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PERLITHA writes...

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

Greg responds...

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.

Response recorded on October 29, 2019

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Marvelman writes...

What will the run time of Outsiders be? Will it be longer than Invasion?

Greg responds...

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.

Response recorded on October 29, 2019

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danny writes...

hey mr greg weisman i was just wondering were you aiming a little older and just had to keep it appealing for kids

Greg responds...

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.

Response recorded on October 17, 2019

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Anonymous writes...

Can you tell us the meaning of the colors of the index cards you use to plan your shows?

Greg responds...

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

Response recorded on April 29, 2019

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THE SMARTEST MAN IN THE ROOM

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.


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Juan M writes...

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.

Greg responds...

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.

Response recorded on December 14, 2017

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Danny writes...

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

Greg responds...

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.

Response recorded on October 25, 2017

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Marvelman writes...

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?

Greg responds...

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.

Response recorded on May 04, 2017

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killuaDev writes...

Do you enjoy having conversations with people about your work (If they are not asking for spoilers or trying to pitch you ideas etc.

Greg responds...

Very much.

Response recorded on April 18, 2017

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ClarkeC writes...

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.

Greg responds...

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.

Response recorded on February 28, 2017

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Snaggle Fraggle writes...

What in the animation industry has changed since you first got into it, for better or for worse?

Greg responds...

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.

Response recorded on February 22, 2017

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writes... writes... writes... writes... writes...

Why didn't SpecSpidey or YJ have "Previously On" segments? Was it a network or production decision?

Greg responds...

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.

Response recorded on December 16, 2016

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Bob writes...

Did it ever get annoying having to make almost every single character in Gargoyles you wanted to kill fall off something?

Greg responds...

Eh. More amusing than annoying.

Response recorded on December 14, 2016

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brandon writes...

Hi big fan of the series gargoyles thank you so much for your part in creating the show. My question is during the creation of the gargoyles were did the ideas of there look come form for instance London clans animal features wyvern clans beaks horns human faces and so on also Hm which were your favorite clan artwork my personal favorite wyven/avalon clan

Greg responds...

I don't really play favorites. They're all my children.

The idea that the London clan would be modeled (loosely) after heraldic animals was mine. Not the execution, of course. Credit for that goes mostly to our lead character designer Greg Guler.

The idea for Zafiro being serpentine was also mine. We just looked to Aztec, Olmec & Mayan art for inspiration.

Response recorded on December 01, 2016

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Robert Misirian writes...

Hi Mr. Weisman. I remember we met in WonderCon last year and I asked you questions about writing spec scripts for cartoons. I remember you said that I should write three scripts, then go over them, and only submit one of them if you're absolutely sure it's good.

Knowing what you and your crew got away with in Young Justice, how do how people like you and Gennedy Tartakovsky on Sym-Bionic Titan get away with the TV-PG content and make your show with teens in mind? And since I plan to make TV-14 shows for the main Cartoon Network channel, would the channel accept them?

Greg responds...

You'd have to ask them. The needs of ANY given channel are constantly changing.

And I don't write for an older audience. I write on levels so it works for the widest possible audience.

Response recorded on November 30, 2016

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Domenic writes...

How long did it take to write and make an episode for Young Justice?

By the way, you are THE BEST writer on TV ever!!!

Greg responds...

Thank you.

Um... well, it takes a minimum of nine or ten months to go from an episodic springboard to a final complete episode in the can, ready to air. Often more like a year.

Response recorded on September 15, 2016

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Annonymus writes...

Hi Greg, I was just wondering, how do you react to negative criticism on a show you worked on before like all those people who heavily criticized something you that you and your team liked, like the Joker in Young Justice for example? Would you stick to the creative choice despite how the majority of the audience did not approve or would you make changes to that criticism even if you thought it was fine the way it was.

I know I'm not obligated to advice the creator what to change or not not to change, I am merely asking how the creative team would react in this situation, because I too am learning in production management and how to plan construction for a form of entertainment media.

It would really help,

Greg responds...

I have to stick to my guns. In part because of the long lagtime between production and airing. And in part because I need to maintain my passion for a project. If I'm taking notes from everyone who can make a suggestion on the internet, I'll (a) never get anything done and (b) quickly lose my passion for the project.

If I had listened to all the YJ criticism that came down the pike early on, I would have, for example, cut Miss Martian, Superboy and Kid Flash from the series. I would have made the season one Robin Tim Drake and not Dick Grayson, which means we would never have gotten Nightwing in Season Two. I would have lost Dick's laughter and his wordplay. Aqualad would be another white guy and not the son of Black Manta. Etc. Etc. Etc.

People don't know what we have planned, and they react. Often negatively - especially on the internet - to things that they will eventually love if we and they are patient.

Response recorded on June 24, 2016

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SKL writes...

Hey Greg,

Going through the archives, I find the point by point summaries you give of the production process behind your various shows very interesting. It isn't necessarily obvious how much work goes into animated shows so I appreciate that you provide these brief insights.

Have you made a lot of changes to your approach or has it remained largely the same over the years? To put it another way, was your day to day work on Gargoyles significantly different to that of the work you did on WITCH, Spectacular Spider-Man or Young Justice?

Are any changes more to do with your own personal preferences, or are they largely determined by shifts occurring in the industry in general, with improvements to technology and so on?

Greg responds...

Day to day, little has changed of substance. But my process of breaking both arcs and stories continues to be refined with every new series. And there are technological changes that influence things too. I used to review timing sheets. Now, I almost never do. In fact, on Star Wars Rebels, I never even saw storyboards - just animatics.

But every series is slightly different. A lot depends on who you're partnered with, and the processes at any given studio, etc.

And yet, at the end of the day, the process is still basically the same.

Response recorded on April 28, 2016

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Joe writes...

I was recently watching the Gargoyles episode "Eye of the Beholder" (which is one of my favorite episodes) and I was curious about one aspect of that episode's production. Was the Werefox's roars, snarls, growls etc. performed by Frank Welker? Some of the effects sound quite similar to other large beasts that Frank has performed. Thanks in advance.

Greg responds...

I don't recall. Was Bronx in that episode? If not, then probably not - as we're not allowed to use Frank's voice without paying him. And I don't think we'd have brought him in ONLY to roar for a guest werefox.

In any case, I'd think most were done with sound effects.

But it was so long ago.

Response recorded on April 20, 2016

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Anonymous writes...

You have stated that to do Dr. Fate's voice Kevin Michel Richardson (the voice of Nabu) and whomever is playing the host (Jason Spisak/Kid Flash, Khary Payton/Aqualad, Lacey Chabert/Zatanna, or Nolan North/Zatara) are recorded saying the same lines. Then in post production, the voices are double-tracked, so the audience hears two voices.

