Dino Stamatopoulos flamed comedy writer for Conan O'Brien, The Ben Stiller Show, Mr. Show, and The Dana Carvey Show where he met Charlie Kaufman. Creator of Moral Orel and Mary Shelley's Frankenhole for Adult Swim, and Community's Starburns is now working on Charlie Kaufman's, Anomalisa.


ok I'm back!

Comments: 1208 • Responses: 67  • Date: 

iamdinostamatopoulos1171 karma

What are you guys reading this for? Our President's doing an AMA right now! I'll keep plugging along, though. Just thought I'd tell you.

mracidglee422 karma

I messed up and asked the President which he liked more, blow or S&M. So I'm asking you - how would you reform forfeiture laws?

iamdinostamatopoulos735 karma

By doing blow and and having some dame beat me.

iamdinostamatopoulos300 karma

Hi everyone. Just doing my vocal warm-ups. See ya in twenty!

Love, Dino

monoglot190 karma

The internet probably already knows this, so I apologize for asking it, but I have to know:

Did(/do?) you actually grow starburns, and like, live your life for a few months a year with stars coming out of your face? If so, what is that like? If not, how do you deal with the crushing disappointment of your fans?

iamdinostamatopoulos579 karma

The very first episode I grew out my sideburns thinking they would sculpt starburns out of them. To my surprise, they shaved them all off and stuck on phonies. They didn't look that great so for the rest of Season One, Two and most of Three I shaved the starburns in myself, drunkenly.

I would usually grow them out a week in advance and then shave then the day before shooting. My sideburns are actually very gray because I'm old and dying. The make-up dept. would then darken them with mascara or something.

When I was not shooting and had the starburns on my face, people wouldn't really notice because the grayness of the 'burns would meld into my gray, ashen, dying face.

People still recognized me here and there because I have a big, weird face. Everyone's always been very cool and supportive when they recognize me.

Then, the last two episodes of Season Three, they made some realistic fake starburns and I wore those until the end of the season.

thombudsman157 karma

What really happened to Starburns?

iamdinostamatopoulos520 karma

Starburns fakes his own death and puts on a disguise. Right? I think I saw that episode...

Usually when I'm shooting I never read the script and just do what they tell me to do. I'm not really an actor and seeing the script beforehand would just scare the shit out of me then I would get drunk and hide and never show up to shooting. But with not reading the script I just get drunk and show up. I guess what I'm saying, I don't really know for sure what happened to Starburns.

He would have probably showed up in Season Four, I assume, with his new affectation being the short-blond-wig disguise.

I mean, he still might show up, but it won't be me playing him. If they do bring him back, I hope they choose one of the every other humans in LA who want an acting job.

Don't get me wrong, it was fun doing that role for my friend Dan, and I would have done another season if he was doing another season and wanted me there. But now, I have absolutely no loyalty to that show.

jam3zz74 karma

I hear Dan Harmon is working on developing a new show. Will you have any involvement in that?

iamdinostamatopoulos85 karma

Not at this early stage. I don't even know if he knows what it's about yet.

Justintoxicated151 karma

First I wanted to blow some smoke up your ass because I love your work, I feel with Moral Orel you managed to do something not done since MASH in which a show started as a snarky comedy progressed and became something much more scathing and dark really exploring something genuine and close to the vest, the character development was done so well that characters almost became too real for some audiences. I feel that is quite an amazing accomplishment.

  1. I heard you had planned for Moral Orel to be a 5 seasons eventually leading Orel to be more cynical with the eminent release of Beforel Orel I was wondering if you would be interested in an after Orel type special/continuation?

  2. What lead you to your upcoming collaboration with Charlie Kauffman in Anomalisa?

Just wanted to say that the Jim/John Belushi Jekyl/Hyde ep of Frankenhole was one of the few occasions where I looked at something thought "this is absolute comic genius". I'll stop gushing like a school girl now before I need a change of man-panties.

iamdinostamatopoulos141 karma

Thanks for blowing smoke up there. Next time, shove some coke in there, too. (I actually had someone offer to do that, but I think she was just trying to get free coke out of me...by getting it into me, ironically).

In regards to your number 1: Yes, Orel would have dabbled in cynicism, but his true, good nature would have eventually come out much like it did in the finale that aired. For that reason, I'm not that interested in continuing his story in the future. I feel like it's told. That's also the reason I did more of a Origins episode with the special. If we do get another season, I would like to keep exploring younger Orel. First off, he's cute as a bug. Secondly, we would get to be informed on other character's origins. Like, for one, what were the events around Stephanie's first piercing.

