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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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Freeman writes...

Hello Greg Weisman, thank you for this interesting opportunity. I'm a big fan of Young Justice and it's great to see another great DC show around. I'm sorry to say this is the first show by you that I've watched (I should fix that). Snappy writing, fun undercurrent of mystery, and from what I understand is a staple of your shows, not assuming your fans are incapable of following an ongoing plot line.

I love the fight scenes in the show. Very fluid animation; and I enjoy in particular when the "normals" get to cut loose and drop some martial arts on each other. I also find it fun when Superboy gets to utterly wail on people.

Anyways, I have a question that has been plaguing me in recent years. I'm not sure if the answer varies from show to show but here it is. How much say do the writers get in the crafting of the action scenes? Do you guys lay down some guidelines for what must happen in a fight or do you ultimately leave it up to the animators and/or artists?

Well, there's my question that quickly devolved into a multi-question, I'm sorry. But, please, keep the awesome coming man! I hope this show keeps on keepin' on! Six seasons and a movie!

Greg responds...

Every series is different. On YJ - and most of the shows I've produced - I make sure that the script spells out the action in real detail - in part to attempt to assure that we're not winding up with an episode that's too long or too short. Having said that, I then am happy to have our board artists, directors and my fellow producer (on YJ that's Brandon Vietti) go to town and PLUS the action and visuals. But I do get approvals on all this to make sure we're staying on point with our story and not doing stuff that's out of character or off-tone for our series. Then you have the timers and, of course, the animators contributing too.

Response recorded on October 08, 2012

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Erik writes...

Hey Greg,

I know a lot of people consider Gargoyles to be an anti-Disney show due to its dark tone, but I think it actually has a lot of similarities. Both Gargoyles and other Disney films adapt mythology and famous stories in their own ways, while featuring strong emotions and conflicts(okay, those might be a bit general).

My question is, did Disney storytelling have an influence on the making of Gargoyles, and the eventual integration of different mythologies?

Greg responds...

I'm sure it did, since I grew up on Disney movies. But we weren't consciously trying to either DO DISNEY or NOT DO DISNEY. We were just doing GARGOYLES.

Response recorded on October 04, 2012

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Kwesi Brako writes...

For what it's worth: I'm sorry the majority of your fans are too emotionally invested in YJ to realise that the very thing they love is something you give them. And that AskGreg is a privilege... not a platform to express a lack of gratitude and sense!
1. I'm writing the plot for a comic, and I've hit writer's block. Do you have any suggestions as to how to overcome it?
2. I mostly write on inspiration, as that's when I can create the best stories. When not inspired how do you continue to work on a writing project?
3. What type of people do you bounce ideas off of or have read over your stuff?

Greg responds...

1. Write anything. Market lists. Daily Journals. Whatever. Just get back in the habit of writing. Focus off the problem that blocked you for a bit though. The answer may come to you in the shower or something.

2. The characters tend to tell me what happens next.

3. My partners on any given project. (I rarely work in a vacuum.) Kevin Hopps, whom I've worked with for years and years now, is probably the best sounding board I've ever had.

Response recorded on October 03, 2012

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NY writes...

Hi Greg! I looked through the archives and found that you previously mentioned that the first couple seasons of Gargoyles cost $400k-500k per episode to produce.

Assuming the cost of haven't changed dramatically, it seems as though animation is cheaper than the standard scripted network show. Given that, I'm surprised there aren't more animated shows on the major networks, especially with anime so popular in the US now, particularly among older audiences.

I think the only weakness to Young Justice is that it feels like the stories are big enough to fit in a whole hour, but are being condensed to thirty minutes. Again, assuming the cost of animation is in the ballpark of what it was for Gargoyles, an hour-long show doesn't strike me as financially prohibitive.

1. Can you say how much Young Justice costs to produce? A ballpark would be fine if you can't/don't want to give exact numbers.

2. What are your thoughts on the lack of non-Fox/non-comedy prime-time animation? Do you think this is something that can change in the future?

3. Do you think we might one day see hour-long dramatic animation? Did you ever consider making YJ an hour long?

Thank you very much for many excellent shows and opening yourself up for questions from the community!

Greg responds...

Your assumptions are faulty. Animation and anime have not - in this country - hit the kind of critical mass among adults that you seem to think they have. A few comedies, like Simpsons and Family Guy have worked in primetime, but others have failed. Even the great BATMAN THE ANIMATED SERIES - which was a huge success in the afternoons - didn't fare well in primetime.

In addition, costs HAVE changed dramatically. Budgets have not, but that means we have to learn to do more with less, generally.

More important is the issue of shelf space. An hour - per conventional wisdom - is a LONG time for kids to sit and watch an animated show. We're told, with some evidence to back it up, that they get bored. And kids still define the economics of most animated product. So if you are going to use up the VERY limited shelf space that any network has with an hour show, it darn well better kick some major butt in the ratings. Because otherwise, for nearly the same money, they could put on two shows (if not four) and have twice (or four times) the opportunity to grab the audience.

In fact, the trend isn't to longer shows, but to SHORTER shows. 11 minute episodes.

So with all that in mind:

1. No. That's proprietary information I'm not authorized to reveal.

2. Yes, I think it can change. But I won't pretend it would be easy to change the corporate culture that doesn't believe in this notion at all. What it takes, of course, is one network taking a chance on one show that's SO GOOD, that it's a hit in defiance of that culture and all conventional wisdom. That would break the floodgates. The inevitable result would be a lot of crap would go on the air, fail, and the conventional wisdom would come back into play with a vengeance. The one hit would be the "exception that proves the rule" and that would be it for awhile. That's what happened after Simpsons. (Who remembers Fish Police?) But the door would be open at least a little. Over the very long haul change is possible.

3. One day? Sure. In fact, I hope so.

3a. I'm not saying it's never crossed my mind. I'd love it, of course. But (a) it's not up to me, and (b) it's never been a realistic possibility.

Response recorded on September 19, 2012

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Melissa writes...

First of all, let me say that how much I have always enjoyed Gargoyles. It was a high point of the afternoon for my younger brothers and me during the original run (while our mother enjoyed having a half hour relatively free of sibling squabbles), and now I'm having a lot of fun introducing the show to my 4-year-old son. So, you see, your show has multi-generational appeal! Thank you for all your hard work and vision.

Secondly, I guess my question is about your writing process. I recently discovered via this site your ideas for the prospective Gargoyles spin-offs. This suggests to me that you write with a, for lack of a better term, "master plan" in mind. Unlike, say, David Milch, who famously writes and re-writes furiously as new ideas occur to him, and actually plans out very little.

1)Would you say this is accurate?
2)If so, do you ever deviate from this plan, if a new and different idea strikes you?
3)Again if so, would you mind providing an example? (A Gargoyles show example would be just fine, I'm not asking for spin-off spoilers here!)

Thank you in advance for your time.

Greg responds...

First of all, that really warms my heart. Thank you for telling me that.

Secondly...

1. I can't speak for David Milch, but yes, I do better when I've planned ahead. That doesn't mean I don't allow for new ideas and/or rewriting. I do. I just would rather have the structure in place to allow new ideas to grow, rather than - generally - winging it.

2. Yes. (Gotta start reading all the questions before answering any.)

3. Uh... one that comes to mind is one we didn't do. In "Grief", we belatedly came up with the idea to let Coyote kill the travelers, who wouldn't die because Anubis was off-line, so to speak. And if we had come up with that idea a bit sooner, I definitely would have incorporated it, because it's a GREAT idea. But unfortunately, the idea didn't strike us until AFTER the episode was completed.

Response recorded on September 18, 2012

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Todd Jensen writes...

The first season of "Young Justice" takes place over the course of half a year, starting on the Fourth of July and continuing to New Year's Eve in the Season One finale (with episodes set on Halloween and Thanksgiving along the way). I remember that the first season of "The Spectacular Spider-Man" similarly stretched from the start of the school year in September to Thanksgiving (with a Halloween episode along the way), and that the second season got up at least to Valentine's Day. The time progression in "Gargoyles" was more vague, but we had two Halloween stories ("Eye of the Beholder" and the Double Date story) and three wintry episodes in New York ("Her Brother's Keeper", which ends with a snowfall, "Re-Awakening", and "The Price"), as well as a clear timeline for the Stone of Destiny story.

I like this sense of the year's progress through the seasons and landmark days (like the Fourth of July and Halloween), but it doesn't seem that common in animated series outside your own work. I've seen two speculations on why that element is so rare in animated series. One is that a lot of the people who engage in such creative work aren't big on continuity and change, far less than you are. Another is that most people involved in creating animated television series live in or near Los Angeles and other parts of California, where the climate is pretty much the same year around and there's less a sense of four seasons than in other parts of the United States. I was wondering what your thoughts were on these theories.

Greg responds...

Both these theories seem valid to me, but they probably pale from the economic explanation: if you progress through the seasons then you have to redress backgrounds and characters, and that's expensive. Me, I believe it's WORTH the expense. But that's only true if you're really going to DO something with it. If you're not, then there's not much point. (We also did it on W.I.T.C.H. by the way.)

Response recorded on September 12, 2012

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Dr. Spanky writes...

Greg! You are my hero (professionally at least. I mean, face it, I don't know you. You could be an axe-murderer). I want to spend my life doing what you do. Any pieces of advice for an aspiring writer? What are good ways to train myself / further my writing skills / develop confidence in my voice (or my character's voices)? How did you get your start professionally, and what are some good avenues towards putting your work out in the world?

I thoroughly look forward to seeing the rest of your work, because all of it has been great. Thank you and adieu.

Greg responds...

At the risk of losing my heroic status, I'm going to demur here, since all this information is already available in the ASK GREG archives. (I've been asked this MANY times before.) For example, check out "Animation", "Behind the Scenes", "Biz, The" and "Weisman, Greg" for starters.

Response recorded on September 12, 2012

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TheTenthDoctor writes...

Hey greg I have noticed that you dislike hypoteticals of "who would win in a fight with x" and of comparisions in general That's something I admire of your style.

But my questions is, what If you were left in charge of a show that does rely on such coparisions=

Supposing you were in charge of a show like Dragon ballz would you be bothered the hypoteticals and charcter's power leveles on your writting given that those are a big deal on those kind of shows?.

Greg responds...

I'm not familiar with DragonBallZ, but if who can beat who is part of a STORY then it's not hypothetical.

Response recorded on July 24, 2012

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Brazilian Guy writes...

Could you give us a few details on what the process to create an episode is like? I have no idea what doing online and locked picture mean...thanks!

Greg responds...

Sure.

1. We start/started by breaking down the entire season on index cards on a VERY large bulletin board.

2. Once the basic arc was approved, I wrote up premises for every episode in the season. Each premise is about a page long.

3. We brought in our freelance writers and broke down a handful of episodes at a time, with each writer in the meeting (myself included) taking one episode as their own, but with every writer in the meeting contributing ideas and notions to everyone's story.

4. The writer goes off with my written premise and the notes from the meeting and writes up an outline. This is a prose document, broken down by scene/sequence of about 8 to 10 pages in length. For me, as a story editor this is a VERY important step, as it nails down the story, making script writing much easier.

5. I do a rewrite on the writer's outline and submit it to WB, CN, DC, Brandon Vietti and the episode's director for notes.

6. The writer goes off with my revised outline and all the notes and writes a script.

7. I do a rewrite on the writer's script and submit it for notes to WB, CN, DC, BV, S&P, legal and the episode's director. Usually showed it to Kevin Hopps as well, who was great at catching my mistakes. The first season, Kevin was on staff, and it was part of his job. The second season, he just did it as a favor. Good guy.

8. I do another rewrite or polish based on all the notes.

9. We record the script, casting any new rolls, etc.

10. Simultaneously, the storyboards are begun...

11. While at the same time, design work for the episode begins: characters, backgrounds, props, effects. This is ALL black and white line-art at first.

12. The boards are roughed out and get notes from the director.

13. The boards are cleaned up and submitted to Brandon and myself.

14. Brandon and I give notes, and the boards are revised.

15. Meanwhile, designs are approved and then we go through the same process with color and background painting.

16. Boards are slugged for time to make sure the show isn't too long or too short.

17. X-Sheets (timing sheets) are created to give detailed information to the animators about how long each individual action will take and to give mouth movements to the characters.

18. All these materials are shipped to Korea to either Moi or Lotto to be animated.

19. We occasionally call for "Wedge Tests" that allow us to preview important or tricky bits of animation in advance to make sure we're getting what we want.

20. The animation comes back rough from overseas. Our editor Jhoanne Reyes compiles it into what we call an A-Frame. It's a very ROUGH cut.

21. Brandon, Jho, David Wilcox and myself call retakes, i.e. we ask the overseas studio for animation corrections. We also call out visual effects for Matt Girardi.

22. Brandon, Jho and I edit the episode, LOCKING it to the exact time that the network requires.

23. We spot the locked episode with our composers, Dynamic Music Partners, pointing out where and what we are looking for in the music.

24. We do the same thing with Audio Circus, our sound effects experts.

25. We preview the music in advance of the sound mix to make sure it's on target.

26. Generally, by now most of the retakes have come back from Korea and Matt's done most of his effects work too.

27. We mix the show for sound. That is we sit in a room and painstakingly balance the sound effects with the foley with the music with the dialogue.

28. We "On-Line" the episode. This is our last final view of the finished product to make sure everything is as good as time, budget and our abilities will allow it to be.

There's obviously more to it than all of the above, but that should give you the basics.

Response recorded on July 17, 2012

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Matt writes...

So, you've been working in writing and producing animated shows for a long time. Since the shows you work on are generally targeted to younger viewers, I was curious about the impact, if any, that your kids and being a parent to them has had on your work. How much an influence has your being a parent been to these shows? And have your kids in particular had any general or specific influences on anything you've worked on?

Just curious. Thanks.

Greg responds...

Well, I often throw in little things to amuse my kids. Like making them genomorphs in YJ. Or using their birthdays on timestamps. And I'm sure they influence me in a hundred small ways I'm not even conscious of.

But mostly, I still write for myself.

Response recorded on May 18, 2012

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Blizzard Sprite writes...

Hello, Mr. Weisman.

My questions today are more closely related to television programming. So here goes.

1. Have you viewed the new ThunderCats on Cartoon Network that debuted last year? Assuming so, what did you think of it?

2. Have you viewed any of the original episodes of the ThunderCats cartoon? Assuming so, what is your opinion of the old show, and how do you think it compares to the latest incarnation?

3.The original ThunderCats cartoon met the 65 mark episode needed to go into syndication, and produced episodes beyond it. While many of the new episodes were entertaining, I could not help but notice, in my opinion, a decline in certain qualities of the show. One of the areas hit hardest, in my opinion, was the writing in the episodes. This seemed to manifest itself in terms of more predictable scenarios occurring, less creative solutions to the problems that arose and eventually lackluster storylines. ThunderCats wasn’t the only show to suffer from this though. Cartoons like Captain Planets, which also surpassed the 65-episode mark, began to experience a bit of a lag, and lost many of the original voice actors/actresses who made their characters so exceptional.
4. So my question is what exactly happens to a show behind the scenes after moving beyond syndication? Is a show’s storyline only plotted out for 65 episodes and not expected to pass it? Or does the writing team have to brainstorm an entirely new set of ideas for episodes beyond? Are new writers assigned to the program or the old ones retained? Are the initial voice actors/actresses replaced with new people, choose not to renew their contract or different causes altogether?

Thanks for the time.

Greg responds...

1. I haven't had time to see it, but I really like the people involved with it.

2. I did a long time ago, when I was working on a single script for a different reboot that didn't see the light of day. But you need to understand that I never saw it when it first came on, so I have no nostalgia for it.

3. I just have no opinion on this. I only saw a handful of episodes.

4. Every case is different. And obviously, I have no idea what went on with ThunderCats.

Response recorded on May 07, 2012

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Anonymous writes...

I was just reading the Toonzone interview with the late Dwayne McDuffie (http://www.toonzone.net/news/articles/36545/toonzone-presents-an-interviewtribute-to-dwayne-mcduffie) and he describes the difference between Story By credits and Teleplay By credits on Justice League, and how there may be a lot more writing done by uncredited main writers on the show. Is this similar to how you work on your shows?

Greg responds...

Yeah, more or less.

Response recorded on May 04, 2012

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Fluttershy writes...

Hey greg what's up I would love to ask you a questions regarding your story telling techniques

You have said in the past that you could go be telling stories forever if you wanted and in fact sometimes not even the tv show is enough for them hence the comics.

But have you ever considered in giving your characters and stories a Grand finale?.

I think something that has made me a bit sad is that in your past shows you have been cut short due to executive decitions out of your control and we have been unable to get anything resembling an ending that actually gives closure (w.i.t.c.h,Spectacular spiderman, gargoyles etc)

However it is always nice when a tv show character directly says goodbye to te audience(like batman the brave and the bold) or when every major plot point is solved at the end.

A big trait of western media in it's majority like tv shows and specially comics is that the characters "are frozen in time".

Spiderman for instance will always be a young man that fights crime and the story won't go beyond that,same for superman and batman. When the story gets after a certain point we as fans tend to get reboots reapeaing the smae story.

I would like to ask you if given the chance will you give us a finale to your works like gargoyles.

Will we ever see the closure of them?
Do you believe in "grand finales"?

Or do you want simply to never give them a real ending o your shows and simply give the idea that the story will be around forever?

Greg responds...

Yeah, I'm not so much into Grand Finales. Probably why I'm more of a television or comic book guy than a movie or graphic novel guy. I believe (whole-heartedly) in the on-going story. That's what LIFE feels like to me.

Gargoyles is a perfect example. Characters come; characters go and some even die, but the world goes on. I even know (but don't ask) how Goliath dies, but I don't see it as the end of that world. It's only A FINALE, because there is no THE FINALE.

I suppose if one was writing a story with a single lead, a la Spider-Man, and either (a) one killed him off or (b) one really ran out of stories to tell, then I could see staging that big Grand F before you waved goodbye forever. But that assumes there isn't a new Spider-Man waiting in the wings and/or that a guy like me would actually run out of stories. And that hasn't happened to me, at least not yet.

Response recorded on May 01, 2012

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Mike H writes...

Hi Greg,
I was wondering how much can be shared between your show and the WB DC direct to videos. For instance, as the movies "Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths" and "Justice League: Doom" share an executive producer and lead character designer with Young Justice, could you theoretically utilize character designs from those two movies? I imagine that even if you could, you would prefer to tailor unique versions for the show; but I'm curious what can be reused.

Greg responds...

We can - and occasionally do - reuse elements from past WB productions (usually things like cars or paper clips or other props, but also the occasional background design or pedestrian), as long as they fit the style of the series. This is done to save money and time, so that our designers can focus on elements that are more unique to our series.

Response recorded on May 01, 2012

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Lavariel writes...

Dear Mr. Weisman,

Thank you for all the wonderful work you've done from Gargoyles, to Spiderman, to Young Justice. Been a fan for years.

1) From your experience, what was more enjoyable to work with? Working on a show that was completely yours to control - Gargoyles - from character development, plot, and storyline? Or Spiderman and Young Justice where the basics has already laid out?

2) Was there more pressure to succeed working on Gargoyles because it was original and the creativity was your to control? Or was there more pressure to work on an adaption on Spiderman and Young Justice because the bar has already been set?

Greg responds...

1. They're different. Gargoyles is my baby. But in terms of the actual work, I don't think I had any more or less fun working on SpecSpidey, W.I.T.C.H. or YJ.

2. I think the pressure rises with each series, but I blame the internet more than anything inherent in the series. (I blame the internet for a lot, which is not to say I could go back to living without it.)

Response recorded on April 24, 2012

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Anonymous writes...

Hi Greg! First of all, congratulations on the Young Justice video game! Can't wait for its release! I've just got one question, which I've been wondering about for a while:
1. When you use cultural references in the show (like Wally's Planet of the Apes reference in Alpha Male, or his 'Dumbledore' line in Denial) do you have to ask permission to include them in the script, or do you guys have pretty much free access to all Warner Brothers material?

Great job on the show! Its easily my favourite TV show right now- there's clearly a lot of talent and effort that goes into it, and it really pays off! Keeping my fingers crossed for a season 3!

Greg responds...

1. It depends on HOW we use it. A mention like that is what's known as "de minimus". That's a legal term which basically means it's of little significance. And that's okay. Parody is also okay, though the definition of parody can be tricky. Obviously, a bigger use like our Marvin the Martian visual would have taken permission if not for the fact, that, yes, Young Justice and the Looney Toons characters are all part of the larger WB family.

Response recorded on April 16, 2012

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Greg Bishansky writes...

This is one I've wondered for a while now. That banshee like shriek of battle cry that Demona screams... usually when making her escape, here it is on youtube:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=DHt1Uocz-G8#t=386s

Is that Marina? Or a sound effect. I've wondered for a long time now. Either way, I always thought it sounded really cool.

Greg responds...

I'm pretty sure it's a sound effect, but it's been a long time, you know?

Response recorded on April 13, 2012

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hallofjustice writes...

How old are Kevin Hopps and Jamie Thomason? I can't find any darn websites that will ever confirm their date of births!

PS: If they do make more DC Showcases, I personally believe they should hire Jamie Thomason as the casting and voice director for all them.

Greg responds...

I don't believe it's my business to tell you.

Response recorded on April 12, 2012

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Lyla writes...

Whose idea was it for Demona to start turning into a human during the day and why did you add it to the series? Did you plan for that to happen from the beginning?

Greg responds...

I think it was mine. But so many years later, I can't be sure. So much of the series was a collaboration.

And, no, we didn't know we were going to do that at the beginning. But it became clear that was the way to go.

Response recorded on February 23, 2012

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Curious writes...

I am so tempted to ask if Bette Kane (aka flamebird) Barbara Gordon ( aka Batgirl) and all those other high School students with alternate hero personas (Bumble bee, Herald) in the comic books are ever going to put on said costumes/personas on the show but I know better than that. So I'm just going to ask about another topic.
(1) Is it hard coming up with ideas and episodes for a show?
(2) When you get writers block is that when you raise the flag for a hiatus?
(3) Do writer's for t.v shows (any t.v show in general) use hiatuses in order to work on other projects?

Greg responds...

1. Nope. It's hard to leave things out. Thank goodness for the comic.

2. No. I don't have writer's block on this series at all. And we had no control, one way or another, over any hiatus. That's the network.

3. I suppose some do. I was busy on Young Justice.

Response recorded on February 10, 2012

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Richard Jackson writes...

In the series, Demona gave several phony explanations of how she managed to live so long. Such as, stone sleep (Awakening) and stealing minutes of life from humans (City of Stone). Of course, also in City of Stone we found out that her link to Macbeth is the secret of her immortality.

But that was revealed in season 2 before the introduction of Oberon's Children. Demona let it slip in "Temptation" that she had survived through the centuries, but didn't elaborate.

When in production on the first season, did you know what the secret to her immortality would be? And were there other explanations you thought of but ultimately didn't use?

Greg responds...

Pretty much by the time we wrote "Enter Macbeth" we knew the basics. Didn't work out the details until "City of Stone".

Response recorded on February 10, 2012

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Tom writes...

I've always appreciated that the show you create feature so many diverse characters with agency. It's great to see Elisa and her family, to finally seeing Spider-man in New York that features so many people of color in his cast, to having Aqualad and Artemis as such important, interesting characters in Young Justice. I love that your shows aren't engaging in the tokenism the way a lot of other shows (for kids or otherwise) do. And having strong women is a huge part of that--I remember friends in 4th grade fighting over who got to be Elisa or Demona at recess. So thank you for that!

I think with shows that are adapted from comics, there's this predicament of wanting to pay homage to decades of comic book history while not carrying forward the inherent racism and sexism of the eras when they were written. I think The Batman botched that when Detective Yin was replaced by Commissioner Gordon--closer to the comics, but axes a female, minority lead for a white male.

Not to mention the pressures from other areas. I remember hearing Dwayne McDuffie say that even in the height of its popularity, companies had no interest in making Static Shock toys, for example.

So, how do you handle this? Whether it's selecting minority/women characters from comics, creating new ones, or changing characters races like in Spectacular Spider-man, what's that process like when you make your shows?

Greg responds...

Um... mostly... I just try to reflect the world I see. I'm a sheltered white boy, but even a sheltered white boy would have to be blind not to see that the world is populated with more than just sheltered white boys. So putting in strong female characters and strong characters of color seems natural and easy, frankly.

If you're asking for process, though, it's very much case by case. We don't sit there and go, "We need 2.5 minorities on the Team with 23% females." Instead, we build a diverse cast of characters, character by character. When adapting a property (as opposed to creating one from scratch, like GARGOYLES), we DO pay attention to tradition. But some characters are certainly more iconic than others. So Robin, Kid Flash and Superman's clone remain Caucasian, and there was never any thought of changing them. But by using Garth's Tempest identity, it freed us up to create a new Aqualad, as the son of Black Manta - in part, to demonstrate the alternate Earth idea, i.e. this is Earth-16, and one decision changed the course of it's history (continuity) from what we're familiar with in the comics. As for Artemis, we felt she was obscure enough to make her half-Vietnamese, without fundamentally changing what mattered most about her. Likewise, her mother Paula Brooks-Crock seemed obscure enough to go ahead and make her the Vietnamese Paula Nguyen-Crock, as that also helped us make her Cheshire's mother, since Cheshire has always been the daughter of a Vietnamese mother and a Caucasian father. Maybe "obscure" isn't the right word, but I think you get the idea. As for Miss Martian, well, obviously she's a Martian, but I suppose we could have made her Megan Morse identity a minority too. (We portrayed her uncle John Jones as African, after all.) But again, we're not trying to meet quotas, and as you'll eventually see, we had reasons for the choices we made with Megan.

Response recorded on February 03, 2012

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Anonymous writes...

Hi Greg! First of just wanted to say that I'm absolutely loving the Young Justice series, it's fantastic (particularly Home Front!) I just have a few questions about the process of voice recording for Young Justice.
1) Do the voice actors record in the same studio and interact with each other during the recording? Or do you often have to record separately due to conflicting schedules?
2) How long does it typically take to record each episode?
3) Who generally directs the voice actors during recordings?
4) Do the actors input their own suggestions for how the characters may react in a certain situation?
5) Does the script go through 'last minute' revisions during the recording?

Thank you so much for taking the time for looking at all the fan's questions and I look forward to seeing the rest of season 1 and 2!

Greg responds...

1. Both.

2. Three to four hours or so.

3. Jamie Thomason.

4. Occasionally. But unfortunately, we don't have a ton of flexibility.

5. Occasionally. Nothing major.

Response recorded on December 28, 2011

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Jo writes...

Hi, again! First, thank you for answering my previous questions! I know you must be stressed, but, like others have said, it's awesome that you take time to answer questions like this. :)

And, now questions.

1. As a writer, how much say do you have in how the story is told? I mean, I know you write the script (duh), but it's the director who ultimately decides how it's told. So, do you both consult heavily on the matter?

2. Do you sit in on recording sessions? If so, why?

3. Um, I think this ties in with both the previous questions, but, do you have much say in how an actor performs their lines? Because, you must have written it with a certain tone, inflection, and emotion in mind, but the actor might interpret it differently.

4. How long does it normally take you to write an episode?

5. Do you find it easier or harder to write characters that have been created before you came along, as opposed to your own characters.

6. As far as character development goes, how deep do you go? Like, do you consider things that probably won't be presented in the project, or do you stick to things directly relative to the story?

I think that's it...not that I can't come back and ask some more. Thanks so much!!

Greg responds...

1. Well, it depends if I'm a freelancer or a show-runner. If we're talking Young Justice, than Brandon and I have final say on everything. The directors work for us. Though of course, they are immensely talented people, and we value what they do. The writers likewise work for us, but we've worked really closely on the stories and scripts with them. And as we proceed forward into design and direction, it's all in service of those stories.

2. Yes, of course. All of them.

2a. Voice recording is (a) one of the most important parts of the process and (b) the most fun part of the process. I wouldn't miss them for both reasons. We need to make sure that what we record is what we intended and needed. And I enjoy it. This year, for various reasons, I've also recorded a lot of scratch track, i.e. I've been the temporary voice for various characters when the actors we needed were temporarily unavailable. Just to give the board artists something to work with, until we can get the correct actor in there.

3. Yes. Ultimately, Brandon and I have final say. But again, we trust and appreciate the great work done by our stellar cast and by voice director Jamie Thomason.

4. To write a script: eight days. To write an outline: four days. To write a beat sheet: one day. To break the story: two days. Add it all up. Throw in time for notes and editing at every step. And you're talking about six weeks, give or take.

5. A well-thought out character is easier to write, whether I created it or someone else did.

6. We have detailed backstories for all our leads and supporting characters. Sometimes even a one-liner character has backstory in our minds.

Response recorded on December 12, 2011

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PPL Ltd. writes...

Hey Greg,

Looking at the TV series producing industry as a whole, something I've always noticed is that, when it comes to live-action, comedies like "How I Met Your Mother" are always produced to fill one half-hour time slot, while dramas like "Dexter" always fill an whole hour time slot. Every show ever made is bound to contain elements of both drama and comedy, of course, but it seems like it is the overall tone of the series that decides the length of each episode.

For example, comparing two recent shows with a vaguely similar premise, the two medical shows "Scrubs" and "House". Anyone will say that "Scrubs" is a comedy show with dramatic elements at times, while "House" is a drama that often incorporates humour. Scrubs was a half hour show, House is an hour long show.

So the general line of questioning I'm leading up to with all this is the following, why is it that that there has never been an animated series which consists of hour long episodes spread over a whole season, even though animated shows can also be seen as dramatic?

The closest thing I can think of as an exception is the early 2000s Justice League series, which always had at least two part episodes throughout its run (until it became Justice League Unlimited), but those were always divided into smaller chunks, even if many channels just aired them back-to-back anyway.

HBO's Spawn can easily be said to be more drama than comedy, yet the episodes still were not as long as any other dramas on the channel, even though there were only six episodes a season.

I'm not trying to say that quantity is the same thing as quality, I'm just wondering if you have any insight as to why the episodes of a regular animated series are always of about the same length, regardless of their tone, while live action ones are not.

Greg responds...

The "conventional wisdom" is that kids won't sit through an hour.

I'm not saying I agree. But that's what the wisdom of the conventional states.

Response recorded on November 17, 2011

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A.B. Washington writes...

Hi, Mr. Weisman!!

In the episode "Eye of the Beholder", I've seen "Fox"(a.k.a. Jeanine Xanatos" turns back into her human self and she was naked in this episode, how did you guys come up with that story which aired many years ago??

Greg responds...

Um... I'm not actually sure what you're asking.

The Eye of Odin was created by the video game folks, but we gladly brought it into the series. The discovery that Fox and Xanatos loved each other was a revelation that came with the "Her Brother's Keeper" episode. The idea of the gargoyles being free to walk around on Halloween seemed natural. Otherwise, the characters just sort of brought it all together, giving us what they would do.

Response recorded on November 15, 2011

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Sean writes...

Dear Mr. Weisman,

I've been a huge fan of yours for years and just wanted to thank you for supplying or helping to make 1/3 of the cartoons of my childhood. I'm currently following Young Justice and I love it! I do have one question that I couldn't find in the archives though.

I noticed in episode 10 what seemed to be some height inconsistencies with Red Arrow. Cheshire was said to be 5ft 6in tall. But when the two of them were having their stare down in prison, Roy only looked a bit taller than her. Meanwhile, he seemed to be a bit shorter than Lex Luthor as well. In my animation classes, my professor mentioned a tendency for teenage characters to be drawn slightly shorter than adults, to make them easier to distinguish. Is that what happened here, or was it just animation error/camera trick?

I know in a previous post you said that he was the tallest of the teens, with Aqualad in second, but I was hoping that you could tell me their actual heights (and the rest of The Team's), or at least your best guess.

Thank you for your time and good luck with the rest of the season.

Greg responds...

We have height charts for all our characters and those charts are sent overseas to our animators for reference. I won't deny that animation errors take place sometimes, but none that I noticed in 'Targets'.

I can't tell you their actual heights. We don't put that information on the charts. I can only tell you how tall they are relative to each other.

Response recorded on November 12, 2011

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spence writes...

A few questions about voice-over.

1) Is it recorded before the episode is animated?

2) How long does it take from recording the voice work until the episode is completely finished?

3) Do all actors get together in the room when recording one episode?

4) Are you present?

Greg responds...

1. Yep.

2. Months.

3. Ideally. Sometimes people aren't available on the day of the record, and we pick them up later. Sometimes if someone only has a line or two in the episode, we take pity on them and get them in and out fast. Sometimes, a single episode has two completely separate plots intertwining. We'd ideally record every actor in the first plot together, and then record every actor in the second together. But since the two groups don't interact, there's no need to record the entire group together and force a lot of actors to sit through scenes they're not in at all.

4. Yep.

Response recorded on October 31, 2011

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Matthew writes...

This is about pretty much all the series you've worked on. I've noticed that most of your series has a large cast of recurring characters (and that despite this characters tend to be very well delineated.) Now for Young Justice, WITCH, and Spectacular Spiderman that may be just because they were pre-existing properties and already have large casts. However, Gargoyles also had a large cast.

Was this a because of conscious choice?

Do you perfer working with a large cast of characters?

Greg responds...

I do. I like creating worlds that feel real and populated.

Response recorded on October 12, 2011

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Anonymous writes...

Was the notion of stone gargoyles coming to life at night an original concept of the television show, or does it have a basis in historical legend?

Greg responds...

Gargoyles as protectors is legend.

Specifically having Gargoyles only come alive at night, is -- as far as I know -- an invention, if a completely logical no-brainer one, of the series.

Response recorded on April 14, 2011

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Anonymous writes...

How different of an experience is it to work on a show were the seasons are 13 episodes(Spectacular Spiderman) from one where the seasons are 26(I think it's 26 might have read 28 somewhere)?
I mean do you have to pace yourself differently?
Which do you prefer?
Are you more comfortable including sub-plots that you might not get to adress in 13 episode seasons?
You know stuff like that.

Greg responds...

The more episodes the better as far as I'm concerned. More EMPLOYMENT, first of all. Plus more room to maneuver, to add more subplots, more characters, etc.

Response recorded on March 17, 2011

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Henry writes...

Are the "bibles" something that just you do, or is it standard for animated series?
Do live action television series do it to?
Also do all animated series have time-lines like you've made?
Or do they just kinda make it up as they go?

Greg responds...

1. It's pretty standard, though mine tend to be longer than standard.

2. As far as I know, though I've never worked in live-action.

3. That I doubt.

4. I'm sure each series is different.

Response recorded on February 02, 2011

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Laura 'ad astra' Sack writes...

I asked an unclear question a little back:
Laura 'ad astra' Sack writes...

You've always (wisely) refused name one series you've worked with a favorite over another. It'd be like choosing which child you love best. But is there any instance of one work being a favorite instance of X and another of Y?

Greg responds...
Uh... I'm not too clear on what you're asking....? Is it a chromosome thing?

Me again...
Sorry. I meant that do you look at the various shows you worked on and when you think of one or the other does one particular aspect stand out as for you favorite example of getting that particular thing right, or conveying another thing the best as you've ever done it? Either in general terms like saying your favorite John Wayn western versus military flick. Or in a very specific terms like saying you think you really aced a concept- like a relationship or a philisophical concept or bravery or human foible etc.

Greg responds...

Hey, there are a lot of great moments that I love (he says without modesty) in all the series I've produced. Even in the stuff where I was just a hired gun.

But the thing is... I mostly work in the same genre (i.e. super-heroes) nearly all the time. It's a bastard genre (he says with affection) that includes fantasy, science fiction, detective and mystery, thrillers, etc., plus -- at least the way we do it -- romance and comedy on top of the action and adventure. So it stays fun for me, fresh for me. But it doesn't lend itself to the western vs. military comparison you make above. All of them are all of it. So it's just about the execution. In general, there aren't any episodes of a show I've produced that I hate. Some work better than others. But for me it's mostly about the moments.

Response recorded on January 27, 2011

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Anonymous writes...

Should a storyteller be telling us stories we want/expect to hear, or are they allowed to tell us whatever story they want, regardless on if we like it or not?

Greg responds...

Uh... I don't know that there are or even should be rules.

But as for me personally, I try to tell the stories I want to tell, the ones that I'd want to see - that way I maintain passion for the material. Then, of course, I desperately cross my fingers and hope that others also like the stories I'm telling.

Whether these are stories they wanted or expected, who knows? The audience isn't monolithic, so I'm not sure it's possible to give EVERYONE what they want or expect. But if a majority LIKE the stories, I figure I'm good.

Response recorded on January 27, 2011

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Ada writes...

Being an Nigerian, it was exciting in Gargoyles to see the Black Panther story line done in Nigeria! I am curious to know why you chose Nigeria to create the story?

Greg responds...

English is one of the national languages there.

Response recorded on January 21, 2011

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Harlan Phoenix writes...

So what's the specific appeal of animation to you? Or rather, the appeal of writing it (and by extension, comic books) primarily over other mediums?

I could make guesses, but I'd be curious to know what exactly thrills you.

Greg responds...

Well, the MAIN appeal is that they'll hire me.

(Only semi-kidding there.)

Anyway, I love the semi-contradictory notions of the control I have over the final product and the collaboration I get while making my way there.

Response recorded on January 21, 2011

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Anonymous writes...

Apart from the work that he's done with you, what's your favorite thing that Kevin Hopps has ever written?

Greg responds...

I don't know off the top of my head.

Response recorded on January 21, 2011

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Anonymous writes...

I have some questions concerning episodic details

1. I noticed the original documents thread only has your memos on the pilot outline up to when Michael Reeves became the new writer, are we ever going to see rest of those memos(assuming there were more).

2. Concerning your tiers and tentpoles plan that started in season 2 you said awakening retroactively became tentpole 1, rewakening tent pole two, city of stone tent pole three and avolon tent pole four. Im curiouse what episodes made up the next sets of tentpoles after those ones. I figured Future tense or the Gathering was probably one of them with hunters moon obviously being the final ones, but what was the tentpole in the middle of the world tour episodes? I assume there had to be one more otherwise that would have been more episodes than usual in that tier.

3. You mentioned after Hunters Moon changed from direct to video to a three episode finally you had to cut 3 planned episodes. You said one was simply the vinnie episode being merged into vendettas, but what were the other two? Was the Coldston world tour story that made it into clan building one? Was Bronx's side story youve said happened during vendattas/turf one? If not do you remember what they were?

4. Youve said somewhere that the wierd MacBeth story was nixed because your superiours wanted it to be one episode instead of a two parter and you didn't think you could do it justice in two if Im not mistaken. Where would that two parter have taken place if you had been allowed to do it? Ive tried to figure out a spot in season 2 where it could have gone but none really seem to make sense and Id be curiouse to know. Also if you ever get the chnace to write more issues of the comics would you try to do this story now?

Thanks for your answers.

Greg responds...

1. "Ever" is a long time. But the issue is that I don't have those memos electronically archived. So I have to transcribe them. And I've just been (a) too busy and (b) at my Warner Bros office (and before that at my Sony office) most days, and not in my Beverly Hills office, where I have that stuff.

2. "The Gathering" two-parter was the next tentpole. Then "Hunter's Moon". There was no tentpole in the middle of the world tour. There were more episodes than usual, but Season Two was WAY longer than Season One, so we needed that flexibility.

3. I honestly forget now. (Isn't that sad?) I do have that info written down, but again -- it's in Beverly Hills, and I'm in Burbank.

4. It would have gone in the final tier of Season Two around the time of Vendettas.

4a. Yes.

Response recorded on January 21, 2011

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Lost writes...

are you friends with Diane Duane?

Greg responds...

Nope. Never met her.

Response recorded on January 19, 2011

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Blizzard Sprite writes...

Hello, Mr. Weisman.

My next questions are for Brooklyn, who was one of my favorite characters in the franchise. Not only did he come off as cool, but he was a relatable character who came off as a sort of rebellious youth. So, here are the questions.

1. I read in a 2008 interview that Brooklyn was quite popular with the fans of the show. How and when were you able to determine that? Nowadays, I figure it would be pretty easy given the pervasive nature of the internet and how fast information can be circulated. But back in the 1990's, during the show's original run when internet use was not as prevalent, how were you able to obtain feedback about certain aspects of the show, such as character popularity?

2. Brooklyn’s encounters and love interests in the twentieth century always seemed to have an unhappy ending to them (his initial encounter with Demona and his initial interests in Maggie the Cat and Angela come to mind). Because of this, he seemed to come off as the most unfortunate character in the original Manhattan clan, at least to me.

a. Do you think that all of these unfortunate letdowns were necessary in developing his character, and preparing him for what was to come in Timedancer?

b. Do you think that Brooklyn having fewer ties to (new) people in the twentieth century made it easier for him, mentally and emotionally, to jump around different points in time?

3. Were you concerned about the audience perception of Brooklyn when you had him return from the Timedancing adventures not only with a family, but an eye patch? I think one of the qualities that made Brooklyn such a likable character, in addition to his personality and his cool voice, was that he was a physically attractive and handsome gargoyle. One external change might not be all that drastic though.

Thank you for your time.

Greg responds...

1. From the internet. It may not have been AS prevalent back then, but it was prevalent enough. There was like an e-mailing list. Uh... for the Disney Afternoon in general, I think. Then my sister helped me find Station 8.

2a. It just felt organic to us.

2b. No.

3. I don't think he's any more or less handsome now. If you liked him before, I can't imagine the eyepatch would cause you to think he's unattractive now.

Response recorded on January 18, 2011

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Richard Jackson writes...

Todd Jensen and others have commented on the similarities between “Grief” and the Batman episode “Avatar.” Todd’s question being here:

http://www.s8.org/gargoyles/askgreg/search.php?qid=2870

I noticed another pair of episodes of Batman and Gargoyles that really reminded me of the other, because of the same writers. “Legion” and the Batman episode “What is Reality?” Both were written by Robert Skir and Marty Isenberg. Both episodes deal with virtual reality, but the third acts are very similar to me.

Batman/Goliath has to go into a virtual reality world to help his friend, Commissioner Gordon/Coldstone. His VR savvy compatriot Robin/Lexington tells him how it works. Once inside Batman/Goliath battles his enemy, The Riddler/Xanatos. Robin/Lexington tries to help Batman/get Goliath out of the VR world, but is painfully rebuffed. A shrill noise blasted into his ear piece in Robin’s case. An electronic shock emanating from Goliath’s body in Lex’s case. Side note: That was the biggest problem I had with “Legion.” I can buy a cybernetic gargoyle and that Xanatos can design a computer program based on his personality, but I never understood how Goliath’s body became akin to a live wire when hooked up to Coldstone. It must be one of those side effects when science and sorcery are combined.

Of course, “What is Reality?” and “Legion” are two different episodes and the execution of third acts are very different. Dialogue, characters and virtual reality as represented in the respective episodes were all different. Even the resolutions are different. I guess writing the virtual reality Batman episode gave Skir and Isenberg the experience to write the Gargoyles VR episode. Interestingly enough, they did write “Future Tense”, which also had a VR sequence in the Xanatos Pyramid, albeit in a dream. They didn’t write “Walkabout”, which had a metaphysical reality (MR?) scene.

I do think the examples of “Avatar/Grief” and “What is Reality?/Legion” are interesting examples of how writers will take previous ideas they’ve had and use another chance to expand or improve on them. “Avatar” didn’t work for me, but “Grief” is one of my favorite episodes of Gargoyles. And it’s close between “What is Reality?” and “Legion”, but I slightly prefer the former.

Greg responds...

Science and sorcery indeed.

Anyway, as always, the springboards for every Gargoyle episode pre-date writer involvement (unless the writer was also a story editor). But it may be very possible that once they got the assignment, they created or emphasized parallels with other work they had done.

Response recorded on January 12, 2011

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Marc G. writes...

Is there a list online somewhere of all the overseas animation studios used for Gargoyles, by episode? It's frustrating because the credits always just listed "Walt Disney Television Animation".
Also, a related question: did you have control over which scripts were sent to which studios? Or was it purely dictated by scheduling and budgetary concerns?
Thanks!

Greg responds...

I don't have a list. Most of the first season was animated at Walt Disney Television Animation Japan, though I seem to recall that a couple were subcontracted out to Korea.

Season Two featured some eps by WDTVAJ, plus more from Korea (such as Hanho). But I can't remember who did what.

Scheduling tended to dictate what studio got what episode, but we did make an effort to make sure that "Bushido" went to Japan.

Response recorded on January 12, 2011

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John Derrick writes...

I hate to say it, but I was extremely disappointed in the Young Justice premiere. Don't get me wrong--the animation was gorgeous, the dialogue entertaining, the story intriguing. But the gender imbalance was a huge turn-off for me.

Why was it that the women of the Justice League were only shown in the last five minutes of a two-part pilot? Why did the male sidekicks get to go on a rebellious adventure and force the League to accept them as a team of their own, while the first girl is only added to "Young Justice" at the very end, introduced by her uncle and guardian like some sort of token?

I expect that the women will have a lot more to do in the episodes to come, but I still find it profoundly problematic to introduce the characters in such an unequal manner. I believe there are too many men in the world as it is who see women as mere supporting players in their stories. Why reinforce this stereotype for a whole new generation of superhero cartoon fans?

Greg responds...

It's a legitimate gripe. And I doubt my answer will satisfy you, but it came down to a couple factors that we at least found important: (1) practicality and to a lesser extent - but intertwined with - (2) tradition.

Let's start with practicality.

You asked why there were no female Leaguers until the end. But where would they have fit? There are no female Leaguers with traditional first generation sidekicks. So Batman, Green Arrow, Aquaman and Flash could not be replaced by Wonder Woman, Black Canary or Hawkwoman. That leaves the four Leaguers introduced at the Hall of Justice. I needed Martian Manhunter to be there to set up Miss Martian. I needed Red Tornado there to set up his interest in the teens. I needed Superman there to set up Superboy. That leaves only Zatara. He was certainly replaceable. But then I would have had to hire another voice actress to read ONE LINE. I couldn't afford to do that. We have budgets. (And you'll notice that Red Tornado never speaks in the episode. Couldn't afford giving him a line either. None of which had anything to do with gender.)

There was NEVER any intent to introduce Artemis this early in the season for story reasons. Wouldn't make sense for her character. And I think the reasons why will become clear as the season progresses.

As for Miss Martian, yes, in theory, we could have introduced her sooner. Manhunter COULD have brought her along at the beginning. But then I'd have had FOUR characters running around the first half hour and FIVE in the second. That steals screen time and characterization from everyone. I think the entire production would have been weaker for adding another character -- ANY other character (gender notwithstanding).

Of course, that begs the obvious question - why not ditch one of the boys in favor of her to create a little balance.

But it seemed to us that would create balance at a cost.

There are FOUR TRADITIONAL sidekicks: Robin, Speedy, Aqualad and Kid Flash. To leave one out seemed wrong to us. Which brings in the Tradition argument, which I'll admit is somewhat feeble, but as an old comic book geek, I'll also admit it matters to me and to everyone else here.

The very first Teen Titans story ever in Brave and the Bold featured only THREE heroes: Robin, Aqualad and Kid Flash. Wonder Girl did not join until their second adventure. So we felt there was a precedent for beginning with Robin, Aqualad and Kid Flash and saving the real introduction of Miss Martian (beyond hellos) for OUR second adventure.

For what it's worth, if you give the series another chance, starting with episode three (i.e. the one immediately following the pilot "movie"), I think you'll see that female characters including Miss Martian, Black Canary, Artemis, Wonder Woman and MANY others will be playing ESSENTIAL roles in the show as we progress. I think the balance - and then some - is absolutely present in the first season when viewed in its entirety.

Yes, the pilot was very boy-centric, but that's not the rubric for the series. Personally, I love writing female characters, and if you're at all familiar with my past work, you'll know I have a history of doing them justice. (At least, I think so.) Gargoyles, for example, is FULL of strong female characters, including Elisa, Demona, Angela, Fox, etc. WITCH was nearly ALL female leads. Even Spider-Man had a strong female supporting cast, in my opinion at least.

If we did "reinforce a stereotype" (which I think is overstating it) then perhaps we've lured in kids that we will reeducate over the course of the season - organically without forcing it.

So I'd beg a little patience, a little indulgence... maybe even a little trust that we'll do right by this issue.

But judge for yourself.

Response recorded on December 21, 2010

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Steven D. writes...

Hello again, Mr. Weisman.

I've had a question in the back of my mind for some time, and now seems like a good time to ask it.
Recently, you released the writer's rotation for the first 24 episodes of YJ.
I've always been fascinated with television writing,as there seems to be no one way to do it, so I wanted to ask a few questions on how you approach it.

1. Back when i first wanted to ask this, I checked the SpecSpiderman archives to see what you mentioned about writing for that show. When going over writing duties, you mentioned that some of the episodes that you "reserved" some of the episodes you wrote. Since Young Justice finds you in a similar position of being both a producer and staff writer, I'm curious to know, what factors do you use when picking episodes to reserve for yourself (and confirming that reserve wasn't just a metaphor you were using)?

2. While I'm here, I was hoping you could also shed some light on how much freedom your freelance writers are given. Do they ever get the chance to write an episode completely from scratch, or because the shows you work on are so arc based, are they always given a firm foundation to start with, and if so, how rigid is this foundation (generally)?

Thanks!

Greg responds...

1. Sometimes I end up writing an episode for pragmatic reasons... or a combination of the creative and the pragmatic. For example, I wrote the two-part pilot of Young Justice (i.e. episodes 1 and 2). Of course, I had a creative desire to write these episodes, but it also would not have been pragmatic for anyone else to write them. I needed to set the tone of the series for the other writers to be able to get it.

Another example: staff writer Kevin Hopps and I were set to write the last two episodes (25 and 26) of the first season. Though we know the basics of what takes place in them, based on meetings that Kevin, producer Brandon Vietti and I had over a year ago, we hadn't broken those episodes yet, and creatively I hadn't decided which of the two I wanted to write. But scheduling realities last week made it apparent that Kevin would HAVE to write 25, meaning I was writing 26. All of which is just as well. I started the season; I might as well finish it. But the decision wasn't creative; it was purely pragmatic. The creative decision might have been no different. But the creative decision became moot for pragmatic reasons.

On the other hand, I've also written three other episodes. In those cases, the pragmatic need was for me to write one episode each between 6-11, between 12-17 and between 18-24. Within those parameters, I chose 11, 15 and 19 for purely creative reasons. Those were the ones I felt a special affinity for (based on reasons I can't reveal now without spoilers). So going into the three writers' meetings for each of those three "sets" of episodes, there was SOME flexibility as to which writer took which episode (keeping scheduling pragmatism in mind), but I had "reserved" for myself the one I wanted to write in each case.

2. My freelancers have, for better or worse, very little freedom when it comes to WHAT stories we are telling. The premises were all approved long before the freelancers came aboard. If a specific writer feels no affinity for a specific story, then he or she doesn't have to take that episode. I always try to give each writer an episode that jazzes him or her. But the basics of the stories are set. Now, the writers are very involved in the execution of those stories. That's where their freedom comes in. But they still have quite a gauntlet to wade through... beat outlines, outlines, scripts (and notes from many sources). Ultimately, I take responsibility for every episode, and I'm the guy doing the final pass on every beat outline, outline and script. But I couldn't do this job without stellar writers providing me with great stuff. And on this series, I couldn't do it without Brandon and Kevin actively participating in the inception and breaking of every single story.

Response recorded on October 22, 2010

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Clark Cradic writes...

Any characters you were surprised to see becoming popular? The ensemble darkhorse in other words.

Greg responds...

What series are we talking about here?

I guess I'll assume we're talking Gargoyles. And, no, not really. Perhaps I underestimated the Trio's popularity a bit, but I never thought they'd be UNpopular. But we can pretty much see who's popping as we're making the series.

Response recorded on August 20, 2010

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Jurgan writes...

Not a question so much as a comment. You've said several times you think you missed a bet in "Grief-" namely, that Coyote should have killed the travelers, to show that death was impossible with Anubis locked up. I may be in the minority on this, but I prefer the story we got to this alternate version.

First of all, it would reopen the Highlander-esque questions that you get regarding Demona and Macbeth. So, Angela's shot through the heart but doesn't die- when Anubis is freed, is the wound still there? If so, would the wound then kill her? If Goliath were decapitated, would the head still talk, or would it sprout spider legs and walk back to him (sorry, I just watched The Thing the other night- incidentally, Keith making a surprise appearance in a movie is something that always makes me smile)? I imagine that, if only for S&P reasons, the death would simply be through bloodless laser beams (sorry, "particle beams") and the issue wouldn't have come up, but it's still confusing.

The bigger point, though, is that it cheapens the characters' abilities. I've read most of the Lee/Ditko and Lee/Romita Spider-Man comics, and while they're great stories, one thing that always bothered me was how supervillains always let Spidey live. Typically, a new villain would dominate the wallcrawler and then arrogantly announce "I don't need to kill Spider-Man- I can beat him any time I want!" I don't have a count, but I really think this happened dozens of times in the Silver Age. I could understand if the villain had a reason to run, like Doc Ock's power running low in your show, but most of the time they just seemed stupid, since of course Spidey trounced them next time. The point is that it seemed like he was surviving more through luck than any particular skill. Likewise, our gargoyles have survived countless battles because of their own abilities. To say that they finally lose- but it doesn't count because, for this one day, they can't die, seems to cheapen their earlier successes. It feels like the only reason they're winning is because the writers want them to win, and if they get in big trouble, a deus ex machina twist will save them. The show starts to feel artificial, and I wonder if these characters are really that special, or if they're just the designated heroes.

Now, of course, this is hypothetical. It's possible that, if I'd seen the episode the way you envision, I would have loved it. As it is, it's kind of hard for me to imagine it working. Just something to chew on.

Greg responds...

I guess I wouldn't agree about one lucky break cheapening earlier victories... I guess I wouldn't agree with that at all.

I'm also not big on deus ex machina saves myself, but when an ENTIRE episode is ABOUT arresting death, having them live because death has been arrested doesn't feel like deus ex machina at all to me, even with a deus (Anubis) present.

And, as you noted, the beheading (et al) issue just wouldn't have come up.

I know you're arguing for the success of what we made, and I'm in the odd (very odd) position of arguing that we could have done better, but I still think a bet was missed...

Response recorded on August 17, 2010

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Laura 'ad astra' Sack writes...

I’ve heard you mention several times that you have had very good luck with S&P over several series, praising people who really understood the series and were more interested in showing consequence than keeping any violence off screen. When they put their foot down it was generally to avoid what a child can copy, even willing to have a different violent action in place they couldn’t. Did you ever have bad experiences? (Either on a series you were running, or one you freelanced on.)

Greg responds...

Yes, I've had many. Some completely inexplicable. Others explicable, but still wrong-headed.

Taranee on W.I.T.C.H. was a constant problem, as her power was fire and the S&P executive was very uncomfortable with... I'm not quite sure... the notion that we were encouraging child pyromania? The possibility that kids would use magic to generate flames?

I can't think of a really funny example just this second, though God knows I have more than a handful.

Response recorded on August 03, 2010

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Trevor Duke writes...

Why does Lexington have different wings from the four other gargoyles of the manhattan clan? The behind the scenes answer please!

Greg responds...

Behind the scenes? We thought they looked cool on him, and we wanted diversity.

Response recorded on June 29, 2010

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TZ writes...

Tana writes...
You Asked:
"Does anyone know if "Maza" means "iron" in any Native American language or dialect?"

According to my book of names (it's got like 20,000 names and their meanings, which is totally cool, especially the Athurian names) Maza blaska, which is a Dakota name means "flat iron." So if it's one of those languages where the adjective comes after the subject, then Maza does infact mean Iron in Dakota. Which interestingly enough adds more irony since Dakota was an early choice for Demona's name. ^_^

And you know that J.R.R. Tolkien claimed that all of his novels were fact...you seen to have the same symptom with the Gargoyles.

Greg responds...
I'm not claiming they're fact so much as acknowledging that sometimes storytelling on this show just seems to click with history, existing legend and with dramatic necessity. It's a rare feeling, and I'm humbled by it. All I'm saying is it sometimes feels like the stories are true somehow somewhere, and all I'm doing is (imperfectly) tapping into them.

But I'm not actually delusional.

Ok, this is TZ now......

I was looking over the archives and was simply amazed by this response of yours, Greg. I have always felt that art (in all forms, from literature to sculptures to music) is discovered, not created. I subscribe to that theory because there are such famous examples of great work that endure for years, sometimes even centuries. Why would something like Michelangelo's David or Beethoven's 9th remain so popular through the ages? I think it's because those pieces already existed and were "discovered" by those artists, because certain works like theirs touch us so deeply. When one of us "finds" that piece of art, and shares it, it seems to strike something in all of us. I think creativity is God's alone, but I think He gives some of us a gift to find or tap into (as you've put it) something He's already created that reveals a great truth or lesson or feeling. Anyway, just a ramble of mine to share based on something I was amazed to see here. I'm not sure if I got my point across to others (I found it really hard to put this into words) but I think you get it. Thanks for "discovering" more great art for us all!

Greg responds...

You're welcome. Glad you get what I'm getting at, more or less.

Response recorded on May 13, 2010

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RandomStan writes...

What animal noises and sound effects were used to make the gargoyle sounds, like when they roar, growl, sigh? Also for Bronx and gargoyle beasts as well? What sound was used for when the gargoyles would dig their claws into stone? That one sounds a bit familar, almost like popping bublbe wrap.

Greg responds...

I don't recall. Sorry. Been too long. And I was never at foley sessions anyway. Just the mixes, when the effects had already been created.

Response recorded on February 23, 2010

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Landon Thomas writes...

Hi, I'm posting on Disney/Marvel Merger Day and I'm looking for some historical perspective. Someone in the comment room says "I recall Greg once saying that back in the 90s Disney was interested in buying Marvel, but instead decided to create their own universe with Gargoyles." I've found this on the New Olympians episode ramble:

"ORIGINS
Well, the Greek Myths of course. But that's not really what I'm talking about. As many of you know, The New Olympians was a concept -- originally created by Bob Kline -- that we began developing at Disney TV Animation even BEFORE Gargoyles. It was definitely a concept that evolved, but it was also a concept that we felt fit nicely into the Gargoyles Universe. So this episode was created as a backdoor pilot. At the time we had big plans for the Gargoyles Universe. Hopes that it would eventually evolve into Disney's equivalent of the Marvel or DC Universe. The World Tour expanded our Universe in many ways -- mostly for the sake of the Gargoyles series itself. But also to demonstrate that our universe had the "chops" to go the distance."

Could you elaborate?

1) Is it true that Disney considered buying Marvel in the 90s?

2) Did the Disney higher-ups want a Gargoyles Universe to rival Marvel/DCU, if briefly, or was that your idea?

3) How heady were the days of season 2? Was Gargoyles being positioned as a significant face of Disney? I remember the Anaheim Gargoyles baseball team memo is from around that time too.

Greg responds...

1. Yes.

2. It was my suggestion, but it was a suggestion that my bosses, including Michael Eisner liked. At least for one meeting.

3. They weren't all that heady. There was a lot of potential in the property, but the schedule was also both long and brutal, and we were still producing episodes into May of 1996, even though the season had premiered in September or October of 1995. By January it was pretty clear that reruns, preemptions, the O.J. Simpson trial and Power Rangers had combined to severely damage our momentum. In addition, the death of Frank Wells and the departures of Jeffrey Katzenberg, Rich Frank, Gary Krisel and Bruce Cranston, i.e. some of the people who had been such great backers of the property, hurt too. As did Eisner's decision to step back from the hands-on decision making he had done vis-a-vis Disney T.V. Animation. It left us quite at sea. New people came in who had no affinity for the property, long before we were even done producing Season Two.

Response recorded on January 22, 2010

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Tonya writes...

Hi Greg! I was reading an earlier post of yours where you mentioned that it's harder to pitch original ideas (I'm guessing to networks, but maybe it's the same with comics, books, etc...?) now than it was when you originally pitched Gargoyles:

1. Why is it more difficult to pitch original ideas now than it was then? (I would think they'd be anxious for new concepts???)

2. What's probably the #1 thing that the people being pitched to are looking for?

3. Is a successful pitch sometimes tied to the person you are pitching to? (I mean, if you're pitching to one guy on Tuesday, but had you gone on say, Thursday and had a different guy, could the outcome of the pitch be different? I guess I mean do you depend on getting lucky with whomever you're scheduled to pitch to? And if not, can you ask to pitch to someone else?)

Thanks! I hope my questions were clear enough to get across what I'm trying to ask. I'm thinking of writing professionally (IF I'm any good) and wondered how hard it would be to "pitch". Thanks again! (Love your work by the way.)

Greg responds...

1. They're not. They're afraid of new concepts and would rather have something that's "proven" in some other medium or era. This, in my opinion, is a direct result of the vertical integration of these companies that makes the decision making process a long uphill struggle.

2. It differs all the time, but marquis value doesn't hurt.

3. Luck-of-the-draw and incidental timing are huge factors.

Response recorded on November 02, 2009

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Geoff writes...

What was with the animation goofs that happened throughout Gargoyles? Did they seriously get by everyone until the episodes were aired? (I'm talking about the character design ones, to be specific.)

Greg responds...

What exactly do you expect me to say here?

Sometimes things were off-model. Sometimes we had the time and money to fix it, other times we didn't.

Response recorded on October 28, 2009

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MARVEL-FAN writes...

Greg, how come in the Spectacular Spider-Man it doesent use realistic gunshot sounds? But, Batman: The Brave and The Bold it uses realistic gunshot sounds, other Batman cartoon shows.

Greg responds...

Different networks have different rules, I guess.

Response recorded on October 27, 2009

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Purplegoldfish writes...

Hi Greg,

erm, I don't know if you noticed, but I created a bit of a stir in the comment room recently about the design of Constance, and I would appreciate if I could have some of your input in the matter. It might put this annoying demon in my mind to rest.

I'm just wondering, if at any time in the design process for Coco you made the connection between her being a heavy set female that resembles an animal that is unfortunately used as a negative metaphor for large women.

I actually like Coco's design, and her personality especially. What I don't like is that she's the only full figured female we've seen and she just happens to resemble a pig.

I admit I'm a bit jaded and cynical when it comes to this stuff. Chalk that up to having to endure a lot of verbal abuse growing up. I'm just really curious if you personally made that connection while designing the character. I'm really interested to see what you have to say about it.

Greg responds...

One of the main reasons that the original Coco became Broadway (i.e. why we took a female heavy-set gargoyle and made her male) was because we were afraid of the politically correct blow-back that we thought would come by depicting her that way. It's a double standard, but it's true. You can do a heavy set guy who likes to eat. But you can't do it with a gal without risking repercussions.. Ultimately though, that's cowardice. And not that I think the series is poorer for it, because I love Broadway, but ANY series is poorer for that kind of cowardice. When you fold to that, you wind up with the same types (not bad types, but the same ones) over and over.

Having gotten over that specific brand of cowardice (though I'm sure I'm still subject to other examples of the same kind of thing), I decided to create this new Constance/Coco. Being part of the London Clan meant she should be based on a heraldic animal. And the boar was one I hadn't used yet. So let's hit it HEAD ON. She's a heavy-set female gargoyle -- and she even has a pig-snout.

So go for it. Tell me she's nothing but a bad and inappropriate joke. I dare you. (I don't mean "you", Purplegoldfish, but a more generic "you" that's out there.) If I do my job well, then there's no concern. She's strong and multi-faceted, and her size is just an aspect of who she is, not the whole story. If all anyone can see is the girth and the snout then either I've failed... or that "anyone" has failed to look beyond the surface, which is one of the MAJOR themes of the entire series.

Generally, the response to Coco has been fairly positive, so I'm feeling pretty good about the job I did. Even you seem to like her, and your reservations are based on surface qualities and old prejudices and memories that I was openly defying on purpose. I can live with that. (Since ultimately I have no choice.)

Plus, I just really like Coco's design. I think David Hedgecock did a GREAT job on her. Instantly, I forgot about any agenda and just thought she was a great looking character. Which is how it should be.

Response recorded on September 25, 2009

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Anonymous writes...

who paid for gargoyles

Greg responds...

Originally? Disney.

Response recorded on September 17, 2009

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Bazell writes...

How do you come up with your character names? (though the Manhatten's names' origins can be easily deduced)

Greg responds...

Different ways. And I didn't come up with all of them. Some came from other writers and story editors, such as Cary Bates and Michael Reaves. Others come from mythology or legend, etc. We try to make the names believable but have resonance.

Response recorded on August 03, 2009

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Anonymous writes...

Generally speaking, about how many pages is the script for an average 30-minute television episode?

Greg responds...

Well, for starters, it's really 22-minutes (once you subtract commercials, credits, etc.) Our scripts for Season One of Spectacular Spider-Man were 36 pages. But we were often long and were often forced to cut material that was scripted and recorded. So for Season Two, we cut back to 34 pages. And still we were often long and forced to cut material that was scripted and recorded.

Response recorded on October 07, 2008

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slayer38 writes...

Iam very interested for the 3rd season as comics. But i want to know, comes this comics also translated into german language in the german book stores? My English is not the best, << you can see that in my text. and another question? in 1996 at the moment disney do not produce season 3 with you as author, why you dont changed to another company at this moment. (btw. The goliath chronicles sucks, the liason between goliath and eliza are also ignored.)

And btw. My favorite Episodes is Hunters moon part 1 - 3. Great story, very dramatical, and the lovely end, << at this moment between goliath and eliza, the fans waited since episode "the mirror" / german titel "Der Spiegel"

And is that true. Episode "the mirror" is cutted in usa (in tv) because the "world trade center"?

Greg responds...

I'm afraid I have no information on German translations.

And I don't own the property. Disney does. It wasn't and ISN'T mine to take anywhere else.

As far as I know, "The Mirror" still airs with all the others.

Response recorded on September 24, 2008

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Nick P. writes...

Hello. Since this is my first question I feel obligated to state that I've been a Gargoyles follower since the show's original airing, and even though I don't live in the US anymore, I still manage to order the comic books. I particularly like how coherent the gargoyles universe it. Too often I'm confused by bizarre universes that fiction creates (specifically comic books), and I'm please to find myself being able to recall what happened to all the characters and what's going on and realize that it makes sense (recall some of the more confusing story-lines in the marvel comics of the 90s that nearly required a long-winded nerd debate just to remind yourself of what's going on). Also, Keith David's voice knocked the show up a few notches on the cool scale.

Anyway, I have a number of questions that I will send from time to time when I find ways to word them so they like real inquiries rather than fan boy rants, so I'll start with something simple:

Did you originally create Gargoyles with the intention of it being a children's show? I felt at times like I was watching a watered down version of what the show was intended to be, which was weird and a little unsatisfying at times.

Greg responds...

Nothing was watered down -- and frankly I can't even think what gave you that impression. The show was developed from day one to appeal to kids. What we did simultaneously was write the show on multiple levels so that in addition to kids, we would also appeal to tweens, teens, college students and adults.

Response recorded on August 06, 2008

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Brenden writes...

A few days ago I realized something about Norse mythology. Most of the time the Honorable Viking Warrior was fighting an Inhuman Monster. Was this theme a factor in choosing vikings to sac castle Wyvern or was just because they were the most prolific badguys of Europe at the time. This realization really added too the anti clich'e of Gargoyles for me, where the "Inhuman Monster" was the victim and the "Honorable Viking Warrior" was a cowardly murderer.

Greg responds...

I think the Vikings may have been Michael Reaves' idea.

Response recorded on August 04, 2008

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Webhead2006 writes...

Hello greg, I just wanted to say season 1 of SSM was very good and i cant wait to see many many more seasons come for the series. I loved it alot besides a few changes here and there i didnt like at first but grew on me over time and it works for the show itself. I just had a question i was wondering on the production side of things for the show. How long does it take to animate a single episode for the series?

Greg responds...

It takes eight to ten months - give or take.

Response recorded on August 01, 2008

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Durkinator writes...

This is question in regards to censorship in Spectacular Spider-Man. Back in the 90s series, there was an obnoxious amount of censorship (Spidey couldn't throw a punch?!) that sometimes hindered the story in obvious ways. Now, Spectacular Spidey is obviously a bit of a lighter tone, so I don't expect to see people dying all over the place or anything, but I am curious about how the censorship from the studios of this series differs from other shows you've worked on, like Gargoyles--which I think was great about being delightfully edgy whilst still obeying the censors. Gargoyles was much darker that Spider-Man currently is, obviously; I'm just curious as to how similar the rules regarding the amount of death and violence and such are and if it has changed a lot since your work in the 90s.

And just to be clear, I'm not complaining or asking for Spider-Man to be darker or more violent or anything, I'm very happy with how everything has been handled and balanced without getting too "gritty" thus far (and I'm usually a sucker for dark stories). I'm just curious, you know?.

Greg responds...

I'm hinky about the way you throw the word "censor" around. The biggest rule is, was and always has been our own personal standards of what's right and wrong, what is and isn't appropriate. After that, both Gargoyles and Spectacular Spider-Man benefited from having smart, intelligent and understanding S&P executives (Adrienne Bello for Gargoyles, Patricia Dennis for Spidey). As I've mentioned before, there wasn't much we wanted to do on Spidey that was disallowed. The realistic sound of gunshots comes to mind... and those are being restored on the DVDs. I think it has less to do with the era, and more to do with the individual looking over your shoulder.

Response recorded on July 31, 2008

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avalon writes...

A spectacular SpiderMan question (one of these days you'll probably need to devote a separate SpiderMan Ask Greg! :))....some of the script and storylines are flat out funny and witty, I love it! Do you come up with these lines in your writing as well or is there a separate staff that does this?

Greg responds...

There isn't a SEPARATE staff. There's just THE staff: myself, Randy Jandt, Kevin Hopps, Matt Wayne and Andrew Robinson on Season One. Nicole Dubuc joined the staff for Season Two. It's a team effort on breaking stories. Dialogue generally comes from the writer credited on the episode with an assist from me.

Response recorded on July 30, 2008

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Simon Elst writes...

M. Weisman,

I'm a student soundengineering (final year) at the IAD (Institut des Arts de Diffusion de Louvain-La-Neuve, Belgium ; http://www.iad-arts.be ). I take the liberty of writing you about my thesis. It had to handle on the role of sound in animationfilm. My ambition is to bring out the importance of sound in animation film, my passion in which I want to invest myself in the future. The fact is that the Gargoyles were my heroes wen I was young (thanks to belgian televisions to made it possible !).

I think Gargoyles would be an excellent example to analyse in detail for my thesis. To do so, I'd like of course your permission, but also, if possible, your help by means of a few questions to answer. Would you ? I can understand that answering all the questions may be heavy, so.. use the way you want ! :)

a) In your opinion, are there (or have there to be) differences in the aesthetic and the realism of the sound when handling on "live" film or animated film. If yes, wich ones, and why? If no, why?

b) What do you think about next three hypothesis :

1) "Reality Effect" : traditional animation film is, by essence, soundless : the elements (components) that forms the film (figures, objects, sets, …) are mostly "silent" and even if they could produce sounds, the fact of shooting image by image makes it impossible to record live. The artificiallity or virtuality of the elements on screen creates a lack of credibility : the audience isn't naturally absorbed in the represented world. In movies in general, sound permits to locate elements "off screen", to create a world of which a great deal isn't seen at the screen. It has to be the same in animation film. But, as the characters are artificial here, there presence and activity doesn't exist for the audience unless by a "sound confirmation".
2) "Sound inspires life into the virtuals worlds of animation film" : in the same way as the animator gives live to his figures, the soundengineer gives them a lively dimension (thanks to the voices, the presences and the interactions of the character with his environment).
3) Most of the animationfilms are shot at 12 frames per second. The result is tolerably well for the audience, but nevertheless less fluid than in a "live" film. Sound is a constant component that permits "to link up the frames", to put a smooth coating upon the frames, and so reduce partly the "jerky appearance" of the 12fps format.

Thanking you in advance for your answer, Simon Elst

Greg responds...

To begin with, you don't need my permission to do a thesis on Gargoyles. But if you want my blessing, I say go for it!

a. I've never done live action, so I'm not the guy to ask about comparisons. I know we want what is real to sound real, and what isn't to sound innovative, spectacular and yet still real.

b.

1. I guess I'd buy that.

2. Sure.

3. We shoot at 24 frames per second, although we shoot on twos quite often, which makes it 12 drawings per second. Though I tend to agree with the general premise nevertheless.

Response recorded on July 29, 2008

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She Who Shall Remain Anonymous writes...

Hi, Greg! I was wondering, which character would you say is the one the audience is supposed to identify with? I would guess Brooklyn, or maybe Elisa.

Greg responds...

I don't really write this series that way. Each episode or issue defines its own parameters.

Response recorded on July 15, 2008

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Nelio writes...

In the background while I am playing on my MMORPG, I tend to have my DVDs going, which of course includes Gargoyles. Tonight I was watching Legion when I noticed the Gargoyles heading to an island north of the Statue of Liberty while chasing Coldstone. Out of curiosity, I decided to check google maps and see which island that was since I didn't think it was named in the show. TO my surprise, Ellis Island is not only in the exact location as in the show, but is incredibly accurate to what was show. I even managed to find the exact location in which Coldstone crash to on the fort there.

Likewise, in other episodes I have noticed an astonishing level of detail in Gargoyles, which I find to be very cool since it is placed in a real world location. To name a few, the Brooklyn Bridge (Reawakening), Belvedere Castle (High Noon), Central Park (various episodes), and so forth in the show. While I was a child, I never noticed just how much detail was there, but now that I am an adult, I can see just how much effort went into it.

My question to you: How much research did you put into these real world locations that appear on the show, and did you check to make sure that the art for the locations were accurate?

PS. Thanks for having a great and dedicated site where we the fans can ask you our questions! I only wished my other favorite shows had similar sites.

Greg responds...

I lived in New York for years. So I did very little locational research myself. Mostly relied on my memory. But our artists (both in L.A. and Tokyo) did TREMENDOUS amounts of research. I never had to check to make sure it was accurate. I trusted those guys and gals. And my trust seemed well-placed, don't you think?

Response recorded on June 07, 2008

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Dichellddrwg writes...

Hi Greg,

Of course I have to be a fanboy and say thank you very much for all your work with both the cartoon, comic and everything else you've devoted to this series. And thank you for how accessible you make yourself your fans. I know how easy it could be to just churn this stuff out and let it speak for itself, especially in light of some of the creepy stuff an obviously small minority have been doing. But you do really do go the extra mile, and for that, I think we're all appreciative.

Anyway, onto the question, and please forgive me if it's been asked. How much control does Disney currently hold on the comic. So to flesh it out a bit, when it was the cartoon, I have no doubt they they were quite involved in setting the boundaries of where the series could go thematically, in terms of character development and in overall tone. For example I'm sure they didn't want you going out too far with violence, character relations or anything else that may run counter to its image. So now that they are licensing their IP, do they require approval of scripts, story arcs, art and the such? Are their broad guidelines? Or is it simply yours to run with and develop as you see fit?

Anyway, thanks for time and effort; it's really appreciated by a lot of us.

Greg responds...

Well, back in the day... we were all "Disney". Full time employees. But I set "the boundaries of where the series would go thematically, in terms of character development and in overall tone."

They approve everything now, but I still set "the boundaries of where the series would go thematically, in terms of character development and in overall tone."

Response recorded on May 28, 2008

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Bill Rodebaugh writes...

Hello Greg,

I'm an animation fan....particular from the days when everything was animated in the US....such as the earlier Hanna-Barbara days or Filmation's cartoons. Has "Gargoyles" and the new animated "Spectacular Spiderman" animated overseas? Do you have direct input into all the stories that go or have gone into these series?

Sincerely,

Bill

Greg responds...

All the writing and voice recording for both shows are/were done in the US. On Spider-Man all of the pre-production and post-production as well. On Gargoyles, most of the pre-production was done in the U.S., but a few episodes were pre-produced at Walt Disney TV Japan, but under the supervision of myself and Frank Paur. All the post for Gargoyles was done in L.A.

The actual animation was/is done overseas. Gargoyles was about 1/3 Japan and 2/3 Korea (with a bit of China thrown in). Spidey is all animated in Korea at one of three studios: HanHo, DongWoo and Moi.

Response recorded on April 17, 2008

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Jess writes...

Hey Greg! I'm still keeping up with Spectacular Spider-Man and "Natural Selection" didn't disappoint. I feel like each episode is slightly stronger than the one before it as everyone gets more in-tune with the material and each other.

I think you found just the right note with the Billy subplot, where it was genuinely emotional and not cloying. I liked the "I took a cab" bit with Eddie at the zoo. Just a fun little jab a typical cartoon logic. I was not expecting Peter to be fired, so that was a cool moment for me as well. Somehow I have a feeling we'll be seeing the serum again.

Nice continuity nods with the ring-tone alarm, the mention of Electro, and especially Peter and Eddie calling each other "Bro", then having Spidey try to cover it up when he does the same.

One thing I noticed was that during Peter's voice-over before he plans on taking the serum is that he mentions "a hard 9PM curfew" where before it had always been 10.

The cast continues to be amazing (or rather spectacular). In particular, Kath Soucie and Lacey Chabert just completely nailed their parts this week.

Since this is "Ask Greg", I do have a quick question: For small parts i.e. the people at the coffee shop in "Interactions", or Thug #1 in this past episode do you have certain people in the cast in mind, or do you just ask whoever's in that day if they want to do it?

Thanks for your time!

Greg responds...

We plan ahead, dealing out our bit parts from among the actors who will be present for the session. SAG rules allow us to ask any actor to do one additional character for free.

Response recorded on April 10, 2008

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senthusan writes...

hi Mr. Greg i wanted to tell you that i enjoyed watching gargoyles. One question is when you ended the show, are you going to continue it from the comics in animated version this year because that would be wonderful for all the fans out there. also i wanted to ask you why did you end the show quick before in the 1996? thank ou very much.

Greg responds...

I didn't personally end it. I was released from Disney and they continued without me. Then they ended it, for a variety of reasons I've gone into ad nauseum in the past. Check the archives.

Response recorded on April 02, 2008

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legion writes...

you said before that you came up with the name Thailog from listening to Goliath's name backwards but wouldn't it be spelled/pronounced htailog instead of thailog?

Greg responds...

No. Sounds don't respect spelling conventions. "TH" is a sound. In any case, it sounded like Thailog.