1. What is the process step by step in order to be able to double-track?

2. Is double-tracking something that requires a studio in order to be able to do or could it be done from a smart phone?

Greg responds...

1. Um, it's pretty much what you listed above. It didn't really matter who we recorded first, so that was based on scheduling. If Kevin was in the recording booth first, we'd record Nabu first. If the host body actor was there first, we'd record him or her first. If they were both there, it was sort of Voice Director's choice. We then played the take from whomever recorded first for the second actor, who attempted to match the basic cadence and tempo. But we consciously chose NOT to have the second actor try to match the first exactly. We like those moments when they aren't perfectly aligned. Then during my attended edit of the dialogue, we'd lay those tracks over each other for storyboarding and animation purposes. (It helps that the Helmet of Fate doesn't reveal any lip movements, that might cause confusion between which track to animate.) Finally, in post-production, specifically at the mix session, we'd mix the tracks so that you can hear at least a taste of both flavors.

2. Uh... I don't know enough about smartphones to answer that question. I wouldn't know how to record one track on my smartphone, let alone two, let alone know whether or not I could double track 'em onto a single track.

Response recorded on October 22, 2015

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Jenna writes...

hey Greg, i've been a fan of Gargoyles since i was 11 yrs old, i was wondering, how did you come up with the distinct roars, growls and snarls for each clan member? (you can include Demona if you want)

Greg responds...

We worked them out on two levels. First with the various actors and voice director Jamie Thomason. Then with our sound effects editor Paca Thomas at Advantage Audio.

FYI - Advantage Audio is also where we did The Spectacular Spider-Man and where we are currently posting the Rain of the Ghosts AudioPlay.

Response recorded on July 27, 2015

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MomoCon 2015

I leave tomorrow for MomoCon 2015. More information on it can be found at their website: http://www.momocon.com/

But here's MY schedule for the weekend:

FRIDAY, MAY 29, 2015
BREAKING INTO ANIM 12:30pm - 01:30pm
Main "Villains" Room Omni-International
w/Floyd County Productions

SIGNING 03:30pm - 05:30pm
Autograph Area

YOUNG JUSTICE 08:00pm - 09:00pm
Main "Villains" Omni-International
w/Crispin Freeman

SATURDAY, MAY 30, 2015
SIGNING 11:00am - 12:30pm
Autograph Area

ANIM CREATORS 02:00pm - 03:00pm
"Underdog" A-313
w/Ben Mangum, Mike Reiss

SIGNING 05:30pm - 07:00pm
Autograph Area

SUNDAY, MAY 31, 2015
SIGNING 11:30am - 01:00pm
Autograph Area

GARGOYLES 02:00pm - 03:00pm
Main "Villains" Omni-International
w/Keith David

That's right! Both Keith "Goliath" David and Crispin "Red Arrow" Freeman will also be at MomoCon!

As usual, at my autograph sessions, I will happily sign anything you bring along with you for free. But I will also be signing and selling copies of my two novels RAIN OF THE GHOSTS and SPIRITS OF ASH AND FOAM. ($10 per book, cash only.) If you purchase both books (signed and personalized for $20 cash total), you get a FREE art surprise. I will also be signing and selling copies of my animation and radio play scripts (from GARGOYLES, MEN IN BLACK, STARSHIP TROOPERS, TEAM ATLANTIS, W.I.T.C.H., THE BATMAN, THE SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN, DC SHOWCASE: GREEN ARROW, BATMAN: THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD, THE SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN MEETS GARGOYLES, YOUNG JUSTICE, BEWARE THE BATMAN, GARGOYLES MEETS THE SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN MEETS YOUNG JUSTICE and KIM POSSIBLE). Each signed and personalized script is $20 cash. I'll also be giving away #RainoftheGhosts AudioPlay postcards for free!

So please stop by and say hello!


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Blizzard Sprite writes...

Hello, Mr. Weisman.

I had a question regarding the adaptation of original characters from television to their comic book counterparts. One of the more displayed occurrences of the comic book integrating a character from a television series was with DC comics integrating Harley Quinn from the Batman: The Animated Series. Since you had similar experience when the Aqualad character you created in conjunction with Brandon Vietti and Phil Bourassa became the official Aqualad of the DC comics universe, I thought you could answer a few questions on the subject.

1. What is the official process a comic book marketing company must use in order for its writers to begin using an original character? Do representatives from the comic book corporations contact writers from the television program and make negotiate to gain permission from you and other important figure heads on the television program?

2. How long does the process take for the comic book corporation to acquire all of the rights to the character and include the individual in the comic books?

3. How do these companies determine what makes an original character worthy of being integrated into the comic book continuity of these fictional universes? Since the version of the Aqualad character you created became the official one in the DC Comics universe, I imagine that the officials representing the comic book company would have explained what properties stood out the most.

4. Which party retains the copyright stemming from the creation of the character?

5. What are the chances that another one of your original characters from your Young Justice series, Green Beetle, will be adapted for the DC Comics continuity? After seeing the show, I was very surprised to learn everything about the character had not already been adapted from the comic books, but was an original creation on your part. Despite the limited screen time compared to some of the main characters, the character was fleshed-out and well-developed. I thought you had put enough creativity for the character to make a jump to the comic book continuity.

Thank you for your time.

Greg responds...

1. I'm not too comfortable answering this generically. I'm sure every case is unique. So I can only speak to examples I've been involved with, specifically - as you mentioned - Aqualad. In that case, the thing to keep in mind is that no one employed on the production has any rights in ANY of the characters we create. It's all being done under a "Work For Hire" contract, which means that Time-Warner, the company that owns DC Comics, Warner Bros Animation and Cartoon Network, owns all our work product outright. So they don't need our permission to use characters they already own, including Aqualad, which (a) was based at least in part on the existing Aqualad that they already owned and (b) they owned from the moment the idea for the new version came out of our heads, pens, tablets and keyboards. Geoff Johns did contact us and talk to us about the details of our version. He then went off and did his own revision on that for DC Comics.

2. See above. They already owned it. So it took NO time.

3. I think Geoff just liked the character - and/or thought he could do something with him - but you'd really have to ask him.

4. There are no parties. There is only one big corporation with multiple divisions.

5. I think it's unlikely, because if it didn't happen back when the show was on the air, why would it happen now?

Response recorded on December 17, 2014

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Kelley writes...

1) Do you ever grow tired or weary of writing and working on only super hero type of shows? I'm assuming working on this new star wars series must of been a breath of fresh air for you?

2)When it comes to the projects you create and produce how do you pick the correct voice director for the project? Do you have a process you go through or that type of thing out of your hands?

Greg responds...

