A Station Eight Fan Web Site
Hello! I was wondering if you ever watched Robert Kirkman's Invincible (2021) animated series? It's about superheroes and gave me the same vibes as Spectacular Spider-Man and Young Justice (just WAY gorier). I really enjoyed it, and one aspect of it that I absolutely loved was the longer episodes, running about forty-to-fifty minutes each. I know it's way above your pay-grade, but I was just curious, if you had the choice, would you want to extend your episodes to fifty-some minutes like Invincible? Or would you want to keep them a little over twenty minutes? Assuming of course you'd be able to still produce twenty to twenty-six episodes for each season, which Invincible didn't do at just eight episodes per the first season.
Anyways, Happy Halloween! I'm eagerly awaiting the next episode of YJ Phantoms! Artemis' arc is looking to be fantastic!
I haven't seen Invincible.
In some ways, I'd love to stop worrying about episode lengths entirely. But I'd still want the same quantity of episodes (or more). And budget is definitely a factor. It's been great on the last couple of seasons of YJ that if we have (within our budget) been freed from the constraints of a maximum length. But I don't feel like we've been hugely restricted by running between 22 and 27 minutes. Don't know that we need "fifty-some".
In your "big round of question-answering" earlier this year, someone asked you about why there was never a Christmas episode of "Gargoyles", and you mentioned that it was never a big enough priority, though there'd been some ideas for it.
This reminded me that Halloween was the only holiday to feature in "Gargoyles" (unless you count New Year's Eve in the "Bad Guys" spin-off) - it got in twice, in fact, once in "Eye of the Beholder" and once in "Clan-Building", and from there, a thought I'd had about "Gargoyles", "The Spectacular Spider-Man", and "Young Justice".
Now, though I think that both "The Spectacular Spider-Man" and "Young Justice" were both well done, they never grabbed me as much as "Gargoyles" did. (I suspect that this comes from my having grown up on medieval legends and history far more than on DC and Marvel super-heroes, so that "Gargoyles" war far more a "first language" for me than the other two series were.) But one feature of "The Spectacular Spider-Man" and "Young Justice" that didn't appear in "Gargoyles", a feature that really delighted me, was that sense of the year's cycle, traveling through various holidays, in particular (I recall that "The Spectacular Spider-Man" incorporated Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's , and Valentine's Day, and the first two seasons of "Young Justice" - I haven't gotten around to seeing Season Three, so can't comment on it - covered the year's cycle - if a different year's cycle from New Year's to Independence Day than from Independence Day to New Year's, thanks to the time skip). Of course, I think it makes sense that those series would focus more on that cycle, since their leads were human (with a few alien leads in "Young Justice", of course, but who were interested in Earth customs), while the gargoyles would have less interest in human holidays (apart from Halloween,for obvious reasons).
More musings than an actual question, but it was an observation that I wanted to share with you.
I think you're right. But I also think it had a lot to do with an evolution in my sensibilities. Keeping track of time for me started to become a priority for me later in my work.
This is my first time writing in, so I just wanted to say thanks for having this website up! I can't imagine the amount of time it takes to answer everything. It's truly appreciated. I picked up YJ not long after the third season wrapped up, and I'm delighted I got into it when I did.
I especially have to thank you (and the rest of the YJ crew, of course) for Artemis. I was in a bit of a rough patch when I watched it first, and I saw a lot of myself in her. Watching her overcome her fears, especially in the first season, was a reassuring inspiration. There's been more than a few times when I found myself thinking of her as I braved through things. She means a lot to me, and I'm thrilled to see her still working things out now, even though she's been through so much. (I was beyond excited when we found out she's leading the Team now! I can't wait to see that!)
Anyway, I've had these lying around for a bit, so here we go.
1) You recently mentioned some of the organizations youâve reached out to for help with YJâs characters of color, cultures youâre unfamiliar with, and the LGBTQ+ community. Itâs wonderful to hear that youâre working with them! Which other groups have you worked with (both today and during the first and second seasons) and how does that relationship work?
2) What does a day in the life look like in the YJ acting booth? (I have to imagine itâs pretty fun with that particular group of actors and directors!) Any idea when youâll be able to record in person again?