Response recorded on March 18, 2008

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Jordan writes...

Hey Greg,

I caught the spider-man premire and I have to say it was one of the best saturday mornings I've had in years. Congrats to you and your crew.

In the time between Gargoyles and Spider-man, how would say the overall process of creating an animated show has changed, for better or worse?

Greg responds...

Mostly worse for me at least, because in those days I had the occasional ear of Michael Eisner. He was hard to sell, but if he said yes, we got to MAKE OUR SHOW with no more bologna attached. Nowadays getting a "yes" is nearly impossible as it's always a decision by committee. Heck it took them years to decide to make Spider-Man. I mean... Spider-Man?!! If any show is a no-brainer...

Response recorded on March 14, 2008

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Rebel writes...

Hi Greg, this is something I meant to ask in my earlier comment, but I forgot to. For the comic, how much direction do you give to your artists in coming up with the designs for new canon characters?

I am specifically referring to the two new London Gargoyles at the end of #7. I know you had mentioned before that the London gargs would look like unicorns, lions, or griffins. Did you change your mind recently, or had it always been your plan to make them look like other heraldry animals, and you were just teasing us? Did David Hedgecock talk you out of it? Did the two of you decide together what animals they would resemble, or had you already decided? If you chose beforehand, did you give him specific details about their appearance, or relatively vague details and let him come up with them himself? I would be interested to know any information you can tell me about this. I find the process of creating a character's look to be very interesting.

Also, feel free to volunteer information about the development of the designs of other new characters which have appeared in the comic. Shari, the Tasmanian tiger villain in Bad Guys, Coyote's new look, etc. Whatever comes to mind.

Greg responds...

Here's my description in the script of the two characters, minus a couple of personal details that I don't choose to reveal at this time:

• [New Male Gargoyle] - Biologically age 19. [New Male Gargoyle] is a gargoyle of the London Clan. His head is modeled off a large stag (i.e. male deer) with fairly magnificent silver antlers. He should have feathered white wings. And deer-like hooves for feet, but his hands should look like normal gargoyle hands. He should be tall (and feel even taller thanks to the antlers) and slim in build. Not so slim that he looks fragile, but he's definitely not the bulky type. This is a new character, but for inspiration take a look at UNA at http://lynativerse.artchicks.org/Screencaps/GL_Una.htm.
• [New Female Gargoyle] - Biologically age 19. [New Female Gargoyle] is another gargoyle of the London Clan, this one modeled off a wild boar or sow. She has a pig-snout and tusks. She is brown. Her wings are the more traditional bat-like wings we're familiar with. Normal gargoyle hands, more pig-like feet. She's medium-height, muscled and burly - nothing fragile about [New Female Gargoyle].

As you can see, the basic choices were mine, but I give Dave full credit for bringing them to life.

Here's my descriptions of the other characters you asked about (and some you didn't)...

• COYOTE 5.0 - This is only SORT OF a new character. Basically, there have been four Coyote robots that preceded this one. They all have a lot in common thematically, but they're all different too. And lucky you get to design the new one! To see Coyotes 1-4, check out: http://gargoyles.dracandros.com/Coyote_%28robot%29 or the episodes "Leader of the Pack" (for Coyote 1.0) and "Upgrade" (for Coyote 2.0) both on the Season Two, Volume One DVD. (Coyotes 3.0 & 4.0 aren't out on DVD yet.) Note the basic color scheme and the coyote-head motif. And the fact that all the later robots have a circular VID-SCREEN that displays an image of a robotic head. The head appears to be half-Xanatos and half-robot-skull. This version of the robot will have the large Coyote Diamond inside its chest cavity… with lasers shooting into it. We may want a transparent cover for that, so we can see the Diamond even after the cavity is closed. Or not. In either case, Coyote 5.0 should be BIG.
• SHARI - Arabic female, age 18. A pretty, goth-teen runaway type. She wears a lot of chains, necklaces, pendants, etc. around her neck. [Shari was also visually inspired by a real person, and I provided Dave with a photo as reference.]
• DETECTIVE CEDRIC HARRIS - African-American male.
• DETECTIVE TRI CHUNG - Chinese-Vietnamese male.
• TERRY CHUNG - Asian-American boy, age 12. He's wearing a GOLIATH Halloween costume.
• AMBASSADOR CHUNG - Terry's mother, age 42. She's a short Asian-American woman, wearing a white evening gown and carrying a white, feathered mask on a stick.
• QUINCY HEMINGS - He appears to be about 60. African-American. Gray hair, trim build. He's dressed in a white tuxedo jacket with epaulets and gold buttons. White gloves, a red bow tie, black pants. He has for decades been the "Chief Steward" at the White House, a job loosely based on the job of Chief Usher. See http://www.whitehousehistory.org/06/subs/06_a07.html for info on Chief Ushers.
• TASMANIAN TIGER - (Age 24.) The Tasmanian Tiger is a somewhat clichéd costumed super-villain. His garb is inspired by the extinct Tasmanian Tiger (a.k.a. the Thylacine), and he's flanked by two actual (cloned) THYLACINES (Benjamin & Natasha). (See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thylacine.) His costume is largely form fitting with black tiger stripes and a cowl with Tiger ears and clawed gauntlets. On his chest is a symbol with two interlocking letter Ts. (Similar to the interlocking Ds on Daredevil's costume: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Daredevil41.jpg.) The Tasmanian Tiger also carries a large blaster weapon.
• BENJAMIN - A male Thylacine, one of Tasmanian Tiger's trained pets. To see how wide a thylacine's jaw can open, check out http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Tasmanian_tiger.gif.
• NATASHA - A female Thylacine; the Tiger's other trained pet.

As you can see, sometimes I gave quite a bit of detail, sometime I pretty much left nearly the entire design to Dave or Karine or Nir's imagination. Usually, the artist does a design and sends it to me. We might do a bit of back and forth on it... but honestly, looking at the above list, with the exception of Quincy (who started out looking a bit too old and jowly for my tastes), I feel like the artists hit all of these characters on the first time out.

Response recorded on January 17, 2008

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Antiyonder writes...

With issue six, we finally got to read one of your Untold Tales for Gargoyles. Some others that I've heard about on Ask Greg:

1. You never gave a title, but this was set in New York during The Avalon World Tour. You mentioned that this story had Xanatos taking advantage of Goliath's absence.

2. Hobgoblins Of Little Minds.

3. The Weird Macbeth.

4. Arthur's adventure between Avalon Part Three and Pendragon.

5. The Multitrickster story.

Aside from those five, are there any other stories that you planned for the first two season, but never got to? Not asking for spoilers, just a yes or a no. I'll understand if you don't want to answer though.

Greg responds...

Well, saying I "planned them for the first two seasons" isn't really accurate for ANY of the above, including 3 and 5, which we considered doing in season two. But I have other stories from that era like 1 and 4 that I can/will tell some day. But 2, 3 and 5 haven't happenned yet in the continuity.

Response recorded on October 30, 2007

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Don't Want to Give My Name writes...

What happened to the helicopter Lexington modified from the episode "Her Brother's Keeper"? It wasn't destroyed at the end of the episode so why don't the gargoyles continue to use it? Did they dismantle it off camera. If not, what did they do with it?

Greg responds...

They hid it. They generally don't have much use for it.

And personally, it's a source of frustration for me. We were ... shall we say... "encouraged" to put the helicopter in for Kenner. We jumped through hoops in that story to make it believable (to the extent that it is) and then Kenner never made that toy. I'm not saying it never existed, but I can't forsee bringing it back. Though that's not etched in stone.

Response recorded on October 26, 2007

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Algernon writes...

Hey Greg, long time reader, first time asker. I just had a few "behind the scenes questions about the new Gargoyles comic.

1) Have you ever considered inviting back writers from the TV series, such as Cary Bates or Michael Reeves to do guest writer shots on the comic?

2) Beyond drawing the covers, how much involvement does Greg Gruler have with the comic? For example, does he have any input on the design of new characters?

Greg responds...

1. There really isn't enough money to afford to pay me to edit and anyone else to write. So as cool as it would be to have Cary or Michael, you guys are stuck with me.

2. It's inconsistent. Greg is a busy, busy guy. Mostly, David's been designing his own new characters, including Shari. Nir designed Quincy.

Response recorded on October 25, 2007

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Landon "Lumpmoose" Thomas writes...

Hello, long-time reader, first time asker. I just caught "Ken 10" and loved it. I think it's one of the best Ben 10 episodes yet, and that's saying a lot. I love seeing the shades of Gargoyles in there with your fearlessness in shaking things up, adding drama, introducing new characters, and playing with the time line. It makes me all the more excited for Spectacular Spider-man (congrats on the 26-episode pick-up, by the way).

I'm currently pondering a career in sound design/editing/engineering. Animation is my passion and that's what I'd like to work with, at least partially (i.e. I can't draw). You've mentioned Advantage Audio in the past as the Gargoyles post-production house. Advantage Audio looks like a great place to work, but it surprises me that Disney television animation would contract out for audio work on one of their flagship products.

1) I know smaller animation studios usually contract out for audio post-production, but how often do the big studios, like WDTVA, WB, Cartoon Network, and Nickelodeon, use external post-production houses?

b) Do they even have in-house audio teams? If so, how often do they use them?

c) Just out of curiosity, what does Culver Entertainment do?

2) The thing I'm worried about most is being 'merely' a tech grunt in the audio production field. In your opinion, how much creativity is there in the audio post-production field?

b) How closely do you, as a writer/producer/director, work with audio teams? Do you just pass the work on and expect an end-product?

3) This is a personal, limited-in-scope question of which you may have no opinion. I'm currently in Minneapolis with a BA in theatre, minor in computer science, and very little audio experience. I'm pondering going to Full Sail for a trained-by-the-best kind of thing. Does that school stick out for you or would a local tech school and/or experience be good enough to break into the big time?

Thanks for any help! I know questions weren't strictly Gargoyles-related, but Gargoyles was what inspired me to steer into the entertainment industry in the first place!

Greg responds...

Thanks for the congrats.

1. None of the studios I've ever worked with in Television Animation have their own post houses.

b. Never.

c. Each show is different, but as far as Spidey's concerned, we'll probably make a decision in the next couple weeks as to which audio post house we'll be using.

2. Tons. But it depends on what you mean by creativity. Obviously, you're coming at the piece near the end of the process. You're not writing the story or animating the picture, but you are breathing life into it with sound, and there are a tons of choices to be made. The producers (if not the executives) have final say of course, but a great engineer or sound fx designer makes all the difference in the world.

b. I discuss things with the team, they go to town and then I'm present for the mix (at the very least). I don't just hand it off and cross my fingers that I'll like what comes back, but I also don't stand over their shoulders while the sound is being designed.

3. I've never heard of "Full Sail", but frankly I don't know this arena very well, so don't judge by me.

Good luck!

Response recorded on October 12, 2007

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Michael writes...

Hi Greg. First, I just wanted to say thanks for everything. For shaping Gargoyles the way it is. For being so open and accessible and involved with the fans.

In "Silver Falcon" Mace pretends to be this G. F. Benton character. I was wondering if there was anything behind the name G. F. Benton? Is it just something Cary Bates pulled out of thin air or was there a deeper meaning (as it seems is the case for a lot of what's put into an episode of Gargoyles).

Thanks again.

Greg responds...

No, not Mace. Dominic pretends to be G.F. Benton. I'm not aware of any significance to the Benton name, but you'd have to "Ask Cary" to be sure.

Response recorded on July 13, 2007

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jordan writes...

Were the major thems created in the series intended to have real world meaning, or were they merely for plot motion?

Greg responds...

Both, if I'm understanding you correctly.

Response recorded on June 25, 2007

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Todd Jensen writes...

I noticed that in #3 and #4, we got to see a lot of familiar faces from the "minor characters", more than we usually saw in the average episode of "Gargoyles" in its first two seasons. These two issues, put together, included the following cast members (all ones from the first two seasons) besides the clan, Elisa, and the Xanatoses (including Owen): Matt Bluestone, Officer Morgan, Phil Travanti (in the sense that he showed up as Morgan's partner in a couple of episodes such as "Temptation", though unnamed), Margot and Brendan, Agent Hacker, Jason Canmore, Demona, Al, the Mutates (except for Fang), the Clones, Castaway, Thailog, Billy and Susan and their mother, Jeffrey Robbins, Gilgamesh, and Judge Roebling. Perhaps it's only my imagination, but this seems like a larger cross-section of the characters than I remember seeing in the televised episodes.

Does this have anything to do with the fact that you're now telling the story in the medium of a comic book, which means that you don't have to worry about paying voice actors and can thus freely bring more people into each episode? Or is this merely the result of the accumulation of characters in the original 65 episodes? ("The Journey", even in its televised form, itself had a substantial cast, including, alongside the clan, Elisa, the Xanatoses and Castaway, the following figures: Travis Marshall, the Jogger, Vinnie, Sarah Greene, Matt Bluestone, Banquo and Fleance, Margot, and Macbeth.)

Greg responds...

It's really a combination of both. As I work on Spider-Man now, I have an on-going fight budgetarily as to how many characters I can put in any given episode... or rather how many actors I can hire. (It helps some when actors double up. For example, if I've got Brooklyn in an episode, I can get Owen for free. But if I also need the Magus, then Jeff Bennett get's a small additional payment. But if I ALSO need Bruno, then Jeff gets a FULL SECOND payment, as if I had hired a second actor to play Bruno. If I also want Matrix, I can get him for free with Bruno. If I also want young Macbeth, though, I need to make a second small additional payment. But if I ALSO need Vinnie, then I'm paying Jeff the same as three full other actors. And so on, heck with folks like Jeff or, say, Kath Soucie, this thing could go on ad infinitum.)

So, yeah, there is a certain liberation that comes with all the voices being in our heads and not behind actual microphones.

Beyond that, there's the scope thing. Look at Joss Whedon's new "Hey, no limits on my special effects or cast of thousands" Buffy comic. Same thing to some extent. I want the scope of the comic to be larger, because that's one of the strengths of that particular medium.

And still, part of it is VERY organic to the universe that we so carefully built through 65 television episodes. Nothing is wasted, and even the smallest character often inspired story ideas for me. (And I've had a decade to muse on all their stories, so frankly things are way MORE planned out now than they were back in the day, when we did plan ahead, but when our deadline pressure on the writing side was so incredibly crushing that often we were lucky as much as we were smart.) So it's natural that more and more of them will begin to have larger and larger roles. Some will whisp away for many issues and reappear when you least expect them. Others will be a constant presense. Others may not survive. Such is life...

Response recorded on June 08, 2007

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Gerin writes...

Hi Greg,

thanks again for taking the time to communicate with the community. Today, I have a few questions about the gargoyle designs:

1) On the show, the further the show progresses, the more varied the gargoyle design becomes. Originally, the gargoyles have a rather human look, but with time some of them cross the border to animalic. I'm thinking about the London Gargoyles in particular. How did these character design decisions, for example for lion-, eagle- and horse-heads and the bird wings, come about? Did you, the production crew, argue about such designs among each other? Or was it something that everybody accepted immediately?

2) I believe I remember a piece of promotional art that features Bronx with very small wings on the back. Why was it decided to remove those wings?

3) For the show, when you came upon a story that involved new gargoyles, what was the design process? Was there a lot of moving-sketches-back-and-forth, approving and rejecting designs, or were you usually contend with the first design you got?

4) Unfortunately, so far I have only seen the covers of the comic. But I wonder: why has the change to a bare-midriff look for Angela been made? Was it just a hunch of the artists, or were there more serious thoughts behind this?

Thanks in advance for answering and all your work.

Greg responds...

1. I don't remember any fighting over the London designs. MANY, many "gargoyles" in England are based on heraldic forms, and that's what we followed. It all fits into our backward extrapolation for why humans started sculpting faux gargoyles to safeguard their buildings.

2. Bronx never had wings. Bronx did have ears that acted as tiny wings and allowed him to hover a few inches off the ground. It was a comedy-development holdover, and Frank Paur jetissoned it when he came aboard.

3. Some of each.

4. It was a discussion between Greg Guler and myself to consciously make her look a bit sexier and more grown up, as she embarked on a more adult relationship with Broadway. And if her new look called up memories of Demona... well, so much the better.

Response recorded on June 01, 2007

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Jonny Modlin writes...

Hi Greg,
Where is Buena Vista Home Entertainment located in? Thank you.

Greg responds...

Burbank.

Response recorded on May 11, 2007

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Gerin writes...

Hey Greg,

thank you very much for communicating with fans for all these years. Really cool!

Was so glad to read you liked "Firefly" and "Serenity". So, my questions:

1) Did you ever meet Joss Whedon? If yes, do you know if saw "Gargoyles"? Did he like it? I'd ask him myself, but there is no "Ask Joss", and it would be interesting to know if you two ever talked about your shows.

2) I realize "Gargoyles" and "Firefly" differ in almost every regard, but I'm still aching to understand why my favourite shows always get axed prematurely. So, do you see any similarities between the two shows? Any common ground regarding their discontinuation other than their ratings not living up to expectations? Why is it that these shows did not catch on more? Is there something you and Joss maybe learned from it?

3) How would you explain that "Firefly" got a movie, whereas the "Gargoyles"-movie hasn't been made (yet)? Was it luck, was it that Disney would never let go of a property the way Fox has for "Serenity"?

Thanks for your time, all the best, can't wait for the comics to appear in Europe.

Greg responds...

1. I've never met Joss Whedon. But I'm a huge fan of his. I doubt I'm on his radar though. Though it's nice to IMAGINE he's a fan.

2. Um, Gargoyles did NOT get axed prematurely. Elsewhere on this site, probably in the FAQ, you can read about all the reasons why the series was not renewed for a fourth season (or rather a second season of Goliath Chronicles). But we did 65 episodes of Gargoyles (not counting TGC). That's a FULL order.

3. DVD sales mostly. Joss Whedon being Joss Whedon too. But mostly they had stellar DVD sales, we did not.

Response recorded on May 03, 2007

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Matt writes...

How does the writing process differ between the comic and the show? Since you guys often butted heads over ideas for the show, and ultimately ended up making good decisions, do you feel that being the sole writer of the comic loses that synergy?

Greg responds...

Probably. That's inevitable. But there's still quite a bit of collaboration with the various artists on the book, and that helps.

And frankly, no one else has been as immersed in this as I have been, so at this stage I might chafe a bit more than I did back then, when we were ALL coming to it fresh.

Response recorded on May 03, 2007

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Todd Jensen writes...

You've mentioned before that Vinnie's departure for Japan and his parting words to Goliath in "The Journey" (back when it was a television episode) were in part an allegory for your leaving "Gargoyles" (and Disney). I noticed that his farewell to Goliath was also in #2 of the Gargoyles comic. Did it feel odd to you to write those words again, knowing that this time around, your situation was the opposite of Vinnie's (and of your situation when you were writing them the first time), that instead of leaving the gargoyles, you were returning to them?

Greg responds...

Only if I made the effort to think about it, frankly. The truth is there are little inspirations to all sorts of things throughout Gargoyles. But once it becomes part of the canon, it is what it is. So long ago, I internalized Vinnie's departure as part of the tapestry. And the behind the scenes reason why I did it became less important than the effect it had on his character and the rest of the highly interconnected Gargoyles Universe.

Response recorded on April 20, 2007

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Vaevictis Asmadi writes...

Hello Greg!
I haven't got the newest issues of the comic yet, I have to wait until they are available on Amazon. But in the meantime I wanted to write while the queue is open.
I watched Gargoyles when I was a kid and I really liked it, especially the mythology and medieval history episodes such as City of Stone. At the time, although I enjoyed City of Stone (and it is still my favorite episode) I thought it was peculiar to depict Macbeth as the hero. Of course, now I know that City of Stone is actually more historically accurate than Shakespeare's play.
Unfortunately I only saw a few episodes before it was cancelled/moved, and I didn't remember much of it. I'd pretty much forgotten about the show years ago, until I went to the Gargoyles panel at Convergence last year and was reminded about it. That panel was a good idea to tell people about the DVDs and comic, and to encourage old fans to get back into the show. But unfortunately for me, I hadn't known yet about things like Owen/Puck which you revealed at the panel.
I've gotten the two DVD sets so far (with some help from my parents) and having watched all the episodes so far, plus the rest on Toon Disney, I have to say how great a show Gargoyles is/was. It's like the old Batman and X-Men shows in being much more than just a cartoon. Of course the major draw for me is the gargoyles themselves which are a very interesting and appealing race, and visually pretty awesome. I've always loved the way gargoyles look, physically. I especially like their feet and talons, for some reason. Wings are also good. I also remember how I was very happy when Goliath came to Avalon and discovered that the species was not extinct after all. I love that the gargoyles from different parts of the world are the sources of various mythical creatures, and I'm very curious what the Chinese, Korean, New Olympian, and Loch Ness gargoyles look like.
I'm looking forward to getting a hold of issues 2 and 3 so I can get up to date but I also have some questions about the Gargoyles universe that are not answered in the archives. The setting is a pretty interesting one and I'm curious about some things. I don't want to flood the queue all of a sudden so I'm only starting with a single question:

Why did you choose to make the gargoyles an entirely "natural" species instead of being inherently magical like the Third Race? (natural is in quotes because, I suppose magic is a natural part of the Garg universe) What I mean is, why did you choose to have biological explanations for their evolution, wings, stone sleep, and great strength, instead of using magical explanations? Was it just more to your taste or was there a more specific reason, thematically or within-the-setting, that you didn't want them to be a magical species?
(I'm not trying to say your biological explanations don't work, I'm just curious about your choice from a thematic point of view)

Greg responds...

We didn't want to make them inherently magical for a number of reasons. We didn't want them to be a "created" race. Creatures that could be woven and unwoven by magic. Or brought to life from stone and returned to unlife from stone. You get the idea. We wanted, in essence, to put them on equal footing with humans in terms of inheriting the Earth, so to speak. Creationists or Evolutionists or IntelligentDesignists or whateverelseists should see Gargoyles and Humans as equivalent. Whatever method was used to create humans (choose your poison) is the same method that was used to create Gargoyles.

There's an essay by Stephen J. Gould called something like "Equality is a contingent fact of human history". It's just worked out biologically that all sentient creatures are the same species Homo Sapiens Sapiens. But how would we deal if there were another species...? Gould probably influenced me more than I realized, come to think of it.

Response recorded on March 30, 2007

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Anonymous writes...

I know you've stated multiple times that in the original sort of series outline, Broadway was going to be a female named Coco, but that got changed due to several different factors (fear of showing an overweight female, target demogaphic, action figures, etc). After you decided to change Broadway's gender, was there ever any move/idea to make any of the other Manhattan gargs (Brooklyn, Lex, Bronx, or Hudson) female? If so, why didn't it happen?

Greg responds...

There was no thought to do that.

Response recorded on March 13, 2007

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Dr.No writes...

Hi Greg, I just bought the season 1 DVD because I had found a new interest in the show after reading some stuff on the internet. I was a fan of the show when I was younger and like some other animated series now on DVD that I have, I appreciate the show more now then I did back in 94. Ramblings aside, My question is if by some miracle you got the chance to do a continuation to the series, would you approve if someone changed the designs of the characters to be more streamlined so the animators overseas could stay on model more consistantly. I hope to hear back and I'll get season 2 soon(Y).

Greg responds...

Not if I could help it. I think our designs were fairly streamlined. Frank Paur saw to that. We did get off model sometimes, but no more than any show. Generally, I think we rocked. If it ain't broke, etc.

Response recorded on January 03, 2007

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Osman Rashid writes...

I notice that in many, many tv shows--when you consider their history --as in, all that has happened to the characters/all the adventures had--the totality is simply ridiculous. Even that show on FOX called "24"--which prides itself on being highly serialized--suffers from this problem. One of the reason's I loved Gargoyles was that the show's sense of history never seemed ridiculous. How did you and your writers manage to avoid this problem?

Greg responds...

Have we?

Well... I guess part of the plan was to present the show in real time. It may feel more believable because we're not forcing a lifetime of events into an artificial time frame. Maybe.

Or maybe it helps that we have such a large ensemble cast. Because events aren't all heaped onto a single character, but spread out among the cast, it helps. Maybe.

Response recorded on December 01, 2006

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Krista writes...

How do Goliath and Angela and Elisa communicate with the Guatamalen clan and the Japanese clan? Are they all speaking English? It would make sense (sort of) if all gargoyles understood each other... but then Elisa talks with them also... could you help me here?

Greg responds...

The short answer is that they're all speaking English. This was a production choice made at the beginning of the World Tour by Frank Paur. Later, Frank changed his mind, and we tried to convince our bosses to let us redo some stuff -- especially in "Bushido". But our bosses vetoed the idea of us going OVERbudget for the sake of putting some dialogue in subtitles, which at least a percentage of our audience couldn't read.

Since then, other ideas have occured to me...

Response recorded on November 09, 2006

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Todd Jensen writes...

Thanks for the "Cloud Fathers" ramble, Greg!

I will confess that I can't remember from my first-time viewing whether I was surprised or not by the revelation at the end that Carlos Maza had passed on. However, I do find myself wondering, whenever I watch it on tape now, whenever either Elisa or Beth asks Peter if he wants to "go visit grandfather" while he's in town, how many first-time viewers did suspect that Carlos was dead, and how many were surprised.

Arizona, incidentally, now has a little more personal significance to me than it did when the episode first aired; my mother and stepfather moved there a few years ago (they live in the Phoenix area). They've sometimes mentioned Flagstaff in conversations with me, but haven't as yet mentioned anything about sand-carvings of Coyote or Kachina dancers. :)

Xanatos's "cliched villainy" line is a particular favorite of mine; only Xanatos would make such a remark! Though the bit where he admits that he has no desire to kill Goliath or any of the other gargoyles - this is just a necessary part of his coyote-trap - definitely stands out to me as well. You don't see the main antagonist saying that to the hero too often in an animated adventure series!

I liked the touch of the Cauldron of Life being incorporated into Coyote 4.0. (As I mentioned once in chat, it reminds me a bit of the scene in "Camelot 3000" where Mordred incorporates the Holy Grail into his armor.) The mention of the iron obviously was a foreshadowing of what was coming in the very next episode. (Was Xanatos's follow-up remark of "Ironic" intended as a pun, by the way?)

I also got a kick out of the mild confusion over "Which Coyote are we talking about here?" - the best part of all being when Coyote the Trickster threatens to sue Xanatos for trademark infringement. (And Xanatos's response that he's a "trickster at heart" rings true to me - the man's living proof that you don't have to be a Child of Oberon to be a trickster. He fulfills the archetype just as surely as Puck, Raven, and the rest do.)

I hadn't noticed the similarity of the Coyote robot to Wile E. Coyote until you mentioned it here at "Ask Greg" (not in this ramble, but in earlier answers to questions), but I certainly see it now. (Though, judging from the name of a certain merchant in "Vendettas", Coyote the robot isn't the only "Gargoyles" character to be influenced by Wile E. Coyote!)

So the multiple trickster story was what you'd originally planned for the Puck-and-Alex story before you decided to merge it with the Cold Trio for "Possession"?

Thanks for another enjoyable ramble, Greg.

Greg responds...

I'm not sure the iron/ironic thing was an intentional pun. But it was so long ago, I may have forgotten.

The Multi-Trickster story was indeed slotted for our 64th episode... with Reckoning planned as our 65th. Then at some point, we learned that Hunter's Moon would not be a direct to video, but would instead have to be folded into our regular series. So HM1-3 became episodes 63-65. Reckoning was moved back to 61, so that we'd have at least a little Demona distance between Reckoning and HM. And then we had to combine a few springboards to make room for Hunters Moon. (For example, Vendettas was a combo of two springboards: (1) Vinnie's Vendetta and (2) Hakon & Wolf's Vendetta.)

So another couple of springboards we combined were the Multi-Trickster story and the Coldtrio story. Cary Bates and I worked the combo for some time, but we finally RAN OUT OF TIME. We were on deadline, and we just couldn't crack a story with so much going on. So we simplified back down to one Trickster, i.e. Puck.

Response recorded on October 26, 2006

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Chris Roman writes...

Greg, as a fellow Disney-ite (well, currently on 'hiatus' as Disney waits to see if American Dragon does well), I was disturbed by your recent complaint about heading up the writing staff of WITCH, but it being 'non-union'. How does that work? Didn't Disney hire you to write for the series, or did the French animation company officially hire you? Isn't this something you could bring up with Steve Heulett and the Union?

Just concerned about Disney's apparent disdain for following Union protocols of late...
-Chris Roman

Greg responds...

Hey, Chris.

I was hired by SIP Animation in Paris. They are my bosses. Thus the show is non-union... and there's nothing TAG can do about it.

Disney subcontracted production of the series to SIP (which they partially own). This, I'm sure, was done for financial reasons, in particular the subsidies that the French government provides for "European content". (WITCH was originally created as a comic book in Italy by Disney Publishing Italy.) The fact that the series would then be non-union was, I believe, a financial bonus for Disney.

Response recorded on October 25, 2006

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Joey Conaway writes...

Hey Greg I bought the GARGOYLES DVD today and I have enjoyed it already here is my question
to ya

How long did it take yall to do the animation and get the voice overs
for Disney at that time please let me know thanks

Greg responds...

It took ten months for every step. (It's called a ten-month sliding schedule.)

That is we had ten months to write the scripts. Ten months to record the voices. Ten months to storyboard. Ten months to animate. Etc. But all of those various "ten months" overlapped. The whole process was probably more like 14 months.

Response recorded on September 21, 2006

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Entity writes...

Mr. Weisman, I watched "The Edge" today and found myself amazed by how well you and the writers (in this case, Michael Reeves) pulled off your surprise endings. They were always shocking without feeling 'cheap.' This is because they always make perfect sense in the context of the episode, once you know what's really up. I think the way you accomplished this, without resorting to manipulative or dishonest tactics, was to make the viewer feel like he was in control. For instance, in "The Edge," the viewer is happy to believe Xanatos has created a new, more advanced Steel Clan robot. That would have been a cool plot development in and of itself, and something the viewer felt he grasped better than the gargoyles did. In "The Price," the viewer knows that Macbeth is immortal, while the gargoyles do not, so he feels more in control than the gargoyles. Perhaps this even results in a sort of gracious laze-of-mind in the viewer, by which you and the writers used the gargoyles' naivete, both of the modern world and of the show's arching plot, as a way of lulling us into a false sense of security. Was this a conscious tactic? Is it something you and the show's writers saw yourselves pulling off or was it business-as-usual? Is such stuff taught in television writing classrooms? I've never seen another show pull off its surprise endings quite as remarkably as Gargoyles. The very first time you pull one off is "The Thrill of the Hunt," an episode that could well have ended, just as "The Edge," after the gargoyles turned to stone. But like "The Sixth Sense," you kept going, and in the process, turned what would have been merely "good" stories into great ones. These episodes and the others like them were not created for the sole purpose of their surprise endings. They were flesh-and-blood stories that you and the writers ended with surprises nonetheless. Most of the praise for Gargoyles goes to its multiethnicity, its voice cast, its music, its gothic atmosphere, the dialogue (which you claim was sixth-grade level, but I've never read a newspaper article as verbose as Goliath), and all deservedly so, but one of the most enduring aspects of all were the shock endings.

Greg responds...

I'm glad that stuff works for you. It worked for us.

The main drive behind endings like that was a desire not to undercut our lead villains. Villains get tiresome when they lose all the time. And heroes are pointless if they lose all the time. (It's fun and dramatic and right to have both sides lose occasionally. But if either side loses ALL the time... well then where's the drama?)

But if a hero wins the battle and then we secretly reveal (in our patented Xanatos tags) that he may still be losing the war, then that keeps both sides interesting.

So it's not shock value for shock value's sake. But it lead us down a path that gave you the surprises you enjoyed. It forced us to always look BEHIND the obvious. Forced us to work harder. Then, I think the trick is to play fair. We may not reveal all, and -- your right -- our characters (human and gargoyle alike) may make incorrect assumptions about the situation, but all the clues are there from the moment the "PREVIOUSLY ON GARGOYLES..." starts to roll. (In fact, sometimes I feared that too many clues were planted.) By playing fair you get that double whammy at the end... both the surprise but also the "Of course..." That feeling that it's right. That it's not cheating. That in fact nothing else could possibly make sense.

Perhaps the ultimate example of that was the Owen/Puck revelation.

As for whether that's taught in writing classes? None specifically that I've taken. I've touched on it, here and there, in a couple of the classes that I've taught over the years. But I don't think I've ever focused a lesson plan on this point either. It's very much at the fine tuning end of the spectrum. Not something you'd get into in a survey course.

Response recorded on September 13, 2006

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snoop g'rgg writes...

Subject:controversial scenes
Greg did you ever recieve a lashback from some of the episodes Disney aired during its run ala Eye of the Beholder Fox's brief nude scene, Elisa removing her bottom gown (On this note some perves were ready to see Elisa in her panties, Which thank God you guys place a mini skirt instead also I bet you'll anticipated parent viewers on the The Mirror episode where Goliath falls showing under his loincloth and finally were you taking a risk on the Hunter's Moon episode where Elisa gives Goliath a kiss?

Greg responds...

I think the Fox thing was a bit of a risk, though none of the other things you mentioned. (You're exagerating the loincloth bit where we had full wrap-around, so to speak.) But no, there was no "lashback" at all about these scenes or episodes.

The only thing that comes close to what you are describing is the episode "Deadly Force". We had no outcry over it at the time, quite the reverse, we received a lot of praise for it. But later, Toon Disney refused to air it for years because of the realistic depiction of violence (the exact thing we were praised for). I'm told they do air it now though.

Response recorded on August 30, 2006

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Todd Jensen writes...

Just so that I've gotten this straight - so in the very first outline for "Mark of the Panther", it was were-jaguars rather than were-panthers? I'm glad that that was changed; since jaguars live in South America rather than Africa, it'd be pretty strange seeing one (ordinary or were) showing up in Nigeria.

Greg responds...

Yep, and that's why the change was made of course. We got the beast wrong. So we fixed it.

Response recorded on August 23, 2006

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Joey writes...

If Gargoyles hadn't (temporarily) ended when it did, would it still be going or would you have run out of material by now? 10 years is a lot of episodes. How many eps per season would there have been anyways? 13, 52, or somewhere in between.

Greg responds...

Well, there are SO many "ifs" in your hypothetical question, I don't know how to evalute the specifics. But I am QUITE confident that I would not have run out of material by now. The new comic book can easily go twice that long assuming sales support us.

As for how many episodes per season, that's a financial question, not a creative one. We didn't do 13 in season one and 52 in season two for creative reasons, but for financial ones. Likewise the decision to make 13 in Season 3 (Goliath Chronicles) was again financial. So in the intervening seasons, the answer is zero per season, for what Disney perceived as financial reasons. So how to evaluate financials for a hypothetical non-existent season is impossible.

Response recorded on August 22, 2006

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DPH writes...

How exactly did you come to realize that Puck and Owen were the same person?

Was it because you looking at who Puck had served and needed somebody?

Greg responds...

I can't believe I haven't answered this before here. But since Todd didn't field this one, I guess I haven't... or at least not here at ASK GREG.

Anyway... No.

We always knew there was something special about Owen, but didn't know what it was at first. Then when we first started working on "The Mirror" and created Puck, it suddenly occured to me that Puck was Owen. An epiphany. I immediately called Brynne Chandler Reaves and Lydia Marano. The conversation went something like this...

Greg: "I just realized: Owen is Puck!"

Brynne & Lydia: "We know!"

It was just so right. The references in "The Mirror" to Puck "serving the human" and in "City of Stone, Part One" to Owen being "the tricky one" were put in post-epiphany.

Response recorded on August 21, 2006

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Rhonda writes...

Hi Greg,

I have been a huge fan of Gargoyles for years. It still remains my favorite TV series of all time. One of the reasons I was so pulled in was the intricate storyline. I love the way we were clued in, little by little, to what happened in the past, real identities, and real motives of the characters. My favorite moment was when Owen was revealed to be Puck. I literally fell off my chair!

I've always wondered how far in advance you would plan out the episodes. It seems like you must have had the entire storyline in your head before you sat down to write a single one. Or were these things thought up as you went? (Maybe one day you just thought, "Wouldn't it be cool if it turned out that Owen was really Puck?"). Did you come up with Demona and MacBeth's entire storyline in the very beginning?

Thanks in advance. I truly hope that I can have the pleasure of enjoying new Gargoyles episodes some day in the future.

Greg responds...

Not everything was figured out from day one, no.

For example, while working on "The Mirror" it suddenly occured to me that Owen was Puck. Note the phraising. It wasn't: "Wouldn't it be cool if it turned out that Owen was really Puck?" It was more like: "Oh my God, Owen IS Puck."

I immediately called writer Lydia Marano and Story Editor Brynne Chandler to tell them. They're response: "We KNOW!!"

That's when you know a show is working... when the characters tell you there truths. When it all just feels right.

Much of course, was planned out in advance. I didn't have all the details down, but in "Awakening" we knew that Demona was lying about sleeping for a thousand years. Certainly by "Enter Macbeth", I knew the broad strokes of Macbeth and Demona's relationship.

We did have a plan.

I still do for that matter.

Response recorded on June 13, 2006

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GargFan1995-present writes...

Hi, Greg!

I was wondering if there were any plans to release the Mighty Ducks series (which you worked on), the Aladdin series (which you worked on), or the Tail Spin series (which you worked on) onto DVD. What's the latest word at Disney about that?

Greg responds...

I have no idea about the if or whens of these series being released on DVD. Keep in mind, I don't actually work at Disney anymore. Haven't since 1996.

For the record, none of these three series were shows I had that much to do with.

I led the original development team on Mighty Ducks, but then I moved over to do Gargoyles, and I had nothing to do with the production of the series and its simultaneous redevelopment.

On TaleSpin, I was a junior creative exec giving notes on stories, trying to be helpful. I also did the voice of one of the Pandas of Panda-La: "Father, the rockets aren't working!"

On Aladdin, I was involved with the development of the series, particularly with "The Return of Jafar". I had little to do with the production on this one either. (Although a bit more than Mighty Ducks.)

Response recorded on February 16, 2006

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French Kitty writes...

First of all, I just want to say that Gargoyles is the BEST cartoon series ever made! You and your working crew did an amazing job at bringing it to life.

So, yeah. My question:
Why doesn't Elisa ever change her clothes? I know she changes clothes and her closet is probably filled with a lot of black T-shirts and a lot of blue jeans, but she would have looked great in the outfits from the comics. Or at least something similar.

But nonetheless, I LOVE the show and I am crossing my fingers for more episodes!
I also can't wait for the DVD to come out! I am SOO buying it! Thanx for your time. >^-^<

Greg responds...

Well, she did change her clothes occasionally. La Belle Elisa dress that she wore on Halloween and "Eye of the Beholder". The tough girl outfits she put together for "Protection" and "Turf". The clothes she wore briefly in episodes like "Hunter's Moon, Part One" and "Eye of the Storm". The dress she wore in "The Journey". There may be a couple of more examples that I can't think of at the moment.

The short REALITY answer is that redesigning new clothes for her every episode would have been prohibitively expensive and cause multiple animation errors overseas. So we limited her wardrobe changes to situations where story called for it.

Think of her standard outfit as a dramatic conceit.

Within the show, I just think that's a look she's comfortable with. I pretty much where the same outfit everyday myself. Tennis shoes, jeans and a t-shirt. Of course I don't wear the same t-shirt everyday. I have black t-shirts, white t-shirts, red t-shirts. And most of them have some kind of decal or design on them. But...

Anyway, the plan for the comic book is to start giving her a wider variety of costumes. But we still love that red jacket, blue jeans and black t-shirt. So that won't go away.

Response recorded on February 15, 2006

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Z writes...

Greg,
You have said that you thought of the Timedancer spinoff too late in the game to consider producing it, which brought this to my mind.
I'm trying to get a feel for how much of the Gargoyles storyline you already had thought out when you began producing the show vs. how much was you came up with as the series progressed.
When you producing the first episodes, did you have a lot of the specific details of the storyline, villains, or episodes already prepared in your mind (i.e. the World Tour, the existence of the Third Race, Angela choosing Broadway, Elisa and Goliath becoming romantically close, Demona's 1000 year history, etc.)?
Or was it more like you had some vague ideas for villains, and some general episode premises, but left the door open for creativity down the road?
Or did you just have a general idea of a groups of protagonist gargoyles who wake up 1000 years later in Manhattan, fight bad guys, and alter to the new world?
I'm just trying to get a feel for how much was thought out from the beginning and how much was created as the story developed. Thanks for your time.

Peace

Greg responds...

Really, I'm not trying to dodge the question, but the answer is "ALL OF THE ABOVE."

There were certain things I had a clear vision of in my head from day one. Other things came to us as we went, but we still had planned out way in advance of when we sat down to write the specific episodes. And still, we left ourselves open to new ideas and serendipity, etc.

Response recorded on November 28, 2005

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Tami writes...

About the episode, "Deadly Force"...if I remember correctly, there was actually two verisons to it. The first time I saw the episode, it was a lot more intense with surprising amount of blood. But the next time I saw it again I was startled to see the subtle but noticeable changes in it....the blood are mostly removed, some animation (like Goliath's eyes...he blinked once in the first verison, but not the second verison) and even the positions Goliath and Brooklyn took up guarding outside Elisa's hospital room were changed (in the first verison, they took on more menacing poses as they turned into stone, but in second verison they merely crouched looking dull and unexciting.)

Sooooo....I'm really curious, what prompted the sudden changes, and why? I've been wondering about it ever since. (Personally, I thought the first verison was the best I ever seen.)

Thanks for your taking time to read this...

Greg responds...

The blood was not "mostly removed"... but the puddle of blood was changed after the first airing so that it didn't look (incorrectly) as if Elisa had bled out in the first few seconds after being shot.

There were, as you noted, other retakes (corrections) which were not ready in time for the first airing, but which were inserted before the second airing. Note: THIS is not the stuff of censorship AT ALL. This was the producers (Frank and myself) correcting errors. And stuff like this happened in nearly every episode, not just "Deadly Force".

Response recorded on November 17, 2005

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Drew Lung writes...

Hello, I'm a long time fan of the show, 'Gargoyles', and have a few questions.

What inspired 'Gargoyles' in the first place?
How did you get such a unusual idea for a tv series noticed by producers?
Were any of the characters replacements for original concepts you may have had early on?
Do you remember any ideas that didn't soar? (no pun)
And what other tv shows have you taken part in?

Sorry to ask so many questions, but I'm curious.

Greg responds...

1. Actual Gargoyles. Also Hill Street Blues. Gummi Bears. Etc. Check out the Archives here at ASK GREG.

2. You've got it backwards. I was an executive at the time. I hire the producers. This time I hired myself. As for how I sold the idea, that took some effort, three pitches, two years and a lot of help from my development team, my colleagues and my bosses, Bruce Cranston, Gary Krisel and Jeffrey Katzenberg. Michael Eisner finally approved us to series.

3. I'm not sure what you mean. As many fans know, the show was originally pitched as a comedy, and every major character except Goliath and Angela (and maybe Bronx), had an antecedent in the comedy development. Demona was Dakota. Xanatos was Xavier. Brooklyn was Amp. Broadway was Coco. Lexington was Lassie. Owen was Mr. Owen. Hudson was Ralph, etc. In later pitches, we did add addtional characters that went through a few changes before they actually hit the screen. Catscan became Talon. C.Y.O.T.E. (or some such acronym) became Coyote, etc. The New Olympians were added in from their own development. And so on...

4. Yes.

5. Lots. Some much more than others, but an incomplete off-the-top-of-my-head list would include: Gummi Bears, Winnie the Pooh, DuckTales the Movie, DuckTales, Talespin, Rescue Rangers, Marsupilami, Bonkers, Goof Troop, Raw Toonage, Aladdin, Little Mermaid, Return of Jafar, A Goofy Movie, Bionicle Mask of Light, Atlantis: Milo's Return, Men in Black, The Batman, Hercules, Buzz Lightyear, Max Steel, Gargoyles, Alien Racers, W.I.T.C.H., Invasion America, A.T.O.M., Mighty Ducks, Kim Possible, Quack Pack, Goliath Chronicles, Roughnecks: Starship Troopers, 3X3 Eyes, Ikkei Tossen, Jem and the Holograms, etc.

Response recorded on October 21, 2005

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Alan writes...

I'm not too sure how much of a hand you had in scripting, but is there one line from the entire series that stands out in your mind as THE WORST? If you could rephrase/reword/delete one line, what would it be?
(I know mine: Eye of the Beholder - "Hey dude! Be cool!" -Guy in the Werewolf costume. <shudder>)

Greg responds...

I don't mind that line at all. It serves its purpose.

There are a few lines that make me cringe a bit when I hear them again. Some of which, I'm sure I was responsible for. But there isn't one that specifically drives me nuts that comes to mind now.

Response recorded on October 12, 2005

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Jade Griffin writes...

I would like an answer but am not certain if this falls under an Ask Greg-approved category. So I will Ask Greg and see what comes of it:): Knowing what you know about Disney and those currently manning the biz, what would be the likelihood of an earlier show, say 15 years old, being given a chance at the big screen, given a stellar script. And character concepts provided as well. Waste of time? They'd likely rip me off? Or proceed with caution? You can be as vague or tight-lipped as you like in replying, if you choose to do so. Dunno how you'd feel about THIS type of question:) Thanks, both of you.

Greg responds...

I'm not sure I'm clear. You want to write a spec script based on a Disney Property and your worried that THEY'd rip you off?

Odds are against anything, ANYTHING, ever getting made. Always. Personally, I wouldn't spend too much time working up spec stuff that you don't own. But in any case, I've learned you can't proceed in this business at all if you're paranoid about getting ripped off. It's not that it can't happen, but it's just as likely that someone will independently come up with a similar idea and then where would you be?

Response recorded on September 27, 2005

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Caze writes...

HOW (or better) WHY in "BUSHIDO" the japaneses Gargoyles speak in ENGLISH?????They should speak in JAPANESE, NOT ENGLISH!!!!! And the HUMANS TOO!!! A BIG MISTAKE, HOW DO YOU EXPLAIN THIS?????
Anyone who read what i write and wanna speak with me , well, here is my email: cazedamtv@ig.com.br

Greg responds...

When we started the World Tour, I raised the point with Frank Paur that in some of the episodes we might want to do a bit with subtitles and foreign languages. The notion was rejected.

LATER -- after we recorded "Bushido", Frank came to me, having changed his mind. He wanted the Japanese (gargoyles and humans) to be bilingual. So that we'd open the episode with them talking in Japanese, until they meet the English speaking Gargoyles, at which point they'd switch to English out of politeness.

But the problem was we had already recorded Bushido, and so we needed authorization to pay for a re-recording. Our bosses wouldn't spring for the cash, basically. I thought it was too bad, but I can't say that I blame them. We had spent our money already. It's not like they cheaped out on us. They just refused to overspend because I hadn't pushed for something in the beginning and/or because Frank changed his mind too late.

Response recorded on August 30, 2005

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matt writes...

hi Greg,

i was wondering, from your experience, how do the higher ups at Disney view the Gargoyles property? do they see it as something they could use someday or something they just want to sit on? do they feel it was a series that stood above most of their other animated series' or do they believe its just another old cartoon they made in the 90's?

similiarly, how do they view the fans of Gargoyles? do they even know we exist in the numbers we do? do they care about what we want for Gargoyles? do you think they even bother listening?

i don't know if you'll be able to answer these questions since i doubt you have the honest opinions of Disney higher ups, but i was curious.

thanks Greg.

Greg responds...

Corporations "listen" with dollars.

I think, clearly, the fandom spoke to them with the DVD sales. And now we're getting another DVD and... hopefully... the comic book too.

But a caution: the First Season DVD sales weren't SO great that putting the 2nd Season on DVD was a slam dunk. We did well enough, but it was clearly still a decision that they needed to make.

So if sales on the next DVD fall off at all, don't expect a third one completing Season 2.

Otherwise, Matt, you're just overthinking it. Gargoyles is old news at Disney. Most of the execs there now, weren't there when Gargoyles was originally on. If they see profit potential, they might go for it. If not, they won't.

Response recorded on July 15, 2005

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Vic writes...

Were you or the other creators and writers of the series of frustrated with what I term "cartoon cliches"? For example knock-out gas, lasers or having to replace profanity with the word jalapenia.

A specific example: the beginning of deadly force. Does the mafia in all animated shows have stock in chloroform or something? If the Supranos or police reports have taught us anything it's that organized crime tends to be accomplished with a lot of people being shot.
There are others things certainly, so i ask simply, do tell us what you found frustrating, stupid or just plain wrong in creating stories for Gargoyles, the constraints and cliches you hated.

Greg responds...

I didn't hate much, frankly. At least we got to use real guns within reason. Today, not even a cop can pull a real gun. You'd never see a "Deadly Force" on broadcast today.

I don't mind being either more creative or slightly more fanciful in a world and in a universe where that is appropriate. I'll reserve my "hate" for more serious concerns.'

Do I wish sometimes we could swear? Maybe. Occasionally. But not often. And I LIKED "Jalapeña" even if my art staff hated it.

Sorry if that's not strident enough for you.

Response recorded on July 06, 2005

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Aves writes...

I'm not sure if you're the one to ask about this, but they've yet to make an "Ask Jamie" segment, so here goes:

It's a pretty frivolous question, anyway.
The Hound of Ulster was one of the better World Tour tales, if you ask me, but I found the character design and direction of the Banshee was superb, both in terms of looking like the Banshee of myth and just as a cool design in and of itself.
My question is: How much of that is Sheena Easton? I know she's a singer, but, wow! That was crazy! Was it enhanced at all, or was that all her? If it was, I'm very impressed.
Even if it's not, I'm still moderately impressed :)

Greg responds...

A lot of it was Sheena, but credit should be stretched around. To voice director Jamie Thomason too. But mostly to the wonderful people at Advantage Audio, our post-production sound house.

Marc Perlman and Paca Thomas combined to create sound and music effects to play alongside Sheena's voice. And then Advantage did a great job mixing that voice. (I'm afraid I can't remember who specifically did the mix but choose two from the following list: Jim, Bill, Ray and Melissa.) It was stunning stuff -- I remember thinking that at the time. Should have won a Golden Reel in my opinion.

Response recorded on June 27, 2005

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Corrine Blaquen writes...

Recently I rewatched my tape of one of my favorite World Tour episodes, "Grief". While there are so many things I enjoy in that episode, the thing that never fails to blow me away is when Jackal becomes the avatar for Anubis. Oh, the merging of the Packster and the Death God's voice is just... W-O-W, wow! I absolutely love Tony Jay's voice, it's so powerful and majestic with just the right amount of creepiness, great as Anubis just perfect for any role of quiet menance and dignified sophistication. The technique of mingling the two speakers was brilliant-- it was so powerful, and expertly done. Just wanted to tell you I loved it!

Greg responds...

Thanks! I will take credit for the IDEA of merging the two voices. But of course credit for the execution of that idea goes to actors Tony Jay & Matt Frewer (and later Tony and Tony Shaloub) under the direction of Jamie Thomason. Plus the excellent soundwork of the gangs at the now defunct Screen Music Studios and at Advantage Audio.

Response recorded on November 30, 2004

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John X. writes...

I noticed that in one episode a writer named Steve Perry is listed. One line makes me think this is the same man who wrote the "Matador" series of books back in the late 80's and early 90's: Hyena finds out that coyote is a robot and responds "Even better" with just a hint of sexual tension.

Is this Steve Perry the same one who wrote "Shadows of the Empire" for George Lucas, or am I seeing something that isn't there?

Greg responds...

I honestly don't know. Steve was hired by Michael Reaves. I've talked to him on the phone a couple of times, but I don't know him or his resumee very well.

Response recorded on November 24, 2004

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Enigma writes...

I have a language question. The gargoyles (Manhattan Clan)come from medevil Scotland, right? Well, English 1000 years ago wasn't the same as it is now. It actually bears little resemblence to old English, so how could the gargoyles understand our English (Modern English) when they woke up in NY in 1994?
When you really think about it they should be speaking Scottish since they're from a time when people in Scotland spoke Scottish, not English.
So either way you look at it there should have been a lot of communication problems at first. (I can accept we can understand everyone in Scotland 994 since you'd have to use subtitles otherwise. Thanks :)

Greg responds...

You are essentially correct, although I'd use the term Gaelic, I think, rather than Scottish.

The "behind the scenes" answer, as I've mentioned before, was that we chose Scotland in part because it's a place where people CURRENTLY speak English, so we felt we could skate past the language question without too much of a problem.

The "in universe" answer, which I've also mentioned before, came, I believe, from Michael Reaves, who suggested that a spell was cast (perhaps by Demona before Goliath & Company were brought to the top of the Eyrie Building) to bring the Gargoyles up to speed language-wise without any of them realizing that they'd been effected.

Response recorded on October 22, 2004

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Punchinello writes...

Hi.

I was just taking a look at your last ramble. I never noticed this liberty your background artists had taken which you alluded to. Their inclusion of all of these portraits of Elisa in MacBeth's home. I was wondering if that kind of material (outside where you probably would have intended to take the series) would have emerged as it's own story if it had the chance?

What I mean is, when creative contributors outside the writing team took liberties like that, or even if some kind of happy accident developed, did you ever try to develop them into their own story? I, personally, would have been interested in learning why Mr. MacBeth had those portraits adorning his home.

Greg responds...

Often, story ideas came from sources other than me or my writing team. Sometimes happy accidents definitely contributed.

I don't know whether I would have addressed those portraits because I find them utterly mystifying. I don't know what the bg painters were thinking. The only thought that comes to mind is that Macbeth is obsessed with Elisa -- and he's just not. So sometimes I ignore what I can only categorize as mistakes.

Still if a great idea occured to me, I certainly wouldn't be above using it...

Response recorded on September 14, 2004

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Siren writes...

I was reading some of your answers and was reminded about how Broadway was originally female. I am an overweight female, and the thought that a overweight female gargoyle wouldn't have bothered me in particular. I think it is all in the way the character is. Broadway knows he is big, and his self esteem is pretty good, considering the jabs his rookery brothers make. He is smarter then he looks too. Naive, but so were the rest of the clan, it's a learning process. New time, new people, new culture, new ideas. I love Broadway, think he is a great character, but I hope one day they can come out with an overweight, young, smart female. Most overweight females are all the Miss Potts type. Mother hens, grandmothers, etc. I like the way Broadway is and acts, and I wouldn't want that to change, but I still want to see a similar female character one day, human, gargoyles, whatever. I know a some people blow things out of proportion when a female actress puts on a fat suit, like Courtney Cox in Friends. If your going to make the character humourous, it should be tasteful, not hurtful. Someone for people to look up to, not a joke, most characters should be. Look what they do to mentally retard people, Adam Sandler still does it, and it's still funny to a large amount of the public. (Not me.) Maybe it's just me about the whole thing, I am overweight, but I am secure in my look. I think the ones who bash the overweight characters are the people are unsecure with themselves. But there's my ramble. What do you think?

Greg responds...

I basically agree with everything you've written here. And, as I think I've admitted before, I'll blame our original decision (to change Coco into Broadway) on a combination of cowardice and commercial interests. We were doing a show that was designed to appeal to a wide audience on many levels. But fundamentally (i.e. economically), we still needed to hit our main target audience of Boys 6-11. We felt -- and I'm not defending our decision, just revealing it -- that that particular audience could enjoy and appreciate a tough male warrior garg that was (at least at the beginning) both overweight and fairly obsessed with food. We felt that the same character as a female would come across as (a) less interesting to that target audience and (b) likely to bring negative attention to the series.

The conventional wisdom, for example, at toy companies is that female action figures don't sell as well as male action figures. Kenner would not have been interested in Coco -- as they were not interested in Angela. But they were interested in Broadway.

Another conventional wisdom is that no good deed goes unpunished. We felt that if our one heroic female was overweight, we would not be praised for it, but attacked -- perhaps even called misogynistic, which I hope no one thinks our series is.

We justified all this creatively with the notion that the Gargs situation was more tragic when the only female left alive was the enemy Demona. But adding a female gargoyle to the cast was a huge priority for me for Season Two. Granted, Angela is quite svelte, but that made sense given who her biological parents were.

My hope, over time, was to introduce the audience to a whole bunch of individual gargoyles and gargoyle beasts -- in both genders and of all shapes and sizes.

Response recorded on July 21, 2004

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Forliya writes...

hello, I want to say that if there is any way that any one cares,that I'm one of the third race(lol) and yes my real name is Forliya. how did you come up with the show GARGOYLES in the first place???????

viva Gargoyles!!!!!!!!

Greg responds...

A team of us worked together to bring it to life.

Personally, I've always been fascinated by Gargoyles. For more info, check the Archives for this site.

Response recorded on July 01, 2004

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George writes...

Greg, what age group was gargoyles ment for and what age group did it attract?

Greg responds...

It's primary target was Boys 6-11. But the show was created and designed to reach a MUCH larger audience than that. For financing purposes we had to hit our target. (And we did, though not as well as Power Rangers.) But we also sought out and reached an audience that included both males & females and everyone from age six to sixty, as far as I can tell.

Response recorded on June 30, 2004

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Entity writes...

'Kingdom' ramble:

It's funny how you mention Xanatos finding out that Goliath is missing, then not hatching any kind of a plot as a result, because you honestly couldn't think of something. I strained my brain to try and figure out how X might possibly use such knowledge to his advantage, and came up dry, so when nothing happened, I kind of expected it. In fact, felt validated by it. In my head, knowing that Goliath was missing let him put two and two together in episodes like "Cloud Fathers."

X's new security system DID suck, but it's cool to know why it was installed (as a result of "Double Jeopardy"). Those cannons were out of control. I think the sequence would have worked, thanks to the atmosphere and X's cool lines, if the cannons just would have aimed AWAY from the castle. The redundancy didn't bother me. Sure, Mac's place has these spiffy blaster cannons too, but HE'S not Xanatos.

Where did those Cyberbiotics rifles come from? Why did Cyberbiotics abandon them? Okay, so they pulled out fast, but jeez, talk about corporate neglect, leaving an arsenal of deadly weaponry in a subway. So much for Renard's integrity. (I'm trying to bait you here.)

Oh, the climax with Maggie and the key card? One of my favorites. The build-up is perfect and Carl Johnson composes it well.

Greg responds...

Carl is great, but much credit should go to Marc Perlman, our music editor. We couldn't afford to have Carl score every episode. So Marc had to edit Carl's music to fit any situation. Though they were rarely in the same room together, the two made an amazing team.

Response recorded on June 22, 2004

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Entity writes...

How you doing, Greg?

Okay, let's take a look at a hypothetical (this is my disclaimer in case you want to just stop reading now). If things had gone differently, and the show had never moved to ABC, meaning you never left, and Disney offered you 13 more episodes, but made it clear that these 13 would be the LAST 13 the show would get... how would you have approached them? Lord knows you had enough material to make another 13 just in picking up loose threads, let alone new ones such as The Quarrymen. Do you think you would have turned the whole third season into a good-bye like with "The Journey"? Would you have been more optimistic than that and ended it just like seasons one or two? Or would you have tried to wrap it up, like The Goliath Chronicles boys did with "Angels in the Night"?

Greg responds...

I don't think life COMES TO AN END. So I would not have attempted a full-on closure tone, as "Angels" did.

I would have, most likely, done the best 13 stories in my arsenal at that time. In continuity, as before, but 13 stand-alone episodes that were the best I could come up with, starting with "The Journey" and ending with an episode (like "Reawakening", "Hunter's Moon, Part Three" and "The Journey") that contained a sense of open-ended closure. A sense that even though we're going away for a time and some amount of loose ends (though surely not all) have been tied up in bows, that life goes on.

In between Journey and that Open-Ended Closure Episode, I would have done 11 other stories that picked up on the loose ends that were screaming the loudest to be addressed. One of which, certainly would have been the Illuminati. One would have been Brooklyn. One would have been the Weird Sisters. &tc.

Response recorded on June 15, 2004

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babs writes...

I was wondering,theres alot of people and i mean alot of people that love this show, cant we do something to try to get it back into the making, a online petition maybe,we could send it to Disney im sure once they see how many people want the show back on the air they wouldnt pass up the rattings and money that it could bring in.
my question:
this is one of my fav. parts in all of the shows, In the episode Vendettas the guy that creams Goliath in the face with the banana cream pie, I notcied that afterwards when he is walking away he starts to hum the Gargoyles theme song, I was Wondering whos idea was it to put that in there?

Out of all the shows if I were to have a Top 10 list for the funniest parts that would have to be in my Top 5. its good to see that a somewhat of a dark show has its funny, caring parts in it.
Gargoyles Forever !

Greg responds...

The two biggest things that you can do to revive the show are (a) attend the Gathering and (b) buy the DVD when it comes out later this year. Show Disney that you're willing to spend money to get more Gargoyles, and they'll take notice.

As for Vinnie's humming, that was my idea. Glad you liked it.

Response recorded on June 03, 2004

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Allexander writes...

As the creator of Gargoyles, what exactly did you do, did you write stories? Draw pictures?

Greg responds...

Isn't this old news? Anyway, to toot my own horn yet again:

I headed the development team that created the series and came up with many of the characters and concepts myself.

I came up with all 66 original springboards (i.e. the story ideas for the first two seasons + "The Journey"), though many people contributed nuggets of ideas.

I supervised all the writing. In essence, I story edited the story editors.

I also wrote and story edited one episode myself ("The Journey").

I supervised all the voice recordings. And I voice directed one episode ("Vendettas"), plus a few pick-up and phone patch sessions. I even performed the voice for one of Xanatos' Goon Squad (the guy who says "Nice Mask!").

I had input on all aspects of design and direction

I co-supervised all post-production, except the tele-cine process, which involves aspects of color too subtle for my color-deficient eyes.

I was the one person involved with the show from it's inception through the end of the third season, though my involvement in the third season (after "The Journey" was voice recorded) was limited to consulting work. And much of my consultations were ignored.

I have no credit on the television version of the pilot 5-parter because I was still an executive when those were posted, and at the time executives did not receive credit. I do have a Co-Producer credit on the Movie/VHS version of the pilot, because I supervised the post-production on that.

My official credit on the rest of the first season was "Co-Producer".

My official credit on the second season began as "Producer". Later it became "Supervising Producer" when two of our directors were promoted to Producer.

I'm also the credited "Writer" and "Story Editor" on "The Journey" and the credited "Voice Director" on "Vendettas".

I was supposed to receive a credit on the third season, but I waved it because it seemed dishonest as much of my advice wasn't taken.

Having said ALL THAT, Gargoyles was the work of literally hundreds of talented people, all of whom contributed to making it the success that it was. I think of it as my baby, and I'm often credited as it's creator. But I never lose track of the fact that it was a team effort.

Response recorded on April 29, 2004

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Congratulations, Monique!

Went to a wedding today.

My good friend Monique Beatty married Tim Eldred.

Monique, as some of you may know, was my assistant and a script coordinator during the Gargoyles years. She was literally invaluable to me then, keeping my schedule (known then as "Greg's Nefarious Plan to Take Over the World") and keeping me on track. Among other things, she offered tremendous moral support. She's now a Line Producer at Nick. Tim is a story board and comic book artist.

They are both, great, great people. And I am so happy for them.

It was also nice to see Deirdra, Shan and Kevin at the wedding.


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Vic writes...

Hi again.
I was just wondering how much of yourself you tend to put into characters you create, on average. Or how much you tend to empathise with or even envy them in a way.
Eg: I wish i was Brooklyn, sharp, lean, predatory looking bastard who could probably get the females (or males if so inclined) easily.
Hope this question makes sense.

Greg responds...

It makes sense enough.

I put a lot of me into every character from the best to the worst. Sometimes, I get pretty literal, as with Vinnie's last speeches in "The Journey".

Usually, it's not quite so on the nose.

I tend not to envy them much. My life (if not my career) is pretty darn great, so there isn't one of them I'd like to change places with. But I do empathize with them a lot. A lot.

Response recorded on February 25, 2004

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Entity writes...

Hey, Greg!

In your memo for "Upgrade," you mention the following line:

"MONTAGE vs. NO MONTAGE
Sorry. After cuts were made for both S&P and for things that I did not want to reveal, there wasn't anything left. So out it went."

I thought S&P didn't really play a role in GARGOYLES. Do you remember what the cuts were?

Greg responds...

Nope.

And I never said that S&P didn't play a role. I said we had a common sense S&P person, Adrienne Bello, whom we respected and who respected us and what we were trying to do.

That didn't mean that she'd let us show Sevarius amputating Hyena's arm on camera.

Response recorded on February 02, 2004

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Noorie writes...

Can't you move the show to like...channel 20, in canadian time setting....thing... well, it's just that my family dosnt have "Disney Channel" and i used to watch Gargoyles when i was little, and i remember, me and my little brother used to tape all the shows! i loved the show until it went off, and i never got around to finding out why it got off...well, this is my first time craving to see the show again! it's just that i found out that the shows going to be starting again from the beginning, and i dont have that channel! :( i'm 14 years old right now, and i'm totally getting into mythical creatures and things like that, and i hardly know anything like that...
Cant you just change it into some...common channel? I mean, it could get you more people to watch it, rather then getting better cable JUST to watch the show..(hope i'm not offending you!! i just really loved that show!!) lol, well, i hope my plea's got to you, you're probably like.."R....ight, what a weirdo!" heh, well, im no weirdo..anyways...ya..! k, gotta split! ;)

Greg responds...

You're not a weirdo, you simply don't seem to understand that I have absolutely no control over when and where the reruns air.

Response recorded on January 29, 2004

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Mark: PRJibaroPapi69@aol.com writes...

Hey Greg! Long time fan first time posting! I was wondering, you said that Gargoyles is the total property of Disney. Does that mean that even though you are the creator, you can't do anything with the series unless they give the okay? If so, does that mean your unable to buy ALL the rights to the show? If not, do you ever plan to reair the show with all new episodes in the future? The reason I ask these questions is because Disney was stupid in pulling the plug on the series just because they wanted to move on to something new. But if your able to buy the rights, I'm sure there's more than enough studio's out there who are so eager for ratings that they'll finance the reintergration of the show back to television. The WB would definatly welcome the show to it's programing as it was aired on that station in New York. Is there anyway that, at the very least, you can create a book series of Gargoyle novels that bring a close to the storylines that were never closed while the series was on the air? I just think that if Gargoyles will never make a big TV come back that comic books or novels should be made in it's place that bring a big close to the universe once and for all. Well... an official close because we all know that Gargoyles will always live on in fanfiction. That's all I guess. Thanx for writing such a wonderful series. One more questions, although it's not documented, in your most best thought opinion since the Gargoyles are the guardians of Manhattan, how do you think they reacted when, upon waking up from their stone sleep, they saw a big gapeing hole and a huge smoke screen on what used to be the world trade center on September 11th??? I, and alot of the fans, would really like to know.

Greg responds...

Yes. Again. Disney owns 100% of Gargoyles. They don't sell their properties, and even if they did -- WHICH THEY DON'T -- the cost would be way prohibitive.

I don't know if they were stupid to pull the plug after Goliath Chronicles. I'm not sure they exercised much smarts in pushing me out the door prior to Chronicles, but that's a VERY complicated story and in any case, should be attributed to individuals who no longer even work for the Mouse. Including me.

I also think, unfortunately, that you're wrong about other networks like the WB wanting the show. It's a moot issue, because Disney won't sell, but I see no indication that there is a single network out there looking for something like Gargoyles. No indication at all. Gargoyles has the greatest fans in the world, and I'm hoping that the DVD release will make enough of a splash and attract fans, both old and new, to wake people up to the possibilities that the series represents.

In the meantime, I haven't given up trying to get the property up and running again in some way, shape or form, and publishing (comics or novels) is something I'm extremely interested in.

As for the fans, the best thing they can do -- at least until the DVD's release -- is to come to the Gathering (our annual Gargoyles Fan Convention), this August, 2004 in Montreal.

Check out their website:

http://www.gatheringofthegargoyles.com/

The more fans that show up to the convention, the greater our collective voice, the more likely that Disney takes notice.

Finally, I've answered the 9/11 question many times. Check the archives.

Response recorded on January 28, 2004

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White writes...

Hello again.
It's been a long long time that I've been waiting to post this.. You probably don't remember, but a long time ago, I asked you if you knew why there were sound differences between the reruns and the original episodes.
( by original, I mean the first time they showed an episode )
You were wondering if I was talking about the movie or an other language.. but I'm not.
and now.. I have the proof.
So, I wanted to show it to you, perhaps you could then tell me if you know why they changed what some people said.
I made waves with episodes that I recorded on TV.
Not the movie, I also have the movie and I know there are more differences.
Sooo... if you could just go and listen to those waves.
I posted them on a page that has nothing else, except explanations of what those waves are.
I know I should not post URLs in here.. but It's the only way I can show this to you.. Unless I ask someone to put the sound waves on this website...
Hope you'll give me news about that.. because I find this quite odd :)
( http://gargoyles.topcities.com/odd.html )

Thank you

Greg responds...

Well, I don't usually go to links, but I did this time. But of course two years have passed (or nearly) and the page is no longer there.

So I don't know what to tell you. We made occassional changes, but not many sound changes between first airings and the subsequent reruns in syndication. But maybe you're comparing first airings with cable airings -- all of which aired AFTER I left Disney.

Both USA Network and Toon Disney edited the shows themselves, (the former for length and the latter for S&P). That may have forced them to make some sound changes, though it seems unlikely that they'd spend the money on a new mix.

Response recorded on December 16, 2003

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Shawn Asbury writes...

Mr Weisman,
It is true that Gargoyles was a very innovative and popular animated series. However, I would like to know why you chose for it to be as such. It seems to me that the concept and storyline of Gargoyles was severely restrained by the childishness and politically correctness of the Disney Co. If you really wanted it to be an animated series, why didn't you opt for a network such as HBO? This would have allowed for some more authentic character emotion and less g-rated cuteness due to the allowance of violence, blood, nudity, and swearing (All of which are real believable occurances. At the very least, Gargoyles could have made an epic collection of Novels which would have elaborated on the development of the characters and and would have made for some great dark gothic mental imagery.

Greg responds...

Gargoyles would not exist without Disney. Period.

You speak as if Gargoyles existed in a vacuum -- perhaps in the vacuum of my mind?

In fact, Gargoyles was created by me and by my development team while I was a development executive (Director of Series Development) at Walt Disney Television Animation. Aside from the fact that Disney owns the show, it also was the catalyst for the series' very existence.

After the fact, you could say: "Gee, how much more freedom might you have had on HBO." But that assumes so much. (1) That HBO would have wanted it. (2) That HBO would have actually given me more freedom than Disney did. (3) That I wanted more freedom. I doubt the first two would have been true. I know the last one is not.

With very, VERY few exceptions, I got to do what I wanted on the first 65 episodes of the show. I think we made an epic collection of episodes.

I'd love to write GARGOYLES Novels if I could find an interested publisher. I haven't been able to.

Response recorded on December 10, 2003

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matt writes...

in "The Price" after Hudson's statue was destroyed was the Clan in effect beginning to perform the Wind Ceremony on Hudson when they were standing around talking about him?

also, in the credits of that episode there was a mention of parts of the episode being inspired by material in the comic books (presumably the Gargoyles comic books) any idea what thats about? i have a few of the comic books and i have no idea what the credits are referring to...

Greg responds...

No. They were just trying to get their heads around his death. The Wind Ceremony would have come later.

The story was inspired by an idea by Lee Nordling in a Gargoyles story he did in an issue of Disney Adventures Magazine. It was his idea (though he used Goliath, not Hudson) to have Xanatos replace a sleeping gargoyle with a stone statue to fool the rest of the clan.

That was the only thing from his story that we used, and I've never even met Lee, but it was a great idea.

Response recorded on November 21, 2003

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Todd Jensen writes...

This is something that came to mind after reading your comments about how you and other folks at Disney were worried that "Gargoyles" might be seen as a rip-off of "Batman: TAS", and which I finally remembered to post something about.

I saw an episode of "Batman: TAS" once (after "Gargoyles" went off the air) called "Avatar" which did strike me as having a certain similarity to "Grief", in which Batman went to Egypt to stop Reis al-Ghul from coming into contact with an undead sorceress-queen from ancient Egypt who had "power over life and death". What struck me about it was the points that it had in common with "Grief": the Egyptian setting, the word "avatar" (in the dialogue in "Grief", in the title of the "Batman" episode), and the ancient being with power over life and death (Anubis in "Gargoyles", the Egyptian sorceress-queen in "Batman"). The similarities could have been just a coincidence, but I thought that I'd mention that here.

Greg responds...

The similarities aren't entirely coincidental, in that both were written by Michael Reaves.

As I recall, the springboard for "Grief" was mine, but Michael ran with it -- putting some stuff in "Grief" that he had WANTED to put in "Avatar" but which had NOT made it into the final version of that episode.

Response recorded on November 06, 2003

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Roxz writes...

Where did you come up with such a good idea?
Are you going to start the show up again(If you do will you try toget it put on at a earlier)?

Greg responds...

Check the ASK GREG FAQ and Archives.

Response recorded on November 03, 2003

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Lord Sloth writes...

I have a few questions about the Leica reel for Bad Guy's, as I've never seen it (but really want to).

1. If you can't/don't want to spread the reel all over the net, could/would you write a detailed/some what detailed report on how the story goes. You of course don't have to, but I'm sure it would satisfy a lot of people who have never gathered to a gathering.

2. What IS a Leica reel? Is there anything animated about it, or is it more of a montonage <sp?> of art work with voice-overs from key characters?

3. How much detail is shown in the animation/stills (i.e.: sketches or paintings or stuff the like I see in Gargoyles)?

4. How long dose it run for?

*Note* I could have asked the CR about all this, but I enjoy the way you write, when you do :^B (enough flattery?).

And I hope to see it for myself someday, not in Virginia, but in NY, 2003 if all goes well.

Greg responds...

1. No. Sorry. It's a special treat for Gathering attendees, and I don't want the story in it to become common currency. I still have hopes of selling it someday.

2. A leica reel can be many things. The spelling suggests it has something to do with a Leica camera, but I've been assured that it really is code for IT'S LIKE-A REEL. It's also sometimes called an ANIMATIC or SIZZLE TAPE. There is no true animation, though I've seen some recent stuff using flash. It's basically a filmed storyboard, with a few fancy editing tricks, like panning, scanning, pushing in, pulling out and maybe a few dissolves or wipes. That's put with actual recorded vocals and hopefully some music and sound effects. It's an effective way to tell a story, like a glorified comic book for the screen. But it's supposed to be done for a relatively small amount of money. A few thousand dollars as opposed to tens of thousands of dollars.

3. It depends. Some are very detailed some are very sketchy.

4. Again, it depends. I think BAD GUYS runs about 7 minutes, which is probably too long for anyone but garg fans.

Or maybe you can come see it in Montreal in August of '04.

Response recorded on September 26, 2003

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Joseph Tek Fox writes...

I'm curious... What possessed you all to do the episode, "Future Sight," where basically, everyone died, the world was taken over, and Xanatos's Tower blew up in a flaming ball of scrap? BTW, I'm fully aware that this was just a dream. ^-^;

Greg responds...

That was "Future Tense". But I'm not sure how to answer your question beyond the obvious that we thought it would make a VERY powerful story, while furthering a number of our subplots. We also had some thought of doing the episode in 3D (though I honestly can't tell you if that meant computer animation or the kind of 3D where you put on special glasses and the pictures seem to jump off the screen. At the time, I thought we were talking about the latter, but it now occurs to me that some of the people in the room might have been talking about the former. No wonder, we couldn't pull it off.)

Response recorded on September 23, 2003

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JAXS writes...

Have you ever seen those posters that read "Everything I Need to Know in Life I Learned from (fill in the blank)?" Well, that saying goes true for Gargoyles. All throughout highshcool, I have been learning about things that I already am familar with from the show, such as the Aboriginal Dream Team, Mythology, and such and Shakespeare, Religious beliefs. King Arthur etc. I think it's incredible how the show evolved such a complex web-work for all these stories to be connected. I'm talking about how Oberon ruled Avalon, and all his children stretched from the Native American Trickers, Raven and Coyote, to the Banshee, the Mythological Proteus, and such. It was an ingenious idea. I wanted to know who came up with the original concept.Was this sub-story line composed from the begining, or did it just happen as the show continued? Was there a seperate research comittee who created this? How thought-out was it to have all these inccorporate into one big picture? Thanks

Greg responds...

Not to toot my own horn (or at least not to toot it anymore than I usually do), but the intent to create this tapestry was mine -- and pretty much from the very beginning, though I had no idea whether the opportunity would continue to present itself.

In terms of actually creating the tapestry, I had MUCH help. The obvious culprits include our story editors Michael Reaves, Brynne Chandler Reaves, Gary Sperling and Cary Bates. Many writers obviously contributed as well, especially Lydia Marano.

We had a couple of contributing researchers: Monique Beatty and Tuppence Macintyre.

And lots of other people threw in ideas as well, especially my partner Frank Paur and our co-producer/directors Dennis Woodyard and Bob Kline.

Some of the tapestry was serendipitous. Much was planned WAY in advance. Often both luck and planning came into play.

Mostly, we just wanted to tell good stories and this simply helped.

Response recorded on September 23, 2003

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Anonymous writes...

I know this question has been asked many times, why was the show canceled?.
Its quite simple the 3rd season was terrible. It was like a completely new show with the same characters but now based on morals etc.....

The real question everyone is probably wondering is, was the staff completely changed?. Its nothing like it was before... What happened?
please explain

Greg responds...

I don't think hardly anyone who comes here is still wondering that, since it's been answered over and over. Check out the FAQ. (But, yes, the staff was almost completely different.)

Response recorded on September 18, 2003

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Jimmy writes...

Here's a technical question.
How did you do the sound of the Gargoyles roaring? Was it an animal roar that was altered or did the actors actually scream really wierd?

Greg responds...

Both.

Response recorded on September 17, 2003

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John writes...

For someone trying to breaking into the entertainment industry as a producer/director, do you have any tips? Thanks!

Greg responds...

Well, for starters, learn to proofread.

After that, you'll need to be more specific. What do you want to produce? What do you want to direct?

Still, my best advise, I guess, is to attend a good film school. I didn't, but playing percentages, that seems to work best.

Response recorded on July 25, 2003

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Jacob writes...

