio was available online. Animation (and the animation process) has always inspired me; (I used to play with a program called Disney Animation Studio when I was about 13 years-old.) The fact that I can hear from people within this art field is an absolute dream come true.

It is a shame that anyone would complain about the quality of the splinecasts. The fact that such content even exists is far more important.

6:38 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

DON'T APOLOGIZE! It's a freakin' BLOG! And as you said, it's not 20/20. It's better than that!

You're doing a great job. All of you are. Keep up the great work. How 'bout another one of those round tables??

8:01 AM

Anonymous n0s0ap said...

Quality schmality, this stuff is awesome. Complaining about the audio quality of this would be like complaining about the paper Oliver Twist was written on. Not a big deal. Sure, if you spent all your time researching and tweaking your audio equipment the quality could get better but we forgive you because y'know you work at freaking PIXAR!

8:11 AM

Blogger Jim M. said...

Kids these days!

You're doing an amazing job. Thank you so much, & hope you keep having fun doing it.

8:14 AM

Blogger Benjamin said...

Don't worry about it, these podcasts are invaluable. But you're taking this way too seriously... remember, at AnimationMentor, the first thing we learn is to leave our ego at the door ;-). Who cares if a few people don't like to listen to them? It's their loss...

8:48 AM

Blogger RT said...

Yea, I agree, it's pretty astonishing people are actually complaining, in fact downright funny to me. Finding this podcast was like finding gold to me.
Where else would you find this info and advice, or learn from such level of talent and creativity? DVD special features? Yea right..

Keep up the great work.

9:15 AM

Blogger Matt Carter said...

Well said! Good points all around. The internet in general is an amazing medium because of it's ability to equally empower every single person with their own voice in a very easily accessible way.

We are truly fortunate to have so much great knowledge floating around and so many people that are so eager to share it! It's a testament to your love for this art form that you do this on your own time with no other incentives.

This kind of community is the only thing that's going to keep animation from being completely taken over by the business side of things and keep it an art form rather than simply a process. At least that's my feeling on it :).

For the record I also feel that the non-professional tone of the interviews actually lends itself to revealing truly valuable information that only really comes up in non-linear conversation, rather than rehearsed lines of questioning. This is what makes the animation round table so amazing!!! I would love to hear more of those.

Take this as my immense thanks for sharing this information with the animation community. I only wish I found this site when I was still in school, but I I consider things like this my continued education! Keep up the great work!


9:21 AM

Blogger Frankie said...

Who complained? SMACK THEM! You guys do a terrific job and I feel the little sounds, the ums and all that really help me to connect to the people your interviewing because of the fact that its not perfect. It show's their character and that they're not perfect, they're just average Joes.

So keep up the good work guys!!

9:56 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey guys,

The fact that these interviews exist IS A MIRACLE, one than I and many other animators are truly grateful for.

Please ignore complaints and know that you guys are doing a great job!

p.s. gets complaints too...people are greedy.

10:21 AM

Blogger IZA said...

Totally get what your saying, and Appreciate the HELL Outta your splinecasts!!!! Keep 'em coming, they're like candy for the brain!!!

11:31 AM

Blogger Michael said...

Hi Andrew,
I enjoy the heck out of your podcasts and really appreciate them. What's more I would never dream of posting complaints about something that is more or less a labor of love.

That said I am sure you would like the podcast to sound as good as it can given your limitations, so I can offer a couple of constructive tips.

The sound quality could be a little better, by which I only mean, I don't care if the phone rings or people are saying "um" too much, but sometimes I literally can't hear one party or the other because somebody's way off-mic and I'm constantly twiddling the volume and alternately straining my ears and blowing them out.

Fortunately I have two free/cheap tips. Number one, there is a piece of software called The Levelator aimed exactly at you guys. It's at and basically it will normalize the levels of speech at the same level throughout your podcast. So you can basically run the podcast through it and everything will be at the same level.

The only other thing I would suggest is that you might spend a LITTLE money on a slightly better microphone, or spend a little time looking into the pattern of sound your mic will pick up to better place it in relation to the participants. If you can all chip in the Snowball USB mic ( can be found for $150 or less and would be an awesome investment for your podcast.

Regardless, like I say, I enjoy the heck out of your shows and please take these comments in the spirit of constructive suggestions and not complaints.