3) From what I understand about acting (both voice and âregularâ), itâs incredibly important for actors to be able to play off of each other. How does that work with recording during the pandemic? Do actors record lines individually and then play off those recordings, or are Zoom meetings used to imitate the booth as much as possible?
4) One last question about voice acting: how much influence do your actors have over the characters' personalities? Are their ideas about the characters integrated into the writing?
5) Iâve always loved the glimpses weâve seen of YJâs interpretation of Atlantis. Many of the versions Iâve seen are basically just a very large underwater city with little oceanic inspiration. YJâs version seems to have been created with a lot of thought toward how the structure of the seafloor and plant life interact with it, as well as the intense influence of magic. The colors also often feel particularly vibrant and ocean-like. Given that youâre not one of the artists, Iâd guess you may not know much about how it was designed, but is there any insight you could give to choices made regarding Atlantisâs design and culture?
I've just seen the first episode of Phantoms, and it's looking spectacular so far. Good luck with finishing up post-production, and thank you again for your hard work!
1. I'm going to hold off answering which other organizations we've worked with for now, as I think revealing the organizations would by default reveal content. I'd be happy to answer this after the season's over. But I've already stated that we've been working with GLAAD and OUT and MPAC (Hollywood Division). Plus, we've run every single outline and script by Dr. Janina Scarlet (superhero-therapy.com and @shadowQuill on Twitter). She's helped us with psychological and therapeutic details, while also generally acting as a sensitivity reader for our work. And there's also Warner Bros' own DEI department, who've been very helpful. There are more organizations, but the rest will have to wait for now. As for process, it can differ slightly. But generally, we discuss the stuff we were thinking about doing with them and get their feedback. Then we show them our outlines. Then our scripts. Sometimes even animatics or animation. At each step, we listen, take their notes and make sure everyone feels good about what we're doing before we take the next step in the process. We don't do anything that doesn't work for our story and characters. But we admit to ignorance on many fronts and many levels, and we like educating ourselves and allowing that education to be reflected in the work.
2. Well, it is fun! (Or, you know, most of the time. Nothing's perfect.) But pre-pandemic, we'd bring a majority of any episode's cast in together. (Although our casts are SO big, that sometimes we might split that cast into two shifts, trying to get folks who have scenes together to record together.) Jamie usually has them do a first run through without much direction. Then he might dive in and nuance an exchange or a line. Or even a certain phrase. We like to have options, but we want to make sure we get at least one version that hits the nail on the head. And we also make sure that we have at least two versions of every line. Post-pandemic, everyone was recording alone. Which is still great but not quite as much fun. There's a lot of playing back what one actor did for the other actor. (Whomever went first, kinda gets to set the tone for any scene, in these cases.) As for when we'll get back to recording in person, I don't know. Not on Season Four. That's all fully recorded.
3. See above.
4. After an episode or two, we definitely begin to incorporate their performances into their characters. With regulars or our long time recurring actors, we often sit down and talk to the actors about their characters, and I'm not at all adverse to listening to their takes on their own characters and importing those ideas into future episodes.
5. We wanted to fully bring their culture and milleu to life. To see Posiedonis - which is all you've seen of Atlantis so far - as its inhabitants see it.
Thank you for watching!
Can you describe the recording process of Young Justice: Phantoms? Was it ENTIRELY done separately? Was it done via video-conferencing? Did each actor get the entire script or just their lines?
The first half - or nearly half - of the season was done the way we always have, with group recordings predominantly, while picking up the occasional actor at a different time, based on availability.
About halfway through the season, we temporarily stopped recording because of the pandemic.
So in order to keep our board artists supplied with vocal tracks and working (from home), we began recording scratch tracks, using myself, Brandon, voice director Jamie Thomason, Talent coordinator Laura Lopez, editor Cris Mertens, and my wife and kids.
Then we began recording actors individually from home. Some of these actors have fantastic home studio set-ups. Others, well... not so much. We weren't video-conferencing with them, but we were audio-conferencing.
Then we switched from BangZoom Studios for our records to Atlas Oceanic Picture & Sound, which had a booth with a door that opened right into their parking lot. That way an actor could drive up and stay in their car until called for. Then they could walk right into the studio without any contact with any other human being. The engineer was in the control room, and the rest of us - including Jamie - were all listening in from our homes. Then when that actor was done, the booth would be sanitized before the next actor entered. Some of our performers still worked from home, but about half came to Atlas. It was always the choice of the actor.
