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Wesley Nichols writes...

Do you know what the writer's strike had on the writer's extent that they can choose what they write and shows they can choose to script? Will this have any affect on the animation industry?

Greg responds...

Uh... I don't have a clue what you're first question is asking. But the strike had little effect on the animation industry, as most animation writers are covered by TAG not WGA.

Response recorded on April 29, 2008

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Amanda writes...

If you had wirten a story How would you do it t make people intersted more in the book?

Greg responds...

You're looking at it.

Response recorded on April 08, 2008

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Peter Sunnergren writes...

I love your work and would really value your advice; I have decided to produce a comic/graphic novel from one of the stories I have designed. I have no experience of any budget to speak of and in this moment I can only recruit people who are willing to use it as a learning experience with just a hope of reward if all goes well. So far so good, I have a couple of writers on board, a few artists in training and a colourist. I guess this won't be a straighforward question as such, I ask for advice really. How much time is reasonable to spend on one issue, where do I turn to for recognition, do you have any general tips you could give on getting published or sponsored?

thanks!

Greg responds...

I'm not sure I'm the guy to advise you. I've never self-published anything and know little or nothing about it. I'm also not clear... you're the writer, but you have a couple of writers? Most self-published things don't employ other writers, I'd think.

As for how much time per issue... well, I usually write a couple pages per day, so that I can write two comics a month (more or less). It takes me between twenty minutes and an hour per day.

Response recorded on April 08, 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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Amanda writes...

If I was evry want to become a writer what sould I do to make people like my storys? How old where you when you wrote storys? I been thinking of some good storys but I don't know if any one would like them? When I read a bionicle story I feel like I am in a different world. Am I cary or what?

Greg responds...

Hey Amanda,

I began writing stories as early as Second Grade. It's a great hobby, and it can be a great profession -- but I'd only recommend it to someone who truly felt they couldn't be happy doing anything else. Because there will be REJECTION. Nature of the beast, I'm afraid. But if you want to do it, then do it. My first and biggest recommendation is to learn to PROOFREAD your work. Get a dictionary and look up words that you're not sure of. Make sure your grammar is impeccable. No one will want to read your work if it's loaded with typos and other small errors. They'll never get to see your wonderful stories. My next recommendation is to READ. READ, READ, READ. Read voraciously. Newspapers, magazines, classic works of literature, comic books, whatever. But read. My next recommendation is to LISTEN. Listen to how people talk, how they sound, their dialects, their slang, etc. That's the way to learn to write good dialogue. Finally WRITE, WRITE, WRITE. PROOFREAD. REWRITE. READ. READ. Etc.

Good luck.

Response recorded on January 14, 2008

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cboy305 writes...

Sorry, forgot to include this in my last question.
This past summer, I emailed disney some ideas I had for animated shows. They replied telling me that they can't take unsolicited ideas. So my question is, how do I make my ideas solicited?

Greg responds...

Get an agent.

Response recorded on January 03, 2008

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dph writes...

What is your opinion on the current strike going on between the writer's guild and the studios?

Greg responds...

I'm completely pro-WGA. And I'm NOT a member of either organization.

Response recorded on December 12, 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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Want to know more...?

Shan Muir, who some of you may know from various Gatherings she's attended, has written a book on Animation production:

Gardner's Guide to Writing and Producing Animation presents a step-by-step guide through the animation production process-- from deciding what type of animation project to produce to marketing the final production. This book includes behind-the-scenes glimpses into these areas by incorporating interviews with professionals in all areas of the field. It presents in-depth, first-hand descriptions of how certain people personally perform their duties as part of the general production pipeline. In addition, the book explores the various career opportunities in the animation industry, which is known for incorporating a diverse group of artists and engineers. Whether your goal is to produce a completed television special, pilot, short, or independent feature, Gardener's Guide to Writing and Producing Animation offers a comprehensive understanding of the art and business of animation.

Interviews include:

*Jack Angel, Voice Actor
* Monique Beatty, Line Producer
* Jerry Beck, Producer/Animation Historian
* Larry DiTillio, Story Editor/Writer
* Michael Donovan, Voice Director
* John Grusd, Director
* Marc Handler, ADR Story Editor/Writer
* Carl Johnson, Composer
* Bill Koepnik, co-owner of audio post house Advantage Audio
* Christy Marx, Story Editor/Writer
* Jan Nagel, Marketing Diva
* Josh Prikryl, Overseas Supervisor
* Sander Schwartz, Studio Executive
* Tad Stones, Producer
* Brooks Wachtel, Story Editor/Writer
* Greg Weisman, Producer/ Story Editor/Writer
* Robert Winthrop, Producer
* Tim Yoon, Production Manager

I haven't seen it yet, but it sounds invaluable if you're looking to understand how this thing works. Should be available at most big chains and can definitely be ordered on-line or by any bookstore! It's out there now, so support one of your own and grab up a copy!


