A Station Eight Fan Web Site
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How do you get a job writing animation scripts?
Initially, I pitched premises to a number of shows with my writing partner Cary Bates, until Jem and the Holograms bought one of our ideas.
About the Dracon and G. F. Benton name choice... I never stopped to think about it before.
And I have a pretty good guess where Cary might have gotten Benton from.
See, Dracon is pretending to be someone else, which is like an illusion. Another type of illusion is a hologram. The name of the man who invented the hologram is Stephen Benton.
Which is why it was chosen as the last name of the two sisters in JEM, the show you first wrote on with Cary. (The other Holograms last names, Leith and Elmsford, also come from pioneers in holographic tech FYI).
Or it could just be total coincidence...
You'd have to ask Cary.
I loved your episode of Video wars for the jem series, I was wondering how you and cary bates came up with the storyline, and why you only seem to have written 1 episode for the show? You and Cary also seem to have done a lot together. Will you two be working on future shows? and personally, I think you both rock! :-) Stnp@yahoo.com
Thanks. Cary & I were writing partners for years, mostly at DC Comics. Nowadays, we still like working together, so I made him a story editor on Gargoyles. And I've had him write scripts for me on that show, plus Starship Troopers & Max Steel.
Basically, if I ever get another show, we'll wind up working together again, most likely.
I'm glad you liked the Jem episode. We only did one, because we were only offered one. I'd have been happy to do more. I'm not too clear (as it's been over 15 years) how we came up with that particular storyline, but I think it was suggested by the bible. Not the premise per se, but it felt like a natural.
Here I've been...a fan of yours due to your work on Gargoyles and I never knew you had previously worked on Jem and the Holograms until today. I absolutely loved that 80s cartoon show and I wish they had conventions for it. It was a unique show for its time...with fun and well-thought out story-plots. I was just wondering if you would like to share your brief experience with that show.
Sure. And it was brief.
I was working at DC Comics in New York. I was an Associate Editor there working on books like INFINITY, INC., ALL-STAR SQUADRON, TALES OF THE TEEN TITANS, JUSTICE LEAGUE, YOUNG ALL-STARS, etc. I was also co-writing a book called CAPTAIN ATOM with my friend and partner Cary Bates (whom many of you know as a Gargoyles story editor and writer).
Cary had some friends, former comic book writers, working in animation. So as partners we pitched premises on a number of shows, including TRANSFORMERS, etc.
We only sold one premise: "Video Wars" to JEM & THE HOLOGRAMS.
The premise was approved and we wrote the outline, which was approved to script. I wrote the first draft and Cary wrote the final draft.
I had literally no contact with the people at Jem. Cary did all that.
But that episode was the first time I saw my name on TV. I've still got it on tape.
No clue where you're going to file this one, probably "Random Stuff," since JEM seems like the only project you've done that doesn't have its own category *sniffle*
(no, it's OK, really)
Anyway, there's one thing I've always wanted to know regarding your "Video Wars" episode. Do you remember how it was decided which song would be reused from the existing song library? I'm referring to "Like A Dream," which appears in Act One. That song has the distinction of having appeared THREE times in the series, and in the case of "Video Wars," what the song's about isn't crucial to the plot. Why use that song a third time when there were others that hadn't even been used twice?
It's OK if you don't remember this. But it's bugged me for years.
However, it is worth nothing that both the other occurences were in episodes written by Christy Marx. While Roger story edited the first episode that song appears in (and also story edited your & Cary's episode), Christy Marx story edited herself on the other episode. Maybe they just didn't manage to compare notes as to what had been used.
I'm going to ask Christy for her take too, but sometimes her memory's lousy on the fine points.
We didn't decide anything about the songs. As we were instructed, our scripts would stop and say something like: SONG GOES HERE. We'd sort of describe what needed to happen in the song, but that's it. And we were aware that whenever possible, they'd reuse.
And just for you I'll give JEM its own category. But keep in mind, all I did for that series was co-write one episode freelance. I know almost nothing about it.