Hello Greg,
very often I have seen creatures on TV and pictures that should represent the evil. Most times those creatures have claws instead of fingers, large wings and a tail - very much like gargoyles. With this picture of the evil in one's head it might seem quite strange to see those creatures being nice and friendly. Was this kind of contradiction planned or was it more accidentally?

Greg responds...

Very planned.

Response recorded on June 17, 2003

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Jess writes...

Why is it always a full moon?
Just because it looks cool?

Greg responds...

Largely, yes. It's artistic license. Unless we had a specific reason why the moon shouldn't be full, as in "Hunter's Moon, Parts One and Two", then we tended to let it be full because it looked cooler.

Also keep in mind, I didn't have the detailed timeline then that I have now. So it's not like we were tracking the phases of the moon.

Response recorded on June 06, 2003

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roxy J. writes...

I've heard that disney cancled Gargoyles because it was getting to in depth and lossing its whole "kiddy show" thing. Do you think that's true and if it is then what do you think about that?

Greg responds...

I don't think that's true.

They cancelled the show for a number of reasons which I have outlined in great detail here:

http://www.s8.org/gargoyles/askgreg/faq/realworld.htm

You could have found this by checking the ASK GREG FAQ, btw.

Response recorded on May 22, 2003

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adam writes...

why was it that all of the 6 original gargoyles in manhattan were male?

Greg responds...

Well, you're not counting Demona, of course.

Originally, we had two females. Dakota and Coco. Dakota evolved into Demona. Coco evolved into Broadway. At which point, to be honest about our cowardice, we didn't feel comfortable making our only positive female character overweight. In addition, there's a conventional wisdom -- which I don't subscribe to, but which influences my choices because so many in the industry DO subscribe to it -- that states that boys don't want female heroines in their boys action shows. Our primary target (not our only target) was boys 6-11 years old. No one wanted a female hero.

Of course, I love writing female heroes. They're easily my favorite. And I think properties like Buffy or Tomb Raider prove that I ain't wrong about the appeal to both gals and guys.

But, I don't always have the courage of my convictions. Introducing Angela was, in part, a way to make up for a clear void in the original show.

Response recorded on May 12, 2003

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Aaron writes...

I just wanted to ask, what's your feeling on clip shows? I think they can be fun, in a kind of remember great moments of a series, or recap for new audience members way, but they can also be percieved as laziness on the part of the writers and/or actors. (Or am I completely wrong, and it's really, really hard to find a decent plot contrivance to string a clip show out)

Anyway, what's your feeling on them, and would we ever have seen a gargoyle clip show?

Greg responds...

I've never been a huge fan of clip shows -- which are absolutely NOT about writer (or any other staff member's) laziness. Rather they are a reflection of budgetary (and occasionally deadline) concerns. Clip shows are MUCH less expensive, for obvious reasons. And they can be put together, even with a framing sequence, much more rapidly than a typical episode.

I recall admiring some early year SIMPSONS clip shows, for being cleverer than most. And I actually think FRIENDS has done a half-decent job at taking a clip show and making it matter to the audience by tying the flashbacks to a character's important decision. But usually, I don't much care for clip shows. For example the STARSHIP clip shows all make me cringe, though I know that the people involved were working their hardest to make something worthwhile out of them. And the fact that some of my material was used in the clips is flattering, but doesn't actually make it work any better. Of course, I'm biased. Those clip shows on ROUGHNECKS were done to save money -- and they took the place of my last three episodes which would have concluded the series.

Like I said, just not a fan.

Response recorded on May 08, 2003

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Jim R. writes...

Did you ever submit that CGI Proposal or whatever it was that matt and Phil won from the 2198 contest? I would imagine you might have since they told us it was dated 9/21/00.

Greg responds...

No, actually I didn't. I was planning to, but it was made VERY clear to me that Disney wasn't interested in any Garg spin-off at this time. So I'm saving it until the wind changes. To mix a metaphor, there's no sense poisoning the water on a perfectly good idea with a group of execs that are determined not to like it. I'd rather pitch it fresh when personnel or strategies have changed.

Response recorded on April 22, 2003

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weav writes...

when and are you going to try to start a new series.

Greg responds...

I have been trying non-stop since 1995. I've even gotten (or helped to get) a few things on the air, including Max Steel and Roughnecks. But it's hard.

Response recorded on April 16, 2003

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Tmansdc writes...

Where there any Gargoyle episodes that were made but never aired? Because if there are, I hope that some television channel can show them.

Greg responds...

No. There were a couple scenes here and there that were written and recorded, but never animated. But there were no episodes of the series that were made and not aired.

There was one entire episode of Team Atlantis that featured Demona that was written and recorded but not animated or aired. We did a radio play version of it at the last Gathering.

Response recorded on April 09, 2003

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Kelly L Creighton/Kya White Sapphire writes...

I know you generally dont DESIGN characters, as to give the artists more freedom, but do you (or would you) ever say "i really want this character to have this specific trait" or "i want them to look kind of like this" or would you never even go there. (please dont take the words 'ever' and 'never' to be all inclusive, i just mean generally. :)

Greg responds...

I often do exactly what you describe. For some characters, I have a real clear picture in my head. For others, almost nothing. Depending on how strongly I feel, I'd give guidelines to an artist... and I certainly give feedback. But I try very hard to keep my mind open, to allow the artist to surprise me with something I hadn't thought of but just feels right.

Response recorded on March 19, 2003

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Hudson's nearly renamed...

More old memos from the original development file...

At one point a Disney Executive came to me and asked me to rename Hudson as a personal favor. She had just had a son, whom she had named Hudson, and was concerned for reasons I can no longer clearly remember.

I wanted to be nice, but this was very problematic for us. Hudson's being named for the river was the way into the New York names for the whole clan. I couldn't see an easy way to make the change.

But in the spirit of being a team-player, we tried to give it a shot.

The following is a hand-written note in my files of possible names. The ones marked with an "x" were actually crossed out by me.

[Castle Logo] Walt Disney Television

Gregory David Weisman

FIRE - x
LONG - x
CONEY - x
SHERIDAN - x
COLUMBIA - x
HARLEM
ROCKEFELLER
MADISON - x
LAGUARDIA - x
SHEA - x
YANKEE - x
TRIBECA - x
SOHO
JERSEY
BATTERY - x
WASHINGTON - x
LINCOLN - x
VERRAZANO NARROWS - x
ROOSEVELT
EMPIRE - x
CHELSEA - x
GRAMMERCY - x
WALL ST. - x
BROAD ST. - x
BOWERY
NOHO - x
HOUSTON - x
BLEEKER - x

After jotting those down, I composed a memo for my boss to see if he wanted to make the change. He didn't have (or at any rate didn't use) e-mail back then. So traditionally, I would send the memo to myself. Print it out and then leave a hard copy with his assistant.

[4] From: Greg Weisman 9/13/93 12:44PM (616 bytes : 28 ln)

To: Greg Weisman, Paul Lacy
Subject: Hudson Names

------------------------------- Message Contents -----------------
Gary, here are some possible alternatives to the name Hudson:

Rockefeller
Roosevelt
Bowery
Harlem

SECOND CHOICES:
Madison
Soho
Jersey
LaGuardia
Shea
Yankee
Tribeca
Battery
Washington
Lincoln
Sheridan
Greenwich
Coney
Grammercy

He returned the same memo to me stamped from his office with the following little note:

RECEIVED BY
SEP 13 1993
GARY KRISEL'S OFFICE

Greg

WHY
1) Would "Hudson" pick his own name?
Keep this for the teens

GK

Having received that note, I then had to go into his office and remind him about the whole naming schema. The fact that we had names for the 'teens' and that the reason we were considering changing Hudson's name was because of the request of this one executive. Gary then considered all this and decided to stay the course. I apologized to the executive but told her we wouldn't be making a change. I felt bad -- a bit. But I also felt sure that we had chosen the correct names.


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Another design memo...

We got more designs from WDAJ. Here's our response back to them...

To: Motoyoshi Tokunaga 8-26-93

From: Greg Weisman 818-754-7436

Re: GARGOYLES DESIGN WORK

Dear Mr. Tokunaga,

This is in response to the designs sent in your fax dated August 21st. (We've looked over the originals you sent as well.) Although we have substantial notes, I want to emphasize that we're learning more with each submission. Things that did not occur to us initially are now becoming clearer. For reference purposes, I'm going to refer to the page numbers of the fax. In the future, you might want to number every drawing on every page for easier reference.

PAGE 3
Seeing the four Gargoyles together raised a number of interesting problems. Goliath seems to have lost some of the upper body bulk that made him so imposing. And Broadway seems to be on an equal level with Goliath. We need to make Goliath more special and unique. And although the trio of Brooklyn, Lexington and Broadway must each be unique from each other, we'd like to see the three of them as a natural grouping. As it stands now, Goliath, Broadway and Brooklyn all seem of a piece, with Lexington as the odd man out.

I might propose the following possible solutions:
--Let's give greater stature to Goliath relative to the other three, particularly Broadway.
--Let's make Goliath the only one of the four who tends to stand erect like a man. If Broadway and Brooklyn existed in a crouch as Lex does, we could cheat all three of them larger and still leave Goliath with greater stature.
--We already have two unique wing constructions (Goliath's and Lexington's), but we could stand to create a third type. Leaving either Brooklyn or Broadway as is, if we gave the other a third style of wing, then when we looked at the trio of younger gargoyles as a unit, each of them would have a unique wing-type and Lexington wouldn't seem like such the odd man out.
--If I haven't mentioned it before, we think of Goliath as being in his late twenties (in Gargoyle years). We think of the trio as being between 17 and 19 years old (in Gargoyle years). Keeping them youthful should also help in making them into a visible unit and still distinguish them from Goliath. Broadway, in particular is looking a bit too old.

PAGES 4 and 5
We'd like to make Goliath more imposing in size. Perhaps by slightly reducing the size of his head relative to his shoulders and chest. Bulking up his upper body.

We're also divided over here on the issue of the tail. Some of us feel it adds an inhuman element to help make Goliath cool and different. Others, just feel it's another thing that'll need to be animated.

Love the way the wings drape on page 5.

PAGE 6
One of Gary Krisel's concerns is that the face have depth. He doesn't want it to look like a mask connected to Goliath's thick neck. I'm not sure I see that problem in these drawings, but it's something to watch out for.

Another important point is Goliath's attitude and expression. He is highly intelligent. Noble. Gary was also concerned that some of the expressions here (and on page 4) made him look a bit like a thug.

A third concern is whether or not we might still have too much pencil mileage in the facial design to animate effectively.

PAGE 7
I love the top two head shots. Goliath looks terrific surprised. And I think the trick with the pupils vanishing in anger is very effective with all the characters. I also like Goliath amused in the lower right corner. But I'm not sure about the lower left shot. I'm not clear what emotion is being expressed. Something about the teeth and maybe the eyes is unappealing. I apologize for not being able to pin down my problem further. Maybe we should reserve his jagged teeth for extreme expressions? I don't know.

PAGE 8
Both poses, particularly the kneeling shot, are wonderful. In the first pose, however, I think we should be cheating his wing-span much, much larger.

Page 9
Great.

Page 10
I like his slimmer "teen" build, but perhaps Brooklyn should "stand" in more of a crouch. Not simply bad posture, but keeping at least three limbs on the ground.

PAGE 11
Again, Brooklyn needs to remain 18 or 19 years old. Particularly in the lower left and right corners he seems much older than that. We also probably need a greater range of expressions. Remember, he is the irrepressible leader of the trio. Out to find adventure. Are his horns too far apart? As opposed to being slicked back like his cool young hair, are the horns scooping up, giving him a more demonic look than necessary? Have we created a mouth that inhibits expression too much? You can see, we have more questions than answers, still.

PAGE 12
I think Lexington works as a basically horizontal character, but we don't want to make him too diminutive relative to the others...stretch him out in poses. Remember that his middle set of limbs function as arms as well as legs.

His wing design may be more complicated than necessary. We may not need the rib construction coming out of his back. For him, it may be enough that he has this wing like webbing between his two upper sets of limbs. Perhaps it's more elastic than draping.

Again, we need to keep him young. Lex is highly curious about the modern world around him. Everything interests him and fills him with wonder. He's more naive and innocent than the others. These qualities should help compensate for his slightly more demonic look.

PAGE 13
My favorite shot is the third from the left on the bottom row. And as usual, the angry glowing eye "battle" version works great. The upper right shot is cute. And I like the surprised version in the second from the left on the bottom row. But we're not getting the sense of wonder or excitement from him in the upper left and upper middle. And I don't really care for the sinister shot of him in the lower left corner. He's not angry or primed for battle (we know this cause his eyes aren't glowing), so I can't figure out what would give him that kind of nasty, almost hungry expression out of a battle context. Again, it may be that using jagged teeth outside of battle mode makes them too demonic. Another question: do his cheekbones need to be so prominent?

PAGES 14
Body-wise, Broadway looks pretty good outside of a context of scale with the others. We like his gut, his sumo-like quality. But like Brooklyn and Lex, he should be a croucher. Like the center on an American football team. And we may want to scale him down; he doesn't necessarily need to be that tall or broad relative to Goliath.

Our biggest concern is that he looks way too old. Mostly in the face, but when scaled with Goliath, as on page 3, in the body as well.

PAGE 15
Again, in all these shots, he looks too old. In some ways, he looks too much like Goliath. He should be a nineteen year old party animal. He just likes to have a great time. Always laughing. The only shot that really works for us here is glowing eyes shot in the lower left corner. In battle, it's appropriate to have the jaw distended and grotesque. In the others, we might try to give him more youth by making his head shape more horizontal than vertical. Less cheekbones, maybe. Rounder, perhaps? I'm not sure.

That's it for now. Looking forward to seeing your next pass.

Thanks. Greg.

cc: Bruce Cranston, Barbara Ferro, Eddy Houchins, Lenora Hume, Gary Krisel, Paul Lacy, Tom Ruzicka, Dave Schwartz.


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More correspondence with Tokyo...

Another old memo from my development files. It's pretty self-explanatory.

To: Motoyoshi Tokunaga 8-4-93

From: Greg Weisman 818-754-7436

Re: GARGOYLES DESIGN WORK

Dear Mr. Tokunaga,

Just a quick note to let you know we all looked at the Clayface episode of Batman that you sent us. We thought it was terrific. If you are confident you can animate to this level, I'm confident we have a great show in the works.

Greg.

cc: Bruce Cranston, Barbara Ferro, Lenora Hume, Gary Krisel, Paul Lacy, Tom Ruzicka, Dave Schwartz.


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Another memo to Japan...

Here's a follow-up memo on the character designs to the one I just sent praising "Designer E". Mr. Tokunaga sent us a note asking for feedback on the other five designers who had made an attempt on the Trio and Goliath....

To: Motoyoshi Tokunaga 7-26-93

From: Greg Weisman 818-754-7436

Re: GARGOYLES DESIGN WORK

Dear Mr. Tokunaga,

Per your request, a quick note on Designs A-D and F, with a reminder that just because the designs didn't suit our purposes, doesn't mean they weren't worthwhile attempts.

Designer A has the action feel of the show, but to be honest, the designs on Goliath, Brooklyn and Lexington were too unappealing. Although the characters are monsters, they need to be heroic monsters. It's a tightrope we're walking, and this group didn't seem redeemable. Broadway was more appealing, but a little goofy looking, and he seemed to be scaled too large.

Designer B was too cartoony on Lexington, Broadway and even Brooklyn. We're looking for more of an action feel. Goliath, particularly in B-7 and B-8, seemed too human. Like a man wearing a mask. Not unique enough. B-10 was a nice pose, though.

Designer C was just too cartoony. And the trio of smaller gargoyles looked more like aliens from another planet than medieval stone creatures.

Designer D's Goliath was an interesting interpretation. D-1, D-2 and D-3 were all nice poses that gave us the feel we were looking for. But in D-3, Goliath seemed too reminiscient of the Beast from Disney's Beauty and the Beast; and we're already a bit too close to that concept for comfort. We don't want to emphasize the similarities further than necessary. And though it seems like a minor point, we all really didn't like his chicken feet. And again, the gargoyle trio seemed too cartoony.

Designer F obviously stuck the closest to our original designs. Even closer than Designer E, whose work we liked. They seem to be simplified tracings, without the wings. I'm not sure how to describe my response, but the magic just seemed to be out of the drawings. The characters seemed unappealing, unexpressive and flat. Everything that E wasn't.

The "GOLIATH SPECIAL by Hashimoto" didn't grab us. Again he seemed like a normal man, an older man, with pointy ears and big hair.

Hope all the above is helpful.

Greg.

cc: Bruce Cranston, Barbara Ferro, Lenora Hume, Gary Krisel, Paul Lacy, Tom Ruzicka, Dave Schwartz.


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lily writes...

Okay, I've never been able to get to S8 before, and I don't have the extensive amount of time to read through EVERY answered question, but I did skim through the archive and FAQ contents, so I'm hoping not to repeat an old question. Anyway, I was curious as to whether you felt Disney (or more precicely cartoon form) was the best outlet for your vision, considering the amount of pressure ratings, time slots, ect. puts on those types of entertainment. I would have thought that you would have built a comic or graphic novel (and I differenciate them due to the difference in quality of art/story)fanbase like more sucessful Jap Cartoons (Dragonball, Pokemon, ect.)have done. I'm not questioning methods and I'm not exactly an expert on your past in the greater Disney hierarchy, what's dodne is done, just curious.

Greg responds...

Are we talking generally or about Gargoyles specifically?

To take Gargoyles out of the context of its creation at Disney is to remove any reality from my answer. I'd love, at this stage, to do Gargoyles in any format that would have me and it. But at the time, the show was created by a specific group of people in a specific place.

If we're talking generally, again, I'd love to do any of my ideas in any format that would have me. But no one is battering down doors to get me. I'm scrounging these days for every freelance assignment.

Response recorded on August 13, 2002

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Carmen.E.G.C writes...

Dear Greg why is there so little female Gargoyles?

Greg responds...

Well, with the exception of the few survivors at Wyvern and their clones, the premise of your question isn't accurate.

We tried to indicate that most of the other surviving clans (including Avalon) had a pretty much equal ratio of gals to guys.

As for the Wyvern survivors, well, the within-the-show explanation is just the story as presented. Goliath and Hudson chased the Vikings. The trio and Bronx were on detention in the Rookery. Demona hid. The ratio comes out of story.

Behind the scenes... well, there are probably a bunch of reasons.

1. Demona stands out more as the only female survivor, and the whole thing is more tragic (before you know there are other gargoyle clans) when the ONLY female survivor is a villain now.

2. By the same token, Elisa's influence is more pronounced if there aren't other females in the group.

3. Females are generally nurturing. Having a nurturing character can be problematic sometimes dramatically. They solve problems too quickly. This is BTW the main reason IMHO why so many Disney Animated mothers are DOA. If Ariel's mom was alive, she'd fix things too quickly. Same with Snow White or Cinderella or Jasmine, etc. Culturally, we don't seem to mind making dad an idiot. But making mom (as opposed to evil step-mom) into a clueless wonder seems flat-out unbelievable.

4. We were probably influenced by the core target audience we had to reach which was boys 6-11 years old and the conventional (but I believe incorrect) wisdom that boys that age don't want to see female characters in lead rolls. I know Kenner did everything in their power to push us toward more males and fewer females.

5. Broadway was initially a female. But (and I'm not proud of this) we were scared to present the politically incorrect picture of a heavy-set female who loves food.

Response recorded on August 12, 2002

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Chapter XXXVII: "Shadows of the Past"

Time to ramble....

This chapter (episode) was brought to you by:

Director: Kazuo Terada
Story Editor: Michael Reaves
Story: Michael Reaves
Teleplay: Michael Reaves & Brynne Chandler Reaves

Plus the usual suspects, including Frank and me.

The title is one of Michael's. I had the impulse to shorten it to "Shadows", but I didn't.

THE WORLD TOUR

As the recap ended and Tom shouted out: "Avalon doesn't take you where you want to go. Avalon sends you where you need to be!" My seven-year-old daughter Erin said, "Uh, oh."

"Uh, oh," indeed.

And so we begin Tier Four in earnest. Our quartet of travelers weren't headed straight home. Of course you couldn't know at that time just how long they'd be gone. And frankly when we started writing, neither did we.

It wasn't just the quantity of episodes (23 counting the Avalon three-parter, Kingdom, Pendragon, The Green and Future Tense) that we'd spend before everyone was reunited in Gathering One. It was the reruns in between.

What was supposed to be a five week trip became a five month trip. And so, for many of the fans it became interminable.

Why all the reruns? Well, the schedule finally just caught up with us. When Gargoyles was picked up for a second season by Buena Vista, I was asked how many we could reasonably produce for the fall quarter (between September & December of 1995) without interruption.

I told them that we were prepared to do six more. That was all the scripts that had been ordered (Leader, Legion, Metamorphosis, Lighthouse, Beholder, Vows). But I said we could do 13. We had done 13 the first season with a ten month sliding schedule. Now we had just under twelve months so we could certainly do 13 again.

I was asked what's the most we could do. I said, well if we start right now we can do 18.

Not 52? They asked.

52? Are you nuts? (Well, I didn't say that exactly.) I said we'll never get 52 done for the fall quarter. We'll wind up with a lot of repeats. You (Buena Vista) will not be happy with all those repeats.

They were disappointed. So disappointed, that instead of ordering 18, they only ordered six. (If we can't have 52, then forget it. [Okay, they didn't exactly say that either, but that seemed like the basic attitude.])

So we get to work to do six. Two weeks pass. Buena Vista comes back and says. No, do 13.

We respond with, uh, okay. Of course we've lost two weeks, so it'll be a bit harder, but we can do it.

Two weeks pass. They come back and say, "No, do 18."

We grumble a bit, because now we've lost a month of prep time when we could have been building crews, etc. But okay, I said we could do 18. We'll manage.

Two weeks pass. They come back and say, "Do 52."

Now we balk. We warned you we couldn't do 52 in twelve months. Now you want us to do it in 10? It took us ten to do 13.

Do 52.

And so we did. We built multiple crews. Our staff increased exponentially. We expanded to four writing teams from one. We expanded from one pre-production team (in Japan -- waves at Roy) to three and a half (one in Japan) and two and a half here in L.A.

And we worked like little demons to bring you 52 for the fall quarter. But it was never going to happen.

We wound up doing pretty good. I don't have my old calendar in front of me, and I can't remember exactly how many we managed to air in the fall, but it was considerably more than the 18 that I thought we could do.

But it wasn't 52. And so we had reruns. And reruns. And reruns. And most of those reruns came in the middle of the World Tour. And thus... yes... it seemed to go on forever.

Whoops. Sorry.

Of course, other people didn't care for it for other reasons. They felt it got away from the series strengths of the gargs in Manhattan. Obviously, it left behind four of our characters, and I'll admit that I underestimated the trio's popularity a bit.

But I felt it was important. The World Tour gave our series breadth and hope. It expanded the Gargoyles Universe, added many new characters and in particular added at least four other clans of gargoyles.

And I think some of the stories really kicked ass.

So I apologize for nothing. NOTHING, do you hear me, nothing!!!!!!

Except for that outburst. Sorry about that outburst.

WYVERN, SCOTLAND

Anyway, our first stop was no place new. Goliath immediately recognizes the ocean cliffside as "home, my home."

Even before Hakon and the Captain start to drive him crazy, his dialogue is laced with nostalgia.

He's so into being back in Scotland, that when he climbs the hill, he doesn't even take Elisa with him. Elisa goes with Angela. Which is no big deal. But usually, G's more of a gentleman than that. Particularly with Elisa.

TIDBIT

Angela: "It was always summer on Avalon."

Just wanted to give a sense of things on the fair island. Seemed to fit the legends as well.

TOKYO, JAPAN

I can't say enough good things about the animation in this episode. It's just gorgeous. The work of Disney's studio in Tokyo. WOW! Production AND Pre-Production was done there. All sorts of little touches, like Elisa slipping briefly and regaining her footing. And GREAT, GREAT character animation. Great lighting as the characters enter the tunnels. STELLAR effects animation in the megalith chamber. Just wow gorgeous stuff.

And boy, did we fight over this episode. [Roy, I'd love to get your perspective on this.]

When we got the storyboard from Japan, Frank and I each found something that just drove us nuts.

For Frank, it was the Wyvern cliff. The castle was gone, of course, as Xanatos had taken it away. But the cliff seemed to otherwise remain in tact. Frank was adamant that a chunk of the cliff had clearly been taken away and was part of the Eyrie Building. You could see it on that design. So obviously, we needed a crater of sorts to exist back at Wyvern.

When Frank pointed it out to me, I agreed with him. It didn't bother me as much as it bothered him, but I agreed.

What bothered me was Elisa's parka. In the storyboard, Elisa was wearing a parka with a hood. Of course, she looked great in it. And it kept her warm and safe and dry. But there was of course, no way and no place where she could have acquired that parka. (The Avalon Eddie Bauer, maybe?) So I insisted the parka had to go.

Frank agreed with me after I pointed it out. It didn't bother him as much as it bothered me, but he agreed.

So we gave Japan both these notes. And to our surprise, they balked. They felt that the only changes we were allowed to make to their boards were S&P changes.

We couldn't believe it. Finally, they relented. But on the cliffside ONLY. They felt that was a fair compromise. Since that had been Frank's BIG note, he was appeased. But obviously, I was not. All sorts of people came to me asking me to back down.

But I wouldn't. And I can honestly say it was for you guys that I refused. I knew even then that OUR FANS paid attention. That we couldn't get away with Elisa suddenly having a warm coat from no where.

So I put my foot down, and Elisa stayed cold and wet.

And our Tokyo Studio had another reason to be annoyed with me.

I regret the tension, certainly. But I still think I did the right thing, so I apologize for NOTHING, DO YOU HEAR ME? NOTHING!!!!

Except for that outburst, I apologize for that outburst.

GASLIGHT

A great movie. A husband tries to convince his wife that she's going insane. It's now a staple of melodrama everywhere. And we used it too.

So the ghosts of Hakon and the Captain try to gaslight Goliath.

We tried to gaslight the audience a bit too. Tried to let them think for a bit that Goliath might just be losing it. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, maybe.

You can hear it in Goliath's voice. How he's lost in the past. Angela tells him that he did the right thing all those years ago by saving the Princess.

His only response: "Still, I wanted revenge." I love Keith David's reading of that line.

But we also wanted to play fair, so we dropped a hint: when Goliath hears Demona's voice, Bronx howls. He senses something. Always trust Bronx.

Bronx has a pretty important supporting role in this, btw.

THE AXE OF HAKON

When Goliath and friends first enter the caves, Goliath picks up an old Viking axe. Hakon's Axe. The one he uses in "Vendettas".

Should have been a mace by the way. Should have been the same mace you can see in the opening titles EVERY episode. The one that Hakon used to smash the gargoyles at Wyvern.

Shoulda been. My fault.

Okay, for that -- I apologize. I screwed up. Dang.

THE STREET PIZZA TRADITION

a.k.a.

A CLASSIC MICHAEL REAVES' ELISA LINE:

"This place is creepier than the morgue at midnight."

Michael was great at giving Elisa this tough contemporary feel without taking us out of the moment.

Another good one: "Old wounds bleed as bright as new ones sometimes."

GETTING TO KNOW ANGELA

When Goliath pretends that he's NOT freaking out and having hallucinations, Angela can tell he's lying.

I love Brigitte's read there. She sounds SO SHOCKED: "He's not telling the truth."

You can tell she was raised in a world where there was little cause for lying.

COOL CLIFFHANGER

Goliath attacking Elisa and Angela, thinking they are Hakon and the Captain.

Very dramatic. And again, we don't know yet, objectively that he isn't just going nuts.

What did you guys all think at this point? Did you suspect the truth?

Anyway, Bronx saves the day.

And Goliath runs off. He also has a nice stumble here. Again, parka aside, much amazing attention to detail and character in all this animation. Stunning.

STAR TREK INFLUENCE

No, I'm not talking about the voice cast.

Finally, we objectively reveal that Goliath is being influenced. We see two floating entities hovering over the scene. He doesn't see them, so they're not part of his dementia. Ergo (I don't have much opportunity to use the term ergo you know), ergo, they must be what is causing this.

Of course, they look like energy beings right out of Star Trek.

We also see Demona, Othello and Desdemona.

More of us playing fair. Sure they're identifiable. But of course, they (plus Iago) would be the souls LEAST likely to be haunting Wyvern and Goliath.

SALLI RICHARDSON

Yeah, Keith was the star. And we're always going on about Jeff's versatility. But we really were blessed with an amazing cast right down the line.

Salli does Elisa SO DARN WELL. It's the little things really.

Like when Angela explains about the fissure and how Goliath could die in it. Elisa says, "Swell." Just, "Swell." In one word, she says everything that needs to be said. It's hard. Try it sometime.

SPEAKING OF FISSURES

Bronx saves Goliath (temporarily) from falling by chomping down on his arm. Always thought that was cool. Would have liked to have drawn some blood, but we knew we'd never get away with that.

And the fissure itself is way cool. I love Goliath's fall.

And Elisa's determination, as she starts to climb down feet first. And I love the contrast, as Angela and Bronx, by virtue of their claws, climb down head first.

THE TURN

Some fans have felt, I know, that the Captain's change of heart at the end comes suddenly. That may be so. It's hard in a mere 22 minutes to achieve these arcs and turns. But as usual, we tried to drop subtle hints that he wasn't fully on board with Hakon.

Hakon is enjoying tormenting Goliath.

The Captain says: "Make an end to it." Hinting at his ambivalence. Torturing Goliath doesn't give him pleasure.

And while we're praising voice actors, how about a toast to the late Ed Gilbert, voice of the Captain of the Guard. Wonderful work here. Evil. Tortured. Redeemed.

Ed, wherever you are... THANKS!

THE FATAL FLAW IN YOUR PLAN

Demona. The Captain must have assumed that Demona died in the massacre. He and Hakon figured that her appearance would be the coup de grace. That Goliath's will would just dissolve when faced with her ghost.

They were almost right. But of course, G is no idiot. A bit slow sometimes, but not stupid. Demona's ghost shouldn't be here. Cuz the dame ain't dead.

[By the way, the idea to have her fist morph into a mace was mine. Just a little post-storyboard tidbit that I suggested amid bitching about the parka. They must have liked the idea because that wasn't one I insisted on, but they did it anyway. When push came to shove, everyone -- on both sides of the ocean -- was just VERY dedicated to making the show better.] [See. It's a mace because that's the weapon that we associate with the Massacre. Hakon's axe should have been a mace. How did I miss that?]

Anyway, Goliath figures out the truth and, hey, we've awakened the sleeping giant. He trashes the phony Demona. And we think he's going to smash all the others.

But something even more chilling happens. They all begin to dissolve around him. It still gives me the creeps. Very cool animation AND music and effects. (Props to the gang at Advantage Audio too.)

HOW

Or rather how come we don't have ghosts hanging around ALL the time. I didn't want this episode to open a spectral floodgate, where any character that was killed or had died in the past was available to haunt us.

So the Captain offers two possible explanations: Hate and Magic. Both present in ample supply. Plus Guilt. His guilt. Unfinished business.

THE DANCE

Again, very cool effects on the Megalith's here. But the idea emerges from an old (if not very original) idea I've had since I was a teen. The notion that Stone Dances, that Megalith Circles were like Medieval Mystic Dynamos. Circles of power. That build and generate.

Really came to life here.

I love Hakon's line: "I can feel it. I can feel again." I love that transition halfway through the line between where he can feel that the process is working and when he realizes the simple fact that he can feel things again.

But again, watch the Captain feel his own hand. You can see the ambivalence there. Particularly when Goliath becomes the Ghost and Hakon is beating on him. Cap doesn't participate in this.

And Goliath helps him remember what he has forgotten. The Captain doesn't HATE Goliath. His problem is that G's presence has reinforced his own guilt.

But here's an opportunity to redeem himself: "I can't let this happen again!"

He pushes Hakon back.

Hakon: "You've crossed the lines of power, you fool."

You can almost here the Ghostbusters say, "Don't cross the streams."

RESOLUTION

So Cap hated himself, not G.

G forgives. He forgave the Magus last episode. Now he forgives the Captain. Shows that he's a pretty decent guy.

You think if Hakon made an effort? Nah.

Anyway, I like G's line: "One enemy. And one friend."

And then a positively angelic Captain returns briefly to say goodbye and thanks. I also like the "shackles of hate and guilt" line. And the way he calls Goliath, "Old Friend".

Elisa thinks she's in for a long story.

G: "Centuries long."

And as the sun rises, and Elisa -- as usual -- leans against her stone beau for a nap....

Hakon: "Don't leave me here alone!! Not without anyone to hate!!"

Many people think I should have left him there forever. But evil doesn't rest in peace in my opinion. When left alone it tends to get out of control.

Besides I already had this fun idea. What if Wolf was Hakon's descendant?

Anyway, that's my ramble. Where's yours?


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Artemis writes...

I couldn't get online yesterday to wish you a happy birthday, Sorry!

Today at band practice, for the first time it occured to me that Gaygolyes have somewhat limited hand use, having only 4 fingers. For example, you could never get one to properly play a flute, clarinet, and even trumpets (they probably wouldn't anyway, but still), since they require 5 fingers per hand. They can't flip people off either! (that is, if they really wanted to). Oh well, just a stupid comment. But while my mind is on the topic, why did you decide for them to have only 4 fingers anyway?

Greg responds...

Frankly, it tends to look better in animation. It also set them apart more.

Response recorded on June 12, 2002

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Chapter XXXV: "Avalon, Part Two"

Time to Ramble...

"PART TWO"
Director: Dennis Woodyard
Writer: Lydia Marano
Story Editor: Brynne Chandler Reaves

I guess you guys were used to longer multi-parters from us, so you probably didn't think this was the last part when you saw Part Two come up after the title. I tried something different at the end though. Instead of writing "To be continued" I had them put down "To be concluded". It seemed (at least in my head) to increase tension to know that the next part would be the last.

I've been told by people that out of context, this episode is incomprehensible. I hope it's not quite that bad, but I will say that unlike the rest of our eps, I felt that multi-parter eps don't quite need to stand alone in the same way.

Still with all the time travel stuff, it's very complex. I remember Lydia having to come into my office after her first draft and needing me to diagram the time travel for her. The loop that the Archmage takes. I love it. But I guess it's not that easy to follow.

Anyway, this ep was designed to be the second part of a tryptich. This is the one where we focus on our villains and bring them all up to date, just as in part one, we focused on our heroes. All gearing to a MAJOR BATTLE coming in Part Three.

THE EGGS

Picking up where Part One left off, Elisa looks at Angela, Gabriel and Boudicca and says: "These are the eggs?" I love her tone there.

Guardian: "Sorry, I always call them that." It was a cheat to buy us, at least with some percentage of our audience, the shock value of expecting eggs and finding fully grown gargs and beasts instead. Still, I believe that a guy like Tom, dubbed "Guardian of the Eggs" would continue to use that term to refer to his kids, even after they are grown.

Goliath is initially shocked that the gargs have names. Angela says the standard human response: "How else would we tell each other apart?" This was done intentionally to both cover the issue of non-garg naming (which I still think is neat, but which is often a massive pain) and to indicate that these are gargs raised by humans.

BEACH FIGHT

So I'm in my office one day, after the script to "Avalon, Part Two" has gone final. And Supervising Producer Frank Paur and Producer/Director Dennis Woodyard come in. Frank hates the script. Dennis is calmer, but he seems to clearly agree with Frank, more or less.

I'm annoyed because it's VERY late in the game for them to be giving me these kind of notes. Things get heated between me and Frank.

I yell something like: "Well, what do you want me to do?!!!"

And he yells something like: "We need some action! Like a fight on the Beach with the Archmage!!"

And I start to object for about a second. Then I go, "Oh, yeah. A fight on the beach with the Archmage. That'd be cool. Would that fix it?"

"Uh. Yeah."

And that was it. Our fights were always like that. We always only wanted to make it better. He'd get worked up, but the solution wound up being simple and when push came to shove (we never actually pushed and shoved by the way) we agreed on nearly everything.

It was also good to have Dennis' calming influence. Frank and I would go momentarily nutty and Dennis would always maintain.

So anyway, after the fact we added the memorable fight on the beach. Now I can't imagine the episode without it. It forced us to trim down some the Archmages travels (cause we were already long) but it definitely improved the episode.

I think, not sure, but I think I wrote that fight because it came so late in the game. It's also possible, I might have taken it back to Brynne and/or Lydia to write. I really don't remember anymore.

Either way, there are some great lines:

Goliath: "Don't be too insulted!" I love how he goes nuts here. We really get a reminder of his warrior-ness.

Archmage: "Don't crow too loudly, after all, what have you accomplished: you beat up a beach." You beat up a beach. That's one of my favorite lines in the whole series.

Archmage: "At dawn you all will die. Get used to it!"

Tom: "Let's get out of here before the very air attacks us!"

The fight itself is pretty cool too. I like how Bronx and Boudicca immediately team up. I like the symbolic nature of the Archmage growing wings, turning to stone and then shattering. I think that was a board-artist's addition. I don't remember seeing that in the script. (And I'm too lazy to stand up and check right now.)

At the end of the fight, my five year old son Benny asked: "Why can't they glide to the castle?" I had to explain the flight rules.

ANGELA & GABRIEL

Elisa slides up to Goliath: "Angela sort of looks like Demona, except her coloring is different. Exactly whose daughter is she?" Again, I love Salli's reading here. That need to know. The jealousy. The feeling for Goliath -- who dodges the question by saying that all children belong to the clan.

But of course Elisa knows. Knows something that I believe never occured to her before. Sure, she knew that Goliath and Demona had been mates, lovers. But she didn't let her mind traverse to the next logical step. Parents. Together. Goliath and Demona.

And of course, the audience knows it too, I hope. It was never meant to be a secret to anyone but Angela who her biological parents are. These lines also served to point that out.

On the other hand, we didn't make a big deal of Gabe's bio-parentage. But I wanted it to be semi-clear that his folks were Othello and Desdemona (Coldstone and Coldfire). Anyone get that at first viewing?

REUNIONS

Everyone returns to Oberon's Palace. There are many injured and Gabe is apologetic. As Leader, he feels responsible. But there was 'never any need to hone our combat skills' before this.

Tom & Katharine are reunited. Elisa, the cop, picks up on the human dynamics, the relationships, immediately. She sees the Magus' reaction to their reunion.

I also really like the exchange between the Princess and Goliath.

K: "This is more than I could have hoped for."
G: "What you've done for the eggs is more than I could have dreamed of"

SLEEPING KING

We kept dropping hints. He's mentioned by the Magus, but the conversation moves quickly on.

Later, the Weird Sisters mentioned him. The Archmage is surprised to hear he's not a myth, causing Seline to say her famous: "All things are true." line. The Archmages promise to kill the king later.

And Elisa brings the guy up at the end. This policy was me trying to play fair and make his awakening in Part Three not seem artificial. But also not to allow the guy to distract from the matter at hand.

Of course, most of THIS crowd must have known the s-king was a ref to KING ARTHUR. Particularly when the Hollow Hill ref was thrown in too. But did anyone not know on first viewing?

LOOSE ENDS

This was an episode for tying up Loose Ends in a big way. Solving some mysteries.

Why did the Weird Sisters do what they did? (At least objectively.)

Why were Demona and Macbeth working together in "High Noon"? (Elisa: "They hate each other." Guardian: "I saw no sign of that.")

And how did the Archmage survive?

Tom unwittingly hints at the truth when he says that the Archmage seemed to be able to be in two places at once.

Now let's reveal...

WEIRD SISTERS

Wow! Did we get negative feedback from fans when we played the Sisters as villains here. Of course, I always had it in my head that the Sisters had three aspects. Grace, Vengeance and Fate. Sometimes one aspect is ascendent, but there is always a touch of all three in anything they do. But after the Sisters' Fateful appearances in "City of Stone", many fans rebelled at the notion that the objective reason they did all those things was for simple petty vengeance here in "Avalon". Oh, well.

[When Benny saw the Sisters for the first time, he said "Weird Sisters" with an interesting tone of awe. They're his favorites. But he didn't comment on them being bad guys here.]

The sisters have some nice lines...

L: "What is time to an immortal."
Phoebe: "This is true." (in ref to what cannot be broken can be bent).

ARCHMAGESES

Okay, this was just fun for me. In many ways the origin of much of this was the flat out talent of David Warner. He brought such life to the underwritten (and clichéd) part of the Archmage in "Long Way to Morning" that I just knew I'd have to bring him back. Many of the events of "Vows", "City of Stone", "High Noon" etc. were all geared toward bringing him back as a real THREAT!!

Yet with all this, I didn't want to forget the character's roots. We tried to set a balance between his clichés and his new power.

Think about it. The Archmage+ (as we called him in the script), had only been plussed for about a day. Still he's full of arrogance. His power hasn't raised him above that hybris nor above the thirst for vengeance nor above gloating or above impatience. That's his flaw, but also the fun, I think.

And of course, David. Wow.

Praise for Salli Richardson as Elisa. For Kath Soucie as Princess Katharine and all three Weird Sisters. For Frank Welker as Bronx and Boudicca.

But this Archmage stuff here is a tour de force, I think. David just went through, playing both characters. Both versions of himself. Keep in mind, he hadn't been privy to all that the writers had planned. He had come in for his small parts in both "Long Way" and "Vows". Now suddenly, he's this guy(s). Amazing.

"Do you know what to do?"
"I should. I watched you do it."

"Show some dignity."

"I could put you back where I found you."
"No, no." (I love that no, no. So tiny and fearful.)

"Not where. When."

"If you don't know, don't guess."

"The book must remain in play."

"Try to keep up."

"We're not doing her any favors."

"The rules that cannot be broken can surely be bent."

"Nine hundred and seventy-five YEARS??!!"

"I hadn't thought that far in advance."

"What am I supposed to do, eat it?!"

"Now I understand."

"As it did. As it must. As it always will!"

All great fun.

FLAWS

All these episodes were being produced simultaneously. All in various stages of production. So inconsistencies were bound to happen.

The Egg boats are messed up here. Demona's model in her flashback. Etc.

And storywise, what's the deal with Macbeth? I can see why the Archmage wants to include his former apprentice Demona in his plans. He felt betrayed by her, and is glad not to be doing her any favors by enslaving her.

But Macbeth?

Okay, it's not a true flaw. Macbeth is included because the 'plan of the Archmage' -- birthed whole from the timestream without the Archmage ever actually coming up with it independently (though he takes credit) -- included Macbeth.

It is the provence of Luna, not Seline, at work.

But still, I'd have liked to have been able to figure out some connection between the Archmage and Macbeth so that he wouldn't question the boy's inclusion. Thankfully, the Archmage+ is so arrogant, he takes credit and thus never questions. It occurs to me now, that I could have made a connection between Mac and his ancestors, all related to Katharine and Malcolm. Oh, well.

CAPTIONS

These became fun for me. Adding Captions indicating place and time is one of the very last steps in production. So I'm in there for the "On-Line" with Jeff Arthur, our post-production supervisor, and I'm just indulging...

Sure we start with...

"Scotland, 984 A.D."

But pretty soon we're at "YESTERDAY" and "SIX HOURS AGO" and "ONE MINUTE AGO" and finally "NOW".

It still makes me smile.

POWERING UP

So the Archmage gets the eye. Power. But he's still an idiot. He needs wisdom. He eats the book, which I always thought was really creepy and cool. Now he understands. Now we truly have two Archmage+es. But they can't coexist forever. Aside from how complicated that would be to choreograph, and aside from the fact that the timestream needs the younger of the two to fulfill his role....

They also couldn't coexist because both are too arrogant.

So we repeat the scene of departure to close the circle and tack on: "Finally. I thought he'd never leave."

BATTLE FLASHBACK

We get to see a new clan awake from stone. I hoped that was fun.

Ophelia appears (pre-injury). She looked way cool. For all those people who thought that Gabe and Angie were a couple, take a look at the way Gabe is holding Ophelia and looking at her after she's injured.

LAYING PIPE

In addition to the Sleeping King, we were also laying pipe for our whole fourth tier WORLD TOUR. Tom says: "Avalon dropped me in your laps." He credits Avalon with sending him to Goliath.

The Magus declares that he is without magic and useless. Katharine rebels at that: "Don't say it, and don't think it!" She loves him. Just not the way he wanted her to love him.

Bronx and Boudicca want to go with Goliath.

Elisa asks about the Sleeping King...

And Goliath, Angela and Gabriel take off on a stealth attack.

And we immediately see that the Archmage knows they're coming.

Uh oh.

As the Archmage says... "[We've layed all the damn pipe we could possibly need and more], Now the fun really begins!"

To be concluded...

And that's my ramble. Where's yours?


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Chapter XXXIV: "Avalon, Part One"

There's no memo, outline or script for this one on my computer, so we'll head right into my ramble on...

"AVALON, PART ONE"
DIRECTOR: Dennis Woodyard.
WRITER: Lydia Marano.
STORY EDITOR: Brynne Chandler Reaves.

THE RECAP

...is all over the place. So much was coming together in this three-parter. The Weird Sisters, the eggs, the Archmage, Tom, Princess Katharine, the Magus, Macbeth, Demona. This was our most ambitious story yet. Which given episodes like "The Mirror" or "Vows" and multi-parters like "Awakening" and "City of Stone" was saying something.

Of course "Avalon" was never designed to be the cohesive single story movie that "City of Stone" was. It was designed as a tryptych. Part one would bring our heroes up to date. Part two would bring our villains up to date. Part three would pit them against each other.

"Avalon I" also represented the first episode in our fourth tier. The three-parter was what we called a 'tentpole'. We knew we couldn't air it until all the Tier 3 episodes had aired. And we knew we couldn't air any other Tier 4 episodes until this three-parter had aired. Despite the fact that "The Price" aired out of order, generally our Tentpole/Tier system worked very well. Out of 66 episodes that I worked on only two: "The Price" and "Kingdom" aired out of order, hopefully with minimal damage to the continuity.

THE TITLE

The title was one of mine. But initially I wasn't sure that we were going to call the island Avalon. Now, it's mind-boggling to me, but I actually had my assistant Monique Beatty (who's now a producer in her own right) research Brigadoon to find out if that name was created only for the musical, or if it was something pulled from legends. I was thinking of Avalon, but looking for something from a Scotish tradition as opposed to British. Fortunately, Brigadoon was created for the musical. So we were 'stuck' with Avalon. Which made including King Arthur a natural.

Many series don't reveal that an episode is going to be a multi-parter until you get to the 'To Be Continued' line at the closer. "Avalon, Part One" could have just been titled "Avalon". The conventional wisdom is that people are reluctant to commit the time to a multi-parter in advance. That it is better to hook them on the story before revealing that they HAVE to come back to see the end. I always felt that was cheating. What is your reaction to seeing "Part One" attached to a title?

OPENING

Another cool shot of our gargs waking up. Always nice to reiterate that at the start of our bigger stories.

Bronx gets left behind. Of course, this often happens. It was one of the things that the World Tour would set about correcting in a BIG way. But we made his getting left behind a bit more obvious here. Usually, he just doesn't go. This time they won't take him and he's sad. We were laying pipe.

My 5-year-old son Benny asked where Hudson and the Trio were going. I had to think about it. "On Patrol, I guess."

OLD FRIENDS

Then the GUARDIAN shows up. I love his cool, Goliath-inspired armor. My 7-year-old daughter Erin immediately demanded to know who he was. I wouldn't tell her. (I'm so mean.) Did any of you guess?

Of course he immediately encounters BRENDAN & MARGOT. (What would one of our multi-parters be without him?)

Then comes the three gang-bangers from "AWAKENING, PART THREE". As usual, Keith David does the voice for one of them -- making it distinctive from both Goliath and MORGAN, who's about to come in and speak. The problem is we got a touch confused. In Awakening, Keith voices the bald white guy. Here he does the same voice, but it's assigned to the black guy. Hard to say which is wrong, except by virtue of which came first. It annoys me though.

Morgan's fun in this. I really like him. No one but Simon DelMonte will get this, and I don't know if he even reads these rambles, but Morgan kind of reminds me of Jeff Goslin, a character that Cary Bates and I created in Captain Atom.

Anyway, I like how Morgan talks Guardian down. And I like how the sword is much heavier than he thought it was going to be. His cop buddies tease him, but he maintains his sense of wonder and goodness when talking about the Guardian to Elisa.

That's kind of a cool scene. First off he describes Guardian's armor: "Real armor. King Arthur stuff." Anyone think this was a clue to what was coming in the next episode? Even with the Avalon title? Then he tells her the guy's looking for Gargoyles. Elisa of course discourages her fellow officers from taking Garg reports seriously. Everyone who's seen one must be a nut-case. These guys should form 'a club'. Then she finds out that this Guardian was asking for Goliath by name. BOOM.

BELVEDERE CASTLE

Site of our last encounter with Demona and Macbeth. Another clue.

Once Elisa got a look at the Guardian's armor, she must have thought -- yeah, there's a Goliath connection here all right.

Goliath shows with Bronx, who gets to come along and come along and come along for once. Bronx always seemed underutilized to us. We knew we couldn't bring the whole clan along. (Too many characters and no poignancy.) But Bronx was an easy addition. Of course, Bronx is also useful as a kind of living personality test. If Bronx likes you, it's a damn good sign. Bronx likes Tom. Does he remember him? What scents do you figure the Guardian carried back from Avalon. Anyway, Bronx engenders immediate trust in the Guardian for Goliath.

I love this scene. Guardian gives everyone so little time to catch up. He talks about the Archmage, reveals that he's Tom and talks about 'the eggs' being in danger. *That was a fun idea. Keep you guys thinking in terms of eggs for twenty minutes and reveal that it's just a pet name for the Avalon Clan.*

Benny asked: "What kind of Eggs?"
Erin: "Gargoyle Eggs."
Benny: "I didn't know Gargoyles hatch out of eggs." [Well, keep in mind it's been a year since he saw the first thirty episodes. And he's too young to remember the first time he saw the ones we're watching now.]

Then there's the skiff. Elisa: "Where'd that boat come from? ... To where? The other side of the lake? ... Wait for me!"

This all sounds fishy to her. Nothing makes sense. I wanted to get a clear shot in there of the pond in Central Park so that you could see objectively that it doesn't go anywhere. But I never quite managed that. I wanted you guys to be confused. Or at any rate to have a million questions. But like Elisa, no matter how suspicious, I figured you'd want to go along for the ride.

FLASHBACK

Mary, Katharine, the Magus and young Tom are all reintroduced. It's very clear that the first three have all learned their lesson from Awakening. They've all really become better people. Tom, of course, didn't need to learn that lesson. But he does learn to be a hero. He officially becomes the Guardian. It begins, I believe, as just a nice gesture on the part of the Princess. Later, of course, it'll become the truth. Then there's the long journey. I like the montage there. Hardship. We never had the time to show enough of the hardship of tenth century life.

Our gang heads into Edinburgh. Constantine's followers are all over the place. They all seem to look like Disney storyboard artists for some reason. ;)

VOICES

There's some stellar voice work in this ep. Morgan Shepard as King Kenneth II. Sheena Easton making her Garg Premiere as Finella. Ian Buchanan as Constantine. (I've already mentioned Keith's versatility.)

But as usual, real props must be handed out to Jeff Bennnett and Kath Soucie.

Jeff plays Brooklyn, the Magus and Maol Chalvim. (No Bruno or Owen or Vinnie in this ep, I'm afraid.)

Kath plays Katharine, Mary and all three Weird Sisters.

They're amazing.

SOAP OPERA

Benny saw Finella and said: "That's one of the witches."

A year ago, Tom was his favorite character. Now Tom barely registered. And he really is fascinated with the Weird Sisters. Anyway, I corrected him, but I was glad that they were appearing later.

Ian Buchanan, once of General Hospital, is playing a cad here. We have to very quickly set up a lot of politics, sexual and otherwise. This story was as historical as we could make it based on the available research, the fact that we had to fit in a few fictional characters and eggs, and screen time compression.

Believe it or not, we also had another character originally that we cut early on because it was just getting too damn complicated. Katharine and Maol Chalvim's cousin: the future King Kenneth III. The father of Bodhe. Yep. That Bodhe. The father of Gruoch.

Kenneth III winds up being made High King of Scotland after Constantine is killed. To get a sense of their relationship, at least as I see it, you might want to check out "Once upon a time there were three brothers..."

(Or to give you a hint, ten years after the events depicted here, King Kenneth III would be murdered by Maol Chalvim's operatives during a civil war. Maol Chalvim was also known as Malcolm Forranach, the Destroyer. We used the Maol Chalvim version of his name so as not to confuse him with Katharine's father Prince Malcolm. Just as in City of Stone we emphasized Malcolm Canmore's Canmore name for the same reason.)

Anyway, Maol Chalvim seems intense but right on the money here. He's even kind of heroic when he and the Magus bring Tom back to Katharine's apartment, and he begs Katharine to go. Kind of heroic. He still leaves her. We were trying very hard to balance out his minor role here with his future roll as the grandfather of and major influence on Duncan. (Of course, he's also Macbeth's grandfather, as well.)

After Katharine tells Maol to go, there's a weird cut of him just standing there smiling. We needed some kind of transition before he took off running, and I guess that was the best we could do. But it's still awkward as hell.

THE MURDER

But I'm getting ahead of myself.

We establish early on that Katharine doesn't think much of Constantine. You wouldn't know it from Awakening, but obvioulsy she's learned to be a decent judge of character.

Kenneth isn't quite so sharp. Everyone can see that he's a fool for Finella. And he doesn't recognize Constantine's threat (despite the fact that Constantine's father was a bitter enemy and) despite the fact that his son flat out tells him to beware. My thinking was that the crown had kept bouncing back and forth between different branches of the royal family. Kenneth had hoped that by taking Constantine in, instead of banishing him, he'd be able to be a positive influence on the boy. A nice idea perhaps, but maybe Kenneth was too innattentive to pull it off. And Maol probably was too covetous to really be a brother to young Con.

Anyway, Constantine tricks Finella and kills the king. We hear Finella sobbing, just to prove that she was neither in on it nor that she would approve of it. (Though one wonders what her reaction would have been down the road if Constantine hadn't spurned her in favor of Katharine. Would she have adjusted to the crime? Or did Constantine become an unredeemable villain in her eyes immediately? I hate to say it, but I tend to think it's the former. Actually, I don't hate to say it. She's more interesting to write that way.)

Erin asked: "He killed King Arthur? Why?"

That's a tough question. So first I had to explain that it was King Kenneth, not King Arthur. Then my wife Beth helped out by explaining that Constantine wanted to be king.

We come back from the act and we see that Constantine was ready for the takeover. The Banners are immediately changed in a scene clearly inspired by the Ian McKellan (spelling?) movie version of Shakespeare's Richard III. (A version I heartily recommend, by the way.)

We also continue to set up the Magus' own tragedy. He loves Katharine. Has loved her since before Awakening. That feeling is shown to deepen here when she is once again in danger. And when Constantine tries to coerce her into marrying him. (The astute Mary and Tom have to hold him back.) Here, we sense that maybe Katharine might some day return that love. That's what I wanted you all to think anyway. Did you?

Constantine takes his crown. Originally we wanted to stage this with the Stone of Destiny as we did with Macbeth. But again, I think we just had too many sets.

Michaelmas. I just like that word.

Constantine is fairly astute himself: "You have 36 very good reasons to obey." We kept reiterating the number of eggs for what was coming later.

THE ESCAPE

The Magus disguises broken pots as eggs and vice-versa. But it always seemed to me that the kitchen staff at Edinburgh sure broke a lot of pots. I mean a LOT!

I like the lines: "Taking the wee bairns for a walk?" and "I don't think I like Gargoyle eggs." Very menacing.

Princess K burns her wedding dress. She feels she cannot leave because C will follow her to "the ends of the Earth." So the Magus responds: "Then I will take you beyond them." Again. Very romantic moment between them.

Finella joins the troop. The WOMAN SCORNED. She's really fun now. Dangerous. I always laugh when Constantine drinks the brew and collapses so abruptly.

Erin: "The Weird Sisters". My kids are just fascinated with this trio. I wonder if they still will be by the end of this three-parter or if like many fans, they will be disappointed?

They get turned into owls. But the Magus worries about giving up the source of his power. K doesn't care about that.

And Finella and Mary agree to take the book. I love these two. I think they'd make a totally kick-ass team. I doubt it would be commercial enough, but I'd love to do a spin-off show just with these two women. At any rate, there was the plan to include them as recurring characters in TimeDancer.

Tom has to leave his mother and his childhood behind. Now his role as the Guardian is a way for Katharine to make him accept the loss. It is the start of their relationship, though neither knows it. I watch this now, and I can't help thinking of the Anakin & Padma relationship and where that's destined to go.

AVALON

Back to the present. We see the impressive shores of Avalon. Very cool painting.

Bronx reacts. Guardian: "He's found the eggs..." And the music swells and two gargs and a garg beast appear on the cliff.

Now is that a cliff-hanger or what? What was your reaction?

Erin and Benny wanted "to see ther rest!" I told them they'd have to wait a week and we got a lot of protesting. Just what I was hoping for.

Anyway, that's my ramble. Where's yours?


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Chapter XXXIII: "The Price"

Ramble, ramble, ramble...

The other night my family and I sat down to watch "The Price"...

Director: Dennis Woodyard.
Writer & Story Editor: Michael Reaves
Based on Comic Book Material by Lee Nordling

RECAP
It seems like I was starting to learn my lesson about not giving too much away in the "Previously on Gargoyles" section. This one is really all about Hudson, and issues of old age and mortality. I think it tends to hint that maybe, just maybe, we were thinking of killing him off. Anyone else think that perhaps we might?

There's some really great, really good looking character work in this animation. Pretty stuff.

There's a great moment where Hudson banks off an office building. Very cool.

Also, I like it on those rare occasions when we do weather in New York. Snow here. Or rain. Usually, it's all left standard for the same reason Elisa usually wears the same clothes. It's cheaper.

As the story opens, we're again trying to set Hudson up for possible termination, at least in the minds of the audience. He says, "Not a bad life all things considered..." which is usually an invitation for something really horrible to happen.

TIER STUFF

This is the last episode of our third tier. I had always hoped it would air last, since what happens at the end to Owen's hand would make interchanging very difficult. But on the first go-round it was ready long before a couple of other eps in the tier. So it aired early. (Particularly before Owen's appearance in "The Cage".) I tried to correct that for later runs. Sometimes with success. Sometimes not.

Anyway, because I couldn't be sure it would air in the right order, you can see that we hedged our bets a bit. Goliath doesn't understand how Macbeth escaped the Weird Sisters. He's not referring to events in "High Noon" which he could not have known about and which I could not guarantee would air before "Price". He's referring to events in "City of Stone, Part IV".

*At the moment he brought them up, my daughter Erin just happened to be coloring a picture of the Sisters drawn by artist David Wong (I think that's his name) who was selling them in the Dealer's Room at the Gathering 2001 in L.A. Erin was very excited by the kismet of the moment.*

Did you guys register Mac's limited dialogue? It would be tough in the first fight by itself. He does have four lines. And GARGOYLES was never a show to go in for extensive quipping during battles. So four lines may have seemed like enough.

And did you register the "Magic Sparkly Powder" when it first hit Hudson?

This ep is fun because there are so many layers of deceit going on.

Note that at this early stage, Goliath doesn't intend to kill Macbeth. He aims for the Sky-sled's control panel and hits it. The fact that the sled goes down is an unfortunate and unavoidable result. And Goliath clearly feels at least a little guilty. Hudson doesn't mind though. He thinks Goliath's action was perfectly reasonable.

I don't suppose anyone thought Mac was really dead? I wasn't really even trying to trick you into that one. Between the immortality info that you (but not the Gargoyles) knew from City of Stone and the early timing of the death in the episode, I figured nobody would be fooled. And I didn't want anyone fooled. Because that wasn't what I wanted to fool you guys about. I didn't want you to figure out that Macbeth was a robot. So I intentionally did not show the body, on the assumption that most everyone knows that if you don't see the body, the victim probably isn't dead. That way when Mac came back, you'd all be thinking, "Hah, Immortal!" instead of "Hah, Robot!"

BTW, everyone always asks how Hudson can believe Mac is dead and then later acknowledge Mac & Demona's immortality to Xanatos. But Hudson was thinking of immortality in the sense of living on without aging, ala the Norse Gods. Not in the sense that Mac was somehow immune to all injury and death ala the Greek Gods. Clear?

Lucky for Xanatos that all the Gargs seem to have favorite poses. (Cheaper that way, don't you know.) Of course it also helps that since they all wake up and go to sleep at the same time, they rarely get a good look at each other's poses. Makes statue prep easier, huh?

Anyway, when Hudson didn't wake up, did everyone buy the magic powder/he's not waking up scenario? Had anyone seen Lee Nordling's Disney Digest comic story that inspired this gimmick. I've never met Lee, but he came up with the idea of replacing a sleeping garg with his statue. He used Goliath, not Hudson. But it was the same basic principle. I gave the idea to Michael (just that notion) and he ran with it to create this entirely different story? Did anyone see Lee's story and still not get it?

I can't remember why we wound up cutting Banquo & Fleance. Guess we were saving money or time at some stage. So Mac's mansion works on auto-pilot, I guess. Though those cannons still aren't too effective against gargs. And who else would attack?

Back to Brooklyn and Broadway guarding "Hudson". We wanted to keep the focus on Hudson, which is tough, since he's not moving. Brooklyn's worried about the reality of being able to find a cure. Again, we're expressing his leadership tendencies without confirming them since we couldn't guarantee that "Upgrade" would air first.

Then, finally at the end of the act, we reveal the real Hudson. My kids got very excited. Erin said: "The stone guy's not the real him." And Benny chimed in with: "That's the real one!" What were you thinking at this moment?

I even had the odd notion last night that we could have gone the direction of Hudson's "prison" being all in his mind. That the statue was him, and that he couldn't wake up until he escaped this mental/dream prison. Obviously, not the way we went. But it's a cool story idea. Anyone think THAT?

So then we come back from commercial and reveal Xanatos who claims he wants Hudson's skin. The line is said in such a way that we and Hudson are geared to think the worst. Which sets up the fun.

Hudson: "You'll have the devil's own time getting it."

Xanatos: "Gee, that wasn't as hard as you made it sound."

Ah, STONE skin. For the Cauldron of Life. I'm pretty sure the Cauldron was Michael's idea.

Everything has a price. Xanatos just doesn't get that yet.

But Hudson has X's number. They're exchanges throughout this episode are a lot of fun. Like a flip on the Goliath/Renard exchanges in "Outfoxed". But better done, frankly. Less preachy.

These exchanges may have been the inspiration for Hudson and Xanatos killing each other in "Future Tense". Owen's watching and subconsciously realizes that in some way, Hudson and Xanatos make better natural adversaries than Goliath and Xanatos. Maybe.

Hudson: "Growing old terrifies you doesn't it?
Xanatos: "Nothing terrifies me, because nothing's beyond my ability to change." (Who else can lie and tell the truth in the same sentence with this much charm. I'm so proud of this boy.)
X: "What about you? Still wasting your nights in front of the television?" (An only semi-dated reference to both Hudson's origins as the comedic gargoyle Ralph and to the way we occasionally still relegated him to clock tower duty in order to have fewer characters to deal with.)

Note that Xanatos plans on giving Fox immortality as well. He knows he loves her at this point. Wouldn't leave her out.

He doesn't mention Owen though, and in general doesn't treat Owen with his usual respect. Goads him a bit. (Macbeth has already died for me once.) Or rather teases him. He probably figures that Owen can take it. But I think it gets to Owen a bit. Xanatos wasn't expecting Owen to test the Cauldron for him. Owen felt the need to prove something. As he says: "Service is its own reward."

Lots of people watched this episode and e-mailed me that X was a big jerk for treating Owen this way. Particularly at the end of the episode when Xanatos seems completely unfazed by Owen's stone hand. Of course in our minds, this was all a very subtle clue to Owen's true identity. Xanatos and Owen both know that this condition is only as permanent as the Puck chooses to make it.

"Over-sized chamber pot." Heh.

X loves them zingers. He nails Hudson with that "the hardest part was finding a replica for your sword."

I like Goliath's desperation in the scene with him and Elisa. "We need a sorceress. We need Demona. You are a detective."

She doesn't know how to find Demona though.

Meanwhile Mac's back, still using only those same four lines. Anyone catch on here? Or wonder why Mac was working for Xanatos again?

Broadway now knows the expression is "Sitting Ducks" not "Sitting Dorks" as he said it in "Enter Macbeth". A little inside joke.

Okay. Very little.

Erin sees Hudson pick up the stone skin and asks what it is.

Sunrise. At the end of Act Two, Elisa has an oddly timed slow reaction to events, that I wish we had found a way to trim a bit.

Benny was worried: "He's gonna break into pieces and never be alive again."

Erin was a bit more tv-savvy: "He's not going to break into pieces. Or this would be the last [episode]."

I didn't really think anyone would think we were actually going to kill BW here. I think the interest is to wonder over the commercial break exactly how the hell we're going to get out of this.

Beth asked: "How'd Elisa know to shoot at that box? Who came up with that? She clearly didn't like it."

Michael Reaves put in this bit about BW turning to stone in mid-air. And I cut it. That's right. Cut it. I thought that it was too big a deal to fit into this story or at any rate that we could never make the rescue convincing. But ultimately I put it right back in. Michael was right. We needed it here. Everyone worked very hard to make Elisa's save as real as possible. The carpet sign established in advance. The multiple shots it takes her just to hit the rope twice. And Brooklyn and Goliath's exchange:

Brook: "It's a miracle!"
Gol: "A miracle named Elisa."

We're acknowledging how unlikely this is and hoping you'll just share it with us.

I still don't know. It's fun. But I'm not sure we really pulled it off in a convincing way. What did you all think?

"Jalapeña, you're still alive!" Another tier risk. Since I couldn't be sure this would air after "Protection".

X: "Hudson, your bath is ready."

This is another cool exchange. The Price metaphor really comes through here.

The title, I think, was one of mine. Inspired by the Arthur Miller play and the Jim Starlin Graphic Novel of the same name.

Back at the Macbeth battle, here he is again. By this time, the robot thing may be more obvious. Same four lines. We still tried to preserve suspense. Since he's presumably working for Xanatos to distract the Gargs that may explain his behaviour. Anyone who thought he was the real Macbeth right until the moment G gutted him?

Elisa is out of bullets. At the time, I thought that made realistic sense. Always hated guns that seemed to have unlimited bullets. Now it just feels like she was dumb for not reloading.

But one other thing strikes me -- in today's environment, we probably wouldn't have been allowed to let Elisa use a realistic gun at all.

Boom. The Hudson statue is blown to bits. By this time you all knew it wasn't Hudson, but we were hoping that for a split second, the image itself would be shocking enough to make you forget. Just for a second.

I think it worked. Ben needed to reassure himself: "That's okay. It's not the real Hudson." I don't think he would have even bothered to say that, if for a split-second he hadn't thought it was.

Of course, Goliath, who had been on the verge of putting two and two together just before this attack, goes positively medieval on us. Before he aimed for Mac's sky-sled. Now he wants "Gargoyle Justice". He's trying to kill Macbeth. It's just lucky that (a) it was a robot and (b) we had a very understanding S&P executive.

I think the robot's death scene is pretty cool. We had John Rhys-Davies come in just to record five lines. The four that we reprinted over and over and one more 'winding-down' take on "You'll have to do better than that!" It's very cool. With the eye popping out and everything. Nice stuff.

One thing I remember discussing with Michael was the rescue of Hudson. Originally, I think he had Goliath and the boys figure it out and have them show up to get H. But I felt strongly that Hudson had to rescue himself. Prove to all concerned that his age was not the liability that X thought.

This is fun.

And I love that Hudson won't destroy the Cauldron.

Like Xanatos, we think that H is "just full of surprises." But it shouldn't be much of a surprise. I think that was right in character for Hudson.

And I love his parting shot: "What will be your legacy, Xanatos?"

Frakes and Asner were both just amazing in this episode.

X: "Let him go. He's earned it." Of course, that's right in character for X too. No revenge. No jumping up and down and whining.

And hey, now Owen's arm can live as long as the mountain stones.

"How literal-minded." I think that line was one of mine. Not sure. It would probably have helped if I had read those two drafts of the script I posted yesterday. But I didn't have time.

So there's my ramble. Where's yours?


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Justin writes...

Greg,

I have asked this before, but I can't find it in the archives.

1) In "Shadowss of the Past" we saw a whole bunch of slaughtered gargs from Goliath's clan. Why was the only female represented Demona?
2) Who was that one gargoyle with the rather big nose that pushed Goliath?
3) I also know that before the massacre, the wyvern clan broke up into two groups. Did more females go than males? That doesn't seem to make a whole lot of sense.

Thank you for you time. And I was good of you to give blood. I did too :)

Greg responds...

1. Limited resources. We just couldn't design the whole clan. Our designers drew up a few random gargoyles, unfortunately all male, and we had neither the time or the money to balance things out.

2. I don't recall Goliath getting pushed.

3. No. Gender-wise there was a fairly equal distribution.

Response recorded on April 26, 2002

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Vanity writes...

I have a question. Relating to biology.

In the animal kingdom, animals(let's use chimps), chimps show a ratio in the wild and in captivity to be 50% right handed and 50% left handed. In the human population as a total about 75% are right handed and 25% Left handed. Some human societies vary of course some being 95% to 5% right to left up to 70% and 30% right to left. I couldn't find this in the archives so, do gargoyles have handedness, and if so of the gargoyle population are they like chimps with a 50/50 Right to left handers or more like humans with a heavy slant to Right handers?

Greg responds...

Some facts about animation "handedness..."

It's very hard to keep track of.

Storyboard artists like to have the freedom to allow characters to freely use either hand, depending on how they want to stage a scene.

To some degree, particularly in an action show, this might make sense. I.e. the heroes and villains all TRAIN themselves to be at least semi-ambidextrous, because their lives may depend on it.

So although I have no idea what handed our various human characters are, I'm going to say that Gargoyles are ambidextrous. Because visually, the series seems to confirm that fact.

Response recorded on April 16, 2002

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Grad Thesis semi-Answers

I got the following e-mail from Gore the other day. I don't usually encourage going around the system this way. But the guy seemed to be under deadline pressure, so I cut him some slack and moved him to the head of the line. I'd ask that others not abuse the process. Thanks.

Subject:
[Fwd: Graduate Student needs Greg's Help]
Date:
Thu, 14 Mar 2002 20:21:44 -0500

Just forwarding something that was sent to me.

-[Gorebash]

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: Graduate Student needs Greg's Help
Date: Sun, 10 Mar 2002 14:21:57 -0500

Dear Mr. Weisman,

My name is John Diego Hernandez. I am a full time graduate student in public relations at Rowan Univeristy in Glassboro, New Jersey. My research topic for my thesis is "toys and cartoons" and how the two fields relate to one another when it comes to development of both toy lines and animated serials. As part of my thesis research I am required to survey individuals who pertain to my investigative studies. As creator of an animated television serial, your knowledgeable expertise would be an invaluable
wealth of information that would remain in my thesis throughout perpetuity.

The survey consists of 12 short questions posted below. It will only take 20 minutes of your time - no longer. If you can find some time from your busy schedule, I would be most indebted. You do not have to answer all the questions if you choose not to. If you wish to remain anonymous, I will not put your name or personal data in my thesis.

Thank you for your time,

John Diego Hernandez

1. Do toys affect what cartoons you make?

Yes. The profit margins on children's programming are so slim these days (largely because of misguided government regulation coupled -- ironically -- with the deregulation that has allowed entertainment companies to vertically integrate) that potential money from consumer products (including but not limited to toys) has become a greater factor than when I started in the business in 1989. Toy companies can help fund programming -- for better and for worse -- that might not otherwise get made. And even original properties benefit if there are multiple forces (e.g. a toy line) that maintain incentives to keep a show alive.

2. Do you choose what toys are made?

Never.

3. How significant is a hit animated show to sales of toys?

It can be very significant, in that an animated series can virtually act as a 30 minute daily commercial for the toy -- a commercial that establishes play patterns and allows the audience to invest in both characters and the property as a whole.

4. How many cartoons a year are related to toy lines?

I have no idea.

5. Must the toy manufacturer pay royalties to cartoon producers?

Depends on the origin of the property.

6. Does a successful cartoon guarantee a hit toy line?

No. Some shows are not considered 'toyetic'.

7. Does a successful toy line guarantee a hit cartoon?

Never. But it doesn't hurt.

8. When your company is in search of a new animated serial, where do they look first - current toy lines or creative innovators?

There's no one place. (And that either/or you just gave me is ridiculously simplistic. Implicitly biased even. There are plenty of creative innovators working at toy companies, for example. And there are more than just two places where you might look for inspiration or series springboards.)

9. Approximately how much do cartoon producers allocate to the funding of toy lines?

Doesn't work that way. Toys help fund cartoons (in simplistic terms) not the other way around.

10. Which usually comes first - the toy line or the cartoon?

Again, there's no one rule. In certain countries, like England, if a toy line exists already then you CAN'T air the property at all. But here in the U.S. it can go either way. Though often the cartoon will appear first to help promote the toy line.

11. May I attribute your responses? Yes / No

Yes.

12. If yes, please list name and/or title and company name:

Greg Weisman
Freelance Writer/Producer


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martyn writes...

hi greg my names martyn, heres my question.
what made you to create the gargoyles and why doesnt toon disney show all the episodes.it only goes up to "turf" and starts back the begining, i dont mind but its getting annoying, so its possible can you give me an addresse on toon disney so i ask them directly.

thanks for taking the time to read and answer my question

martyn

Greg responds...

I don't have their address, I'm afraid. Though I suppose if you sent it...

TOON DISNEY
c/o WALT DISNEY COMPANY
500 South Buena Vista St.
Burbank, CA 91521

it would probably get there eventually.

I didn't realize they skipped quite THAT many episodes. I know they've never aired "DEADLY FORCE" for reasons of S&P that I find absurd, but which I'm sure they feel strongly about.

As for 'what made [me] creat the gargoyles'...

Well, I've answered that in all sorts of detail here at the archives. Explore around a bit. And if you have any specific questions, come back here and ask them.

Or come to THE GATHERING 2002 in Virginia and get the full story at the Opening Ceremonies!

Response recorded on March 04, 2002

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Demona Taina writes...

This is a question that I honestly have never seen the answer to. Why doesn't Laura San Giacomo appear on the credits of Gargoyles?

Greg responds...

You haven't looked to hard, cuz I KNOW I answered this one.

Laura's representation (NOTE: NOT LAURA herself) felt that it could damage her career to have her name appear in the credits of an animated television series. We tried to change the reps mind, but no go. Nowadays, I doubt it would be an issue. And I want to stress that Laura was nothing but wonderful, working on the show. A real pleasure. Also she and Fox gave birth at more or less the same time.

Response recorded on March 04, 2002

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Silverbolt writes...

Do you expect disney will make any more toons like gargoyles or will they continue to make toons like they have been lately.

Greg responds...

Depends on how wide you define your terms, I guess.

Response recorded on March 04, 2002

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Anonymous writes...

Did you plan to incorporate the recent destruction of the Twin Towers into Gargoyles (Warren Ellis actually tried to put school shootings into Hellblazer, but DC nixed it.)?

Greg responds...

If I felt I could do it in a responsible and sensitive way -- and I had the forum for it, then I might try. But to be honest, I can't presently think of how it could be dealt with that didn't feel exploitative -- no matter how good my intentions might be. Obviously, this is an immense historical event, that would be reflected in ways both obvious and subtle. But direct reference? I don't know. I tend to doubt it.

Response recorded on February 14, 2002

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Sheryl writes...

I know Gargoyles was canceled but I don't know why. See I olnly reasintly, as in this year and a bit last, became a big Gargoyles fan. But if so maney people like it so much why was it canceled. (Sorry if you have answerd this before but I don't read every singal question on this webpage.)

Greg responds...

Well, Sheryl, I'm going to send you to the ASK GREG FAQ. If you read the answer there and still have questions then come back.

Response recorded on February 14, 2002

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Todd Jensen writes...

The posting of the FAQ (thanks, Bishansky and JEB!) and your comments on them (including the "Weird Macbeth" part) prompted a question about this unmade two-parter from me.

We know that you had planned the following casting choices for this episode:

Macbeth as himself (or, more accurately, as his Shakespearean counterpart).
Demona as Lady Macbeth (the role that she was hatched to play :)
Goliath as Macduff
Elisa as Lady Macduff

Do you remember any of the other casting decisions for this story (i.e., who was to play Duncan, Malcolm, Banquo, Fleance, the Porter, etc.)?

Greg responds...

Hudson was Duncan, I believe.

The rest I don't remember off-hand, largely because I don't think I had done much casting. It never got past the premise stage, unfortunately. It was the one story that I wanted to do that upper-management wouldn't approve. Even then, they were willing to approve it for a single episode. But I felt I couldn't do it justice in 22 minutes. So in essence, I'm the one who kiboshed it.

That really says something about the creative freedom we were given on the show. 66 episodes. And only one semi-rejected premise.

Response recorded on January 22, 2002

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Galvatron writes...

1.Why didn't Kenner make any action figures of the characters that we saw in the World Tour? They might have made some money with Griff, Arthur, Nokkar, Cuchullain, Golem or Fara Maku figures so why didn't they?
2.Whose idea was it to have the World Tour?

Greg responds...

1. They only wanted to make toys based on characters who appeared in a large percentage of episodes. And sometimes, not even then.

2. Mine, largely.

Response recorded on January 15, 2002

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Epantiras writes...

"Vows" has 2 endings, right? Why? What appended in the 2nd ending where Goliath and Demona are still together? How can they live in Manhattan if Demona didn't help the Vikings to attack the castle ?
Thanks!

Greg responds...

"Vows" really only has one ending. But the first time it aired, it aired with an uncorrected scene. It showed Goliath and Demona kissing. It's supposed to be a final flashback to them at the castle in the tenth century. But the first time it aired the wrong background was used, and so they seemed to be kissing in the present at the clocktower. This is just a mistake, and it was corrected for subsequent airings. (We ran out of time or it would have been corrected before the first airing.)

Some of the fans prefer the mistake. Don't ask me why.

Response recorded on November 29, 2001

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Anonymous writes...

