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Mike Cohen CKayote@worldnet.att.net writes...

Topic: Weisman, Greg

As a result of watching 'too much' TV as a kid, I find myself wanting to work in writng TV and movies. I'm starting my freshman year of college in August, and I have no idea about how to get into my chosen profession. I tried asking my school's advisors and the film department people and looking on the internet,etc. but nobody knows anything about it.
So I figured that ask someone who's been there is doing that.

So how did you end up with a job writing all those Disney shows? Where did you go school? What did you major in? Who did you have to meet to get where you are?

Thank You Very Much,
Mike Cohen
CKayote@worldnet.att.net

Greg responds...

Well, let's see. By now, you must be almost done with your Sophomore year, and I hope you haven't been waiting that long to hear back from me.

My bio in brief:

B.A. Stanford University in English with an emphasis in Fiction Writing.
M.P.W. University of Southern California. M.P.W. stands for Masters of Professional Writing and my emphasis was in playwrighting.

In between, I worked on staff at DC Comics for two years. And I freelanced for them for about eight years -- beginning during my Junior Year at Stanford and ending after I was well-ensconced at Disney.

Before I left USC, I interviewed at numerous places... and hit it off with Gary Krisel, who was putting together Disney's TV Animation unit. A year later I started there as a VERY junior creative executive. It was supposed to be my day job while I wrote at night. But I didn't do much writing over those five years. Instead, I got steadily promoted, eventually rising to Director of Series Development. I developed numerous shows including Gargoyles, and then moved over laterally to produce that show.

Eventually left for some unfulfilling years at DreamWorks, and then went Freelance.

My first recommendation to anyone who's interested in the biz is to find something else to do... unless you just feel like NOTHING ELSE could do it for you. It's a brutal business full of rejection, so unless you have the passion to carry you through, over and/or around all that brutality and rejection, I'd go elsewhere.

Second rec is to move to L.A. That's where all the action is.

Third rec is to write, write, write.

Fourth is to read, read, read.

Fifth is to learn how to proofread, and practice the art religiously.

Response recorded on February 28, 2005

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Anonymous writes...

In a previous question, you told someone to send a script to a production studio, as a way to break into the business. I was just wondering if someone would actually read the script, or just throw it away?

Greg responds...

Did I really say that? It doesn't sound like me at all.

You are correct, they'd either toss it or send it back to you unread. Unsolicited material is dangerous for studio execs to read, particularly if its based on that studio's properties.

I believe what I suggested was to send a sample to an agency. They still might throw it away, but they are much more likely to read it.

Response recorded on January 21, 2005

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Haleigh Costantino writes...

I am a digital imagery student and freelance artist in Arizona. I wanted to know how you got started working and if you can tell me about any companies that accept freelance artists for concept art, etc. And please keep the idea of that Gargoyles movie going!

Greg responds...

All the animation companies go through phases of hiring and not hiring. You posted your question in early 2003, and I'm answering in late 2004, so I assume you haven't been waiting on me to pursue your goals.

My oft-repeated story is elsewhere in the ASK GREG archives under "Weisman, Greg". But the short version is that I've wanted to be a writer since grade school. I eventually got professional work as a freelancer at DC Comics. From DC, I transitioned to graduate school. While at graduate school, I interviewed at Disney and eventually got a junior executive position at Disney TV Animation. I developed and supervised numerous series for TVA, including, finally, GARGOYLES, which I then moved over to produce.

Response recorded on November 30, 2004

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Justin writes...

Greg,
This isn't a question, so much as a comment. I just rewatched Awakenings Part 2, and I must say it was absolutely stunning. The part that really sticks out for me is when the great acting the voice artist do in the opening scene. The parts that stick out in my mind are as follows:

"These bowstrings have been cut... there was betrayal here."
As you said Hudson was falling back on his training.

And Keith David and Bill Fagerbakke were excellent in their exchanges.

The animation during this scene is amazing in my book. Maybe not the models that I liked in episodes like Hunter's Moon, but it is still amazing. Each character display such emotion. I know Bronx is only a beast, but it even feels like he gets what happened. I loved the scene. Hudson knocking some Vikings into hay as he swoops in. Broadway using what he knows best... food! The action really picks up here and I feel so sorry for these characters. I must admit that in October 1994 when this first aired I thought many more died than about forty. Which is the number I think u said. But nonetheless it is so sad. I just lost a friend of mine back in November. So it taught me that if even one life is lost is just hard if hundreds are lost.

Anyway Kudos on an awesome episode.

Greg responds...

Thanks. Glad you liked it.

Response recorded on June 29, 2004

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roxanne writes...

last night I whached the episode "seeing isn't believing". I think it's the second to last episode in The Goliath Chronicals. Anyway, the animation style was really really weird, I wondering if you happened to know what that was about.

Greg responds...

No.

Response recorded on June 21, 2004

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Jim Tate writes...

I was watching Max Steel with my 2 year old son and was curious what software was used in the making. What about Lip Synch software.

Greg responds...

I have no idea. Sorry.

Response recorded on April 19, 2004

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Anonymous writes...

I would like to ask a producer his view on what an aspiring director and/or producer should major in college? Should it be filmmaking? Or media arts? Or is it something else all together? Thanks!

Greg responds...

Two years later, I'm guessing my answer comes late. And I'm afraid you didn't provide me with enough information. I assume we're talking about Animation, right?

I'm a producer, and I majored in English w/an emphasis in Fiction Writing. But a director (as opposed to an animation director or a voice director) ....

I don't know.

Depends on the programs available....

Response recorded on January 16, 2004

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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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jjwspider writes...

Who-hoo! An update, thanks Greg!
Onto the questions:
1) Will we ever see the Gargoyles episodes collected onto DVD? I would love to own the collection and think that it could possibly lead to more Gargoyles toons, as a Direct to Video thing maybe?
2) What projects are you currently working on?
3) As an aspiring cartoon creator can you give my any advice on who to contact or how to break in to the business?

Thanks!

Greg responds...

1. Disney tells me that the DVD of the first season will be released sometime in 2004 to coincide with the series' tenth anniversary. Further releases will obviously depend on the sales of the first release.

2. I'm in development on a number of potential projects, but nothing definite. My current paying gig is for Platinum Studios, where I'm writing a bible for their entire Universe.

3. Where do I start? How about referring you to the "Animation" achive here at ASK GREG, where I've answered this question before.

Response recorded on August 04, 2003

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Michael Gibbons writes...

First off Gargoyles is a fantastic show. Back in college I used it for many media research theses and got stunning results. Thank you.

I'm not filled with questions regarding continuity, what if, or whatever happened to, rather I'm more interested in technical production.

Is there a resource that offers animator's model sheets from the Gargoyles production?

Again thank you for your work and dedication.

Sincerely,

Michael Gibbons
Strydus@yahoo.com

(Feel free to edit)

Greg responds...

Thanks for the kind words, Michael.

Unfortunately, no, I can't think of a resource offering model sheets from the Gargoyles production, though samples have occassionally been on display at the Gathering.

Response recorded on April 02, 2003


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