The Last Kids on Earth Season 3 Scott Peterson Interview

October 15, 2020 at 4:57am
By Jason Stettner

Interview with Scott Peterson, Showrunner on The Last Kids on Earth Season 3

A staple I do in all interviews in order to start things off is to ask that you elaborate a bit about your work, and this particular series for those not familiar with it?

Scott: I’ve worked for over twenty years in the animation industry as a writer, story editor, and producer. On the TV series “The Last Kids on Earth,” my role was as the Executive Producer and Showrunner. I helped translate the best selling book series into an animated series, working with the talented folks at Atomic Cartoons for over two years to bring the show to life. It’s the story of a kid who creates his own family of friends and tries to have fun during a monster and zombie apocalypse.

For those unfamiliar with the concept of what’s it like to be a showrunner, could you tell us a bit about the job in general and how your day to day work goes on The Last Kids on Earth?

Scott: A showrunner is ultimately responsible for every aspect of the show, from the writing of the scripts to the look of the final product, but that doesn’t mean I’m the one doing all the work. We had hundreds of talented artists on this show and half the time, I would look at a storyboard or a character design or a piece of animation, and just say, “That’s amazing.”

A lot of my job was to tie everything together so that the show had a cohesive vision, which on a day-to-day basis meant making a lot of notes. Notes on scripts, on designs, on boards, on animatics, on performance, on animation, on comps, on mixes, and everything in between. It was a lot of notes!

How did you end up getting involved with The Last Kids on Earth? With that, what’s it been like to see the show get developed and eventually become streamed through Netflix?

Scott: I had been working at Disney for over ten years when the folks at Netflix and Atomic Cartoons approached me about being the showrunner for “Last Kids.” I walked into the fancy Netflix building for a one hour meeting, talked about what I would do to turn the books into a TV series, and the next week I was hired. It was the easiest process I’ve ever been through. After that came the real work, but it was amazing to see the show come alive at every part of the process, and then so rewarding to finally, over a year later, see the finished product on Netflix.

What’s it like to work on an animated show, in regards to seeing it go from concept to a fully released experience?

Scott: Working on an animated show is a lot of work and can entail long hours, but it’s really fun to see things that were once only glimmers in your head finally come to life on the screen. We may be sitting in the writer’s room and come up with a joke or a piece of dialogue, and then to see that elevated in the recording booth, and given life in the boards or animation, and then to see kids online comment about having seen it and laughed – that’s extremely rewarding.

Congratulations on the Emmy win for the show, what was it like gaining that accolade and did you imagine this series would hit that type of acclaim?

Scott: I am very proud of the show and what we’ve been able to accomplish, but that said, I truly didn’t think we’d win the Emmy. We were a brand new show up against some great competitors and when they said “The Last Kids on Earth,” my thought was, “Huh. That’s the name of OUR show.” And then I realized that we had won.
Scott Peterson The Last Kids on Earth Season 3 Interview
Taking a look at this third season, could you briefly give us an idea of where we’ll find the core team at once it kicks off?

Scott: At the beginning of the third season, Jack, June, Quint, and Dirk are living beside the monsters of Joe’s Pizza and working hard to form a new community. Things seem really good, but the kids are unaware of a new threat in Wakefield that will attack their minds and, perhaps, destroy their world.

I really enjoy the selection of monsters present within the series, are you able to tease any of the new ones that characters will come across in this new season?

Scott: What’s great about having another ten episodes is that it afforded us the time to really flesh out a lot of the monster characters that we met in second season like Bardle, Chef, and Skaelka, but it also allows us to introduce a new villainous monster known only as the Nightmare King.

For a quick fun question, what’s your personal favourite monster of the show?

Scott: I think my favourite monster might be Chef, just because I’ve been such a fan of the actor, Bruce Campbell, that does the voice for Chef and it was so much fun to write lines and then hear them come out of Bruce’s mouth.

In regards to the narrative of season three, are there any particular themes you’d like to highlight as being a core focus?

Scott: I don’t think it gives too much away to say that the kids discover there are other humans alive in the world and that Jack and June have very different reactions to this news. For June, this news brings hope and an unrelenting drive to make contact with those people.

For Jack, it brings up his insecurity about being abandoned, as he is sure that his friends will leave him if they find their parents. So a big theme for this season is about what it means to have a family of friends and the sacrifices that you will make for them.
The Last Kids on Earth Season 3
The show has a seriously stellar cast, what’s it like to work the talent involved?

Scott: We were very fortunate to have found such great actors for our show and for the ability to record our four protagonists at the same time. Often, actors are recorded by themselves and then the performances are cut together in post, but we were able to have Nick Wolfhard, Montse Hernandez, Garland Whitt, and Charlie Demers record together and build on one another’s performances. They were fantastic to work with and brought so much to their characters.

Looking back, what’s your favorite scene from the show’s previous seasons?

Scott: I always say that my favorite episode is “June Gloom,” but my favourite scene is probably the big finale of the first season special when the kids defend the tree house from Blarg. The sequence came together so well and everything works together -- the visuals, the music, the writing, the acting -- and it’s still exciting for me to watch after all this time.

Lastly I would like to leave a spot for you to say something or go over anything I might have missed during the interview?

Scott: Beware the apocalypse!

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Gamerheadquarters Reviewer Jason Stettner