Gargoyle Beasts
Were there any Gargoyle beasts at Wyvern besides Bronx? If so why didn¡¯t you show them?

Greg responds...

Yes.

There were limits as to how many soon-to-be-dead-gargoyles we had the time and money to design.

Response recorded on November 13, 2001

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Anonymous writes...

I just noticed that Charles Canmore's Hunter costume was most similar to Jon Canmore's Hunter costume was this symbolic of both men unable to give up the tradition of the hunt while Robyn and Jason it seems were able to give up the hunt? If not why did the two costumes of Charles and Jon resemble each other?

Greg responds...

Each and every Hunter costume is a variation on the original's basic theme.

Some of what you've noticed may be due more to coincidence rather then intent. Otherwise you'd have to ask the costume's designers.

Response recorded on November 01, 2001

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Anonymous writes...

If the Oberon's Children are called the Oberite what exactly were Mab's children called?

Greg responds...

The Children of Oberon were never called the "Oberati". That was a behind the scenes suggestion that I made that some combo of Michael/Brynne/Lydia rejected as sounding too much like an Italian sports car.

Response recorded on October 17, 2001

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Zarok writes...

I just saw "Deadly Force" on Toon disney UK, somebody got the message, welldone.

Greg responds...

I take no credit. Is this a new development? Has Toon Disney UK shown "Deadly Force" in the past?

Response recorded on October 10, 2001

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matt writes...

after the first season, why was it decided to put Goliath's voice over the original opening theme music? i remember the first time i heard it i liked it cuz it was new, but now i think i prefer the just music version, so i'm curious to why it was done.

Greg responds...

I probably prefer the music-only version as well. Though I think Gary Sperling did a great job writing the naration and Keith did a fantastic job reading it.

It was my idea, nevertheless I was really on the fence about it. It seemed that it might help new viewers understand the basics of what was going on. Is there anyone out there for whom this was true?

At any rate, I didn't think it was ideal, but I didn't think it hurt too much either. The final decision was made by my boss Gary Krisel.

Response recorded on September 11, 2001

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Anonymous writes...

When did you decide there were gargoyles living in New Olympus and Loch Ness?
When did you decide there were gargoyles in Xanadu and Pukhan?
When did you decide that there was going to be a gargoyle clan in New Camelot?
When did you decide that Paris, Queen Florence Island and Wyvern were the sites of future clans?

Greg responds...

Years ago. By 1996 at the latest.

Years ago. By 1995 at the latest.

Years ago. By 1996 at the latest.

Years ago. By 1996 at the latest.

Response recorded on September 11, 2001

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Anonymous writes...

What was the difference between the original NO show and the latter one that became part of the gargoyles universe besides Sphinx being Terry's girlfriend and Xanatos appearing? Were all the characters there including Helios, Jove, Borea and his son, Chiron, Ekidna, Taurus, Talos, Sphinx, Medusa and Terry and his mother?

Greg responds...

There were no differences except Xanatos.

Sphinx and Terry were always slated to be Romeo and Juliet.

The problem you're having is that I talk occasionally about brainstorming sessions and ideas from them. But that doesn't mean we have entire separate versions of these shows developed. In the first (and really only) version of New Olympians, the leads were Terry, Sphinx, Talos and Taurus, with all the supporting characters you mentioned, plus Proteus of course. (Oh, and Boreas has two sons.) And it's Kiron not Chiron.

Response recorded on September 11, 2001

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matt writes...

when Puck transforms the human population to gargs why is it that Elisa and the three teen girl gargs in the subway not have brow ridges or horns of any kind? every other gargoyle we've seen except for the English gargs had either horns or brow ridges or both, but these transformed humans had neither. in fact, besides the pointed ears and color difference (which Elisa didn't even have) their bodies from the neck up looked very human, not gargoyle. was it cuz you wanted these characters to be physically attractive to human viewers even as gargs? cuz i think physically Desdemona is more attractive than Demona or Angela and Des has big old horns, so why make these characters as gargs so human looking?

would you have objected to the animators giving Elisa a beak or a frill or any of the other non human features of gargs?

Greg responds...

Yes, I would have objected to Elisa getting a beak, because she wouldn't have looked viserally like Elisa. Other changes that were less significant would not have bothered me.

However, I loved the design they came up with and didn't question it.

As for the girls in the subway. MINOR, minor characters. There wasn't as much time to do all this stuff as you seem to think. We just had to get it done.

Don't read too much into it though. We all think that Desdemona is attractive. Frank in particular likes drawing attractive females. I think Demona and Angela and Elisa are pretty hot too. Among other characters.

Response recorded on September 11, 2001

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LIFE IN THE REAL WORLD

This is something I wrote YEARS ago. But I don't think it's here in ASK GREG, or if it is, it's only in the old archives. Vash dug it up recently, and I thought I'd reprint it here, verbatim, I've added a few notes in [brackets]:

Life in the real world.

I know I've said this stuff before. Please read this carefully. I have a real fear that this might sound defeatist or condescending, but you can't possibly succeed in "saving" the show if you don't come to terms with these hard truths. I don't know what you've been told by other people. But I do know a few things about today's animation market. I've told you before that I did not believe that Gerry Leybourne was single-handedly responsible for not renewing the show. Dean Valentine is also not single-handedly responsible. Neither is Eisner. If the fans insist on looking for a VILLAIN to blame, they stand no chance. [Neither Leybourne or Valentine are at Disney anymore.] You say you're looking for a straight answer. But really you've been given and have ignored straight answers and what you are looking for is for simple answers. There are none. Here are some (but not all) of the many factors that have probably played into the non-renewal:

1) Quantity. A normal syndication package for any children's show is 65 episodes. If you don't make it up to 65 then you are considered something of a failure. If you make 65, then you have created a show that can have ongoing library use. That's a success. Anything above 65 is gravy and NO SHOW makes more than 65 episodes without significant financial incentive. They made 78 gargoyles (including Chronicles). The financial incentive for the last 13 was that ABC needed a boys action show with some "Marquee" attached to help fill out it's Saturday Morning line-up. You'll notice that no new episodes were made for syndication. There was no financial incentive in syndication. So they didn't make any more for syndication. [These days a syndication package can be as few as 39.]

2) Ratings. The ratings for Goliath Chronicles are, or so I'm told, lousy. Forget about the why for a moment, and just absorb this fact. If the ratings are lousy, we've just lost the financial incentive to make any more beyond the 13. On that level, Goliath Chronicles objectively failed. Gargoyles did a bit better in its day, but it never broke out and knocked down the competition. Aladdin did better business for Disney. And they're not making any more new Aladdin tv episodes either.

3) Shelf space. The Disney Afternoon, as we know it, is dead. The rise of FOX, the WB and UPN ate up almost all of the existing independent stations that aired the Disney Afternoon or (in lieu of the full two hour block) the individual shows that made up The Afternoon. We've known this was coming for awhile. Existing contracts kept the Afternoon alive through the end of this season. But after that it is gone in it's present form. Now, as I understand it, Disney has made a deal with Kelloggs to do a reduced version of the Afternoon. I think it's supposed to be an hour and a half long, with one new show and two library shows. The new show for next season is 101 Dalmations. For fall of 98, it's supposed to be HERCULES. There isn't room for new Gargoyles in syndication. ABC has similar problems. As a broadcast network, they've committed to air 3 hours of FCC/Kid friendly programming per week. That means 3 hours of their morning have to be reserved for that kind of programming, because unlike Fox, they don't have any other place in their schedule to air this FCC stuff. That only leaves them with about one and a half hours to fill their morning. They have an existing commitment to the Bugs Bunny cartoons that they air for an hour. That leaves them with one half hour slot to fill. Given Goliath Chronicles ratings, it just doesn't make sense to fill that one slot with a show that's failing, when you can take a chance on something new that might succeed.

4) Resources. The fans seem to regard Disney as this Giant that can do whatever it wants, and that's true up to a point. But Disney TV Animation has limited resources. There are only so many talented animators and storyboard artists out there. There's only so much money they can spend without profits to justify the expense. From Disney's point of view, Gargoyles had its shot. You and I may quibble about how that shot was handled. Whether it could have been handled better. I think everyone would acknowledge that mistakes were made. But not intentionally. EVERYONE at Disney wanted the show to be a huge success. IT WAS NOT. I wish I could tell you different. Creatively, I'm very proud of the show. We touched a substantial group of people. But an even more substantial group preferred POWER RANGERS on a consistent basis. They cleaned our clock. Disney has to decide how to allocate limited resources. If Gargoyles had 78 shots to be a hit, and didn't quite make it, you can see why they might think it's time to allocate their resources to something else.

5) Quality. Resources came into play with Goliath Chronicles. The decision was reached to allocate priority resources to shows and home videos that they believed had a better chance to break out. That's why Chronicles looks the way it does. In my opinion, the show is inferior to the original on almost every level. This doesn't mean that a lot of good people didn't work their butts off to make it as good as it could be. But limited resources result in limited success. The resource issue was the major reason why I walked away. I regret it now. The animation has been weak, but I should not have passed up the opportunity to tell twelve more of my stories. But that's spilled milk. Eric Lewald was under the gun from the moment he came on board the show. There wasn't adequate time to make the show at its previous quality level. There wasn't even adequate time for Eric to become as familiar with the show as I'm sure he would have liked to. I tried to help. I was paid to consult. But...

6) Time. Along with limited resources, the main reason Chronicles isn't up there is Time. The show didn't get a go ahead until late november '95. I began "The Journey" in December. Eric didn't really come aboard until January '96, as I recall. Look at where we are now. It's late February [1997]. Do you really want to see the GARGOYLES episode that would result if it started from scratch now and had to air in September [1997]? I WOULD NOT.

7) Expectations. I do believe that Disney in general views the show as a disappointment. They had tremendous high hopes for it. They rushed 52 episodes into production for it's second year despite my warning that they'd have to air a lot of reruns in between new episodes. The reruns, the weaker stations we were on and many other factors, including series content resulted in a solid but decidedly unspectacular performance. I do believe that the high expectations that many at Disney had for the show, led to greater disappointment in its real failure to break out and its perceived failure in general. That disappointment doesn't make a lot of people feel inclined to make more.

8) Strategy. O.k., I'm not at Disney anymore, so I'm not privy to their strategy meetings, but from outside observation, it doesn't seem like Gargoyles fits in their overall strategy plans. Maybe it never truly did. Now we can be mad about this. We can even try to change it. But first and foremost, we should be glad they made the show at all. Next we should realize that if it doesn't fit their plans, they aren't going to be too inclined to change them IN THE SHORT TERM.

9) Management. (The one I suppose you've been waiting for if you still insist on playing the blame game.) There has been a lot of management shake ups at Disney. Jeffrey Katzenberg, Rich Frank, Gary Krisel and Bruce Cranston all left. So did I. We were all supporters of the show. But Eisner didn't leave and he was a supporter too. I haven't talked to him recently. I don't know what he thinks about the show. Maybe he's disappointed. Maybe he's not. Maybe for him it's just the resource issue. Gotta take a shot with something new. Maybe he's not involved in this decision in a significant way. No way to know. But I wouldn't be so quick to label him a villain. It doesn't hurt to let him know that you love the show, but it can't help to blame him for its demise.

I don't know Gerry at all. I've never met her. I'm also a little vague on her responsibilities at Disney, thought I've heard she's responsible for scheduling ABC's Saturday morning. But before you blame her, or even guess at what she personally feels about the show, reread all the above, particularly the section on shelf space, strategy and ratings. Now she may not like the show. I have no idea. Neither do you. If she doesn't care for the show, I'd personally be curious to know what she bases her dislike on. Goliath Chronicles? Gargoyles? Both? Whatever, she's entitled to her opinion.

I've met Dean. I've heard that Gargoyles isn't his thing. I've heard that he believes that it may not be Disney's thing either. But I don't know any of that. And again, Dean's personal view of the show is, positive OR negative, way down on the list of reasons not to make more. See above.

Buena Vista. Mort Marcus ran Buena Vista at the time I left Disney. I have no idea if he's still there. Mort was a big early supporter of the show. He was also very disappointed when it didn't perform up to expectations. Buena Vista is taking its next shots with Dalmations and Hercules. But even if the Afternoon had survived, there wouldn't be any new episodes of Gargoyles in syndication. Look at the Disney Afternoon's history. A new show premieres with new episodes. Over the next few years, the reruns move down through the Afternoon. That's cause they couldn't afford the MILLIONS of Dollars that it would take to make new episodes for early time slots that don't deliver very many kids. If there aren't any (or many) butts sitting in front of the t.v. then advertisers don't want their products advertised there, in which case they don't pay much for commercials. So networks won't pay much for the shows, so the shows operate at HUGE budget deficits. Gargoyles operated at a huge deficit. Ultimately, I'm sure it will make an overall profit for the company. It may have already. But let's not pretend this was the LION KING.

Other divisions. Some did better than others. But no one is clamoring for more gargoyles product, so none of the other divisions are clamoring for more shows.

SO WHAT DO WE DO?

We begin by admitting, at least to ourselves, that in the short term, we lost the battle.

Then we go on and try to win the war.

We have one big chance and a general small chance. Both are long shots.

The Big Chance is the Touchstone Live Action Feature. If this ever gets made and if it succeeds, then there will be renewed interest in the show.

The general chance is that television is cyclical. He-Man rules until DuckTales comes along. Rescue Rangers rule until Batman comes along. Soft and quirky is big now. But times change. And Gargoyles has a marquee. (It's a trifle damaged, but it's real.) There's a chance it could come back.

The best thing we can do is keep the flame burning. Keep executives, particularly if there's any executive turnover, informed that there is a fan base for the property. Write letters to Buena Vista, to Eisner, to ABC, to Disney TV Animation, to Touchstone. Write letters to local stations, asking them to air reruns. Write letters to the Disney Channel for the same thing. If the reruns are airing in the U.S., we have a much better chance of someday making new episodes. Keep these letters respectful. Don't try to assign blame. My god, what difference does that make. If I thought it would help I'd take 100% of the blame myself. I certainly deserve some of it. Just let people know that you loved the show. Praise it's virtues. Show "Deadly Force", "Lighthouse..." and "The Green" at grade schools. Make the GATHERING a yearly event. Increase it's budget and scope on a slow and steady basis until it becomes an important event. (Don't try to get too big too fast. If you go bust early on, you won't get a second chance.) Keep the fan base excited about the show. (This to me is the main virtue to the whole fanfic thing, which I have many mixed feelings about. If it keeps the fans interested, great.) Don't let the fans marginalize themselves with hostility or esoterica. If they get territorial they keep new fans out. No new fans. No new episodes. Prove to Disney that you are part of that great consumer demographic that they are hunting for. BUY STUFF. Buy all the stuff you can find. Prove that the show can still make money for the company. Buy all the videos off the shelf. Then write Disney's home video division and have them make more. More copies of existing tapes and more episodes on tape. Show those taped episodes to new fans. Particularly young fans. Adults and college kids are great too, but if kids don't like the show, we are doomed. Try to convince Disney records to release Carl's music on C.D. Buy animation cells from authorized Disney dealers. Talk it up.

As for the petition, hell, make copies. Send it a lot of places. Buena Vista for sure. Don't worry about whether or not it's read cover to cover by the president of the division (Mort Marcus, I think). It'll make an impression. But I don't see why you shouldn't send it to Gerry too. Send it to Dean Valentine at Disney T.V. Animation. Send it to Barry Blumberg (at the same place). Have someone in every market send it to their local ABC affiliate. Gerry isn't giving you bad advice there. If the local stations want the show, they'll make their voices heard at the network. (But remember, you need locals to send it to local stations. A petition postmarked Newark won't be taken very seriously in Cleveland.) Send it anywhere you think it might help. But you might want to read it over first. If it's full of hostile and antagonistic attacks, then we've marginalized the petition. Also try to make sure that there's no doubling up. If people signed the petition twice and Disney figures that out, then they'll figure the entire document is compromised, and they'll freely ignore it. If it's a rational statement from real existing fans than I promise you it'll make a positive impression.

But I don't want to kid you. We are probably past the point of no return, at least for this coming fall [1997]. I appreciate that you refuse to give up, and I'm not telling you to. But if you want to save yourself some heartbreak, I think you might want to start focusing on the long term instead of the short term. Even if we could change everyone's minds overnight, we've all but run out of time to put new episodes of any quality on the air by September. I don't like saying that, but I figure it doesn't help anyone to beat around the bush.

Now let me say in advance that most of this won't work. Sorry. The odds are against us. I take some consolation in knowing I was involved with 66 episodes that I can be proud of. I told the stories I wanted to tell. Not nearly all of them, but many. I ended it with Hunter's Moon and Journey, in a way that gave us some small closure but left it open in case I get another shot. A shot I'm longing for. All this offers some consolation. I hope you and the other fans feel the same. It's something to hold onto through what's bound to be a LOT OF REJECTION. There are no guarantees that we'll ever get the show back on the air in any form. But what I've written above is the most practical plan I can think of. If I can help in any way, let me know.

Otherwise, Good Luck. You are going to need it.

GREG


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Lord Sloth writes...

Do you think that the the music in "the Green" was a bit over done when we first saw the pyramid? I think they had seen seen a few other more impressive sights, like egypt's pyramids, and Easter Island's heads. I'm not complaining, just wondering why the music was so dramatic.

Greg responds...

Well, I'd have to look at it again, I guess.

But probably, my answer would be "NO." After all, I was present when we mixed the show and I must have approved the music at that time.

Response recorded on September 08, 2001

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matt writes...

1. from where did Gabriel inherit his chin horns and strange brow ridges? neither Othello or Desdemona have them, are these traits recessive from a biological grandparent(s)?

2. any reason why Iago is the only other garg to have the chin horns besides Gabriel?

3. what does Ophelia find physically attractive about Gabriel?

4. doesn't Gabriel have any close male friends?

5. is the reason Gabriel was the only male garg we were introduced to on Avalon because so many of the main characters up til "Avalon" were male, esspecially gargoyles?

Greg responds...

1. Potentially. (Again, I'd ask you, what answer did you think I'd give?)

2. The only other one you've seen, you mean.

3. Probably lots.

4. I'm sure he does.

5. Mostly, it's about time limits and design limits. Just the reality of making television.

Response recorded on September 08, 2001

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Lord Sloth writes...

Is the reason you created the clone's differn't skin, eyes and hair pigmintation, because you didn't want another cartoon where your trying to figure out which one is the real Goliath or Lexington? Or at least not overdue it since this happend latter with Proteus?

Greg responds...

I liked Thailog's look. It was partially inspired by the changes that John Byrne made to the Fantastic Four's costumes in the eighties.

But yes. Though we played the beat for a couple of acts, I didn't want to do EVIL TWIN takes the place of the good guy and confuses everyone. Once Thailog was revealed, there wasn't any question as to who was who. Just seemed a more original take on the old clone idea. What do the rest of you think?

(And Proteus had nothing to do with it. At the time we were creating Thailog, I didn't yet know that I was going to insert The New Olympians into the Garg Universe.)

Response recorded on September 08, 2001

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Artemis writes...

Hi Greg! First time poster here. I want to thank you on writing such a great show!! I only started to watch it a little over a year ago. I've only seen about 70% of the episodes, because of it's late airtime and the fact that I have older siblings who what dibs on the tv. What I really want to ask you is how did you come up with this whole series? It's really incredible how it all ties in, considering its complicated plot. My teachers have always told me that I have a gift for story telling, but most of its all been fan fiction. I love to write, but the only reason I do fan fiction is because I can't seem to make up my own characters. So how did you come up with all these complex characters? Did you have to sit down for hours to think of characters, or did they just suddenly come to you one day? Anything you're willing to tell me will be greatly appreciated. I don't care if writers don't really make it on their first story, I know that (I'm only 17, after all). I just want to write share with some people something that I can truly call my own. Thank you! (Next time around, I actually will ask questions regarding the show)
=^..^= <---Meow!

Greg responds...

Well, let's start by acknowledging that I wasn't working in a vaccuum. From day one I had a staff of people working with and for me on the show.

Special credit needs to go to Michael Reaves, Brynne Chandler, Gary Sperling, Cary Bates and Lydia Marano who were all huge participants in the process.

Lots of time was spent talking, batting ideas around. But honestly some things just came so easy and naturally that I still believe that the Gargoyles Universe is out there broadcasting history to me.

Response recorded on September 06, 2001

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Jimmy writes...

Were you planning on having any climactic battle in teh garg universe to cull some extra characters, because if not, all the stuff going into your "master plan" would seem to make the garg universe a little cluttered don't you think?

Greg responds...

It's a big universe. There's plenty of space to spread out. We were only getting started and NO, I ABSOLUTELY HAD NO INTENTION TO "CULL".

Response recorded on September 06, 2001

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Vashkoda writes...

As I'm now looking through the notes I took during the "Research for Writers" panel at the con, I remember Reaves and the others mentioning a large board where you guys would pin up index cards with different story ideas, and then ask who wanted to write the episode for each card. They mentioned that you had cards for another Central/South America story, another Africa story, and one about the Wendigo monster.

1) Would you kindly divulge anything about these poor stories that never got made into episodes?

2) Do you still have these idea cards?

Greg responds...

2. I have all the idea cards. But some of them were nothing more than that. A notion. A thought. A word. So...

1. There aren't any STORIES extant with the exception of the Himalayas story, as I wrote that for the Marvel Gargoyles Comic Book, which got cancelled before the story could be published. The others are in varying degrees of existence in my head depending on how much brain time I've devoted to them. There's a bit more on the Korea story, as I've given thought to the Pukhan clan. But not much. Etc.

Response recorded on September 01, 2001

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Phil writes...

Another little ramble.

The last page of the Gargoyles 2198 proposal is more about the business side of the show. You wrote that WB has DC and Marvel is piecing out its characters; Disney has nothing to compete, "but Gargoyles was designed to be that competition."

I've been thinking about that statement and it does seem odd to me that Gargoyles is one of the few properties that Disney isn't taking full advantage of. Their animated features have be released and re-released on video and it seems that every new release is followed relatively quickly by a direct-to-video sequel and/or an animated series. They're even giving the sequel treatment to classics like Lady and the Tramp and Cinderella.

I wonder what it is about Gargoyles that prevents Disney from giving it similar treatment.

Greg responds...

Well, you don't see Darkwing getting that treatment either.

There generally hasn't been as much support for believing in their tv properties.

Also, I think they still, STILL, don't quite no what to make of or do with Gargoyles.

Do I believe they are missing a bet? Absolutely. But the climate to change their minds hasn't surfaced yet.

Response recorded on August 30, 2001

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Phil writes...

So here's a G2198 question relating to my prize:

The cover page says "CGI Series Proposal - 9/21/00". I assume you actually submitted it to the powers that be. What kind of response did you get? (Yes, No, Maybe, Needs more work, Not right now?)

Greg responds...

I never submitted it.

I was working with some guys to put a CGI presentation together by G2001. That never happened. And during the time we were working on it, it became clear to me that the time wasn't right at Disney.

In any event, the version you received would have gone through at least one more revision before being pitched. I would have cut stuff out of the proposal to simplify things for the execs. It wouldn't have changed the end product at all, but I've learned that less is more in a pitch. For starters, I'd have cut all the info on clans. That was written to clarify things for me. But it's extraneous information at this early stage.

Response recorded on August 30, 2001

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Kelly L Creighton/Kya White Sapphire writes...

1. there is a big difference in the styles of gargs the animation and gargs the comic. notice that the animated gargs have solid hands and feet, with hardened toes and fingers, and in the comics they actually have CLAWS. i can attribute this to the fact that the comic version would be much harder to animate. so, ignoring the out-of-universe explination, which do you prefer, the animated style or the comic style?

my personal opinion- i prefer the animated style. maybe because it came first. maybe because it separates gargs from humans more. maybe because its easier to draw. *shrug*

2. we havent seen them, again because of the obvious irritation in trying to animate them, but do you imagien that theyre are striped and spotted gargoyles? (okay, before I corrected the typos that was stripped and spitted. lol)

Greg responds...

1. Prefer animated versions for obvious reasons. Nevertheless, it was little old me that encouraged the comic company (among other licensees) to do their own interpretations of the characters. What works in animation visually, doesn't necessarily make for the best, well, whatever. Plus you want to give artists a measure of freedom.

2. Not ruling it out.

Response recorded on August 23, 2001

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Anonymous writes...

What legends inspired you to put a clan there?

Greg responds...

Korean legends related to me by Frank Paur.

Response recorded on August 15, 2001

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The Souldier writes...

Was there a one-liner you wanted to have in Gargoyles, but it just wouldn't find it's way in? Something like getting Owen to say Jalapena.

Greg responds...

Not that I can think of off-hand.

Response recorded on August 15, 2001

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Shan writes...

The "Lighthouse in the Sea of Time" episode just finished and I realized there might be an error in how Jeffrey Robbins' dog is portrayed. I did temp work for a while at the Braille Institute here in Los Angeles (about six weeks in three departments) and I seem to recall that you're not supposed to get friendly with/pet the dogs, and likewise guide dogs are trained not to do so with humans (at least outside of their owner). It distracts them from doing their duty. While Jeffrey's dog might have reacted favorably upon seeing Hudson the second time, the dog actually licking Hudson I believe is not correct. Do you know if any research was done into this aspect of the episode that could prove me wrong? It's been several years since I worked at the Braille Institute, though of course it's been a few years since the show too...

Greg responds...

There may have been research done. I can't recall. Or I may not have been aware in the first place. But by the time a script goes through board artists and animators etc, whatever research is done may not still be reflected in the visuals.

Having said that, I'm not trying to blame the artists or the writers. I'm not even sure IF we made a mistake. But if we did -- whoever made it, I'll take responsibility for it.

Response recorded on August 10, 2001

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Kathy Lowe writes...

I really enjoyed the Gathering this year. Many thanks to you and the staff for getting all the guest panelists.

My husband is a rather shy type; he thought the following question during the production seminar, but didn't even tell me until several days after the Gathering.

What is the silliest idea you ever had, and what is the silliest idea you ever pitched?

Greg responds...

Pitched? I don't think I ever pitched anything that I didn't legitimately believe would make a good show.

Including a shot of Michael Eisner getting his rug yanked off by one of the "Quarks" in the pitch for that show, might have been the single STUPIDEST thing I ever pitched. (You'll notice we never did make "Quarks".)

As for silly ideas, I get a lot of those. There's this notion about a guy named Vinnie, who....

Response recorded on August 08, 2001

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Lord Sloth writes...

Good evening Mr. Wiesman.

I've seen how the vidio version of Awakening cuts a lot of scenes that were on T.V., but I've also noticed that there were a few things added. Such as, a few very short scenes, like Goliath saying "godspeed" to the trio when they went for the disk (although, they cut more of the latter convorsation, and I don't know if Goliath WOULD say godspeed), I think there were some more small extras to. Some of the sound effects were enhanced as well (for better and for worse). SO, to get to my question. Do you know if the videos for the first season were made differn't from the TV version? Anything differnt, form deleted scenes, to extra scenes, ro better sound, to anything new at all, that would make it worthwhile to purchase or rent? And I'm sorry for wasting you time if you don't have a clue.

Thank you

Greg responds...

I can't tell you whether it's "worthwhile". They are simply different. Two different teams did the editing and the sound effects with two VERY different purposes in mind.

The series version, is in my mind, the true version. Though I was on the team that did the post-production on what became the Video version (though it was not originally created for video, but for a 35mm big screen preview at Walt DisneyWorld).

There is also yet a third version done by a third team (and I don't even KNOW who these people were) that was done for the syndicated movie version.

All might be interesting to view in comparison to each other. I certainly have copies of both of the first two versions. But I can't judge for you whether it's interesting enough to be worth your money.

Response recorded on August 07, 2001

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Gabriel writes...

Hi Greg,
I was just watching "High Noon" and noticed that when Lex is plugged in to Coldstone (in Act 1),in the midst of all the computer language, the word "Othello" appears followed by other words I couldn't catch. Just out of curiosity, was this supposed to be some sort of inside joke or a referance to anything in particular? I know that's supposed to be his name, but I was just wanted to know the motivation behind it. Thanks.

Greg responds...

Yes, inside joke by the animators.

Response recorded on July 27, 2001

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Blaise writes...

Hi again!

This question actually deals with the credits listing of the series (yeah, I know it seems I have too much time on my hands, but that's beside the point).
Two things about GARGOYLES' credits stood out. The first you already talked about--the writers recieving credit at the beginning of episodes during the first season. The second however I also found to be quite interesting--GARGOYLES actually gave a true cast list. Usually in these Disney shows, when the credits say, "With the Voice Talents of..." they just lump the actors' names together without telling who they played. GARGOYLES was the first Disney animated series I know of (BUZZ LIGHTYEAR did it later) that actually listed both the actors and the characters they played. This enabled me to (when I started taping the episodes and could hit pause) more fully discover just how diverse and talented this cast was. I could recognize names and see if a person played multiple roles, and I was quite pleased.

So...
1) Is there any story behind this, like there was for giving the writers' credit up front?
2) Whatever the case, I'm glad I could know who played who.

Thanks!

Greg responds...

I don't know if this would qualify as a story, but I liked how Batman the animated series listed who played who. It seemed to show more respect for the actors (and as I was a fan of Batman) more respect for the fans who might be VCRing the thing and want to know.

So we followed their lead. And I'm glad we did. I tried to talk SONY into doing that for Starship and/or Max Steel, but they weren't interested.

Response recorded on July 18, 2001

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Lady Leto writes...

First of all, I just wanted to say that I love Gargoyles and would like to thank you for sharing your idea with us.

I was watching the episode; 'Vendetta' and I couldn't believe Vinnie. I am very curious to find know, how did you think of this character?

Thanks for your time.

Greg responds...

A combination of factors went into the creation of Vinnie.

In no particular order:

1) We asked Jeff Bennett to play the role of a dumb Gen-U-Tech security guard. He put on this great Vinnie Barbarino voice (from Welcome Back, Kotter). It was hilarious.

2) I had this idea to do an episode about the nameless schlub that the gargoyles had effected without ever knowing it.

3) Brynne Chandler had this idea about Goliath getting a pie in the face.

4) I had a separate idea about Wolf and Hakon teaming up to get vengeance on Goliath.

It all just came together. Strangely. The episode was supposed to be a comedic change of pace from the rest of the series. I don't think the animation supported the comedy very well. But it was the first episode I ever voice directed, so I'm fond of it.

Response recorded on July 18, 2001

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DISAPPOINTING NEWS...

On Friday the 13th, July 2001, the staff and etc. of Disney's Team Atlantis was informed that the series was being scrapped. Being a freelance Voice Director, I wasn't at the meeting, but I've been told that the company is disappointed with the box office of the Atlantis film and have decided not to spend additional monies on a series.

(There may still be a direct to video sequel. That had not been decided as of Friday.)

So basically we're all unemployed and all the work that we did up to this point just gets tossed into a file cabinet. WHOOPIE!

On the plus side, as long as I continue to be involved with killed projects we will never lack for Radio Play materials at future Gatherings.


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Jim R. writes...

1. In "Journey" you introduced John Castaway. Would he be involved in any way, in any of your spinoffs? The reason I ask is, I know he won't be alive in 2198. (Maybe his great grandson or some relative) But other than 2198 are you planning anything more with him?

2. Since I know you only worked on one episode of TGC, would you personally (should your spinoffs come back to TV) ignore what has taken place in the remaining episodes of the TGC seeing how you were not involved in their creation? Or were some of the TGC episodes ideas yours which you were planning before your contract ran out? I don't think some episodes can be completely ignored. However I hated that in TGC, they killed off the clones. What is your take on this?

3. By the way, since the Gathering 2001 is over, may I ask if there was any petitioning done to jumpstart Gargoyles and make it TV-borne again? If so, how'd it go?

Greg responds...

1. Yes.

2. I've answered this before too. My current thinking, which is not etched in stone, is to ignore what I don't consider canon. Enough time has passed and any new episodes would need to stand on their own two feet anyway. If anyone's confused about contradictions between TGC and the new stuff, they can check out the internet site that we will have to clarify all this stuff.

3. I didn't see any petitions. Feel like starting one? I'd focus on DVD's for now.

Incidentally, your post here should theoretically have been broken up into three posts, since your questions were on three separate topics. I haven't reminded people of that in a while. I ignored the rule breaking this time, but don't make a habit of it.

Response recorded on July 11, 2001

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Lord Sloth writes...

Have you noticed, in "Metamorphesis", when Brooklen is in the ally trying to save Maggie, and a tranquilizer hits him, he shouts "Argk" or something, but it sounds quite a lot like "Fuck". I think there is an other instant in Gargoyles where this happens. So I was wondering if you or anyone else had noticed it and if there were any problems or conflects in releasing it.

Greg responds...

I have not noticed that. Neither did anyone else at Disney or it would have been corrected. Is it at all possible, my Lord, that you have a dirty mind?

Response recorded on July 11, 2001

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Lord Sloth writes...

I was wondering, in making Gargoyles, was there some rule that you were not aloud to show someone getting getting fataly stabed? Though there is much use of swords, when someone dies, it is almost always from falling from high, or (in Broodway's case) being shot. I guess it would probably be too graphic, but could you give comfrimation?

Greg responds...

We could not show a stabbing on screen, no. Macbeth got stabbed, but not on camera. We did have a rule about not demonstrating imitatible behavior to children.

Response recorded on July 11, 2001

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Lord Sloth writes...

Why does almost every episode of Gargoyles take place under a full moon? Does every big event just happen to happen every 28 days?

Greg responds...

No. That was artistic license. No other possible explanation.

Response recorded on July 11, 2001

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Steven L. writes...

In general, did you enjoy telling stories that all ages could relate to, or were there times when you felt frustrated that you had a great idea for a more adult story or issue to explore, but couldn't due to the restraints of being a "children's show"? A bit of both?

Greg responds...

I loved what I was doing. I do occasionally have a dirty mind. But I'm happy to fill it with details left off screen. All the themes I wanted to address I could. I did. At least through the first 66. Down the road? Who knows?

Response recorded on July 11, 2001

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Yttrium writes...

Why is the second season so long in comparison to the first and TGC seasons? What I mean is, could you not have you divide up the fifty-two episodes in the second and said they were several seasons, each the size of the first? It makes it sound like a short series when you say it only had two (or three) seasons to it.

---Ytt

Greg responds...

These were business decisions -- not emotional or "how it sounds" decisions.

Initially, Buena Vista only ordered thirteen because Gargoyles and "Action Friday" was an experiment.

Keep in mind that the first season's thirteen episodes represents thirteen weeks of airing the show once a week. That's enough to fill "one quarter" of the year. (52 weeks in a year divided by 4.)

For the second season, they decided that they wanted the series to air FIVE days a week. So multiply 13 weeks by five episodes/week and you get a total of 65 episodes. We had 13 made already. So subtract 13 from that 65 total and you get the second season order of 52.

The third season wasn't produced for syndication. It was aired on ABC's Saturday Morning. And for ABC, it was going to be a bit distinct. (Thus the Goliath Chronicles title and the little sermons Goliath gave at the head of each episode. Neither of which I cared for.) So they started over. Saturday is once a week, so they ordered 13 episodes to cover the 13 week quarter.

Now the obvious question is why 13 weeks? What's so magical about one quarter of the year? Why not 1/8 of the year or 1/2? I don't have a good answer for this, but at that time the conventional wisdom was that kids needed new material in the fall through Christmas. After that, stations could get away with airing reruns.

It's actually gotten worse since. Five-day-a-week series used to be 65 episode orders. Now they've dropped to like 39. It's not so much that conventional wisdom has changed -- rather the economics have gotten so bad, that 39 is the lowest number that networks and studios think they can get away with. Until recently it was forty. Eight weeks of five new episodes a week instead of the old 13 weeks. We did 40 Starship Troopers, for example. (More or less.) But Team Atlantis only ordered 39. There's NO rhyme or reason to that number that I can see other than the fact that it is one less than forty. Thus having mentally adjusted the audience to 40 down from 52 down from 65, they've now chipped one more episode off the total order.

It sucks.

What was your question?

Response recorded on July 11, 2001

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Pyro X writes...

Greg;

1) Approximatly how many drafts of a script were made for each episode?

2) Who wrote most of the episodes?

3) who approved the episodes? Was it you, or you and Michael?

Greg responds...

1. Usually, two real drafts. Exceptions abounded I believe.

2. Lots o' folk. I don't have the list with me. But take a look at the credits.

3. Well, Michael was our only story editor the first season. And one of four the second. He approved all his episodes from his writers. I approved his work. Frank and Dennis and Bob looked on too. And one or more Disney execs had to give the final go ahead. But if you're asking who was ultimately responsible for the writing side of things, that would be me. Blame me for what you don't like, cuz nothing went through without my approval.

Response recorded on July 09, 2001

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Todd Jensen writes...

When you first had Xanatos and Owen mention the Emir in "The Edge", did you know that he'd feature in an episode in a prominent role at that time? Did you when you got to their mention of him in "Double Jeopardy"?

Greg responds...

Edge - No.

DJ - I was beginning to suspect that everything would eventually be used.

Response recorded on July 02, 2001

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Tony Scrima writes...

Hey Mr. Weisman,

I just have one question that I've been thinking about. I know you created Gargoyles back in 1991, but how come it was three years before the series was put on T.V.? Surely it didn't take three years to write, animate, voice record, and edit/censor the first thirteen episodes did it? So what happened? Why'd it take three years from the time you created the series to the time it was put on T.V.?

Greg responds...

We started creating the show in 1991. As a comedy-adventure. (Take a look at the "Original Development File" archive at ASK GREG.)

We failed to sell it to Michael Eisner. Then we tried again as an Action-Drama. We failed to sell it again.

We reworked the pitch and tried a third time. (The show didn't change this time, just the way we pitched it.) Third time was the charm. He bought off on it. And we went into production. But that process took about two years total. (We only got to meet with Eisner once every six months in those days.) That brings us to 1993. We then had ten months to produce the first thirteen episodes (on a sliding schedule). Which takes us to the fall of '94. Which is when we premeired.

(But what are you implying with the word "censor"?)

Response recorded on July 02, 2001

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matt writes...

i have a question about the process of gargs turning to stone, i've noticed that they turn to stone differently at different times. sometimes they convert to stone all at once, sometimes they do this fast and sometimes they do it slowly, and sometimes they turn to stone from the ground up or from one direction to another. my question is, why do they turn to stone different ways? is it because of their mindset at dawn or is it just random? i've noticed that they turn to stone slowly from the ground up when they don't want to turn to stone, like when Goliath and Hudson were returning to Wyvern the night of the massacre, or when Goliath was told Elisa was shot, or when Broadway was caught in midair at dawn. in a way are they trying to to forstall the change to stone and this causes the change to happen in a different way? am i looking at this way too hard, i don't think i am, the stone changing process just seems slower and more "forced" when the gargs are in distress or don't want it to be dawn...

i think thats all i have to say...

Greg responds...

Well, the obvious real world answer is that we're using artistic license all over the damn place.

But in the garg universe, I think you've answered your own question. If they don't want to change, they can fight it for a few seconds. Slow the process a bit. But just a bit.

Response recorded on July 02, 2001

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Demoness writes...

Were all the characters drawn to resemble, in some way, the actors/actresses that voiced them? Like Xanatos and Franks for example.

Greg responds...

No. Or at least largely no.

Xanatos was literally designed years before Jonathan Frakes was cast in the role.

Elisa's basic design didn't change much either, but we did send pictures of Salli Richardson to Mr. Takeuchi, the character designer who was working on her final model in Japan.

The human versions of Goliath, Hudson, Lex, Brooklyn and Broadway were influenced by the actors who played them. But only a bit. We had to stay faithful to the gargoyle base forms.

Response recorded on July 02, 2001

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(handel)Luna Wyvern writes...

Why was Gargoyles canceled off the air?
Will it ever be on ever again?
Can I do something about this situation?

Greg responds...

Start by taking a look at the archives for a good answer.

At this point, I might suggest that the most pragmatic thing people could do is to petition Disney for a DVD release. Politely.

Response recorded on July 01, 2001

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Anonymous writes...

Why is it that you couldn't afford to design the Avalon clan yet you could afford to design Raven's fake clan?

Greg responds...

Can't you see the difference?

Raven's "fake clan" had, what, like three members?

We didn't have the man-hours to design 36 separate gargoyles for Avalon. But we did design some members of the Avalon clan. Angela, Gabriel, Ophelia, Boudicca, at least.

Response recorded on June 29, 2001

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Rob Irwin (the Sloth) writes...

1. were all the episodes in TGC a "mutation" of your ideas.

2. You said before that if the show started agian, you would discard these eps. Does this mean you would use the same ideas that were put in thoes shows but make it the way you wanted to?

Greg responds...

1. It seemed that way. Though some were mutated to the point of unrecognizability.

2. I think so.

Response recorded on June 29, 2001

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Sapphire writes...

Dear Mr. Weisman

When creating Gargoyles have you ever been under attack by the super conservative Southern Bapitist convention and other religious groups for giving reference to magic and a gothic atmosphere in the Gargoyles television show? I'm asking this question because when I accidentially stumbled across the Focus on the Family with Dr. Dobson official web site movie and television review web page They give two thumbs down to every movie and television show for showing magic.

Greg responds...

We got a couple letters from people who had clearly seen the commercials and not the show itself.

That was a very limited hostile response. Much less than we expected.

Magica de Spell on DuckTales got more mail.

Response recorded on June 29, 2001

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LSZ writes...

The issue of gargoyles turning to stone being a biological and non-magical process seems important to you, and it does make a more interesting universe; it was also firmly mentioned in the Gargoyles' bible..so out of curiosity, if this fact was so important, why was it never mentioned in the series itself, when other biological details like the solar and aging thing were mentioned?

Greg responds...

I probably thought of it as so self-evident that it didn't occur to me to mention it.

And/or it was nearly impossible to work into a conversation naturally.

Response recorded on June 28, 2001

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Siren writes...

On the eye color thing...
What biological and creative reason is it that females have red glowing eyes and males white?
I found this is a strange, but really cool thing on the show.

Greg responds...

Well, behind the scenes, I think it was a result of Demona having glowing red eyes in the pilot and everyone else (i.e. the guys) all having glowing white eyes. I'm not sure I remember us planning it then. It just happened. Then we strove to be consistent.

Biologically, I dunno... hormones?

Response recorded on June 27, 2001

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Phil writes...

I've enjoyed reading your development files for Gargoyles. The fact that you're here and still working on the concept years after it's been cancelled leads me to a question:

At what point did you realize that Gargoyles was not just another cartoon series? It's obvious now how different Gargoyles is from Bonkers or Tale Spin, but at what point in development did that emerge?

Greg responds...

There came a point when Frank Paur was hired to join the project, when I realized I didn't want to let go of it. That it was too personal, too in synch with my own head. Normally at that time, I developed shows (like Bonkers) and handed them off to a producer. This one, I could not let go of.

Which is not to say I knew there'd be conventions, websites, fanfic, fanart, etc., way back then. I had no idea the series would generate that kind of loyalty. I just knew I cared about it.

Response recorded on June 27, 2001

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Siren writes...

When they began designing the characters from 994 A.D. do you know of what books they used to find out the clothing of the first century? I am looking myself as well, but maybe a book the creators used themselves would be wonderful. Thanks Greg!

Greg responds...

I don't know. Sorry.

Response recorded on June 21, 2001

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Vic writes...

Hellos again,
(typing this as a rerun of 'Thrill of the Hunt' concludes, such apprpriate atmosphere)
Several questiones focused more on the conception and creative procees behind Gargoyles:
1. How long did you think Gargoyles would last on TV initially?
2. Was the whole Saga to you a finite story, or something that would go on as long as some one was writing it?
3. What's your involvement in the Gargoyles Saga presently? Speciffically, do you just give those writing it down an outline to go with, or have more active involvement?

That's all,
Thanks for your attention.
2.

Greg responds...

1. Initially, I had no idea. But I had hopes it would go on forever.

2. It was never finite. Still isn't .

3. If you're talking about TGS, the fan-fiction, I literally have ZERO involvement. Nada. Never read any of it. Don't participate. And though it's great that the fans are doing that, it's not canon in my mind.

Response recorded on June 21, 2001

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Demona Taina writes...

This is another stupid question.. but you've said before that when one of your voice actors had a busy schedule that he/she could not get out of, you simply got another actor to play the part, like what happened with Maria Chavez and Margot Yale. What happened when one of the main characters' voices was unavailable? (Keith David, Thom Adcox, Marina Sirtis..) Did you postpone the recording session or something?

Thanks!

Greg responds...

We postponed recording them. We'd record the other actors and get Keith or whomever when we could. It wasn't usually too long a wait.

Response recorded on June 19, 2001

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Anonymous writes...

You once said that you had a medusa character in NO that was eventually replaced by Sphinx. So did you take out the medusa character because you wanted to show that there were also human looking NOs?

Greg responds...

Sphinx isn't particularly human-looking. She's certainly less human looking than Boreas, for example.

Mostly we took out Medusa in a lead role, for two reasons...

1. We thought she'd be very hard to animate. So we wanted to be able to use her sparingly.

2. I liked the ability to use angelic imagery for the first meeting of Terry and Sphinx.

Response recorded on June 10, 2001

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Jill HV writes...

Hi, Why did they stop making new show?

Greg responds...

Oh, that's a big long complex question that I've just answered so many times before. In fact I once wrote a borderline discertation on the subject that multiple people have posted on various websites. Ask around in the comment room for a link.

Response recorded on May 30, 2001

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Todd Jensen writes...

Was part of the purpose of the eggs' brief mention in "Awakening" (aside from the preparation for their re-introduction in "Avalon" later on, when you got around to it) an indication to the audience that the gargoyles were genuine living beings rather than statues brought to life by magic? The presence of gargoyle eggs, after all, does indeed indicate that the gargoyles weren't mere magical creations (I doubt that animated statues would be able to breed).

Greg responds...

Yes, in a way, anyhow. It was part of the whole picture to that end. Goliath bled. He could be killed, etc.

Response recorded on May 30, 2001

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Duncan Devlin writes...

I noticed a contuning theme with the drawing of Xanatos. When there are other characters around, he seems to dominate everyone in size, with the notable exception of Goliath.

This was strongly evident in Future Tense, when Demona kicked him. She was about 1/3 his size.

Any comments? Did this happen on purpose? Was it your idea or animation's?

Greg responds...

Part of it is a function of design.

Some of it I'm sure came from the board artists/director and producers.

Some from the animators.

Response recorded on May 04, 2001

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matt writes...

another thing about Lex flying a helicopter... he'd only been in the modern world with modern technology for a couple months and even with the video game, he's flying a complex aircraft after one night! thats what i call a stretch... i've lived among modern technology most of my life and i've played plenty of flight simulator games and if you put me into an even simple plane or helicopter i wouldn't be able to fly it! and even if i was allowed to fiddle around with the controls for a couple days, i'd be lucky if i could fly it, my point is, was Lex's sudden skill with the helicopter another result of Kenner wanting to make a toy helicopter?

Greg responds...

Largely.

Response recorded on May 04, 2001

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Kathy Lowe writes...

As I understand it, you wrote the beat sheets in response to an outline or script that was submitted to you. I really enjoy reading the summaries that you wrote; I am curious about the purpose of these summaries. Were you writing down what you interpreted the story to be from the script (thinking out loud on paper)? The way it is presented in the beat sheet, seems (to me at any rate) like most of the episode ideas are coming from you rather than the other way around.

It would be nice to see one of the scripts that you did a beat sheet on, but I can certainly understand if they no longer exist. Just seeing the evolution from Beat Sheet to final episode extremely interesting.

Greg responds...

I don't do the beat sheets based on the scripts. I did them based on rough outlines from my writers and story editors. Then THEY did the scripts.

Since you aren't seeing the outlines... and you can't (at least not from me) since I don't have them anymore. It's hard to tell what ideas were coming from me and what was coming from the original outlines, or for that matter the writers' original premises or my original springboards. The best clues are when I say, "Change this to this." But mostly the whole thing needs to be viewed as an organic process. With multiple people involved. Writer/Story Editor/Supervising Story Editor (at minimum). Plus various people like Frank Paur kibitzing.

Response recorded on May 02, 2001

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matt writes...

you've said that the Guatemalan, Ishimura, and London all had rookeries with eggs when Goliath and co. visited, why didn't you decide to show that any of these clans had eggs on screen? i think it would've been great to see that gargoyles do have a future and their not slowly dying out. was the problem time constraints? how hard is it to show some eggs in the background of certain scenes?

Greg responds...

Harder than you obviously think.

Cause for starters you're limiting my ideas to eggs.

Every episode was (at least in my opinion) bursting with ideas. As many as we could fit in and do justice too. Certain things were explicit. Some were implied. And some were just logical extrapolations of what was explicit or implied.

There was NEVER going to be room for every notion, every facet of everything. We put in what would fit and what we felt we NEEDED.

Response recorded on May 02, 2001

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Blah writes...

Want to know something creepy? There is a real company called Xanatos Enterprises, and the guy who owns it is named David Xanatos. Check it out at www.xanatos.com

This company designs websites and has only been in existance for the last 2 years or so. But seriously, that's the guy's real name. He didn't get the idea from Gargoyles.

Just curious... if there ever was a spin off or continuation of Gargoyles, as you hope, would the fact that this company now exists cause name problems for the fictional Xanatos Enterprises? I mean, I know that Disney, as well as any other company involved in show business tends to stear away from potential legal issues like this. It's true that the name has been with Gargoyles longer, but I've seen similar changes made for lesser reasons.

Greg responds...

Well, you're not the first to mention this guy. And I'll simply repeat what I've said all along. There was no Xanatos Enterprises when the show began. There was a "Xanacorp" however. I know this because Disney did a very thorough legal search. That makes us safe to continue using our name.

Someone once told me that this guy's middle name is "David". And that he got the name for his company (and the idea to feature his middle name over his first) from our series. I'm not sure if that's true. But if it is, it's flattering.

Response recorded on April 17, 2001

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Dexter writes...

Hello Greg-Alright, so this one is about Angela's hair. It's it just coincidence that her hair style is exactly like Princess Jasmine's from Alladin, or did you guys over a Disney just do that to be cute? I'm not trying to be an asshole (wow it's a miracle) I like her hair. Hmmm, she'd look pretty gorgeous with it down though, rrrrrrrroaw!

Greg responds...

I don't know. I assume it's a coincidence, but we were all in the same building so maybe we were influenced some. Greg Guler's original design for Demona had that sort of pony-tail. Frank didn't want that for Demona, so I had it brought back for Angela.

Response recorded on April 17, 2001

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LittleLotusFlower writes...

Hey, I'm new to the whole question thing, but I've been a fan for years. I've been wanting to ask a question that's bothered me and my brother for years. Can you possibly tell me the make and model od Elisa's car? Is it a real car in existance, or just a creation from the fine people at Disny?

Greg responds...

There's some disagreement about this. I was always under the impression that it was a Ford Fairlane. Or largely a Ford Fairlane. Roy Sato tells me it isn't exactly that. I forget what he said it was. A combo of a few models and makes, I think. I assume the Fairlane's in there, but I'm no longer even sure of that.

Roy?

Response recorded on April 09, 2001

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Todd Jensen writes...

You indicated in one of your recent responses that Shangri-La came to mind as the site of a possible, but unmade, Avalon World Tour adventure. What I'm curious about is whether it'd be possible to include Shangri-La in "Gargoyles". I believe that it was invented by James Hilton in his novel "Lost Horizon", written and published in the 1930's, which could make it a little too recent to be quite in the public domain as yet, though I'm not certain on that.

Greg responds...

Yeah, I'm not certain either. Shangri-La was mentioned in passing in the comic book story that I wrote for Marvel, which was never published. That was allowed, because it was a "diminimous" reference.

Before I actually set an adventure there, I'd need to make sure I was legally allowed to. If in fact, Shangri-La was created by Hilton and wasn't in the public domain, I'd probably shift to something like Kun-Lun. Tell the same kind of story there.

You know, on a related note, we did check Brigadoon (which was mentioned in a similar diminimous fashion in the Gargoyles/Captain Atom/Justice League Europe parody story I wrote, which WAS published by DC Comics) way back when, as a kind of proto-Avalon. We found out that wasn't legendary, but a creation of the modern non-public domain musical. So I went with my initial plan and used Avalon.

Response recorded on April 08, 2001

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Demona Taina writes...

One of my favorite smart-ass responses, among many, well, one guy asked (I can't remember whom) what Goliath was like when he was a baby. You replied: "Purple." [LOL] So I'm a hopeless Goliath fan. :P

Greg responds...

Yeah, that's good. (THough I'm amazed I thought of that, being color-blind. Heck, I didn't even KNOW Goliath was purple for about a year after I first saw his color model. I just assumed he was blue.)

Response recorded on April 08, 2001

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Jim R. writes...

What was your very first job? And what was the first job that was relevant to what you really wanted to do for a living or that you enjoyed? Was it working on Gargoyles?

Greg responds...

My very first job was in a mail room at American Medical International, Inc.

It had nothing to do with my career aspirations.

My first career oriented paying job was for DC Comics, as a freelance writer.

Gargoyles was YEARS (and many other jobs) after that.

It'd be pretty astonishing if my first job was as the creator and producer of a nationally syndicated tv show, don't you think?

Response recorded on March 29, 2001

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Andrea L. Marbry writes...

Dear Greg,
Just wanted to offer my very belated congratulations on the Starship Troopers video Roughnecks: The Pluto Campaign, coming out in March 2001 (according to Previews Magazine). Hopefully, this will be the beginning of getting out a whole lot of your work out,
including a certain other show of mine that's near and dear to my heart. Do you know who I can write to in order to get more dvd's and videos of Sony's animated stuff out?

Greg responds...

I don't, no. But you might try RoughneckChronicles.com or something.

I got a copy of that first DVD. I didn't work on those episodes, but they are coming out with a second DVD that has my five Tesca Nemerosa jungle shows on it. It also has a commentary track with me, Producer Audu Paden, Executive Producer Jeff Kline, the various directors of each episode and Rino Romano, the voice of Johnny Rico.

By the way, Troopers has just been nominated for two Emmy awards. One for sound, and the other for Best Animated Series Special Class. If we win the latter than a bunch of us will actually walk away with statues. This is my first emmy nomination. I'm pretty psyched about it.

FYI Gargoyles was nominated for sound emmys. Didn't win, unfortunately. But I was never nominated for that show.

Response recorded on March 29, 2001

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Shavri writes...

Hi, again, Mr. Weisman. I have another question. Was Goliath either supposed to be good-looking or not(GENERALLY speaking). I'm asking this because of your Kenner Toys memo ramble: Goliath Characteristics
* Huge, powerful, and ugly.
Then in a past rambling titled, "FOCUS TESTING" refering to Goliath: He looks handsome and noble and just a bit uncomfortable and sad.
You know, some of the show's animation showed these stark contrasts in the opinions in how Goliath should look. In one episode he's looking hot-to-trot, then in the next he's(to put it quite bluntly) pretty ugly, and then in the next he's pretty average-looking. This was one of my pet-peeves with the show. So, which is he, handsome or ugly?

Greg responds...

That's absolutely got to be in the eye of the beholder, don't you think?

In my mind, he was never ugly. But he was monstrous. Some of our animation was certainly inconsistent, here and there, but sometimes what your describing has a lot more to do with an intentional dichotomy.

Noble, yes. Monstrous, yes. Ugly... only if you can't see beauty. Elisa could. Almost immediately.

Response recorded on March 29, 2001

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Oberon writes...

Where did you get the name Grimourum Arcanorum

Greg responds...

Michael Reaves came up with that. But I think it's simply Latin for "magic book".

Response recorded on March 13, 2001

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Chapter XXVIII: "Revelations"

Time to Ramble...

Fueled by (what I perceived in my own mind to be) the success of "City of Stone", I began to get more daring in my story structure. In Revelations, Cary and I utilized the time-honored tradition of "in medias res", where a story starts in the middle and catches the viewer up along the way. (Thanks, Homer.)

We also used voice over narration for the first time. It's interesting because Matt just seemed like a perfect character to do that kind of Philip Marlowe naration. But at the same time, it was daring, because of course, Matt is not a regular. The audience didn't know him that well. I think it showed the strength of our supporting cast that Matt could carry a show like this. Of course, having the massively talented Tom Wilson playing Matt helped. I knew he could handle it. And he did. Tom is terrific and VERY funny in the booth. I hope someday he gets his own tv show. (I also loved him as Coach Fredericks on Freaks & Geeks.)

The basic springboard for this episode came from four sources.

1. The notion that eventually Matt would have to find out about the Gargoyles. We didn't want to just throw it away or constantly come up with new excuses why he had "just missed them" or whatever.

2. Matt's pursuit of the Illuminati. What began as a Michael Reaves throwaway line in "The Edge" had evolved into its own subplot. Cary's "Silver Falcon" had taken us to the next level of hearsay. It was time to finally bring the Society into the series.

3. Disney's desire to do a cross-over event with their new "TOWER OF TERROR" ride down in Orlando. Unfortunately, they had wanted this much earlier -- in 1994. We had piggy-backed our World Premiere Screening of Gargoyles down in Florida in September of 1994 with the press event for the Tower's Grand Opening. (That's how Keith David, Marina Sirtis, Salli Richardson, Gary Krisel and I wound up riding the Tower of Terror together on the night before it opened to the general public.) But this was the soonest we could fit the notion into our continuity. You'll see in the memo that I just posted previous to this ramble, that when we were at the outline stage, I was still trying to more firmly tie the two properties together. Partway through the script process, someone at Disney changed their mind. They didn't want the tie-in anymore. I shrugged, I think. And the HOLLYWOOD TOWER became the HOTEL CABAL.

4. An episode of the British TV series, THE AVENGERS, called something like "The House That Jack Built". This was a classic that we ripped off shamelessly. (Wait, wait, I mean we paid it homage shamelessly.) It was about this nutty house designed, I believe, to trap spies inside and drive them bonkers and break them. Sound familiar? John Steed and Emma Peel redone as Goliath and Matt. Didn't you notice the resemblance?

(Gee, so far I've credited Raymond Chandler, Homer and THE AVENGERS as influences. What a fun episode.)

We reintroduced Hacker, mostly so that we could bookend him at the end as Matt's new Illuminati contact. This was something that Cary and I planned as far back as Silver Falcon. We always had to keep Hacker's agenda straight. Make sure any info he gave Matt was a wild goose chase, at least as far as Hacker knew.

In this episode, and only in this episode, Maria Chavez is played by the talented Elisa Gabrielli (also known as Obsidiana). Rachel Ticotin, our usual Chavez, was just unavailable. So Elisa filled in. She has a lighter sound. But I think it works. Did anyone notice? Both Elisa and Rachel are great. I used Elisa as the Doll Demon in 3x3 Eyes (now available on VHS and DVD).

My 3 year old son Ben, who at this point is used to me writing down what he and his older sister says during these viewings told me to write down the following: "When it's night, Demona's a gargoyle. When it's day, she's a human. He likes it when Demona's a human." This had absolutely nothing to do with this episode, but hey, who cares?

I really loved what Ed Asner did with the throwaway character of Jack Dane. "Tell him he's a bum." Dane was so much fun, I brought him back for TURF later.

CONTINUITY

Matt climbs into the clock tower and finds the TV he helped Elisa with on the day they met. That was fun. This whole episode ties back to Matt's Illuminati musings in "The Edge". It was nice to find another connection. Also, Elisa's been lying to him as long as they've known each other. Nice to remind the audience of that as well.

I like the "family of gorillas" line.

"The Dental Plan" line is vintage Cary Bates.

Elisa: "Matt, you haven't said three words all night..."
Matt: "Let me drive." HEY! THREE WORDS! :) This is fun because, I always thought of Elisa as someone who was such a control freak, she never let her partner drive her car. A big part of this episode, though it could easily sneak past you what with everything else going on, is revealing more facets of Elisa's personality. We learn much more about her and she grows here too.

It's fun to establish Xanatos as "a lower eschelon member". Immediately makes the Illuminati impressive, if Xanatos barely registers on their scale. Also sets up eventual conflicts with him.

First act cliffhanger: Here the threat is Matt. Again, how well did you all think you knew Matt? Here we're inside his point of view -- his narration. But we still try to play him edgy enough that we don't know if he'll kill them both. It helps that we opened with the shocker that he betrayed Goliath to Mace. How many people bought that? Thought Matt was the Judas that Mace said he was?

Anyway, I really like this scene. Elisa yelling at Matt. Matt getting out of the car and yelling at... no one. And Elisa's quiet revelation that Matt isn't crazy... "They don't follow me everywhere." Again, this line was as important for Elisa as for Matt. Sure she can count on the Gargoyles for help. But I never wanted it to seem like Lois and Superman. Like he was always around or would here her with super-senses everytime she screamed. Most of the time, Elisa's on her own.

"This time I'll drive."

Fun to see the gargoyles reactions when Matt is introduced. Goliath's not upset. He appreciates that Elisa has a loyal partner and probably gave her permission to bring Matt in from the cold long before. The truth is they know Matt already.

Elisa: "better late than never".

And then immediately Goliath is suspicious. "Trust is not... to be bartered."

As creators, we were playing both ends here. Omitting pieces of conversation. Trying to get the audience to believe that Matt might in fact be betraying G. But also making it believable that in hindsight, he wasn't. Not cheating, in other words.

At this point, my six year old daughter Erin said: "I don't like Bluestone in this one. He's usually very nice. But in this one he's mean." That's how she saw him. Not righteously angry with Elisa for the lies. Just mean.

It took remarkably more effort than I'd have expected to get things to hook up with our Teaser from the beginning of the act. To help, I reused a couple of Mace's line as prompts to the audience.

It's fun to hear Tom Wilson playing Matt playing at being a bad guy.

I like all the hotel references. "Check out time" etc.

Mace falls down the shaft and grabs the cables with his bare hands. One hundred years old or not, that's gotta hoit.

I like Matt using his coat as a parachute. That wouldn't be necessary except for that darn Gallileo. If it weren't for him, Goliath, being heavier, could have fallen faster than Matt to catch up to him. :)

And of course, I enjoy the irony of Mace being trapped in a Hell of his own making. And i like the notion that the Illuminati just left him there to rot. He had outlived his usefulness. A non-member had found him thanks to his annoying sentimental habit of visiting Pine Lawn. AND he had failed to hold the Gargoyle in the Cabal. Breaking a perfect record. Woops.

Goliath refers to Bluestone as his friend. That's to make sure the audience is clear that Goliath was in on the plan from the beginning. Later, I gathered, some people still didn't get that.

We have a great Turning to Stone sequence here. Every once in a while it's nice to remind the audience that this is unique and special. Seeing it through a new characrer's eyes is a great way to do that.

I love Elisa and Matt's conversation. Elisa reveals that she's subconsciously been keeping the gargs to herself because it made her feel special. Explains a lot about "Her Brother's Keeper", doesn't it? And Matt admits to something similar. I think we all do little things to help ourselves stand out, even if no one notices them but us.

Maria then helps us see that Matt and Elisa are going to be okay.

And finally, our Hacker tag. (This episode had like six tags.) Matt gets his pin. I thought that was kinda cool...

What say all of you....


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Revelations Story Memo

In Prep for my coming RAMBLE on REVELATIONS, here's the memo I wrote to Story Editor Cary Bates in response to his outline...

WEISMAN 1-15-95

Notes on "Revelations" Outline...

GENERAL
NEW STRUCTURE
I was very concerned that the first act and much of the second act came across as prologue to our adventure. And yet most of it is necessary stuff. So I think we should open the story with GOLIATH trapped in the "house that Jack built" (HTJB) and flashback from there. Probably with MATT narrating the whole story in Voice Over.

I've suggested act breaks, but you don't have to feel married to them, if the timing or page count seems wrong.

Also, I didn't suggest any specific revisits to the HTJB (after the prologue) until our story brings us back there chronologically. If you want to revisit the present in the HTJB a few times to remind the audience of the current situation and to up the action with Goliath facing another death trap, go for it. Totally up to you.

I also moved the Hacker scene up, so that he can bookend the show a little more. In his first scene, he'll still be telling Matt that the Society is a myth. In his last scene, he'll be inviting Matt to join.

HTJB/MOUNTAIN RETREAT/TOWER OF TERROR/SEEDY HOTEL
It's a bit of a stretch to believe that Goliath would go to this "Mountain Retreat" with Matt. What do they hope to accomplish there, besides illegal search and seizure? Matt's "informant" is fishy beyond belief. So is the gizmo that gets them past the security perimeter. The point of which is lost on me, since they are immediately spotted by security forces. How does defeating these forces help? THEY'VE BEEN SPOTTED. What can they hope to accomplish now? These security guards can't radio inside to hide or destroy whatever data there might be? It's all adding up to a big old fishy mess. And yes, I realize that the Illuminati want Goliath inside and that Goliath wants to get "trapped" in order for Matt's plan to work out, but it's too convenient to say everyone is intentionally acting like idiots. The audience won't be in on it. They'll just be getting frustrated. By the time we reveal the truth, they'll just generally feel the whole story was contrived.

So let's start by ditching the mountain retreat. I like the Seedy Hotel better. Someplace that from the outside seems like a totally non-descript Manhattan building. Maybe it's boarded up and condemned. Getting in is not a problem. They land on the roof and sneak inside. But getting out is impossible.

The hotel is really the "House That Jack Built". Yes, steel shutters slam shut, trapping Goliath, but more importantly, we should really lose our bearings inside. Goliath rips open a window that he thinks leads outside, only to find it's a false facade that leads into another room. At another point, he thinks he has gotten back onto the roof. But this turns out to be another interior room, with a domed ceiling painted with stars. Another room has all the furniture on the ceiling and the razor sharp ceiling fan on the floor. Maybe another room rotates. Think about optical illusions, Escher paintings, etc. The death traps are fun, but we've done them before, so it's the mind-bending surreal stuff that will make this place special.

Also since the powers-that-be have asked, and since it fits our story, please refer to this place at least once as the "TOWER OF TERROR" and do at least one death trap with a rapidly falling elevator. This is "Synergy" with the Disney/MGM theme park's TOWER OF TERROR ride in Florida. I wouldn't suggest it if it didn't fit, but it fits just fine and that kind of goodwill never hurts. The name of the hotel should be the Hollywood Tower, cause that's the name in the ride. Now I know that seems like a weird name for a manhattan hotel, but if you figure it was built in the thirties or forties, during Hollywood's heyday, you can RATIONALIZE that even a New York Hotel would want to associate itself with the glamour of Hollywood. O.K. It's a stretch, but go for it.

MATT AND SECRECY
THE THEME OF OUR STORY IS TRUST. Hit it as much as possible. However, I don't want to replay Matt's emotional arc from Silver Falcon. He learned his lesson in that story. He no longer runs off without telling Elisa where he's going or what he's doing. Matt's honesty at the beginning of the story will contrast nicely with Elisa's deception about the gargoyles and with Matt's later bitter, furtive behavior. He can't feel too betrayed by Elisa's lies if he opened the story lying to her as well.

GOLIATH
In your beat #9, Goliath is behaving completely out of character. He may never have been introduced to Matt, but he's seen him from a distance and knows who he is. He must know from Elisa that Matt is a good guy. His long-term goal in Manhattan is to find acceptance with a growing number of humans. Elisa was the first (and is still the foremost), but Renard is a friend of Goliath's now. Jeffrey Robbins the novelist is a friend of Hudson's. Goliath tried to convince Elisa to tell the truth to her brother, etc. And in any case, he's not likely to physically assault someone for doing nothing else but looking at them. I know you want to set up a tense dynamic, but the one in beat 9 is totally artificial. So drop it.

BOTHERSOME QUESTIONS THAT MUST BE DEALT WITH IN THE SCRIPT
1. Why was it necessary for Mace to vanish in the twenties? (Perhaps he was recruited by the Illuminati, but was about to get busted for his criminal operations with Dracon. So he vanished with the money, and the Illuminati set him up with a new life. But why did they want him? Why would they bother?)
2. Why would Mace give up his glamorous gangster life to live in a seedy hotel for the Illuminati? (He obviously wouldn't. So let's not imply that he did.)
3. How did Matt make the connection between Mace and the Illuminati in the first place? (This question must get answered in this episode. In "Silver Falcon", the old photo of Mace and Dominic will depict Mace wearing the Illuminati pyramid/eye emblem. But don't count on the audience noticing or remembering that. And don't forget that Matt thought Mace was involved with the Society long before he saw that photo in Benton's office.)
4. Did Matt just get phenomenally lucky that he happened to go to Flo's grave at the same time as Mace? Was he planning on setting up 24 hour surveillance? Did he have some way of knowing that Mace visits and when?
5. How does Mace being alive prove the existence of the Illuminati? (Hint: it doesn't, by itself. See question #3.)

MALONE
Mace was a prominent gangster when he disappeared in 1924. If you figure he was about thirty, he'd be 100 now give or take five years. I think we should make a point of this. He looks great, thanks to the Illuminati's rejuvenation techniques. Like a man of 75 or 80. But he proudly tells Matt that today's his 100th birthday, or something like that.

BEAT OUTLINE
ACT ONE
1. Establishing shot of the Seedy Hotel. It's Friday night. Inside, Goliath is already alone. The steel shutters slam shut, trapping him inside, a mysterious voice (Mace) welcomes him to the "Tower of Terror". Maybe activate a death trap or two. Maybe Goliath finds an open window, but it leads back inside. Maybe the ceiling comes down on him or something.

2. Cut to the control room, where we see Goliath on a monitor. Mace is at the controls. (We don't yet know who he is.) And then pull back to see Matt looking over Mace's shoulder. We can't believe Matt is helping to trap and kill Goliath!! Push in on Matt. In his voice over, we find out he can hardly believe it either, it all began last Tuesday....

3. First flashback begins. Last Tuesday. It's the FBI target range and the scene with MARTIN HACKER. (Don't take for granted that the audience knows Hacker. Reintroduce all the necessary, pertinent info about him, Malone and the Illuminati -- pretend they've never been mentioned before this episode.) Hacker can't believe Matt is still chasing Mace Malone and the Illuminati. It's a wild goose chase that got him fired from the Bureau. When will he learn his lesson? But Matt is determined. He's going to prove the existence of the Illuminati, prove that he's not a nutcase. So Hacker gives him the info that he asked for: the location of Malone's step-son, a mobster who's part of the Federal Witness Relocation Program. (Hacker gives him this location because he knows that Malone's step-son has no idea where Malone is.)

4. Tuesday Night. Later at the precinct house, Matt sees Captain Chavez coming out of the Ladies room. He asks her if Elisa is in there. She says no. Matt doesn't get it. Her car is here, but he can't find her.

He finally finds Elisa exiting the broom closet. Has she been sitting in a closet for the last twenty minutes? Of course, not. She was just, uh... returning a mop. One of the sinks in the ladies' room overflowed. That's where she's been (yeah, that's the ticket) cleaning up a flood in the Ladies' Room. Matt is so stunned by her obvious and clumsy lie, that he doesn't immediately confront her with it. Unaware that she's been caught in a lie, Elisa quickly changes the subject. Why was Matt looking for her? He's got a lead on the Illuminati. After the Silver Falcon debacle, he's learned his lesson about keeping his partner in the dark. (He says pointedly.) He just wanted to let her know where he's going to be tomorrow. (As with Hacker, Elisa likes Matt but seems to only tolerate his obsessions. There's the tiniest bit of a patronizing attitude toward them. Perhaps Matt invites her along on his investigation, but she thinks it's a waste of time. She's nice about it, but Matt's V.O. narration lets us know that he knows she thinks he's a kook. Same with Hacker in the scene above.)

5. Wednesday. Matt confronts Malone's step-son, JACKSON DANE (or whatever) at the gym (or wherever). (Jackson's 80 if he's a day, but he can have Ferrigno-sized goons. Though you need to be careful that Matt doesn't come across as a dirty or rogue cop. I don't want him to break any laws.) Matt asks Jackson about Mace. Dane hasn't seen Mace since he was a little kid. Matt pulls out a photo that was taken at the memorial service for Jackson's mother (Mace's ex-wife), actress Flo Dane, when she died fifteen years ago. It was a big deal thing. We see a picture of Jackson in the front row. Did Jackson see Mace at the funeral. No. Matt takes out a second picture. A blow up of people in the back row. He points to one. Jackson looks carefully, and whaddaya know? It's Mace. Now Matt wants to know where Flo Dane is buried. Jackson says that his mom didn't want her grave to become a tourist attraction, so she was buried under her real name, FLORA DREEDLE. Did Mace know that name? Yes, he did.

6. Wednesday, just before sundown. Back at the precinct, Elisa asks Chavez if Matt's checked in yet. No. Elisa goes up to see the gargoyles. We follow her into the broom closet. The pull-down ladder is already down. She nervously pulls her gun and goes upstairs. Only to find Matt there. She's under time pressure to get him out of there, since it's nearly sunset. He points to the t.v. set. He remembers helping her bring that into the precinct the day they met. She had said it was for a friend. She pretends that this is her little getaway spot when police life gets too intense. Some getaway spot. An old lounge chair. A hot plate. Video game equipment. Books. Enough food for a family of gorillas. She says she may be bending a few regulations, but she's not breaking any laws. Don't tell Chavez, o.k.? (She has got to get him downstairs.) So how'd it go with Mace's step-son? He's still highly suspicious, but enthusiastic enough about filling her in on Mace that he allows her to guide him back downstairs. Matt has checked with the funeral home. Some old man shows up there every Thursday and leaves a rose for Flora Dreedle. It's a long shot but Matt is going to be there tomorrow to find Mace Malone.

7. Thursday. Matt finds Mace Malone, who goes into a bit of denial, but we'll give him an Illuminati tattoo on the palm of his hand (or something). Mace relents, impressed. The Illuminati has been aware of Matt's quest. They've thrown multiple roadblocks in his way, and still Matt found Mace. The Society has clearly underestimated the boy. Mace offers Matt membership based on a loyalty test. Matt: You want me to prove my loyalty? How do I know I can trust you? Mace: Fair question. What if I prove good faith by revealing a bit of information donated by one of our lower echelon members, David Xanatos. Matt's listening.

8. Very late Thursday night. Elisa and Matt are driving in her car. She's driving. She asks him if everything's all right. The shift's almost over and he hasn't said three words all night. "Let me drive," he says [exactly three words]. No way -- it's my car, she replies, only half-kidding. He INSISTS. She relents, realizing he's pretty upset about something. It's a very awkward moment. She has to stop the car, get out and switch sides with him. He's silent the whole time. He drives. Where are they headed? He ignores the question, but tells her that today he found Mace Malone. That's great, she says, but you're driving awfully fast. He ignores that too, saying he feels like he's on a streak. Now that he's proven the Illuminati exists, he's about to prove the existence of another urban myth that he's been taunted for believing in. Matt, she yells, you're driving us right into the path of some kind of danger!! That's right he says, and the only way we can be saved is if your gargoyles save us.

ACT TWO
9. Elisa manages to wrest the wheel from him and turn the car into a very uncontrolled 360° skid. Thank god for seat belts. They barely survive. Elisa is furious at Matt! What the heck does he think he's doing?! He's trying to get his partner to tell him the truth. He gets out of the car and yells to the sky. "I know you're out there! Show yourself!" Nothing happens. No gargoyles appear. Elisa gets out of the car. Matt's expecting another lie. But all she says is, "They don't follow me everywhere I go." They look at each other. C'mon, she says. I'll drive. (NOTE: I don't think we need to bring up informants. Elisa can believe that Matt has put two and two together from all the lies she's had to tell in the first act.)

10. But by the time they get back to the precinct it's dawn, early Friday morning. Too late, she says. He doesn't buy it. He knows that set-up in the clock tower must be for them. She's still reluctant to tell him the whole truth. Look, she says, you have to be patient for a little while longer. (Note: she has not actually apologized yet.) Meet me back here this evening. Ten minutes before sunrise.

11. Friday. Mace and Matt meet again. Has Matt seen the gargoyles yet? Tonight. But the information was correct? Yes, she friends with them. The Society has demonstrated good faith. Does Matt still want to join? Yes. Then you're willing to take the loyalty test? Yes, what do I have to do? Bring us a gargoyle.

12. Friday at twilight. Matt and Elisa head out the clock face's door (at roman numeral VI) Matt sees the statues of the gargoyles and gets pissed again. No stone statues are going to fool him. He knows they're flesh and blood. He's seen them (in previous episodes). She says hold on and stand back. The sun goes down. The gargoyles explode from stone. Milk this for all the awe and majesty, etc., that it's worth. Seeing it from Matt's point of view, we should all feel like we're seeing it again for the first time. The gargoyles approach. They all know Matt, even if he doesn't know them. Even Bronx is friendly. Matt is awestruck. Speechless. Elisa tells Matt that the Gargoyles have adopted the city and protect it as they once protected their castle in Scotland long ago. She asks him to keep the gargoyles' secret. He says he will, but he wants something in return. Goliath doesn't love the idea of being blackmailed into anything. Matt says he's tracked Mace to a seedy condemned hotel. He's sure he can get proof of the Illuminati's existence if he could just get into the hotel, but it's locked and boarded up on the ground floor. He needs Goliath's help to enter via the roof. The other gargoyles offer to help, but Matt isn't trying to lay siege to the place, he just wants to sneak in and sneak out. All he needs is Goliath. Elisa wants to go, but Matt specifically doesn't want her to. Why? Because I want to find out once and for all whether you trust me. So Goliath takes off with Matt. (AND I think we can assume that Matt filled Goliath in on his plan on the flight over to the seedy hotel.)

13. Friday night. They land on the roof of the hotel. With Goliath's help, they break into the stairway and go inside. Almost immediately, Matt is forcibly separated from Goliath and spirited away to join Mace in the control room. Mace is very pleased with Matt. He presses a button and steel shutters slam home in a repeat of scene 1. Which brings us up to date, end on a cliff hanger and go to commercial.

ACT THREE
14. Play Goliath in the HTJB. Have fun with it. You've got most of the act. Meanwhile, Matt asks Mace how long they plan to keep Goliath here. Why, we can keep him here forever. He'd never find his way out without help. So Matt has to secretly help Goliath. But you can't have that signal device. Where would Matt get it from? He's not Batman. So think of something else. Ultimately, they escape leaving Mace hopelessly lost inside the surreal world of his own making. (That's the Illuminati's punishment for him. He can die of dehydration there, some time in the future and we don't have to portray it or worry about S&P.) All this is done in such a way that the Illuminati would later blame Mace not Matt. If you need help to choreograph this, give me a call.