1. They're not that different. And I love super-heroes. It's a bastard genre born from every other type of genre fiction, which allows me to do almost anything.

2. Well, when it's up to me, I tend to go with Jamie Thomason, who's both amazingly talented and a good friend. We have our rapport down to a science, and so it makes the process both fun and phenomenal. But sometimes it's not my call. And then there are a number of other great directors I've also worked with, in particular Ginny McSwain, but also Andrea Romano, Curtis Koller, Dave Filoni, Sue Blu and others. I also enjoy voice directing myself, so if schedules permit, I'm game.

Response recorded on December 12, 2014

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DENVER COMIC CON REVISED & UPDATED #3

ONE MORE TIME!! This looks to be as final a revision as it's going to get for Denver Comic Con website (http://denvercomiccon.com/), before I head for the airport in a couple minutes. But, again, follow me on TWITTER @Greg_Weisman to stay up-to-the-minute on when and where I'll be.

DENVER COMIC CON LATEST PANEL, INTERVIEW & SIGNING SCHEDULE

FRIDAY, JUNE 13th, 2014

10:30am - 11:20am - ART OF THE PITCH in ROOM 110/112.
Victor Cook, Greg Guler and myself will be talking about pitching and selling animated telvision series to the Powers That Be.

11:30am - 12:30pm - SIGNING at my BOOTH 122 on the main floor.
I'll be signing my novel RAIN OF THE GHOSTS throughout the weekend for $10 cash. (That $10 includes the book, a personalized signature and copies of the original development art by Kuni Tomita for the television version of Rain that never was.) I also have a half-dozen copies of Young Justice teleplays, which I'll sell (and sign) for $20 cash. I'll also sign anything else you bring and put in front of me for free - especially if you buy my book. ;)

12:50pm - 1:20pm - INTERVIEW with Tim Beyers of MOTLEY FOOL in the MEDIA LOUNGE.

1:30pm - 2:20pm - CARTOON VOICES I in the MAIN EVENTS ROOM.
I'll be moderating this panel, which features Kevin Conroy, Jim Cummings, Michael Dorn, Jennifer Hale & Veronica Taylor.

3:30pm - 4:30pm - SIGNING at my BOOTH 122 on the main floor.

4:45pm - 5:35pm - YOUNG JUSTICE in the MINI-MAIN ROOM.
This one includes myself (writer-producer, voice actor) & Christopher Jones (YJ companion comic book artist).

5:35pm - 6:05pm - OPENING CEREMONIES in the MAIN EVENTS ROOM.

7:00pm - 10:00pm - FOUR COLOR MIXER at Breckinridge Brewery/Hilton Garden Inn Denver Downtown.

SATURDAY, JUNE 14th, 2014

9:35am - 10:00am - INTERVIEW with BEYOND THE TROPE at my table at Booth 122.

10:00am - 10:20am - INTERVIEW with WESTWORD at my table at Booth 122.

10:30am - 11:20am - RAIN OF THE GHOSTS in ROOM 201.
I'll be reading from and discussing my new novels, Rain of the Ghosts & Spirits of Ash and Foam.

11:45am - 12:35pm - ANIMATION PROFESSIONALS in ROOM 201
I'm moderating this panel, which features Chris Beaver, Victor Cook, Greg Guler, Derek Hunter, Christy Marx, & Jan Scott-Frasier.

3:00pm - 3:50pm - SIGNING at my BOOTH 122 on the main floor.

4:00pm - 4:50pm - GARGOYLES 20th ANNIVERSARY in the MAIN EVENTS ROOM.
This is a big one, with me (writer-producer-creator), Victor Cook (storyboard artist), Jim Cummings (voice of Dingo), Jonathan Frakes (voice of David Xanatos), Greg Guler (character designer), Salli Richardson-Whitfield (voice of Elisa Maza) and Marina Sirtis (voice of Demona) .

5:00pm - 6:00pm - SIGNING at my BOOTH 122 on the main floor.

SUNDAY, JUNE 15th, 2014

9:30am - 10:20am - INTERVIEW with EXAMINER.COM at my BOOTH 122.

10:30am - 11:20am - THE SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN in the MINI-MAIN ROOM.
Includes myself (writer-producer-voice actor), Victor Cook (director-producer), Jim Cummings (voice of Crusher Hogan) & Greg Guler (artist).

1:30pm - 2:30pm - SIGNING at my BOOTH 122 on the main floor.

2:45pm - 3:35pm - CARTOON VOICES II in the MAIN EVENTS ROOM.
Again, I'm moderating for Robert Axelrod, Kimberly Brooks, Jennifer Hale & April Stewart.

4:00pm - 5:00pm - SIGNING at my BOOTH 122 on the main floor.

In addition to the times listed above, I'll often just be hanging out at my table, so stop by. Attend a panel, buy a book, say hello!


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simone writes...

Do you think if I call cartoon network on a regular and complain about how unfair they are for taking down YJ before we was able to have a 3rd/4th/5th season but yet they have all these other shows like bakugan still coming on.? Im not trying to down play them but seriously. ?! Why that play all the time but yet there is never a rerun of YJ .?? It came on on Saturday and Sunday morning. ..that's it.! I wouldn't blame the ratings if its so low.. who really wakes up at 8 or 9 to watch that show (could have came on at 10, not sure since it been so long) unless they know it was going to play that time.?

And that's another thing.. how is anybody suppose to know is there was gonna be another season if y'all don't advertise it.? I realized that y'all didn't do that for the 2nd season or if you was gonna have one (unless I looked it up on Google or something). There was times were I didn't know if a show was coming on that Saturday morning and I would have woke up for nothing ... just upset and sad.. I think that's another reason why y'all did not have that many ratings... we never really knew when it would come on unless we look it up. Please answer ... I really wanna know

Greg responds...

I've lost track of exactly what question you "really wanna know" the answer for. So I'll try to comment on what I can.

I think we can all agree that the series didn't receive as much promotion as we might have liked. Frankly, no show I've ever worked on has ever received as much promotion as I would have liked. None. (Although Star Wars Rebels may be the exception. Lucasfilm has quite the machine up and running to create buzz.) That's just the way things go in a business where promoting an animated series is an additional expense that most networks have decided they can't afford.

Whether you like Bakugan or not, keep in mind it's an acquisition, not an original series. It's considerably cheaper because the U.S. network doesn't have to pay for production, only for a license fee to air it in America.

Calling CN to complain daily does NOT sound like a good plan. Imagine if someone did that to you?

Response recorded on May 09, 2014

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Anonymous writes...

Did you, Greg Guler, and Frank Paur design Demona to be sexy on purpose?

Greg responds...

