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Marvelman writes...

Hi, Greg. I hope you are well. This is a follow up to an earlier question about what not to say while working in the entertainment business.

Would you say that it is best not to publicize your political opinions while working in the entertainment business - especially if they go against the mainstream? Would you suffer some kind of retribution if higher-ups don't like what you have to say?

Let me give you two examples. They are my examples, everyone. I am not saying Greg even has an opinion on either of these issues. Let's say you disagree with Israel's treatment of the Palestinians and say so on an online forum - not as an employee of Warner Bros. but as a private citizen. Or, let's say you think corporations have too much power over the U.S. government and that corporate donations to political campaigns ought to be banned.

Would publicly expressing such opinions be a career ending move? Should you limit such discussions to friends and family?

Greg responds...

I'm not too shy about expressing my political opinion. I'm a liberal Democrat and that's hardly a secret. And, GENERALLY, I work in a liberal industry, so there aren't a ton of repercussions professionally.

On the other hand, I try not to be obnoxious about it. And "politic" about when I bring things up. There are appropriate and inappropriate times. Again, most of this is about common sense and being polite.

On the third hand, I'm not that interested in using my position to make online political statements. I AM interested in using my fiction to make those statements: hopefully with some finesse, if not subtlety.

Response recorded on July 01, 2021

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Marvelman writes...

Most people who know me would say I'm book-smart, but not street smart. (I'm a little like Dustin on Stranger Things.) I have an unfortunate tendency to not be politically smart and blurt out exactly what I'm thinking. Sometimes it gets me into trouble.

How do you deal with that as someone working in the entertainment industry? What do you do, just for example,if someone asks you what you think about the current Spider-Man cartoon, and you happen to think that it sucks? What do you do if somebody asks you what executive producer John Doe is like, and you happen to think John is a jerk? Do you lie? Do you massage the truth? How do you do that? Can you give some examples? As someone who will probably always be socially inept, I'd love to know.

Teach me, oh wise one.:)

Greg responds...

Mostly, it's about (a) thinking before you speak and (b) utilizing common sense.

A lot depends on who's asking me. Do I know this person? Do I trust this person? What does this person do?

If it's a reporter, I'm going to be way more circumspect unless I'm confident I'm speaking off the record.

If I think a show (or Producer) sucks, I'm not likely to say that unless I know the person I'm talking to and trust that person not to spread it.

Some of this is political. I don't want to burn bridges; I have to work in this town, etc. But some of it is just being polite and considerate. I don't review other pop culture for a living, and I don't need or want to be a jerk, tearing down the hard work of other professionals just because it's not to my taste.

Having said that, keep in mind, I haven't always been "wise" about this stuff. I had a massive learning curve as early answers in ASK GREG will probably reveal.

Response recorded on June 28, 2021

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Kevin writes...

In the rise of tv shows being streamed on individual networks how can we support Young Justice and other shows like it? If this is a really simple solution, I am sorry as supporting shows and comics like this has been really complicated in the past with pre orders and toy lines and I would like a professional in the industry to clarify if it is not too presumptuous.

Greg responds...

Basically, subscribe to the service that carries YJ. Back in S3, that was DC Universe. For S4, that'll be HBO Max. That's the best way.

Buying Blu-Rays and merch helps too.

Response recorded on October 28, 2020

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ClarkeC writes...

Hey Greg, i have a question which hopefully won't be misconstrued as a spoiler request. You mention way back when that Cartoon Network wasn't ready to display openly LGBT characters in cartoons. However with Legend of Korra and later Star vs. the forces of Evil, Gravity Falls, Steven Universe and whatnot being more open with LGBT elements in series with a young demographic:
1. Do you think that Cartoon Network would be more open to having openly LGBT characters on Young Justice.
2. And in your opinion will cartoons in general start displaying more LGBT characters/themes?
Thanks in advance..

Greg responds...

1. I honestly don't know. It's kind of a moot point vis-a-vis Young Justice, as season three won't be on Cartoon Network.

2. I think so. I hope so.

Response recorded on March 16, 2018

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Carl Johnson writes...

Hello Mr. Weisman,

I had just a couple of questions.

1. One thing about the animation industry is that once a season is over there is no guarantee that the next season will be picked up. Should some one have a plan B for another profession if the next season does not work out? Or is there plenty of work in California that if you did your job well, finding another one should not take long?

2.If someone has a animation idea they want to pitch and have all the details worked out (pitch bible, characters, story, and pilot script) how would they know when they could pitch the idea?

3. I had a question for attires for animation shows. Does it cost more to have different episodic attires for characters or do characters have only one attire to save time? I know in Spectacular, Peter had a winter attire with the jacket, or that one time he had the black shirt with brown pants during the symbiote removal episode but is there a choice on whether they can change their attire episode by episode to add more realism?
Thanks!

Greg responds...

1. Well, uh... There are no guarantees. I try to have other work lined up, pretty much always. And sometimes I'm just flat-out unemployed for stretches. This gig is not for the faint of heart, I guess.

2. I'm not sure I understand the question. If you're ready, pitch. But my caution would be to be careful not to poison the water. If it's a work in progress, and isn't actually very good (YET), then I wouldn't pitch. Make sure you're only showing the best possible version of what you've got. On the other hand, there's not much point in noodling forever on an idea. If it's solid, go for it.

