Paul Rhodes turns his underage pub trips into an Adult Swim short

His animation was picked up by Adult Swim after a “fuck it” kind of email – now Paul tells all about the production process.

28 March 2024


It’s arguably one of the last great bastions for funny – really funny – animation; Adult Swim is a dream commission for most animators who grew up on the legacy of Robot Chicken, and graduated to the likes of Little Eddy. But, how do you get there? For Australian director and illustrator Paul Rhodes, it began over a frosty cold one.

“Me and my mate Tom King were at the pub talking shit. He told me about this job he was doing for Adult Swim and also mentioned they take pitches for short animated films that are character and story driven. Tom passed on the email so I emailed the guy. I didn’t really expect a reply or anything though. I’ve sent Brain Dead like ten emails saying hi. No one ever replies but it’s honestly like who cares it’s not like anyone ever finds out about it.”

In this case, Adult Swim did pick up the email and Best Friend Style was born. The short is for Adult Swim’s Smalls section, which are typically character and story-driven shorts that might get the chance of being developed into a full TV series. It follows two friends waiting around in a weird alleyway trying to get into a nightclub called Cool Club with a pair of fake IDs. “It’s something that has been bouncing around in my head for years now,” says Paul. “I have hundreds of memories of sneaking into pubs and getting kicked out of clubs as an underaged kid using my brother’s licence. Best Friend Style is episode one in a 15-episode story-arc type thing.”


Best Friend Style, written, directed and designed by Paul Rhodes / animation by Haein Kim (Copyright © Adult Swim, 2024)

It’s pulled together in Paul Rhodes’ signature style, meaning that grid-like background and isometric viewpoints are used to punctuate the action – who knew a wide shot could be so funny? Paul typically has a counterpoint to his work in the form of the artist and animator Haein Kim, his creative partner and “bbg”; past animations together include an MTV ident and the excellent Peepin. On Best Friend Style, Haein is on animation once again, but you can also hear snippets of the artist in the voice acting.

In fact, Paul’s neighbour is even in the film. He features in a scene when the boys are on the way to Cool Club. “I got my neighbour from the apartment below shredding his guitar on it and it sounds sick!” says Paul. “I once had to knock on his door at 2am cause he thought it was a good idea to start band practice. It was pretty awkward.. but now we’re friends and he sounds mad on the animation.”

It’s a good example of the spirit behind Best Friend Style, which Paul describes as himself through and through. It carries snippets of Paul’s young self, but also all the moments that go into getting a personal project like this off the ground. “I’ll often think about it when I’m bored and think about jokes that would be funny,” he says. “Then when it comes time to write I just write down the stuff I remember. Often I’ll look like a weirdo to my partner Haein K who often witnesses me laughing to myself. It’s embarrassing to have to explain it to her.”

GalleryBest Friend Style, written, directed and designed by Paul Rhodes / animation by Haein Kim (Copyright © Adult Swim, 2024)

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Best Friend Style, written, directed and designed by Paul Rhodes / animation by Haein Kim (Copyright © Adult Swim, 2024)

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About the Author

Liz Gorny

Liz (she/they) joined It’s Nice That as news writer in December 2021. In January 2023, they became associate editor, predominantly working on partnership projects and contributing long-form pieces to It’s Nice That. Contact them about potential partnerships or story leads.

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