Two answer number 2: I had scene Anomalisa performed as a radio play several years back. Coincidentally enough, I brought along Dan Harmon, who was a huge fan of Charlie's. The script was so concise and original that it has been haunting me for years.

Well, I've kept in touch with Charlie since the Dana Carvey Show days and I was hounding him here and there to send me a copy of the Anomalisa script, purely to read and savor. Finally, a few months back he sent it and I thought it could work as an animated film. We all agreed that Charlie would need to see his vision through without any interference from us or anyone else, so our studio, Starburns Industries, decided to set up a kickstarter for the project, with the idea that Charlie would come and be a part of it AFTER we obtained financing.

I should stress that the kickstarter was not Charlie's idea. He has no part in the raising of the money, just the creative.

MrTravesty139 karma

What do you think of the whole Dan Harmon situation?

iamdinostamatopoulos474 karma

Dan's a creative. Sony is a corporation. Of course, I'm going to side with the creative. Who was right? Who was wrong? Nobody. Who's going to ultimately win? Dan.

2bds85 karma


iamdinostamatopoulos140 karma

Season 3 was where I wanted the show to go, eventually. I definitely rushed it and I don't blame Adult Swim for canceling it. I just have no goddamn patience! You can tell by Season One's Christmas episode. I was already champing at the bit. So my mindset was always the same. I wanted to quickly set up these characters as two-dimensional cartoons, then gradually reveal who they were and why they did the things they did. "Gradually" is the key word, though, and a word I completely ignored.

As for Clay, I love that character, and have a lot of empathy for him, but I just don't see him ever being happy. He just stays with Bloberta and they're both miserable with each other. I wish it wasn't so, but...

RidiculousMonster17 karma

You are probably not answering questions anymore but this has been floating around in my head for a while now: is there one root cause for the dysfunction we see in Moralton? Specifically, the women in Moralton seem the worst off - see the episodes "Alone", "Numb", and "Help".

Of course we can read MO as a scathing attack on blind faith but that doesn't really explain why exactly these women are so broken. All of the women in the episodes I mentioned, Bloberta, Ms. Sculptham, Nurse Bendy, and even Mrs. Hymentact all seem to be missing something from their lives so that they compensate in different ways (Bloberta's compulsion to "help", Nurse Bendy's retreat from reality and life in a childlike fantasy, Hymentact's need for power over her "children", etc.etc.). What is it about Moralton's society that creates these fundamentally broken people? Are we all broken and Moralton is just what happens when we cease to rely on each other and start to rely on some unseen force exclusively? Or is it much simpler and Statesota/Middle America is just fucking crazy?

iamdinostamatopoulos49 karma

The root causes are lies, laziness and hypocrisy. Everything horrible stems from those three things. The show is not about blind faith. It's not about faith at all. It's about the lack of it. Moralton has always been a microcosm of America. It's heightened, yes, in some instances. But not much.

5-4-3-2-1-bang16 karma

Was any part of Moral Orel autobiographical or are you just a really good writer? Because some of that seemed really close to home. (And because writers typically tend to write what they know, too.)

iamdinostamatopoulos24 karma

The autobiographical aspect of Moral Orel isn't literal. Certain feelings vague memories inform my writing and that gets into the show in some abstract way that I can't really explain.

[deleted]78 karma

What was the inspiration behind this Clay monologue:

You know. The pain. Of you. Day in, day out, being there. With that face. Not knowing what to say. Not caring anymore. Not even knowing that you'll probably only care about her when it's finally too late. Forgetting about all those desperate- those desperate years you spent alone, your barren years when no woman would even consider resting her tired head on your shaky little shoulder. Stinking of belly semen. Why even wipe? And when you finally get one of these [Points at Dolly and imitates a fanfare] coveted pieces of tail that have been built up as the grand trophy in your nothing life, you try desperately to keep it. Not to protect it! But to hoard it. To keep it away from the other wolves and jackals circling your territory! And you realize, all too soon, that you're not good enough! That maybe there was a jerk-off called Darwin after all. And that you never acknowledged his existence because you knew deep inside that you were really what you feared you were-- weak. And passive. And ultimately, broken by the ones who were made the fittest. And that through your weaknesses, you built up a poison that poisoned others around you. That you love. And the only true justice was to let those dominant jackals feed on you. Survive off you.

That was seriously one of the most powerful TV monologues I've ever heard.

iamdinostamatopoulos78 karma

My fucked up life. Wouldn't trade this fucked up life for all the world though.