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Rob writes...

I wanted to ask you some questions about dealing with Disney, and making a comic that was based in one of their shows, as I am considering going to them? But I have absolutely no experience in doing such deals, or with making comics... etc. And I live in the UK, so obviously I can't just go to their offices.

I have written a story set in one of Disney's classic shows. The show is 'Talespin', which of course has been cancelled for years, but I wanted to know if it were possible for Disney to make a comic out of it again, if they came upon a really good idea? (I know they did once, but it didn't last)

The story I've written is about 110 pages long, set in 4 chapters, and I like to think has some quite good storylines.

I wanted to know who I should contact, to submit the idea... their address, email, website URL or such? And should they agree, then what comes next?

Do I send them my whole story, and if I do then should I make copies, or do I take them first to a lawyer or someone to get copyrights? (Just in case someone tries to steal my ideas (paranoid I know, but you can never be too careful nowadays)).

Assuming everything goes well, and they agree, then what happens? Do they hire all the artists themselves, and/or get more experienced writers to trim my story down to their liking? Do I have any say in the matter? I mean, living in the UK would no doubt be a problem to work with them, since they're based in the US.

If you could answer any of these questions, I'd be most grateful. Or if you could give me the contact details of someone who could help me, or have details sent to me, I'd be even more stoked?

Thanks! (Oh, and loved the 4th Gargoyles comic issue btw!)

Storyseeker.1@btopenworld.com

Greg responds...

Rob...

Nothing is impossible, and far be it from me to tell you not to go for it, but the scenario you're describing is pretty darn close to a pipe dream.

So let's take it point for point...

It is possible for Disney to make a Talespin comic again -- in theory. But in point of fact, Disney is NOT publishing any comics to my knowledge. Keep in mind that Disney is NOT publishing Gargoyles. SLG has licensed the property (and three others) from Disney and is publishing the book. I feel like I vaguely recall that Disney has other licenses with other companies. There's also Disney Adventures Digest, which used to publish the occasional comic book story. Don't know if they still do. Actually don't know if they still publish that digest at all. So would Disney start publishing Talespin again if they LOVED your idea. I really, really doubt it. Either Talespin comics are part of their business strategy or they're not. Either a financial argument can be made to add Talespin comics to their business strategy or it cannot. Their assumption would be that IF they decided to make the comic, they could find PROS, experienced PROS, to turn out high quality product. That's the LEAST of their worries. It is unlikely that no matter how brilliant your storyline might be that the storyline itself would convince them to do this.

I don't know whom you should contact. But if this is important to you, then do your homework. RESEARCH who you should contact. Find other Disney books and contact the people making them. If you're not serious enough to do your homework, than you'll never get through the hassle of what is BOUND to follow -- even assuming you luck into or are fed the correct contact info.

I might start by sending a plot synopsis. Something more digestible than an 110 page document. I would absolutely make copies. I mean what if it gets lost in the mail? But a lawyer for purposes of "protecting" your idea seems like an unnecessary expense. You can send the document to yourself in a sealed envelope by the U.K. equivalent of certified mail, i.e. with the date marked on it. Then simply do NOT open that envelope, until or unless you find yourself in a court of law in front of witnesses needing to prove that you wrote what you said you wrote when you said you wrote it. But frankly, even THAT precaution is unnecessary. I used to worry about people stealing my ideas too. I got over it. The bigger danger is that someone INDEPENDENTLY has a very similar idea and gets it out into the public before you. Then you are effectively blocked. And let's face it... this isn't an original property we're talking about. This is Talespin. There is EVERY reason to think that someone else could independently come up with a similar idea, because you and that someone else are both working off the same source material. Source material, which I should remind you, you don't and can NEVER own.

As to what happens if they agree... well, we're TRULY into blue sky territory now. I mean, WHO bought it? Who's doing it? I'm assuming you have no plan to pay the extraordinarily large licensing fee to do this yourself. The publisher, I guess, would find an artist. But are you saying that you yourself think that you need a PRO to clean up your writing? Again, do your homework. If you can't present this in a presentable professional form, what chance do you have? How much say you have... would depend on all of the above factors. (Living in the U.K. I would think would hardly matter at all. Not these days, not with computers, not if they've already bought your idea.)

I have to say I would NOT focus my energies on a property I didn't own. I know that must sound hypocritical given how much time and energy I've spent on Gargoyles, but I really do think it's a different situation. Which doesn't mean I'VE been smart either. But at least I'm the creator with some cache vis-a-vis the property, a fan following and a real investment (mental and emotional at least) in it.

Response recorded on July 03, 2007


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