15. Pre-Dawn Saturday morning, Goliath and Matt return to the clock tower where Elisa and the others are waiting. We find out definitively that Matt tipped Goliath off to his plan on the way to the seedy hotel. He was hoping to join the Illuminati -- so he could bust them from the inside, but in order to escape, they had to trap Mace, his only Illuminati connection, in the HTJB, so it was all for nothing. Matt watches with Elisa as the Gargoyle's turn to stone. (Again, milk this. Through Matt's eyes it should feel like the first time.) Elisa and Matt have their little scene. She finally apologizes. He asks why she kept it a secret from him. And etc.

16. Matt walks outside and there's Hacker, who reveals that he's a member of the Illuminati who had been assigned to Matt to keep him away from the Illuminati. Matt can't believe it: Hacker helped him with info. Only info that Hacker thought led down a dead end. Matt just figured a way to do an end run around the dead ends. No hard feelings. Anyway, he always liked Matt, so he's proud to give him his official Illuminati membership pin. Matt doesn't get it. The society lost the gargoyle. Mace's fault, not Matt's. Hacker promises to keep in touch. He hops in an unmarked car and drives off. After he's gone, Matt says something determined about keeping in touch too. This isn't over.


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Jim R. writes...

Was Gargoyles solely your idea? I mean, were you just "eating breakfast" one day, (which you should try to do, remember them Wheaties...) and then all-of-a-sudden, IT HITS YOU! "I've got this great idea for a cartoon about Gargoyles!" Or was it a multitude of people AND you? Or what?

Greg responds...

I've been fascinated with Gargoyles since college at least. And certainly this series was always my baby. But no, it wasn't an idea I came up with in a complete vacuum. If you read the "Original Development Archive" here at ASK GREG, you can see that many, many people were involved. I just headed the team. If any individual created this series, then yes, I will take that credit. But it was a very collaborative process.

Response recorded on March 07, 2001

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Evidentally, I went out of town in late June / early July of 1993. My very capable and talented Development Associate Paul Lacy was holding down the fort.

Walt Disney TV Animation Japan had been asking for a more creative role in the division. Gargoyles would represent a new opportunity for them. (Something that I believe Roy Sato could comment on more directly.) Paul wrote up some character descriptions for Goliath and the Trio to get them started. This document, as far as I can tell, is the first one in which Brooklyn and Lex were assigned the basic personalities that they'd wind up with. Previous to this, the two characters had always been assigned each others traits. So I think we can credit Paul (or his confusion, at least) with giving us the Brooklyn and Lex we now know and love.

Also by this time, we had moved away from a female Broadway. One of my bosses, Bruce Cranston, still raised the suggestion that we go back. But I believe my other boss, Gary Krisel (and Kenner) wanted as many males in the group as possible.

July 2, 1993

Greg,

Gary wants to give Tokunaga, the head of the Disney Studio in Japan, a shot at showing us what they can do design-wise with the GARGOYLES, so he wants us to send them descriptions of GOLIATH, BROOKLYN, LEXINGTON and BROADWAY. The descriptions need to be brief and put in general terms to allow them room to be creative.

I've enclosed my pass at these descriptions for your changes. Although I remember the "types" we were thinking of for Brooklyn, Lexington and Broadway, I don't remember who was assigned which attribute. Bruce asked about making one of the kids a female, should we open that up to the Japanese as an option?

Gary and Bruce looked at these today and I incorporated their changes. We need to get these to Lenora Hume early Tuesday so she can fax them to Japan.

Hope you had a great trip. See you on Tuesday.

Paul

And here's Paul's memo to the Japanese Studio.

GARGOYLE DESCRIPTIONS (Lacy 7/2/93)

Below are general descriptions of the look and feel of GOLIATH and the three teen-aged Gargoyles, BROOKLYN, LEXINGTON and BROADWAY.

GOLIATH
The Gargoyle-master. Physically imposing, muscular. At least a head taller than an average human. Weighing approximately 500 pounds, Goliath is solidly built. Although he possesses many human-like features, Goliath's gargoyle features set him apart from man. When angered he resembles a raging beast. When relaxed there is a gentle nobility to his appearance ... in a strange, rugged way, he's handsome. Goliath's wings enable him to glide and, as such, must be big enough to support his weight. They are not simply attached to his back. Rather, they are an integral part of his skeletal and muscular structure, as organic to him as arms and legs are to humans. When sitting, Goliath's wings drape around him like a cape. When spread wide, they act as a backdrop that frames his body.

BROOKLYN, LEXINGTON AND BROADWAY
As adolescent gargoyles, they're awkward and not as physically developed as Goliath. To a human, however, they're still imposing and beastly. Although the three are part of the same species, each one is physically different enough to establish their individuality.

BROOKLYN: If there's a leader of the group, it's Brooklyn. He's the most physically fit of the group and is the one who most aspires to be a gargoyle warrior like Goliath. In the modern world Brooklyn wants to be "cool" and stylish, following all the current trends.

LEXINGTON: The smallest of the group. He's not as muscular as his pals, though he still is powerful. Lexington natural resting position is more a squat than the other two. Lexington is fascinated by gadgets: in medieval times it's catapults and siege engines. In modern times it's airplanes, traffic lights, video games, etc.

BROADWAY: The chubby one, Broadway's also bigger than the other two. Despite his fat, he has well defined muscles like the other gargoyles. Broadway is happy go-lucky, always looking for a good time.

Some of different wing types for these three characters include sprung from the back (like Goliath) for gliding, attached to the back but too small to be of any use, draped from the arm (like a bat), or non-existent.


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Jim R. writes...

I am curious. You were an "executive producer" for Gargoyles, right? What does an executive producer do for an animated series? Did you work on any of the artwork? Any of the storyline? The voice actors?

What is it that an executive producer does? In a nutshell, of course, I know you're busy...

Greg responds...

Haven't I answered this a hundred times?

No. In those days, Disney TV Animation did not give out "Executive Producer" credits. I started as a "Co-Producer". Then became a "Producer". Then "Supervising Producer". Through all these title changes, my duties never changed. [Which is to say, that a title doesn't necessarily give a consistent read on an individuals responsibilities or efforts. So I can't speak for all Executive or even Supervising Producers. I can just tell you what I did.]

I came up with all 66 story springboards and supervised the writing staff. Though I didn't have the title, since my producer credit rendered it redundant, I was the Supervising Story Editor for the series. I personally wrote and story edited "The Journey". Though I did not produce the Goliath Chronicles episodes, including Journey.

I also supervised all recording sessions with the actors. I voice directed one episode (VENDETTAS).

I don't draw, but I did give notes and approvals on all designs and storyboards. I also supervised post-production. Called retakes, supervised final edits, mixes, on-lines, etc.

I didn't do any of this stuff alone. But along with Frank Paur, I was the final word on everything.

Response recorded on March 02, 2001

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"High Noon" story memo.

Late 1994. Writer Lydia Marano and Story Editor Brynne Chandler Reaves had turned in an outline entitled "Thieves in the Night". This memo and beat outline was my response to their work.

And before you ask... I have no memory of "the Zompanos". Perhaps a pre-cursor to the Sopranos? :)

WEISMAN 11-16-94

Notes on "Thieves in the Night" Outline...

GENERAL
The main problem for me here is the first act. From a plotting standpoint, everything with the Zompanos is largely immaterial to what follows. As with the outline for "The Mirror", the action of this story only begins at the end of Act One, when Mac and Demona stage their first attempt to steal stuff. We have to move that event up to the beginning of the act.

FOCUS ON COLDSTONE
Let's fool the audience into thinking he is the focus of the whole thing. It's a Coldstone story that turns out to be the set-up for something more dangerous. (Avalon.) To accomplish this, let's misdirect even more than we are.

MATT
I've basically cut Matt out of this story. I didn't like doing it, because I thought you gave him and Elisa a lot of nice character stuff. I even added some stuff to what you had done -- stuff that I also wound up cutting. The story was just too crowded and unwieldy with him there. (And thematically, the Elisa/Matt arc was just slightly off point.) Every time I worked on a scene, Matt got in the way. I wouldn't mind revealing just a little to him here, but there didn't seem to be any way to reveal "just a little". (Matt's not the type to just let things go or to settle for a partial explanation. And he's certainly shown a willingness to stick close to Elisa even when she's made it clear he's not welcome.)

I also would not be opposed to revealing the whole truth to Matt, but this story seemed to be too complicated to reveal just the simple truth about Goliath and company. We'd also have to tell him about Macbeth, Coldstone and maybe even Demona. It was just too much. But don't lose track of these ideas for Matt. We'll get to them all eventually.

THEME: HIGH NOON
"All that is necessary for evil to triumph is that good men do nothing." Or put another way, "You can't crawl into a hole, no matter how nice the hole is, while others suffer." Obviously, this is Othello's arc to a tee.

I'm also giving it to Elisa. And since this is a lesson that Elisa really has already internalized 100%, I'm putting her through the wringer, so that in her exhaustion, she can have a moment of weakness, a crisis point where she can consciously reaffirm her belief. It's high noon, she tells herself. Is she gonna fight the good fight or not?

To a lesser extent, Goliath and the gargoyles reaffirm this belief every time they knowingly walk into a trap. Because the only alternative -- to do nothing -- is unacceptable to them.

CLOCK TOWER
We can't destroy the clock tower or even "all but destroy" it without attracting considerable attention from the precinct full of cops downstairs. A thunderstorm can cover a lot of noise, I suppose, but not extensive damage or explosions that might shake the building.

BACKSTORY
I don't want to count on the fact that our audience will have seen either "City of Stone, Part Four", "Legion" or "The Mirror". I don't want to be ham-fisted in our exposition, but I do want to make sure that we find a way to reveal that when we last saw Demona and Macbeth, they were in the custody of the Weird Sisters. Also that Coldstone has three personalities due to the fact that he was created from pieces of three separate gargoyles. And finally, that thanks to Puck's spell, Demona is now human during the day -- a situation which pissed her off at first, until she discovered the benefits of it.

COLDSTONE'S HEAD
The "tentacle vines" and the "vortex" were all the result of the computer virus. I think we can assume by this time that the virus has wiped out all programming, including itself. All that is left inside is the personality of the three gargoyles and whatever fantasy they create inside their mutual mind.

SHARED PAIN
Don't forget that Macbeth and Demona feel each other's pain. And also, as you had it in the outline, that they each share the opinion that the other is a royal pain.

BEAT OUTLINE
ACT ONE
1. Prologue: Coldstone's Mind. Othello and Desdemona enjoy an idyllic life in a virtual reality fantasy world that they've created. Electricity water-falls. A circuit-shaped moon. Whatever. They know it's not real, but it's close enough. They are together.
They are also aware of Iago's presence hovering darkly on the outskirts of their paradise, but he no longer has the power to come between them. They are content to let him hover.

2. Clock Tower -- Shortly before Dawn. Elisa has just ended a long night's shift and is stopping upstairs (via the broom closet) to see Goliath & co. before she heads home for some much needed sleep. Brooklyn is helping Hudson and Broadway with their reading lessons. Lexington is off in a corner working on Coldstone. Lex has opened up a metal plate on Coldstone, to get access to the circuits inside. He's hooked his laptop up to it and is checking things out. Goliath asks: is there any real hope of bringing him (her, them) back? As far as Lex can figure, the computer virus that attacked Coldstone has wiped its programming clean. Nothing's functioning, but nothing's broken. It's a blank slate. Even the virus is gone. After it finished attacking Coldstone's programming, it devoured itself. But none of that should have affected the souls of the three gargoyles that were used to create Coldstone. They were put there by magic, not programming. They've got to be in there somewhere. If Lex could devise a simple operating program, they might wake up. Well, he'll work on it some more tomorrow night. The gargoyles take their places. Sun rises. They get stoned.

3. Police Precinct -- Minutes later. Elisa's heading out the door, saying good-bye to Officer Morgan, who's also heading home. Coming in, is a uniformed female cop with red hair, pushing a felon who's got his cap pulled low over his eyes and his hands handcuffed in front of him. [Obviously, this is the human Demona and Macbeth.] Elisa pauses, and watches them head into the building and out of view. They both looked vaguely familiar, but she can't place either of them. Does Morgan know them? No, but the cop is obviously a rookie. Why else would she have cuffed the guy with his hands in front of him? Especially a guy that big.
Yeah, someone should tell her. Elisa heads back in. She spots them heading up the stairs. Sees them going around a corner. Always a step behind. Finally she sees them head into the broom closet. Horrified by what that might mean, she draws her gun, and follows them up into the clock tower.

4. Despite her precautions, she is ultimately jumped by the "felon" and the "cop". There's a struggle. And Elisa recognizes Macbeth, just before she is stunned into unconsciousness by Macbeth's lightning gun. Sweet dreams, he says. And the screen goes black.

5. Inside Macbeth's Airship - Twenty minutes later. Macbeth and the "cop" are flying along. The "cop" is angry that Macbeth wouldn't let her kill the gargoyles and especially Elisa, once and for all. Macbeth won't apologize for having a code of honor. But he's in a good mood. Their stolen cargo is safely stowed away in back, plus they got away without anybody else spotting them. "So lighten up... Demona!"

6. Clock Tower - Several hours later. Elisa comes to. She feels lousy, but she's basically all right. How long was she out? She checks her watch. Wow, most of the day. She looks around. Coldstone is gone!! Obviously taken by Macbeth and that woman. But how did they get him out of here in broad daylight? They couldn't just walk him out the door or even fly Macbeth's airship in to pick them all up without somebody noticing. Still, how they succeeded in doing it isn't as important as the fact that they did. She slumps into Hudson's recliner. "Might as well stop talking to myself and wait. It'll be sunset soon."

7. Macbeth's Mansion - Just before sundown. Human Demona is waiting for the sun to go down. Macbeth's a bit impatient. He thinks that despite her appearance, Demona's still thinking like a gargoyle. Why wait for night? Put the disk in now. She refuses. Coldstone doesn't know Macbeth, and wouldn't recognize her in her present form.
The sun goes down. Demona changes from a human into a gargoyle. The process is not without some pain. As she catches her breath, she wryly observes that despite an initial distaste for the human form, she's come to appreciate Puck's gift, although the fact that he made the transformation painful was probably his way of keeping her from appreciating it too much.
But, to work. They insert the operating program disk into Coldstone. And we push in hard and fast on Coldstone's eyes!!

8. Inside Coldstone's mind -- Same time. A tunnel of electric light appears before Othello and Desdemona. Des wonders if they should investigate, but before Othello can answer, Iago pushes them aside and glides down the tunnel out of sight. Now Desdemona is convinced they should stop or at least follow him. But Othello talks her out of it. Let him go. We are here and happy and together. What else matters?

9. Macbeth's Mansion -- Right then. Coldstone awakens and Iago is in control. He recognizes his rookery sister. (It doesn't really matter if Demona knows about Coldstone's multiple personality disorder.) She asks him how he feels. He quietly responds: vengeful. Demona and Macbeth smile at each other. They've found a friend.

ACT TWO
10. Clock Tower -- About the same time. The gargoyles woke up and got the gist of Elisa's story while we were at commercial. But everyone has questions. Goliath left Macbeth with the Weird Sisters, how did he escape them? And how did Macbeth know about the clock tower? And who was the human woman with him? Did Elisa recognize her? She seemed really familiar, but Elisa can't quite place her. Well, there's one thing they do know: Macbeth stole Coldstone. They have to get him back. So it's off to Macbeth's mansion. Elisa'd like to go with, but she's supposed to report to work in thirty minutes. Goliath assures her the six of them can handle it. She has an entire city to protect. She's not happy about being left out, but she can see his logic. She heads downstairs, talking to herself again. (Good thing I got that long enforced nap.)

11. Macbeth's Mansion -- A short while later. The place is very quiet. The gargoyles split up to search for Coldstone. Lex with Goliath. Brooklyn and Bronx. Broadway and Hudson.

12. Macbeth's Control Room. -- A bit later. Lex and Goliath break in, prepared to battle Macbeth. He's not there. Lex hits the control panel and soon he's found Coldstone on one of the screens. And what's more, he's found the creature awake and straining against chains that bind him to the floor of the dungeon. It must be a trap, but Lex can't figure out what the trap is. Goliath's all for heading straight down to the dungeon to free Coldstone, but first Lex reminds Goliath of some hard truths. Somehow, Macbeth got Coldstone operational again. That's the good news. But there'll be no way of knowing which of Coldstone's three personalities will be in control. One of the three hates Goliath's guts. Goliath has to be careful.

13. Another area in the mansion -- about the same time. Demona attacks Brooklyn and Bronx. They weren't expecting her at all, and it looks like she's got the upper hand.

14. Another area in the mansion -- about the same time. Broadway and Hudson find Macbeth. This is exactly who they expected to find and they're ready. It's a tough battle, but the good guys win.

15. Same as Scene 13. -- exactly the same time. When Macbeth is taken out by Broadway and Hudson, Demona doubles over in pain. She recovers quickly, but she's lost the upper hand, and Brooklyn is not about to let her get it back. He and Bronx defeat Demona.

16. Dungeon -- a few minutes later. Goliath and Lex approach Coldstone. Coldstone yells a warning: It's a trap!! But from another door, Broadway's voice calls out: "Not anymore!" He and Hudson enter, toting an unconscious Macbeth. But Coldstone still warns them away. Demona is still out there. And from a third door come Brooklyn and Bronx with the unconscious Demona as well. Goliath is surprised. Demona and Macbeth obviously escaped the Weird Sisters together, but who could have predicted they'd team up? They hate each other. But he can't worry about that now. He turns to Lex. Coldstone's warnings would seem to indicate that the right rookery brother is in control. Lex: "It's probably o.k. Just stay on your guard." So Goliath and Broadway help Coldstone break his chains. He greets them all warmly. Then approaches the fallen Macbeth and Demona. He effortlessly lifts them up by their shirt fronts, in a very threatening manner. But then his rocket jets turn on and he hovers a foot above the floor. Before the gargoyles have time to react, he says, "Now." Macbeth, who, like Demona, was only faking, has a small one-button remote control hidden in the palm of his hand. He presses it. The entire floor of the dungeon electrifies and all six gargoyles are knocked out.

17. Coldstone's Brain -- right then. Othello and Desdemona hear the deafening sound of Coldstone's laughter.

ACT THREE
18. Coldstone's Brain, in front of the electric tunnel -- a few seconds later. Obviously, Iago's up to no good. But Othello's being stubborn. Let someone else take up the cause. We have earned this peace.

19. Clock Tower -- Several hours later, just before sunrise. An exhausted Elisa is there (wearing at the very least, a different colored t-shirt, one would hope). She anxiously awaits the return of the Gargoyles. She tells herself that if they're not back by sunrise, she doesn't know what she's going to do. But before she can figure it out, she sees a winged silhouette approaching. She's initially relieved, until seconds later when Demona comes in for a landing. Elisa isn't exactly terrified. After all, the sun's coming up right now: Demona's about to turn to stone. But Demona merely laughs. And then transforms into the human woman that Elisa had seen 24 hours ago. As Demona grimaces from the pain of transformation, Elisa, despite her shock, draws her gun. If Demona's human, then she's subject to human law and under arrest.
But even unarmed, Demona has the upper hand. She, Macbeth and Coldstone have the gargoyles. If Demona doesn't return, the gargoyles won't either. She tells Elisa why she came. Before she kills Goliath, she wants to prove to him once and for all what humans are really like. So she's inviting Elisa to a high noon rendezvous at Belvedere Castle in Central Park. She warns Elisa that her only chance of surviving the encounter is to avoid it. Either Elisa dies or Goliath sees what human loyalty is really worth: either way, it works out fine for Demona, who then calmly takes her leave via the trapdoor. After a defeated beat, Elisa follows.

20. Ext. Precinct house. Elisa gets outside in time to see the Human Demona hail and get into a yellow cab. The cab pulls away, and for a second Elisa starts to follow, but then she says to herself, what's the point. I know where she's going. Officer Morgan exits the building, again on his way home. "We gotta stop meeting like this, Detective," he jokes. She's a bit dazed and just says, "I'm sorry, what?" He looks at her with concern. "You're looking a bit frayed around the edges."
Elisa: "Maybe that's because I haven't gotten any real sleep in the last 40 hours. I'm tired, hungry and, yes, afraid. I could just go home now and go to bed. When I woke up, it would be over for me. The world would suddenly be normal again. No more monsters -- good or bad. Just normal life."
Morgan: "Normal life would be nice."
Elisa: "But it isn't nice enough, Morgan. My life could never be nice enough or normal enough to make up for letting them down now. I can't crawl into a hole by myself and pretend that no one else matters."
Morgan, thinking he's finally getting it: "That's why you put on the badge."
Elisa: "Yeah, that's exactly why. Thanks, Morgan. You've been a big help." And she takes off.
Morgan, still a bit confused: "Sure, detective, anytime."

21. Belvedere Castle -- a few minutes before noon. The gargoyles are there in stone and in chains. Coldstone/Iago, Human Demona and Macbeth are there as well. Coldstone can't get over seeing the sun. He doesn't understand why he didn't turn to stone. Demona explains that he is no longer a gargoyle: day or night, he is Coldstone. Fine. But that doesn't explain how come no one in the park seems to notice their presence. Macbeth answers: "It's enough that they don't. Don't concern yourself with it." The answer satisfies Coldstone for the time being. He's in too good a mood to argue.

22. Inside Coldstone's Brain -- same time. Desdemona isn't sure that she and Othello are doing the right thing. Is this the gargoyle way? Othello tells her they are no longer really gargoyles. But he turns away, when he says it. He can't look her in the eye, cause he knows he's doing the wrong thing. But when he looks at her again, instead of seeing one Desdemona, he sees three. One with Blonde hair, one with Silver hair and one with Black hair. The Weird Sisters doing their thing.

23. Belvedere Castle -- Noon. Elisa arrives. Demona is surprised, but not upset. She lifts her plasma cannon. But Elisa says she's unarmed. Demona doesn't care, but Macbeth gets the message. This doesn't sit well, with his own strange code of honor. What's wrong, Demona? Afraid to face her on an even playing field? Thus Human Demona is goaded into a hand-to-hand match against Elisa. Demona's had a thousand years of warrior training. But not as a human. So it's pretty evenly matched.

24. Coldstone's mind -- Same time. The three Desdemona Weird Sisters confront Othello. Would he really be happy here in this false paradise knowing that he could have stopped all the damage that Iago is doing in the real world. Othello finally admits that he couldn't. The three Desdemona's merge together, leaving the real one there, a bit woozy, but still determined to help Othello fight Iago. They head down the electric tunnel together.

25. Belvedere - Right then. Coldstone/Iago suddenly cries out that he's under attack, then freezes up.

26. Inside Electric Tunnel - Right then. Iago blocks Othello and Desdemona's path. They fight. Desdemona will hold Iago at bay so that Othello can take control of Coldstone and try to repair the damage that Iago has done in the real world. With a last look back, Othello heads toward the light at the end of the tunnel.

27. Belvedere - That second. Coldstone/Othello awakens. Macbeth asks if he is all right. Coldstone simply asks for a moment to access his memory banks. He does. And then he attacks Macbeth. This catches both Macbeth and Demona off-guard and helps give Elisa the upper hand in her battle against Demona. Ultimately, Macbeth is forced to grab Demona and flee. (Maybe he summons his airship?) Coldstone starts to pursue, but Elisa needs him to help her get the chains off the guys, besides there's been enough fighting for one day. Coldstone uses his wrist cannon to snap the hold on all six. When they wake up at sunset, they should be able to shrug the chains off. Elisa asks him to stay. She knows that's what Goliath wants too. But Coldstone knows that Desdemona and Iago are still at war inside of him. The other gargoyles aren't safe from "Coldstone" until that battle is decided. He promises, that if he can, he will return someday. Then he rockets off into the sky. A few seconds later, a jogger jogs by. "Hey, where did those statues come from." Elisa heaves a big sigh. She sits down and leans back against Goliath. "Don't ask me. I'm just taking a nap."

28. Macbeth's Mansion - That night. Macbeth and Gargoyle/Demona are summing up. Demona's pissed that they failed to kill Elisa and the gargoyles, but that wasn't the primary objective. Plus they lost Coldstone, but that was always just a blind anyway. They've got the Grimorum, the Eye and the Portal-to-Avalon-Talisman. They stole all three when they took Coldstone. (They even used a spell from the Grimorum to hide their escape from the clock tower and to keep their fight in the park private.) If they had left Coldstone in the tower and only stolen the magic items, Goliath wouldn't have rested until he got them back. This way, it will be weeks before he notices that they're even gone.
But then they start to question they're own motivations: why did they want these items so badly? How did they know their secret location in the clock tower? For that matter, how did they know that the gargoyles lived at the clock tower at all? And why the heck are they working together when they hate each other's guts?
Just when they're about to murdilize each other, the Weird Sisters step in and put them both into a trance. They just made it under the wire. The "geas" spell on Demona and Macbeth was about to wear off. And of course they had no spell on Coldstone, which was why they wanted him separated from the other two. Besides they don't need Coldstone. Each of the three Sisters picks up one of the magical items. These will do quite nicely in the coming battle.

ONE LAST QUESTION: Given the above changes, does the title still work for you? I'm kind of mixed on it now.


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Corrine Blaquen writes...

Why did you decide to change Tom's name from Robby to it's present form?

Greg responds...

I didn't. One of our writers, probably Michael Reaves changed the name. I never knew why, but it seemed petty to insist on changing it back.

Response recorded on February 07, 2001

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Entity writes...

Hi Greg,

In your latest beat sheet for the series opener, I see that the idea of the Trio being young and inexperienced was still prominant. I understand where you came from in eventually changing that, but when I first watched AWAKENING I was distraught by the Trio. Every gargoyle we saw was a full-fledged warrior. Where _were_ the inexperienced kids? The elderly? It seemed slightly out-of-sync that the Trio were such able-bodied fighters. Was the Viking attack a real threat or wasn't it?

That is just my original impression of the events of the initial Viking attack. Later on, when the gang counterattacks the camp, I can understand their participation.

I guess the battle just came off too light-heartedly when we glimped the Trio, starkly contrasting with characters like Goliath's and Demona's scenes. A real sense of danger is added by Hakon drawing Goliath's blood, boulders crashing into stone, refugees huddling about, the Captain barking orders, etc. But then we have the Trio gallavanting through the battle like it's, as Brooklyn puts it, just "fun."

I think their innocense could have been portrayed in a way that didn't detract from the realism that was so effectively installed earlier on.

This isn't intended to come off as pure criticism. AWAKENINGS was brilliant, especially Part 1. But I thought I'd mention my first impressions.

Another little thing I noticed from the beat sheet is that the flashback originally began showing the refugees entering the castle, with the Marauders/Vikings on their tail, and then both parties camp for the day till dusk. This struck me in two ways: First, it gave me a better grip of realism. Enemy attackers camping right outside the castle, both sides waiting for the battle to begin... that could've added a cool flavor to things, and immerse us more into the medieval setting. Secondly, showing the refugees herded into the castle beforehand would've better clarified the events surrounding the battle. In the final product, we jump straight into the fight and, as a result, a reason is not even necessarily needed. The Captain's off-hand comment about refugees comes off as superfluous. I remember shrugging. 'That's nice' I thought. We were in the battle. Who needed backstory? Of course, the refugees were an important component, for the sake of Tom and his mother, and to better portray the environment of 10th century Scotland. If we'd seen the prologue to the battle, that's included in the beat sheet, I think it would've been much more effective.

I guess what this comes down to in the end is my earlier message I sent to you, in which I asked about trimming episodes with Last Time and Next Time segments. You defended, saying they were useful for tightening the episodes, but I put forth, as shown here, that some valuable stuff can be lost. Of course, it's doubtful you would've wanted or could've gotten a 6th Part to AWAKENINGS, but don't you think you could use ANY extra time you have to better flesh things out?

Greg responds...

The trio are new to this warrior thing at the time of the Viking attack. Brooklyn takes it more seriously, and unfortunately we don't see much with Lex (not enough time in the episode). Broadway enjoys the battle and doesn't take it as seriously as he should. We did this on purpose in order to contrast his response in the second battle at the Viking encampment.

I don't think the realism was damaged (though, of course, you're entitled to your opinion). I just think we were showing a variety of responses to the stimuli at hand.

And we did show the elderly -- in the person of Hudson. We couldn't show everyone, so he stood in for all of his generation that still survived. The only group we didn't show at all were kids (Bronx's age). It was felt that it would just be too brutal to establish and show these kids -- only to have them smashed later.

As for the prologue, well, I liked it too. But talk about superfluous...

I mean, what would you have been willing to cut from the episode in exchange for adding that prologue. It's not like I can say, "Hey, we want this prologue. Let's animate an additional three minutes here." Ultimately we have an absolute time limit to every episode. A footage limit (based on budget concerns) that we are allowed to send overseas to be animated. Something had to go. And I think the Captain's line covers the necessary info. It might not be elegant. But it's servicable.

But don't start on the Previously and Next Time segments. They don't count. What I'm talking about is how much we were allowed to ANIMATE at our budget. That was limited to about twenty-two minutes and thirty seconds. Putting entire new sequences in would require us to speed up the pacing of everything else. Using thirty seconds for a PREVIOUSLY segment allows us to tighten pacing and cut out bad frames of animation once something is animated. Because, the truth is, nothing ever came back to us PERFECT. NOTHING.

So AGAIN, had I cut all those previously and next time segments you would not have gotten any extra scenes. You just would have had the scenes you saw with some bad animation and pacing left in. And if there's still bad animation and pacing in there -- well, trust me, we used those thirty seconds to cut out the worst of it.

We clear now?

Response recorded on February 07, 2001

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Tim writes...

City of Stone 1 ramble:

The Revelation about the Weird Sisters double agent motiviations was a thrill to read. It worked on me exactly like you said it did...did you have a camera inside our heads? Those are still the most wonderfully mysterious fey ever...I loooove Kathie Soucie's voicework.

In the top 5 of the most heart and gut wrenching scenes ever, Demona turinng to stone with a tear in her eye, the massacre finding scene (I thought "COLDSTONE!!!" when she picked up the piece of face) and her tearful goodbye to Goliath and any hope of a non-vengeful life.

1. Eggs: I never gave any thought to the eggs, but once they were shown driven away, it just opened up a whole new subplot to wonder about.

2. MacBeth, I was wondering about, he was neither a hero, nor a villian, something grey in between, which is always the best character. Young Macbeth and Young Gruoch certainly had to grow up fast. Loved the battle scene between Young MacBeth the Hunter and his "Nooooo!" Bodhe seemed to be a shrewed negotiator...probalby would make a good ambasador.

3. I really thought that was how Demona got her immortality, from the Grimorum. Why the heck not? Xanatos seemed to be desperate enough to trust her. Either he would have used the spell on Fox if it worked on him, or he didn't love her enough to ask her about it...wouldn't he have tested it on somebody first?

4. Yeah, Owen being caught by the spell was a bit cheating...but that's okay. :) Never even thought about the "tricky one" comment until I saw the Gathering. Once again, love the latin spells, gives the show authenticity, plus latin sounds just really darn cool and mystical.

Overall, the fact that this show provides wonderful backstories for the "villians" in a FOUR PARTER episode just goes to show why this is on nearly everybody's top 5 best episodes list.

Questions: 1. What did Standards and Practices think about the implications of Goliath and Elisa's relationship by the end of the series?

2. Who came up with the brilliant idea of the access code being "ALONE"? That just fits so well. Thanks so much for these episode rambles!

Greg responds...

1. They weren't thinking ahead, just responding to what was before them. Our S&P executive on the first 65, Adrienne Bello, was very good at seeing the forest for the trees. She was rational and a pleasure to work with. The kiss was fine and earned after 65 episodes.

2. I don't remember. Me or Michael or Brynne or Lydia, I imagine.

Response recorded on February 01, 2001

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Greg James writes...

Hi there

You have a lot of questions to answer already so I'll try to be brief but I doubt I'll succeed.
How did the Gargoyles series come to Disney? Did you aproach them?
Also, Disney has cancelled some fantastic shows in the past, what was the reason for them cancelling Gargoyles, and will it ever come back in series or movie form?

On www.imdb.com there is a Gargoyles movie with the date 1999 on it but no other info? Which one is this?

Lastly, I think we should storm the Disney execs and get them to release the Gargoyles series and movies on Special edition DVD'S! Sometimes I just can't understand their thinking!

Thanks

Greg responds...

I was already working for Disney as a development executive when my team and I created and developed the show.

As to why it was cancelled and whether it will come back...

I've answered that so many times. Did you even glance at the archives?

Briefly, it was cancelled because the syndication package was complete and the third season (on ABC) performed poorly in the ratings. And I do hope it will come back and am working conscientiously to bring it back.

I don't know what imdb.com is. So I have no response to that question.

"Storming" isn't such a good idea. But petitions wouldn't hurt. But I'll tell you, the best thing you can do is to attend the Gargoyles convention this June in Los Angeles. If we get a high enough attendance, we'll invite the Disney Execs and let them see first hand what a huge following the series has.

Response recorded on February 01, 2001

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White writes...

Hello,
I koow a lot of people asked you wich were your fav episodes. You always answered you loved them all. I wonder, are there any episodes that dissapointed you, or that you didn't like as much. Perhaps just not feel like watching as oftenly as others. Maybe because of the drawings, maybe because of the music... I dunno.

I love your work and am a big fan too. I love to write stories and there's oftenly some parts that we like less, no matter how many times we re-write it. I guess it's the same with Gargoyles, it was verry general * magic / technologie / ufo * we're bound to have at least one that we don't like just as much.

Greg responds...

There isn't a single episode, not one, that I don't wish I could fix a few things here and there. And there are a few with really mediocre animation that I wish we could really overhaul. "Monsters" comes to mind, for example.

And there are a couple of story beats I wish we could have fixed in "Hound of Ulster" and "Grief" at least.

And I didn't produce "The Journey". I just wrote it. And there's a TON in that that I wish I could fix.

Plus I'd like to fix the other 12 Goliath Chronicles right off the map.

But generally, we made the show I wanted to make. Few complaints.

Response recorded on January 26, 2001

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Todd Jensen writes...

Oh, and I'm glad that the "G" on Goliath's belt buckle was never used in the series. It certainly would have felt out of place in it. The mere thought of it gives me a bit of a shudder.

Greg responds...

Me too.

Response recorded on January 26, 2001

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SEM writes...

Greg, Toon Disney has just started showing GOLIATH CHRONICLES, of which I recognize you only see "The Journey" as fully canon. In the end credits of "The Journey" I saw that NELVANA LIMITED was the animation studio for it and that surprsied me. I didn't think Nelvana was doing contract work at that point just their own stuff. Do you know any background as to how the two studios hooked up?

Greg responds...

Not really. I know that Lenora Hume who was at the time our head of international production had once worked for Nelvana. But I'm not even sure if she made the deal.

Response recorded on January 26, 2001

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NZGargFan writes...

Q2:

I read somewhere that Elisa Maza was the cartoon drawing of actress Salli Richardson. Is this true? Were any of the other character's based on the actors/actresses voicing them? Thank you once again for your time.

Merry Xmas, and All the Best in 2001!

Greg responds...

It's kinda true.

We had a very similar drawing of the character "Elisa Chavez". Not different enough for anyone to notice in passing. But when Salli was cast, we changed her ethnic heritage from Hispanic to African/Native American to match Salli's ethnic heritage. Elisa Chavez became Elisa Maza. And we gave Salli's photos to our designers so that they could split the difference between our original Elisa and Salli. And in fact, back when Salli had long hair, there was a striking resemblance between her and her character.

People said the same thing about Xanatos and Jonathan Frakes. But that was coincidence. Xanatos was designed before Frakes was cast. Later, Jonathan would occasionally trim his beard to match Xanatos, for example when he was playing Riker's clone. Or when he did some publicity for us.

The only other time when designs were based on performers was in the episode "The Mirror". Although constrained by the basic look of our gargs, we tried to get a flavor of Keith David, Edward Asner, Jeff Bennett, Bill Fagerbakke and especially Thom Adcox Hernandez into the human versions of Goliath, Hudson, Brooklyn and especially Lex.

Response recorded on January 26, 2001

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demona writes...

at the end of the show the credits come on and i see your name what was your job?

Greg responds...

I was one of the Supervising Producers. My specific responsibilities were largely over story. I was the Supervising Story Editor. I came up with most all of the springboards, and assigned them to our various story editors and writers. I then made sure all the premises, outlines and scripts were in good shape. I also wrote and story edited a little myself.

In addition to that primary responsibility, I supervised voice recordings. I gave notes on designs and storyboards. I co-supervised post-production, including film edits, sound mixes and video on-lines.

All this after, I led the development of the show in the first place. I was hardly a one-man band, but from inception to the end of the second season, I was the only guy who was there from beginning to end.

Kinda proud of that.

Response recorded on January 26, 2001

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JENN writes...

Dear Greg, 12/27/2000

Why was the Gargoyles series canceled and why aren't their any reruns to be seen? Is there going to be a movie on the Disney's Gargoyles?

Jenn

Greg responds...

1. Long story. But the short answer is that it didn't perform well in the ratings in its third season.

2. Reruns do air on Toon Disney.

3. There is a live action Gargoyles movie in development at Touchstone Pictures. I hear they have a script that they like. But I haven't seen it.

Response recorded on January 26, 2001

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Kalafarski writes...

Hunter's Moon has got to be my favorite episode, just because of it's scope, continuity, and character development. I just watched it again recently, but, and I might be crazy, I thought I noticed something weird. The beginning of Hunter's Moon Part I seems to go kind of out of its way to reintroduce the series. There's the specific dialogue of the gargs as defenders of the night, Broadway's eating habits, Elisa's comments to Matt (concerned citizens with wings), and it all seemed to briefly reintroduce the plot and the idea of gargoyles as protectors.

Again, I might be crazy and it doesn't mean anything. But was this reiteration/reintroduction of the plot intentional? Was Hunter's Moon meant to be the ep that would draw new viewers into a third season, or something to that effect? Or was it just meant to emphasize that the gargoyles have reached a very brief but happy, consistent time in their existence, just before they're revealed to the world?

Greg responds...

Mostly, the latter. That they thought they had reached a status quo with the world. NOW BANG!! We're gonna throw their lives into MAJOR CHAOS and change the situation forever.

But at one early point, we also thought that Hunter's Moon might be released as a direct to video movie. So we wanted to set up the basic situation for any new audience which the video brought in.

These two ideas worked in tandem seamlessly, so even after we knew we were just dividing the story into episodes, we still left a bit of an introductory feeling to part one.

Response recorded on January 17, 2001

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Kel writes...

Hi Greg;

I adore the show - it is one of my all time favorites.. I particularly loved the depth of characters, the intricate storylines and the fun way you wove in characters from Shakespeare...
My question is, and I apologize if this is a huge repeat, why do stations refuse to air Deadly Force?
Also - I am absolutely THRILLED to hear there might be a live action film.... I'm already praying for it! Thanks for all your good work.

Greg responds...

ToonDisney refuses to air Deadly Force for reasons that I don't pretend to appreciate. I've been told, basically, that it comes down to it so called "Broadcast" Standards and Practices. They just feel the episode is too violent and/or heavy for their audience.

Response recorded on January 17, 2001

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LSZ writes...

In general and on average, how long does it take to complete a whole season of say, 13 episodes of a half-hour animated show?

Greg responds...

A year.

We wrote the first season of Gargoyles (13 episodes) in ten months. Every other step in production had more or less that same ten months on a cascading schedule.

We wrote the second season of Gargoyles (52 episodes) in ten months. Every other step in production had more or less that same ten months on a cascading schedule. Obviously we had a MUCH bigger staff the second year. But we still had a harder time keeping up.

Response recorded on January 17, 2001

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The Sojourner writes...

Why did you make it so that gargoyles do not traditionally name?

Greg responds...

A. We thought it was kinda cool. It made them more culturally unique.

B. It gave us an excuse to have the fun NYC names for most of the characters, which set Goliath and Demona apart more.

Response recorded on January 11, 2001

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Corrine Blaquen writes...

Greg, what made you decide to give Goliath and Demona a daughter? As opposed to a son, I mean. I can assume three things, one, to bring a female into the clan, two, to give a mate to one of the trio, and possibly three, to better relate to Demona. What was your thinking behind it?

Greg responds...

It was always going to be a daughter. It never occured to me to go the other way.

But your answer one was probably the reason for that.

Two might have been a small back-o-my-head notion, but it certainly wasn't forefront in my thinking.

Three, well, I don't think so. Though I will say that I did like the idea of having a character to contrast with Demona. Thus the name Angela.

Response recorded on January 11, 2001

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Chapter XXIII: "City of Stone, Part Two"

Time to ramble...

Xanatos again does equally well as hero and villain, as he opens the episode saving his and Fox's lives.

He's got some nice lines here too:

Another reprise of Launchpad McQuack's old: "Any landing you can walk away from..."

"At least she's not chipped."

"Demona and I need to have a little talk."

"No sense hailing a cab." Or stealing one. I'm not sure if it's clear, but we wanted to give the impression that traffic was hopelessly stalled by all the stone people behind the wheels of their cars. And that Xanatos would have to hoof it.

And then it's back to the clock tower where my favorite line is Brooklyn's as he's looking at what he thinks is a statue of Elisa:

"The nose is all wrong." Gotta love a critic.

Goliath doesn't objectively know that the statue is really Elisa, but his instincts are clearly firing up early warning signs.

Meanwhile, my daughter Erin is busy advising all of us: "They should make sure... cuz that's really her!" and "I bet they're going to Elisa's house." Which they weren't.

CONTINUITY
Originally, we had planned to (as usual) leave Hudson behind with Bronx. But we switched it to Broadway, so that Hudson could come with and reestablish his fine relationship with Robbins. I should point out that we BEGAN work on City of Stone before Lighthouse. We knew we needed a blind man for City. That blind man was then developed for Lighthouse, making for a great scene in City. Sometimes, things just seemed to work.

Brooklyn still hates Demona intensely. Forcing Goliath to compensate.

My son Ben was all nervous that "They're gonna turn to stone again." He was vague on who the "THEY" were.

Demona's reign of terror on the statues presented us with interesting S&P problems -- and some bizarre but VERY FUN solutions. Adrienne understood the necessity of having Demona blow up and/or smash a few of the stone humans. Even though the implication was death for those people. She was okay with it on the condition that we didn't spell it out, because, at worst, the death's were so fanciful, they certainly weren't imitatible. But she did want us to limit the number of deaths. So at one point she nixed the idea of blowing up yet another statue, but allowed us to blow up the shopping bags (and hand and arm) of one. This seemed less harsh to her. Of course, bloodthirsty lot that we were, we loved it. Because if you think about it, it was certainly more horrific come sunrise.

I finally saw the two statues that people thought were Brendan & Margot. Certainly, they looks like them a bit. But trust me. Two different people got destroyed. That woman was a brunette. And the guy was wearing a toupee.

At this point, Benny became as concerned as Goliath that Demona would shoot Elisa.

Then we segued into our flashback and Benny was still trying to figure out why Demona scratched Gillecomgain in the previous episode. Erin, meanwhile, wanted to know why Gille was wearing a mask.

Me, I'm still fascinated with Bodhe for some reason. I love how he talks big at first, until Mac makes it clear that he's not going to obey. Then he goes into pleading mode.

I also love the scene with Gruoch on Lunfanan Hill. Very heartbreaking and romantic. Did kinda make me wonder what would have happened if Macbeth had just said "Screw it!" and spirited Gruoch away with him. What would there lives have been like then?

The Weird Sisters are fun at the wedding. I like the line: "Certainly not our hero." It's one of those self-aware-tv-moments-that-ride-the-edge of which I'm so fond.

I also really like Duncan's scene with Macbeth after the wedding. He's such a manipulative bastard.

And now we begin to parallel similar scenes in City One. The Weird Sisters again go to Demona to get her to ally with Mac.

Demona: "Ally with a human. Never Again." Well, obviously Demona should never say never again, but in this context she's thinking about her alliance with the Captain and the tragedy that led to.

There's a nice little beat with Gruoch's rose. Gruoch seems cold to her new husband Gillecomgain. We wonder if we should feel some sympathy for a man who has married a woman who loves another. We wonder if he has feelings for her as he gently takes up the rose she was sniffing. But then he crushes it underfoot, so basically we feel okay about hating him again.

Erin asked: "Why'd he step on it?"

And I didn't want to answer, because the writers are trying to manipulate you.

Ben answererd for me: "Because he's a bad hunter." A much cleaner explanation, don't you agree?

Notice here that Mac is not yet the fighter that he someday will be.

Notice also if you watch all four parts of City of Stone together that Emma Samms who voiced Gruoch -- but had never done voice work before -- gets progressively better with every episode. She's somewhat stiff in City One. As with many live-action actors, she's unused to using her voice alone to project subtleties. She's a bit better here. But by City Four, she's rockin' the joint with some really powerful work. I can't remember when I've ever seen any performer push the learning curve that quickly. Most either get it or don't. A few of those who don't, slowly improve with practice. Emma just revved UP.

Did anyone else feel that we went to the well with that long drop from the Terrace at Castle Moray once or twice too often? Again, we were trying for parallelism, but I hope it didn't get boring.

Erin: "I like Macbeth when he was a little boy. I don't like him when he's a grown up." (I think she meant she liked the younger red-headed heroic Macbeth in general in these City flashbacks. Didn't like him as a present day villain in Enter Macbeth, etc. This actually pleases me a great deal. It's the ability to create sympathy in villains that separates Gargoyles from many of its rivals.)

I love that moment when Demona rips the mask off. Gille indicates his scars, "'Tis you're handiwork, remember?" And Demona honestly and simply answers "No." And he goes BERSERK! Bad enough she scratched him and altered the entire course of his life. But that the event was so insignificant to her that she doesn't even remember it...! Now THAT pisses him off.

Gillecomgain should have known: "Live by the drop, die by the drop." As he follows Findlaech's course to doom.

I also like the little moment o' connection between Mac, Gruoch and Demona. Demona actually says Thank You to a human.

And another wedding. Two in one episode. Bodhe introduces: "Lord and Lady Macbeth!" I wanted to get the designation 'Lady Macbeth' in here somewhere. Just to provide more obvious contrast between our version of Gruoch and Shakespeare's.

I also get a kick out of the chilling little scene back in the present with Brooklyn & Goliath. Brooklyn bringing up the "Massacre at Castle Wyvern". Fearing that Elisa could wind up a victim too. This sets Goliath off to the point where he is CLEARLY thinking that he needs to KILL Demona now. "Once and for all." And then those creepy little stone Weird Sisters. Yikes.

Then Xanatos has finally made it across town and is back in hero mode. He saves Owen. And shuts off the broadcast, clearly thinking that that will break the spell. At least, I hope that was clear. Honestly, I'm not sure if it was. I wanted the audience to think that would work. Then be surprised when it doesn't. Did that work for anyone?

The "Hunter" shows up. Demona at first recognizes only the mask. How many times must I destroy you?! she says. A hint to events in the past of both City and Hunter's Moon. But than when she sees him feeling her pain, she knows exactly who's behind that mask. I'm curious how many people picked up on that. This was the first time we showed them feeling each other's pain. The first time we had them in real proximity to each other.

Their fight is kinda cool. There's a neat moment when Macbeth is flying Demona like a kite. And he's very gutsy throughout, leaping after her. Of course, he's semi-suicidal, so it's no surprise he's fearless. But we don't know that yet.

And finally, our cliffhanger. X is so sanguine. "You want vengeance or a solution?" And we end on a surprising image: Goliath and Xanatos shaking hands. Now, it's like no big deal. They ended up teaming upfrequently. But I thought that then, it would be startling.

WHAT DID YOU ALL THINK?


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Yttrium writes...

What made you decide to make Broadway male, when you'd originally had him a female? I personally think it works better this way, but I'm curious.

---Ytt

Greg responds...

Honestly, fear.

We were afraid to have a female character who loved to eat and was overweight. We were afraid that various groups with all sorts of agendas would attack the show, missing the forest for the trees.

"Why are the only two female gargoyles in the show evil and/or fat?"

Plus, we were constantly being told that the series would only appeal to boys. And that boys don't like female characters. Both of these notions are dopey. Particularly the second one. (Can you say "Lara Croft".) But if someone hammers you with a notion often enough, it's hard not to subscribe to it a bit.

I'm not proud of our cowardice, but I think Broadway became a great character, and now I wouldn't go back and change for the world.

Response recorded on January 03, 2001

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City of Stone Outline Notes

Since I just did my ramble on City of Stone, Part One, I thought I'd reprint the "memo" on that episode. Actually, it's a memo on all four episodes. My "NOTES ON OUTLINE" to Michael Reaves. Michael's story was a three-parter and we were still hoping to turn City of Stone into a home video, so I expanded it to a four parter.

Greg Weisman 7-12-94

NOTES ON OUTLINE for "City of Stone"
O.K. O.K. I changed a lot. (Less than you probably think, but a lot.) You gave me great raw material, but I wanted to focus it more. Also since you wrote the three-part outline, this movie thing came up. Gary's informed me that they can sell it better if it's more in the 75 - 80 minute range. That freed me up to add a little more material for clarity. If we don't use it as a video, we'll make it a 4-parter instead of three. If it turns out short, we can add the bit about "Birnam Wood coming to Dunsinane", which I've left out for now. We discussed some of the other changes at our lunch with Frank. But I'll reiterate them, and the reasons why, below.

General Notes...

Weird Sisters - The more I thought about this story, the more I came to believe that the Sisters were the key to cracking it open. Currently their role is limited, and yet they are the only characters who could see the whole picture. I definitely wanted to expand their role, particularly in the 20th century segments. But as I worked on achieving that goal, I realized that I wasn't clear on their motivation. I'd be happy to take you through all my thinking (there are probably two or three good story ideas in the stuff I rejected for the Sisters), so if you're ever curious, let me know. But cutting to the chase, here is what I wound up with...

Presentation: The three sisters (Phoebe, Seline and Luna) will always be depicted as triplets and female. The only physical distinction will be their hair color. Phoebe has golden hair, Seline has black hair, Luna has silver hair. (The same voice actress will play all three parts.) The three will rarely be seen apart. These will be the consistent visual (and aural) elements that will allow us to recognize them, because otherwise their appearance will vary from scene to scene, and sometimes within scenes. In the eleventh century, Macbeth sees them as old human crones, but Demona would see them as three old female gargoyles, even if they're both looking at them simultaneously. In the twentieth century, they might appear as three fashion model types in modern clothes. In our opening sequence Goliath will see them as three strange little nine year old girls. When speaking to others they present a united front. But personality-wise, particularly for conversations between themselves, I'd like to give them subtle differences. Phoebe is optimistic and cheerful. Seline is a cold realist. Luna is spiritual and distant.

Motivation: The sisters work hard to put Demona and Macbeth together in the eleventh century: to save them both, to hook them up and then to secretly add in the immortality thing. WHY? Obviously, they need these two for something. Something that isn't going to happen for centuries, or else why make them immortal. The obvious answer seemed to me to be the attack on Avalon. The sisters need powerful foot soldiers to attack Avalon for their master (probably a reworked Archmage [David Warner]). For a reason to be figured out later, the master won't be ready to attack until 1996. So the Sisters have time to plan ahead. They've decided that Macbeth and Demona would make the perfect foot soldiers. So they create immortal warriors who they then let walk around for a millennium. D & M become embittered and borderline nuts. Vulnerable to the Sisters machinations. Demona's "City of Stone" thing falls right into their hands. We have to assume that the Master is almost ready to attack Avalon. Time for the Sisters to take direct control of D & M. But over the millennium, D & M have become pretty savvy magically. It makes them more useful to the sisters but harder to control. The sisters help Goliath and Xanatos defeat Demona and Macbeth in this story so that they will be weak, defeated and vulnerable to the Sister's control.

Revelation: The cool thing is we don't have to reveal hardly any of the above in this story. In fact, we can almost present the exact opposite face. In the eleventh century sequences the Sisters will seem to really help the sympathetic Macbeth and largely sympathetic Demona defeat the nasty Gillecomgain and Duncan. In the 20th century sequences, they will help Goliath defeat Demona and Macbeth, and will again seem like three really useful ladies. There's no need to mention the master, the plan or Avalon. Our audience will think these three are great. Then if/when we get to do the Avalon story, we'll reveal the truth. The audience will hate them more cuz they'll feel as used and manipulated as Demona and Macbeth and Goliath, etc. were. The most we'll do is leave D & M under the Sisters' power at the end. We won't even hint at their malevolence.

Macbeth - Mac was great in the eleventh century stuff, but he and Xanatos seemed redundant in the present. I think we need to get clearer on his present motivation as well. Xanatos wants to save his city. I don't think Mac cares. Think of him as a nihilist. Past caring about anything. He wants Demona for the reasons we've already discussed. He's not interested in helping Manhattan. He's not part of the solution. He's a wild card who should in effect be part of the problem. We should see that immortality has done about the same to his disposition as it did to Demona's. He's honorable, but only up to a point. Reference his first appearance... he wouldn't attack the gargoyles as stone statues, but he had no compunction against kidnapping them to lure Demona to him. That's a fairly skewed definition of honor. Frankly, this yarn is more Macbeth's story than anyone's. We take him from youth to immortality. Through and beyond his entire natural lifespan. He's the one who learns something: Life is precious; vengeance and death accomplish nothing. Demona never learns this lesson. And Goliath really already new it. So we should emphasize the theme with Macbeth as much as possible. In many ways, he's carrying the emotional and thematic weight of our story.

Macbeth & Demona's Link - From 1040 on, neither can die unless both do simultaneously. If one kills the other, then both die. But if a third party tries to kill one without the other, then they both live. But there must be a penalty. I think they both feel each other's pain. (At least each other's physical pain.) We don't have to worry about cuts and scrapes, but any major blow that one feels, the other feels as well.

Reversing Demona's Spell - Since Mac won't be helping with a magical cure, I think we need another solution. (Kat Fair also pointed out that almost everyone would have their t.v.'s off and thus miss the counterspell.) I keep returning to the notion of a time limit to the spell that equates to "until Judgment Day". For our first spell, we had "until the castle rises above the clouds". From the Grimorum's point of view, that meant "until hell freezes over" or some equivalent. We can do the same thing here. Remember, Demona is getting this spell from a book that was written with no knowledge of modern science (let alone cartoon extrapalatory science). Heck it's in Latin. For example, "You will turn to stone at night until the seas boil and the skies burn." The solution to this is for Xanatos and Goliath to team up and find a way to make the seas boil and the skies burn, while simultaneously stopping Demona, saving the "statues" and dealing with Mac. That will focus their quest. It will also help give Xanatos something real to do. Only he has the technology to make the sky burn and the sea boil. I know you're concerned that this will be perceived by our audience as a cheat. We did the clever cheat once when we brought Goliath out of Demona's trance. But I see this as different. This equates with our original spell. The one that put our gargoyles to sleep for a thousand years. The solution was not a cheat. It took Xanatos' Herculean resources to match the spell's condition for reversal. The same can be true here. At first let's give the false impression that just by turning off Demona's broadcast, the spell will be reversed. Then when that fails, I'm gonna use the burning skies in what follows, but if you've got another idea for the spell's limit or reversal, that's cool. It's just a 'for instance'.

All them Scotsmen - A lot to keep track of. Let's simplify by focusing our villainy on Duncan & Gillecomgain. We won't ever see King Malcolm II. The nasty machiavellian thug Gillecomgain will work for the nasty machiavellian Prince Duncan, who later becomes the nasty machiavellian King Duncan. We will also introduce his young son Malcolm III, but we'll let him go by his alternate name Canmore so as not to confuse the audience. Canmore won't be evil, just misguided and righteous; he believes that Macbeth and Demona are evil. There are still a lot of characters, but subtracting Malcolm II will clean things up, I promise.

The Hunter - I've also added an element. The Mask of the Hunter. It belongs to Gillecomgain. After his death, Duncan takes it. After him, Canmore. In modern times, Macbeth will wear a modernized version of it. The identity of the Modern wearer will be a mystery to some of our audience until the end. Of course, anyone who saw "Enter Macbeth" will guess soon enough, but the Mask itself will carry frightening meaning -- the equivalent of a KKK hood -- and for those who guess it's Macbeth, the mystery will be why this Macbeth, who is so sympathetic in the past, would wear this horrible mask in the present. As we go through the eleventh century flashbacks chronologically, the conceit of the Hunter's mask will, I believe, help to focus our audience to differentiate between all the Scots, and even keep a few of them guessing as to the identity of the Modern Hunter.

Matt Bluestone - I definitely don't want Matt to have found out about the gargoyles in between the first and second seasons. He should be right where we left him. He knows they exist. He's seen them twice. But he doesn't know anything about them. And he certainly doesn't know that Elisa knows them. That's a great episode in and of itself. We don't want to toss it away in an off-hand line.

Flashbacks - I definitely want to intercut between the 10th/11th century sequences and the 20th century sequences. Without that intercutting, I'm afraid the two stories will seem largely unrelated. As often as possible, flashbacks should have a point of view: Demona's, Macbeth's or maybe the Weird Sisters', but they don't have to be presented to our other characters as stories unless that works in a given instance. Basically, we're using the same format that we used in "Long Way To Morning". Often the appearance of Demona, the Weird Sisters or the Mask of the Hunter will work as a convenient visual bridge between past and present.

Timeline - You may notice a few slight discrepancies here from the "Gargoyles Timeline" that you have. Here are the changes I made:
1. I placed Gillecomgain's birth at year @ 978 so that he would be @ 16 years old in 994 when he first meets Demona; @ 42 in 1020 when he kills Findlaech; and @ 54 in 1032 when he buys the farm.
2. I moved the wedding of Gillecomgain and Gruoch from 1030 (which was an approximate date anyway) to @ 1032, in order to compress events of that period into a more cohesive flashback.
3. Since I moved the wedding two years forward, I moved Luach's birth two years forward as well, from 1031 (another approximate date) to @ 1033. This makes Luach @ 7 years old in 1040 when his father becomes king; @ 24 in 1057 when he becomes king; @ 25 in 1058 when he is murdered.
You may want to note these changes on your timeline for future reference.

Demona - This yarn tells Demona's story. But she doesn't learn from it. We have to make sure that the audience is getting more than just a simple chronological depiction of her history. Since she doesn't learn the lessons of the past, we have to make doubly sure the audience does: Life is precious; vengeance and death accomplish nothing.

Goliath - Although this story belongs to our villains more than anyone, I think we need to thematically make it one of our leads as well. Goliath, obviously, gets the nod. Again, the theme is: Life is precious; vengeance and death accomplish nothing. If he forgets that, he will become like the villains he battles. "Every life is precious" applies to how he feels about all those human statues (particularly Elisa), but also -- and this is the key -- to how he feels about Demona, as well. Goliath has to work very hard to stop Demona, and then very, very hard to save her life. (Deep down, it may have something to do with her being the last female gargoyle that he knows about and/or their past relationship, but we can generalize to the notion of life's "preciousness".) The Weird Sisters can help reinforce this. (Of course, they're lying. They want Demona alive for their own personal use. But the message will sound right here.)

BEAT SHEET
1995
I. Hostage situation - Manhattan - Night.
A. ELISA & MATT outside.
B. LEAD TERRORIST inside says the cause means everything to her.
C. Our six Gargoyles take out terrorists.
1. GOLIATH approaches terrified Lead Terrorist.
a. Leader is willing to sacrifice her men to save herself.
b. Goliath is disgusted.
c. Leader flees and nearly gets herself killed.
d. Goliath saves her, almost despite himself.
D. Hostages are clearly more frightened of Gargoyles than terrorists.
1. Trio's frustration with ungrateful humans.
E. But three hostages approach Goliath.
1. We don't yet reveal that they are WEIRD SISTERS.
a. 3 nine-year old girls named PHOEBE, SELINE & LUNA.
b. Identical triplets except for hair color.
2. They are strangely unafraid of Goliath.
a. They comment on Lead Terrorist. Something like:
i. Seline: "The cause is everything until her own life
is threatened. But it's good you saved her."
ii. Phoebe: "If you forget what she has forgotten:
that every life is precious, you'll be no different
than she. "
iii. Goliath: "I'll never be like that terrorist."
iv. Luna: "We weren't talking about this terrorist."
3. Goliath looks at lead terrorist.
a. When he looks back, the Sisters have vanished.
b. This is strange. Who could they have been talking about?

II. DEMONA... wings through Manhattan skies - Night.
A. She clutches a torn piece of parchment.
B. Push in on her for flashback.

994
III. Wyvern Castle before the Massacre - Scotland - Night.
A. Repeat pp. 23-24 of 4319-001.
1. CAPTAIN & Demona try to convince Goliath to take all the
gargoyles to harry the Vikings away.
2. Instead Goliath assigns Demona to guard the castle with most of
the gargoyles.
3. Goliath leaves.
B. Demona & Captain discuss situation.
1. Original plan is blown.
a. HAKON would've attacked while gargoyles were away.
b. Gargoyles would have returned to human-free castle.
2. Captain reassures her that plan can still work.
a. He'll have Hakon attack during day.
b. Humans will still be dragged away.
3. Demona worries Gargoyles will be vulnerable.
a. Captain promises to protect them.
4. Demona agrees.

IV. Just before Sunrise - Wyvern. Demona is clearly antsy.
A. For a second she may consider revealing truth to PRE-COLDSTONE.
1. But she wimps out.
B. She takes off and hides in nearby woods or somewhere.
1. She turns to stone as the sun rises.

V. Smash Cut to sunset, she explodes out of her shell .
A. She rushes toward Castle which has clearly been sacked.
B. She sees dead gargoyle rubble.
C. She sees Goliath and HUDSON approach.
1. She can't face them and flees.
2. She's losing it. talking to herself.
a. She'll return later with some excuse.
b. He'll be so glad she's alive.

VI. She returns to castle and watches from a distance - Night.
A. Just in time to see Goliath in stone at night being placed on the castle.
1. Near the stone forms of Hudson, BROOKLYN, LEXINGTON,
BROADWAY & BRONX.
B. She watches KATHARINE, MAGUS, TOM and others leave.
1. They take wagon loads of Gargoyle eggs with them.
C. She takes off in opposite direction.

VII. Weeks later at a Scottish farmhouse, a starving Demona scavenges for food.
A. A sixteen year old boy [Gillecomgain] investigates the noise.
1. He holds a pitchfork, defensively.
B. Like a trapped animal, Demona slashes at him with her claws.
1. His face is hurt, but he falls back into the shadows, so we can't
see.
2. In the shadows, the boy's eyes glower at Demona accusatorily.
C. Demona flees, saying that'll teach those humans to betray us.

1995
VIII. Return to Present as Demona lands at Packmedia studio- Night.
A. XANATOS & OWEN are there.
1. All is ready. X had necessary equipment brought in & set up.
a. It can over-ride every broadcast channel in Manhattan.
i. Cable too.
B. She has the last stolen page from the Grimorum.
1. With it, she claims, she can steal time from other people.
a. This, she claims, is how she has remained immortal.
i. Stealing a little time at a time on a small scale.
C. By combining spell with broadcast technology...
1. They can steal one minute from the lives of everyone who watches broadcast.
2. She & X will share stolen time.
3. Given the number of people they'll reach, this'll keep them
young for a long while.
4. Spell will broadcast through the day
a. Culminate after sunset tomorrow.
i. Xanatos should return then.
D. Xan likes idea, but he's not without his suspicions.
1. Tells Owen to keep an eye on her.
2. Warns him not to simultaneously look AND listen to spellcast.
a. Xanatos leaves.
E. Demona videotapes spell.
1. Incantations; gestures; magical light show.
2. Owen listens but does not look.
a. He knows Latin and knows spell isn't what she claimed.
i. Don't tell audience what it is yet.
3. Owen puts up a good fight, but she takes him out.
a. She ties him up. Tapes his eyes open in front of monitor.
4. Puts tape in machine. Sets broadcast override. And leaves.

IX. Elisa's Apartment - Afternoon.
A. Elisa gets out of the shower and turns on t.v.
1. Remember, Elisa works the Nightwatch
a. She has slept thru the day's broadcast.
b. CAGNEY's present but ignores t.v.
2. Demona's tape plays spell over and over on t.v.
a. Elisa watches it, switching channels. But it's everywhere.
3. She plans on telling Gargoyles as soon as they wake up.
B. She heads for precinct.

X. Manhattan sidewalk - Afternoon.
A. Weird sisters watch Demona's broadcast in store window.
1. They appear to be three attractive NY fashion models.
2. A crowd of confused New Yorkers are also watching sets.
B. They discuss situation calmly.
1. Phoebe: "This is exciting. It's begins again."
2. Seline: "Concentrate, sister. Or it will all end here."
3. Luna: "There are no beginnings or endings."
a. "Remember -- it was only 975 years ago."
4. Or some such rot as they calmly walk away.
a. Tight on Demona's face on t.v. screen.

1020
XI. Dissolve to Demona's face, older, lined by time & hardship - Dunsinane,
Scotland - Night.
A. (She's biologically in her early 40's.)
B. Demona leads a small band of gargoyles in smash and grab.
1. She uses medieval human weapons.
C. Human soldiers curse gargoyles.
1. It won't be long before the "HUNTER" wipes them out.

XII. Demona & Co. return to their Cave on Lunfanan Hill - Night.
A. She makes sure that even the gargoyles who were too weak to
participate in the raid get food.
B. Establish that she's gathered last surviving gargoyles etc.
1. The Gargoyle-Hunter has hunted them to near extinction.
2. Demona keeps them alive by sheer force of will.
C. When another gargoyle suggests making peace with humans...
1. She takes him down brutally. (As she did with Owen above.)
2. She brooks no challenge to her authority.
D. Three old, female gargoyles (Weird Sisters) arrive.
1. Demona doesn't know them, but she has no reason to fear them.
2. Sisters have spotted the Hunter near Castle Moray.
3. Now's Demona's chance to get him.

XIII. FINDLAECH, High Steward of Moray, entertains at his castle - Night.
A. Also present is his fifteen year old son MACBETH.
1. There is a strong resemblance between father and son.
B. The guests are the beautiful young GRUOCH and BODHE, her Father .
1. Clear attraction between Gruoch & Macbeth.
C. Adults discuss Macbeth's cousin, PRINCE DUNCAN.
1. A flawed young man.
2. They have their doubts about his ability to someday rule.
3. But he is to be king someday. They are loyal.
D. Gruoch and her Father go up to bed.
1. Findlaech calls for servants to clean up dinner.
a. None answer his call.
E. The Hunter steps out of the shadows.
1. He wears a distinctive mask that completely covers his face.
a. Black with red claw marks painted across it.
b. Obviously, there are eye-holes, so he can see.
2. He attacks Findlaech. No explanation or reason.
a. There is a fight, but Findlaech is killed.
[Note: Adrienne is o.k. with this death. But not with the method depicted in the outline. It would be best if we could come up with some unique (and semi-fanciful) method of killing that we can use consistently throughout movie. Talk to me and/or her about this.]
F Upstairs, Gruoch hears the fighting and rushes to help.
1. Against her cowardly father's wishes.
G. Hunter goes to kill Macbeth when Demona arrives.
1. Fierce battle between Hunter and Demona.
2. At a crucial moment, Demona must choose between saving Mac and preventing the Hunter's escape.
3. Without thinking, she saves Mac, allowing Hunter to escape.
a. Perhaps Gruoch's concern for Mac touched some long buried feelings?
H. Mac & Gruoch are grateful, but Demona leaves, disgusted with herself.

XIV. 19 year old Prince Duncan paces the floors of Edinburgh Castle near dawn.
A. The Hunter enters by a secret door and is welcomed by Duncan.
1. Hunter removes mask.
2. His face has scars matching the painted claw marks of his mask.
a. We realize that this is the boy that Demona attacked in the
farmhouse, above.
3. He is identified as GILLECOMGAIN (age 42).
B. Gillecomgain reports that Findlaech is dead as ordered.
1. Though Mac lives.
C. Duncan is largely pleased.
1. Findlaech was popular.
2. With his support, Mac might have become King.
3. Without his father, Mac is just another poor relation.
D. As a reward, Duncan makes Gillecomgain the High Steward of Moray.
E. Duncan calls for a celebration.
1. Three serving wenches (the weird sisters) approach with a feast.
2. Tight in on Gillecomgain's discarded hunter's mask.

1995
XV. An unseen man watches Demona's broadcast, muted - late afternoon.
A. He puts on a modern version of the Hunter's mask.
1. (It has no visible eye-holes. It must use special one-way lenses).
B. This new HUNTER clicks off the t.v.
1. Note: This is MACBETH in his mansion, rebuilt since 4319-008.
a. He can be dressed in his modern battle armor and duster.
b. It's o.k. if many of our viewers realize it's him, we still
won't reveal it yet.

XVI. Elisa arrives at precinct house - just before sunset.
A. Precinct phones are ringing off the hook cuz of Demona.
1. Matt & MARIA CHAVEZ dealing with calls and complaints.
B. Elisa slips upstairs to be there when Gargoyles awaken.

XVII. Xanatos' castle near sunset.
A. He gets in his helicopter heading for Studio, with Derek at pilot.
1. Derek asks if Xanatos saw Gargoyle broadcast. (Derek saw it.) a. Xanatos made a point of skipping it.
B. Phone rings. It's Owen calling from Packmedia Studios at sunset. 1. Owen has just freed himself from his bonds.
2. Owen turns to stone before he can say anything too revealing.
C. Suddenly, the copter starts to drop.
1. Derek has turned to stone next to Xanatos.
2. Chopper's going down.

XVIII. At clock tower, the Gargoyles explode out of their shells and come to life.
A. They move inside, ignorant of the day's events.
B. Elisa's "statue" stands just inside of the clock face.

[If and/or when we divide into multiple parts, I think this is where part one ends.]

1. They don't realize the statue is Elisa.
2. They assume it's a statue of her.
a. Keep in mind that gargoyles (except Goliath) haven't seen
each other as stone, because they are always stone at the same time.
3. But how did statue get here?
4. Who else but Elisa would leave it?
5. Why would Elisa give them a statue of herself?
6. And why wouldn't she wait to see their reaction?
7. And if it wasn't her, who left this here and how and why? Etc.
C. Only Goliath has seen his friends as stone.
1. He doesn't necessarily state his fear. But he's uneasy.
2. He assigns Hudson and Bronx to guard the statue.
3. He and the trio will patrol the city, as usual.

XIX. Xanatos fights to save his life.
A. Pulls chopper out of dive and brings it in for rough landing.
1. Any landing you can walk away from, hmm, Derek?
2. Derek doesn't answer. At least he's unchipped.
B. Xanatos looks around him. Everywhere people are "stoned".
1. Obviously, Demona and he need to have a little talk.
2. Pulls a mega-weapon out of the first aid kit or whatever.
3. Heads off to PackMedia Studio on foot.

XX. Goliath & Trio patrol the night skies.
A. From a height, everything seems peaceful at first.
B. But eventually they discover the "stone" populace.
1. Maybe a single blind man & his seeing-eye dog are unaffected.
a. Brooklyn talks to blind man over the barking of dog.
i. Dog is freaked out by gargoyles, not "statuary".
ii. Man doesn't realize he's talking to gargoyles.
b. Gargoyles learn about broadcast from blind guy.
i. He heard it and was told about it, but didn't see it.
ii. Gargoyles figure out the truth (including Elisa).
iii. Brooklyn is furious at Demona as usual.
c. They tell the blind man he'd better stick close to home.
C. Goliath says they'll have to split up to find Demona.
1. Brooklyn will stay with him.
a. Goliath's afraid Brooklyn's a loose cannon.
2. As for Broadway and Lex...
a. He tells them to stop by clock tower.
i. Fill Hudson in.
ii. Send him and Bronx off as a third team.
b. Broadway worries about leaving Elisa unattended.
i. G: "She's as safe in the tower as anywhere."
c. The priority now is finding Demona.
i. Lex: "But How?"
ii. Goliath is afraid that, unfortunately, finding her
will be all too easy.

XXI. On Manhattan streets we follow a highly visible trail of rubble and destruction...
A. To Demona, who is having a grand old time with the "stoners".
1. Here she blasts one with a laser-cannon.
2. There she smashes one with a medieval mace.
3. She's practically giddy, talking to herself and the "stoners".
B. She remembers her appointment with Xanatos at the studio.
1. Can't let him turn off the broadcast.
2. She heads off with impunity in that direction, continuing the
destruction as she goes.

XXII. The New Hunter [Macbeth] is flying his hover-jet through NY's night
skies.
A. Demona's broadcast silently plays over and over on a small monitor.
B. A computer voice tells us that it is tracking the t.v. override signal.
C. Soon. He says. Soon. Fade into flashback.

1032
XXIII. Dunsinane, Near Moray -- The Original Hunter [Gillecomgain -- age 54,
but still as fit as any warrior] battles Demona (age 47).
A. It could go either way, but the sun is rising and she must flee.
B . Both swear to finish it later.

XXIV. At Castle Moray, Macbeth (age 27) and Gruoch's Father converse.
A. Mac can't believe that Bodhe is marrying his daughter off to
Gillecomgain.
1. He threatens to run away with Gruoch.
B. Bodhe protests.
1. Prince Duncan has ordered the marriage.
2. If they defy the Prince, it's equivalent to capital treason.
a. There'll be no safe place for them to run.
i. Which is fine for Macbeth, but think of my
daughter.

XXV. Mac & Gruoch rendezvous on Lunfanan hill as planned to run away.
A. But Mac is distant, unfeeling, unloving.
1. Tells Gruoch to marry Gillecomgain but won't give real reason.
a. Because he knows she would risk anything for him.
B. She's clearly devastated by his cold dismissiveness. (So's he.)

XXVI. The Wedding of Gillecomgain & Gruoch at Castle Moray.
A. Macbeth lurks in the back.
B. Prince Duncan (age 31) is there.
1. He's showing off his one year old son PRINCE CANMORE.
C. Maybe Gruoch's bridesmaids are the Weird Sisters.
D. After the ceremony, Duncan & Gillecomgain confab.
1. Duncan wants Gillecomgain to tie up the last loose end.
a. Kill my cousin Macbeth.
2. But Macbeth is Gille's insurance.
a. Mac's an heir to the crown and popular.
b. If Duncan gets out of line, Gill will reveal that Duncan
ordered Findlaech's death.
i. Which cousin will wind up King then?
3. Duncan is major league steamed.

XXVII. Macbeth is summoned to Prince Duncan at Edinburgh.
A. Baby Canmore plays nearby.
B. Duncan plays Mac like a lute.
1. He's just discovered something truly shocking and horrible.
2. He knows who the mysterious Hunter is...
a. The man who killed your father...
b. It's Gillecomgain.
3. Duncan laments that Gil fooled him completely.
4. Oh, if only Gillecom were gone, Duncan would:
a. Give Macbeth his rightful title: High Steward of Moray.
b. Give him Gruoch's hand in marriage.
5. But Duncan doesn't dare attack Gille openly.
a. It could start a civil war between Moray and rest of
Scotland. All would suffer.
6. Duncan shakes his head. What can be done?

XXVIII. At Moray, in a scene parallel to the death of Findlaech:
A. Macbeth steps out of the shadows to battle Gille.
B. Gruoch hears fight and comes downstairs.
C. Gill is ready to kill Gruoch to save himself.
1. He taunts paralyzed Mac.
2. He slips on the Hunter mask as final insult.
D. But Demona is here watching.
1. She had been tipped off by Weird Sisters again.
2. She didn't know which of them was the Hunter.
E. Tables turn. Mac rescues Gruoch while Dem fights Hunter.
1. Maybe in here, Gil reveals to her that he was the boy she scarred
for life.
F. Mac rescues Demona in some way.
G. Gille/Hunter buys the farm in some way.
1. Preferably by whatever method Gill used on Findlaech.
H. There is a brief moment of respect between Mac & Demona.
1. Then off she goes.

XXIX. Outside Castle Moray just after the wedding of Macbeth and Gruoch.
A. Prince Duncan puts on the Hunter's mask himself.
1. There will always be a Hunter, he says to his baby son.
a. The boy is attended by the Weird Sisters.
2. And there will always be the Hunted.

1995
XXX. Manhattan/Night. Goliath and Brooklyn come across Demona's trail of
human rubble.
A. Goliath and Brooklyn are devastated.
1. This reminds them of the massacre at Wyvern.
2. Goliath: "Every life is precious."
3. Brooklyn hates Demona. "This could be Elisa."
4. Goliath erupts. NEVER!!
5. Goliath swears to put an end to Demona's evil once and for all.
B. Suddenly, three stone figures begin to speak to Goliath without
transforming back from stone -- very spooky.
1. The Weird Sisters as speaking stone versions of the nine-year old
girls that Goliath met earlier.
2. They agree that Demona must be stopped.
3. But they remind him of his own words -- every life is precious.
a. Stop her, but don't become like her.
b. Vengeance begets nothing but a vicious cycle of further
vengeance.
4. They advise him to follow the trail of rubble.
5. Then they crumble into rubble themselves.
C. Goliath and Brooklyn follow trail of rubble.

XXXI. Xanatos & Demona arrive at PackMedia almost simultaneously.
A. Xanatos is determined to turn off broadcast.
B. Demona is determined to stop him.
C. Big fight. (Stone Owen at risk.)
D. The New Hunter [Macbeth arrives].
1. Just seeing that mask drives Demona to fury.
2. But she's not nuts, she flees.
3. Hunter fires off a cable attachment that wraps around her ankle.
4. As she flies off, he holds on by cable -- determined.
E. All this allows Xan to shut down broadcast.
1. He expects Owen to turn back to flesh.
2. Owen does not.

XXXII. In the skies above Manhattan, the Hunter tries to hold on and nail
Demona.
A. Big aerial sequence.
B. Ultimately, Demona shakes him (roughly) and flees.
1. Let's subtly indicate somewhere in here that when one is hurt
both feel pain.
C. He summons his hover-thing. He hasn't given up.

XXXIII. Goliath and Brooklyn arrive at PackMedia Studio.
A. They find Xanatos (and stone Owen) and evidence of battle.
B. Goliath is accusatory, but Xan disarms him by copping to his mistake.
1. "Do you want vengeance...or a solution?"
C. They declare a temporary truce and form an uneasy alliance.
1. They shake on it.