And every actor always gets the entire script.
In the recent IGN article you were interviewed for, you mentioned how Gary Krisel tried to nix the existence of Alexander. Is it possible there was some meta-commentary in The Gathering? Both you and Xanatos (with help) had to fight against a seemingly all-powerful force to save Alex? I'm probably reading too much into things, but I found it an amusing parallel.
All that was done before Gary suggested that Alex wasn't a great idea. (That's what saved him. He was already baked in, so to speak.) So, yeah, I think you're reading too much into it.
Why wasn't Gargoyles included in Kingdom Hearts 3? The more I binge Gargoyles from Disney+ the more I think of how it would have been just the perfect world for a DLC add on. It's just a shame it's not included and I really want to know why.
Then you are asking the wrong guy. I have no idea.
I have a simple question, who were the artists that did the concept art for the show? I have searched extensively but couldn't find much in detail, even after searching the archives.
I found Dennis Woodyard, Kazuo Terada and Hiroshi Ohno but not much in terms of concept art. Maybe it's because there wasn't social media platforms to share them to back then when the show aired.
From context, I assume you're talking about Gargoyles. This is all in the archives, but I don't mind mentioning their names again:
Hi Greg! Once again, thanks for the amazing show that is Young Justice. I wanted to ask a few more questions about the show I adore.
1. How old are Traya, Anissa, and Jennifer?
2. Was there any debate between the writers, producers, and actors over how to pronounce Lian? (I know some people including myself pronounced it as LeeAnn, and sometimes say that)
3. If it was Cadmus policy to delete the source material, how come they kept Roy alive and frozen instead?
4. How did Mal and Karen discover Conner's and Megan's real identities, or is that something we might see later?
5. What's your response and feeling when people come up to you and say that the show (or even Gargoyles) helped them during a difficult time, maybe even saved them from suicide?
1. By the end of Team Year Eight...
Traya Smith is 11;
Anissa Pierce is 5;
Jennifer Pierce is 3.
2. I pretty much set it as Lee-AHN from the beginning and Brandon, Jamie and the actors followed my lead.
3. The Light thought they might have a use for him later.
4. Yeah, no spoilers.
5. On the one hand, I'm glad we were of use, but it's sad that we were necessary in that way.
I love watching Young Justice and Gargoyles, they're amazing shows! I can't wait for the 2nd half of YJ outsiders, but regarding your earlier work, what was your favorite part about producing Gargoyles?
Back then... probably the voice recordings and the sound mixes.
Sorry to put you on the spot but...
Roy Thomas alleges here, https://www.bleedingcool.com/2019/04/18/an-open-letter-to-dc-comics-from-roy-thomas-on-paying-and-crediting-whats-due/ that DC Entertainment has not paid him royalties for their use of Artemis who he created. How do you feel about this?
Did DC ask you to change Artemis' name to Tigress or was it just a story/character decision?
DC did not ask us to change Artemis' name to Tigress. That was a purely story-driven decision. (And her name is still Artemis Crock.) Besides, to my thinking Roy created BOTH Artemis and Tigress (i.e. the Tigress version of Paula Brooks).
I worked as Roy's assistant editor at DC in the mid-80s. He was very good to me. And, of course, I personally think he deserves royalties on the Artemis character, no matter what she's called.
In the Bleeding Cool article linked above, he's wrong on only one point: when he says that virtually every other character in YJ has creators listed. Unfortunately, that's not true. No matter how many creators he sees credited on our show, the vast majority of characters still do not receive creator credits - or only include some but not all of their creators. How they decide who does and doesn't receive that credit (and the royalties that go with) is a complete mystery to me. I have been pushing back against this from Day One... to no avail.
Now, I might honestly get in trouble for posting this. And it won't change anything, anyway. So a big part of me is hoping that Ask Greg doesn't have much of a reach.
Or that I'm politically smart enough to delete this post.
But I'm not.
Having watched the first half of season 3, I can honestly say that the writing on Young Justice is as sharp as ever. As always, some episodes like "Evolution" and "Nightmare Monkeys" are better than others, but that's going to be true of any show.