[deleted]69 karma

What's the most painful thing you've ever had someone do to your penis?

iamdinostamatopoulos298 karma

Ignore it.

StarFrog57 karma

How did using songs from The Mountain Goats come about? John Darnielle's lyrics unfold perfectly over most of your episodes. Did you listen to his music before or during your writing period of the show and say, "This fits I want to write around this," or was it just a strange coincidence.

iamdinostamatopoulos57 karma

i didn't write any of the episodes with the songs in mind. They either were written subconsciously linking to these songs or, more likely, purely coincidentally. NUMB was written before I even heard of TMG. HELP fit perfectly with "Old College Try" but that was co-written by Scott Adsit who didn't know the song and that storyline was partly an older one I had in my head for some time. PASSING and "Love Love Love" have a very tentative connection, but I certainly wasn't thinking of that song when I wrote it. Although the song may have inspired me in general. Darnielle did express interest in writing songs specifically for the show, which I definitely would have taken him up on if we got another Season. Maybe if Beforel Orel becomes a series...

MrTravesty56 karma

What gave you the idea for Starburns?

iamdinostamatopoulos143 karma

It was Dan's idea based on a real person from a reality show, I believe, who had all these stupid affectations. Dan loved the idea of this character putting all this stupid shit all over him, and yet wanting to be treated like a normal person.

kravitzm56 karma

How much Law and Order was watched to make Basic Lupine Urology so perfect?

iamdinostamatopoulos120 karma

Twelvedy hundred pounds!

itsstevedave54 karma

First off, Moral Orel is my favorite animated show of all time. As for my question: Had the show continued, where would you see the characters/ story now?

iamdinostamatopoulos67 karma

Like I answered above, i think the characters would have ended up in the same place, but in a less rushed way. Thanks for liking it, though!

Sporkman18 karma

They are supposed to do an hour long special explaining the events where it goes, there are lots of unfilmed episodes that were supposed to take place before where the show ended.

Clay's dad comes and lives with the family for a while, Orel develops a bond with him, a bond that Clay never had with his dad. It's been a while since I've read up on all this, so I'm not 100% up on it.

Dino Released a script on his Myspace called "raped" that was taken down.

iamdinostamatopoulos45 karma

Sporks, the special will be in the half hour time slot, but will take place when Orel is four years old. Hopefully we'll do more!

anothermoron51 karma

Hey Dino, Obama decided he wants to do an AMA right now during your time slot. Are you going to take this sitting down? What are you going to do about it?

iamdinostamatopoulos74 karma

I took a nice break and made another Anomalisa update video with Harmon. I/we have our president to thank for that.

CarnivalCreep49 karma

What was it like working with Dan Harmon?

Any chance of you returning for season four of Community (as Starburns, or otherwise)?

iamdinostamatopoulos94 karma

Great and no.

raleigh15gotbanned25 karma

What made you decide that you wanted to act? I know you've said before that you prefer being a writer, I'm just curious as to what made you want to play Starburns. Also, what do you dislike about acting?

iamdinostamatopoulos55 karma

I didn't decide. I just accepted when Dan asked me if I'd do it. Didn't know it would be so reoccurring.

logicatch43 karma

What's you're favorite Community episode that you're not in?

iamdinostamatopoulos109 karma

I'm a huge fan of the My Dinner With Andre episode because I'm a big fan of MY DINNER WITH ANDRE.

IncidentOn57thStreet41 karma

Hi Dino! Love Community and simply can't wait for Anomalisa (I pledged $115 as soon as I heard of it).

  • What's Charlie Kaufman like?

  • Any Anomalisa cast interest/rumours or hopes of yours?

  • Who are your personal heroes? Life and/or work.

  • Favourite movie?

  • Do you have any essential advice for an aspiring screenwriter?

Love your work!

iamdinostamatopoulos90 karma


  1. Charlie is a very private person...so butt out! (just k-ing) I mean, he is private, but he's also lots of other things. Jewish, male and very intelligent. He's extremely sensitive and likes long walks on the beach. (that last thing was just me assuming)

  2. The cast is in place! Sorry, don't think I can talk about it yet. Hey, AMA doesnt stand for "Answer Me Anything."

  3. I've always respected Woody Allen, Albert Brooks, Nikos Kazantzakis, The Monty Python team, John Cassavetes, Chicago radio personality: Steve Dahl, and lots of others. But those people come to mind first.

  4. ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO'S NEST always flies into my cuckoo's nest first. I also love THE CELEBRATION (Festen), and HUSBANDS.