[And this is where Part II would end if and/or when it becomes a Multi-Parter.]

XXXIV. Morning at clock Tower. Elisa transforms back to flesh and blood.
A. Note: she does not explode out of stone shell. She transforms back.
1. Difference between Gargoyles organic process and her magical
one.
B. She has no idea what happened to her.
1. But "two seconds ago" it was sunset.
2. Now it's sunrise and the gargoyles have vanished.
3. Did she lose the entire night?
4. She exits clock tower.

XXXV. Back at the Studio, Owen has transformed to Flesh in front of Xanatos.
A. Xan starts to explain what happened to Owen.
1. But Owen's figured it out.
2. So Xan tells Owen about Gargoyle alliance.
a. Good. Owen suggests searching Grimorum for
counterspell.
b. No good. Even if there's one in there none of us "good
guys" knows how to use magic.
3. Xanatos asks Owen for the exact terms of spell.
a. Owen translates from Latin:
i. "You will turn to stone each night until the sky
catches fire."
4. Xanatos: "Then we'll just have to set the sky ablaze."
a. "Hurry. We've only got 12 hours."

XXXVI. TRAVIS MARSHALL reports.
A. People are panicked.
B. The mysterious broadcast has ceased.
C. But most everyone in the city, including this reporter, has no memory
of the past night.
D. He interviews hysterical woman who claims everyone turned to stone.
2. Incidentally, she missed the broadcast. Doesn't watch t.v.
a. Therefore, she must be crazy.
E. Experts theorize mass hypnosis?

XXXVII. New Hunter [Macbeth] watches report.
A. He can't believe Demona slipped through his grasp again.
B. Fade into flashback.

1040
XXXVIII. The royals hike leisurely up Lunfanan Hill on a gloomy, foggy
morning.
A. Duncan (age 39) is there. He is now High KING of Scotland.
1. With him is his son Prince Canmore (age 9).
B. Macbeth (age 35) is also there with his son LUACH (age 7).
C. All are trying to make nice.
D. Duncan nearly falls to his death. Macbeth saves him.
E. Duncan is more stunned at Mac's loyalty than grateful.
1. He tells Mac he had his doubts, but now he's convinced Mac's a
loyal subject.
F. Suddenly, they come upon cave of stone gargoyles including Demona.
G. Duncan goes to destroy them starting with Demona.
H. Macbeth intervenes; pleads for them.
1. Duncan reluctantly acquiesces.
a. Doesn't like it, but the guy did just save his life.
I. They start down the mountain.
J. They meet the Weird Sisters in their Old Crone Shakespearean guise.
1. "Double, double toil and trouble: Fire burn; and cauldron
bubble."
2. The Weird Sisters hail all four of them as Kings of Scotland.
3. Macbeth protests. Duncan is king.
a. Sisters: King now. But each of you shall be king in turn.
b. Mac: Certainly Prince Canmore, but not him & Luach...
c. Sisters: We have spoken.
K. The sisters vanish.
1. The two boys look at each other suspiciously.
2. Macbeth tries to write it off as nonsense.
3. Duncan (who's been quiet) agrees.
a. But we can see he's already plotting. Dissolve...

XXXIX Lunfanan again, later that day, with Duncan and some men.
A. Suspicious of Macbeth's relationship to the gargoyles.
B. He plans on attacking Macbeth with his army.
1. Doesn't want gargoyles to help Macbeth.
C. Hates to attack so near to sunset, but tomorrow he might not be able to
find them.
D. He puts on the Hunter's mask.
E. He gets up mountain in time to destroy maybe one or two gargoyles.
F. But the sun sets and Demona (age 51) and the others explode to life.
1. Still, all Demona can do is flee with her band.
2. She's getting old, weak.
a. Who will lead after she's gone?
b. If only there were some way to regain her strength and
youth.
i. She must seek the Weird Sisters.

XL. Castle Moray. Old Bodhe warns Macbeth that Duncan's bringing an
army.
A. Macbeth has his loyal retainers, but they can't defeat Duncan.
B. He can't protect his family.
C. Old Bodhe (cowardly as ever) suggests Mac surrender.
1. If he does, Duncan might spare Luach and the rest.
D. Macbeth agrees.
1. He says a cryptic "I love you" to wife and child and rides away.

XLI. Night in the misty wilderness. Lost, Macbeth and Demona stumble upon
each other.
A. Mac begs Demona to help him defend his family.
1. He promises to help her keep the gargoyles safe.
2. She's heard that before. What guarantee does she have?
B. Suddenly, the Weird Sisters appear from the mist.
1. We see that Mac sees them as Old Human Crones.
2. While Demona simultaneously sees them as Gargoyle crones.
C. Sisters suggest an act of good faith. Is there anything Demona wants?
1. Demona wants youth.
2. Would Mac be willing to trade?
3. Anything to save his family.
D. Sisters arrange trade. Magic light show, incantations and morphing.
1. Demona becomes the young Demona we are familiar with.
a. A permanent change from this point on.
2. Mac becomes the older Macbeth we are familiar with.
a. From this point on, he's permanently in his early fifties.
3. Any of our audience that speaks Latin will learn about the
immortality link.
E. Sisters send the new allies off with one last tidbit:
1. "Duncan gave Gillecomgain all his orders."

XLII. Bothgoanan, Scotland. Night. Mac's forces and Duncan's are ready to
battle.
A. Calm before storm. Gruoch and Luach are there.
1. She touches Mac's grey hair gently.
2. She's afraid he made a bad deal.
B. Demona enters tent. It is time.
C. Old Bodhe takes Gruoch and the boy behind the lines to safety.
D. Mac and Demona go to join there forces and face the enemy.

XLIII. The Battle of Bothgoanan. Night.
A. With the gargoyles help, Mac's forces are winning.
1. Mac calls admiringly to Demona: "You fight like a demon!"
B. Duncan is killed in some way. (Preferably the same way Find & Gil
bought it.)
1. Hunter's mask is found as evidence he was responsible for
Findlaech's death.
2. Macbeth is hailed as new High King of Scotland.
C. Prince Canmore is brought forward.
1. Old Bodhe urges the young boy's death.
2. Macbeth refuses. He will banish the boy.
a. Send him to stay with relatives in England.
b. No one notices that Canmore steals the Hunter's mask.

XLIV. The coronation of Macbeth at Scone. Night.
A. Demona, Luach, Gruoch and Old Bodhe are all there and happy.
B. Macbeth makes Demona his primary advisor.
1. He promises a golden age in human/gargoyle relations.
2. He promises that the humans will learn to respect her.
a. She'd rather be feared.
b. Mac: "They'll do that too... 'Demona'"
i. She likes her new name.
3. The happy golden age begins.
a. Everyone cheers. Humans and gargoyles alike.
b. The Weird Sisters, disguised as serving women, smile.

1995
XLV. Precinct, late afternoon. The Weird Sisters, disguised as cops, help out cheerfully amid the panic.
A. Elisa confers with Matt and Maria.
1. FCC has tracked down source of Broadcast.
a. Packmedia Studios show signs of conflict, but no hard
leads.
b. But Elisa knows who owns Packmedia.
i. But she's not saying anything 'til she knows the
extent of gargoyles involvement.

XLVI. In the Great Hall of Xanatos' Castle before sunrise, Owen and Xanatos (in
his armor sans helmet for the time being) are hard at work.
A. They are outfitting all of the Steel Clan robots with special packs.
1. Including Xanatos' own armor.
2. They have extra packs for the gargoyles who should arrive just
after sunset.
3. The audience doesn't yet know what the packs are for.
4. There's a lot of other temporary equipment set up, as well.
B. Elisa arrives ready to blame Xanatos for everything.
1. Owen: "Mr. Xanatos is trying to fix things. What are you
doing to help?!"
C. Before she can answer, the sun goes down.
1. Owen and Elisa turn to stone.
2. X: "That's one way to settle an argument."
D. All six of our gargoyles arrive.
1. Hudson & Broadway carry Bronx between them.
E. Xanatos explains plan.
1. Steel Clan Robots, Gargoyles and Xan will fly in pre-arranged pattern over the island of Manhattan.
2. They will carry packs that will distribute a harmless gas.
3. At a pre-set time, the packs will explode, igniting gas.
a. A time-counter on the computer screen indicates the time
before detonation.
b. Obviously, by that time, Xanatos & gargoyles must be out
of the upper atmosphere and clear of their packs.
c. Xanatos' robots will be sacrificed to ignite gas.
4. For ten seconds the entire sky will appear to be on fire.
5. Hopefully that will break the spell.
F. Sometime during all this, Bronx starts clawing at a tapestry.
1. Xanatos tells Brooklyn it's worth a hundred grand.
2. Brooklyn shoos Bronx away.
3. A distracted Goliath sees none of this.
4. Make sure this isn't too obvious a foreshadowing.
5. Let's loose track of Bronx after this for awhile.
G. Everything's ready. Xanatos puts on his helmet.
1. Goliath approaches Elisa. This has to work.
H. Steel Clan, Xanatos, Hudson, Trio and Goliath take off with packs.
1. Keep Bronx out of sight and out of mind for now.

XLVII. Steel Clan, Xanatos and gargoyles criss-cross the night sky distributing
the gas.

XLVIII. Back in Great Hall, a panel slides open behind Tapestry.
A. Demona steps out.
1. There are secrets about castle that even Xanatos doesn't know.
2. She can use computer set up to spoil Xanatos' plans.
3. But first she's gonna have some fun.
a. She approaches Elisa's stone form with her mace.
b. Didn't know this meddling human was still alive.
i. That can be rectified.

[And this ends part 3, if and/or when we go to four parts.]

B. Bronx intervenes between Demona and stone Elisa.
C. Demona temporarily backs off. She talks in a soothing voice, but:
1. She approaches computer terminal.
2. She reprograms gas-packs to explode early.
a. The computer screen time counter skips ahead quickly.
b. Xanatos & Gargoyles will die in explosion.
i. Intercut to Xan, gargs and robots in sky.
c. Not enough gas will be released to ignite the sky.
d. Then she'll use her laser-cannon to blow away Bronx,
Owen and especially Elisa.
e. Then there'll be no one left to stop her.
D. "What about me?", The Modern Hunter [Macbeth] steps out of the
shadows.
1. In a frozen city, it wasn't hard to spot all those robots and
gargoyles taking off from the world's tallest building.
2. He decided to investigate and found exactly who he was looking
for.
E. But Demona has already reprogrammed the computer access code.
1. It's too late to save the gargoyles and the city.
a. She presses a last button, locking out access to the
computer.
b. The time counter returns to a normal pace.
c. But a lot of time has been shaved off the countdown
before the pre-mature explosion of the gas-packs.
2. The Hunter doesn't care about any of that.
3. He just wants it over between them.

1057
XLIX. At Dunsinane, the Hunter [Canmore -- age 26] leads English soldiers.
A. He is met by Demona leading a combined platoon of gargoyles and
human Scottish soldiers.
B. It's maybe a minor victory for the Hunter; more of a stalemate, really.
C. Demona leaves to inform Macbeth.
1. Demona's still confident that together, she and Mac can put
these English down & destroy the accursed Hunter for good.
a. We get sense that Mac's golden age has been working.
b. We've never seen Demona so happy and at peace with
herself.

L. Castle Moray. Macbeth confers with Old Bodhe and Luach (now age 24).
A. Macbeth wants to know why Bodhe wanted to meet without Demona.
B. Bodhe explains that the Hunter has convinced the English that Mac is
evil because Mac associates with gargoyles.
1. English got rid of their gargoyles long ago.
C. If Mac gets rid of the gargoyles, the Hunter will lose his English
support.
D. Luach can't believe his father is listening to this crap.
1. Luach's about to leave to fetch reinforcements.
2. They haven't lost. There's no need to betray their gargoyle
friends.
E. But Macbeth says a wise king must consider all his options and then
make the correct choice.
1. He doesn't let us in on his choice.
F. And he doesn't realize that Demona has heard the whole thing.
1. She's sure Mac is going to betray the gargoyles.

LI. Demona approaches the Hunter in his camp.
A. She promises to keep her gargoyles out of his battle against Mac if the
Hunter will promise them protection.
B. He agrees.

LII. At Castle Moray, the Hunter launches his attack.
A. Macbeth is suddenly informed that the gargoyles are missing.
1. He's based his defense strategy on their aid.
a. The gargoyles were supposed to help hold off the English.
b. Long enough for Luach to launch a surprise counter-
attack with reinforcements from behind.
B. The battle is lost before Luach can arrive.
C. Gruoch begs Mac to flee with her, and he reluctantly does.
1. They take a pre-arranged escape route.

LIII. But on Lunfanan Hill, The Hunter is waiting for Mac & Gru with Demona.
A. Hunter takes off his mask, revealing himself as Canmore.
1. He is here to avenge his father Duncan and take back what he
considers to be his rightful crown.
B. Macbeth is stunned at Demona's betrayal.
1. But she knows Mac was planning to betray her first.
2. He furiously denies it, and while they fight...
C. Canmore kills Macbeth.
1. Demona doubles over with pain and seems to die as well.
2. As Gruoch cries over her husband...
3. Canmore confirms his belief that Demona & Mac were linked by
sorcery.
a. If one dies, both die.
b. Well, Canmore says, she betrayed Macbeth.
c. She ultimately would have betrayed me as well.
d. So it's a good thing I had all her gargoyles secretly
destroyed.
e. Hers was an unholy race and didn't deserve to live.
D. An Englishman alerts Canmore that Luach has arrived with Scottish
reinforcements.
1. He performs the better part of valor and retreats for now.
E. Luach and Old Bodhe arrive and find Gruoch crying over Macbeth.
1. The horrible sight makes Luach more determined than ever to
stop the English.
2. Even Bodhe's courage finally seems to awaken inside him.
a. He takes Macbeth's crown and gives it to Luach.
b. Luach is the new High King of Scotland.
c. Together, they will fight the English to the last man.
3. Gruoch asks for some time alone. Her father and son depart.
F. Weird Sisters appear in their Old Crone guise.
1. They approach Demona.
a. "The pain is great, child."
b. "But you are unharmed."
c. "Waken to the fate you've made for yourself."
2. Demona stirs.
a. Gruoch, still furious at Demona's betrayal.
i. She tells Demona that Canmore betrayed her.
ii. "Your people are gone, monster."
iii. "You are the last of your duplicitous race."
iv. Or something like that.
3. Demona flies off alone.
G. Weird Sisters now approach Macbeth.
1. For Canmore got it wrong.
a. He said when one dies, both die.
b. "But when one lives, both live."
c. And they vanish into the mist.
2. And then Macbeth stirs.
3. Far from being pleased, Gruoch is frightened.
a. Is it him or his ghost?
4. Macbeth assures her that he is alive.
a. Macbeth wants to join Luach in battle.
b. But Gruoch says no.
i. If he returns now, he undermines Luach.
ii. The English already accuse Mac of sorcery.
iii. This will be the final proof.
iv. It would divide even the most loyal of Scotsmen.
v. Luach & Scotland's only hope is for Mac to remain
dead.
c. Macbeth: But I'm not dead.
d. Gruoch: Then you must disappear.
i. Leave Scotland forever. It is the only way.
5. They share one last kiss, and she departs out of his life forever.

1995
LIV. Back in Great Hall, Demona & Hunter [Macbeth] in stand-off.
A. A confused Bronx looks on. All he knows to do is guard Elisa.
B. Hunter has sought Demona across the centuries for his vengeance.
C. She is unimpressed.
1. Take off that stupid mask. She knows he's Macbeth.
a. He takes it off.
D. Nearby, the counter continues to count off the time until the pre-
mature explosions of the gas-packs.

LV. In the skies above Manhattan, Xanatos & Goliath fly abreast for a moment
as they "pass gas".
A. Xanatos says it's working. Now if that dog of yours leaves my tapestry
alone.
B. Goliath quickly figures out the truth.
C. He and Xanatos head back for the castle.

LVI. Back at the Great Hall, Macbeth holds up the Hunter's Mask.
A. He only wore it as a reminder of her betrayal.
1. She says, "Let's not start that old argument. It's pointless."
2. Besides, what's he gonna do. To kill her, he must die as well.
B. Macbeth has lived so long he no longer fears death.
1. And, indicating "stoners", he has no desire to live in the kind of
world her evil is creating.
2. He'll do what he has to do to get his revenge.
C. They fight.
D. Xanatos & Goliath arrive just as a stray laser cannon blast takes out a
huge piece of the floor.
1. Goliath is just in time to catch Elisa and keep her from falling
down the hole to smash on the lower floors.
E. Macbeth & Demona largely ignore the new-comers.
1. They tumble down to the floor below.
F. Xanatos checks the computer.
1. She's locked him out by changing access code.
2. And pack's are set to go off pre-maturely.
3. We need to save her to save the others and the city.
G. Goliath orders Bronx to guard Elisa.
1. He and Xanatos follow the fight down.

LVII. On a lower dungeon-esque floor of the castle, Xanatos & Goliath catch up
with Demona & Macbeth.
A. Demona & Macbeth are in a berserker rage.
B. Xanatos & Goliath try to just separate them -- no luck.
C. So they wade in to incapacitate them.
D. The battle takes them down again onto a lower floor.

LVIII. The quartet of combatants fall down from the lowest floor of the castle
into the Arboretum beneath it.
A. Goliath & Xanatos use teamwork to come through the drop all right. 1. Demona and Mac hit harder, down through trees, etc.
2. G&X take advantage of this to take them out.
3. Demona is knocked out.
4. Macbeth nearly so, by her injury.
B. But the injured Mac grabs Demona and prepares to do away with her...
1. (And thus himself.)
C. Goliath: "Killing her won't solve anything."
D. "He's right, Macbeth." This from the Weird Sisters.
1. They step out from among trees as NY fashion model types.
a. Though we see that Macbeth sees them as the Crones.
2. They question Macbeth:
a. Duncan was afraid that your father would make you king.
Did your father's death stop you from becoming
king?
i. Mac: "No!"
b. You wanted revenge for your father. Did Gillecomgain's death settle that score?
i. Mac: "No."
c. Did your own "death" save Luach from Canmore?
i. Mac: "...no..."
ii. And the last 'no' breaks his heart.
3. Goliath pipes in. "Death is never the answer."
a. "Life is. Precious, precious life."
4. Macbeth: "I'm just so tired."
5. Sisters: "Then sleep."
6. Macbeth drifts off.
E. Xanatos doesn't know what the hell is going on.
1. He just knows he needs the access code.
2. Intercut timer and trio flying around at risk.
F. Seline wakens Demona, who is groggy, as if in a trance.
1. Phoebe asks Demona for the code.
2. Demona answers like she's talking in her sleep.
a. But she still refuses.
i. She will have vengeance for the betrayal of her
people. Vengeance for her pain.
3. Sisters: "But who betrayed her people? Who caused this pain?"
a. The Vikings destroyed her clan.
i. Who betrayed castle Wyvern to the Vikings?
b. The Hunter exterminated every gargoyle he found.
i. Who created the Hunter?
c. Canmore killed the last of her race.
i. Who betrayed Macbeth to Canmore?
4. Goliath: Your thirst for vengeance created nothing but more
sorrow.
a. End the cycle. Give us the code.
5. She does.
6. Armed with it, Xanatos shoots up through the hole in the roof.

LIX. Xanatos enters through the hole in the floor of the Great Hall.
A. He enters the access code into computer and stops clock with seconds
to spare. Whew.
B. Bronx looks on without a clue.

LX. Back in Arboretum, Demona begins to shake off her trance.
A. Her denial's kicked in. It was the humans' fault, not hers.
1. She wants her revenge.
2. She's learned nothing.
B. Sadly, the Weird Sisters (nine year old girl version) tell her she's tired.
1. She falls back into a trance beside Macbeth.
C. Goliath wonders what to do with Demona & Macbeth.
1. Sisters feel responsible for them.
2. They will take Demona and Macbeth and try to help them.
3. Goliath asks who or what the sisters are?
a. But that's a story for another day.
D. The three sisters vanish along with Macbeth and Demona.

LXI. Hudson & Trio fly over the river and drop their empty gas packs.
A. They head back for the castle.

LXII. Goliath joins Xanatos in Great Hall. It's time.

LXIII. In the skies over Manhattan, the Steel Clan Robots and their packs
explode.
A. The sky is ignited and for ten seconds is aflame for as far as the eye can
see.

LXIV. In the outer courtyard, Xanatos and Goliath watch the flaming sky.
A. Hudson and the trio land beside them.
B. A moment of true awe for everyone.
C. Bronx howls from back inside the Great Hall.
1. They rush inside.

LXV. Xanatos and the gargoyles arrive back in the Great Hall, in time to see the
stone melt away from Elisa and Owen.
A. Goliath is so happy he lifts Elisa up into the air.
1. She laughs. She doesn't have a clue what's going on.
B. Owen and Xanatos shake hands calmly.
1. Owen knows exactly what's going on and is pleased it worked.
C. Xanatos approaches Goliath just before the good guys are about to
leave.
1. They made a pretty good team.
2. All this time Xanatos has been wondering why he allowed the
gargoyles to live.
3. Now, he knows.
4. Occasionally, they come in handy.
D. Goliath starts to get angry, but then admits that occasionally...
1. Xanatos comes in handy, as well.

LXVI. The Gargoyles fly away from the castle.
A. Goliath carries Elisa. Broadway carries Bronx.
B. Everywhere below them are the signs and sounds that Manhattan is
waking up from it's stone sleep.
1. Safe once more, thanks to the gargoyles.

THE END.

That's it. Finally. As ususal, if you have any questions, don't hesitate to ask. Sorry it took so long to get this to you. A few last reminders: just write the script as one piece; ignore the part designations for now. Also, do not be afraid to over-explain things. Be as clear as possible. We do not yet know for sure where this is being story-boarded. With all the time shifts and differing ages in different scenes it could confuse anyone. Also don't assume familiarity with previous episodes. Don't hesitate to cite specific references to page or episode numbers of past scripts. Good luck.


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Chapter XXII: "City of Stone, Part One"

Time to Ramble on "City of Stone, Part One", which I watched the other night with my family....

Story Editor: Michael Reaves
Story: Michael Reaves
Teleplay: Brynne Chandler Reaves & Lydia Marano

Well, over a year had passed since we had revealed in "Enter Macbeth" that Macbeth had named Demona. Now we were gearing up to explain that little tidbit of info. I'm curious to know how many people were still focused on that before the "PREVIOUSLY ON GARGOYLES..." reprised it.

City of Stone was a story I had conceived originally (but briefly) as a Direct to Video movie. My boss Gary Krisel rejected it. He felt that a movie featuring the Gargoyles needed to feature our heroes a LOT MORE than this story did. Nevertheless, he liked the concept of the HUNTER a lot. So I got him to agree to let us do City of Stone as a multi-parter for the series. And I promised that Michael and I would come up with a new Hunter story that focused more on our heroes. Thus Hunter's Moon was born -- as a Home Video, originally, and we had an ending to shoot at for the entire second season.

Meanwhile, I couldn't actually disagree with Gary too much. This was Demona and Macbeth's story. The origin of two of our major villains. We had some great animation on this from Koko in Korea. Not as strong as our WDTVJapan stuff, but still very good.

What was the terrorists' cause, you might ask? I'm not telling. At the time, I had no answer. We were vague on purpose. Since then, I've come up with an answer. Now I'm being evasive on purpose.

I love Matt as a hostage negotiator.

But not as much as I love Brendan & Margot as hostages. They're a hoot.

How fast was everyone on the uptake with the Weird Sisters? Those three little girls. Even before the gargs showed, one was saying something like: "Don't worry, it'll be over soon." Did you think they were odd then? Did you notice them?

I like Brooklyn's "Don't gush" line.

When the Weird Sisters tell Goliath they weren't talking about THAT terrorist, my six year old daughter Erin said: "I think they were talking about Demona." For Chanukah, I gave Erin a Kenner Brooklyn, Broadway and Hard-Wire Goliath (which I told her was a Goliath robot). My three year old son Benny got Goliath, Lex and Xanatos. So for the first time, while they watched they could play with the toys.

It's interesting to watch the first flashback SET. All sorts of old footage from Awakening Part One, mixed with new footage. It's all very seemless thanks to great editing by Bob Birchard. And it wasn't easy. Because there was considerable confusion overseas throughout City of Stone, in terms of which model of Demona to animate. We had her standard model. Plus one that was slightly older, for the second set of flashbacks in this episode. They were constantly mixing the models up. We'd call retakes whenever we could, but sometimes we decided just to make due. So you have the flashback from Awakenings, where Goliath tells Demona to stay behind. That's followed by us finally seeing what Demona and the Captain said to each other after Goliath left. No great revelation in that scene, but we figured it would be nice to finally reveal it. Plus we wanted to clarify things from Demona's point of view. But in some of those shots, Demona appears to have aged a bit.

We see Othello & Desdemona. We are allowed to do something in this episode that we couldn't really do for S&P reasons in Awakening. To personalize the victims of the massacre a bit. In Awakening, we only got to meet the survivors. Finally we meet the victims. Of course, we're still cheating a bit, since my excuse to S&P was that our audience already knew (1) that these two died and that (2) they survived in a sense in Coldstone. But it did, independent of previous episodes, allow the startling moment when Demona picks up a fragment of Othello's face. Of course, I tried to get tha fragment -- and all those fragments in the immediate vicinity -- to be the pieces that survived into Coldstone. I think that was semi-successful.

Demona's cowardice overwhelms the courage of her strongly held convictions. She flees. Benny: "The sun's gonna come up." Yep. She turns to stone, shedding a tear. That "TEARS OF STONE" image was so effective that I allowed it to repeat in the episode. Later, her tear drops onto the stone Goliath and seems to be coming from his eye. A nice visual variation on a theme.

Demona: "It worked! At last my clan is free of human rule!"
Erin: "No. It didn't work."

Later Erin sees Demona watching Goliath holding some smashed gargoyles' remains and crying "my angel of the night". Erin says: "He thinks that was her [Demona]." Now you may be wondering why I'm reprinting such obvious responses here. But they interest me. It really struck me this viewing that in this episode, despite the "Previously" segment and all the flashbacks, that you really would be lost if you were a new viewer. Is there anyone out there for whom City of Stone was your first Gargoyle experience? If so, I'd love to hear from you. Did you have a clue as to what was going on?

Demona's classic neurotic short-circuit: "What have I -- What have THEY done to you?" The motivation that writer's live for.

And a little hint of Avalon things to come, as we see Tom, Princess K and Magus depart with the eggs. How many people had given the eggs any thought since Xanatos told the gargs back in Awakening Two that they were the last of their kind? And did this little tidbit whet the appetite, or did you forget about it immediately? I was already planning the Avalon/Archmage/World Tour/Angela stuff.

Benny (out of nowhere) asks: "What happens if someone is frozen in the sky?" We discussed various possibilities. But we're still weeks away from getting around to seeing "The Price". So I didn't want to spoil that one for him.

The intro of Gillecomgain. Erin (who has seen these before once, long ago) suddenly remembers: "His face is gonna get scratched."

Now, back in the 20th century, Owen points out that Xanatos' tv override works for "Cable, as well." I always liked that.

I also like Demona's VERY convincing lie. At this point, we don't know how she's survived through the centuries. Maybe she did do it by stealing minutes of life from thousands of people. And maybe now, she and Xanatos will do the same on a citywide scale. I always thought it was a very elegant lie. What did you guys think? Did you buy it?

The "Watch or Listen but not both" stuff regarding the magic, wasn't just a convenient excuse to give us a Robbins expository scene later. I always felt that the magic our various sorcerors did couldn't be as simple as it seemed. Anyone who reads the spell out loud can do it? No. There are complex inflections, movements, etc. involved. Study and willpower, etc. This was an attempt on my part to demonstrate that it was about more than just being in range with someone who has a copy of a Grimorum page.

On the other hand, I do think we cheated a bit to trap Owen. That spell she reads is the City of Stone spell. Yet it seems to put Owen, of all people, into a trance. We talked about her nailing him some other way first. But it was too clumsy and time consuming, so we just cheated.

Gathering Clue: Demona to Owen: "You are the tricky one." And she wraps him up in iron cable.

Elisa's watching Casablanca. Great movie.

Phoebe is looking at Seline when she speaks to Luna. Like Demona aging, we had a hell of a time getting the overseas studio to keep the three sisters straight. I began to insist that each of their appearances on the storyboard was accompanied by a hair color chart. And once more, it's black for Seline, blonde for Phoebe and silver for Luna.

We also made a real effort to put subtle character distinctions between the three sisters. Seline is the hard case. Phoebe is the gentle one. Luna is the mystic. It was part of hinting that the Sisters would serve multiple purposes in the series. Some of which I still have not revealed.

Back to the past. The guard says "Maybe they won't come." Erin asks: "Maybe who won't come?" And then the gargoyles come. The guards are taken down, and Demona raises her mace into the air. Erin asks: "Are they dead?" And dad... equivocates.

I like that gargoyle (Demona's second) with the breast plate. John Rhys-Davies did his voice.

At this stage, Demona believes that these scattered gargoyles are all that are left in the world. A second later, three gargoyles she's never met show up. (Now, true, they're the Sisters. But I was trying to make a general point, hinting that sometimes characters make absolute statements when they flat out don't know what they're talking about. Audience members beware.)

Benny immediately figured out that the three old gargoyle females were the weird sisters, or as he put it: "They're the humans. The one's that disappeared." I.e. the kids that disappeared in the first sequence of the episode. That made me feel a little better. People are always telling me that I write stuff that is too adult for kids to get. I tell them that I try to write on multiple levels. So that the kids get what they need to get and that adults, etc. get more. But it's nice to get confirmation that the kids do get it on occasion. Particularly in an ep as complicated as this one.

Intro Findlaech, Gruoch, Bodhe and young Macbeth. I like how quickly they are all characterized in that scene. F is loyal. B is equivocal at best. Bodhe is already thinking about how to marry G off to advantage. "What about Macbeth? Is he a match for the lass?" Yeah, sure he's talking about chess. I came to have a great deal of contempt for the character of Bodhe. (Too be fair, I have no idea what the historical Bodhe's character was like.) And yet, almost simultaneously, I became fond of him too. He was SO human. SO flawed. SO afraid of the world. And yet SO desperate to tread water in it.

We also establish the "SIGIL OF MORAY" which will become an important prop throughout.

I like that little blushing moment of G & Mac's. But mostly, I like it because of B & F's reactions. Bodhe is suddenly nervous that Gruoch might, shall we say, lose something with Macbeth prematurely. Though he pushed them together, he now rushes to separate them. But it's too late. The connection has already been made. F just laughs.

Now... Enter the HUNTER. The Hunter got a sort of Steve Canyon intro. That is, he's been talked about by various people for the last few minutes, though we haven't gotten a look at him. (This was the technique used when Steve Canyon was first introduced in the comic strips.) Now he shows up, and I trust he isn't disappointing. Benny immediately says: "THat's the one that got scratched." Sharp boy. (Keep in mind, that we haven't yet seen the adult Gille, so we haven't seen his scarred face yet.)

I love this sequence. It's a great fight, full of great little touches, flourishes, etc. Great storyboarding work here.

Again, characters are revealed in a nutshell. Gruoch's already loyal. Bodhe's revealed to be a coward. Even when his daughter rushes downstairs, he stays above.

Findlaech dies. It's a classic Disney fall-to-one's-death death. But there is a difference. F is the good guy. Usually, that's done with the villain. Was anyone shocked?

I love how at this point, Macbeth is nothing but an annoyance to both Demona and the Hunter. I also love how complex Demona is. Under it all, she's really something of a romantic. She rescues the young lovers. Then can't believe she did it. She's trying to will herself to be cold. So that she won't feel anything. But it isn't natural. She's not a cold woman, though her plans often are. It's that divide that's generally gonna screw her up everytime.

When the Hunter first enters on Prince Duncan, we were supposed to (BRIEFLY) think he was there to attack the Prince as well. But I don't think that comes off even slightly.

And o.k., yes, Gillecomgain has a face to match the Hunter's mask. It's worse than Clark Kent and those glasses. Does Scotland really not know it's him? Believe it or not, that never even occured to me initially. (Yes, I'm a dope.) Now, I'll chalk it up to the notion that everyone figures he's TOO obvious a suspect. You can almost here the water cooler talk:

MacMorris: "Hey, MacTavish, have you ever noticed that that Gillecomgain guy has scars across his face just like the red marks on the Hunter's mask?"
MacTavish: "What are you saying, MacMorris? That Gillecomgain is so stupid, he'd wear a mask and then put his scars ON the mask? Not much of a disguise. Know what I think. I think the Hunter is trying to throw suspicion onto old Gilley."
MacMorris: "Oh, give me a break."
MacTavish: "Hey, pal, it worked with you."

I made a real effort to just have the Weird Sisters EVERYWHERE.

Back to the present. Someone dons a Hunter's Mask. How many knew it was Macbeth right away? I figured at the time that regular viewers would figure that out pretty darn quick. That didn't bother me. For them, I figured the mystery would be "WHY IN THE WORLD WOULD MACBETH DON A HUNTER'S MASK, WHEN THE HUNTER KILLED HIS FATHER?" I thought that mystery was at least as intriguing. Do you guys agree or disagree?

I also liked the variation on the mask. No eyes. Nothing. Modern technology.

Fox. Fox presented an interesting dilemma. What was Xanatos' attitude toward her in this? We already know he loves her. But he doesn't include her in the immortality thing with Demona. Why? Demona won't allow it? Or he thinks Demona won't? Or he doesn't fully trust D and won't risk Fox until he knows the set-up works?

And then he finds out that she did watch the broadcast. He had told her not to, but she did. He doesn't fill her in. (Not that there's much time.) Is he prepared to let her lose a minute from her life (as he believes has happened)? How would he have felt if Demona wasn't lying about that? At the end of her life, would an immortal Xanatos be desperate to give her that one minute back? Of course, given Fox's heritage, which I didn't know yet, it's possible, she'll outlive him by quite a bit. Course, anything's possible.

How's the cliff-hanger? We haven't seen the city yet, but we do get to see Owen, Fox and Elisa all turned to stone. We're so used to the Gargoyles in stone, but not humans. I thought it was sort of chilling. The more chilling, because we know from earlier in this very episode, what can happen when living beings are turned to stone. (The Wyvern Massacre.) Now we've seen this four-parter a bunch of times and we're used to it. But I'm curious as to how you all felt the first time you saw Part One.

Another interesting aspect, is that 3/4 of the threat is to characters that we consider to be villains. Or more than 3/4. In the past, young Macbeth has lost his father and is clearly at risk. And Demona is being hunted. In the present, Fox and Owen are stone. And Xanatos and Fox appear to be falling to their deaths. Sure, the clincher is Elisa. But I think it's a tribute to how well-rounded are villains are that we care what's going to happen to them. Can you imagine most cartoons making the death of the villains a cliff-hanger? People would simply cheer.

One little flaw: Elisa's facing the wrong way. It was easier to board that way, I'm sure. But I can't figure out why she would have been standing and facing that direction at sundown.

Comments welcome, as usual...


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matt writes...

was there any particular reason you made the gargs the colors they are, or was it just random?

Greg responds...

It wasn't random. It was a decision making process. One that I had less to do with than most other aspects of the show -- as I am color blind.

Response recorded on December 22, 2000

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Aris Katsaris writes...

Gargoyle names:
Something silly that occured to me is that in the second issue of The Sandman (I think) something's said about gargoyle names starting with the letter "G". A weird coincidence that the "Gargoyle-master" Goliath also ended up starting with the letter "G"...

Ofcourse it also turned out that the most common initial for the gargoyles would be B (Bronx, Broadway, Brooklyn, Boudicca) but this ofcourse doesn't signify anything... :-)

Greg responds...

There was an executive at Disney who really wanted Goliath (or at the very least the Goliath walkaround character at DisneyWorld) to have a stylized G on his belt buckle. Something akin to Superman's "S". I was horrified at the notion. Fortunately, Michael Eisner came in and vetoed it.

Response recorded on December 22, 2000

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Todd Jensen writes...

I was just looking over the two recently reprinted memos on all the variant names for the gargoyles. The part that really astonishes me the most about it is how many names were being suggested for the cast aside from the ones that they eventually wound up with. It seems so obvious to me now (although, of course, this is from the perspective of hindsight) that "Goliath" is the appropriate name for the "Gargoyle-Master" that I honestly can't imagine him being called anything else at all. (Ditto with the rest of the cast).

(Of course, I've come across this phenomenon in other "behind-the-scenes" cases; Tolkien, for example, originally considered naming the protagonist of "The Lord of the Rings" Bingo, but fortunately later on realized how inappropriately silly it would be and changed the character's name to Frodo).

Greg responds...

And so it goes. I agree. It's hard to imagine any of the characters with different names now. But that, I suppose, is the fun of looking at the ones that didn't make the grade.

Response recorded on December 21, 2000

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demona writes...

how long in advance did u know that gargoyles was ending?

Greg responds...

I'm not sure what you mean.

We got a first season order of 13 episodes. And no guarantee of a second season.

Later we got a second season order of an additional 52 episodes and again no guarantee of a third season.

Later still, we got an order of an additional 13 episodes for ABC.

But it became clear to me around December of 1995 that I wouldn't be producing that third season. At that point, I was pretty sure that I'd be done with Gargoyles in May of 1996. Which is more or less what happened.

Is that what you meant?

Response recorded on December 21, 2000

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castle0909 writes...

I was looking through the archives, and I didn't know that so many people still had so many questions about Gargoyles. Keep the show alive.
My(weird)question is this: Was the castle based on a real one? and are there any blue prints or floor plans of it?
There is a great view of it in Vows(I think) as Goliath glides over it. I thought it was a cool shot. I traced it and blew it up to 6'x10'. What can I say? I'm obsessed.
Thank you

Greg responds...

I don't think there are detailed blueprints, but I believe there are some good model sheets in the Disney Archives.

The castle, as I've said before, was LOOSELY based on Tintagel in Cornwall.

Response recorded on December 21, 2000

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Anonymous writes...

Did you ever think of making other Gargoyle spinoffs besides the six we already know about?

Greg responds...

no, not really...

Though I never viewed those six as finite either.

Response recorded on December 07, 2000

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Emmlei writes...

man, it's amazing what kinds of coincidences just pop in your head. while reading previous posts about the naming of the cast, i *finally* made the connection between *David* Xanatos vs. *Goliath* and the twisting of their roles versus their Biblical "namesakes" (yeah, i'm slow, but i often don't think about stuff like this. heck, i might have done it before and forgot. oh well). was it intetional or did it just occur?

Greg responds...

It was very intentional. I had the Goliath name first. Xavier became Xanatos. But he needed a first name. David just seemed natural.

Response recorded on November 21, 2000

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Aris Katsaris writes...

You said: <<At the recording session, Marina Sirtis pointed out that the name didn't work for some reason that I can no longer recall. (Aris, any thoughts?)>>

<shrug> Stefan doesn't sound at all Greek. To me atleast it sounds Scandinavian or French or something. "Stephanos" or "Stefanos" would be Greek but changing these to Stefan (or Steven) would be similar to having Petros anglicizing his name into "Peter".

I don't know if that's what Marina Sirtis had in mind, though.

Greg responds...

I think so. Marina (who is at least part-Greek, I believe) probably said that Stefan isn't a Greek name, even though we were asking Morgan to read the part with a Greek accent, indicating he was from there.

I took the opportunity to use the Petros name that I had wanted to use from the beginning, instead of switching over to Stefanos or something.

It's all starting to come back to me... :)

Response recorded on November 17, 2000

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zakhur writes...

Hi greg, thanks for answeering my last question.
my question are
1- Did you have a specific reason for giving the gargoyle eggs a ten year period for them to hatch? and if so could you please explain what were your reasons
2- Is a new born gargoyle more independent than a new born human?
thank you for your time, and such a wonderful show

Greg responds...

1. I'm sure I did. I'm not sure I remember exactly what that reason was. It may have been at least part a function of story necessity. I need the eggs laid before the massacre, and I needed them to stay eggs long enough to hatch after Avalon.

2. I've answered this already too. Yes, somewhat. At the very least they can lift their own head and neck.

Response recorded on November 15, 2000

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Tim writes...

Eye of the Beholder: Always loved this episode, from Fox's transformation scenes, to Xanatos's spilled milk and Plan D, E and F, to Owen's smile and the revelations of the Eye of Odin. One question: What WAS that sound of Fox's roaring at the end of the episode when she's transforming back to herself? If you turn your volume up it makes the hairs on the back of your neck stand up and it is VERY disturbing. Great sound! Just wondering if you knew what that sound was.

Can't wait until you cover City of Stone!

Greg responds...

No. I do know it was an effect created by our talented Sound Designer Paca Thomas.

Response recorded on November 14, 2000

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Elisa writes...

okay then Greg, where did the name Xanatos come from?
and the suggestion for Goliath...
i mean... "Atlas..." *blink* where did THAT come from?

Greg responds...

Xanatos comes from two sources.

First it's a slight change on Thanatos, the Greek god of death.

Second, it was a name in the phone book.

Atlas was the Titan condemned to carry the vault of the sky on his shoulders for eternity. Seemed like a pretty good name for Goliath. But i still like Goliath better.

Response recorded on November 13, 2000

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Todd Jensen writes...

You mentioned that when you and your fellow production team members were originally working on "Gargoyles", there was some concern that it might be perceived as a "Batman" rip-off. Was there ever any similar concern that it might be perceived as an "X-Men" rip-off? I ask this because when "Gargoyles" first came out, I did find myself thinking occasionally of "X-Men" while watching it - I was only familiar with it through having seen some episodes of the FOX animated series, but I did see the thematic similarity of the main characters being members of a group that was different than humans, and who were consequently feared and persecuted by humans, and in that some members of this group wanted to make peace with the humans while others wanted to repay them in kind (indeed, the dialogue between Goliath and Demona on the subject in "Awakening Part One" reminded me of a slightly similar scene between Xavier and Magneto in one of the early FOX episodes - both Goliath and Xavier taking the attitude that humans only treat them this way because they're afraid, and both Demona and Magneto extremely bitter and wanting retaliation).

Of course, I didn't think that "Gargoyles" was a copycat of "X-Men" (except maybe during the "Goliath Chronicles" period), and saw the similarity that I mentioned above as more just a case of the use of the same theme, but I thought that I'd ask you if there was any concern at the time about that.

Greg responds...

There was not. This may be more of a question of timing than anything else. When did that Fox series first air? They may have been working on it simultaneously? Or maybe we felt that our series was so visually distinctive from X-Men that it never occured to us. Of course, there are some parallels. But our series was always super-heroes through the backdoor. X-Men's pretty up front about its genre.

Response recorded on November 02, 2000

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Aris Katsaris writes...

Todd> Such scenarios have their root in reality - whereever a minority is oppressed by a majority, you'll get the individuals who'll fight back hatefully and the individuals who'll want to live in harmony.

In my opinion it's *extremely* silly to think that Gargoyles could be copying the X-men when both were obviously copying the real world...

Now X-Men and the *New Olympians*... well that's a whole other story. :-)

Greg responds...

New Olympians is influenced by Jack Kirby's Eternals or New Gods much more than X-Men.

But I think you're missing Todd's point. I don't think we were ever really a Batman rip-off any more than we were an X-Men rip-off. His question was about our concerns. And we were concerned that we'd be PERCEIVED as a Batman rip-off. We weren't concerned about being PERCEIVED as an X-Men rip-off. But frankly, I can't remember why. Because one concern is just as legitimate (or illegitimate) as the other.

Response recorded on November 02, 2000

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Hamster Boy writes...

So why exactly did gargoyles get canceled? I mean I always assumed that a good plot wasn't exactly the type of thing seven-year-old disney afternoon viewers where looking for in there action cartoons,(I as a seven year old viewer at the time, shamefacedly admit to the aformentioned crime.) But also I was lured in by cartoon network and such things springing up at the time. But also maybe gargoyles contradicted disney's cutesey appearance. Whatever the problem was I figured that you would know best O great one.

Greg responds...

Check the archives for a detailed answer, Hamster Boy.

Response recorded on October 20, 2000

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Sapphire writes...

Why did Disney cancel Gargoyles? It was making them a lot of money, maybe thats why Time Warner is much more successful then Disney, Time WArner makes smart choices Disney doesn't

Greg responds...

You are WAY oversimplifying. (And for starters, I'm not sure what gave you the idea that Time-Warner is more successful than Disney. That's highly debatable.)

I've answered this IN GREAT DETAIL before, I think in the Old Archives.

Can anyone find it and reprint it here?

Response recorded on October 20, 2000

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Man Mountain writes...

Greg... I like your idea of, on the air, leaving the date of the episode ambiguous and then telling us here the actual dates. Its a brilliant idea for two reasons... First, it keeps most people happy with how they want to view what is canon, and second, it would really be the first true multimedia series. Other shows put "behind the scenes" info on their pages and fans certainly keep records of every little event that transpires. But your show would be the first to actually ADD to the storu via the internet. I would hope you would include scenes cut for time and any other story elements that you would wish to add. Just wanted to let you know, that not only is this a great idea of solving some problems, but certainly a groundbreaking idea for telling a story... ...but then thats nothing new for you, as we all well know.

Greg responds...

THanks. I liked it. BUt it was really you guys who inspired it. So pat yourselves on the back.

Response recorded on October 20, 2000

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Sothis writes...

Hi Greg,

As a long time Gargoyles fan, and an even longer time Star Trek fan, I couldn't help but notice that like Star Trek, Gargoyles would subtly introduce touchy topics (well, touchy to the censors at least) like racism and guns into the storylines, using the cover of being a fanstasy/sci-fi-based show. Was this your intent, to do what Gene Roddenberry did, and pull the wool over the studio's eyes, or was it just the way the stories developed?

Thanks for your time,

Sothis

Greg responds...

It was my intent to cover real important issues, but at THAT time I didn't need to pull the wool over the studio's eyes. My bosses, Jay, Bruce, Gary were actually behind me on that stuff.

Response recorded on October 20, 2000

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Demona Taina writes...

Hello! I was wondering if you had every single scene cut from each episode of Gargoyles before its first airing..

I was wondering this because in the Gargoyles "movie," Goliath says "Godspeed lads," before he says "They'd better not be harmed." Also, he says "Your worst nightmare." But I figure that scene was cut because it wasn't very well animated.. either that or it was created just for the movie?

Not to mention the numerous scenes either cut or created for the movie only.. like, Goliath taking a little bit longer to turn to stone when he was sedated, trailing off with the words when he was groggy.. and stuff like that.

Thank you for your time.. :)

Greg responds...

Nothing was created JUST for the movie. But two different sets of people were involved in the editing of the "movie" and tv versions of the pilot. And they had two different deadlines and two different types of access to correcting errors, etc.

I don't recall any differences in vocal performance at all.

Response recorded on October 20, 2000

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Vashkoda writes...

Ok, let's see if I can reword this so that it satisfies Todd.

I asked you before if you were going to keep or throw out TGC, and you said it was too early to know. When I asked specifically about the clones episode where they are turned to stone, you said that it would be the easiest one to fix because "the clones could wake up at any time. So if the series came back in the present, I could wake them then. Or I could wake them anytime before 2158." Based on the information you revealed in the 2198 contest (I'll have to be vague here in case it gets me in trouble), I was inclined to believe that you had chosen to take advantage of the situation presented in that TGC episode, and so had decided to keep TGC. Am I wrong, or are you still undecided on what to do about TGC?

And since this was also deleted: how was your birthday?

Greg responds...

Still undecided. Leaning toward NOT using TGC at all, and using the internet to answer any questions about why. But still undecided.

As for my b-day, that's a subject for a separate post.

Response recorded on October 19, 2000

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aXvXia writes...

I just found DEADLY FORCE on video: you were right in your notes, it was aboslutely a gorgeous episode to look at. I almost cried. The gargoyles are so real, so emotional, so angry, it just gets to me... especially Goliath. It is obvious to the audience that he loves Elisa here. (i think that's what you wanted.) Thank you for the beautiful episode. After I saw it, i wrote an essay to the Toon Disney personnel about the message of this episode and why i think it would be wonderful if they aired it.
THe reply i got was cursory and almost smart-ass. They told me that it wasn't in "its(the episode's) contract." CONTRACT??! what contract?? ARRGH
anyways, i tried. now for a quick question, and i checked the archives on this one and I didn't find it. Please, Please tell me you have the information on this one at home: How old was Elisa in 1996? the last time i submitted this question you said you didn't have that information available...

Thanks anyways,
aXvXia, age 13

Greg responds...

Someone else just posted Elisa's age.

The Contract thing is just bull of course. Their S&P department won't allow them to air the episode. Toon Disney execs told me that. They're shining you.

Response recorded on September 25, 2000

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White writes...

I got a verry tricky question now... I noticed in many cartoons * including gargoyles * that reruns always differ from the first time they pass on tv. ( I'm french and having trouble making that question clear... omg !!! )
Ok ok... here's an example :
in the episode Awakening 2, when Xanatos's *employees* attack the castle... one of them throws a granade at Goliath and Hudson I beleive... he shouted :"CATCH".
When that episode played again on tv the voice wasn't the same and he didn't shouted it.

Same thing with the "MOVE NOW" of Awakening 1.

How come ??? * do they record the sound twice or do they correct things they don't like after showing it once ??? )

sorry for the long question. You forgive me ?

Greg responds...

1. We sometimes do correct animation errors after the first airing if we didn't have time to correct them before. But not voices. What you're describing sounds very odd. Are you sure you're not comparing the "movie/video" version to the tv version?

Or maybe this was done for the French versions only? I don't know.

Response recorded on September 25, 2000

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David Zevin writes...

Hi Greg, I am a huge fan of the Gargoyles series. It's hands down the best written/plotted series I've ever watched (cartoon or other). I recently graduated University of Southern California Film School. I am currently looking for work as an assistant editor. Any advice you might have on getting into the industry and/or breaking into the editor's union would be greatly appreciated. By the way, where was Gargoyles edited? Do you happen to know if was union? Thanks.

Greg responds...

Gargoyles was of course edited at Disney first by Elen Orson, than by Susan Edmonson, and finally by Bob Birchard who did most of the second season. It was union. Unfortuntately, I have no idea how one gets into the editors union. Can't they tell you that at S.C.?

Response recorded on September 25, 2000

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DrFaust writes...

I always thought it was interesting we could see the targeting lasers of Xanatos' particle weapons actually
moving through space.

So I'm wondering, is the speed of light in the "Gargoyles" universe different than "our" universe?

Greg responds...

artistic license.

Response recorded on September 21, 2000

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Entity writes...

Hi Greg,

Before I say anything, I'd like to apologize for the impersonalness of my last two guesses for the Clans Contest (about a dozen posts previous). I just figured a preamble was unnecessary, but looking back, it feels cold.

Anyway, I wanted to ask about the unrealized Tibetan adventure. Did it have to do with:

1) Religion
2) Politics/Current Events
3) One of Oberon's Children

Also, how far did it get in development before it was canned?

The revelation that this story was cut for episode volume is disheartening, especially since we won't get another World Tour, even if the show returns.

Greg responds...

1. No.
2. No.
3. No.

At Disney it was just a springboard. It never went any further than that. But it wasn't canned. We just decided that we had other stronger stories to tell.

I later wrote it as a comic book story for Marvel's GARGOYLES comic book. But the book got cancelled before the story was published.

Don't be disheartened, it'll see the light of day sometime. It was already a flashback story when I wrote it for Marvel.

Response recorded on September 14, 2000

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Todd Jensen writes...

One other tidbit on that description of Morgan (the prototype for Elisa) that occurred to me. Her bio mentions that she dressed up as Guinevere for Halloween. And you mentioned that in the early stages of development for "A Lighthouse in the Sea of Time", other members of the production team had suggested having Elisa dress up as Guinevere, although you nixed that one. I wonder if that notion might have been another carryover from the original comedy development now. (One reason why these behind-the-scenes looks are so fascinating).

Greg responds...

I don't think so. Because Brynne, Michael and Lydia weren't involved in the show back in those days. And I'm quite sure they never read those old memos.

So I think they must have come up with that (nixed) idea independently.

Response recorded on September 09, 2000

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Laura 'ad astra' Ackerman writes...

I read _Viewing Violence_ which came to me attention from your comments. First off I would like to [publicly] compliment you on your modesty. You said she described Gargoyles (specifically Deadly Force) as an example of violence portrayed responsibly. That is an understatement- it was the ONLY such example she gave in cartoondom, and, at least for the first half of the book, non-educational children's program in general. That far I had seen her recommend just three television shows highly and without reservation, and those were Sesame St, Mr. Rogers and Gargoyles. Next up was Barney; its banality outweighed by its gentleness. Then Star Trek for its optimism; but only for children old enough to have truly begun to differentiate between fantasy and reality. Later she praised a host of the less pointlessly caustic family sit-coms ranging from Full House, to the Cosby Show to Roseanne that she felt dealt with the smaller day to day issues young children have to learn. Gargoyles got as much positive attention as ET and Stand By Me.

She did seem to put Gargoyles in the wrong chapter, although she probably did so to deal with cartoons as one unit. At that point she was dealing with shows appropriate for the very young before they have a sense of either fantasy versus reality or long-term perspective. Gargoyles fits into the next age group in which she felt it worthwhile to demand exactly what episodes like Deadly Force gave: real consequences.

Another thing the book had pointed out to me was the prevailing pessimism of today. I knew that crime has been dropping to all time lows and yet people are not feeling safe, but I had never connected it to entertainment so directly. [I had thought of violent media as symptomatic not causal, now I think it is both.] It made me stop and realize (among other things) that Gargoyles, despite its wonderful moodiness and difficult issues managed to be an optimistic series. Considering it is a series that starts with a massacre and has several powerful episodes that end on very low notes (ex. Metamorphosis, Sanctuary, etc) it is quite an accomplishment.

The author did not seem a fan of animation. In fact she seemed to think that little had changed since back when cartoons were more blatantly just merchandising and 'moral messages' were simplistic and tacked on. She did not seem to think about adult audiences being a big issue with cartoons, and didn't deal with other cartoons that might have strong adult fan followings. [Well..., she did say she didn't like X-Men.] Considering all that, I find it more impressive that she dedicated so much time to Gargoyles. It is impressive to have won her praise despite her bias, and given her focus on only young audiences, a good sign that the official target audience was well served.

While I did not agree with some of what she said, the book did make me think a bit more carefully about what I choose to watch.

Here is where I get totally subjective:
I really wish that Disney paid more intention to such things. I had enjoyed the Disney Afternoon increasingly leading up to Gargoyles, but less so after. In my opinion the following shows slid from respectable to hit or miss and finally to disappointing. Ultimately they ceased to be the most impressive force in Tv cartoons. [Now WB has taken over despite its over reliance on Pokemon. Fox is pushing hard, and the Cartoon Network grows stronger and stronger.]

I know that Disney is a business first and foremost, and I do not begrudge them being profitable- in fact I wish them great prosperity, but they do market themselves as Americana and a responsible influence on the country and world youth. I think they succeed most when they stay true to that vision. When they place profitability before vision instead of second or at most equal to it, the results are often formulaic and forgettable. I would have liked Disney to nurture and give time to Gargoyles above and beyond other offerings precisely because it was of such a high quality. It was a departure and radical in some ways, but in others, specifically the ways that _Viewing Violence_ spoke about, a logical extension of what Disney is all about. Still, I do realize that other times Disney has taken the high road profitability took years to become evident. The initial Fantasia was considered a flop, and I am very curious how well Fantasia 2000 did financially. Television is not a forgiving medium, and cartoons are very expensive.

In hindsight I can say Disney chose the wrong approach because it meant backing away from animation just before so many other studios were getting interested and anime influenced offerings were becoming mainstream. I realize some of it had to do with major broadcasting changes- namely acquiring ABC and the rise the WB as a network with its own competing programming, but I wonder, especially now that Disney tries to market Toon Disney, if there aren't execs slapping their foreheads and shaking their heads over some of the decisions made over the last few years. And if those execs exist, are they thinking, "How did we lose that advantage?" without a real sense of what they did to lose it, or are they looking at specific shows and saying, "that was real quality, why did we let that go?" Truth be told, the failure to are Deadly Force makes the second seem unlikely.

By now I have turned my praise relating to the book to a ramble, so I will stop.

Greg responds...

I like Madeline Levine's book too. In fact, I like Madeline. Certain things were a revelation to me. Others, I believe, she got dead wrong. I've since talked to her about many of those things, and the funny thing is I think I changed her mind about a few of them.

But she was good to Gargoyles. And that came from the show itself. I didn't meet her until after she had made her decision about it. I seem to recall she's a big LAW AND ORDER fan too.

Anyway, about current Disney Execs... well, for starters, there has been so much turnover at Disney that I don't think they have any sense or knowledge of the company's own history... at least with regards to TV Animation. So that precludes a lot of "historical insight". But I see a pendulum starting to swing back, and I'm hoping we'll be there to capitalize on it and get our show back in business.

Response recorded on September 06, 2000

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Bråndeewine writes...

on 08-19-00, you said, "But FYI, we didn't have lackluster ratings our first two years. They were solid, strong ratings. They just didn't beat Power Ranger's ratings."

Uhh.... Gargoyles was lost to us, due to POWER RANGERS?!?!?! I Think I'll go throw up now.

Greg responds...

Join the club.

Response recorded on September 02, 2000

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Todd Jensen writes...

In your first season Gargoyles Bible, you raised the question of whether gargoyles fought in the Battle of Britain, a notion that eventually became "M.I.A." in the second season. This indicates that the notion of gargoyles protecting London from the Germans in 1940 was one that you'd had quite early on in the history of making the series.

Is there any particular reason why you had thought of gargoyles as participants in the Battle of Britain?

Greg responds...

It was cool.

(I know that's not too deep, but that's the truth.)

Response recorded on August 23, 2000

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Marjorie Harris writes...

I am a huge fan, and because of my work schedule, I rarely get to watch the show. I met Keith David on the street, and his brother is a neighbor mine, and I think he is cast well for the voice of Goliath. I no longer have cable and was wondering when does the show (if at all) on regular television. I know UPN here in NEw York plays many of the Disney cartoons, in the AM. I am in New York City, when and where does the show air here?

Thanks for your help!

Marjorie

Greg responds...

Well, to be honest, I have no idea. But I think the answer is, it doesn't. As far as I know, it's only playing on ToonDisney right now in the U.S.

Anyone know different?

Response recorded on August 21, 2000

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Jenn :) writes...

Why did you stop the show anyway? What's up with that? Did you have a buget problem?

Greg responds...

Jenn...

I didn't stop the show. Disney did. Check the archives for a more detailed answer.

Response recorded on August 21, 2000

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Abigail Thorne writes...

A few days ago I took out my store-bought copy of "Gargoyles, The Movie," which is the first five episodes without commercials. I was trying to remember why I hadn't watched it in a while. That question was immediately answered once I started watching it.

There are certain details in the movie--background music, sound effects, scene editing--that are either off or just plain wrong. The sound of Goliath crushing Elisa's gun, the arrows flying through the air during the Viking battle, the metallic sounds of the Steel Clan opening their wings and firing their cannons--they are all different, and they drive me crazy!! Then there's the background music, which either starts too late or is completely wrong for that particular scene. But the most excrutiatingly obnoxious error of all is the sound of the gargoyles gliding--it's this high-pitched swooping noise, like a mechanical glider, or something, I don't know what exactly, but it's NOT RIGHT!! {Loud scream of frustration!!!!!!!}

I know, I know, these are fussy nitpicks, but the little details really do effect the quality of the program. I'm a diehard Gargoyles fan who's seen these episodes dozens of times, so hearing a difference makes me cringe. So yeah, what's the point of this post? To ramble, to complain, and to ask if anyone else (yourself included) had noticed and were annoyed by the changes made in "Gargoyles, The Movie."

Thanks for letting me rant. And vent. I feel better now.

Greg responds...

Sigh. I'm glad you feel better, but I'm annoyed.

They are NEITHER OFF NOR WRONG, they are simply DIFFERENT from what you've grown used to. They were mixed simultaneously with the five pilot episodes. NOT AFTER. And the people who mixed those pilot episodes went on to mix the rest of the series' episodes, so the style they used became ingrained.

And again, if you heard the movie version played the way it was designed to be played -- that is with giant SPEAKERS and on a big screen theater, you'd see that the effects work quite well. Still different, but well. They weren't designed for home video.

NOW CAN WE PUT THIS QUESTION TO BED. CHECK THE ARCHIVES PLEASE.

Response recorded on August 19, 2000

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Anonymous writes...

Why did Gargoyles go off the air?

Greg responds...

Sorry, anonymous, but the answer to that is long, complicated and involved. And I've answered it SO many times before. I'm gonna have to ask you to check the archives first. Then if you still have a specific thing you don't understand, come back here and ask me.

(I once answered this in INCREDIBLE DETAIL, and I have a vague memory that someone has it posted on their site. Does anyone remember. I wouldn't mind reposting that long explanation here.)

Response recorded on August 19, 2000

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Matthais writes...

At www.xanatos.com, there is an actual company called Xanatos Enterprises. Is this the source of the name, or visa-versa? That is, did they name the company after the character from Gargoyles? Or were you unaware of this company's existance?

Greg responds...

I can't say for certain, though I have an inkling, whether the show gave them the name. But I do know, because Disney's Legal Department did a search, that there was no Xanatos Enterprises in existence when the show first went on the air. There was a Xanacorp, however, which had been our first choice.

Response recorded on August 19, 2000

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dracolich5 writes...

Hello again, Greg! I've decided to start posting questions more frequently, and I've got an interesting assortment of production questions.
During the creation of characters, how were their eventual designs chosen? Did the artists in question work on one design only, or were several designs tried? If so, is there any way we can ever see these unused designs? My interest in unused character designs started when I purchased some Japanese Godzilla books that showed alternate designs for machines and creatures. Just curious to see if similar interesting designs are around.

On a side note, IF any alternate character designs were made, were any of these re-used for later characters? Just checking!

Greg responds...

We had development artists at Disney come up with inspirational designs for all the main characters, which were used in the pitch to sell the show.

Bob Kline: Xanatos, the Eyrie Building
Dave Schwartz: Brooklyn, Lexington, Broadway
Greg Guler: Goliath, Demona, Elisa, the Pack
Paul Felix: the Clock Tower (and Hudson, I think)

These designs were then sent to Disney TV Animation Japan, where they sort of had a little competition to see who would be the primary designer on the show. They submitted multiple interpretations of the characters (Goliath in particular), and we chose Mr. Takeuchi, who seemed to capture the feeling of the show the best. Eventually Frank Paur went to Japan to work with Takeuchi and fine tune his designs. Paul Felix did a very early Bronx, but Frank changed it so entirely, it's basically a new design.

I have some of this old stuff, though I wish I had more. For example, I have almost nothing from the early comedy development. If you attend the Gathering, you can see the pitch and some of those early designs.

Response recorded on August 02, 2000

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Blaise (repost by Aris) writes...

TEMPTATION

While this isn't the ep that cemented Brooklyn in my head as "Favorite Character," I have to admit he is GREAT in it.
I still love Lexington's remark about building a horse from spare parts.
Demona's tour of the city--Yeah, the DEAD BODY surprised me too. Very powerful, very good, as were Demona's other two "examples" of humanity. Bennett and Sirtis did WONDERFUL jobs with their voice acting here.
As for the bikers not noticing Brooklyn, yeah everybody notices that. I just try to ignore it and that seems to work. If nothing else, most of the bikers in that scene WERE wearing sunglasses at night (as someone else already pointed out). Come to think of it, some of them weren't even wearing helmets....;-)
Elisa's finger--great, now that you've mentioned it, *I'LL* probably look for it and not be able to see anything else in the scene.
I was surprised to hear that Brooklyn's description of the Cloisters was taken by some folks as "proof" that gargoyles were not native to this planet. Anyone who saw the first two episodes should have understood what Brooklyn meant. Come to think of it, why WOULD people want the gargoyles to be from another planet?
One of my favorite lines in this episode--Brooklyn: "You hold the book, Demona. But *I* hold the *spell*!" I just LOVE that.
The resolution of the spell may have been a bit of a cheat, but it WAS a creative and original solution to the problem. So, you guys still get some points in that area.
Lex and Brooklyn talking about the motorcycle at the end and Lex's reaction are always enjoyable.
Pointless note: Hudson doesn't speak a single line in this episode. Odd, when I think about it. Still, you do at least SEE him a few times.

Good ep.

Greg responds...

The Hudson thing was budgetary. Often if we had a character who needed to appear for logic's sake but didn't have too much to contribute to the story, we'd avoid just giving him one or two lines to prove he's there. That way we could save money on the actor's salary for that episode. That money saved could be used later on for some of our big cast expensive episodes.

Trust however that I never scrimped. If I thought Hudson needed to speak in that episode, even if it was only ONE line, I would not have hesitated to pay for Ed Asner to be in the session.

Response recorded on August 01, 2000

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Good news (in the long term)...

I have found a cache of documents relating to the early comedy development of the series. Historically speaking, these are fairly interesting. Unfortunately, they are hard copies. I don't have them on computer files. Transcribing them will have to be a LONG-TERM project.

But at least we know they exist.


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Axem Gold writes...

I have a few questions to ask you about the Gargoyle Series.
1. If Disney left you encharge of the series like they should have how many years would you have tried to air new episodes?

2. Which part of The Goliath Chronicle do you dislike?
A: That they ignored your Master Plan.
B: They didn't conclude most of the storylines (Coldtrio, Demona, etc).
C: Both

3. Did you read the episodes on the Gargoyle Saga page? Are they somewhat accurate to Master Plan?

Greg responds...

1. Until I died.

2. Neither. I mostly don't like how it was executed. And probably, if I'm being honest, I just don't like that someone other than me was in charge. When push came to shove, I felt it was my baby, and I didn't like anyone else giving it a bath.

3. No. I don't read FanFiction in order to protect myself legally, in case I ever get to do Gargoyles again.

Response recorded on July 29, 2000

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More...

After our comedy garg pitch was rejected (of which little documentation survives), we searched about for a dramatic version. In the long run, we wound up coming back to many, if not most, of the concepts from the comedy version of our show. But here's the earliest document that I can find on the dramatic version. As you can see, it's largely single character and very different from the final.

[Unedited as usual, except for what's in brackets]:

THE GARGOYLE
(Weisman / Summary of meeting 12/19/91)

1000 years ago in barbaric Briton, an evil Wizard wanted to ransack the castle of the good princess.

Gargoyles are stone sculptures that are used to decorate castles. Inspired by this, the wizard creates his own giant (Beauty & the Beast-sized) Gargoyle. He instructs this engine of destruction to fly to the castle tonight, while the wizard's army attacks from the outside.

(Perhaps he gives the Gargoyle a powder that will temporarily bring the other little stone gargoyles to life.)

The Gargoyle, which is stone colored, even when it isn't stone, flies to the castle, intent on destroying it.

He meets the princess who teaches him the error of his ways. He will fight against the wizard. But as the sunrises, he falls asleep turning to stone. A part of the spell he was not aware of.

When the sun sets again, and he awakens, it is too late. The princess is gone (dead?). The castle has been ransacked. Even the wizard has left him behind. Angry at his betrayal...He is alone. Cursed as an outsider, able to function only during night hours. Frozen as stone during the day.

He stays in the ruined castle over the centuries. Making occasional forays to the outside world. Sometimes briefly, to steal books. Sometimes for long periods to fight evil (World War II, perhaps). But always returning to the castle and his loneliness. He despairs of ever finding a true friend. Despairs of ever having a purpose to his life.

One night he awakens, and finds that some repair work has been done on the castle. Each night he finds that a little more work has been done while he slept during the day. Construction equipment has gathered outside the castle walls.

One day, as he sleeps, the castle is lifted, lock, stock and gargoyle and flown whole across the atlantic to New York, by giant airships.

It is placed on the top of the Xavier Enterprises skyscraper.

Xavier is our arrogant villain. Not comic. Evil behind the scenes. Manipulator. Respectable to the rest of the world. Untouchable.

Our Gargoyle finds himself in this strange new world. Here he meets a young idealistic girl (perhaps a plain clothes police detective) who will be his friend and teach him not to despair. That he can help make the world a better place. In New York, the barbarians are at the gate, every night. This time, he can do something about it.

He becomes a de facto super-hero of sorts, though we don't have to flag it.

Xavier can hire other minor villains, plus we need to create some real psychos, and powerful ones at that, for Gargoyle to battle. Plus the ancient wizard could return in some form. Perhaps he has put his spirit in a amulet. Whoever wears it is possesed by him.

Perhaps, our Gargoyle can still temporarily awaken other gargoyles, little mischevious things who aren't too bright, but would try to follow his orders. But when they sleep each day, they have to be awakened by the magic dust each night or they will remain as stone. Only our hero awakens by himself every night.

Does our young girl have a child?

Who else populates this world?

Is the Gargoyle named Gargoyle, or is there another name for him?

Other villains?

cc: Bruce [Cranston], Gary [Krisel], Kat [Fair], Bob [Kline], Mike [Ryan], Fred [Schaefer], Tad [Stones], DoMo [Dolores Morris]


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Another tidbit

From the very next day...

3-12-91:

GARGOYLES

They've been sleeping for a long time. It's been cramped, damp and uncomfortable up on those buildings. Now, it's time to wake up and PARTY!!!!!!!!

Gargoyles asleep for a thousand years.

Awaken in modern times.

They're the good guys.

We're working on villain.

Opportunity for a lot of broad cartoony, fun characters.


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A real fossile...

This is the earliest file I have on the series, dating back to 3-11-91. It's short. But very strange. Here it is unedited:

GARGOYLES

They've been sleeping for a long time. It's been cramped, damp and uncomfortable up on those buildings. Now, it's time to wake up and PARTY!!!!!!!!

Only one problem: the evil DOCTOR VOMFU, who turned them to stone in the first place, is still out there making trouble for our bat-winged friends.

But, hey, NO BIGGIE. They're GARGOYLES! Vomfu won't know what hit him.

Vomfu was a joke name around our office. Look at a computer keyboard. And move the natural position of your hands, one key to the left. VOMFU becomes CINDY. Cindy Chupack was one of our development associates who was working on the show with me. Cindy has since gone on to be an emmy nominated sitcom writer on such shows as COACH, EVERYBODY LOVES RAYMOND and SEX IN THE CITY.


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More archives material...

It recently occured to me that I only started to post old Garg internal memos starting with "REAWAKENING". Since this info seems to be of interest, I thought I'd go back and start over by posting some of the earliest stuff I still have on file.

First up is a memo to one of the earliest (pre-Michael Reaves) writers that we tried out on the project. Note the December, 1992 date of the memo. You'll see that some of the concepts never changed at all. Others, like the notion that Goliath might Demona-like live through the 1000 years changed a lot.

Anyway, here it is unedited:

GARGOYLES 12-4-92
Notes on 5-part Outline

GENERAL NOTES

--We want to stick closer to the original pitch. Keep the story solidly from Goliath's point of view, with his relationship with Elisa as the central emotional arc.

--We want to clarify what a Gargoyle is and what the "rules" are:
1. Gargoyles were not created by an individual. One thousand years ago, they were real living creatures, a now extinct race that even then was scarce.
2. Gargoyles are nocturnal. At sun-up they transform into stone statues as a protective measure. Theoretically, there may be some magic involved, but from a gargoyle's P.O.V. it's a natural biological process.
3. They cannot wake up at will. They cannot turn back and forth from stone at will. Daytime, they are sleeping. Frozen in stone. That makes them fairly protected, though if someone took a sledgehammer to them, it would kill them. At night they are not stone, they are strong and powerful, and they can fly, etc. But they are not invulnerable.
4. Gargoyles don't have any special instinct or telepathy for danger. What they do have, instinctively, is a territorial and protective nature. Up to this current story, that never extended beyond the castle walls. One of our main objectives is for Elisa to give Goliath a wider definition of his territory...extending it across all of Manhattan (all of NYC?). She gives him hope and a revived sense of purpose.
5. Naming is a human trait. The medieval humans deal w/Goliath so he gets a name. The others have none until they get to the twentieth century, when Elisa encourages/insists on it. Then they pick their names.

CHARACTERS
--We have to know and sympathize w/Goliath much sooner on in the story. We should largely see it through his eyes. His concern for Elisa should drive the latter half of the story, much more than any desire to foil a crime.

--The absolute key to this is the relationship between Goliath and Elisa. We need to develop this slowly. She's got to get used to him in a big way, and for his part, he's not comfortable around humans, and definitely unused to human kindness. He's awkward. Maybe even stunned. We don't have to play it for romance, per se. Even friendship from a human is a foreign concept.

--Hudson is an ex-gargoyle warrior, long past his prime, who now acts as Goliath's advisor. He tends to knock around the castle. Maybe, he likes television. He is not and would refuse to act as a baby-sitter for the younger kids. THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT. Goliath is the Gargoyle-Master. The other gargoyles are HIS responsibility, not Hudson's.

--We'd like to play the younger Gargoyles (Broadway, Brooklyn and Lex) more as teens than little kids. Very eager to explore the new world as you have it, but with a more adventurous sensibility.

--Bronx, the gargoyle-dog does not have wings. His ears allow him to hover a bit for short periods of time. But it's hard. (Keep in mind, he has a weighted tail, like a mace.) He can't really fly. He CAN scurry all over the place, up straight vertical walls, across the ceiling, etc. He has claws that really allow him to dig in.

--Our fault, but we don't think the Bannister character is adding anything. We can probably drop him.

--Xavier needs to be much more imposing. Not bordering on broke. Though obviously, he's not in Goliath's league in terms of brute strength, underneath that three-piece suit he should be a powerful man. As men goes, he should be very strong. And brilliant. On the surface, a rich powerful man, but underneath with his hand in all-things nefarious. He should not be petulant. He should always feel menacing threatening. If, at the end, we do send him to prison, we should not weaken or reduce him. He should go off like Al Capone, with an attitude like "You don't expect prison walls to stop me, do you?"

--We don't necessarily have to use the Gladiator-esque PACK, but if we do, we should keep their strengths clear in mind. The television aspect is a front, but one we might need to see in order to understand why the public regards them as good guys. Since clearly, no single member could be as strong as Goliath, their strength lies in the pack mentality. Goliath tosses one aside, their are five others leaping on top of him, etc. Also keep in mind, that our toughest pack members as they were originally designed were probably Wolf, Jackal and Hyena. Dingo, Fox and Coyote were never designed to be very threatening on their own. Another possiblility might be the SCARAB CORP. Robots from the pitch. (Scarab could also be a division of Xavier Enterprises.) However, feel free to create new villains or a different threat.

PART ONE
We want to get to know Goliath right away. Preferably, all the beats we played in the pitch.
1. He and his fellow Gargoyle warriors defend the castle from "barbarians". We establish his territorial and protective nature.
2. For their pains, they get no thanks or even kindness. Humans look at them as necessary evil.
3. Goliath spends his time reading and keeping the younger Gargoyles out of trouble.
4. We might want to plant a seed for the Demona character here. Establish her as the gargoyle he cares for the most.
5. Also establish Hudson, his advisor, and the younger gargoyles.
6. Goliath and Hudson are sent or lured away from the castle (perhaps by Demona, though the viewers don't have to know she betrayed them). They do not get back before sunrise.
7. The trio of younger gargoyles chase Bronx down into some hidden dungeon. At daybreak they are frozen their.
8. During that day the castle is overrun and sacked.
9. When Goliath and Hudson return that night, Goliath is horrified to discover that the rest of his Gargoyles have been destroyed. Someone took the equivalent of a sledge hammer to them during the day. Demona, his love, is probably part of the rubble. (We don't have to revisit her in the five parter. She can be an element of the tragedy of Goliath. We can bring her back in an episode if this goes to series).
10. Bronx and the younger Gargoyles survived, because they were hidden from the attackers.
11. It may be stronger for Goliath not to be cursed into a thousand year sleep. He takes responsiblity for the disaster. Hudson and the others are cursed to sleep "Until the castle rests in the clouds." (I.e., theoretically, until kingdom come.) Goliath is forced to guard them (the last of his race) alone for a thousand years. This means that he won't be totally ignorant of planes and cars etc. He's seen them over the years. And it might increase his tragedy. At any rate, we don't want to bring up the issue of exorcisms. Dangerous ground.

PARTS TWO - FIVE
1. Let's keep in mind that the whole castle is moved to New York. It can be dismantled, but the human focus should be on moving this castle to the top of the skyscraper. The gargoyles are nothing more than decoration to the humans.
2. There's probably something to Goliath being on a castle top in Scotland one night. Falling asleep and waking up crated in the bowels of a ship, the next night. But we probably want to go for a more dramatic problem than him leading them with a lamp.
3. The other gargoyles, Hudson and Bronx included, don't wake up until the first night after they are installed on top of the castle in the clouds. They've gone from riding a parapet a 100 feet above the ground, to the top of this mega-story skyscraper. It's a pretty hefty transition for them.
4. Art thefts and Bank thefts aren't nearly as crucial as putting Elisa in danger and involved in the case. That's what brings Goliath in. Perhaps we should open with her undercover, infiltrating Xavier's organization. Perhaps that leads her to the Pack training grounds or some other aspect of Xavier's operation. Make her a vital and integral part of the Xavier story. Not simply on the trail of it. And though we don't want to make her helpless, we do need to put her in jeopardy.
5. We're not sure what the red herring of blaming the gargoyles for Xavier's crimes buys us. Not opposed to it, but does it just force us into awkward moments? Lots of talk about guys in gargoyle suits. That's not really a major issue for the series.


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Ameathia writes...

You work for Disney right? So do you know what happened to Mighty Ducks the Animated Series? I know this is really off topic and you are more than likely not going to answer. But, Hey, you can't blame me for trying to find out what happened to one of my fave shows can you?

Greg responds...

I no longer work for Disney.

I don't blame you at all, but I don't know the answer. Is it airing on Toon Disney, maybe?

Response recorded on July 26, 2000

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Blaise writes...

I found your little memo "Batman vs. Gargoyles" quite amusing (especially the remark about how Batman does not turn to stone, etc.). Actually, I sent a copy to my folks, and my mom loved it. She found it a bit surprising that anyone would think "Gargoyles" could be construed as a "Batman" rip-off in the first place (me too). I guess we all find that idea a little silly.