However, I recently re-watched "Depths" from season 2, and I have to say that the quality of the animation on Outsiders is just not at the level of the animation on seasons one and two. What would account for this? Is your budget smaller? Did you switch animation houses? Or, do you not agree with the premise of my question?
Don't get me wrong. I think the animation is okay. It's just not as good as prior seasons.
Our budgets are technically higher, but are (with inflation) more or less the same. We did switch animation houses. But we had to. The world has changed. There's way more production in Seoul than there used to be. It's way more competitive for studios and artists over there.
But basically, I don't agree with the premise of your question. We've had mixed animation success in every season, with strong episodes and weak episodes and everything in between. I'd put the animation on "Nightmare Monkeys" up against anything we did in Seasons One or Two. And there are episodes in all three seasons that had us pulling our hair out over the animation. In the end, however, I think they all cleaned up respectably.
Not a question. Just letting you know, my six year old daughter loves Gargoyles and was ranting that the bad guys were being mean to the Gargoyles. She'd make a great advocate for them. And she loves what you guys did with the comics. I had to change some of the words that my daughter does not need to learn yet. But that's okay. I hope someday you will be able to keep up the good work.
Thank you so much. That really makes my day!
You know, when we first focus tested GARGOYLES, the moderator asked the kids, "Did you like Goliath?" The kids all said yes. Then: "Did you like Demona?" The kids said no. The focus testing folks then advised us to take Demona out of the show. We had to explain to them that the kids didn't like Demona because she was THE VILLAIN! (Duh.)
Where there any plans during the production of the Avalon world tour for the travelers to wear outfits from the London, Mayan and the ishimura clans?
No. Pragmatically, changing costumes - particularly back when we were producing Gargoyles in the 90s - was a costly, difficult thing. We did it, but sparingly. I doubt we even considered doing it in the way you're suggesting.
English isn't my native language, but i really want ask you some questions.
I know you are color blind and maybe this question is more suitable for Phil Bourassa, but since both are currently working in Young Justice: Outsiders, maybe you should ask him if you can´t answer...
1)Why decided make the Bart's eyes green? In all the comics his eyes are yellow (except in New 52 where were red and that Bart at the end wasn't Bart). His yellow eyes were an important part of his design, even his googles are amber color in order to hiding his eyes color because were so unique what could reveal his secret identity. His eyes were the first thing we saw clearly in Bart´s debut in Flash #92 (and i thought he was a girl because this close up of big eyes and hair locks looked like an image from a romantic comic XD) Change the yellow for the green, is like turning Superman blond.
2) I've noticed the Reach Scientist's dress look like a hijab with a niqab, and according to Young Justice wiki, i'm not the only who think that. So Is this intentional?
2-a) All the Reach women dress like her?
It´s a bit hard to see a woman with a "hijab" being ignored, despised and silent by a man (although she was smarter).
3) Why Traci 13 was redesingned like caucasian to the season 3? She was asian american in the comics and Young Justice had being doing a great work including divertsity in the members of the Team
I love Young Justice and i'm very happy for the season 3. Thank you very much for your great work
For the record, I'm red-green color deficient, not full on color-blind.
1. Maybe because of my color deficiency, I wasn't aware of Bart's eye color. I can't speak for Brandon, Phil or our color specialist James Peters, but it is certainly possible they weren't aware of that detail either.
2. Not that I know of.
2a. Not necessarily. No spoilers.
3. Look again. Thirteen/Traci Thurston is biracial in Young Justice. Her father is Caucasian. Her mother is Asian. I think that's always been true in the comics.
What will the run time of Outsiders be? Will it be longer than Invasion?
I assume you mean per episode.
We no longer have a set time constraint for lenth of episodes, as we did back on our cable days. Of course, we have budgetary constraints, so the episodes are still approximately the same length. But some ran a litttle longer than others, as we can now edit each episode to its ideal length and not to some arbitrary fixed length.
hey mr greg weisman i was just wondering were you aiming a little older and just had to keep it appealing for kids
We talking Young Justice? Gargoyles? Shimmer and Shine? Every series is different in its demographic targeting, sometimes even from season to season. In most cases, we tried to target multiple demographics simultaneously by writing in layers.
