Annabelle:  And your audience with “Barnyard"?

Steve:  Kids, families.  The neatest twist of late is that the Christian community is being considered by Hollywood.  I don’t think there’s been a moral awakening.  It’s just that they’ve woken up to the fact that Christians are out there and need to be considered.

Annabelle:  And yet, what’s coming out of Hollywood isn’t often what the average American thinks, lives or believes, is it?  Much less what Christians believe.

Steve:  You’re right.  The moral fiber of the country is so different from what Hollywood thinks it is.  It’s a gigantic advantage to understand that.  

Annabelle:  So much humor in children’s films is about gas and poop.  It’s gross.  I don’t get that.

Steve:  I hate it.  I wish my wife was here so you could hear her go off on that.  It drives me nuts.  I hate it.  It’s not something I’m into.  It’s a low level of comedy.  There are clever jokes that can be lowbrow, but when I’m doing stuff, I’m trying to make sure that there is something there.  If anything, I lean toward the weird. 

Annabelle:  What’s your next project?

Steve:  To spend the month of August with the family.  Then “Barnyard” is going to be a television show, with 13 episodes on Nickelodeon.  So that will be fun.  Then, on the crazy side of things, we have this thing called “Dirk Derby Wonder Jockey,” a completely insane project but we’re enamored with it. “Evan Almighty” will be out next June or July.  As for what’s up next, I’ve got a few things I’m kicking around.

Annabelle:  More animation?

Steve:  I love animation.  I’ll probably keep doing it.  It’s such a huge time commitment to direct.  I love it, but I can’t multi-task.  I can’t write as many things.  I want to go into creation wave.  But when I have to direct, I’ll direct.

Annabelle:  What advice would you give to aspiring screenwriters or filmmakers?

Steve:  It sounds like such a simpleton answer, but I would just do it.  The first goal is to do it, and have it be something that’s phenomenal.  It’s the simplest thing but I think it’s the thing that’s skipped a lot.

“Barnyard,” is written, directed and produced by Steve Oedekerk. 

The film is rated PG (for mild peril and rude humor) and opens in theaters nationwide on August 4, 2006.  Click here for more information.

Photos © Paramount Pictures