  5. Write constantly and love it! ( I don't always follow my own advice, by the way)

wills4234 karma

How long does it take usually to produce an episode of Moral Orel? I've always been fascinating by stop-motion shows like Moral Orel and Robot Chicken. Any favorite stop-motion things that aren't your own? What was your opinion of Paranorman, if you've seen it? Keep up the good work, man!

iamdinostamatopoulos82 karma

Shooting a Moral Orel 15 minute episode usually took 5-6 days. We had 12-15 animators working at the same time on a dozen or so different stages. They did an amazing job for what a factory it was.

I love watching all stop-motion, but my favorite stop-mo production is MARY AND MAX. See it! It's on Instant Netflix, I think.

Haven't seen Paranorman, yet, but definitely will.

[deleted]33 karma


iamdinostamatopoulos78 karma

I love sitting down with Charlie over dinner and just talking and talking. And drinking and talking. This is my favorite form of entertainment with anyone, but with Charlie it's special because he's special. A really great mind with an interesting take on things. We once talked about what makes us cry in movies and Charlie said something that I completely agreed with, but never thought about. He said (and I'm sure I'm paraphrasing so forgive me, Charlie), "When someone is nice to someone else for no reason. Just someone being kind to another human."

purplepalmtree926 karma

I really enjoy all the background characters on Community, what is your favorite memory from working on the show?

iamdinostamatopoulos86 karma

I love doing scenes with Danny Pudi and Ken Jeong because they are both really nice and laugh at everything between takes and give me the illusion of being funny.

boostventilator26 karma

I believe you wrote some of my favourite Mr. Show sketches (The Audition, Young People and Their Companions and the Pre-Taped Call-in Show) but you are not as cute as David Cross or as well-dressed as Bob Odenkirk. What was it like growing up in Norridge, Illinois?

iamdinostamatopoulos50 karma

Well, Norridge was a town that put a high value on being cute and well-dressed, so it was a fucking nightmare for me, obviously!!!!

fiveforty24 karma

What is it about animation that seems to excite you more than live action?

Thanks for Moral Orel, it was/is an incredible show. You seemed to hold nothing back on that show, some of the jokes were quite aggressive. Were there any jokes/storylines you didn't do because you thought maybe it was too far?

iamdinostamatopoulos44 karma

I love stop-motion for several reasons, but most importantly I feel that [a] You can go much further with these little charactyers in terms of tone. It would be very difficult to have the same effect with live action. For example, one episode of Moral Orel is about Orel's mother, Blobertaq, becoming hopelessly numb to the word. She tries bigger and more dangerous looking dildos, she gets off on the idea of being physically in pain. We took this story to crazy heights. Almost cartoony. But the episode still affected the audience on an emotional level. I'm obsessed with these inanimate objects becoming so real that you actually care what happens to them.

To answer your second question, I think the Moral Episode ALONE went a little too far and was gratuitous in a way that still makes me a little uncomfortable. But I do giggle that it actually aired.

Jakelshark11 karma

What is it about stop-motion over traditional 2d animation?

iamdinostamatopoulos31 karma

I love the tactile element in stop-motion. And, going along with that, I love having the puppets and sets around because I'm obsessed with miniatures. I love anything that's too small. (no dick jokes, please)

mavrevMatt23 karma

What's your favorite TV show being produced today?

iamdinostamatopoulos93 karma

Definitely Louie's show. But I really don't watch much TV. I do watch shows with my daughter on Netflix, though. Is PHINEAS AND FERB still being produced? Love it!!!

ghost193719 karma

You've got the goods. You wrote my favorite sketches on Mr. Show (if I'm not mistaken) Pre-taped Call-in show and the audition. They are amazingly funny and make my brain hurt.

My question is about my other favorite show you worked on TV Funhouse: How did Robert Goulet get involved in such an insane show? What was his reaction to everything?

iamdinostamatopoulos30 karma

That's a great question, because I have a great and long answer.

Robert Smigel told the casting people on the show that we needed ANY celebrity who is famous for doing Vegas/Casino shows. For weeks they came back with nothing. Finally, the night before we were supposed to travel to Atlantic City and with absolutely no celebrity booked, Robert went on the internet, found Robert Goulet's manager's info (who happened to be Goulet's wife), got her on the phone and secured RG for the next 5 days of shooting.