Can you tell us the meaning of the colors of the index cards you use to plan your shows?
It changes from show to show, even from season to season. And on YJ S3, because of index card shortages of specific colors (this happened, believe it or not), it changed more than once DURING the season.
As an example, in YJ S1:
Green - villains
Red - Justice League
Blue - The Team (hero stuff)
Purple - The Team (teen stuff)
Yellow - Stuff where a specific date matters (like holdays)
White - Stuff that we're laying pipe for but will not objectively reveal to the audience at this time
The following needs saying, so I'm taking time out from my very packed weekend - not to procrastinate, which would not be unusual - but to write up something that I think is important.
But first, some backstory...
I'm not particularly smart about very many things. I am in many ways a bear of very little brain. Ask anyone. I use an iPhone 4.0 because I literally believe that I don't have the brain space to deal with upgrading. I'm a slow reader. My dyslexia makes math difficult as I am constantly transposing numbers. I'm afraid of change. Etc., etc., etc.
But one thing - maybe the ONLY thing - I am smart about is STORY. Now, I've studied story for decades and decades in small ways and large. I also believe I have an innate gift for story. Like a great pianist, the gift itself would have been wasted without years of study and practice. I've had and done both.
What that means is that - when it comes to story - I have often (not always, but quite often) considered myself - with no modesty and tremendous arrogance - to be the smartest person in the room. In any room where this is a topic of conversation, but especially in any room where story was being professionally discussed. (You can see why - with an attitude like that - I'm so popular with animation executives and the like, and why I've been fired from so many jobs.)
Even on the many, many occasions when I have felt that I am among peers who understand story as well as I do, I never felt like they understood it better than I. As good, yes. Differently, sure. Stylistically, of course. But not better. I never felt anyone knew story better.
Oh, I've made mistakes, missed opportunities, slipped up, ad nauseam. I'm human and have never claimed perfection. I've collaborated with some brilliant and wonderful people. The list is nearly endless. But none of that ever shook my basic feeling that when it came to story, I was as smart or smarter than anyone in the room.
All that changed with YOUNG JUSTICE.
So let me state it for the record: when it comes to story, BRANDON VIETTI is the Smartest Human Being in the Room.
I'd love to tell you - BELIEVE ME, I'd love to tell you - that he learned all this at my ancient knee, and that if the student has surpassed the master, the master can at least take some satisfaction in that. But that, dear readers, would simply be a load of crap.
From Day One of YJ, as witness Kevin Hopps could attest, Brandon Vietti knew story, understood it deep, the way I do. And he was smarter about it than I.
The ultimate example of this dropped this past Friday.
Episode 307 of Young Justice: Outsiders, entitled "Evolution."
SPOILERS coming, so if you haven't seen the episode then please go watch it first before reading any further.
Like all YJ episodes this season, Brandon and I broke this story together. A pretty even 50-50 collaboration. There were certain things I wanted specifically to see, like the Cave Bear. Certain things I had researched such as that in (actual documented non-DC Comics) mythology, Nabu was the son of Marduk. And there were certain things that BV wanted in there, like the meta-human kid that Kalibak sacrifices. Certain things he had researched like The Art of War by Sun Tzu (a.k.a. Vandal Savage, a.k.a. Genghis Khan, a.k.a. Marduk, a.k.a. etc.)
And together, we created a pretty kick-ass story for the episode. I don't actually remember the day of the week, but for the sake of simplifying the story, let's say we finished breaking/building the story with index cards all neatly pushpinned into my office bulletin board on a Monday. Monday evening. We both felt pretty good about it, or at least I did, and we left for the day.
Tuesday morning, he comes in and says, "Something's missing."
I tell him he's crazy. There's nothing missing from 307. Nothing. It's a great damn episode. Maybe one of our best.
BV says no. Something's missing.
I say, "What? What's missing?!"
BV says, "I don't know yet. Something. Give me a day."
I roll my eyes in as pronounced a fashion as I possibly can and say, fine.
Wednesday morning he comes in and says, "I want to add a character."
I'm resistant. "It'll mess up the works, I tell him."
But he explains, and of course, he's right. Because Brandon Vietti is the Smartest Person in the Room.