12:19 PM

Blogger Doron Meir said...

Sounds like you had some pretty strange comments coming your way. Some people are like that: give them gold, and they'll complain about the color. Don't worry about them. Being able to get those drops of wisdom and inspiration right from the Pixar fountain IS a miracle, and I deeply appreciate it. It inspires me every time. Indeed, part of the magic is that it's rough and real and very personal. Please keep it up exactly as it is. I love it.

12:55 PM

Blogger TikiAnimator73 said...

Keep on Keeping on. I think the podcasts are wonderful. I loved the Brad Bird and round table. I listened to them 10 times in a row when they first released. Please continue to do more. I'm an animator in training and the information is astounding. Thanks!!!!

2:11 PM

Blogger Mitch K said...

I like the real-quality. I love your podcasts. Keep it up!

3:08 PM

Blogger Weston said...

Rock On Doctor!

5:37 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was angered to hear someone criticized your podcasts, it's the height of ridiculosity.

I'm both a student of animation and an instructor. The fact that you guys share this knowledge with the rest of the animation community is outstanding. I have absolutely no problem with phones ringing, side conversations, or anything like that. The Brad Bird cast, where the phone rings, which sends him into a 30 second ad lib rant about the "Spline Phone"- priceless - now what moron is going to edit that out. These people should get real.

Keep it up guys and Thank you.

5:51 PM

Blogger Freckles said...

i LOVE your splinecasts! sometimes they are just what i need to be inspired when i am feeling at my most uninspired :P keep them going so i can keep going!

6:43 PM

Blogger Christopher Soto said...

Please don't stop. I breathe this stuff. Looking forward to the next one.

10:06 PM

Anonymous Rok Andic said...

I never thought of splinecasts as poorly produced. In fact they're awesome. I really enjoyed the Brad Bird interview and never thought about the quality of the splinecast for a second.
As you wrote it's the content that's important and the content is getting through just fine in my opinion.
Don't get hung on those complaints guys you're doing an awesome job!

12:15 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Splinecasts are great, quality is fine, we are all thankful for your effort to produce these.

Fine print: For those of you who are unsatisfied with splinecast, please send a copy of your recipe with your name and address and you'll recieve a full refund within 2 busines days.

2:39 AM

Blogger chintan said...

Dear Sir,

Your splinecasts are simply AWESOME !!!!!!!..... People are getting to learn such wonderful things for free yet, they crib about quality and stuff... I think the quality of splinecasts is perfect.

Sir please dont take such stupid comments and be upset... we really appreciate what all the doctors are doing for us and for art of animation. I want to thank you guys for giving us sooooo useful info on animation. You guys are actually teaching us animation.

Thank You very very much... for all the things what you have been doing so far... u guys ROCK !!! :)


3:01 AM

Anonymous Brian Robinson said...

I never really post on these kinds of things, but this was just stupid enough to get a real reaction out of me.

People complain?... really? thats crazy. The interviews are amazing guys keep up the great work.

To the people that complain... wake up. These guys are doing a free service, dispensing a lot of great information. You missed the point compleatly... I give you a virtual gut punch.

7:49 AM

Blogger Dr. Gordon said...

Thanks to Everyone for all the positive comments. I can see how much everyone gets out of these podcasts and we, as always, are going to continue to do them. Again, thanks again for all your comments. I know I appreciate them.


8:05 AM

Blogger Corey said...

It wasn't so much people complaining, people were just supporting Clay in his decision to polish up his interviews.

I feel very lucky to be able to listen to these podcasts, whatever the production value.

11:19 AM

Blogger David said...

Keep Going with it :D It's great stuff! Substance over Style you know?

You know it would be fun to have a Video chat one day, a round table with you guys. Such as through

We used to do this in AMO, perhaps its expandable?


11:28 AM

Blogger vineet said...

Dude !! Don't get so upset. Like you said, we're not here for the audio quality, we're all for the info worth its weight in gold, gold I tell ya !

Besides, t'was cool to hear Brad Bird chewing while he reminisced, kinda made the whole thing a bit more personal.

6:40 PM

Blogger sonoferek said...

Love the podcasts, please keep them coming. I really appreciate the time you take to do these. I'm sure you're more than busy as well as the people who are willing to be interviewed, so your time and efforts are very much appreciated.

6:58 PM

Blogger Todd said...