Well... we didn't design her NOT to be sexy. I guess what I'm saying is that having her be sexy wasn't our priority. We wanted her to look formidable, mostly. But gargoyles are just... naturally sexy, I guess. (Everyone tells me so.)

Response recorded on April 29, 2014

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Jenn writes...

Greg,
When the shows are being edited, how is it decided what goes and what stays? How are some lines more important to the over all plot of the story than others?

Greg responds...

Um. They just are. I mean, if a character says something essential to understanding the plot, that'll stay in. If it's very funny, it'll probably stay in. If it's kinda off-point, and the episode is running long, then the line's at risk.

Response recorded on April 07, 2014

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Harlan Phoenix writes...

I have a few questions about some of your unmade projects that've been mentioned in passing. Hopefully you'll be at liberty to discuss these, but I'd understand if not.

1. On a panel about developing television animation, you'd mentioned that your and Brandon Vietti's Green Lantern development "didn't even have the same lead [character]" as Green Lantern: The Animated Series. Though I'm very happy with how that show turned out, as it was left in very capable hands, I'm curious. Who was the lead in your Green Lantern development?

2. I was also surprised to hear you'd worked on a Space Ghost, as he's my favorite superhero. Though it didn't seem like you developed it for long, what was the general tone you and Vietti were pushing toward with that series?

2b.What was the cast like?

3. You mention working on a Thundercats reboot here (http://www.s8.org/gargoyles/askgreg/search.php?qid=14819). Was it the infamous "rock band" development of the series, or a different one entirely?

4. At Dreamworks, you'd developed Small Soldiers: The Animated Series. Was the show meant to be a series about the continuing battle between the toys or was it going to be a show that used the mythology behind the toys (the battle between the Gorgonites and the Commando Elite) as the basis for its stories?

Greg responds...

1. Charlie Vickers. Though pretty much every Earth Lantern you can think of would have gotten in there eventually. (Plus a lot of extra-terrestrial Lanterns, as well.) Hal would have had a prominent role in the pilot.

2. Space Ghost is also a favorite of mine. General tone: action, mystery, fun. Lots of HB action characters, including another of my personal favorites: the Herculoids.

3. So long ago... Might have been a rock band though my one episode didn't feature that as an element. It was for Duane Capizzi, if that helps narrow it down.

4. Even LONGER ago. But both, I think.

Response recorded on March 21, 2014

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Kwesi Brako writes...

Hi, Greg, just following up from what you said on twitter. Did you hear the comments Paul Dini made about why shows like Young Justice were not renewed?

Here's a link to the specific clip
http://helpsaveourheroes.tumblr.com/post/69925938596/i-thought-id-post-the-part-of-the-kevin

And a link to the full podcast in case anyone else wants it
http://smodcast.com/episodes/paul-dini-shadow-of-the-shadow-of-the-bat/

What are your thoughts on this?

Greg responds...

For the record, I listened to the clip but not the entire podcast. So if I missed out on some important context, I apologize.

I agree with a lot of what was said, but I don't agree that the executives didn't want girls to watch. (And I'm not really sure that's exactly what was being said, though that's the way it's been reported on that internet thing.) The target audience for Young Justice was ALWAYS Boys 6-11. If we ALSO got girls that was fine. If we got older kids, tweens, teens and adults, that was fine. If we got younger kids, that was fine.

But we had to hit the target: Boys 6-11. And we did to some extent, but not enough to compensate for the loss of our toy line. Anyone who says the show was cancelled because too many people (of any specific demographic) were watching us, is, I think, grasping at straws. It's not that too many were watching, it's that NOT ENOUGH were watching in our target demographic. Even then, if the toys had sold, we would have been fine. But the toy line was cancelled, which took away our financing for the series. And that was that.

Response recorded on March 20, 2014

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Laura 'ad astra' Sack writes...

Hi Greg,

Thanks to the joys of TiVO my daughter and I have discovered and been watching Ben 10.

(Mini review: The theme song is right up there with Spectacular Spiderman and the characters are fun and endearing. That said, at least as far as we've gotten, I have noticed a lack of, (for lack of coming up with a better word), 'depth' plotwise: They stop the bad guy at the nuclear power plant, but they don't explain where all the workers went. The rescue the three kids at a sleepaway camp overrun but space fungus, but don't explain whether the rest of the camp ran away or were captured and consumed. Etc. I noticed that the show was structured with one season of standalone plot stories mostly showing Ben, Gwen and the grandfather adjusting and interacting in their new situation. The second season starts having plots of Plumbers, and Forever Knights and aliens groups, but mainly having them appear in standalone stories. Starting the 3rd season I presume they'll start putting together all these parts into more of a greater mythology. Or so I guess from the fact they have multiple follow-up series.)

I noticed that you wrote the episode I most recently watched, Ben 10,000. It was very good. It made me wonder- it seems to be the most 'overarching plot' based so far. Beyond showing us future hero Ben, future magic caster Gwen, future society etc- it seems to tease the direction of the series. Leading me to my questions:

1- Were you approached to write this particular episode because you are know for working on shows with detailed overarching mythology, or was it more random of that episode being available, or you choosing from a list and it appealing to you?

2- In the other direction, when you are choosing none regular writers for your own shows, do you choose specific writers with their track record in mind to match certain types of stories? Do you offer them to choose among several none claimed upcoming plot whether or not it matches what you think of as that writers specialty, or what writing he or she did that impressed you?

3- What type of preparation do you do/expect for none series writers? Watch all the previous episodes? Read synapses of all? Prepare a list of representative episodes to back up the plot of the episode to be written and its tone? Just take detailed instructions from the show runners and expect tremendous edits to cover the adjustments to continuity?

Thanks,
Laura 'ad astra' Sack
(As apposed to the 'as astra' I accidentally autofilled into my last 12 postings;)

Greg responds...

1. So long ago... As I recall, I think story editors Tom Pugsley and Greg Klein approached me because they knew I liked Time Travel stories. I had done one for them on THE MUMMY.

2. Generally, I assemble a writing 'staff' at the beginning of each season. '(Staff' is in quotes, because these days, in fact, the 'staff' is all freelancers.) In choosing a staff, I generally am choosing from an embarrassment of riches. There are a ton of talented writers who can handle the kind of show I tend to do. I have a few individuals that I've worked with many times before, who are familiar with the way I work and are very good. So I tend to go back to them over and over, assuming they're available. Sometimes, on rare occasions, I push a specific story on a specific writer. More often, I've got three or four and - schedule allowing - I let the writers fight it out for which they'd prefer. (It's never much of a fight.)

3. I'm not clear what you mean by "none series writers". Even assuming the "none" is a typo for "non," I'm still not sure. As for prep, I expect them to have done their homework. We rarely have the footage for them to look at episodes, but I do expect them to keep up with reading the final outlines and scripts.