The character he wants to add is Olympia. Olympia Savage. (I take credit for the first name only.) That's right. In our first version of this story, Olympia simply did not exist.
Try to picture "Evolution" without Olympia. Be honest. It's still a solid story. A few of the actual things Olympia does, we had Cassandra doing. But otherwise the plot remains almost completely unchanged.
But not the ending.
With Olympia in the story, the episode isn't merely a solid YJ episode. It's not merely a great YJ episode. To my mind, "Evolution" transcends YJ. It is a phenomenal, even revolutionary twenty-plus minutes of television.
And I tried to talk the guy out of it.
Of course, BV's contributions don't end there. He wrote the script, too, which is fantastic. And if you knew how much he contributed to every facet of production it would humble you. It humbles me, and as you can see above, I'm NOT a humble guy.
But screw all that. I'm not talking about pretty pictures, or color, or sound, or music or even dialogue.
This post is ONLY about STORY. And when it comes to STORY... BRANDON VIETTI will always be the SMARTEST HUMAN BEING IN THE ROOM.
I bow to his greatness. And trust me, I do not do that lightly.
To be honest, he's so good, it's pretty damn annoying.
But it's an honor to be his partner.
Are they any bisexual and trans gendered gargoyles in the gargoyle universe?Have we seen them without mentioning who they are. the tv show and comic were theyre closeted for now?
Thank you and the crww for a great cartoon ahead of time.
Bisexual for sure, and yes you've seen some, though keep in mind that most gargoyles mate once and for life, so you're less likely to get proof. I'd think there would be trans-gendered ones, as well, but I'll admit I haven't yet written any.
Back in the day, we weren't allowed to objectively present LGBTQ characters. That doesn't mean the characters were in the closet. We tried to write with consistency - even to the things we weren't allowed to do.
hi Greg i was just wondering were you making gargoyles for kids or did you just have to appeal it to them to and were aiming for older
Our primary target was dictated to us as "BOYS 6-11". But our intent was always to reach a much wider audience. We had to hit that center target, and we did. But we intentionally created a series that would work for kids as young as four. For girls and women. For tweens, teens, college students and adults.
Are all of the premises for individual scripts generated by you and Brandon? Or, does your team of writers pitch some story ideas to you? Can you give a specific examples in regards to Young Justice how this collaboration works?
On seasons one and two, all the springboards were generated by Brandon, myself and Kevin Hopps, working together to break the stories. That is, we didn't go off separately and come up with premises and then pitch them to each other. We sat in a room and worked it all out together. I then wrote all the premises, and those were handed to the writers, who wrote the outlines and the scripts.
Season three has been similar, except it's just been Brandon and myself generating the springboards and breaking the stories. I then go off and write all the beat outlines. And those are handed off to the writers to go straight to script.
Do you enjoy having conversations with people about your work (If they are not asking for spoilers or trying to pitch you ideas etc.
Hey Mr.Weisman, managed to check out Starbrand and Nightmask and it was pretty good to no one's surprise. Also congrats on a season 3 of Young Justice. I just have two questions regarding that show.
1. You mentioned that there was both a timeline(that only you and Brandon are privy to) and a series bible(with details like Vandal Savage being Attila
the Hun supposedly). In the context of Young Justice, is their a difference or are they more or less the same.
2. You mentioned on this site that you used post cards and a giant billboards with different cards with different colors to establish certain dialogue or plot points. Do you also use them for events off screen such during the time skip or prior to the series?
Thanks in advance for time.
1. They are two different documents. I'm constantly updating the timeline. The bible, I haven't looked at in five years.
2. Index cards, not post cards. And, yes, sometimes.
What in the animation industry has changed since you first got into it, for better or for worse?
Tons. And nothing.
The biggest change for me, right now at least, is the end of animation in broadcast syndication and for the major networks, through the rise and (plateauing) of cable stations, into streaming services.
Why didn't SpecSpidey or YJ have "Previously On" segments? Was it a network or production decision?
I'm vehemently against using them. I learned painfully from Gargoyles that they actually have the opposite effect then one would think.
Instead of acting as small reminders or hints, they convince people that they've missed too much to join the series now. They were never necessary. Everything you truly NEED to know to enjoy a given episode is spelled out in one way or another within the episode itself.