Show #25: Mark Kirkland

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Mark Kirkland is Supervising Director of “The Simpsons.” In our interview, he recalls how he got started in animation, and also explains the unique Simpsons production process … fascinating!

The Experimental Animation Program at Cal Arts accepted Kirkland when he was only 17.  There he met and received formidable support from Jules Engel, Ken O’Connor, Ollie Johnston, and Moe Gollub. Along with classmate, Richard Jeffries, they were the first Cal Arts students to win the Student Academy Award for animation, given for their graphically animated film illustrating the song, “Fame”, by David Bowie … a small hint of what was to come from Mark Kirkland.

After graduating, he applied to Disney, but wasn’t accepted … their loss. However, Moe Gollub suggested he come to work for Hanna-Barbera. Prior to this, he’d worked as an assistant to his father, photographer Douglas Kirkland, who was given a major exhibit at the Motion Picture Academy, shortly after this interview.

Mark joined the Simpson team during season two, and at the time of this interview held the record for directing the most episodes (57, but it’s more now). He’s won awards for his student films, as well as two Emmys for Simpsons episodes (Behind the Laughter and Three Gays of the Condo), as well as two Environmental Media awards.

Other Simpsons episodes include: Dancin’ Homer, Gump Roast, Bart Gets Hit by a Car, The War of the Simpsons, Marge on the Lamb, Burns Verkaufen der Kraftwerk, Homer Alone, Lisa the Vegetarian, Springfield Connection, Lisa the Beauty Queen, A Fish Called Selma, Last Exit to Springfield, Homer’s Barbershop Quartet, Little Big Mom, Sideshow Bob Roberts, Mountain of Madness, Brother’s Little Helper, Kamp Krusty, He Loves to Fly and He D’ohs, Sweets & Sour Marge, Marge Simpson in: “Screaming Yellow Honkers”, Mommie Beerest, Wizard of Evergreen Terrace, The Computer Wore Menace Shoes, The Old Man and the “C” Student, The Dad Who Knew Too Little, Team Homer, Diatribe of a Mad Housewife, Regina Monologues, My Big Fat Geek Wedding, Treehouse of Horror VIII, Parent Rap, Kiss Kiss, Bang Bangalore, Bonfire of the Manatees, and That 90’s Show … whew!

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This episode is sponsored by The UPA Legacy Project.

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One Response to “Show #25: Mark Kirkland”

  1. Eric Says:

    Very informative and fun to listen to. Mark is well spoken and knows what he’s talking about. Very glad to find this post for inspiration and knowledge. I would have like to have heard some clarinet.

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