He was pretty great to work with, Goulet was, and was a good sport all throughout the insane shooting. After the episodes first aired though, he got a lot of shit from his old lady fan base and somehow got Comedy Central to agree never to rerun the show again. I think all that changed after he died. He DID die, right? We all die.

theboatsman17 karma

What's something terrible/bad/depressing that's happened to you that you were able to spin and use to better yourself internally? You just seem like a deep dude who's been through some shit but makes it shine. Also, I would believe you if you stated you have actually been deep in shit for some sexual purpose. Ps. I like your work.

iamdinostamatopoulos34 karma

Everything terrible/bad/depressing that happens in my life eventually finds itself in my writing. Specifically, Clay's whole monologue in SACRIFICE was definitely about specific relationships in my life.

m0nkeybl1tz16 karma

So while I definitely loved Moral Orel for its humor, I was more blown away by how dark it is. Season 3 especially, my jaw would practically hit the floor because of how singularly and unrepentantly bleak it was. So, 3 questions:

1) Did you ever have any resistance from Adult Swim to the direction you were taking the show in?

2) How close does the show track to your childhood? If it's close, then dang...

3) You used a couple Mountain Goats songs over the course of the show, which I felt worked perfectly with the tone of the show. Did you have any interactions with John Darnielle? How was that?

Thanks for making an awesome show, and I'm super stoked for Anomalisa!

iamdinostamatopoulos42 karma

1) Only in Season 3 When the final cut of NUMB came in at the same time as the rough cut of ALONE and the script for RAPED. Mike Lazzo was rightfully perplexed and concerned. He's a good guy.

2) Not close at all. Bloberta and Clay's relationship would be close to mine if I ever stayed with anyone longer than a couple of months. Not in terms of the religious dogma. Just the misery and alcoholism. The bad alcoholism. Not the good kind that I have right now. I also have good misery.

3) Darnielle was great. I asked him for the first two songs and he signed on immediately. Then I asked him for LOVE, LOVE, LOVE which I knew was a more personal song for him. He was definitely nervous about it and didn't sign on immediately. I went to see him in concert soon after that and met him back stage. I mentioned LOVE, LOVE, LOVE again and he hemmed and hawed a bit. I said, "That's okay. If you're not comfortable with me using it, you shouldn't let me use it." I really meant it. I wouldn't feel right. Anyway, he looked at he for two seconds after I said that and his face softened and he said, "I 'd like you to use it." It was really a sweet moment.

huganic15 karma

I've been watching all the Mr. Shows again as IFC re-airs them. Do you have a favorite story or sketch you think of whenever you recall the Mr. Show era?

iamdinostamatopoulos59 karma

Apart from the popular ones, I really love the one about the two douchey guys in the bar who hate each other so much that they marry each other in order to stay on each others asses and make their lives miserable.

iamdinostamatopoulos15 karma

Okay, this is a good point for me to take a little break...or a big one if there are no more questions. I'll check back in an hour, folks!

[deleted]15 karma


iamdinostamatopoulos35 karma

Like what?

BoredomHeights32 karma

He seems like such a blow hard.

iamdinostamatopoulos73 karma

He can blow soft, too.

NoOkayYeah14 karma

Justin Lee (Annyong!) went to my community college. I asked him about David Cross and he said that he was a really funny and nice guy. He said that he plays a character when he does stand up.

iamdinostamatopoulos21 karma

David is nice and mean and sweet and skinny and fat. Depends on what time of day and/or what year of life you catch him in. I heard he's really softened up after getting married. In a good way.

Sporkman14 karma

What is your favorite type of liquor?

What has been your favorite project to work on?

Is Scott Adsit as hilarious in real life as he seems?

How do you feel about Family Guy?

iamdinostamatopoulos37 karma

My drink of choice is Ketel One Vodka. On the rocks. No lime. With a gay little straw.

Apart from working on the shows I've created, Mr. Show was probably the most fun. The early days of Conan was pretty great, too.

iamdinostamatopoulos6 karma

Answered the first to questions already.

Scott Adsit is very funny and soft-spoken in person. And very smart.

I liked Family Guy for about a season and then got tired of it. It's more like a sketch show than a story show.

Dachande11 karma

How did you get into stop-motion animation? Was there anything you saw growing up that influenced you towards it? And how/where/who did you learn from?

iamdinostamatopoulos23 karma

I always watched the Rankin/Bass holiday specials and loved them. I did a little stop motion animating as a kid, but I have to stress that I don't actually animate anything now. We have professional stop-motion artists for that. I did animate Orel's bad stop-motion animated credits for some of the season one episodes, but that's about it.