Response recorded on March 04, 2014

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Harlan Phoenix writes...

You had mentioned that you negotiated with Jeffrey Katzenberg to get the publishing rights for Rain of the Ghosts. Did you attempt to acquire the rights to any other property you developed while at Dreamworks?

Greg responds...

I have turnaround rights to pitch a couple of other properties that I developed there.

Response recorded on February 07, 2014

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Windona writes...

You once mentioned that you write down character traits, or something of the like, to help with making sure all the characters are in-character; but on a show with multiple writers, and with character development over the course of a story, how do you write those traits down?

Greg responds...

I usually type up a document, generally called a series bible, and distribute that to everyone involved. Also, all writers have access to ALL of the outlines and scripts, so they can see how our characters are evolving.

Response recorded on January 27, 2014

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Laura 'as astra' Sack writes...

A few question on recording voices.

You are known to have a strong preference for recording voices with the whole cast together whenever possible. It is my understanding that is not the industry norm.

1- Have you worked on shows recorded in isolation? By choice? Do you ever think that method better suits certain genres or specific shows? (I recall an interview with a voice actress on Daria in which she said how much she loved being by herself in the booth repeating a line multiple times trying different inflections and pacing. It occurred to me such a satirical show might have benefited by a less natural feel with starker separations between spoken lines.)

2- Have you ever had resistance from above when you let them know you planned on recording the actors together?

3- Is it becoming more common to record voices together, or are most shows still recorded in isolation? (Are there any other shows you haven't worked on that you know were recorded together?)

And that is my last saved up comment! Thank you so much for your time reading these comments and the work that inspire them.

Greg responds...

1. I have, though not on shows I produced. (Or at least not regularly on shows I produced.)

1a. I don't think it's ever a good idea, but some folk swear by it. Different strokes, and all that...

2. No. A group recording is more economic, so for purely financial reasons, it is the industry norm in television. Not in movies. But I'm mostly a TV guy.

3. You really have it backwards. MOST shows record their actors in groups. Only a few do not.

Response recorded on January 10, 2014

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Laura 'as astra' Sack writes...

Now that I've posted all my episode thoughts...(in theory I still plan on doing the same on the comics, but...) I want to say thank you for the series in general. (I'd go into details, but it seems redundant after posting all those responses.) I've thoroughly enjoyed it in all its parts. Well, by the time you read this the video game will be out. [Yep!] I probably will have to sit it out. Pathetic as it is, I have to admit to some motion sickness from a lot of video games. I'm assuming I'll be able to get some pretty detailed descriptions from the good folks here. I hope that there will be other continuations as well. (Also good luck on your new Star Wars series.)

I have to admit to more than a little annoyance that another show I enjoy is canceled, but also some confusion. If I understand correctly one of the major factors, if not the major factor in the cancellation is that the merchandise didn't sell as well as they companies had hoped. Good viewership numbers are almost inconsequential. If this is true, (big if, I admit), I don't understand the business model. Why continue making cartoons targeting the older demographic at all? I know the show aimed for a broad audience, but it aimed for each part directly. A lot of cartoons aim themselves at kids directly, and place bonus references and jokes for the older viewers. I've loved many shows like that. But the complexity of characters and plots in shows like Young Justice is not a bonus for older viewers, it is integral. (IMHO) A relationship like, for example, Guardian and Bumblebee is more relateable to a college or adult viewer than a kid. (I would have gone to Babs and Dick, but that was mainly expanded upon in the comics.) A kid would gravitate to the first season romances, or the M'gan/L'gan/Conner triangle. All the relationships were interesting and important to the show, and none were simple, it's just different parts resonant (from experience or at least plot type familiarity) better to different age sets. (Or for out of YJ examples- In Green Lantern- the complexity of Razor and Ia's relationship- given his past lost love, her resemblance, his survivor guilt and rage issues and her ultimate sacrifice is not something that targets the younger viewers of the show. They'll just accept the two are a couple and enjoy the fight scenes. It was perhaps more integral to the show than any Hal based plot. In Tron the entire looks of the show was aimed older, high teens and 20s would be my guess, and not particularly conducive to action figures to my eye.)

Older fans are less likely to buy toys, (or have toys bought for them), but they also have control over their own finances to buy what is actually advertised during broadcast. Between the 24 hour cable tv cycle and dvrs, grown ups will be watching when kids can't, allowing for targeted ads of the none happy meal/stompies/pillow pet variety. (For the record, my 4.5 year old adores her stompies. ~she's 5 now~) I get that a franchise like DC or Marvel or Star Wars can expect some cross product sales, and even a show not squarely aimed at a small kid can have a cool iconic action figure that sells well. But no one expects Smallville or Arrow to survive on toy and apparel sales, they stays on air based on the number and demographics of viewers, just like Birds of Prey did not last for the same reason. Have cartoons, or at least the beautifully animated ones, become loss leaders for merchandise like comics have become loss leaders for movies? And is that a reasonable burden to place on a show that does not squarely target the audience that will buy those toys? Is a high level video game an attempt to tap into an action figure equivalent of older viewers?

I don't want to turn this into a rant about how annoyed I am that YJ was canceled....er, not renewed. I will admit to being mightily confused why DC Nation isn't aiming to expand into more than an hour of programming. I just assumed it was planned to become a 2 or 3 hour block like the old Disney Afternoon, with perhaps a rotating stable of shows. But I am interested on your more insider insight on what the none creative aims are when a new cartoon is unleashed upon the world nowadays and whether they are reasonable. Thanks,

Greg responds...

I think one thing to keep in mind is ratings these days are NOT what they used to be.

Ducktales was a ratings smash. It made it's money by itself. Any merchandising was gravy.

Our numbers on Gargoyles, back in the day, puts the ratings of many of today's quote-unquote top-rated animated series to shame. (And Gargoyles was a hit, but never a home run, ratings-wise. Just a single or double.)

So with lower numbers overall, that means less income is coming in from advertising. Meanwhile, the costs of production have either held steady or gone up. That's pretty simple math, isn't it?

So to pay for the production of these shows, you're counting on other streams of revenue to balance the books - and for an action show that mostly means TOYS.

So if the toys don't sell - for whatever reason - how do you pay for the series?

Whether that's reasonable or not is somewhat immaterial. It's just the cold, hard truth of the situation.

So EVERY show I've ever been asked to produce has a core target that it's trying to reach, and usually that's BOYS 6-11, because the belief is (whether you agree or not) that Boys 6-11 drive toy sales for action figures. Doesn't mean the networks object to other demographics (girls or younger kids or older kids, tweens, teens and adults) ALSO watching. But you still have to hit the target.

