Joe Johnston is a writer and storyboard artist on Steven Universe. He answered a bunch of questions on his Tumblr, which reveal some cool fun facts about how the show is created. Check out the Q & A after the break, and head over here if you want to ask Joe a question of your own!
Q: This may be a silly question, but roughly where did the gems' trip to the moon fit into all the memories we saw in log date 7 15 2? (also, have a great weekend!)
A: The trip to the moon happened the night before Log Date, peridot’s confrontation happened just that morning. Everything that happened in the flashbacks took place sometime in the several weeks they’ve been working on the drill before they went to the moon.
Q: I hope your holiday was a good one. Please tell me, have you ever felt immensely, insurmountably discouraged? What helps you keep moving forward?
A: My holiday was very nice thank you. And of course I’ve felt insurmountably discouraged. It happens to everyone at some point and will happen again at some point. The thing to remember when you’re stuck in that state is this:
This is not your permanent reality. You will not always be this way. There will be a tomorrow, and you will feel differently. You always have ability to change your own reality.
Q: Are there any characters inspired by members of the crewniverse? Do you think it would be fun to make a character based on a crewniverse member?
A: Some people on the crew have been designed as background characters. Fun fact: I added a gap to Sardonyx’s teeth, because I have a slight gap in mine.
Q: The scene where lion carries Steven and the gems through warp space was incredibly well animated, did story boarding and timing that sequence present a particular challenge?
A: Drawing is hard in general. That scene was fun to do so it didn’t feel hard. The most difficult thing was figuring out how to fit all the characters on Lion’s back. But then I remembered Steven could hang out in Lion’s mane so I stuck him and Peridot in there.
Q: Is it usual for Crewniverse to stress over episodes when they air?
A: Depends on the episode. If it’s one that you boarded then yes.
Q: Was there any specific scene that you weren't proud of when you saw the final result and really wanted to change it?
A: You’ve just described everything I’ve ever drawn.
Q: Why was there an atmosphere on the moon base tho? Why did the diamonds need it if they dont breathe?
A: When you talk, sound waves travel through the air and enter your ears. Without air, there is no sound. In order to talk to one another, the gems would need an atmosphere of some kind in order to speak to each other.
Q: Sorry if this has already been asked, but will there ever be an album of the songs from the show available to buy?
A: No, not as of now. I would love for that to happen in the future. Cross your fingers.
Q: Is there anything you'd personally like to add to Rebecca Sugar's deeply meaningful and philosophical Tumblr appreciation address?
A: Be respectful and decent to one another, please.
Q: Can Steven breathe in the void of space or did the moon base contain an atmosphere?
A: Something is blowing out the door when Amethyst opens it so there’s definitely an atmosphere in there.
Q: Is there a line, scene, etc you didn't expect the fans to really like?
A: The reveal of Pearls betrayal in ‘Cry for Help.’ We all knew that wasn’t gonna be a popular choice on her part.
Q: Steven said that the Robo Olympics are annual, does that mean we'll get another Robo Olympics in a future episode?
A: He’d like that for sure. Like any 14 year old boy, he loves Giant Robots.
Q: Do you have a favorite song from the show?
A: It hasn’t aired yet ;)
Q: Why does no one seem to care that alien structures have been on earth for thousands of years?
A: You get kinda used to things when they’ve ALWAYS been around.
Q: I've noticed you and Jeff's episodes seem the most anime-inspired. Is that you or Jeff, or both?
A: Both. We’re inspired by lots of things.
Q: How old are some of the humans at beach city?
A: Most of them are older than Steven.
Q: Which gem has your favorite color pallet?
A: Jasper and Sardonyx. I like Orange.
Q: What was the best episode you've boarded thus far?
A: The best episode that i’ve worked on is still yet to air. Of the ones that have aired thus far: The best is ‘Jailbreak.’ My favorite is ‘Lion 3.′
Q: When did Steven's 13th birthday happen?
A: Sometime in the past. Probably a year before he turned 14.
Q: If you are answering questions. Can you please tell is how old is Greg in Steven's birthday?
A: Greg is in his early to mid 40s.
Q: Do you think we will ever get the Steven universe seasons on dvd/blu Ray?
oh look! a DVD!
Q: So it looks like we are going on another hiatus, is this gonna be a long one like last year?
A: Unfortunately, while the bomb structure is a fun event to run, it means that there must be breaks between them. We are constantly working on new episodes but when we do a Bomb, it eats into our backlog of episodes that are ready to air. Basically, its either we air week to week, or we air in bombs, we can’t do both. How we air is also not up to us, but up to the network itself so its out of our hands. ‘Steven’ is not the only show on cartoon network that’s being aired this way. Please be patient for now and we’ll be back before you know it!
Q: Will ever SU be on Netflix?
A: It was at some point i think. Its definitely on Hulu. I’m sure it’ll be back on Netflix at some point. We have nothing to do with that though.
Q: What's up with the Homeworld Gems speaking English? Is it an auto-translation effect of some kind, like how their bodies adjust to the local gravity?
A: When the show airs in china, why do all the characters speak chinese?