Transmetisagoodcomic11 karma

Hey, I just wanted to say that Moral Orel came at a time when I was personally going through some rough times and was just starting to "lose my faith". I don't think many people can say that about any forms of media; that they really made you think about your own most basic beliefs. I personally think it was a positive change, but that's only just relevant enough to mention and going into the details would definitely go into the territory of the irrelevant.

I also have barely any idea how Reddit works; I'm more of a 4chan person myself.

iamdinostamatopoulos9 karma

Thanks for posting that. Means a lot to me. Really.

R88SHUN10 karma

Moral Orel had what is arguably the most depressing ending to a story ever put on television. How the hell were human beings capable of conveying something so devastatingly sad without spilling their brains all over the studio floor?

iamdinostamatopoulos22 karma

I thought it was optimistic, actually. But I know what you mean. Up until the ending, it was pretty bleak. Well, you have to know that in real life, these puppets move reeeeaaally slow, so there was a lot of time to catch the spilled brains.

[deleted]9 karma


iamdinostamatopoulos27 karma

Beforel Orel premieres November 19th at midnight. So I guess, technically the 20th. Evening of the 19th/morning of the 20th! Goddamn it, it's so confusing.

TripleHexxx9 karma

Hey, Dino... big fan! Thanks for doing this AMA.

How have the many writer's rooms you've been a part of been different/similar? Which were your favorites?

iamdinostamatopoulos23 karma

The funny shows have all been similar. Conan, Mr. Show, Dana Carvey. A lot of the same people, a lot of fun, a lot of laughing. Letterman was a drag. Everyone was too afraid of doing something wrong. Except me, of course. I mean, I wasn't brave. I just knew I was incapable of doing anything right, so why sweat it? Community could be fun, but once the late nights started, I disappeared completely. I'm sure they had a tired kind of fun, though. I was too old for that. We appropriately had a lot of late nights on Late Night with Conan O'Brien, but I didn't mind as much back then. It kept me away from having serious/damaging relationships with women.

Iturbinho9 karma

How do you feel about The Dana Carvey Show looking at it now? Would you make things in a different way if you had the chance?

iamdinostamatopoulos13 karma

I would have made it different back then if I had had the power. We had lots of funny people in front of the camera and behind it, but the show didn't work as a cohesive entity. It didn't know if it was Mr. Show or SNL, which both have merit. They're just both have two very different shows. I would have picked one direction. Probably the wrong one.

mtidman9 karma

Dear Dino,

I'm such a huge fan of stop motion, most especially your work! I watched Moral Orel from beginning to end and enjoyed every frame, and Frankenhole makes me so happy with all the monsters, horror, and fantastic writing. When I heard about Anomalisa I almost died, I pledged way more than I had available at the time and have saved up to afford it. I wanted every single perk, but more important to me is being part of your project, which I appreciate so much. I love that it is funded by us: the ones who want to see it happen, and with so many incredible talents involved, I have full faith that this will be an amazing work of art.

Getting on with it, I'd like to know how you got into stop motion to begin with, and if you have any advice for someone passionate but just getting started. I only get to learn and work on creating animations in my spare "experimental" time, which isn't as often as I'd like. Also, how did you meet/find your animators?

Thanks so much for doing this AMA and taking the time to respond, even if you don't get to my question. I appreciate you and your work, you are a huge inspiration to me, and I'm so grateful for the opportunity to be "heard".

iamdinostamatopoulos12 karma

I answered a lot of your question elsewhere here, but we find our animators either through word-of-mouth or by putting wanted ads on websites.

trippysmurf8 karma

I was an avid writer in college, usually getting assigned the role of the writer/script writer in team projects, and to this day I continue to write out plots for cartoons, comics, and video games in my spare time.

My questions are: how does one get his/her work looked at? Is there a good place to submit scripts or concepts? Should I just try to find local people/friends and get these things made, no matter how poor the quality? Or should I go back to school for that coveted MA in Creative Writing?

Thanks for your help, and I continue to look forward to watching your work come to life, which has always been a dream of mine.

iamdinostamatopoulos20 karma

I think the internet is a great place to get all your ideas seen. The cream always rises to the top, and if your work is good, it will get recognition. I still work with people I met in college. They were some of the most talented people I've ever known. Keep those early contacts close to you if you feel the same way. Otherwise, talented people find each other. The Universe is a beautifully simple thing.

slumbering_penguin7 karma

I, like many others, am a huge fan of your work esp. Moral Orel. What happened to the sets and puppets? (I hope that’s the right term) After I heard it was being canceled I looked around in the hopes I could own a small memento from the show but never saw anything for sale anywhere. So is Moralton setup in your basement or in a vault somewhere or distributed amongst the cast? Hopefully it didn’t just get scrapped...