Picture it like a bullseye. Concentric circles. You MUST hit the center. But hopefully in hitting that sweet spot, you are also reaching the other demos. Back on Gargoyles, I was farely successful at hitting that target audience AND reaching other demos too. And that has always been my goal on these shows. We didn't quite manage it on W.I.T.C.H. We did on Spectacular Spider-Man. And our success was mixed on Young Justice. Ratings were decent overall (by today's standards though not by any absolute standard at all), but our ratings in our target demo were inconsistent at best. (We could go on forever about why, but it doesn't change the FACT of the numbers.)

Throw in Mattel's decision to abandon their YJ line (again, without going into the reasons behind it), and frankly it's no surprise we weren't renewed.

Because how could Warner Bros afford to make it?

After experimenting for two seasons and 46 episodes of YJ, why wouldn't they take the chance on something new that might bring in more money? Or at least pay its own way?

Frankly, we need a new business model. But the studios haven't landed on one that works yet. So they still chase hits.

Response recorded on January 10, 2014

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Voice Acting Fan writes...

Dear Greg:

Thank you for answering my previous questions!

You have made reference to SAG before, so presumably Young Justice has to abide by SAG rules or get boycotted. I have a few questions related to this and the voice acting part of the production process:

1. How do the voice talent get paid? A flat rate? Are they paid by the hour? By the line? By the episode? Or some variable rate?

2. When you voiced Lucas Carr, did you have to join the SAG union? Or is production allowed to hire non-SAG personnel as long as they pay them differently?

3. You have stated that getting a second character out of an actor entails no added costs. Since it is free, I am wondering why a few actors (Jesse McCartney comes to mind) doesn't get to voice a character other than Dick Grayson. Was it a matter of actor preference, producer preference, or a mix of the two?

4. How long does a typical recording session last? Do you sit in throughout the whole session, or leave it up to the voice director? How many episode(s) are typically recorded in a sitting?

5. When one of the voice actors sing a song (Reach for a Reach, Hello Megan), they get separately credited. Is this subject to a different rate, or is the singing part simply added as a "character" in determining pay?

Thank you, and I hope by the time you are reading this, you've already got several gigs lined up!

Greg responds...

0. I'm not sure "boycot" is the correct word. The major studios sign contracts with SAG, that prohibits them from contracting non-SAG labor for their acting needs. They can get around this by SUB-contracting, but most don't on major projects.

1. I don't want to speak for EVERY show. In my experience, a voice actor gets paid a flat fee for four hours of work and up to two character voices. For a tiny additional fee, you can get a third voice. But this holds per episode. So for example, even if you could record one guy playing four roles over two episodes in a single four hour session, you'd still owe him two payments. The fee is negotiable, as long as it's above union minimum. But most series pay the union minimum plus 10% and have favored nation clauses in their contracts, which prohibits them from giving any individual actor a raise without simultaneously giving raises to EVERY actor on the series.

2. I first joined SAG to play Donald Menken on Spectacular Spider-Man, and am still a member in good-standing. No union shop can hire non-union actors.

3. Well, Jesse often DID voice additional characters, like Thug #2 or whatever. But generally, there are some actors who have the ability to change their voice enough that they can convincingly play multiple characters without the audience balking. Others really - as talented as they are as performers - only have their own voice.

4. Sessions typically go three to four hours. But often we'll be there all day. We can only keep each individual actor for four hours without incurring overtime, but we could start one actor at 10am and have him until 2pm. And we could start another actor at noon, and have her until 4pm. And a third at 1pm and keep him until 5pm. That way, we have overlap to record their scenes together, but we also have more time to get everything done.

5. Singing is a separate rate. And it's also an additional character, unless they are singing IN CHARACTER. That is, if Nightwing suddenly burst into song, we'd have to pay an additional fee to Jesse for his singing. But we wouldn't have to count that as a second character (or third, since he's also doing Thug #2).

Response recorded on December 06, 2013

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Merlin writes...

Since virtually every wardrobe change in a cartoon requires a new character model turn sheet, what did your character designers draw for scenes like when Fox was naked on the rooftop in Eye of the Beholder or Elisa was naked under a blanket in Heritage?

Greg responds...

It was a long time ago. But if you're asking if I have naked production pictures of them, I'm sure the answer is no.

Response recorded on October 15, 2013

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GARGOYLES 19th Anniversary

Today marks the Nineteenth Anniversary of the World Premiere of Gargoyles at the movie theaters on Pleasure Island at DisneyWorld in Orlando, Florida. Certainly one of the most stressful evenings of my life, one that seemed to veer toward total disaster but ultimately turned out to be a bit of a triumph and then a flat-out fun time with Keith David, Josh Silver, Salli Richardson and Marina Sirtis.

Wanna hear more of this story? Then make plans now to attend ConVergence 2014 in Minneapolis, Minnesota, July 3-6, 2014 to celebrate our TWENTIETH Anniversary next year. I'll tell this anecdote and many, many more... (Honestly, you won't be able to shut me up!)

http://convergence-con.org/

On an unrelated note, I'd also like to thank all the friends, family and fans, who took time out to wish me a happy FIFTIETH Anniversary of my birth. (Otherwise known as my birthday.) It was so wonderful. Thanks!!


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Anonymous writes...

How do you guy's come up with the sound effect's for the show? Like for example Black Canary's cry?

Greg responds...

The great team at Audio Circus, led by Otis Van Osten, creates our sound effects.

AND BIG NEWS, our sound mixer CARLOS SANCHES was just nominated for an EMMY AWARD for the sound mixing on the YJ episode "Bloodlines"!!!!

Response recorded on May 02, 2013

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Barnabas writes...

1a. When you are working on a series and have to deal with a story bible or design document, is it inclusive of scripts and detail or just an over view.
1b. If they get to large is it common to separate them into their own documents? ex. A document for characters biographies and another for plots/timelines.
2. When changes are made to either a script or story bible do you use strike-through until it is finalized or simply delete the content?
3. When I am working on story boards or scripts I try to make characters actions be causality based and driven by their personality, moral alignment and available options. Is this similar to how you create your story lines?
4. How can I make characters engaging and direct through dialogue in scenes that are relaxed?
5. What is your going rate for projects and would you be interested in working with Mark Crilley or Luaren Faust?

Greg responds...

1a. Most series bibles are written in advance of scripts. Mine TEND to be very thorough, including plans for stories, etc. But, no, by definition, it does not include all the details included in all the scripts. I try to update/revise the bible as we proceed. But by that time no one's looking at the darn thing anymore, so keeping the bible on track is a luxury and a low priority and almost always falls by the waysid. I'm not sure what you mean by a "design document".

1b. For a television series that doesn't seem like something that would ever happen. Years ago, I did do the bible for the entire Platinum Comics Universe, and that was so long that I did split it into multiple sections.