I also love your splinecasts, and appreciate your efforts to kindly bring them to all of us. Thanks!

7:50 PM

Blogger Sant Arellano said...

Yeaaahhh!!! Keep doing the splinecast and the animation roundtables, they're so natural and full of info!

Brad Bird eating chips or whatever, he sounded completely relaxed and natural and spontaneous!

Keep rocking Docs!

Its awesome to see some of my fellow classmates post here too!


11:33 PM

Anonymous Tim Formica said...

This is a wonderful interview. The sound ambiance made it feel like I was in the room with you. Please give us more and don't change a thing.

6:56 AM

Blogger Terry Song said...

Everyone says only good stuff at school!

Thank you, Andrew Gordon, for taking the time to put everything together. We understand you are all so busy with work, teaching, and other stuff!

The Animation Podcasts are cool, but your splinecasts are what REALLY help me and other students learn the graph editor while still keeping in mind the principles of animation. Thank you for your selflessness. You are all the closest thing to Eric Larson we have today...many of us probably don't post it cuz we're too shy or intimidated by all of you!

If you can, please continue to do what you're doing at your own pace! Thanks again!

10:16 AM

Blogger Robert said...

Someone complained about something you posted? Welcome to the Internets!

I enjoyed the Brad Bird cast, I'm sure any complaints were microscopic in number compared to the number of downloader/listeners.

11:18 AM

Blogger Adam Strick said...

I've never really had a problem with the audio quality but I would like to take the time to thank you guys for the "Jumpsuits" link. :)

3:50 PM

Blogger justin said...

hey Andrew,

Wow! It never even ocurred to me to complain about any of the splinecasts you guys are putting up.
Like you said, when we were back in school, any little piece of info was gold. This kind of stuff was so hard to come by.
I know you guys are doing this out of pure love for the artform, and I thank you for so generously sharing your knowledge, experience and time.

Thanks Spline Doctors.

7:38 PM

Anonymous Jhand said...

Just wanted to chime in and echo the thoughts of others here...this is of of the best podcasts around-I have never once questioned the production quality, I have just felt so lucky that you take time from your busy lifes to interview some of the greatest artists in animation today and then let us listen in! Thank you-

9:49 AM

Blogger Jean-Denis Haas said...

Great comment by RT, you'd never find that kind of special feature on a DVD. The podcasts are awesome (the phone ringing cracked me up, it was great), the value is huge, and like you said, it's free. I can't believe that people complain about the audio quality...

Don't listen to them, keep going!

1:47 PM

Blogger Dr.Burke said...

Thanks for your positive feedback everybody. It means a lot. Rest assured, we'll continue recording podcasts as we can. We have 2 more roundtables we're looking to record in the next month which will include a cross-section of folks from other departments. We'll have art, story, modeling/rigging, lighting, and even editorial and production. Stay tuned and thanks again for your support.


4:09 PM

Blogger chintan said...

wooooow..... thanks Dr.Burke, really looking forward to the next splinecast. :) thanks a lot...

4:26 AM

Anonymous ringlingstdnt said...

I haven't read all the posts but i just wanna say you guys are doing an awesome thing. Its so inspiring to listen to these people. I ve listened to these podcasts at least twenty times. Again, awesome awesome job.

10:55 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

splinecasts are great... it was funny to hear Brad Bird teasing you about leaving your "splinephone" on... keep it up... the great content is whats key to these podcasts...

10:55 AM

Blogger k. borcz said...

Dude, your guys's podcasts are wicked cool. seriously. I've listened to that brad bird one over and over- actually any time it comes on in the shuffle. I don't get tired of it cause it's got quality info in it.

3:07 PM

Blogger Olivier Ladeuix said...

I don't comment to often but I felt I needed to show just like the other guys how much I appreciate the Splinedoctors blog and the work you do.

If Splinedoctors wasn't there then.... well... there wouldn't be anything else!

Yes there has been some little issues with audio level in the past but as long as I can hear what you are saying then I am the happiest guy in the world.

Too many "hums" and stuff? Well, that is what makes those podcasts even more authentic actually, and that's probably because the show stays a bit rough around the edges that the Splinedoctors does exist. I know how passionate you are about animation and with your full time job + the teaching at AAU + few lectures at Animation Mentor I still wonder how you can still find the time to treat us so well and disregarding the Splinedoctors because of its roughness would be a real nonsense. Where else would anyone hear Brad Bird talking about his career as an animator, Ralph Eggleston going through his work on some of the best feature animation, and the Stanton brother and the whole Splinedoctor crew!