EDIT: Damn, I was just looking up the name of the unaired Frankenhole episode and saw the show got canceled. Guess I'm a bit out of the loop but am sorry to hear. Is there any chance anyone will be able to see "Mother To Be-Sa"? Given the state of Morel Orel on DVD is there any reason to be optimistic?

iamdinostamatopoulos10 karma

We reused a lot of the sets and puppets (great term!) for the Orel Special. I had them in my little apartment in Los Feliz (neighborhood in LA) for the longest time. They really got me laid (by myself, actually).

Not sure about Mother To Be-Sa. We reused a lot of that episode in the Jealousy episode.

slumlord7 karma

Dino... you got the goods. Love your work.

Couple questions:

From concept to production, how long did it take to do one episode of Mr. Show?

Were the filmed episodes on HBO similar to the live touring version, where you had a real live audience and they watched pre-produced content for the majority of the show?

iamdinostamatopoulos9 karma

Hard to say how long it took. Writing was a few months, shooting the filmed bits were a few months, and the live shows were taped pretty close to the running time. I'd say about 60% of the material was performed live in front of the audience, but they definitely happily sat through a bunch of filmed bits.

Imsktn6 karma

I just have to agree with everyone. Moral Orel is by far one of my favorite tv shows. I just want to thank you for dreaming up such an interesting group of characters. If you had to pick a favorite character who is it and why?

To add a few more: What upcoming project are you most excited about?

Why do you think stop motion still has a place in modern cinematography? (personally I love stop motion more then any other form of animation)

Also another. One of my favorite parts of Morel was all the little things hidden in the background. What is you favorite thing you've snuck into the background?

iamdinostamatopoulos22 karma

I love Reverend Putty. He's so insecure but his heart is ultimately in the right place. Sure he makes a lot of mistakes, but I would to if my boss was God.

One of your favorite shows is spelled Moral OrEl, by the way.

iamdinostamatopoulos6 karma

I think I'm stopping for today. Will pick up tomorrow morning for a little bit. A lot of these questions, through no fault of anyones, are getting redundant. See ya in the morning! And please pitch in if you can to the Anomalisa kickstarter. I swear, the only people who are going to get rich off it is the audience. And they will get paid in the currency of an amazing product. I know I'm going to be one of them.

WhiteDeanSpreck6 karma

Dino, have you played the /r/hawkthorne-created game from the Digital Estate Planning episode?

iamdinostamatopoulos10 karma


koolaidisyummy5 karma


iamdinostamatopoulos10 karma

That's the best non-question ever! Thanks!

ShongoMcForren5 karma

I bet Conan O'Brien is the coolest guy ever to hang out with. Can you confirm this? And if so, what's the craziest thing you've ever seen him do off camera?

iamdinostamatopoulos31 karma

Conan was ten times funnier off camera than on camera. When he would leave for the night, our writers room was right by the elevators. We would watch him walk in the elevator and wait and wait and wait and then he'd jump out and make a goofy face. It was like he was playing peek-a-boo with a bunch of babies. It took him forever to leave. We, the writers, would actually end up laughing a lot. He made US laugh. Pretty backwards. Finally, with that elevator bit, we would end up giving up waiting for him to jump out of the elevators. We just thought he'd stopped the bit and gone home. But one time, out of the corner of my eye I saw him jump out after an extraordinary amount of time, see that no one was watching, and sadly get back in the elevator and go home. That image has haunted me for 20 years.

YouGotAStewGoing5 karma

Of all of the projects you have been a part of in your career which one means the most to you?

iamdinostamatopoulos19 karma

It would have to be Moral Orel. There's more of me in that show than anything else I've ever done. I can definitely say that every character in Moral Orel is a lot like me...on different days of course.

macfearsome4 karma

As with many other people, I'm sure, I'm going to tell you that Moral Orel is by far and wide my favorite animated show and in the top few for favorite television show overall. Constantly impressed by the depth of the characters, I've wondered for a long time which was your favorite to develop. Clay, Putty, Coach Stopframe, and Ms. Censordoll are some of the most curious characters I've come across.

Further question! The first season doesn't show nearly as much darkness behind each characters' motivations and actions in life, but the series as a whole shows a lot of foresight and planning. When did you (and the team) decide to take Moral Orel in such a beautifully disturbing direction?