3. Every design - and new clothes are a new design - cost time, which costs money. So, yes, in animation, we need a pretty good reason to give characters additional wardrobe. But if we need it, we need it.

Response recorded on April 24, 2017

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Lenny writes...

Hey Greg,

I am very interested into breaking into the animation industry. I am currently in college working on my English writing skills and drawing skills as well. I heard in one of your previous interviews that moving to California would be smart as thats where alot of the animation jobs are. By the time you read this question I would hopefully be done reading "Gardner's Guide to Writing and Producing Animation" by Shan Muir. I should get a better idea about the industry itself from reading that book, but since you have experience as a animation producer I just had a couple of specific questions hopefully you can answer.

1. Would animation companies be more interested in investing original show ideas or original ideas on licenses they already acquire? I.E. an idea that some one made up and wanted to make into a show or having original material for a Marvel Spider-Man show or DC Superman show?

2. I have never been to California but I heard the cost of living is higher than any state (considering that Im from the east coast) should one wait to have an agent then move to Cali or should they move there, settle in, get a part time job then pursue after the animation career?

3.If by some miracle a persons idea gets picked up by a company, they might not immediately give them control over production. Could a recommendation for a more seasoned producer ( like Paul Dini, Victor Cook, or even Brandon Vietti) be made and considered? or is it 9/10 they provide their own producer?

4 (Last one) Animation on live television has changed drastically over the past couple of decades. With online streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu, and even Amazon Prime have shown that people rather binge a season versus figure out what time slot it will appear on television. So my question is, if a person has an idea but would think that idea would perform better on a streaming service versus online television, should that be included in the pitch or should they let the executives worry about that? For example Marvel hasn't made a Spider-Man 2099 cartoon series yet and if it were to be adapted truly it would probably do way better on an online streaming service where people can watch and binge episodes on their own time, versus live television in which a shows lifespan can be cut at any moment.

That's all the questions that I have and I hope I haven't broken any of your guidelines. I hope to break into the industry within the next five years and is willing to do almost anything to make my dream come true. Thank you for your time!

Greg responds...

1. Marquis value is always something sought after, but there's no way to predict what a given network or studio is looking for from the outside in. You can come in with a take on Wile E. Coyote, and find out that Warner Bros already has plans for him. So, I tend to advise people to spend their time on something they can own. But it's not a hard and fast rule.

2. I don't know how you get an agent without getting work first. And frankly, I don't know how you get a first job if you're not here pounding the pavement. There's work in New York. And a few other places. But most of the animation writing work is in Los Angeles.

3. How could you possibly get a recommendation to be a producer from anyone if you've never produced? Dude, you have to work your way up through the ranks. Freelance writer. Staff writer. Story editor. Producer. If you come in with a brilliant idea that they're desperate to have, I suppose anything is possible. But it's not likely. Prove yourself. THEN sell your brilliant idea.

4. You can suggest whatever you want. But if you sell to Netflix, for example, of course they're looking at a binge-model. And if you sell to Cartoon Network, of course they're NOT. So try not to limit your options.

Response recorded on April 20, 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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Esra Karacay writes...

Hi, and thank you for taking time :) why didn't air YJ in Germany? Or would be there at lesst some german subtitles within a DVD release in Germany? Pls can you do Fans from Germany a favour: DON'T FORGET US over here and bring YJ to Germany, too, please! :)

Greg responds...

I'm sorry, but all those questions and requests are way above my pay grade. They don't tell me anything about international distribution at all. And I have no control over it either. Wish I did. I'd make sure EVERYBODY in the world had it!

Response recorded on March 01, 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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Green Lantern's Nightlight writes...

1). You say to fans a good way of showing they want Young Justice to return, is to buy the comics, DVDs, and the game (and the toys still?), but how much would fans have to buy for this to happen? Is there a goal to reach maybe or perhaps just enough to get noticed by DC/WB that it's still something that people want more of?

I would think they'd be more interested in what was selling when the show was still on the air, because that's obviously what Mattel was looking at for it to pull its funding.

2). If by miracle, YJ does get brought back by Netflix, where would the funding come from? Having Mattel as a backer makes it look like it couldn't be made without it. Not every Warner Bros. Animation show has a backer (unless there's a silent contributer), and most of the Netflix shows have a backer (helped by broadcasters who air it around the world), so what would happen with YJ? Would it just be supported by Warner (and DC), itself? And I guess, Netflix.

Greg responds...

Well, this is all largely moot now, but...

1. I never had a NUMBER or AMOUNT. It takes more to get a company's attention after a show is off the air, then it takes to keep a show on the air. The other thing to keep in mind is that buying toys (or whatever) second-hand does nothing to get a company's attention. So, for example, I was not advocating buying YJ toys this year, because those toys were off the market. Any purchases were second sales and does nothing for Mattel or WB or DC's bottom line.

2. So YJ's coming back, but I don't know where it will air. The term "backer" doesn't really fit, either. It's about MONEY. Money to produce the first two seasons of YJ came from Mattel and Cartoon Network. (Mostly from Mattel.) When Mattel pulled out, the money from CN wasn't enough to produce the series. Period. For season three, Warner Bros itself is paying for it, for now. They have confidence, I guess, that wherever it winds up and whatever merchandise they may or may not eventually release or license, they'll still make a profit. That's based on what the fans proved over the last few years.

Response recorded on November 17, 2016


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