Greg responds...

It's very silly now. It was even silly then, but it was a real concern -- silly or not. There just weren't that many shows of that nature on the air. Plus we were using Frank Paur, Michael Reaves and a number of other people who had worked on Batman.

We all just wanted to have our ducks in a row, in case anyone yelled foul.

Response recorded on July 26, 2000

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joe c. writes...

I would like to say that the "Gargoyles" series was probably the most original and best i've have ever seen among animation and live-action alike...until it went to abc where the shows were weak and the epic storyline was destroyed. The ending of the series was not a good one and did not deserve to have the name "Gargoyles" on it. I was just wondering how the show changed from excellent to extremely bad? Also, is the series ever gonna be available on dvd?

Greg responds...

I can't answer the dvd question at this time.

As for the changes, man, joe, I've talked about this to death in the archives here. Suffice to say there was a 100% change in the creative staff who made the show what it was in the first two seasons. The new staff didn't have the background, time or resources to do the show right.

Response recorded on July 26, 2000

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Laura aka 'ad astra' writes...

I wasn't planning to post another question until you had gotten to the last batch I posted. I figure how long it takes you to get to Ask Greg is a pretty good indication of how swamped you are. However, it is easier to figure out where to start looking for questions posted since I have last looked when I have a landmark post to start from. I guess I am a bit egocentrical since the landmark has to be of my own making:]

Here's a strange little question- As a fan I am happy whenever you expand the Gargoyle universe, so the inclusion of the New Olympian spin-off, and how well it would compare and contrast to the Gargoyle one was just a big plus. However, now that you pitched it as a Gargoyle spin-off, and, for now at least, it did not happen, do you regret having pitched it? I don't know if Disney has any claim to it from your pitch- but I bet they would have to all the characters we saw in the World Tour ep. I suppose you could redesign and alter it a lot, but it would not be the same and you couldn't pitch it as you picture it to another network. So do you, in part, wish you hadn't connected it to Gargoyles, or has it become an organic part of the Gargoyle universe and you really couldn't imagine New Olympians separately anyway?

Greg responds...

Your question pre-supposes some incorrect assumptions. New Olympians was created before Gargoyles, but like Gargoyles it was developed at Disney by Disney full-time employees, so Disney owned it all, independent of whether or not we chose to connect it up to the Gargoyles Universe. So, since it seemed to fit nicely, and might benefit both Universes, we chose to combine them into one Universe. No regrets there.

And by the way, I didn't come up with the initial idea for the New Olympians. The creator of that show was Bob Kline, who was Development Art Director for both New Olympians and Gargoyles, and was later a Director and Producer on Gargoyles. He directed the episode "The New Olympians".

Bob's idea went through a bit of a metamorphosis under my aegis. And we worked on it closely together. Greg Guler was brought in to help design some of the characters. But Bob should get credit for his contribution.

Response recorded on July 26, 2000

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ANGELA writes...

Hi, Greg. I noticed something in "Hunter's Moon: Part 2" that was inaccurate. When Angela wasn't breathing, and Elisa performed CPR on her, she was doing it wrong. Elisa was pushing directly on the breasts, when in reality you are suppossed to push just below the breastbone so that you can move the lung sac to force air into it. Now, if someone were to watch this particular show, and then in reality someone actually imitated what they saw to someone, they could make matters worse or even kill them. I was watching the news one day, and they were talking about how on the kids' show "Rugrats", a character was choking on an eraser and another character performed the hiemlich maneuver to save their life. This happened in real life at a grade school, and the child, remembering what they had seen on the TV show, preformed this procedure and ended up saving the other child's life. I was just concerned that if kids or anyone for that matter were to watch this scene in the Gargoyles show, then someone could die because the CPR procedure was not done correctly. Thanks for your time, Greg. I appreciate it! :)

Greg responds...

I'm embarrassed to admit that though I once knew CPR, I have long forgotten how to do it correctly. When we made the show, I asked everyone involved to make sure we were presenting it correctly. I was told we were, and I didn't double check myself. Obviously, I should have.

I don't love that it's wrong. But at the least, I hope that perhaps we can inspire a few people to learn CPR with the program. That was our main intent. Not to be an instruction manual on a relatively complicated procedure (relative to the Heimlich anyway) but to remind people that knowing CPR is a good thing. Unfortunately, I'm setting a very bad example by not following my own advice.

QUESTION: Do you think there would be any interest in having a CPR class at the L.A. GATHERING next year? Would people take the time to attend that? I would.

Response recorded on July 26, 2000

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Silver Falcon story memo...

I'm not sure when I'll get around to viewing the next episode of Gargoyles with my family, but I thought I'd get ready to ramble by posting my November, '94 memo to story editor Cary Bates. This was Cary's first Gargoyles script, so he was still new to the characters, which was one of the reasons he started with a single gargoyle story. Just Broadway, Elisa and a little Matt, basically.

You'll notice in what follows that some of the big twists still weren't present at this stage. We just hadn't cracked it fully yet. As I recall, Development Associate Eddie Guzelian suggested making the OLD MAN into Dominic Dracon. I was probably resistant a bit at first, just because of how much work that change would involve. But we all realized that Eddie's idea made the story much, much better. So the change was made...

Anyway, here's the memo, unedited as usual:

WEISMAN 11-7-94

Notes on "The Silver Falcon" Outline...

GENERAL CONCERNS
My main problem is that as a mystery story, this is a bit of a dud. We want to stump our audience, but here, we're cheating to do it. There's no way they could figure out where the diamonds are. We don't show them any options but the red herring. And if we did show them the true location, the answer becomes too obvious, and frankly not tricky enough. There's a silver falcon gargoyle on top of the speakeasy. There's another on top of the building across from Malone's office. We check both. One has it. One doesn't.

We need a double entendre here somewhere. We're looking for a silver falcon, and it turns out to be something that isn't literally that. Or in this case, Malone is being literal -- the jewels are in the silver falcon across from his office. But for most of the episode, we're looking for a more obscure answer, i.e. the speakeasy itself. Best not to have a literal silver falcon gargoyle in the vault at the speakeasy.

Even so, it's pretty straightforward. So let's make the whole situation more mysterious. Let's not learn what Matt was up to quite so fast. Let's not have Elisa be a Mace Malone expert. Let's not learn about the loot at all until act three. Let's misdirect more.

We also need secondary suspects. I suggest the Illuminati. That's the name of the Secret Society that Matt's always going on about. It'll be a huge red herring, if even Matt thought he was investigating the Illuminati, when in truth he stumbled on something considerably more mundane. For us, this would accomplish two goals. One, it misdirects Broadway, Elisa and the audience. Two, it sets us up for a future story where we actually use the Illuminati.

THEME
You get major points here. The theme is partnership, and it's presented clearly. Let's just give it more of an arc. Elisa doesn't have to be thrilled to have Sam Broadway Spade as a partner at first. She learns to appreciate the back-up.

S&P
You need to start thinking about the Audience you're writing for. Vogel's murder in the other premise, was never gonna fly. Likewise, here, a major clue revolving around alcohol consumption is definitely out. I wouldn't be afraid to do a story about alcohol, if we were really going to focus on that issue, but not as a throw away.

BROADWAY
Don't make him or his rookery brothers too young. They can have the occasional childlike response, but don't overdue it. Showing them enjoying a cartoon is one thing. Generalizing that they always are watching cartoons makes them sound like kids. Think of 19 or 20 year old Viet Nam Vets. These guys are warriors.

Also, when he's stone, Broadway is WAY TOO HEAVY for Elisa to budge.

And as flesh, Broadway getting shot is like anybody getting shot. Fatal. Or maybe he'd just bleed to death before sunrise. Even if sunrise were close, without surgery to remove the bullets, he wouldn't heal. Basically, what I'm getting at is that the gargoyles are NOT invulnerable.

DRACON AND GLASSES
Dracon is young and hungry. He's tough, violent, savvy, sarcastic. It's not that he can't get angry, but please resist the temptation to show him throwing temper-tantrums -- ranting (and whining) like a cliché d foiled villain.

He's got money, but he doesn't have the high-tech resources of a Xanatos. We have to be sparing with our use of that stuff. Which does not mean we can have massive gun battles with real bullets. (For S&P reasons.)

And if Dracon is not Xanatos, Glasses is not Owen. Glasses shouldn't quietly clear his throat so that he can feed his boss a plan. It's not that Glasses is stupid, but he's not the brains behind the organization either. He's an aggressive, tough and violent street thug in expensive clothes.

Let's also keep clear on Dracon's motivations and how they differ from Elisa's. He wants the loot, but he doesn't want to have to flee to South America with it. He's crossed the line by kidnapping two cops. He's going to have to kill them.... So he frees Elisa to follow her to the diamonds? Major problems all around. 1) Why does he think Elisa will be able to find them? 2) Why does he think she's even going to try after she's freed her partner? She has no motivation for finding the loot. She's a cop who's out to save her partner and bust the guy who kidnapped them both. (It's not that I don't buy her being curious. But that can wait until after Dracon is in custody.) 3) After she drops Matt off at her place, why don't Dracon's men sneak in and kill the unconscious detective? After all, they can't let him live. What are they waiting for? For him to wake up and come take them out? Etc.

Also, blowing up Matt's apartment is cool, but it has to feel like more of a last resort. Dracon doesn't want to draw any more attention to Matt's disappearance than necessary.

And, please note in your script that Dracon has a white streak in his hair from his previous encounter with the gargoyles.

CHAVEZ & BLUESTONE
Please do not play Maria as a callous boss, who doesn't care that one of her detectives has gone missing for two days. And yes, Matt's into secret society's and the like, but he's not the type to blow off work for two days in a row. Despite Matt's paranoia/hobby, he's a good partner and a good cop, someone that Elisa and Maria can count on.

On the other hand, Matt isn't psychic. He's seen gargoyles at a distance, but he knows nothing about them. Certainly, he has no idea of Elisa's connection to them. There's no way he'd casually decide that a "gargoyle" helped them crack a case. Why would it?

And we must resist the constant temptation to knock Matt out so that he doesn't find out the truth. We don't need it here. So I cut the drugged sleep.

HACKER
Let's change Hacker into a real character that we might want to re-use later. An FBI agent who used to be Matt's partner before Matt was booted out of the bureau for investigating the Illuminati Society. The bureau doesn't officially acknowledge the Illuminati's existence. (All this will be a revelation to Elisa. She didn't know Matt had ever been in the bureau. Her surprise about this will add to the general feeling of mystery in the story.) Matt is persona non grata with the FBI, and Agent Smith (or whatever) can no longer be seen with him, which explains the clandestine meeting.

LIBRARY
For future reference, the library is the other face of the same building that houses the twenty-third police precinct, above which is the clock tower where the gargoyles live. The library is closed at nights, and Goliath often reads down there. But I've cut the library scene, so it doesn't matter here.

BEAT OUTLINE
ACT ONE
1. Make the setting someplace other than a slaughterhouse, but otherwise MATT's kidnapping can play pretty much the way you had it.

2. Two days later at ELISA's place. BROADWAY is there to watch his video of the detective movie, (because Hudson is sick of him playing it over and over again on the tv set at the clock tower). Elisa gets a phone call from CHAVEZ. (Intercut.) Matt took some personal time to investigate Bigfoot or something. But he hasn't checked back in 48 hours, which isn't like him. And there's no answer at his place. Elisa hasn't heard from him either. This isn't good. Elisa's going to check on him on her way to work. Chavez makes Elisa promise to call for back-up if there's any trouble. Elisa says, yeah, sure, whatever.... (But she doesn't really think she needs any help.) Broadway overhears and wants to come along. He'll act as her back-up, her partner until she solves the mystery of the missing Matt. But Elisa's got one partner already. She doesn't need two. She'll handle this alone.

3. Matt's apartment. Elisa's outside Matt's door. She rings bell, knocks, calls for him. What she doesn't know is that the place has already been ransacked and that the ransack-er, a man dressed all in black and wearing a black SKI-MASK, is still inside. Plus another, bigger man in a trench coat and slouch hat (think Ben Grimm) is out on Matt's small terrace/balcony. (We should momentarily think these two men are working together -- the man on the balcony acting as look-out for Mr. Ski-Mask inside, but in reality, Ski-Mask is one of Dracon's men, and the guy on the balcony is Broadway. So in fact, Ski-Mask is unaware of Broadway's presence.) Elisa reaches above the door and finds Matt's spare key on the molding. She does not take out her gun. She is not expecting trouble. But inside, as she unlocks the door, Ski-Mask has his gun out and ready. Which is more than enough justification for Broadway to rip the terrace door right off and reveal himself, in a decidedly monstrous fashion. (NOTE: He does not crash through the glass!!) The clothes he's wearing should increase the scare factor, not make him look silly. By the time Elisa gets the door open, the terrified thug is pushing right past her and high-tailing it down the empty hallway with Broadway (who pauses only to say "Got you covered, partner") in close pursuit.
Ski-Mask makes it to the waiting elevator, and the doors close before Broadway can get to them. But Broadway pulls the elevator doors open and grabs the moving cable, which strains against him, until the elevator stops. Then he leaps down (about a flight) onto the roof of the elevator, shaking it's occupant. He rips open the trap door and yanks the guy up. By the time a stunned Elisa gets to the elevator, she barely misses getting hit by the flying thug whom Broadway has tossed out of the shaft. Ski-Mask crashes into the corridor wall and is temporarily knocked out.
Broadway climbs out of the shaft only to face the wrath of...ELISA. She definitely isn't pleased. But she's not going to fight with Broadway out in the open. They'll discuss things privately, in Matt's apartment. She indicates the thug. "Better bring him too."
Inside Matt's place, Elisa searches the thug, while she verbally chews Broadway out for interfering. She removes the ski-mask, but she doesn't recognize the guy. She does find a page that the thug clearly ripped from Matt's calendar with today's date, a time and a specific location (just saying Central Park isn't enough, it's a big park). Ski-Mask starts to come to just as Broadway suggests checking Matt's computer to see if they can find any info there. The thug panics, tipping Elisa off that the thug had rigged the computer to blow. She tries to stop Broadway from flipping the switch, but it's too late.
Cut to outside Matt's window. There is a brief high-pitch whine, during which Broadway leaps out holding both Elisa and the thug -- and then BOOM!! The force of the explosion propels them across the gap to another lower rooftop. (Broadway can't spread his wings because of his trench coat.) They land hard. Broadway drops both humans and the momentum nearly takes him over the roof. Elisa helps him up, and by the time they turn around, the thug has split.
Now Elisa is really ticked off. But Broadway points out that he did just save her life. Only after creating the dangerous situation in the first place, Elisa reminds him. Broadway's embarrassed, but tenacious. Look, it's obvious that Matt was working alone and got into something way over his head. If Elisa tries to handle this alone, the same thing could happen to her. We get tight on Elisa. What will she decide?

4. Elisa arrives alone at the meeting described on the page from Matt's calendar. She cautiously approaches a man, who turns out to be Matt's ex-partner from the FBI, AGENT SMITH (or whatever). It's tense at first, but once Elisa identifies herself, Agent Smith is very cooperative. Matt's told him that Elisa is all right. A good partner. (Elisa's a little embarrassed.)
So Smith fills her in. As usual, Matt's been trying to prove the existence of the Illuminati Society. He's been investigating a gangster from the 1920's who was rumored to have ties to the Illuminati and vanished mysteriously on March 22, 1924. Matt had found a letter, that he wanted Smith to authenticate. The letter was hand-written on Malone's pre-printed stationary:

MACE MALONE
3150 Third Avenue #45D, New York

March 21, 1924

D.D.,
Our little Society is turning a nice profit.
Everyday I see the Silver Falcon, I smile. You
would too, if you knew what I knew.

Your Senior Partner (and don't you forget it),

Mace

The ink and paper do date from the 20s and the signature checks out too. The letter is legit. But where did Matt get it? Smith doesn't know. What's the Silver Falcon? Smith doesn't know. Who's "D.D."? Smith doesn't know.
Smith isn't happy to hear that Matt is missing. If he can help Elisa in any way.... But Elisa insists she can handle it from here. So Smith takes off. Elisa stands there examining the letter. She seems to be talking to herself. The only real lead it offers is Malone's address, but what good could it be 70 years later.
And Elisa may never find out. Suddenly, we discover that Elisa is surrounded by three BAD GUYS, led by Ski-Mask. It looks bad.

ACT TWO
5. Elisa calls out: "Broadway, NOW!!" And Broadway comes out from wherever he's been hiding and takes out two of the thugs. But Ski-Mask hops into a getaway car that pulls up fast and takes off faster. Elisa handcuffs the two unconscious thugs to something, but she's worried. She doesn't know if the escaped thug heard her talking about Malone's old address. They have to get there before the Illuminati blow it up like they did Matt's apartment. Broadway sweeps her up and they're off.

6. 3150 Third Avenue. 45th floor. Elisa's inside. Broadway watches from the roof. (We need to somehow establish that Elisa and Broadway both might have seen the Falcon-heads across the street -- and yet we need to do it in a way that doesn't immediately tip off our audience. One thing that would help is if the chrome falcons were now literally black with NYC soot and grime.)
There's a light on in 45D. An OLD MAN answers Elisa's knock. He's an accountant, working late. She realizes it's a long shot, but wonders if he knows anything about Mace Malone. Turns out that he's something of a Mace Malone buff. That's why he rented this particular office. He's got Mace's original desk and everything. Here, sit down.
Mace's mysterious disappearance makes him a curiosity, and every once in a while someone stops by and asks questions. Why just the other day, that nice red-headed boy was here. Elisa realizes he's talking about Matt. What did the old man tell Matt? Nothing. He ran out of here, as soon as he saw the picture. What picture? This one. It's an old photograph of Malone and a couple of other men (at least one of which is Dracon's grandfather) in front of a non-descript building. Does the old man know where this was taken? Sure, that's Malone's old speakeasy, the Silver Falcon. He gives Elisa the same lower east side address he had given to Matt, and the same caveat... the Falcon was torn down ages ago, they built something else there. Elisa thanks him as she ushers him out of his own office. It's temporarily unsafe here. She asks him to call Chavez and fill her in on everything he told Elisa and Matt, (and also about the two hand-cuffed thugs). She's heading straight to the lower eastside, as the crow flies, so to speak.

7. Elisa and Broadway arrive at the scene-one location where we last saw Matt. They soon discover GLASSES and his salvage operation. He's clearly digging for something, but what? Matt is there. Tied up and blind-folded. But before they can get near him, Broadway's weight collapses the wooden staircase, and they're discovered. A brief battle ensues. Glasses and his MEN use their semi-hi-tech construction equipment as make-shift weapons. Plus maybe a stick of dynamite or something. There's a cave-in that buries Elisa and Broadway. Glasses turns to Matt and taunts him. So much for the cavalry, Bluestone -- That was your partner. And she's dead.

8. Cut to a small cavity, with-in the cave-in. It's pitch black except for Broadway's glowing eyes. Elisa asks Broadway if he's o.k. He says he is but his voice is clearly straining. As she fumbles for her pocket flashlight, Elisa points out that there can't be much air in here. Will Broadway be able to use his claws to dig them out? Broadway has a couple of problems with that. The main one being that he's starting to feel real tired and that can only mean one thing. What? But Broadway is strangely silent and his eyes stop glowing. Elisa finally clicks on her flashlight and looks. Broadway's frozen in stone.

ACT THREE
9. Outside, the sun has come up on a new day. Inside the cavity, Elisa realizes that when the cave-in occurred, Broadway acted as a living pillar, straining under the weight of a lot of rock and dirt, protecting them both from being buried alive. Now he stands there frozen like a medieval column. There isn't anything she can do but start digging.

10. Out in the main cave, Matt convinces Glasses to try and dig Elisa out. She's probably dead anyway, but she might have Malone's letter. If she does, Glasses' boss can stop looking for it. Glasses isn't dumb. He knows that Matt is simply trying to save his partner, but he can't deny Matt's sound logic regarding the letter, so he sets his men working.

11. Dissolve to a short while later. Glasses' men are getting close to Elisa, who's dug a little of the way out but is running out of air. She can hear them getting close, and she can't let them find Broadway in his vulnerable state. So to protect him, she pulls down one of the rocks above her own little dugout, and allows herself to be buried alive. Fortunately, she's timed it right. Glasses digs her out, but to all appearances, she's lucky to be alive and the guy in the trench coat is still buried under all that rock. She has Malone's letter. So the guy can stay buried.
Finally, DRACON arrives with the Ski-Mask guy from Matt's apartment and the old man from Mace's old office. Ski-Mask got to the old man before he could call Chavez, so there's no help on the way. (And Elisa realizes that the few minutes it would have cost her to call Chavez herself would have been well worth it.)
Dracon's fairly annoyed that Glasses hasn't finished digging through to the vault yet. Glasses explains the delay and produces the letter. But Dracon, shakes his head. We don't have to worry about someone else getting the letter, if we already have the loot. Dig out that vault!!
Loot? Vault? Dracon? What's going on? Matt fills Elisa in. Malone's letter didn't refer to the Illuminati at all, but to a bank robbing syndicate that included both Malone and Dracon's grandfather, Dominic Dracon (aka D.D.). Malone disappeared before he got around to telling Dominic where the loot from all their heists was. But the letter suggests that it might be here at the speakeasy. It wasn't found when the place was demolished decades ago, so Tony is convinced that there must have been an underground vault.
But how did Matt get involved? Matt had found the letter, among the younger Dracon's papers when Dracon was arrested months ago for grand theft. (Dracon's case is still pending. He's out on bail.) Matt investigated on his own, thinking he was on the trail of the Illuminati, and accidentally stumbled on this. Dracon kept him alive, because they wanted to make sure the letter was out of circulation. They didn't want anyone else stumbling on their little operation, before they had the loot. Matt apologizes for not keeping his partner up to speed. He really screwed up by acting alone.
Finally, Glasses hits pay dirt. There is a vault. Soon, they're burning through that. They break through. And inside... nothing. Nothing but a note:

Sorry, D.D.

Guess again.

Mace

Dracon is furious. But Elisa's not surprised. If the loot had been there, Dominic would have found it when he first received the letter seventy years ago. He must have been pretty confident it was here, or he wouldn't have gotten rid of Mace the day he received the letter. Dracon's a bit embarrassed by Elisa's superior powers of deductive reasoning. Embarrassed enough to tell Glasses to "take care of" the three hostages. But Elisa stays their hands by telling them she's figured out where the loot is hidden. Dracon demands to know where. But Elisa's not dumb. If she tells now, then she, Matt and the Old Man are wormfood. She's willing to take Dracon there. But it's pretty public, they'll have to wait until after dark, and we push in on the mound of dirt where Broadway is buried.

12. Let's indicate some passage of time here. The sun sets. Then we return to the underground chamber. No one's there at all. Broadway bursts from the cave in. He's panicked about Elisa. He finds Mace's second note and reads it with great difficulty. Will he figure everything out?

13. In a helicopter above the city, Dracon, Glasses and Ski-Mask are escorting Elisa, Matt and the old man to the roof of the building opposite Malone's old office. Matt whispers a warning: "They'll kill us as soon as you show them where the loot is." But Elisa says, "Don't worry, I've called for back-up. I think."
The building's too old to be equipped with a heli-pad, but Glasses manages to get close enough to allow Dracon and Elisa to jump onto the roof. Once on the roof, Elisa explains that from Malone's desk across the street, you can see these black bird-heads. And sure enough when she wipes the grime of seventy years away, she reveals the silver-like chrome beneath. Dracon probably has to check a couple heads, before finding the little bag of precious jewels that Mace had the bank loot converted to.
Now all Dracon has to do is get rid of his trio of hostages. He invites Elisa to step off the side of the building. And to his surprise she does.
Of course, she did it because she had already spotted Broadway, who catches her. (He didn't know anything about the loot or Dominic Dracon. But Mace's 2nd note invited "D.D." to guess again. The falcons on this building were the only other place Broadway could think of to check out. He's just glad he guessed right and that he was in time.)
Ultimately, Broadway takes out the chopper, without revealing himself to Matt or the old man. With Matt's help, Glasses, Ski-Mask and Dracon are all taken down. (This can all play largely as you had it.)
Matt thanks his partner Elisa for pulling his fat out of the fire.

14. And in the TAG at the clock tower, Elisa thanks her partner Broadway for doing the same.

That's it. Call me if you have any questions.


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Chapter XVIII: "The Mirror"

Story Editor: Brynne Chandler Reaves
Writer: Lydia C. Marano

Arguably the best single episode of the series. The animation is fluid, dynamic and very strong. The writing is sharp, even quite funny over and over. And yet, dramatically the story is still potent. It really advances the Goliath & Elisa romance arc. Changes Demona permanently. And introduces Puck -- and by extension, the entire third race: The Children of Oberon. All in a mere 22 minutes.

It's also very gratifying for me. A bit of a vindication. As you may have seen from the memos I wrote to Brynne & Lydia, there was some considerable resistance to the notion that none of the characters would notice their own personal change from one species to another. Most of my collaborators thought the idea was way too complicated to pull off. I argued that it might seem complex, but in fact it would play cleaner on screen -- and funnier and more directly to theme. In my mind, another title for this episode could have been -- had we already not been using it for our Werefox episode -- "Eye of the Beholder", because all the transformed characters really noticed was when someone else was "OTHER". Being a monster or being "normal" was based on their point of view, not any objective look in the mirror. [As it is, the title is the kind I like. Simple, objective and yet metaphoric. At one point, it was titled: "Mirror, Mirror". But we simplified it even more.]

But anyway, when the human Brooklyn, Lex and Broadway are confronted by "Gargoyles", the scene is an intentional mirror of the scene from AWAKENING, PART ONE where Brooklyn says, "If they think we're beasts and monsters..." Again, this is playing with the idea of "beasts and monsters" being merely in the eye of the beholder. The species have reversed, but the situation is exactly the same simply because the Trio remain in the minority. I suppose that's one thing that X-Men's mutants have in common with the Gargs. Both are a metaphor for being part of a minority. Feared almost automatically.

On the other hand, when Elisa is transformed, she believes that Goliath & Co. have been transformed into something like her. I think her immediate reaction is very telling about how she ALREADY felt about Goliath at that point. She's thrilled. She throws her arms about him. Now they're the same species. There's no impediment to their love. What's interesting is that if you stopped and asked Elisa under normal circumstances whether she would wish for Goliath to be transformed into a human, the answer would most certainly be "No." She knows that being a Gargoyle is fundamental to who he is. You can't change that without changing him -- and yet in that instant, in that unguarded moment, her desire to be with him overwhelms that rational knowledge. She's just happy.

At the museum, Elisa looks at herself in the mirror. She then moves, but the reflection holds. That was the idea of one of our board artists. A little clue that the mirror is magic. (It's not an animation error.)

Family Reactions #1

During that museum chase, my wife wanted to know why no alarms were going off. I figure Demona or the thieves just shut them off.

Erin didn't realize that that was Elisa dressed as a security guard at first. We were trying to withhold that information for a bit.

"Titania's Mirror", "The Children of Oberon", "Oberon sent me." We were laying groundwork to expand the entire series' base. But I don't know if back then I knew that much about what if anything I had planned specifically for Titania & Oberon.

Anymore than I knew then what I'd do with the "Dracula's Daughter" reference. But we try not to waste anything.

Coming up with that "Children of Oberon" name was a struggle. And so many people have asked me since whether or not Oberon is literally everyone's father, I almost regret landing on that choice. Our thought process is largely present in the episode when Goliath et al, go through various noms: Fair Folk, Dark Elves, Changelings, Shape-Shifters. Of course, at the time we were misusing the term Changeling. I think that was Odo's influence frankly, but I should have known better. I suggested "The Oberati". But the Reaves didn't care for that. I think they thought it sounded too much like an Italian sports car.

I do love the moment when Brooklyn cites Shakespeare's play as a sort of reference work on the Children. I hope we sent a few people to the library with that line. Did we?

I also love Hudson's line in response to Elisa's question: Are they real?

Hudson: "As real as I am, if the stories be true." It's full of delicious dramatic irony. If you can suspend belief on a bunch of gargoyles, then this shouldn't be a problem for you. I love things that work on multiple levels.

I also love Hudson's "Be careful what you wish for" line.

We were trying to show a bit here how Demona had managed to operate in the modern world up to this point. One of the thieves has clearly worked for Demona before without ever having laid eyes on her. Of course, showing Demona's M.O. here, was like giving it a swan song. Because after this episode, though she clearly doesn't realize it yet, her life is going to get MUCH easier. Being a human during the day is a great boon to all her scheming. I'm very curious about everyone's reaction to that? Shock? Amusement? I also tried to work very hard so that in that last two minutes of epilogue, everyone would get that she only was human during the day. I was very afraid that the audience would think she was permanently transformed into a human. Was anyone confused? Or was anyone surprised that Puck's revenge/gift STUCK? We wouldn't really explore the change until HIGH NOON. Had you forgotten about it by then?

Family Reactions #2
As Demona's casting the spell that will summon Puck. (Which I always thought was very cool, with the feather and all.)
Benny: "That's a magic mirror. Is Demona going in there?"
Erin: "Puck's gonna come out."

As I've mentioned before, during the writing of this story we figured out that Owen was Puck. So to play fair we dropped a hint here. Demona (who knows) says to Puck: "You serve the human. You can serve me." Puck changes the subject, replying "Humans [note the plural] have a sense of humor, you have none." This was done intentionally to distract the audience away from the hint we had just dropped. But obviously, in hindsight, it's a clear reference to Owen serving Xanatos. Anyone get it right off the bat? Anyone even take note of the line the first time? Originally, the line read, "You serve him, now you can serve me." With the "him" referring to Xanatos. But our S&P executive was afraid the "him" could be taken to mean Satan. I know that seems silly now. But keep in mind, we were very paranoid back then about the show being attacked for promoting devil worship. So we made the change.

Sensitive Broadway: "Maybe even love." It's a nice moment. Wistful.

Puck reminds Demona that the mirror isn't "Aladdin's lamp". At the time, the Aladdin series was still in production at Disney. So that's a bit of an in-joke.

And how about that: Demona is still carrying a torch for Goliath. On some level, she wants him more than almost anything. Yet she continually allows her hatred to get in the way. And the irony is, that at this point, pre-Vows it isn't yet too late for them. But her actions further serve to cement the Goliath/Elisa relationship. More now than ever before.

Puck/Brent Spiner is just fantastic. I love that "charming personality" line. And "You don't know what you're asking, believe me." And "I'll do EXACTLY as you asked." And "My mistake." And "A very long nap." He's just so rich.

Plus the boarding and animation on Puck is just great. As is the sound work that accompanies him zipping around.

I always wanted Puck to be the one character who could break the fourth wall and talk directly to the audience. Every time he appeared, we'd put a line or two in the script that was addressed to the audience. And every time, Frank or Dennis Woodyard would cut it out of the board. They didn't like breaking the fourth wall. (A lot of guys don't. I tried to do that with Max on Max Steel, but Richard Raynis and Jeff Kline wouldn't allow that either.) Oh, well....

Puck also establishes that Oberon's Children generally use rhyming spells instead of Latin or Hebrew or whatever. (Thus making life slightly -- but ONLY slightly -- easier on me and the writers.) But Puck isn't too formal: "Human's love a battle hearty, so does Puck, come on, let's Party!" Fun. (And I like Brooklyn's line, "Party's over." too.)

Family Reactions #3
When Elisa's transformed into a gargoyle.

Erin: "She looks cute." [I very much agree. Though I always wonder where her red jacket goes.]

Ben then asked why she was transformed.

Beth explained that Demona didn't want Elisa to be human anymore.

Erin then corrects my wife and explains that Puck is tricking Demona.

KIDS GET IT! Adults need to pay closer attention!

Goliath suddenly has lust in his heart:
G: "I never realized when you were human just how beautiful you were."
E (with a smile): "You mean you thought I was ugly?"
G: "Uh... careful! Updraft!!"
Man, that guy is smooth.

Anyway, that's one of my all-time favorite exchanges. I think it reveals so much. Somewhere underneath, Goliath has been attracted to who Elisa IS deep-down -- at least since AWAKENING, PART THREE. But he never thought of her as a potential love interest. He wasn't brought up liberally enough to think that way. After all, she has no wings, no tail. And those human shaped feet!

But suddenly, she's revealed as a FEMALE. Now, even when she goes back to being human, his perspective is permanently altered. Hers, however, is not. She's already consciously had those thoughts. Consciously rejected them. So at the end of the episode, he wants to discuss these (for him) new feelings -- but she does not. And the sun helps shut him up.
G: "That's not what I meant."
E: "But that's the way it is."
Another of my all-time favorite exchanges. (I'm really partial to things involving the G/E relationship. I know, I know, I'm a romantic sap.]

I also like the ongoing confusion. Elisa: "Everyone in Manhattan has been turned into... HUMANS!" Goliath: "No, no, no, no, no." And when the Gargoyles are changed into humans, Brooklyn is so sure that they've always been humans, it's funny. Like that moment in CITY OF STONE, when he's convinced that the "statue of Elisa" is a bad likeness of her: "They got the nose wrong."

FYI, there was an honest attempt, within the logical parameters of what our gargs looked like, to make their human versions resemble the actors who played them. Thus Goliath has darker skin than the others, because Keith David is African-American. (Though otherwise Goliath really looks like Conan to me.) The bald Lex has brown hair and the bald Broadway has blond like Thom Adcox and Bill Fagerbakke respectively. Brooklyn resembles Jeff Bennett but with Brooklyn's white hair instead of Jeff's blond. And Hudson looks like Ed Asner with a beard. More or less. Thom Adcox is the one who most looked like the human version of his character.

Cool little touches:

Demona nudges an unconscious Puck with her tail.

She continues to call Hudson, "Old Soldier". Her tenth century "name" for him.

Her line about the "gift of being a gargoyle". I love that superior attitude.

Lexington's "Fun, but weird" line.

Hudson wrapping the sheet over the mirror.

Elisa and Demona have a brief "cat-fight" as Gargoyles. Not quite as diverting as the one they'll have as humans in High Noon. But it was nice to put them on equal physical footing for a change. Let them have it out.

Demona mentions that Puck isn't too tired to make himself "invisible to the crowd". This was us trying to plug a hole in our story. We felt it would undercut the mob's reactions to our newly human heroes if they had the same reaction to seeing Puck. And yet Puck clearly looks more human than Gargoyle. More "other". So we slid that line in to avoid the whole problem.

FAMILY REACTION #4

Beth laughed at Hudson's very Scots reading of "No doubt about it." Which is pronounced more like: "No doot aboot it."

More sappy stuff (which I love):

Goliath's line: "I'll always be there to catch you."

Elisa completely forgetting her fear of flying in order to save the MAN she loves.

That brief moment when both Elisa and Goliath are humans at the same time.

Hudson's wistful line about seeing the sun, just once.

Although it had little to do with the metaphor, we couldn't really resist the notion of showing Bronx transformed into a dog. We picked the biggest dog we could think of, a Wolfhound type, though a bulldog might have been more reminiscent.

In the script, Demona smashes the mirror upon seeing her human reflection in the glass. But somehow the scene never got animated. So we added the sound of the mirror being smashed to the exterior shot at the end. This was important in order to give the story full closure. The initial point of the episode was to prevent Demona from getting Titania's Mirror. Structurally, therefore, I couldn't allow her to keep it.

But no fear, later we introduced Oberon's Mirror (clearly part of a matching set) in THE GATHERING, PART ONE.

I wonder what all those Manhattanites thought when suddenly they realized they were all barefoot.


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GATHERING UPDATE

GOT SOME GOOD NEWS & BAD NEWS...

Bad news first, due to a family health crisis, storyboard artist Brad Rader will not be able to attend the Gathering next week.

But, the Good News: Storyboard Artist Victor Cook has stepped up to take his place. Vic worked on a good quarter of the series' second season including:

The Silver Falcon
Eye of the Beholder
Outfoxed
The Price
Avalon, Part Two
Golem
Sanctuary
Mark of the Panther
Bushido
Ill Met By Moonlight
The Reckoning
Possession
Hunter's Moon, Part Three

Specifically -- and among other things -- Vic designed the unique "Tale of the Panther Queen" Sequence in MARK OF THE PANTHER.

I'm sorry Brad won't be able to make it (we'll get him next year in L.A.), but I'm very pleased to announce that Vic Cook will be joining Character Designer Greg Guler, Voice Actor Thom "Lexington" Adcox and myself at the Gathering. Attending the San Diego ComicCon only wet my appetite for "the real thing". I can't wait.


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jp12@mail.csuchico.edu writes...

I love the show. I can't watch it here in Chico, Ca. But, your work with villians is great. One vision for 2 seasons is very rare.
1. How much does it cost to produce 66 episodes?
2. Does it vary much for different studios/companies?
3. Any way I can get some of the material you show at the gathering? NY is pretty far from CA. I can't afford the trip.
4. What do you feel is your best work (not a specific "1", but things you'd recommend)?
5. I know and like Max Steel. Anything else you're working on now (even single episode plots)?

Thanks for listening. If you're even half as busy as I am, you'd be pressed to answer these in a timely manner. I'm glad just to hope for a response eventually.

Best Wishes, John Peacock
P.S.: Gargoyles is one of the few shows I'd be proud to watch with children. Hope yours keeps enjoying it.

Greg responds...

1. We averaged between 400K and 500K per episode in the first two years. The third year had, I believe, a lower budget.

2. I'm not sure what you mean.

3. New York isn't that far from Orlando, Florida -- which is where this year's Gathering is. (Next year's is in California.) And where were you during the TWO NYC Gatherings in 97 and 98? Anyway, what material did you have in mind?

4. On Gargoyles or period? Gargoyles is my best work. I'm fond of Starship Troopers and the comic book Captain Atom too.

5. I just completed voice directing a Japanese Anime video series called 3x3 Eyes. It should be available in September.

Response recorded on July 24, 2000

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A Gargoyles Live-Action Movie

In light of the release of the X-MEN movie I thought it would be appropriate to discuss a possible Gargoyles Live-Action Movie.

As most of you know, Disney/Touchstone has literally been developing this for years. So far with no success. But they're still plugging away at it and have hired a new screenwriter recently. I think the success of X-Men may help light a fire under them too.

But let me tell you a story. It was 1995. A Touchstone Executive named Todd Garner wanted to develop the Gargoyles series as a live-action feature. He was told he'd have to deal with Gary Krisel who, as President of Walt Disney TV Animation, had the property under his domain. Gary, in turn, strongly suggested that Todd develop the property with a couple of writers who were familiar with it: Greg Weisman & Michael Reaves. So Touchstone made a deal with Michael and I. We would be "co-producers" of the film. And they gave us a shot at writing the treatment, i.e. the outline for the story. We did that, more or less. Our approach was rejected, more or less, by Todd's bosses at Touchstone. Todd started us on a new approach. Then Gary Krisel announced he was leaving Disney. Very quickly, Michael and I were moved off the project. We're still "co-producers". But that means next-to-nothing. Todd's no longer at Touchstone. In fact, the projects gone through at least five executives I can think of and six writers that I know of. But I'm not exactly in the loop. Still I have a pleasant enough relationship with Jim Wedaa, who's working with the movie's attached producer. So I call him for updates periodically. He promises that if they ever get a script they like, they'll send it to me. I'm not holding my breath. But you never know.

Anyway, I thought it might be an interesting subject of discussion to reveal what Michael & I had planned for the movie. I feel safe revealing this, since I know it's not going to be used.

Keep in mind, we all felt that we needed to start the continuity over from scratch. The series (which was still in production at the time) would have it's own continuity. The movie continuity would exist in a kind of parallel universe. Hopefully, it would all be emotionally the same. But details would differ. We wanted to simplify the complex plotting a bit. (Not make it unintelligent, just clean it up a bit.) We wanted to leave room open for sequels. But we wanted to tell one GREAT story, as if we'd only ever get one shot.

That story would, more or less, be AWAKENING.

But we made some changes.

For starters, we put Macbeth in charge of Castle Wyvern. In one version he had the Magus by his side. In another, the Archmage. In yet a third, we made Macbeth himself a bit of a sorceror king. At any rate, Katharine became his daughter. I know this sounds treasonous. But doing this allowed us to simplify all sorts of backstory, and allowed us (at least in the nefarious backs of our minds) to plan for a Macbeth sequel. And an Avalon sequel with Katharine and the eggs.

We also were forced to ditch the notion of the Gargoyles not having names. There wasn't time to explore it unfortunately, and it is a complicated idea. Goliath remained Goliath. Demona was Angel. Lexington became Alexander (but still Lex for short). Hudson became "Mentor" in one draft. "Soldier" in another. And a fifth prominent character was Othello. Brooklyn, Bronx and Broadway had cameos in the eleventh century flashback that more-or-less opened the film.

Once we got to the present, we had Xanatos, Sevarius and Owen. They awaken three gargoyles: Goliath, Lex and Othello. They tell them that as far as they know these three are the only three that survived. Elisa is introduced, but she doesn't meet Goliath right away. She investigates a number of strange incidents and mysterious reports (with Matt's help and under Chavez's command). She discovers the secret of the Gargoyles over time. Then Elisa and Goliath both take time to learn to trust each other. The whole Cyberbiotics plot is there but simplified. Demona resurfaces and basically becomes the main villain in the movie. (In an earlier draft, we saved her to be a main villain in a sequel.) Othello doesn't fair too well in the present. (Thus setting up a possible Coldstone sequel.) Xanatos runs a whole series of tests on Goliath, (setting up a Thailog sequel). Goliath, Elisa and Lex manage to triumph over their opponents (which included Steel Clan Robots and Xanatos in his Gargoyle-Armor). In the epilogue, they find a cache of additional undestroyed gargoyles: Hudson/Mentor/Soldier, Brooklyn, Broadway and Bronx (and in one draft, Angel/Demona). The movie ends on a hopeful note as these new Gargs are awakened.

Obviously, I'm not attempting to tell a coherent story above, but to show you what our strategy was. We were going to start over. Use a clean, straightforward story. Focus on the KEY Goliath/Elisa relationship. Intro elements that could be used for sequels but didn't require you to already know history. And didn't distract from the single big story we were trying to tell in THIS movie. There'd be a lot of tasty tidbits for diehard fans of the show. But we'd still have a brand new story that a new audience could follow.

That was the plan.

Of course, I have no idea what Touchstone's current plan is. But no matter what they do, I'm rooting for the movie. Because that movie is the surest way for us to get the series back on the air.


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Todd Jensen writes...

According to what I've heard about your discussion of "The New Olympians" spin-off that you'd planned at the Gatherings, Xanatos would have shown up in it as a sort of trading partner to New Olympus, both under his own name and under Xavier. You've mentioned here earlier that Xavier was the "first-draft" name for Xanatos, back when "Gargoyles" was going to be a comedy series. Was Xavier/Xanatos originally created for the "New Olympians" series when it was first thought up, before "Gargoyles" came along, and then transfered to "Gargoyles" when "New Olympians" didn't get off the ground (the same as the New Olympians themselves eventually)?

Greg responds...

First off, there is no Xavier in the Garg Universe. The Xanatos name completely took it's place. And Xavier never appeared in the New Olympian Pitch. We pitched New Olympians first, pre-Gargoyles. (Based on an idea by Bob Kline.) Then after Gargoyles was up and running, we trotted the New Olympian pitch back out, made some minor changes, including the addition of Xanatos and pitched the show again. Still with no success.

But Xanatos was created for Gargoyles. Adding him to New Olympians, was an afterthought.

Response recorded on July 19, 2000

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Man Mountain writes...

Great Sage (aka Greg),
I don't know all the right terminology or even if you can answer it, but perhaps you can point me in the right direction. Is the idea of Gargoyles turning to stone by day and back to flesh by night, copyrighted? Or perhaps only the "exploding skin" of sunset? I just wondered how much of the basic biology is in the public domain. (Not that I plan on ripping you off or anything, I was just curious.) Thanks for your time, oh Great Sage of Gargoyles...

Greg responds...

As far as I know, that was original to us. (Meaning Disney owns that idea.) Though I've certainly seen similar things.

Response recorded on July 18, 2000

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Another "Mirror" Memo...

Though I think it's one of our most rewarding episodes, it was a tough one to make come together. So after I received the first draft script on "The Mirror", I sent a second memo to Brynne. Here it is, UNEDITED:

WEISMAN 11-13-94

Notes on "The Mirror" Script...

O.k. The problems here seems to be mostly my fault. I haven't been able to make clear to you guys how I want our characters to react when they've been changed. It's been clear in my head. And for me the logic flows backwards from a scene I want to see where an average-human-pedestrian-who-has-been-turned-into-a-gargoyle sees one of our transformed-into-human-heroes and screams: "Look at that monster!! It's like some kind of horrible... HUMAN!!" The key is that the bystander actually uses the word "HUMAN", and that he says it with the same kind of fear and revulsion that we would normally hear (in a more typical episode) being used for the word "GARGOYLE".

In order to get both the revulsion into the word "Human" and a strongly negative reaction to our heroes' new human appearance, the bystander needs to believe that being a gargoyle is the way it's supposed to be. Therefore when the bystander's appearance was changed his mind-set must have been changed as well.

Working backwards from that goal, how would our main characters react to being changed?

THEIR MINDSET WOULD CHANGE SIMULTANEOUSLY WITH THEIR APPEARANCE:
Elisa is the first to be transformed. Thus, ELISA'S REACTION to being changed into A GARGOYLE is the surprising statement:

"Goliath, You've been changed into a gargoyle!"

Reasoning: Goliath &co. were always "the other" to Elisa. But when she was transformed, her mindset changed with her appearance. So she now believes that being a gargoyle is normal. Since, Goliath &co. now look "normal" to her, she figures that they must have been magically changed from being "the other" into being "normal"--i.e. they have been transformed into gargoyles.

[I realize this seems byzantine, but ultimately it'll be the most straightforward reaction on screen, short of having everyone entirely self-aware from the moment they change, (which just isn't as much fun to me). See how it plays out in beat #11. (Also #9, 13, 14 and 21.) If you're still not clear, please don't hesitate to call me.]

TENSION
Despite absurdist moments in this story, we must keep the tension and suspense running high, throughout.
--Don't reveal Elisa's presence at the museum until last possible second. Same with Goliath.
--Don't let Gargoyle's lose track of their objective for more than a line of dialogue here or there.
--Don't let the battle meander from place to place. Keep battle and chase scenes focused and specific.

WHAT THEY'VE BEEN WISHING FOR:
DEMONA'S WISHES
1. Get rid of humans, particularly Elisa.
2. Get rid of Goliath and Co.
3. Stop turning to stone during the day.

GOLIATH & ELISA'S WISH - To be together. (Elisa is slightly more self-aware than Goliath, but neither should specifically wish in dialogue to become the race of the other. It's too on the head.)

TRIO'S WISH - To assimilate.

CLARITY IN SCRIPT
O.K. TO USE: ELISA/GARGOYLE
HUMAN/"GARGOYLES"
GOLIATH/HUMAN
HUDSON/HUMAN
BROOKLYN/HUMAN
BROADWAY/HUMAN
LEXINGTON/HUMAN
OUR HEROES

DON'T USE: HUMAN/GARGOYLES
GARGOYLES/HUMANS
TRIO/HUMANS
Even for me, these were too confusing.

In group scenes, LIST ALL CHARACTERS IF NECESSARY.

BEAT SHEET
ACT ONE
1. Museum.
--Establish two security guards - but don't reveal that one of them is Elisa (or that Goliath is there).
--Demona breaks in and takes out the first guard.
--Second guard turns out to be Elisa, ready and waiting w/Goliath.
--Establish how much Demona hates humans in general, and Elisa specifically.
--Demona never gets as far as laser-grid around mirror.

2. Chase.
--Demona Escapes.
--And while Goliath and Elisa are chasing her...
Maybe inter-cut w/...

3. Museum.
--Thieves get past laser-grid to steal mirror.

4. Ext. Demona's house.
--The two thieves deliver mirror.

5. Int. Demona's house.
--Demona summons Puck.

6. Clock tower.
--Elisa arrives. They were duped. Mirror was stolen.
--Elisa's: So how bad is this? What can D do with that mirror?
--No one knows for sure, but it leads to the discussion of Oberon's Children.
--Refer here to Midsummer Night's Dream.
--Scotsmen called them "Fair Folk".
--Vikings called them "Dark Elves".
--Shape-shifters.
--Trio: Imagine what it would be like to shape-change. Fit in anywhere.
--Hint subtly at Elisa and Goliath's desires.

7. Demona's house.
--Make sure we know Puck's name here.
--Our Demona and Puck wish scene.
--Puck uses a rhyming spell.
--Puck's arms are pinned by chains, so magic energy comes out of his eyes.

8. Clock Tower.
--Elisa: All we can do is wait til Demona makes her move.
--Elisa transforms into a gargoyle.

ACT TWO
9. Clock Tower.
--Everyone including Bronx is pretty stunned by Elisa's change.
--She seems happy though.
-- Elisa: "This is wonderful. Goliath, you've been transformed into a gargoyle!"
--Goliath: "What?!"

10. Demona's House.
--Puck tells her the deed is done.
--Demona wants to escalate. Every human in Manhattan.
--Puck again stresses difficulty of "big wishes".
--Demona yanks chain: "Answer truthfully. Can it be done?"
--Puck: Yes, but not from here.

11. Clock Tower.
--Bronx sniffs at Elisa.
--Goliath: "We've always been gargoyles. You're the one who's been changed."
--Elisa: "I've always been a gargoyle. I think I'd know it if I wasn't."
--Goliath: "How did we first meet?"
--Elisa: "I fell off a skyscraper; you glided down and caught me."
--Goliath: "If you always had wings, why would you need me to catch you."
--Elisa: "I can't glide with these."
--Goliath: "Yes, you can."
--AND OFF THEY GO.
--Hudson and Trio stare at each other for a beat and then follow.
--Bronx is left behind.

12. WORLD TRADE CENTER
--Puck and Demona materialize w/mirror.
--P: This is gonna take a while.
--He begins visually gathering magical energy. Just a little at first.

13. Flight over the city.
--Goliath NEVER LETS GO OF HER HAND, even after it's clear that she's gliding under her own "power", because she's afraid. She doesn't want to lose that contact.
--Goliath can't help staring at her: "I never realized when you were human just how beautiful you are."
--Elisa: "You mean you used to think I was ugly?"
--He doesn't have a good answer to this.
--Fortunately for him, she segues to: "This is so confusing. Have I always been able to glide like this?"
--[She's still hasn't quite grasped the situation.]
--Goliath: "No. No. Try to understand. You've been changed into a gargoyle. Follow me, I'll show you."
--They glides in low over the streets. Elisa sees the humans and freaks!! (Her freaking needs to be ambiguous. Goliath thinks she understands now. She doesn't really.)
--Goliath: "Maybe we should land somewhere and talk."

14. Rooftop.
--Goliath, Elisa, Hudson and Trio come in for a landing.
--(Establish clothes line. Someone has left their laundry, including bedsheets, to dry in the warm night air.)
--Elisa: "Did you see? Everyone in Manhattan's been turned into a HUMAN?!!!"
--G: "...no, no, no..."
--HUDSON: "LOOK!"
--He points at light show that seems to be gathering around one of the towers of the WTC.

15. World Trade Center.
--BIG LIGHT SHOW as Puck glows with magical energy.
--P: "This is really going to wear me out."
--D: "Quit complaining and do it already."
--Puck casts rhyming spell.
--Magical energy shoots from entire body to hit mirror.
--Spell reflects off mirror and hits giant hyperbolic sattelite dish. --Sattelite dish fires magic off across the whole city.
--Puck collapses.

16. Rooftop.
--Goliath & Co. have seen light show from WTC, (but not result).
--Goliath &Co. leave Elisa on the roof and head toward WTC.
--Elisa's not happy about it, but they don't give her a choice.
--And she's still phobic about flying alone, so she can't follow.

17. WTC
--Now that the light show has subsided, Demona wants to see her "empty city", but Puck is out of it.
--Goliath and co. attack. She's forced to flee with Puck, but without mirror.
--(Somewhere in here, Demona has to mention Puck's name.)
--To save herself, she tosses it. Hudson saves it.
--Goliath and Trio pursue Demona.

18. Downtown streets/subway/ whatever
--Even though she's being chased and is hampered by the unconscious Puck, Demona still comes in for a landing to see the results of her wish.
--She's furious as she sees the human/"gargoyles" going about their business.
--Use this chase (and this scene) to reveal the extent and absurdity of the change that hasn't really changed anything but the appearance of the people. Take us down into the subway, maybe.
--Demona ultimately uses the situation to get lost in a crowd.
--For the pursuers, Goliath and trio, it's like finding a needle in a haystack.
--Throughout scene, Trio may get wistful and a little distracted about being able to fit in.
--There are female "Gargoyles" walking by, catching trio's eyes.
--They have to remind themselves that this is wrong. And they're not entirely convinced that it is.
--But other "gargoyles" still shy away from trio because of how they are dressed. (Or how little they are dressed.)
--At any rate, the trio don't totally lose track of their objective: Demona.
--But Demona's gone.
--Goliath: Let's go get Elisa and plan our next move.

19. A deserted alley.
--Demona confronts a very worn-out Puck.
--D: I wanted you to destroy the humans, not give them the gift of being a gargoyle!!
--D: "Change the gargoyles back to humans."
--Puck: "O.K., o.k., give me a chance to catch my breath."
--He leans to look at his reflection in the side-view mirror of a car.
--The image in the mirror wavers.

20. Rooftop.
--Goliath, Hudson, Trio and Elisa confer.
--They have the mirror.
--That was definitely one of Oberon's Children with Demona.
--Demona called him Puck.
--Elisa: In Shakespeare, Puck was a harmless trickster.
--Goliath: What's happened below isn't harmless. Come, we must continue to search for Demona and Puck.
--Elisa: "I'll never get the hang of leaping off rooftops."
--Goliath: "I will always be there to catch you."
--She hesitates. He takes off to set an example.
--A bolt of Magic shoots out of the mirror catching Goliath, Hudson and the trio.
--Goliath changes to human and falls.

ACT THREE
21. Rooftop.
--Elisa dives and catches Goliath. Overcoming her fear without thinking about it.
--Meanwhile, Hudson grabs a sheet off the clothesline and covers the mirror: "Don't want anything else jumping out at us from this thing!"
--Goliath doesn't understand why he fell.
--Suddenly he stares at her: "Elisa...You've changed back to normal!!"
--E: No. I haven't changed. You have. You're a human. You fell because, you don't have wings.
--Brooklyn: "We've always been humans."
--Hudson: "And we've never needed wings to glide before."
--Lex (the engineer of the group): "Wait a minute, we must have used wings. How else could we do it?"
--Goliath, sinking in: "Elisa's right. We're supposed to be gargoyles. And we're not. Everyone else should be human. But thanks to Demona and Puck, they're not."

22. Alley & Street.
--Puck is very weary.
--Demona asks if it's done.
--Puck says yes.
--Demona and Puck cautiously exit alley.
--Obviously, all the humans are still "Gargoyles".
--Demona turns on Puck. I told you to turn the gargoyles to humans.
--Puck: "Oh, you meant these gargoyles! I thought you meant Goliath and the gang. My mistake. Sorry."
--Demona: "You turned Goliath into a human?!!"
--She's ready to murdilate Puck. She pulls the chain tighter, crushing him.
--Puck: "Hey, hey, hey, You're missing the big picture, here. This is your big chance to get rid of Goliath. Now, while he's weak as any human."
--She stops, smiles.
--Dissolve.

23. Rockefeller Center. Some time later.
--Bronx runs into shot. [He has not been transformed yet.]
--A human/ "gargoyle" pedestrian bends over to pet the nice doggie and then runs away screaming when he sees the doggie's masters.
--Our "human" heroes now fully clothed (and looking cool) walk with determination right up to the center of Rockefeller Center. Hudson still has the mirror, covered in the bed sheet.
--(Elisa is not in sight.)
--Everywhere, pedestrian/"gargoyles" run screaming: "Ahhh, humans!! Run!!" "Oh, they're so ugly." "Keep away, you...you monster human, you."
--Hudson to Goliath: Are you sure this is a good idea?
--G: Demona must have done all this for a purpose. What else could it be except to leave us vulnerable to her attack. So we'll let her come to us, but we'll pick the place of battle. Here on the ground and in the open where her wings won't help her much.
--They take their stand. Not all the pedestrians have run. Some stop and stare, but they all keep their distance from these human monsters.
--Goliath instructs Hudson to unwrap the mirror.
--The instant he does, Puck and Demona fly out of it.
--BATTLE ROYALE (Needs real choreography.)
--Demona's armed with her plasma rifle.
--Gargoyle's are armed with medieval weapons.
--Battle is largely land bound.
--Puck's having a good time and helps Demona.
--His stunts can be darkly funny, i.e. they can be absurd, as long as they increase the danger to our heroes.
--Puck turns Bronx into a Russian Wolf-hound, just for fun.
--Some brave bystanders see Demona being attacked by all these monsters and run in to help.
--Trio are forced to battle them.
--These human/ "gargoyles" don't know their own strength, so fighting them isn't easy.
--Obviously at some crucial moment, Elisa (their secret weapon) flies in and takes on D.
--Demona should not instantly recognize Elisa.
--But when Demona does, she goes nuts. Elisa's presence (both the fact that she is alive and a gargoyle) is a double-edged sword. The best (psychological) weapon the good guys have, it throws Demona into a rage, which makes her doubly dangerous, but careless.
--Goliath and Elisa stand together to defeat D.
--Trio take on and scare off the "gargoyle" good samaritans.
--With Bronx's help, Hudson bags Puck with metal-mesh trashcan.

24. WTC
--Goliath promises to free Puck if he changes things back to normal.
--Puck complies. He'll start with the biggest job -- getting all the humans back to normal. (Fortunately, changing something back to its normal state is easier for him than the reverse.)
--Using rhyming spell, mirror and sattelite dish, Puck lets the magic fly.
--Elisa is human again.
--Puck needs a moment to recover.
--Elisa and Goliath have a brief moment.
--Elisa (self-depricating): "Well, I guess I'm back to my old ugly human self."
--G: "Never, to these eyes. But I'm curious. Am I handsome to you like this?"
--E: "You've always been handsome to me."
--PUCK: "Allright, enough of the mushy stuff!"
--He zaps Goliath, Hud, Bronx and Trio back into Gargoyles. (Note: he doesn't need the mirror, since they're all standing right in front of him.)
--Goliath frees Puck.
--Puck takes off with Demona through Mirror, taking mirror with.

25. Demona's house.
--Puck's grateful for a good time, enjoyed by all.
--He'll grant Demona her original wish: She won't turn to stone during the day.
--She's suspicious, for obvious reasons.
--He must SPELL OUT that she will still be her normal GARGOYLE self at night. But during the day, she won't have to sleep as stone.
--One last little rhyme spell.
--And he disappears through mirror.

26. Clock Tower.
--Final scene with Bronx, Hud, Trio, Goliath and Elisa. (This was really nice, as written.)

27. Demona's House.
--The sun is rising.
--We can only see Demona in sillouette.
--Until she turns to look at herself in the mirror.
--Which she smashes.

PAGE NOTES
(The script I received had some odd page numbering. The title page was numbered as page one, some pages were skipped and had no numbers, and the last page was numbered 33. So I just renumbered it from the first page of script on through the last [39]. The following notes therefore refer to my numbers. Call me if you have any questions.)

P.2
If Demona never gets the opportunity to destroy or turn off the laser-grid around the mirror, than we can leave it for the thieves to deal with and ditch all this dialogue and action revolving around alarms. Demona's meant to be a diversion.

Please don't refer to the Security Guard as Sarge or Old Soldier. I know it's just character stuff, but we don't have the space to give it context. It winds up confusing us as to who the guard really is.

Remember: Male gargoyle eyes glow white. Only female gargoyle eyes glow red.

Throughout script we use both "rooklings" and "hatchlings". I prefer "hatchlings". That way audience members who have missed the one or two references to the rookery, will still understand.

P.5
Goliath's getting wounded is problematic. We don't deal with it in the story. It's quickly forgotten. We don't want to play fast and loose with something like that.

P.9
Don't forget to give us some description of Puck. (He definitely should have pointed ears, for example. I added pointed ears to the description of the Weird Sisters in their true form.)

P.10
I don't know that we want to refer to all of Oberon's Children as "real mean". Seems blatantly racist.

When Demona summoned Puck earlier, she did it in Latin. So please make sure we name him here in this scene.

P.12
DEMONA
If you cannot rid me of all humans,
then at least rid me of that human --
Elisa Maza!

We need the double entendre of Demona asking Puck to get rid of that
human-Elisa. ("Oh," Puck weasles to himself, "get rid of the human-Elisa. Make her a gargoyle-Elisa instead.")

P.21
Our Gargoyles shouldn't notice that anything has changed among the pedestrians below, until they get close enough to see. (From a practical standpoint, the idea of each person suddenly taking up more room, might be tough to get across in animation.)

Let's show at least one of the Human/"Gargoyles" looking at his or her reflection (in a store window or something) and preening. Totally unaware of the change.

Goliath says, "What sorcery is this?" twice in the episode. Let's skip both. He said this exact line in "Awakening".

P.23
Keep focus and imperative of THIS story. No one has time to stop for hot dogs or to deal with vandals. (So skip both incidents.)

P.25
Puck doesn't have to pretend that he did "exactly" as Demona commanded. He can have more attitude. "Hey, close enough." or "If you're going to split hairs..."

Again, let's not make Hudson an expert on Puck as an individual. We don't need him to identify Puck from tapestries. (And I doubt if his education has progressed to the point where he's read Shakespeare.) Plus, I'm not sure we have to label Puck as the "worst" of Oberon's children, either.

P.34
Gargoyles including Elisa/gargoyle CANNOT hover.

Also don't forget...
--Cast List.
--Latin version of Demona's spell from Grimorum. (It doesn't have to rhyme.)
--Rhyming spell in English for what Puck does to everyone. (Needs to be vague enough so that Demona isn't immediately tipped off.) Doesn't need to be same spell each time.
--Somewhere in here, we need to justify why none of the human/"gargoyle" crowd reacts to Puck. Do they see him as a gargoyle, ala the Weird Sisters? Or is he invisible to them? Or can we get away with them just walking by and ignoring him?
--Make sure final page count will be within our page range (pp. 35-39) after Denise has conformed it.

THANKS. DON'T HESITATE TO CALL WITH ANY QUESTIONS.


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"THE MIRROR" Outline memo...

Next up for my Ramblings is "The Mirror". What follows is the UNEDITED memo I sent to story editor Brynne Chandler Reaves regarding the first draft outline for that episode.

This is one I had very specific ideas on, so I may have been even tougher than usual. Oh, well...

WEISMAN 10-30-94

Notes on "The Mirror" Outline...
Brynne, I hope you consider this flattering: I'm gonna be very tough on you here, because I think you can handle it. It's not just because of this outline, but because in general, I want you to be handing me cleaner, more finished pieces. Although the story is full of great ideas, there are logical and structural problems here that need fixing. As I've discussed, I want to be less "hands-on" so that the schedule keeps flowing and we all stay sane, but that means I need you to catch much more of this sort of thing before I ever see it.

One particular concern of mine (and not so incidentally of Gary Krisel's) is padded first acts, where nothing of substance happens until the cliffhanger. Each story dictates its own structure, so I don't want to make any hard and fast rules, but this is one thing you should be thinking about on every episode you edit or write. We can have a prologue scene or two. But we don't want to turn the whole first act into a prologue to events that only begin seconds before the commercial break.

Scene One is a nice prologue. So is Two, if it's brief. Three, Four and Five are padding. Six is good prologue, but by this time it feels like padding. Seven is problematic from a character/logic standpoint. Finally, we get going at Eight.

And opening acts aside, we need to beware of scenes that serve no function in the structure of the story. A real good character moment is worth a detour on occasion. But our stories have to be coming out of character anyway, so nine times out of ten, the detour shouldn't be necessary.

Ever since "Reawakening" we've tried to make the Gargoyles much more pro-active. But even by first season "survival-mode" standards they seem downright slow to act here. In scene Three, they suspect magical bad news is on the way. In scene Six, they confirm Demona's involvement. Yet in scene Ten, they go to the play in the park like nothing was wrong. Worse, in scene Sixteen, when the humans are transformed, the younger gargoyles actually think that the transformation is part of the play? They're more sophisticated than that. And instead of reacting like it's a problem, they just want "contact with their kind". I wouldn't mind a wistful line that summoned up their feelings about how this reminds them of their old lives when there were many gargoyles and/or that it's nice to be able to walk out in the open without everyone running away screaming, but they have to realize that this transformation is bad news. Then in scene TWENTY-TWO (that's the beginning of ACT THREE and a full fourteen scenes after Goliath battled Demona in the museum) they "are certain now that Demona is behind this". Who did they think was behind it for the last act and a half? This is a good sign that we're either short on structure, heavy on padding or both.

THEME
We must have a clear theme that involves at least one of the "good" gargoyles in every episode. We shouldn't have to dig deep for it. It's what focuses the events that dictate our structure. Today's theme is "Be careful what you wish for, you just might get it." It applies to Demona, obviously. But it applies to subconscious desires on the part of Goliath. And wistful, but conscious desires on the part of Elisa. And even (to a small extent) the desire of our young trio to assimilate. Emphasize the theme as much as possible.

GARGOYLES AND MAGIC
Please remember that the gargoyles are largely ignorant of the workings of magic. They have an advantage over humans in that they know magic exists. That's about it. Demona and Macbeth have had centuries to study it. Guys like the Magus and the Archmage dedicated their lives to studying it. Brooklyn, on the other hand, is no expert. I doubt he can even read Latin. And the GRIMORUM is not a textbook that would provide easy answers even if he could read it. It is, in essence, a cookbook. If a recipe is torn out, there's no way to infer very much about it from the remaining pages. Remember, the Magus had the sleep spell he used on the gargoyles, and even with that and all his training, he couldn't wake them up without the specific page that held the counterspell. HOW could Brooklyn find a list (scene 5) that matches Demona's list? WHY would the Grimorum list the items for one specific spell twice? HOW could he know the name (Scene Eight) of the entity being summoned?

Could the Grimorum tell them that Puck's spells must be reversed before dawn? Or how Puck frees himself? Unlikely. (Would Julia Child's cookbook feature recipes by the Frugal Gourmet?) But (if we assume Goliath reads Latin, and could make heads or tails of the Grimorum, without having to sit down and spend an entire week reading the thing cover-to-cover to find a helpful passage in a book which, as you noted, has no index) -- it is possible. We always skate by a few things in every script. But the more we have to skate, the thinner the ice in general. Something that normally would fit neatly beneath our audiences suspension of disbelief, becomes one more contrivance in a story that's got a few too many.

DEMONA'S MOTIVATIONS
First off, she's not looking for an equal partner or ally. She's made that clear enough. That's exactly her problem with Xanatos. He always wants to know what's in it for him. He can't be easily controlled. He's fine if they have a mutual interest (resurrecting Goliath or Coldstone), fine if she can con him into helping her (as she does in "City of Stone"), but the latter isn't easy. Otherwise, they can't work together. They're goals are too diverse.

As for Macbeth, don't even bring him up. This story airs before CITY OF STONE. She hasn't seen Macbeth for decades probably. And it's been centuries since they worked together on anything.

None of this changes the story, but it's important to get her mind-set clear. She isn't summoning Puck as an ally. But as a slave.

And what does she want her slave to do? Basically, this episode is going to underline Demona's truly short-term thinking. She knows she wants humanity eradicated. But not what she'd do if she ever accomplished that goal. She's closed her heart to anything that doesn't serve her immediate short-term plans. (She's really, really screwed up.) At one point, Puck should offer her Goliath. He can make Goliath love her again. But she's so distracted by her hatred for Elisa in particular and humans in general, that she can't keep a positive thought in her head. Her monolithic and myopic fanaticism allow Puck to make a primate out of her, literally and figuratively.

PUCK
First big note from Adrienne and ME: we cannot play this character like he's a demon. His summoning in particular came off as very satanic. Let's try to make it more fanciful and magical. One thing that would help avoid this problem, is to be clear about what Puck is. If we aren't clear, people might think demon or devil. If we are clear, they'll believe us. We've got to establish, not only Puck, but his entire magical race. They are the third sentient group that once populated our planet in addition to humans and gargoyles. We need a name for this race that we can be comfortable with. (We can say at some point that the Scots called them the Fair Folk; the Vikings called them Dark Elves. But neither name is great. There must be something that could work for us. "The Oberati" perhaps, after their king?)

Then we need to set some rules and limits. Particularly given what we know about the Weird Sisters (and about Puck's secret identity). Obviously, not all of these rules need to be spelled out in this script. But let's make sure we know them. Let's begin by saying that the Oberati can all shape-shift. But when they morph into a form, they're stuck with that form's limitations. No magic happening if they pose as human.

In their true forms, they have a lot of magic power, but a rule against the direct use of it in the world of man (witness the Weird Sisters more indirect manipulations). Maybe this is a command from Oberon which they are afraid, but not unable, to break.

An obvious exception to the rule occurs when they are enslaved by someone else who commands them to use their magic. They are off the hook responsibility-wise, so they can go to town. Thus, most cultures have wish-granting legends about Leprechauns or Djinn or whatever.

Conveniently, the Oberati are creatures of pure magical energy. When they cast a spell, the spell doesn't have the limitations imposed on the studied magic of human or gargoyle sorcerers. The subjects of their spells don't have to see and hear them to be affected. It's a more fluid, less structured form of magic. Magic to the Archmage is an art, craft or science to master. Magic to Puck is as natural (or super-natural) as breathing.

But even Puck must have his limits. Even magical energy should be finite. We MUST establish this fact, at least. If Demona asks to get rid of all the humans on the planet, Puck will have to admit that it's too much for him. Would she settle for all the humans on the island?

Did the Gargoyles meet or hear of Puck specifically, back in the tenth century? I doubt it. They lived fairly isolated lives out at Wyvern. And Puck didn't get famous until Shakespeare made him famous quite a few centuries later. Maybe they've heard stories about the Fair Folk, but again, let's resist the temptation to make Goliath or Brooklyn or Hudson experts on the subject. They seem pretty perplexed by the Weird Sisters in "City of Stone". That should define their reaction to Puck, whom they're meeting here prior to that story.

Why does Puck help Goliath turn stuff back to normal at the end? Well, for this episode's purposes, it'll probably work that Goliath holds the chain and issues a command. But Demona held the chain, and Puck always found a way to circumvent her commands. So why doesn't he do the same to Goliath? Two reasons, probably. First, it further annoys Demona, who he's peeved at for enslaving him in the first place. Second, once Puck is free, he can return to his secret identity, where he's been having such a good time. He wants things back to normal himself. Still in future appearances, we need to be sure that Puck doesn't turn into a personification of Deus ex machina.

Use it sparingly, but it's o.k. with me if Puck breaks the third wall and addresses the audience on occasion.

Finally, Puck's name. The Disney execs are of two minds on this. Bruce prefers Goodfellow. His main concern is the constant policing we'd have to do to make sure Puck doesn't ever come out Fuck. Ellen feels that Goodfellow has more association with Satan than Puck does and that Puck is safer on that level. I'm really torn. I tend to agree that Puck is a slightly more recognizable Shakespearean reference than Goodfellow, and thus stonger and safer. I also think the name suits the character. On the other hand, I think Goodfellow is an effectively ironic name for a character who is, for all intents and purposes, a villain. Part of me really wants to use both. Could the spell that enslaves Puck to Demona have something to do with her knowing his true name, Robin Goodfellow? Adrienne, I think, is on the fence with me. But I'm not sure. We should probably discuss this one last time before you go to script.

THE MIRROR
Think of the Wicked Queen's Magic Mirror times ten. It is a window, a doorway, a Peeping Tom.

HUMANS AS "GARGOYLES"
As we discussed, I don't think the humans notice they've been transformed. Some of the ridiculous fun of this episode should be to see them, walking around, going about their normal business, briefcases and subway tokens in hand, with no indication that anything is different. If they looked in a mirror, they'd preen as usual. They wouldn't freak out or recognize the change.

Although they have wings, I don't think it occurs to any of them to start gliding around the city. And if they see (the soon-to-be more self-aware) Elisa flying, it would be shocking: "Look, Mommy, that lady is flying!!" It's not that they'd see her suddenly as a gargoyle. (It'd be like seeing Superman. A normal enough looking person. He just happens to be leaping tall buildings with a single bound, which is, of course, unusual enough.)

When Goliath and clan walk among them as gargoyles, I don't think they see them as unusual. For once, looking like a gargoyle is normal. Like Halloween, in "Eye of the Beholder", it's another rare moment for our guys when they can be out in the open. (This may have been what you had in mind in scene 18. I wasn't clear.)

However, when Goliath and company enter their midst as "Humans", it should scare them. Once again, ugliness is in the eye of the beholder, and the "human" Goliath is still the monster. We should not skip this beat (as you planned to in scene 24). We should play it. It can be bitter, poignant and, yes, funny. (Appealing to Puck's dark sense of humor (and mine too, for that matter).)

ELISA AS A "GARGOYLE"
Like the other transformed humans, Elisa doesn't immediately realize she's been transformed. And looking in the mirror won't clue her in either. (And in any case, Elisa isn't the type to faint dead away.) In fact, she might turn to Goliath and suddenly ask, "Could you remind me why you guys are hiding up here in the clock tower?" Suddenly, they don't look so strange to her. Goliath is going to have to sit her down and talk her through the differences between humans and gargoyles. Her realization should play like a fog lifting.

And we probably should play out Goliath and Elisa both as gargoyles for an act. Maybe he teaches her how to fly. Maybe they're just about to get close enough to do the gargoyle equivalent of an embrace, when he's transformed to human. Get it so that we can all almost taste it. Then yank it away. (I know, I'm a cruel bastard.)

I also want to contrast Goliath's reaction to "gargoyle" Elisa with Elisa's reaction to "human" Goliath. He may say, "Elisa, I never realized how beautiful you are," because he always liked her for her inner beauty but, frankly, never found her physically attractive (no wings, no tail--shudder). And he's always made that mental distinction between the surface and what lies beneath.

Elisa never did. She recognized his inner beauty in episode three or four and ALWAYS thought he was handsome. Even before this episode, I think she's thought about the two of them and come to the inescapable conclusion that romance is impractical. Better keep it platonic. I think he's had those feelings, but has never connected to them mentally. (Look, no matter what the species, or how evolved the individual, he's still a guy. And guys are fundamentally stupid about this stuff.) Until this episode, it never crossed his mind that Elisa could replace Demona in his heart. The fact is she already has. But he never thought about it before now.

OUR GARGOYLES AS "HUMANS"
To be consistent, they shouldn't recognize the change until Elisa points it out to them. Maybe they were about to leap from the clock tower, and Elisa has to stop them and say: "Look, guys, you don't have wings anymore!"

But let's keep in mind that these guys are still heroes. NO WAY are they going to agree to step back because a gargoyle Demona is too tough for them now. Did Elisa ever step back when she was human? For that matter, there have been plenty of humans willing to go toe-to-toe with the gargoyles. Certainly Goliath is as brave as Macbeth or Wolf or Commando #3.

Also, I got confused in scene 29. Goliath has been transformed to human. That means human proportions. Sure, he'd be a big guy, but not as big as he was as a gargoyle. I don't know why armor would fit, say Broadway, and not him.

TONE
In contrast to our typical episodes, I think this one can have a more absurdist tone. Puck should both further the tone with his actions and undercut it with wry asides. Plus there'll be romantic stuff, also undercut, this time by Goliath's reaction to Elisa and the genuine frustration that comes from the situation's mutability.

GOLIATH BLAMES XANATOS...
For everything, it seems. In "Lighthouse" and to a lesser extent in "Leader", we've played the beat of Goliath mistakenly going to the castle to confront Xanatos for something that the latter had nothing to do with. I think by now, Goliath has learned his lesson. Particularly since the going's on here smack much more of Demona or Macbeth than Xanatos.

DEMONA'S HOME BASE
Let's get a clear sense of what this place is like. Particularly, how it is distinct from Macbeth's mansion: we've played his place like Wayne Manor. Dracon has the penthouse at the Park Manor Hotel. And Xanatos has this incredibly cool castle-on-a-skyscraper H.Q. Demona's home needs to be different from all of these and special in its own right. Also give us an at least approximate idea of where this thing is located. Gramercy Park, maybe?

SHAKESPEARE IN THE PARK
This was a great way to ground our Puck in Shakespeare, as opposed to Satan. No doubt about it. And no fault of yours, but I want to save this setting for a story that Michael and I have discussed involving Macbeth and an adaptation of Shakespeare's Macbeth. Plus, in this story, I want to play with Manhattan life going on, business as usual, despite the fact that everyone's been turned into a gargoyle. We can't do that if we limit ourselves to the Park and the closed Museum. I want to get this story out in the open. Have the "gargoyle" humans reacting in panic to the "human" Goliath and clan, the way they'd normally react to them as gargoyles. That's an opportunity we won't get in another story. We must take advantage of it. But having taken the story out of the park, we should work other Midsummer references into the script. Name the mirror after Oberon or Titania, perhaps.

BEAT SHEET
ACT ONE
1. A warm Midsummer's Night. Demona arrives at the museum with grand theft in mind. She's come to steal the Mirror of Oberon (or whatever we ultimately call it) which has just arrived from Ireland (or Italy or wherever). The first museum security guard is no problem. But the second security guard turns out to be Elisa -- undercover, prepared and not without back-up, i.e. Goliath. They suspected that the mirror would be a prize too tempting for Demona to resist. Demona seems particularly furious over Goliath's continued "partnership" with Elisa. SHE HATES HUMANS AND SHE REALLY HATES ELISA!! (Demona knows how Goliath feels about Elisa, even if the big lug hasn't admitted it to himself yet.)

2. Anyway, we get a big action sequence in the museum which leads to a chase outside. Demona gets away from them, but without the mirror. And because our heroes are so thoroughly engaged in these activities...

3. ...They are absent when two high-tech but very human cat burglars show up at the museum, seconds later, to crate up and steal the mirror. (The real security guard is still unconscious and thus unable to do anything about them.)

4. The two thieves arrive at Demona's townhouse (or whatever) with the crated mirror. Otherwise, the scene plays pretty much as you had it with the delivery men.

