Alumnus directs "Family Guy" episode

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The long wait is almost over for Greg Colton who has been directing episodes of the animated television series, "Family Guy," for the past year. The premiere of the first episode he directed, "8 Simples Rules for Buying My Teenage Daughter," will air Sunday, July 10, at 9 p.m. on Fox

Colton is a 1998 graduate from Grand Valley State University's School of Communications in Film and Video Production with an emphasis in animation. He started out as a lip sync artist on "South Park" and has worked on various television shows including the "Powerpuff Girls," "Mucha Lucha," "Invader Zim," "Dilbert," and "3-South."

"I never expected anything, honestly, when I moved to California, especially given the odds of all the talented people out there," said Colton. "Being a huge fan of 'Family Guy,' I begged to work on the shows 3rd season and was hired to storyboard."

After the 3rd season, the show got canceled and Colton went to work on other shows. "I was given an insane amount of freedom and responsibility on 'Powerpuff' and 'Mucha Lucha' and I grew a lot during that period," said Colton. "Then, all of the sudden 'Family Guy' got renewed due to DVD sales and rerun ratings. They wanted me back and I was thrilled to go back. At that point, directing felt really natural as I was familiar with the style and I love working with all aspects of production from storyboards, design, editing and timing. It really feels great to work with other artists to make a great show."

Colton returned to Grand Valley a few years ago to describe his work as a storyboard and layout artist to students in the same program he graduated from. Professor Deanna Morse shows Colton's demo reel in animation classes every year.

"He took advantage of each assignment in his classes, and worked his projects to make solid portfolio material," said Morse. "He had a quirky sense of humor, great energy for his work, was, and is, a very talented cartoonist, and as a student, already had a cadre of characters that he had designed. I'm not surprised at his successes."

Colton would love to get his own series, though it's tough finding time to pitch shows with his kind of schedule. He plans to work on his own projects during hiatus between seasons. "I really liked working board driven shows, that is, where the storyboard artists also write dialog, so hopefully I will get back into that someday," said Colton. "In any case, if I can keep doing what I'm doing, it would be great. I don't want to become complacent, so I'm going to keep pushing myself and my crew to make things look great on each and every episode."

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