2. See above. But I tend not to use strikethrough very often. I tend to just revise.

3. Yeah, pretty much.

4. Get in their heads. Be clear what they want. Be clear on the difference between what they want and what they know they want. HEAR THEIR VOICES.

5. I'm not going to tell you what I get paid. Sorry.

5a. I'm always interested in collaborating with talented folks, but I'm not going to get specific about any individual.

Response recorded on May 01, 2013

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Amy writes...

Greg,

1. When you write an animation spec how much blocking do you put into the episode? My research says I should describe every single twitch of the character's face and body so that the animators in Korea will get everything right. But I wrote a short episode for a company that told me I should only do that if I'm both the writer AND the animator. I should just stick to short details like I would for live action. So who is right?
2. I assume the best way to answer that question is to read examples of animated scripts--Is it possible to obtain copies of Young Justice scripts from season 1 somewhere? Should I go to a script library in LA or attempt to contact Cartoon Network for a copy?

Greg responds...

1. There is no right and wrong. Every series has it's own rules. I'd love to say there's a standard, but there just isn't. On MY SHOWS, we use the scripts to direct the entire episode, including camera angles, etc. The actual directors and storyboard artists aren't restricted to doing the script exactly as written, but by being thorough like that, I feel more confident that at the very least, they know what I'm looking for. If they come up with better ideas, great. I don't know that I've ever seen an animation script that was totally Master Shot style, a la live action. But I've seen many that lean way more in that direction. But it's not the way I work.

2. You can. But I don't recommend it. Currently, though we're not thrilled about it and hope the situation changes someday, YJ is dead. You want your spec script to be for a show that's CURRENTLY IN PRODUCTION. On that level alone, YJ doesn't qualify as a good way to spend your time if you're serious about getting work in the industry.

Response recorded on April 18, 2013

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A Flash Fan writes...

While on the topic of CGI, do you prefer this method or the classic hand drawings for animation and why? I know your series have mostly been all drawings (I think) but wanted to see.

Greg responds...

I don't have a preference if the series is developed correctly for the medium it's using. I did Roughnecks: the Starship Troopers Chronicles in CGI, and I think it worked great. I did Max Steel (Season One only), and although I'm proud of our scripts, I DON'T think it worked great, because the series as it was developed (by me but under marching orders from multiple very large companies) didn't work in CGI.

Response recorded on March 22, 2013

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Blizzard Sprite writes...

Hello, Mr. Weisman.

These questions are an extension of the previous question I submitted.

6. Before Nielsen ratings were released for animated programs, what size audience had to be attracted in order to keep a show alive on a network? Since you worked on a number of projects over the years, it would make sense that you'd have a pretty good grasp on the matter.

7. How important are Nielsen ratings for animé dubbed into English and subsequently aired on the channels? Ratings for these shows almost never appear on ratings outlets, like Zap2It (http://www.zap2it.com/) and TV Series finale (http://tvseriesfinale.com/).

Thank you for your time.

Greg responds...

6. Nielsen ratings pre-dates my professional career - by a lot. (How old do you think I am exactly?) Anyway, ratings mean different things in different times. Before People Meters, kids ratings in general were way higher than after People Meters became standard. There isn't some fixed number that says this is good. Below this is bad. Everything's relative.

7. As important as for anything. Bigger numbers are better than smaller. But a show that's cheaper to produce can get away with lower numbers and skate by. But ultimately, if a program is dragging a network down, it's toast.

Response recorded on March 13, 2013

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Blizzard Sprite writes...

Hello, Mr. Weisman.

I had a few questions that pertain to the Nielsen's ratings system.

1. Why isn't there any public information about Nielsen's ratings for most of the animated series that have been on television? Classic cartoons and many of the modern ones have virtually no ratings tied to them. In the past few years, the figures have been released for programs that have performed well for cartoons, such as the animated series that currently air on Fox, Avatar: The Legend of Korra on Nickelodeon, Adventure Time on Cartoon Network not to mention Young Justice, as well as a few other programs on or were on the air.

2. Are networks allowed to request that the ratings for a show be withheld or simply not released to the public? In addition, why are the ratings released for some episodes of animated television programs, such as Young Justice or Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated, while not being provided for others?

3. As someone who has worked on a variety of animated projects over the years, were you given the exact ratings of a program to work with? By that, I mean were the exact ratings made available to you, and if so, who provided them? Or was that information not provided? And did these particular ratings have any leverage on what would go in the animated universe?

4. What were the ratings like for your original animated series, Gargoyles? A search on Google turns up an article, http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1G1-15899915.html, which requires a subscription to read in full, reads:

"Walt Disney Television Animation's Gargoyles new animated show delivered a strong 2.8 Nielsen metered-market rating and an 8 share average over a special stripped debut Oct. 24-28. That was up 33% in share from its,"

5. Are you even allowed to discuss the ratings of an animated program, or is there a contractual obligation that prevents you (and others) from doing so?

Thank you for your time.

Greg responds...

1. As far as I know, anyone can PAY to get Nielsen results. But if you don't feel like paying, then you're reliant on getting those results from entities that have paid. Those entities tend to be news organizations (that may not think enough of the general public has an interest in cartoon ratings) or networks (who are only going to display ratings that make them look good and/or suit their current strategy). But I'm no expert.

2. You've got it backwards. Nielsen is a COMPANY that charges for its services. It's not some public forum that networks have somehow forced to withhold info from you. If you really want the info, go pay for it.

3. Very inconsistently.

3a. For example, on YJ, we occasionally got ratings reports from CN via our bosses at WB.

3b. Often, we got no info.

3c. Absolutely not, because by the time ratings came in we were way past committed to whatever creative decisions had been made. Whether those numbers effected air dates, hiatuses (hiatusi?) or pickups is a your-guess-is-as-good-as-mine thing. I haven't seen enough of the raw numbers myself to make an evaluation.

4. As I recall, during our first season on Gargoyles, when we were weekly, our ratings were very strong. Our second season, when we were on five days a week, was during the peak of the Power Rangers craze, and although our ratings were solid, we were consistently beat by that show, coming in at number two for our time slot week after week after week.

5. There's no contractual obligation, but there are political considerations. Plus, as I said above, I'm not always informed. And I'm not fond of passing on rumors or making half-assed guesses.

Response recorded on March 13, 2013

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Greg Bishansky writes...

I recently re-watched "Sentinel" and something I don't recall ever seeing brought up is that Nokkar speaks with an effect similar to Anubis. Two different voices, here's a clip:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=WMq7HtQnmLs#t=825s

First of all, I think this is a really cool effect, but I wonder what the reasons for him speaking like that are. Which voice is his "real voice," is there a translator built into his armor? Either way it does make him sound alien, and I like that. I'm just curious as to what your creative intent was here.