Last Part (via edit)- I've generally speculated with my friends how Orel seems to develop a startlingly normal life between the end of the series and the ending sequence with Christina. I've often wondered how he managed to deal with his incredibly atypical childhood. Not to mention the dozens of children he must have sired.

iamdinostamatopoulos9 karma

I answered this elsewhere, but I'll expound a bit. Even though I had always planned on the show getting darker and more real, I never really planned how. Aspects of the show that come back around later, were often constructed in hindsight. For example: the incident that got Orel in trouble and triggered his being grounded from church in GROUNDED was always written as a throw-away joke. But then, I thought it would be fun to lead up to that defining moment with an entire episode called INNOCENCE. Bored yet?

Ironically, the one aspect of the show that got the most criticism for being a "recon" actually wasn't. I always knew that Clay's "stinking dead end job" was that he was a mayor of the town. That bit was actually a holdover from an idea when SKANK (a sketch I wrote for The Ben Stiller Show)was momentarily picked up as a series, believe it or not. I wanted Skank to have the same "dead end job" line every time he came home from work, only to find out that the little sock puppet was the mayor.

SynapticPathway4 karma

What kind of time did you have being with Louis in the middle east?

iamdinostamatopoulos5 karma

Mostly bored. It was like being in the army. Without the dying.

slddngwthtgrs4 karma

What were some things that you wanted to accomplish with Moral Orel that you never got the chance to do?

Moral Orel is one of my favorite shows in the world, so thanks for making it.

iamdinostamatopoulos11 karma

I wish I had taken more time with the middle seasons. More seasons like Season 2 would have been satisfying if I only had the patience. And then, I would have had more time to end it properly without having episodes taken away from me because I was a bad boy.

Infinity023 karma


iamdinostamatopoulos7 karma

Yes, i am. And proud of it.

beaverteeth923 karma

How did the overall writing and filming process differ for "Abed's Uncontrollable Christmas" differ from that of the rest of the series? And how did you guys go about getting all of the claymation models and animators for that episode?

iamdinostamatopoulos6 karma

It was VERY different. Way too different to get into. Let's just call it: "Magic."

n00bskoolbus3 karma

What was your favorite episode to do as starburns?

iamdinostamatopoulos5 karma

It was great doing the popular study group with Owen Wilson, because he came in and we did the scene in 5 minutes with no retakes. Because he was fucking Owen Wilson!

TorturouslyOkay3 karma

I'm a huge fan of The Dana Carvey Show. What was it like doing a network TV show that fearlessly ripped on its own advertisers? I still quote the "Mountain Dew--What does that look like to you?" sketch as an example of anti-corporate triumph.

iamdinostamatopoulos8 karma

I actually wrote that sketch! It came from a bit because I couldn't get over how much it looked like piss! Mountain Dew actually said, "We like the piss joke." They were really cool about it.

slashedheart3 karma

I'm blowing off the Obama AMA to ask you this.

Did you have the 'burns before you got the role?

iamdinostamatopoulos6 karma

Not STARburns.

LeeCarvallo3 karma

Hey Dino! I bet you're probably sick of Moral Orel questions but it just happens to be one of my favorite shows soo:

  1. What's the story behind Tigger doing the voices for Shapey and Block?

  2. I read that for season 3, you were thinking of introducing Clay's father. What kind of stories were you thinking of making?

  3. How did you decide to start working in claymation?

Btw, thank you for introducing many of us to the Mountain Goats. Has John Darnielle ever commented on the show? Good luck all of your projects!

iamdinostamatopoulos6 karma

  1. I wanted a very realistic kid playing Shapey. She was about six at the time and played him much younger, even though Shapey was supposed to be seven. I liked her little voice and I just brought her in the room and goofed around with her and tickled her and made her scream. She had a ball early on. Eventually, she saw the shows and became a teenager and wanted nothing to do with them. I don't blame her. She'll like them again when she's 40.

  2. Don't want to say because we might do those stories in Beforel Orel if it becomes a series.

  3. Answered elsewhere on this AMA.

lukeco3 karma

Hey Dino,

Just wanted to say thanks for doing this, you came to my school earlier in the year and signed my Community DVDs, everyone loved your presentation! You played us a "specific" voicemail and quickly gained a room full of fans. Keep up the great work and good luck on all your future endeavors!

iamdinostamatopoulos3 karma

I'm coming back in September. Columbia, right?

TheHumanFish3 karma

Hey Dino!

I was wondering if you could tell me (and all of Reddit) what is was like to be on the Chris Gethard Show?

iamdinostamatopoulos3 karma

It was a lot of fun. Really loose and funny. Lots of great people everywhere.