Thanks again Andrew and the Docs.

6:18 PM

Blogger Iloura Animators said...

I can't believe anyone would complain about such a great initiative.
I think all the little imperfections are 'gold'. And in animation aren't the imperfections, or flaws, what you crave to define your character? Geez I sound like real knob now.
Keep'em coming guys, I like you just the way you are (saxophone medley).

8:45 PM

Blogger Forni said...

Yeah guys just dont care about what they are saying there, u have a way of doing it and i like it, it is natural, it is fun. Keep up doing the awesome job. It is so great to see people like u guys doing so much for us.

8:36 AM

Blogger k. borcz said...

And how can you not like the whole "To the spline-phone!" bit?

9:24 AM

Blogger Chris said...

Hey, all I got from the AP comments was that those one or two people preferred the production quality of AP over the Splinecasts, not that they didn't appreciate the stuff that was in them. That's fine, there're some people like that. But for each one of them, there're thousands more of us who are grateful for the content regardless of the the production quality. Could the splinecasts be produced better? Sure, but we're going to take what's given to us either way. Like everyone's said, you're doing these because YOU want to, if someone doesn't like the production quality, they won't listen. No harm, no foul. It isn't a contest to see who can get more listeners is it? From what I've gathered, there's no money involved. Keep doing it because you love it. Your work isn't going unappreciated. From the responses you're getting and the backlash the naysayers got over at AP it's quite the opposite.

Keep up the excellent work guys!

The only thing we all can agree on, probably, is more, more, more!! :)


3:23 PM

Anonymous Paul said...

Apples and oranges, from my perspective. Clay produces his podcast the way he likes, and you guys do the same. Neither one goes unappreciated, as far as I'm concerned. Do 'em as often as you like, produce 'em however you like. I'll be waiting...

4:18 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

please excuse for my english. my question is that are you only really doctors? do you really have an "doctorate" for animation?

thank you for time and spline casts which i like.


2:22 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

No. as far as I know, they don't have a doctorate degree in animation, im not even sure any universitiy offer that degree, Master of Fine arts in animation is probably as high a academic degree as you can get officialy BUT, these guys know enough about animation to be considered doctors of their field.

4:33 AM

Blogger Blake K. Johnson said...

Just wanted to say I appreciate what you guys do. Two of my friends and I just used the podcast in a report on Brad Bird. Thanks for taking the time to do them.

Keep'em coming!

9:46 AM

Blogger Dr.Burke said...

The "Spline Doctor" thing is more of a pun on the term "spin doctor". No one is claiming PhD level knowledge. The information we share is our view on what separates good animation from bad and how that translates to people learning the medium.


10:45 AM

Blogger Malin said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

5:28 PM

Blogger Malin said...

Didn't find this blog untill today, I've missed so many things! Thanks for taking the time with everything! <3

5:29 PM

Blogger Dr. Gordon said...

Spline Doctor is actually an old joke. At Pixar, you are allowed to put any title under your name. One of the animators put "Spline Manipulator" Spline Doctor is a variation on that. Someone who doctors Splines. I actually was mistaken as a real doctor when I did a talk in Hong Kong. They all greeted me as Dr. Gordon.


6:15 AM

Blogger Dr.Burke said...

Thanks for the correction. 'Spose I should have checked my sources.


4:16 PM

Blogger Chris said...

I'm really amazed at how little people have come to appreciate good...scratch that...GREAT content. If you listen to Andreas Deja talk about the frustration of acquiring animation notes when he was in Germany, or even a student in North America during the non-internet age it's really bizarre. One would think that with so much information available, that a young person studying the craft would become not unlike a sponge...soaking up all that great stuff. But alas, when there is very little effort put forth to acquie said info, somehow it loses its impact.

But I digress...You guys are amazing. I was studying at vanarts when Mike and Andrew started coming there, and I was present at some of the i-chats when I was teaching there and all I can say is that you're all lions among men. My deepest regard for all you.


6:21 PM

Blogger David Beer said...

I remember a cool saying ' Those mind dont matter, and those who matter dont mind'. Thanks for everything.

4:57 AM


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