Greg responds...

The link wouldn't open for me, but NO. To the best of my recollection, we didn't double track Nokkar's voice (as we did with Anubis-as-Avatar), though we may very well have futzed it - especially with his helmet on, and that futzing may have been similar (though not the same) as the futz we used on Anubis (when not an Avatar and for his piece of the double-tracked voice when he was an Avatar).

Response recorded on December 18, 2012

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C. David Cole writes...

Hi Mr. Weisman,

First I like to tell you that I'm a big fan of your work, especially Gargoyles, I sad that the series ended and that you didn't get chance to create the season 3 you envisioned; I hope that you get the opportunity to work with the series again someday and tell the rest of the stories you had in mind. Secondly, I like to thank you and the moderators in advance for taking the time out of your schedules to read my questions.

I read that when you worked on Spectacular Spider-Man you had a central theme for the series "The Education of Peter Parker." So I was wondering:

1. Did Gargoyles have a central theme? If so what was it?
2. Do you think that a series has to have a central theme?
3. Do you think that each episode within a series has to have its own theme? Can some episodes be non-theme oriented? (Ex: Can the heroes try to stop the villains from committing some terrible act without there being a deeper meaning to it.)

Greg responds...

I hope you've picked up our three Gargoyles Trade Paperbacks, which contains at least a portion of our Season Three.

1. I'm not sure I had it boiled down quite as clearly, but it was probably something along the lines of: "Don't judge a book by it's cover."

2. No. Not every series.

3. No. Not every episode. But most benefit from one, even episodes that are mostly one big fight.

Response recorded on December 10, 2012

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Nina writes...

Dear Mr Weisman,
What was it like directing the 2001 English dub of the anime OVA series 3x3 Eyes? How different is it from working on American cartoons?

Greg responds...

Well, I not only voice directed 3X3 EYES, but I also story edited the English language translation. In those days, that meant a LOT of time with a relatively crude VCR, going back and forth, line by line (grunt by grunt, even) with a LITERAL translation given to me by Jonathan Klein, my boss at New Generation Pictures, in order to transform it into (a) American idiom and (b) something that would fit the already existing lip-synch. Generating usable scripts for this purpose was VERY time-consuming.

The next step was the voice recording. Generally, in American cartoons, we bring in the entire cast and record them together, and those voice tracks are then used by our storyboard artists, directors, timers and animators to help create the footage. That is to say, the pictures are drawn to match the actor's performances. But when dubbing an existing cartoon into English, obviously, the actors have to match the picture instead. That's a time-consuming process called ADR, which, I think, stands for "Automatic Dialogue Replacement" - though I have no idea what about it is automatic. This process is done with a single actor in the booth at a time. The first actor has only the Japanese dialogue to respond to. Later performers can listen to what some of their English-speaking fellows have already performed.

As a voice director for something like 3X3 EYES, I'm looking for the right sound, a good performance and a good match with the existing lip-synch. I mostly cast people I'd enjoyed working with before, with Brigitte Bako ("Angela" from GARGOYLES) and Christian Campbell ("Max Steel" from MAX STEEL) as the two leads plus other favorites of mine, including Keith David in a really wild role, Ed Asner and Thom Adcox among others. We also held auditions for a handful of roles, and some of the people (e.g. Susan Chesler, Yuji Okuomoto) who worked for me for the first time on 3X3, later became new favorites of mine that I used again on other series like W.I.T.C.H. and Young Justice.

For fun, I also took a couple parts myself: I was Hide, one of the buddies of the male protagonist, and I was also a bum, who hummed a semi-recognizable theme song.

Finally, I also participated in the sound mixes here, balancing the new dialogue track with the existing music and effects tracks.

Response recorded on November 28, 2012

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Zodisgod writes...

I was wondering if you could shed some light on the process of breaking a story for young justice. Does the storyline come first with characters who you feel will suit the story being plugged in afterwards, or do you decide on certain characters being spotlighted then working a story around them?

Greg responds...

ASKED AND ANSWERED. Check the archives. Then if you have specific questions, you can post those.

Response recorded on November 06, 2012

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Neosmith writes...

All about Young Justice:

1. How long in terms of script length is an episode of Young Justice?

2. Do you follow the one page=one minute rule of Hollywood filmmaking at all or is it fairly different?

3. Is it difficult to write stories for the series when you have to keep in mind the different powers of all the characters?

4. What is the average budget per episode?

Greg responds...

1. We shot for between 30 and 33 pages, and generally wound up between 30 and 36.

2. No. Because we break down way more shots in our script than in most live action scripts.

3. It's challenging, but I wouldn't say difficult.

4. That's proprietary information.

Response recorded on October 30, 2012

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An Intelligent Mackinaw writes...

HI GREG!

I heard down the grapevine you're a fan of Joss Whedon.

1.) Have you gotten to see the Avengers film yet?

2.a) If so, did you draw any inspiration from it, seeing as it's in the same "super-hero ensemble" genre you write (so well) for?

2.b) What modern works (be they film, television, literature, art, or not at all) do you draw inspiration from? Or just like?

3.) Over your career, you're written generally high-concept stories. Now more than ever, it seems like high-concept stuff has entered the mainstream (aliens, super-heroes and giant transforming robots running around everywhere). Since everyone's playing in the same sandbox artistically, does that make it more difficult to come up with original ideas? Without subverting or straight-up parodying the genre you're writing in?

4.) How do u rite so gudd? What would you recommend to new, ambitious writers, to help us learn to write with confidence and voice and stuff?

5.) Your decision to skip ahead 5 years (in YJ) shocked me, upset me and piqued my interest. I've never seen a show jump so much time, so I'm very excited to see how you all bridge the two season together. How did you let the studio powers-that-be let you take such a big narrative risk? Was it a big struggle?

Thanks for (presumably) taking the time to read and answer my questions. I love that Ask Greg makes it so easy to reach out to an artist I admire, whose work I respect. I'm the biggest fan ever of everything you've ever done, yadda yadda more accolades, etc. But really, you are an inspiration.

Greg responds...

1. Yes.

2a. We were WAY done by the time I'd seen the movie.

2b. Check out the "INFLUENCES" archive here at ASK GREG.

3. I'm not sure you're defining "High Concept" correctly. I think you mean "genre" has entered the mainstream. In any case, I just don't think in those terms. I'm just trying to tell good stories.

4. READ the classics. WRITE a lot. Proofread scrupulously. Get yourself VERY educated. Read newspapers. Etc. Or check the ASK GREG archives for a more complete answer.

5. No struggle. Everyone loved the idea.

Response recorded on October 08, 2012


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