The Difficulty of the Season 4 Finale
Matt Thompson: "It's definitely one of the most expensive episodes we've ever made. I don't want to say how much we spent, but let me put in perspective. When Neal and I were making Sealab 2021, the budget for the first couple episodes was $38,000. Later in the season, we got around $100,000. In other words, we paid Adult Swim; we lost money. We don’t lose money anymore, but we also aren't near your normal half-hour filmed sitcom budget. The normal budget is a million bucks; we're way below that. But even if you compare us to other cartoons, we’re under that too, because we're efficient.
Neal Holman: "There's no cheap way around animating water, the huge flooding in the finale."
Matt Thompson: "Because of the water, I'd say it's the most challenging episode of the show ever. We also had to create so many new backgrounds. And it's not like we could just reuse backgrounds from Sealab. There are some similarities in the looks, and hopefully fans recognized that.
Neal Holman: "The Morocco episode was harder for me."
Matt Thompson: "The Morocco episode had flash animations of a dog. That's just as hard. Dogs equal water."
Neal Holman: "By doing bottle episodes that are just set in the ISIS offices, that allows us to save money to pull off these larger cinematic episodes, like the finale. Everyone is a lot happier drawing new sets and facing new challenges than they are drawing the same old guy in a suit, in an office you've seen before. But that excitement only lasts so long when you're here at night or on the weekend, still drawing."
Matt Thompson: "Or if your background gets cut. We had to six or seven of the Sealab interiors and backgrounds."
Neal Holman: "The way our production schedule works, we’re storyboarding as the voices are being recorded, so we have no idea how the actors are reading their lines. We take our best guess. Sometimes, the actor is saying line a lot slower than we anticipated and this one shot is taking way longer than we though or he’s just running through it and there’s too many storyboards to go with it. So the audio edits always affect how the storyboard works out and sometimes we need more and sometimes we need less."