The Mark Simon Portfolio
“Being a good artist does not make you a good storyboard artist. Drawing a pretty picture does not necessarily make motion sense. Being able to carry a story visually is totally different than drawing a realistic Apple. Its getting the idea across, more than the art itself which makes a storyboard successful..”
Mark Simon – The Godfather of Storyboarding
The seaQuest Vault was lucky enough to catch Mark between assignments to ask about his memories and contributions to the show – the questions submitted are followed below by Mark’s recorded responses –
1). Almost 25 years since the show aired, what are your first thoughts when you look back on your time working on a major TV series?
2). Now that we are in the 21st Century and the future as predicted in seaQuest is our present, what changes have been the most significant for you and what do you think the show accurately predicted?
3). You are credited as ‘Storyboard Artist’ for seaQuest but your contributions were, in fact, far greater than sequential art. Is ‘Concept Designer’ a more appropriate term for your work on the show and what best exemplifies this?
4). How critical are you of your work from the era? Has your technique evolved as a result and what, in your opinion, is the most enduring of your creations?
5). And so to specifics –starting with the concept of New Cape Quest from the episode ‘Daggers’. The UEO base at Pearl Harbour was only ever shown once in the pilot – what was the brief for creating the new headquarters and what were the influences?
6). The bridge of the SeaQuest was also completely redesigned for season 2 – what, if any, was your involvement with this and how did it improve upon the original set?
7). Apart from the Sub itself, were you asked to expand on any of James Lima’s original designs or were you given free reign by the producers to create new hardware? Given the opportunity, would you have redesigned the seaQuest exterior or was it best left as was?
8). Your most iconic design was arguably the ‘Stormer’ alien from the episode ‘Dream Weaver’ what were your main influences for the creature and were you satisfied with its translation from page to screen?
9). Which episodes do you think benefitted most from your vision and how? What was your favourite story overall and the most fun to work on?
10). What isyour best story from the set and from the many directors and writers, whom did you rate highest? Who, in your opinion best understood the concept of the show and what it tried to achieve?
11), Tell us about your interaction with the cast and/or guest stars. Who did you hang with and what were your impressions of them?
12). Did you spend much time on-set and which one were you most impressed with in design terms?
13). Tell us the story behind your unique satire ‘seaQuester ASAP’ – How was it received by cast & crew?
14), One word answers – what springs to mind when you hear the names –
Oscar L. Costo
15). Season 2 was infamous for its troubled production – how much of this were you exposed to and did it have a detrimental effect on your work? Were any of your designs ever rejected and do you still wish they had been used?
16). And what did you think of the transition later to seaQuest 2032? Did you think the show would endure and were you disappointed when it was finally cancelled?
How much of your work from the show did you keep and where is it now? Did you keep any props of other souvenirs from the production?
17). Post-seaQuest you have arguably become patron saint of Storyboard artists mainly due to your self-published books and tutorials – has the advancement of digital left it a dying art or is it more essential than ever?
18). Finally, if you could do it over again, is there any aspect of your work on the show you wished you had done differently? What did your experiences on seaQuest teach you and how is that applied now?
Mark Simon owns AandS Animation, a cel animation house, and Animatics and Storyboards, the largest storyboard house in the south. Clients include Steven Spielberg, Universal, Disney, Viacom, Sony, HBO, Nickelodeon, Fox, USA Networks, ABC Television, and many more. His previous books include Facial Expressions and Storyboards: Motion in Art. He lives in Orlando, Florida.
‘The Siamese Dream’
Created as a gift for cast & crew just before wrapping on the second season, the comic-strip satire featuring some superb illustrations has not been seen since 1994 and is presented in its entirety for the first time here – (courtesy of Mark Simon’s archives)