5. Inside her home, Demona wraps thick iron chains across the glass of the stolen Mirror. She summons Puck. He comes flying out through the glass and thus winds up wrapped in the iron chains. He spends almost the entire episode with the chains pinning his arms across his chest.

6. Back at the clock tower, Goliath and Elisa are feeling like grade-A dorks. Elisa's just back from investigating the museum crime scene. It's now clear that Demona's job was to take out security and, if necessary, act as a diversion for the real thieves. Now the big questions are, what can she do with this mirror and how bad is this going to get? Perhaps this is a place to discuss the Oberati. Hudson tells what little he knows about them.

7. Our Demona and Puck scene. If he ever wants his freedom he must serve her. He tries to discourage her: he'd make a lousy servant. She doesn't buy that. Puck works for "him". He can work for her, etc. (That whole exchange.) O.K., okay, what does she want? Freedom from her one great vulnerability -- turning to stone during the day. What good is that, he wonders. You think you're gonna be able to walk down 5th Avenue in broad daylight? I can if you obliterate all humans, everywhere. What am I, the Genie of the lamp? There are limits, kiddo. C'mon, what do you really want? She pauses, and an image appears in the mirror. It is Goliath (in the clock tower, but we're tight on him, so we aren't tipping the location). Puck: "How quaint, after all these centuries, you're still carrying a torch. Well, if that's what you want, I can make him love you again. Although it will be really hard, because you're not exactly Miss Lovable." And then, in the mirror, Elisa steps into the shot, and puts a hand on Goliath's shoulder. Demona goes ballistic. She knows her heart's true desire. Get rid of the human -- Elisa Maza. Puck: "That I can do." He fires a magical bolt into the mirror at the image of Elisa.

8. Back at the tower, Elisa has a hand on Goliath's shoulder, reassuring him that they'll stop Demona's scheme, whatever it is. Suddenly, she is surrounded by a magical energy that rips her away from Goliath. The gargoyles try to help her, but they can't get close. We should think for a moment that this is the end of Rico... uh, Elisa. And then there is a blinding flash of light that whites out the whole screen. Followed by pitch black darkness. Elisa is still there. We see her silhouette as our eyes adjust and the light returns slowly to normal. She says she's o.k. And then she steps into the light. Transformed into a gargoyle version of herself.

END OF ACT ONE

Now I have to apologize. I know I promised you this for Monday. It's two a.m. Sunday and this is as far as I got. There's a reason (an excuse). Monday is Corporate Seminar. And my last act as an executive (before becoming a full-time producer on Tuesday) is to pitch all our new development to Michael Eisner and Rich Frank. This is a twice yearly event that requires a lot of preparation, and I just ran out of time to get these notes done. Normally, I'd pull an all-nighter, but I need some sleep to face these guys tomorrow.

You gotta admit, that was a pretty good excuse.

So I have to leave this to you. You're mission, if you chose to accept it, (AND YOU REALLY HAVE NO CHOICE IF YOU EVER WANT TO GET TO SCRIPT) is to write up a quick beat outline of acts two and three for me based on the sketchy notes below. It doesn't have to be long. Two to four pages is fine. The amount of detail that I gave you for Act One is all I'm looking for.

Act Two should have Goliath filling Elisa in about the change she's undergone. Maybe take her flying. Maybe this is where we get the line about him never realizing how beautiful she was.

Demona should be temporarily fooled into thinking Elisa's dead, and flushed with success, she asks Puck to rid all of Manhattan of its humans. Bing, bang, boom. Everyone's a gargoyle. People on the subway in from Queens, change into gargoyles as soon as the E-train hits the first Manhattan stop. "Gargoyles" on the way home to Jersey change back to human as they cross the bridge in their cars. NO ONE NOTICES AT ALL.

But Demona doesn't know any of this yet. She wants a tour of what she expects to be an empty city. Puck is secretly eager to see his handiwork, so they step into the mirror, which transports them to the heart of the city. Times Square, maybe? 5th Avenue?

Meanwhile, Hudson, Goliath, Elisa and the trio are all hunting for Demona. They quickly notice the change in the populace. (Maybe the shock of this wide-spread change interrupts what might have been the only chance Elisa and Goliath had for a same-species clinch.) They all know it's bad news, but the trio can't help enjoying the ability to walk among gargoyles again. Even if they are gargoyles in business suits: New Yorkers who still won't give them the time of day. Still, would it be so bad if this didn't get fixed? Yeah. Probably.

When Demona figures out she's been duped, she demands that the gargoyles be changed back to humans. Bing Bang Boom. Goliath, Hudson and the Trio are human. (I'm torn about Bronx. I guess the big dog is o.k. It just seems outside the terms of Demona's request, even by Puck's loose standards.)

Was Goliath flying at the time or is this another interrupted clinch between him and Elisa?

Act Three opens with Elisa saving Goliath from plummeting to his death perhaps. Then she has to make him understand that he has been transformed as well.

We wind up with a very public battle featuring Elisa and our Newly Human heroes against Demona and Puck. It's complicated by the fact that the general populace (who are all now Gargoyles) perceive the human Goliath, Hudson and Trio (and Bronx?) as monsters attacking what to them seems to be a very normal-looking Demona.

Still in the end, good triumphs. Puck makes everything right at Goliath's command, (but let's make it clear that at least in part, he's doing this to spite Demona and/or to suit his own agenda). Elisa is changed to human, before Goliath is changed back, and we have another near-clinch, that Puck interrupts with good-humored spite by changing Goliath back into a gargoyle.

Goliath frees Puck and he vanishes with Demona, rescuing her from Goliath.

Turns out Puck had more fun than he thought he would so he feels like he owes Demona a favor. He'll give her her original wish. No turning to stone during the day. (BUT WE NEED TO MAKE IT PAINFULLY CLEAR THAT SHE WILL STILL BE HER NORMAL GARGOYLE SELF AT NIGHT.) He takes his leave via the mirror.

Cut back to Elisa and Goliath for emotional wrap up. Just before the sunrise which, as usual, separates them.

And back to Demona. Silhouetted against the rising sun. It's up, and she's not stone. Puck kept his word, she can't believe it. Then she sees her human self in the mirror, which she smashes, yelling NOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!! And fade to black.


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IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT!!

I have some really GREAT NEWS! Please help me spread the word! Brad Rader, one of Disney's best storyboard artists will be attending the Gathering in Orlando next month along with Thom "Voice of Lexington" Adcox and myself.

Brad worked on multiple episodes of GARGOYLES, including:
"Legion"
"The Mirror"
"City of Stone, Part One"
"City of Stone, Part Four"
"Revelations"
"Upgrade"
"Protection"
"Kingdom"
"Monsters"
"The Hound of Ulster"
"The New Olympians"
"The Gathering, Part One"
"The Gathering, Part Two"
"Hunter's Moon, Part Two"

Now GATHERING 2000 is truly a can't miss event. Hope to see you there.


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Chapter XVII: "A Lighthouse in the Sea of Time"

Written by Brynne Chandler Reaves & Lydia C. Marano
Story Edited by Michael Reaves

Well, I watched "Lighthouse" again last night with my family. First thing I noticed was the bad "Previously" recap. This is all my fault. The recap features Macbeth, because I wanted to make sure the audience knew who he was. But that blows out the first act surprise reveal that he's behind it all. Up to that point in the story, you'd be thinking Xanatos. But because of the dopey recap, you know it MUST be Mac. Later in the season, after I got hammered over these recaps by the folks on the Disney Afternoon e-Mailing list, I learned never to put anything into the recap that wasn't revealed in the first five minutes of the show to follow. But here's a perfect example of me screwing up my own mystery.

We introduce archeologists Lydia Duane and Arthur Morwood-Smythe. Dr. Duane was named after writers Lydia Marano and Diane Duane. Professor Morwood-Smythe was named after writers Arthur Byron Cover and Peter Morwood. Arthur is Lydia's husband. Peter is Diane's husband. I don't know anyone named Smythe.

Macbeth episodes, at least up to this point, seem to be cursed with mediocre animation. (Of course, everything's relative. Mediocre on Gargs was still better than most series got. But relative to our expectations, this ep is pretty weak.) I bet Elisa would have really looked cute in that red baseball hat if the animation had been even slightly better.

I don't know how clear it is in the prologue. The idea there, was that the wind was blowing through the lyre. The haunting sound drew the archeologists further into the cave. They read the warning which indicates that the seeker of knowledge has nothing to fear, the destroyer everything. They are supposed to hesitate, look at each other, decide that they are seekers not destroyers and then open the chest. Merlin's clearly put a safety spell of some kind on the chest. An image of the old man appears and basically checks to confirm whether the archeologists are in fact seekers or destroyers. Satisfied, the spell disipates. But you can imagine what would have happened if a Hakon type had stumbled in.

Anyway, it never felt like all that came across. Did it?

Brooklyn (re: Broadway): "Ignorance is bliss." In High School, I had a classmate named Howard Bliss. We had chemistry together with Mr. Miller. Mr. Miller once asked the class a question that we all should have known. No one knew the answer, and our own idiocy generated laughter among Miller's students. He just shook his head and said: "Ignorance is bliss." He forgot that he had a student named Bliss. It generated more laughter. I don't know why I told you that. But it's what I thought about when Brooklyn read that line.

There's a semi-heavy-handed "Read More About It" feel to the clock tower conversation regarding Merlin. Goliath practically quotes those public service announcements, saying there are many books about him in the library. I don't mind. I had wanted to cite a few actual books -- like Mary Stewart's THE CRYSTAL CAVE -- but our legal department wouldn't give us clearance for that. Very short-sighted.

A connection is made between Merlin and the Magus. This was not an accident, as at that time, I had planned to have the Magus journey with Arthur on his Pendragon quests to find Excalibur and Merlin. I later changed my mind. But the Magus does at least play a Merlin-esque roll in the Avalon three parter.

I always wonder who was playing in "Celebrity Hockey" that night.

Macbeth's standard Electro-Magnetic weapon was my idea. I didn't design it exactly, but I did make crude little drawings of something that looked vaguely like a staple gun, with two electrodes that generated the charge. I was always proud of that weapon. It was uniquely Macbeth's (and Banquo and Fleances'). Set him apart from all the concussion, laser and particle beam weapons we used elsewhere. (I did the same kind of thing on the Quarymen's hammers.)

It's fun to listen to B.J. Ward voice both sides of the confrontation between Fleance and Duane.

Banquo's model sheet showed him squinting out of one eye. Some episodes, not so much this one, but some took that to mean he only had one eye. So he walks around looking like Popeye for the entire episode. (His big lantern jaw helps accentuate that.) There are a couple of Popeye moments in this ep. But more in his next appearance I think.

It was my idea to just have Mac's mansion rebuilt without explanation. I don't exactly regret it, but it's kinda cheap. We burned it way down. He has it rebuilt. It makes sense. But we usually dealt with consequences more than that.

When he rebuilds it, he installs those cannons. They were supposed to be giant-sized versions of the hand-held E-M guns. But they don't come off that way. Instead they fire at the gargoyles. And mostly seem to destroy the various turrets of Macbeth's own place. Ugghh.

As in "Leader" we get another scene of Goliath and friends confronting Owen at the castle. Looking for Xanatos, when in fact Xanatos isn't the threat. It made sense in both episodes. And it's always nice to showcase Owen a bit. But after two of those in four episodes, I wasn't gonna do that again. (At least not until KINGDOM.)

I love the "Macbeth Theme" that Carl Johnson created for the villain, which is featured at the end of ACT ONE.

Macbeth opens the "second scroll" and starts to read Merlin's seal. This caused tons of fan confusion, as he read "Sealed by my own [i.e. Merlin's] hand". No one seemed to get that he was reading that. They thought Mac was saying that he [i.e. Macbeth] had sealed the scroll. Of course that notion renders the whole thing confusing as hell. But it never occured to us that anyone would take it that way.

We also introduce Jeffrey Robbins and Gilly in this episode. Gilly is of course short for Gilgamesh, one of the legendary characters that Robbins once wrote about. It's just a bit odd, because Gilly is a female.

Robbins is a very cool character. Wish we had had the opportunity to use him more.

I like how when Robbins and Hudson are introducing themselves, Robbins gives his first and last name. Hudson says, I'm Hudson, "like the river". An echo of how he got the name. And a reminder that names aren't natural to him. Even if they are addictive.

John Rhys-Davies is just fantastic as Macbeth. I love his speech to Broadway. It accomplishes everything we needed it too. That line about the "human heart" by the way is a reference to the Arthur/Lance/Gwen triangle.

I also love his line: "I'm Old, but not THAT Old." This was a little hint to what we'd reveal in CITY OF STONE. Sure Macbeth's from the eleventh century, but not the fifth or sixth. It's like someone saying to someone my age, "So what did you do during World War II?"

Lennox Macduff. That was a cool touch. Also a hint as to how Macbeth feels about Shakespeare.

I like the Phone Book scene too. Hudson says "Hmm. Magic Book." Robbins replies: "Aren't they all." Great stuff.

By the way, as Robbins goes through the phone book, scanning names, he passes "Macduff, Cameron". One of my college roommates was Cameron Douglas, who was really interested in his Scotish heritage. That was a mini-tribute to him.

My daughter Erin reacts to the fact that Macbeth threatens to use Merlin's spells on Broadway. She points out that Macbeth had promised to let Broadway go after he had the scrolls. She's surprised he hasn't kept his word. My wife at that point reminds Erin that Macbeth is the villain. Erin gets that. But you can tell it isn't quite sitting right with her.

Later when Macbeth DOES let everyone go without a struggle, Erin is clearly not sure what to make of him.

And on one level, that's exactly as we wanted it. Macbeth is a troubled guy -- a hero who's devolved into a villain. A suicidal villain on top of that, though we hadn't revealed that yet. But he is a villain. Later, it's debatable, but here he's taken to being an ends-justify-the-means kinda guy. And even his ends are hazy at best.

I love Broadway's "precious magic" speech. It's so wierd hearing poetry from the big galoot. But that's so Broadway. The soul of a poet. Bill Faggerbakke was a huge help.

And I love Robbins "They are lighthouses in the dark sea of time..." speech. I love that it's not exactly the title. Brynne and Lydia did fine work on this one.

I wonder what happened to that lyre?


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Lighthouse Outline Memo

I haven't re-watched "A Lighthouse in the Sea of Time" yet. But we all know that's next, so I thought I'd go ahead and post the memo I sent to Michael Reaves, Brynne Chandler Reaves and Lydia C. Marano, based on the first draft outline they gave me on this story. Here it is, unedited:

WEISMAN 9-15-94

Notes on "A Lighthouse in the Sea of Time" Outline...
O.K. I'm gonna suggest some major changes here, though not without purpose. Brynne, they come right out of the phone conversation that led us to trade Xanatos & Demona for Macbeth. I don't think we've adjusted enough from the premise to meet our objectives.

THE MAIN OBJECTIVE
Remember, our primary objective is NOT to teach Hudson and Broadway to read. It is to ENGAGE them in the wonder of reading, to convince them it is a worthwhile, rewarding and magical endeavor. To make them WANT to learn how to read.

We discussed that Hudson and Broadway had two very different reasons for not wanting to learn. Broadway thinks it's a waste of time. He's got television, video, movies and a very exciting life. (The latter is the most important. I'm not going to preach the evils of the visual media, which are other legitimate windows into "other worlds", but which cannot and should not substitute for reading.) At any rate, Broadway doesn't see the relevance of reading to his life. This is a major cause of illiteracy among teen-agers.

Hudson doesn't learn for a very different reason. He's ashamed that he hasn't learned already. This is the main cause of continued illiteracy among adults.

I'm not getting a clear distinction between the two characters -- partially, because we're not getting much screen time for Broadway at all. We've got a lot to fit in here, but we still need to have enough time to explore both Hudson and Broadway's very different arcs. I think there's a relatively simple solution. Cut Elisa from the story, (at least for the most part). She's a great character, but she doesn't have a lot to learn from this adventure. We're wasting screen time on her. Make Broadway the V.T.O.L. stow-away instead of Elisa.

ROBBINS
We also discussed toning Robbins' role down. I know some of that has been done, but the guy is still coming across as St. Jeffrey to me. He's an integral, not incidental part of the plot. Now normally, I'd cheer about this, but here it's not convincing. Hudson happens to be injured near the house of the one author that Goliath loves and Elisa mentioned, who also happens to be an Arthurian expert, who if not for his blindness, would be the only person who Macbeth could get to translate the scrolls. It's just too much.

I do not believe that after nine centuries, Macbeth needs any mere mortal to translate a book for him. It's not like he has only just now started searching for magic books. If he needed to know a language he didn't know, he has had plenty of time to learn it. If no one could translate the spells, that would be another thing. But the notion that some mortal knows a Celtic language that's a mystery to the immortal Celtic Macbeth doesn't play for me.

Again, I think the solution here is simple. Macbeth doesn't get the scrolls until near the end of the play. After Macbeth's men steal the scrolls, we have Hudson and Broadway steal them back before Macbeth can get his hands on them. Hudson's injured and washes up and into Robbins' lap. Mac's men return without Hudson's scrolls. Mac and his men have to go after them. They track Hudson to Robbins' nest. Now with this change, we don't need Robbins to be the only guy who can translate these spells. He doesn't have to be the foremost authority on all things Arthurian.

In fact, he doesn't have to be the foremost anything. Frankly, he doesn't even have to be Goliath's favorite author. He doesn't have to be famous or collectable. In a way, I think it works against us if he is. What if he's just a relatively average guy. He writes novels that take myth, legend and/or history and try to render them believable and "true". Think Mary Stewart or Mary Renault. He's had some success. Enough to make him comfortable. But he's no Stephen King. He's just a writer operating in relative obscurity. (We can all relate.) I feel strongly that this makes him a better messenger for our purposes. The guy just loves his job. It hasn't made him rich or famous, but he loves it. He gets to do all this research, all this reading, on the period he's going to write on. He writes. (He loves words, and his dialogue should show it -- no easy task, because simply giving him a big, latinate vocabulary won't cut it.) And then he gets a tremendous kick out of knowing that people read what he wrote. It's immortality. And a better kind of immortality than Macbeth's. (I mean, hell, that's why I'm in the business -- fame and wealth would be nice, but what I really need is to live forever.) Maybe he's never even written about Merlin or Arthur before. Maybe this adventure inspires him to. It would be a lot less contrived if all this were true.

THE VILLAGE
Another thing that I think we should cut is Macbeth's little village. I don't know why it's been created. It seems to thematically fit our idea of visiting other places and times through books, but in fact it works against that theme. (As Broadway would say, "Why do I need to read about this stuff, when I can spend an hour at this glorified museum and see it? Not that I like museums.")

PHONE BOOKS, ETC.
Unfortunately, some of my changes are going to force adjustments to all the truly wonderful incidental references and uses that we put "reading" to in this outline, but we need to make sure the tail doesn't wag the dog. Let's get the structure squared away, and then work to fit as many of these as possible back into the show. Or come up with new ones. (Sure, easy for me to say.)

THE SCROLLS OF MERLIN
Let's refer to them as the SCROLLS OF MERLIN, not MERLIN'S JOURNALS. The former is neutral. The latter implies that they are exactly what they turn out to be: a narrative. We want everyone thinking that this is a book of spells. And that's everyone, not just Macbeth. We're tipping our hand otherwise. The treasure is the narrative, but it's a secret treasure. The notion of our gargoyles and all of New York getting hyped for narrative early on, makes the revelation less special. Plus, I don't want to be flagging to our audience from moment one that this is an episode about "LITERACY". Let the audience believe what Macbeth believes: we're hunting a magical macguffin. We'll sneak up on them with our true purpose (and Lord knows we're not being that subtle, so there won't be any doubt about it by the end). That way when Hudson meets Robbins, our audience won't say, "How convenient? Story about reading, and Hudson meets a writer!" They won't know the story's about reading when this happens.

FADS
With all of the above in mind, I think we need to be careful about dressing Elisa like Guinevere. It comes across as a fad here, and she doesn't seem the type to go in for a fad. It's not like this is gonna suddenly become standard attire in NYC. Let's not oversell our point, or I'm afraid we won't make the sale at all.

MORGAN THE DOG
Sorry. We already have Morgan the Cop. You need a new name. (Again, I wouldn't chose an Arthurian reference. Let this episode pique Robbin's interest in Arthurana. Up to now he's been writing novels about Beowulf or Gilgamesh.)

MACBETH'S MEN
Instead of making them mercenaries, let's just give him two specific henchman. Tough and very well-trained. Maybe not geniuses, but definitely not stupid. (Why do intelligent villains always employ such dumb henchmen?) Maybe their real names are Mel and Steve, but Macbeth calls them BANQUO and FLEANCE. A private joke that maybe they don't even get. (When I got to page 10 of the outline I was gonna suggest Banquo and Macduff, until I saw the Lennox Macduff thing on page 11. So I switched Macduff to Fleance. We can still use the Lennox Macduff alias.)

MACBETH'S CODE
Macbeth has a code of honor. It's flexible, but it exists. He's clearly willing to take prisoners. Hostages and ransom were an established and legitimate part of medieval warfare. But I don't know if he'd hold a knife to someone's head to facilitate his own escape. This isn't a hard and firm note, just keep it in mind. Also, I don't think his men have made a habit of stealing statues for him. After 900+ years, I doubt he'd be that much into material possessions. That's more Xanatos' gig. Macbeth keeps a fine house, but it's easier to buy than steal, and he's very wealthy.

MATT'S INJURY
Don't really see any purpose to it anymore.

BEAT SHEET
ACT ONE
1. Open with a prologue that shows us the British archeologists discovering the two large scrolls. More exciting than watching a report about it on television. Maybe the underground chamber was sealed magically. (A red herring to get us thinking spell book, instead of narrative.)

2. But now we segue to the clock tower. Lex is reading a newspaper article about the scrolls out loud to the rest of the gang. It seems the Scrolls are coming to NYC for authentification or whatever. Elisa says she and Matt volunteered to guard the shipment of the scrolls, and they got the nod. She admits that it's silly for her to be so excited, after all, she won't get to read them, but the whole thing really intrigues her.

Brooklyn wants to know more about Merlin. He had heard of him even back in the 10th century. He knows Merlin was some kind of 5th century magician, but that's about it. Goliath recommends some books.

(Adrienne, can we recommend a real book? Mary Stewart's THE CRYSTAL CAVE is a wonderful novel about Merlin. I read it for the first time in eighth grade. I'm rereading it now to Erin. I know we usually don't want to appear to be endorsing anything, but given this episode's subject matter, shouldn't we make an exception? Wouldn't this be a public service? We could slip in the titles of a number of good books throughout this episode. They do it on CBS with those "Read More About It" segments. Anyway, let me know.)

Broadway doesn't get it. He doesn't know how to read, and he doesn't see why he should bother to learn. Let's rent the video. They argue a bit. Hudson pointedly refuses to give his opinion, but we don't reveal his illiteracy here. (Let's make a small point of showing Hudson's rapport with Bronx here though.)

Goliath wants to know what the scrolls contain? Elisa says the seals won't be broken until they are authenticated, but the rumor is they might be Merlin's magic spells. Goliath looks concerned.

3. Dark, stormy night. Low visibility. Harbor attack by two VTOLs. Elisa and Matt are guarding the two scroll containers. But Banquo and Fleance outgun them by a mile. They each take one container into their VTOLs. Thank goodness the gargoyles were gliding nearby. (Goliath was worried that the magic scrolls might be a prime target for Demona or Xanatos.) The gargoyles attack the VTOL's. (Maybe Broadway makes a crack: "When your life is this exciting, who needs books?")

In the confusion, Hudson manages to rip open the hatch of Banquo's VTOL. He grabs the container from the shocked Banquo, but Banquo manages to get off a concussion blast that severly wounds Hudson. He's blown out of the VTOL and into the bay, still clutching the water-proof container. None of the other gargoyles see this happen.

Fleance and Banquo hit their turbo buttons and go shooting off into the night. Goliath, Lex and Brooklyn can't keep up, but a flash of lightning reveals that Broadway has managed to dig in and hitch a ride on the underside of Fleance's VTOL. They don't see Hudson, but they assume/hope that maybe he's done the same. They retreat as police helicopters approach the scene.

But Hudson (still clutching the container) is in the water, maybe going down for the last time.

4. Banquo & Fleance land their VTOL's at their boss's compound. (It might as well be Macbeth' mansion from episode -008, rebuilt since the fire.) Banq tells Fleance that he lost his container. "WHAT?! The boss is gonna kill us!" Well, big shot, where's yours? Safe in the hold of my VTOL where it belongs. Well, one scroll is better than none. Let's bring it to him. They go to get it, but the hull's been torn open and the scroll is missing.

5. Down by the docks, Elisa confers quietly with Goliath, Lex and Brooklyn. They are all worried about Broadway and Hudson. Plus this whole theft smells like Xanatos to Elisa. But no proof. So no warrant. Goliath doesn't have that problem.

6. Still raining. Hudson sees the sillouettes of a bunch of gargoyles and heads for them. He just barely makes it to shore. He's hurting bad, and is wildly disappointed when he realizes that the sillouette's weren't Goliath and the trio, but "phonies". He collapses.

7. Goliath, Brooklyn and Lex arrive at Xanatos' castle. Owen's there alone. Goliath insists on searching the place... top to bottom. (At this point in story, we should not feel that Goliath is wasting time. Owen should be ambiguous enough so that the audience WILL think that this is a Xanatos plan.)

8. Back at the Compound's hangar, we find Broadway in hiding, clutching the second container. (And feeling like this "old book" definitely isn't worth it.) Well, Banquo and Fleance are going nuts looking for the stupid thing. Now seems like a good time to bolt for the exit. He goes for it. Catches B&F off-guard and bulls his way past them. Only to be taken down by... the boss. Macbeth.

ACT TWO
9. Broadway recovers and attacks. But Macbeth makes short work of him. By now B&F have him totally covered (by high-tech futuristic non-imitatable weapons of course). Macbeth opens the container and carefully removes the scroll. He examines the seal and confirms that the scroll is authentic Merlin and that it is the second of the two scrolls. He doesn't break the seal, because he believes the scrolls contain magic. It's dangerous to get things out of order. Where's the first scroll?

10. Still raining. Robbins and his dog find Hudson, who. is regaining consciousness. Robbins surmises that Hudson was mugged, and Hudson lets him think so. The dog likes Hudson. Hudson says he's good with animals. Robbins appreciates that and is solicitous. Hudson sees that Robbins is blind. He gets an idea. He just needs a safe place to rest 'til morning. Then he'll cease to be any trouble. Robbins invites him inside, offers to help. But Hudson won't let him get too close. They go in.

11. Mac, Fleance and Banquo are in a VTOL, heading back to the harbor. Broadway is there too, in VERY heavy chains. Macbeth's keeping him around until he gets hold of the other scroll. Banquo protests: he blew that old gargoyle away, the other scroll is probably lying on the floor of the bay. Macbeth says it better not be, or Banquo will join it.

12. It's still storming outside. Breathing heavily, Hudson lowers himself into an easy chair and looks around Robbins' home. It's wall-to-wall bookshelves. Hudson doesn't like being here, but he's a bit of a captive audience. There's an uncomfortable silence. On a table near his chair, Hudson picks a medal off a display case. Also on the display case, is a plaque of some kind that clearly reads something like: "ROBBINS RECEIVES PURPLE HEART", but Hudson still asks what it is. Eventually, we get the idea that Robbins lost his sight in the war. (Vietnam? Korea? How old do we want Robbins to be? If we want him to be the same (biological) age as Hudson, we should go with Korea.) Hudson points to his one blind eye, which was also injured in battle. (Against the Archmage in episode #11, but Hudson won't go into details.) The two old warriors have made a connection. Now they can become friends. Robbins asks Hudson what he does. Hudson says he's...still a soldier. Robbins is a novelist. Or he used to be, before he ran out of ideas. He did have a few minor successes. Maybe Hudson's heard of them. Hudson doesn't read much, but he's shocked that the blind Robbins can read and write. Robbins is borderline insulted. Hasn't Hudson heard of braille? Hudson hasn't. Robbins is surprised. He hands Hudson a braille book (one that he wrote). Hudson runs his fingers over the bumps. Robbins then hands him the same book in standard English. Hudson lets slip that the bumps mean as much to him as the chicken scrawl. Robbins puts two and two together. And we find out that Hudson can't read.

13. In the harbor, near dawn, The VTOL searches for some clue. Broadway asks Macbeth what all the fuss is about. Who was this Merlin guy? Just another stupid magician. Macbeth tells him who Merlin was. Tells him about what he, Arthur and Guinevere created. Maybe he quotes Tennyson or Muir. But he's eloquent and evocative, and Broadway listens with rapt attention, perhaps (do we dare?) even visualizing Macbeth's words with hazy images. When Macbeth finishes Broadway says with awe: "You describe it like you were there..." Macbeth tosses off his reply (he doesn't realize the effect he's had on Broadway): "I'm old, but not THAT old. Obviously, I read about it in books." But Broadway can't help repeating to himself: "But you describe it like you were there..."

14. Back at the castle, Goliath and co. have obviously, found nothing of value. It won't be long til sunrise and they dare not stay much longer. Owen enters with the early morning edition under his arm. He's deduced what they're after from the news story. Suggests that the VTOL described in the article has more in common with the kind of vehicle that Macbeth is wont to drive. (Goliath feels like big dumb jerk. But there's no time to fight about it.) Goliath, Brook and Lex leave.

15. Hudson: "I'm too old to learn to read now." Robbins: It's never too late. I had to learn to read all over again, learn to read braille after I was blinded. Hudson: Who would teach me? He's ashamed to tell his friends he doesn't know how. Robbins offers to teach him, but makes the point that Hudson should only be ashamed to continue his illiteracy. There's no shame in learning -- ever. Hudson doesn't respond.

The storm is breaking and dawn approaches. Hudson, still hurt, gets up to leave. Robbins is afraid he's gotten too preachy. But Hudson insists he must go. He goes to the terrace. Takes his place among the gargoyles. Turns to stone, still clutching the scroll container. The dog barks. Robbins calls out to his new friend. But there's no sound, no movement. He doesn't know how Hudson got away so fast, but he did.

16. On the VTOL, Broadway, still in chains, has turned to stone. Macbeth spots the gargoyles of Robbins' terrace. He orders Banquo to head that way.

ACT III
17. Robbins and his dog hear a noise on the terrace. He calls out "Hudson?", but the dog is growling and he knows Hudson isn't there. It's a man named Lennox Macduff, who claims to be a friend of Hudson's; he's looking for him. Robbins is suspicious. But Macduff is very polite and leaves without incident. What Robbins doesn't see is that Macduff slips the container out of Hudson's stone hand.

Dissolve to:

18. Sunset. Hudson bursts free. But the scroll container is gone. The noise has again brought Robbins to his terrace. Hudson claims that when he left in such a hurry this morning, he must have left something here accidentally. Has Robbins "seen" it? No, but you're friend Lennox Macduff was here, maybe he took it. Hudson knows no Macduff. Robbins isn't too surprised. He thought the name was odd. The two characters who found the dead king in Shakespeare's MACBETH. Hudson: "Macbeth?!!"

And maybe here is where we get the looking up of "Lennox Macduff's" address in the phone book. (Hudson never saw Macbeth's mansion in Episode 8. Goliath, Brook and Lex did.)

19. Inside Macbeth's compound Macbeth is preparing for some magic ceremony thing. There's a flame pit and other magical acoutrements. Broadway's flesh again, but still bound by heavy chains now anchored to the floors. He'll be Macbeth's guinea pig for trying out Merlin's spells. He starts to open the first scroll.

20. Outside the compound, Hudson is reunited with Goliath, Brook and Lex. They briefly exchange info. Then they attack. But Banquo and Fleance are ready. They're on turret mounted laser cannons that turn and twist like the ones on the Milennium Falcon (or something like that).

21. Macbeth tries to open the first scroll. It has been magically sealed, but a simple spell can break it open.

22. Goliath, Hudson, Brooklyn and Lex defeat Banquo and Fleance. They head inside.

23. Macbeth begins to read aloud from the first scroll. (I'm tempted to say he translates from Latin, but I don't know if that serves our aim. We could ignore the translation question. He reads it to us in English. Which may mean he's translating it for us automatically without bothering to mention that fact. Or we just do what we always have in this series which is ignore the differences between Old, Middle and Modern English, extending it to whatever Celtic dialect Merlin might have written in.) As he reads aloud, it soon becomes clear that it is not a spellbook but an autobiography, a narrative. A history. You get the idea. He's furious. All that trouble for a stupid book.

Hudson, Goliath, Brook and Lex storm in. Macbeth is unprepared, so he flips a release on Broadway's floor chains, but then uses him as a hostage for his escape. (Now I know I said to watch out for this. And we still need to. Macbeth needs to rationalize this. Probably outloud.) Goliath threatens to drop the scrolls into the fire if Macbeth doesn't release Broadway unharmed. (Goliath still believes that this is a book of magic, i.e. a dangerous human weapon.) Macbeth is about to laugh at this threat, when Broadway protests. "Goliath, you can't." Broadway now believes that the scrolls are infinitely precious. Goliath is surprised to hear this from Broadway. Where'd he get this from? From Macbeth. Those scrolls are magic. They can transport us back...all that good stuff. Even Macbeth is impressed. Cautiously, he releases Broadway. He tells the gargoyles they are tresspassing on his property. Take the scrolls and go.

24. The gargoyles wing their way back towards the clock tower. They plan on giving the scrolls back to Elisa, so that she can return them to the museum. Goliath's sure that after the museum has authenticated them, they will be transcribed and published. But if the others want, he can read the scrolls aloud to them, before he gives them to Elisa. But Hudson says no. For a moment, everyone is a bit taken aback. Then Hudson says that he wants to read them himself. As soon as his friends help teach him how. They glide off across the city.

25. Dissolve to Robbins at his house with his dog. He's reading a braille newspaper about the recovery of the Scrolls of Merlin. "Hmmm.... Scrolls of Merlin.... I think I've found my next novel."

And we get our Tuchman quote, probably read by Robbins (Ray Charles?).

O.K. That's it. Let me know if you have any questions or problems.


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Alegna Anomed Ailehpo Aros Anaidisbo Aseuqrut Acciduob (Shegarg) writes...

Excluding Una, I've noticed that the male gargs' appearance usually differ pretty heavily from culture to culture, but the females are all basically the same. For instance, Zafiro's shape looked extremely reptilian, while Obsidiana's shape was similar to Demona and Angela's. Is there a reason for that?

Greg responds...

Lack of imagination?

Females are harder to draw. Getting the balance right between beauty and quote-unquote monstrosity is a trickier business than it is with males. Shouldn't be so, but it is. Maybe when the balance of female to male artists evens out...

But for now...

Response recorded on July 11, 2000

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The Gatekeeper writes...

It looks like my question got lost in the crash, so I will try to recreate it.

I was wondering how the voice recording was done. In one of your ramblings you mentioned that some careful editing was done of the voice tracks to make the timing of the dialogue smoother. This makes it sound like each voice actor was recorded separately. Was this actually the case? I would have thought that it would be easier for the actors to be able to play off of each other as they are reading in order so get into the proper mood of the action.

I was also wondering which comes first, the voice recording or the animation? If the voice recording is done first, are the actors filmed so that the animators can transfer some of the facial expressions to the characters? There are some animation shows where the mouth movements do not even remotely correspond to the dialogue. That is very distracting to me; I have never had that feeling with Gargs.

Greg responds...

As often as possible, we tried to get the entire cast together. But that wasn't always possible. Jonathan and Marina had Star Trek duties. Keith spent most of the second season in New York doing Seven Guitars on Broadway. And etc.

But even when we did have people together, you need to understand that we'd occasionally mix and match everyone's takes. Sometimes Jeff's best take might be number three. And Thom's was number one. And Bill's was number two. Why not take their best takes if we can? And we could. So we did. Also sometimes we wanted the dialogue to overlap. But if we record it overlapped, then it makes it hard for the Track Reader to instruct our overseas animators on the lip synch. So we'd record the lines separately, and then overlap them in our edits.

Voice Recording almost always comes BEFORE animation. In TV, we generally do not film the voice actors. We don't have a budget for that step.

Response recorded on July 10, 2000

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Blaise writes...

TEMPTATION (revisited)

Although this wasn't the episode that cemented Brooklyn as my favorite character, it was still one I found compelling. And your right, he is cool--especially in the Act I fight. Yeah, the fact that he wasn't in shadow and you could see his snout does detract from the scene somewhat, but then the bikers were wearing sunglasses at night. Come to think of it, a few of them didn't even seem to be wearing helmets....
Anyway, I'm glad the little touches you guys used in this ep--Demona's comments on the past centuries, the reference to the previous episode, the DEAD BODY. That last one especially. I would never have dreamed of seeing it even hinted at in an animated afternoon show. Marina Sirtis and Jeff Bennett really did a good job with their characters here.
Elisa's finger--oh, great. Now when I watch the scene again I'll look for it and probably not be able to see anything else again.
On the subject of animation, for both this and the last episode I liked them just fine. It was far better animation than what I was used to, that's for sure.
I never thought that Brooklyn's remark about "the world we came from" referred to an alien planet. Why do so many people insist that gargoyles be aliens?
I especially like Brooklyn in the final Act--his outrage against Demona, his cunning, and his lines!
"I was a FOOL to trust you!"
"You hold the book Demona, but *I* hold the spell!"
His acceptance of his fault in the scheme I find quite gallant.
As for how they "free" Goliath of the spell, yeah I guess it is a cheat. HOWEVER, I have not seen any other show defeat a "mind-control spell" in the same way. So kudos to you guys for originality at least.

Greg responds...

Thanks. A lot of credit should of course go to Michael Reaves. Michael and I were like a well-oiled machine right out of the gate. We really were in sync with each other. He made that part of my job (overseeing the writing on the first season) a pleasure.

Response recorded on July 10, 2000

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Todd Jensen writes...

When you first came up with "Gargoyles" for the comedy concept, did you use the notion then of gargoyles as protector-figures, or did that only enter the series after you switched it to the "serious drama" direction?

Greg responds...

It was inherent in the whole idea. Gargoyles protect churches, etc. from evil spirits. That's the one, maybe the only, part of the mythology we DIDN'T come up with.

Response recorded on July 10, 2000

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Aaron writes...

So, you've been watching The Sopranos, eh? How are you liking it so far?

The show reminds me of Gargoyles in an odd way; a ground-breaking show built from one man's vision by a host of very talented people.

One of the things I've enjoyed about The Sopranos is their use of pop music to provide emphasis, or at times, ironic counterpoint to the action. Obviously with no disrespect intended to the fantastic work done by Carl Johnson, was there ever a time when you wanted to do something like that?

Greg responds...

I love the Sopranos.

As to music, maybe occasionally. But let's be honest, Carl's work really established our mood. And occasionally (as in HOUND OF ULSTER) carried the plot.

If I had any wistful regret, it was that we didn't have the budget to allow Carl to score every episode fully. Still Marc Perlman did a great job editing what music Carl did score into the places he didn't.

Response recorded on July 07, 2000

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Demona Taina writes...

This is more of a comment than a ramble, but here you go. :)

I've always admired Goliath. Not only is he handsome, seven feet tall and very strong, but he's much more. He's loving, caring, and so romantic. The way he talks, the way he smiles (when he does) the way he looks at Elisa, the way he touches her hair. Like in the episode "Deadly Force." He almost fell off the castle when Owen told him the bad news. How he almost killed Dracon seeking for revenge.

He is so romantic, it's like he carefully looks for the perfect thing to say all the time. I just love him.

Not only is he loving and caring, but he is intelligent, in his own special way. He may not understand this new world in its entirety, but he does, and he's learning fast. That's one thing I've always admired about him, he's a fast-learner, even Thailog complimented him on that in "Sanctuary."

But that temper. Anything ticks him off. If he could just learn to control it, I think he'd be perfect. For example, "Enter Macbeth," when he found Elisa, Hudson and Broadway outside the castle, and when Elisa told him about "their new home." He was furious, he even screamed at her. "How dare you!?!" Broadway had to pitch in to knock some sense into him, but he still wouldn't listen. That was, until Hudson spoke. He respects Hudson, and that's obvious, but he still couldn't help but roar to the night. And how everyone gasped at that, wow. Great episode.

Back to Goliath. Umm, what else can I say about him? Oh, he can dance. :) And beautifully, may I add. "Eye of the Beholder" is one of my favorite episodes, the way they danced. The way he bowed to her, the way he twirled her. Wow. I've lost count of all the times I've hit the rewind button to watch that scene all over. :)

His sense of honor. He waited for Odin to get up to strike again. He even stopped Demona from dropping a human to a certain death. He lost Demona for struggling to do what was right. Wow.

His manners. He bowed to the Princess even if she had called him and his kind "beasts." It wasn't stern, it wasn't sarcasm, he really meant it. He left the Princess speechless with his manners.

His vocabulary. The only thing close to a curse he's ever said is "Jalapena," and that's not even a curse. He barely uses contractions, too. For example, he says "cannot" instead of "can't." He is so nice. I just love his way of speaking.

His skill, that's one thing I love of him. That's why the Pack wanted to hunt him, Lexington just came in as a bonus, they wanted the excersise, they wanted a thrill. And Goliath was just it. But he beat them, with the help of Lexington.

Oh, yeah, his looks. :) That's the first thing I noticed about him. After thoroughly analyzing the episodes, I realized that he's more than good looks. But back to it, he is handsome. There's no denying that. Elisa literally fell for him the first time she saw him. :) I still don't understand how his hair stands uop like that, but it still makes him very handsome.

His colors are great, too. I mean, he's not dark, nor too light. The colors just suit him. That lavender skin, with that brown hair blue and black wings. Wow. :)

The way he smiles, the way he walks, the way he speaks... it's just so unique. Not even Thailog's like him, and he's a clone. :)

I sound a like a huge fan, don't I? Well, I am, I've always been, and I will always be a huge fan. :)

BTW, I saw somewhere that Goliath had mutliple spikes coming from his arms, and also the tip of his tail ended like Ottello's before he was changed to the way he is now. but a ball or something. Anyway, who changed those features? And why? I think they made him very distinctive.

So, that's all for now. :P I think... there's much more I like about him. Anyway, thank you for your time!

-A devoted fan

Greg responds...

Wow. An ode.

I like him too. But credit where credit is due, a lot of people were involved in Goliath's creation.

First and foremost, Greg Guler, who created the basic design that our current Goliath is based on. Frank Paur chose to streamline that design so that our animators had the best possible chance of animating him consistently and well.

Numerous other artists both here in L.A. and in Japan also contributed. There's one guy in particular in Japan, who jumped on and made a pass in between Greg and Frank. His name, I think, is Mr. Takeuchi. But I'm not 100% sure, and I can't check my files at this moment. My apologies if I've gotten that wrong. (I only ever met him once.)

Then, of course, the writers. Michael Reaves, Brynne Chandler Reaves, Gary Sperling, Cary Bates, Lydia Marano, Steve Perry and others. They captured his voice.

And actor Keith David, who really brought life into that voice. I can't say enough about Keith's talent, training and natural abilities. But I will say that Keith is also a big fan of Goliath's. That may sound strange, but he's said to me that he admires many of the qualities that you listed above. He became a real watchdog (particularly on Goliath Chronicles) to make sure that Goliath sounded like Goliath in voice and in diction. Of course, I also need to credit Jamie Thomason, our voice director. He and Keith made Goliath sound like Goliath.

And Paca Thomas at Advantage Audio who created the growls and roars to supplement Keith's work.

The list is endless, but that's a partial attempt. I'm proud to be one of that group of many.

Response recorded on July 07, 2000

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Chapter XVI: "Legion"

Story Editor: Michael Reaves
Written by Marty Isenberg & Robert N. Skir

I just watched "Legion" again. Time to Ramble.

From the memo I posted earlier this week, you'll see that the never used on screen names of Othello, Desdemona and Iago were my idea. But I've always wondered if that's the case. The outline that Marty and Bob wrote immediately prior to that memo had all the Othello elements very, very present in the story. All they didn't do was NAME the characters. I always wondered whether they and/or Michael had the Othello story specifically in mind, consciously or un-, and I just capitalized on it.

The Goldencup Bakery Building, which semi-secretly houses a defense department hi-tech research and development installation is modeled after the Silver Cup Bakery Building -- which actually exists in Brooklyn (as I recall). That Building was trashed in the original HIGHLANDER movie in the final battle between Connor and the Kragen (who was played by a pretty damned horrific Clancy Brown). Small world.

I was always worried that the whole Othello, Desdemona, Iago, Cassio (whoops, I mean Goliath) backstory was a bit vague in this episode. Did anyone have problems getting it?

I don't think I'd like to be one of those Goldencup Guards. Coldstone punches one of them out. That's gotta hoit. He just seems fairly unstoppable in that Xanatos-program controlled sequence. I like how that plays.

Matt says to Elisa: "You never let me drive." My wife's reaction: "Was that in homage to me?" My wife, you see, almost always drives when we're together. She gets carsick when anyone else drives. And I don't much care.

Speaking of Matt, we've got that line about him spending six months reading RECAP manuals to justify why a normal detective would be in charge of RECAP in the first place. Just trying to avoid either adding a superfluous character and/or making the situation seem artificial.

Another appearance of the Scarab Corp. Logo, even though Scarab is never mentioned by name. Oh, well...

Coldstone flees the Goldencup. Goliath and Lex pursue, and Coldstone attacks them. Then he immediately stops, when he sees it's Goliath. The problem I always had with that scene is that the lighting made it obvious that it was Goliath from moment one. (Not just to us, but to Coldstone.) If Goliath had been in shadows, it would have played better.

Minutes later Lex asks Goliath if it's wise to take Coldstone into their home: "He hasn't always been your friend." This was, theoretically, a reference not simply to the most recent attack, nor even only to the events of "Reawakening", but also a reference to the pre-Massacre backstory of the actually non-existent love triangle (or square or pentagram if you include Demona) that caused Goliath and Othello to fight way back when. Lex remembers those days too. Othello was always a bit of a hot-head.

I love Goliath's response: "Without trust there can be no clan." And I love that this is part of a Lex/Goliath exchange. It fits in perfectly with the message they taught each other in "Thrill of the Hunt". Gotta take some chances on occasion. Or else you'll always be alone. It's an anti-Demona mentality. Or rather a mentality that is strikingly un-Demona-esque.

From the moment Coldstone premiered in "Reawakening" I knew (that if we survived to a second season) we'd discover that he was created from three Gargoyles. Tried to work that conceptually into the design more, but we never quite achieved it. So basically that becomes something that the audience has to take on trust.

Which brings me to the title "Legion". It's a one-word title which usually is a tip-off that it's one of mine. I know it's a biblical reference. Some possessed guy with a demon/devil inside who goes by the name "Legion". But that's not actually where I got it. When I was a kid, I saw this tv movie based on Mary Shelley's FRANKENSTEIN. It starred Michael Sarazan or Chris Sarandon. (I always used to mix those two guys up.) It was trying to present a more realistic believable version of the Frankenstein story. I was pretty young. And I don't remember too much about it. I do remember that I was supposed to be asleep -- past my bedtime in the days before my parents gave up and I began going to bed long after they were asleep. But instead of being asleep, I was watching it, in the dark, with the volume turned as far down as possible, me sitting right by the set, so I could flip it off if I heard my parents' door opening. (This was long before remote controls were common.) Anyway, the one scene that I really remember is a scene where they put the Monster under hypnosis. The voices of all the people who "donated" body parts begin to speak. And one of them quotes the "Legion" thing from the bible. But I didn't know that. That is I didn't know back then that he was quoting anyone or anything. It just seemed like a very powerful, poetic and humanly true statement. So it wasn't until college that I read that passage in the bible and realized where it was from. Can anyone cite the actual quote? I can't remember where exactly it's from, and I don't feel like searching right now.

Anyway, all this is relevant because Coldstone was ALWAYS our Frankenstein character from the "IT'S ALIVE!" moment to the "Legion" stuff here.

Coldstone calls Hudson "Mentor". That's a "name" I've been long considering for Hudson's "designation" in the DARK AGES prequel spin-off.

Coldstone shoots Goliath at point blank range. Goliath gets up unharmed. A far cry from what happened to G in "Long Way to Morning." Now in the outline and script, it says that Coldstone uses his "concussion cannon" as opposed to his laser cannon. But nothing in the as-aired episode makes that distinction. And so it just looks irresponsible to me. Like suddenly we're saying violence has no repercussions. Did that bother anyone else?

I love the dark comedy of Coldstone going bonkers at Ellis Island. Fighting with himself. I think Michael Dorn did a terrific job playing all four aspects of CS's personality. Which of you figured out what when? I'd like to know.

The Trio has the Recap visor. Now all they have to do is find Goliath, Hudson and Coldstone. How will they do that? "Three guesses?" A very elegant way to explain how in a huge city, they're able to locate three gargoyles.

Kenner's Coldstone toy is a lot of fun. With it's window into Coldstone's soul. And the spinner that allows any of the four personas to take over at random.

Xanatos doesn't even appear until the VERY END of Act Two. And it's not even really Xanatos, just a program designed by him. Normally, I'd say that wasn't playing fair. But I feel like his presence was obvious all-along. (And did David personally design that program. Or did he just put his stamp on it, management-style?)

There's a moment when Goliath, thrilled to see his rookery sister again, hugs Desdemona. She is immediately annoyed, because she knows that hug is prone to misinterpretation. It's a nice little touch in the animation.

I always wondered what if anything Demona thought about that ancient conflict way back when. Was Iago playing her as well? Trying to make her jealous of Desdemona? I think maybe he did try. But wouldn't it be cool if she didn't credit it for a second. If she just knew intuitively that Desdemona didn't present any threat at all to her relationship with G? Because, I feel the opposite is true. That Demona knew intuitively that Elisa DID present a threat. Say what you want for Demona, but her subconscious knows her man.

I love that moment where BOTH Iago and Xanatos are whispering in Othello's ears. Poor slob never stood a chance.

We've got a nice little Xanatos tag in this one too. Certainly not a doozy as in "Leader" or "Metamorphosis", but it's got a nice little kick to it, I think. And that's THREE episodes in a row. X had been busy.

And then I love the last beat back at the clock tower. Goliath has confiscated Coldstone's body, to keep it safe and "among friends" should he/she ever wake up again. I wanted to keep it in the corner from that point until "High Noon". Always present and visible. We didn't for two reasons. First, we figured it would be a bit confusing. The Batcave can get away with the giant penny and other souvenirs from Batman's cases, because there ARE multiple souvenirs. But just having one immobile gargoyle in the background, as cool and creepy as that is, would be horribly distracting for any audience member who missed this one particular episode. And second, we had our tier system. What if "Legion" wasn't ready as scheduled. We couldn't have Coldstone sitting around the clock tower in later episodes that we'd be forced to air first. Talk about disconcerting. So we invented a back room. Where Coldstone, the Grimorum, the Gate and eventually the eye could be stored.

Comments welcome, as usual...


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Todd Jensen writes...

Oh, and as to your bit about inaccurate closed captions, I can agree with you on that. In my area, the closed captions that they did for "Upgrade", for example, when they got to Hudson's considering the upgraded Pack even more fearsome than anything that the Archmage's sorcery ever produced, spelt it "Archmajor". And in "Future Tense", the closed captions read "Eerie Pyramid" instead of "Eyrie Pyramid" (although, in light of what the place was like in "Future Tense", it was a rather appropriate mistake).

Greg responds...

There are other errors too. Judge Roebling, in "Sanctuary", I think was WAY mispelled in the close captions.

I've seen other mistakes in fandom that I can't explain, and so I'm betting they came from the close captions. More than once, I've seen the Shaman from "WALKABOUT" given a name. (I can't remember what the name was.) But I know WE never gave him a name. So I'm betting the close captions mistranscribed something that Dingo said. There's also a wrong name for Natsilane's tribe floating around. And those are just a couple off the top of my head. (I just wish those people had ASKED us for the scripts. I would have been happy to help.)

Response recorded on July 05, 2000

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Entity writes...

Hi Greg,

In an earlier response of yours, you state that the "Next time on Gargoyles" teasers were actually advantageous in that they padded out air time.

This confuses me. Well, actually, it somewhat disturbs me. You man having less time in which to tell a story was a good thing?

For me, in any half-hour program, I savor every minute because I know there are only twenty. It's not the same in hour-long shows. Yet, they often have the briefer teasers.

Greg responds...

By thirty seconds... DAMN STRAIGHT.

Budgets forced us to send shows overseas that timed out almost to the exact length that the show would air. But bad animation happens. Mistakes. Bad timing. Things we overlooked in board. Etc. If you can't cut anything because you're already more or less at the correct airing time, that limits what you can and can't fix. Having the freedom to cut another 30 seconds allowed us to tighten things up immeasurably. Action sequences have more punch, move quicker, I guarantee.

It's not like we were losing scenes or even lines of dialogue. It's not five minutes, it's just thirty seconds spread out over nineteen minutes worth of footage. It helps make each minute much more savory. Trust me.

Response recorded on July 05, 2000

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Chapter XV: "Metamorphosis"

STORY EDITOR: Michael Reaves
WRITERS: Brynne Chandler Reaves & Lydia Marano

The first appearance of Anton Sevarius and the MUTATES: Maggie the Cat, Fang and Claw. Derek had appeared before, but this was TALON's "first appearance" as well.

In our original development, the Talon character was called CATSCAN. He wasn't Elisa's brother. In fact, he was sorta Sevarius. That is, he was the scientist who created the mutagenic formula. At first he works for Xavier (Xanatos), but later -- when he realizes that Xavier was responsible for the "accident" that turned him into Catscan -- he tries to hunt Xanatos down, forcing Goliath to actually protect Xanatos in order to save Catscan's soul. This version of Catscan was basically the inspiration of my good friend Fred Schaefer, who was a Disney Development Associate at the time. Part of the team. Oh, and Catscan was a solo act, there were no other Mutates. And he didn't have wings either. He fired some kind of radiation bolt from his eyes.

Later, we began to prep Derek for the Catscan/Talon role. I don't remember if we knew Derek's fate way back in "Deadly Force", when he was introduced, but we definitely knew by "Her Brother's Keeper". One of the reasons we made him a pilot was to give him some flight background to justify how quickly we needed him to learn to fly. This was emphasized HERE by putting him in a glider.

Anton Sevarius became a separate character obviously. Michael Reaves, I believe, came up with his name. At first, I didn't like it. I thought it was too cartoony. Now I think it suits him.

Rereading my memo, it seems I was thinking of Brent Spiner to play Sevarius. I hadn't remembered that. Of course, no one else could be Sevarius except Tim Curry. And Brent was a perfect Puck for us too. So all's well that ends well. (But can you imagine if somehow the rolls had been switched?) Tim has some great lines here: "...Or has that changed?" is one of my favorites. He's so hungry.

FYI - That's Jonathan Frakes voicing Fang's one-liner in this episode. We couldn't afford to hire a separate actor for one line. So Jonathan stepped in. Of course, later Fang was taken over by Jim Belushi. But I don't think anyone noticed.

Gotta love the Snidely Whiplash reference.

As I mentioned in my last Ramble on "Leader", Xanatos' plans were getting more and more sophisticated. Here we had two humdingers in a row. The one in "Leader" is just a lot of fun. This one is cruel. Throughout the story, we (I think) tend to believe in Xanatos' mea culpa and his outrage regarding the Mutates ("They'll crucify you. And if they don't, I WILL!!"). Why? Because he's so darn likable we want to think well of him. (Who was fooled? I'd like to know.) Also his story rings true. When he tells Sevarius, "I've been in prison before." We know he has. We believe he could take it again. It's that touch of truth amid the lies that makes him so sharp.

And Owen was complicit. On one level, that shouldn't be surprising, yet there's something of the Mr. Spock about Owen. As faithful as you know he is, you don't actually expect him to lie.

And frankly, the plan is SO complex. I hope it's believable when all is said and done. We made a real effort to make sure that it could have worked, that if it hadn't gone EXACTLY as depicted it would feel like there would have been alternative scenarios that would have generated the same result. Of course the master-stroke is Sevarius' death. Our S&P executive raised an eyebrow over that, as she finished reading Act Two. Fortunately, she was the type who finished the script before knee-jerking us with an objection. We got away with depicting a violent death on-screen -- because it was fake. (But who was fooled?)

We tried to play fair with a number of clues throughout. We used Xanatos' own security team as the "hired mercenaries" that Sevarius was using. Only Xanatos checks Sevarius' pulse. When Matt and Elisa are later investigating the scene, there's no body and NO CHALK OUTLINE either. They have no idea that anyone even theoretically was supposed to have DIED there. And Sevarius is SO OVER THE TOP. That should have been a stylistic clue. It was way fun to do -- and it took great acting on Tim's part to act that badly and still make it play.

For once the script came in a tad short. So the board artist added the bit where the gargoyles break out of stone and we see the debris rain down on the people below. Pigeons fly off into the night. (Just a little touch of realism.) Very nice.

I was never too fond of Elisa's Zen Master joke. Still, in the comic book story I wrote before the Marvel comic book was cancelled, I created a Zen Master character. (Just compulsive I guess.)

My original plan for Gen-U-Tech was to abreviate its name as G.U.T.S. As in the company that twists yours up. (The full name is Genetic Undiscovered Technical Systems.) Instead it became Gen-U-Tech, which is probably better. But I can't remember who made the change. The script has plenty of GUTS references in the descriptions. But it may have escaped my notice that it has none in the dialogue. And the logos designed all read Gen-U-Tech, not guts. I wonder if Frank & Michael were slyly protecting me from a mis-step?

I like the conflict between Brooklyn & Broadway here. All the interplay with the trio is very well handled, I think. Were people really rooting for Brooklyn & Maggie to wind up together?

Not our best animated episode. Both the modeling and the animation leave a bit to be desired. Derek's ears look mid-transformation long before he's hit with that dart. Makes me cringe, but I guess if the audience isn't expecting him to get changed, they don't notice the subtle pointyness to the ears, until after the contents of the dart are revealed. But on a second viewing...?

Maggie Reed: "I'm from Ohio." As if that should explain EVERYTHING. I love that line.

"Morgan Reed", by the way, was one of our may early names for what eventually became Elisa Chavez, Elisa Bluestone and finally Elisa Maza. (I never waste anything.)

Observations from my daughter Erin:

1. "I like the click of their boots." [Erin complimenting the foley during the recapture of Maggie in the alley.]

2. "His hands ARE tied!" [My clever Erin catching the irony. Elisa says "My hands are tied." Brooklyn responds, "Well mine aren't." But then he turns to stone, prompting Erin's observation.]

3. "Hudson and Bronx always stay home." [Erin commenting on our proclivity for leaving Hudson & Bronx behind at the castle or clock tower when Goliath and the Trio go off. It is kind of a rip.]

Another great series of endings and false endings.

Xanatos tells Owen to bring him the "best geneticist on the planet."

The gargs arrive and fight the Mutates. Elisa arrives. Xanatos asks her to "stop this senseless violence". [Ahh, what a lovely bastard he is.]

Maggie makes the accurate observation that Brooklyn wants her to stay a monster. And yet despite that incite, she clearly still believes that both she and Brooklyn ARE monsters. She's as bound up in appearances as he is.

Talon names himself. It's kinda odd. But I think it works.

Elisa declares war on Xanatos. And for a split-second it registers on his face. Something has actually given him pause.

And then Owen brings in the best geneticist. I still wonder if it's immediately clear that this "new guy" IS Sevarius. He looks SO different. And Tim wasn't using the hoky accent anymore. Was anyone else confused, even momentarily? But anyway, it's another stunner Xanatos Tag. Did your eyes bug out? Or did you know by this time?

And finally, back to the Tower. Brooklyn is in a funk. But Elisa...

This entire episode is obviously a direct sequel to "Brother's Keeper". Right down to the end. In the end of that one, Elisa can do nothing but stare sadly out at the snow. But we're past that now. Now she cries. Xanatos doesn't wind up with the Mutates, though he correctly predicts there eventual return, but this is his clearest victory yet. The Mutates blame the gargs. Talon still believes X is his best chance at a cure. And he has an emotional and physical weapon against Elisa and the gargs. I was proud of us for ending a "cartoon" on such a relatively down note. Can't always have happy endings. How many people were surprised we ended it that way?

That's it. Comments welcome...


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Chapter XIV: "Leader of the Pack"

I've already dealt with the changes between the first and second seasons of GARGOYLES. (See a previous ramble on that subject.) And hopefully you've all read the serialized postings of the memo I wrote to Michael Reaves in July of 94. Note the date. I was writing that memo to Michael a good three months before the first season of the series would actually premiere. Meaning, Michael, myself, all of us, were just guessing.

Now, finally, I have the time to sit down and ramble about my recent re-viewing of "Leader"...

STORY EDITOR: Michael Reaves.
WRITER: Steven Perry.

Some things were coming to fruition in this episode. A CY.O.T.I. robot had been part of the original development of the show and the Pack. Six characters seemed like a bit much, but the main reason we left CY.O.T.I. out of "Thrill of the Hunt" was because of the way we wound up intro-ing the Pack, that is as a group of T.V. super-heroes. Giving them a realistic robot in that context didn't seem to fit. By the time we got around to introducing the show's version of the Coyote robot (note the NORMAL spelling) much had changed in how we conceived the thing. And yet many of the original elements were still present, if altered. The orignal CY.O.T.I. (CYber-Operational Technical Individual -- or something like that) was a hovering robotic head. But not a Xanatos head. It was a dog-faced head. The head could attach to multiple different robotic bodies, as well as lock into various vehicles as a kind-of autoMATED pilot. One of the robotic bodies was four-legged, dog-shaped. Another was bipedal. But in either case there was never any question that the robot was a robot.

But by the time, we got to "Leader" we had learned so much more about our characters, that our whole conception of CY.O.T.I. changed into the Coyote you know. Part of the change came right out of how sophisticated Xanatos himself was. David constantly made Michael and I jump through hoops to come up with trickier and trickier plots. Plots that would allow the Gargoyles to generally triumph, and yet allow Xanatos to snatch some real victory out of seeming total defeat in what had become our trademark Xanatos Tag sequences. The one in "Leader" is one of the best, which brings up another thing that came to fruition in this episode. When we first created the Pack, I had NO IDEA that Fox and Xanatos were an item. That was a complete discovery, a revelation that came to us during the making of "Her Brother's Keeper": akin to, "Ohmigod, Fox is in love with David!!!" I don't know if it shocked you guys, but it sure came as a surprise to me, their so-called creator. Another instance when I think of myself less as a writer, and more as simply the guy who was tapping into what was really going on in the GARGOYLES UNIVERSE. When did you guys figure it out? During "Brother's Keeper"? During "Leader"? Or not until the end of "Leader" when it was objectively revealed? (Obviously, any of you who saw later episodes first are disqualified from voting on this one.)

Anyway, since we knew they were destined for each other, and we had this semi-top secret plan for them to marry and extremely top-secret plan for them to procreate, we knew we had to get Fox out of jail. And not break her out. But have her out more-or-less scott free. So that would be Xanatos' plan. All the subterfuge would lead to that. Having the robot pose as Xanatos in armor, allowed us for the kind of multiple surprise onion-peeling kind of story that I just live for. Plus it would leave us with a more wieldy five-man Pack again. Fox would graduate. Coyote would take her place.

One tricky thing was electronically futzing Jonathan Frakes' voice when Coyote was wearing his helmet. We wanted to alter it enough so that no one would know it was "Xanatos" until after he took off the helmet. But we didn't want to alter it SO much that you couldn't register Jonathan's standardly and casually wonderful acting AS Xanatos inside the armor. I think we succeeded. (Credit for that goes to the guys at Advantage Audio, who mixed the show. Real unsung heroes.)

We also gave Jamie Thomason, our voice director, and Jonathan the key note that would differentiate the true Xanatos from Coyote. And that was Coyote's fairly primitive desire for vengeance. If I do say so myself, I thought this was a terrific clue, a great moment of fair play, planted in the story. I wanted people to be a little surprised that Xanatos would care about vengeance. But I also figured most would buy into it, because we're all so trained to think of villains in a certain way. But then when Xanatos calls revenge a "sucker's game" at the end, the audience would feel "Oh, of course. That's OUR Xanatos. The other guy was just a cheap imitation." Who was fooled? Who wasn't? I'm curious to know.

When Coyote first took off his helmet at the end of Act One, my three year old son Ben yelled out "Xanatos!" He was truly and wonderfully surprised at that moment. It was fun.

Random observation: Wolf's not doing real push-ups. Not fully extending, either up or down.

Another thing we did do for the NEW SEASON start up was feature the gargs EXPLODING out of stone. Another of our series' trademarks that we wanted to be sure to get into the first episode of the new season.

Coyote clearly has a "quip chip" installed. He's got some great very Xanatosian lines. "Exact change". "Wanna see what I can do with both hands." Etc.

In fact lots of characters have great cutting lines in this one. Owen is wonderfully officious, even a tad smarmy in this one. You can almost see Puck smiling through, and this is before I knew Owen was Puck. But his, "Shouldn't you... be there." is just great.

Or Brooklyn's line: "Yeah, why should we stay up here... where it's safe." Great.

And Hyena: "I love a man who brings me weapons..." and "A robot?! Even better." Classic. And that was another discovery. Hyena would have the hots for Coyote. It wouldn't necessarily be reciprocated, but the mere fact that he was a robot wouldn't bug her. (I'm guessing she's used to using technology to satisfy her desires.) On some level, I think this was us (and Hyena) just being perverse for the sake of perverseness. But I also think it created an interesting parallel to Goliath and Elisa's relationship, if that doesn't sound to preposterous.

______

Another random observation: Hyena mentions Santa Claus. :) Ho ho ho.

______

CHARACTER CONTINUITY:
I think there was a semi-conscious desire to give every character something that new and returning viewers could use to hang their hats on, so-to-speak.

Lex is still so angry at the Pack for events in "Thrill of the Hunt" that he's literally HOPPING mad. Actually, that bit of hopping bugged me. Made Lex look silly and young at a point when I was hoping to present him as truly dangerous. Oh, well...

Brooklyn still feels the same way about Demona. And he's self-aware enough to know it. Though not mature enough to get passed it. (That'll come -- sometime in 2158.)

Broadway still hates guns and smashes them at every opportunity. (Lex obviously doesn't share his rookery-brother's opinion. Lex looks real tough holding that launcher. And I think it's a fairly shocking moment when that hole gets blown in Coyote's torso, and Lex is revealed -- through the hole, no less -- as the shooter. Even though we know by this time that Coyote is a robot, I still think it's one of the most violent images that ever appeared in our show. And it's all about context and attitude. You get the sense that Lex might just do the exact same thing to any of the human members of the Pack too.)

Hudson is still the observant guy who deduces events from what remains behind. "There's been a struggle here..." is right in keeping with his tracking skills and the way he examined that tampered-with bow back in "Awakening, Part Two".

Bronx is still a good judge of character. And he hates robots with fearful abandon. We decided he could literally smell when something isn't human. If it talks like a duck and walks like a duck, we naturally assume that it's a duck. But for Bronx it better smell like a duck or he's going to rip its face off, eh? That was another great shocking moment, I think. There's a little bit of WESTWORLD homage going on. Or FEMBOT homage, depending on how old you are. (I'm old enough to remember both.) It's pretty cool. And I love Coyote's head rocketing off at the end. It's so cool and sick. I fell in love with that head, and decided to use it in all future Coyote's -- one way or another.

Nietzche, Sartre, Kafka. That exchange was pure Perry-Reaves. And people tell me _I_ write to old for the demographic. Geez.

I love that moment when the phone rings at PackMedia Studios. (Also have I mentioned I love the name PackMedia. It's so perfect.) Anyway, Broadway's tentative response, before picking it up. And Owen knowing someone WOULD just pick up. It kills me.

As most of you know I favor one word titles. But "Leader of the Pack" WAS in fact one of mine. It was just irresistible.

The fight between the Gargs and the Pack aboard the oil tanker was very well-choreographed in script. But this was an instance where, in my opinion, our board artists lost the forest for the trees. The fight in storyboard went off on some wonderful tangents -- that wound up creating problems for those interested in keeping track of our combatants. Who was where and when just became a mess. We basically were able to fix those problems in film editing. But that's accomplished by keeping the fight well-paced. In the script, I actually think it's well-choreographed. In particular, Broadway freeing Lex, Brook and Bronx made a bit more sense in the script.

Coyote's perception-warping weapon is very cool. We probably didn't use it enough. Mainly because it was too effective. Too hard to stop.

I wanted the gargs to have to swim back to shore from the sinking tanker. But no one else agreed with me.

The head of Fox's parole board is voiced by Jim Cummings (aka Dingo, Darkwing Duck, Bonkers, etc.), doing his best Orson Wells imitation. Which is damned good by the way. Jim Cummings and Jeff Bennett in the same show. Man, were we blessed or what?

And coming full circle, we have our great Xanatos Tag. The villains kiss passionately. You don't see that too often in cartoons, I think. I love Xanatos' great line "That was merely the icing, you're the cake." And also his "true love is so much harder to come by." But here's my question for you guys. At the time, did you really think Xanatos was truly in love with Fox, or did you think he was merely being glib? I knew by that time, but even David didn't. Wasn't until "Eye of the Beholder" that HE realized how deep his feelings were for Fox.

So, comments?


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IRC Goliath writes...

This subject is very off topic, so I apologize in advance. In fact, it's not a question for Greg but for his good friend who worked on Nazca. Last night I was watching Malcom in the Middle and I saw a quick shot of Thom's character from Nazca in the opening sequence. I was just wondering how that came about.

Greg responds...

Rick Simone who is a very good friend of Thom Adcox, did the voice of Dan in Nazca. (He also did the voice of Tatsuya in the episode of 3x3 Eyes that will premiere at the Gathering this August. Tatsuya, Monkey and Hide are the best buddies of Yakumo, our hero. Rick plays Tatsuya. Thom is Monkey. And I voice Hide.) Anyway, Rick also produced opening title sequences for a number of different prime time series, including Malcolm. That's the connection.

Response recorded on June 23, 2000

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selena mann writes...

Why was the gargoyles show moved to the disney channel and why isn't they airing it now. Does Fox ever use any of her powers after the birth of Alexander?

Greg responds...

I'm not privy to their decision making, selena. But I think the show is now airing on Dis Channel's sister station TOON DISNEY.

As for your second question, it's on a separate topic, so by the rules of the room, you have to post it separately. Sorry.

Response recorded on June 23, 2000

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Coldlaser writes...

I - What do you think of the "Gargoyles" in Disney's animated movie "The Hunchback of the Notre-Dame"?

II - Correct me if I'm wrong, but was putting the Gargoyles in that animated movie is your idea?

Greg responds...

1. They're o.k. I guess. I don't feel territorial if that's what you mean.

2. No. Definitely not. In fact, a couple guys from Feature Animation came over to check out our gargs to make sure we WEREN'T doing something to similar to what they were. They left confident that there would be plenty of distinction between them. It was a non-issue. Over at TV Animation we all breathed a sigh of relief. None of us needed to start a corporate war over something like that.

Response recorded on June 23, 2000

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Todd Jensen writes...

You mentioned before about how the original ending of "The Goliath Chronicles", which you stopped them from doing, had the gargoyles abandoning New York and all scattering. I hope that you don't mind my asking another "Goliath Chronicles" question (in this case, I consider it a special case), but:

What alarmed you more about it? The fact that it had the gargoyles abandoning their protectorate, or the fact that it had the clan all splitting up, scattering it? (Both definitely felt altogether out-of-character to me, although the former was what I noticed and felt alarmed by first).

Greg responds...

Do I really have to prioritize my disgust? Really it was all just a bad, bad idea. You mentioned the two main, awful reasons. But I'm sure there were more. (But don't make me relive it.)

Response recorded on June 23, 2000

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Abigail Thorne writes...

You know that helicopter Lexington fixed up in "Her Brother's Keeper?" What happened to it? It might have come in handy if the clan needed to do some speedy flying. Did they leave it somewhere for the police to find it, or what?

Greg responds...

The honest truth is that we were embarrassed by that helicopter. We let Kenner talk us into putting it into the series. And then Kenner wound up not even making a helicopter toy. So we let it fade from memory.....

Response recorded on June 21, 2000

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Jackal's Love writes...

Greetings Greg,
What is the idea behind the GG# of Gargoyles episodes? I ask because the channel I watch the show on airs them by GG#, and I'm curious about it? Especially "Turf". Why is it number 24?
Thank you for your time.

Greg responds...

Erin says: I think that was a great question. I think what's behind the GGG is that the Gargoyles are a little fierce.

Benny says: I love you daddy, oh yes I do, I love you daddy, it will be true, when you're not with me, I'm blue. Oh, daddy, I love you.

Greg says: :) Anyway, "Turf" is not #24 on any numbering system I'm aware of including the GG's. What gave you that idea? I don't have the numbers handy. I'm at home, not the office. But I know I've posted the numbers before. There ARE multiple sets of numbers. One reflects Disney TV Animation production numbers. These involve the order in which we first CHARGED money to the episode. So for example, multi-parters which need a lot of prep time, often have lower numbers than individual episodes which aired WAY before them. Buena Vista (our distribution arm) had it's own set of numbers. I don't really know why they changed some of the production numbers, kept others, etc. Finally there's the order the episodes SHOULD and largely DID air.

Response recorded on June 17, 2000

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More of the "Leader of the Pack" memo...

This continues my transcription of the memo I wrote to Michael Reaves on 7-2-94 regarding Steve Perry's original outline on "Leader of the Pack"...

Specific Notes & Questions...
Some of these will be rendered moot by other changes, but for future reference...

--No YoYo's for Brooklyn. He's too old to be playing with that. (Not that I don't enjoy a well-balanced yo-yo myself, but it's embematic [sic] of being really young. Like having him play jacks. Remember, this is a guy who likes motorcycles.)

--I liked the Hudson game show scenelet. Maybe slip that in right before Elisa tells the gargs about the prison break. If it no longer fits, save it for another episode.

--I think Wolf is a descendant of Hakon's. [It's interesting to me now that I put this comment in this memo. It's absolutely apropos of nothing. I must have just wanted to write it down somewhere so that I'd remember. Greg 2000]

--The gargoyles exo-sheathe remnants don't dissolve into vapor.

--Is a smoking jacket really Xanatos' style?

--Suddenly, on the bottom of page 3, Goliath has spider-sense. Maybe not.

--Goliath seems to be brooding about things he's already come to terms with. "...enemy one day, friend the next." He learned that lesson from the Captain in episodes 1 & 2.

Beat sheet:
ACT ONE
(to be continued soon...)


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SEASON TWO

Well, my plan had been to finished transcribing the "Leader of the Pack" outline memo. Then start on my new ramble on seeing the episode last week. However, I'm at home today and the only copy of the memo is still at the office. So I'll finish the memo soon. Meantime, here's a ramble that "Leader" inspired with a little background info on the transition to Season Two...

So the second season begins. And we had a new system in place. Tiers and tentpoles. As you may recall from a previous ramble we had run into huge scheduling difficulties with "Enter Macbeth". The animation had come back very problematic and the nature of the story was such that we couldn't air it out of order. I received a mandate to make sure in Season Two's fifty-two episode killer schedule that we do everything possible not to run into that kind of problem again.

Trouble was, I liked the sequential nature of the series. If all the episodes could air in any order with no effect on each other then how could the characters grow, evolve, change? How could the situations?

My solution was tiers and tentpoles. We would create tiers of episodes that could air in any order as long as they aired BETWEEN their tentpole multi-parters. We'd pay special attention to the Tentpole episodes to make sure THEY didn't get into production trouble that would derail the entire airing schedule. But if an individual episode within a tier ran late, we could skootch another one forward without causing any harm.

Tentpole One was retroactively set as the "Awakening" five-parter. Tier One was retroactively everything between that and "Reawakening", which became Tentpole Two by default. (Now obviously the Season One airing order was very important, but they had aired already, so I didn't have to worry about them anymore.)

Tentpole Three would be the "City of Stone" four parter. Tier Two would include eight episodes: "Leader of the Pack", "Metamorphosis", "Legion", "A Lighthouse in the Sea of Time", "The Silver Falcon", "The Mirror", "Eye of the Beholder" and "Vows". In theory, I was supposed to make sure that these eight could air in any given order.

In practice, it never turned out to be that simple. For example, how could I air "Vows", the episode where Xanatos & Fox wed before "Eye of the Beholder" the episode where they get engaged? I wound up having a strong order preference for ALL 65 episodes. Tiers and Tentpoles be damned. But the truth is, the system served us well. It did tend to keep us on track. Creatively, it allowed us to build to strong multi-parters. And we rarely ever HAD to air episodes out of my preferred order. We only screwed up twice. "The Price" aired too soon. "Kingdom" aired too late. But only someone paying VERY careful attention would notice that. (Of course, anyone fanatical enough to be reading this was probably one of those people paying VERY careful attention.)

So anyway, "Leader" was my choice to open the new season. Lots of action. Some really great twists and turns. Some great character moments. It all seemed like a great way to intro potential new viewers to the series. BTWE, is there anyone out there for whom "Leader" was their first GARGOYLES episode? I'd love to hear from you here at ASK GREG.

We made other changes off the first season, as well. We had rebuilt the opening titles sequence to include some new footage. Keith David/Goliath's narration was added as well. This was written by Gary Sperling and myself. And hotly debated around our offices. Hotly debated inside my own brain as well. Frank Paur and I both felt that the titles were more powerful, more dramatic WITHOUT the narration. But we wanted to make sure that the series was still accessible to new viewers. The narration would serve the same function as the GILLIGAN'S ISLAND theme song. If you missed our pilot, you could still get the set up. Frank & I could see the wisdom of both positions. Even our boss, Gary Krisel, could. He left it up to me. I finally decided to err (and air) on the side of caution. I needn't have worried about "drama". Keith's voice, as usual, was so dramatic, that the opening narration became a classic -- reprinted on nearly every garg website I've ever seen. My kids love to shout out "WE LIVE AGAIN!" in chorus with Keith.

Another thing we did was to permanently install those "Previously on Gargoyles..." recaps at the head of EVERY episode. This was done for three reasons. One, see above, we wanted new viewers to have a chance to get what was going on without requiring them to see every episode that had come before. So the salient points could and would be summed up in those recaps. Two, since at some future time there was the possibility that the episodes WOULD air out of order, the