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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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Anonymous writes...

1) Have you read much from the old DC Vertigo imprint? If so, what were among your favorites?
2) Do you see a realistic path towards animation becoming acceptable among the general adult population in the near future?

Greg responds...

1. I read everything prior to 1996. Almost nothing that came after. Sandman and Swamp Thing were obvious favorites, back in the day.

2. Depends what you mean by "acceptable."

Response recorded on March 23, 2017

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John writes...

Hi Greg, hope your day is going well, just wanted to say thanks for creating and producing all of these great shows, comics, and novels, and thank you very much for taking time out of your probably busy schedule to answer fan's questions.
1. How long does it take to make an episode of an animated series, like Spectacular Spider-Man or Young Justice?
2. Is Aquaman's son really named Artur, or was that just a typo in the video game?
3. What would it take to relaunch the Young Justice comic book series?
And I know these are probably spoilery, so I won't ask, but Zatanna and Rocket were some of my favorite characters in season one. Really hoping you guys get enough episodes to bring a resolution to the Zatanna/Zatara/Dr.Fate storyline, and we can finally find out who Rocket'a husband is! But if neither of these end up happening, I'm sure we'll get a fantastic Season 3 story from you guys no matter what. Ecstatic that YJ is back!

Greg responds...

1. Depends what you mean. You see, no one makes a SINGLE episode. From coming up with the springboard for the story, all the way through post-production, until it's in the can, it takes somewhere from between ten and thirteen months, depending on the schedule.

2. Artur is correct.

3. It would help if a lot of people bought electronic versions of the issues already published, either on the DC App, Comixology or iTunes.

Response recorded on March 10, 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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Ah-Bee-Cee-Dee writes...

Is it my imagination, or are 11-minute/11-minute episodes steadily replacing 22 minute animation as the norm?

Greg responds...

I don't know about norm. But I do see a lot more series going the eleven minute route. (Not YJ, in case you were concerned.)

Response recorded on February 13, 2017

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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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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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Blake writes...

Me and a friend of mine are making a show about war and we wanted to know if we should go with animation from star wars rebels or go with retro animation from the 90s.

Greg responds...

Okay, so...

(a) Are those your only two options?

(b) Are you defining "retro animation" as cell animation as opposed to CGI? Cause cell animation isn't by definition retro.

(c) Are you in fact MAKING this yourselves, or are you coming up with a pitch? If the former, evaluate what you can and can't manage. If the latter, keep your options open.

Response recorded on October 28, 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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Kyle Kale writes...

Hey Mr. Weisman

Given your experiences in animated media, do you think that animated shows have it harder (in terms of having to prove themselves as viable for gaining additional seasons) than live-action shows? I ask because it seems to me that you have, alongside collaborators, spearheaded numerous projects (such as WITCH, Spec Spidey, Young Justice) that have, critically and in terms of viewership, been very successful (I can't speak for Spec Spidey or WITCH, but I know that Young Justice consistently maintained numbers that even some live-action shows do not get or maintain), yet they have all been cancelled for various reasons. Meanwhile, there is no shortage of live-action shows that have been looked upon with far less critical or viewer approval and have been renewed for more than three seasons (of 16 to 21 episodes). If your answer is 'yes,' do you think that one reason for this increased difficulty on the part of animated shows is that most of them are forced into, in addition to maintaining constant viewer numbers, maintaining a toy line?

Greg responds...

I dunno. It's easy to complain, but the truth is MANY shows don't make it to a full season, let alone two or more.

Budget plays a role in any series, but a kids series - particularly a kids' action series - seems particularly prone to the need for an alternative revenue stream beyond ratings.

Response recorded on May 23, 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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Andres writes...

Dear Greg

After so many years what is your opinion of the current status of Animation in America?

Second with how animation in motion pictures is telling more diverse type of stories than before with DC having great success with there direct to video animated films having success directed at a more general audience the success of anime as a genre and animation widely accepted as a medium for adult comedy why don't great series of drama action and adventure, intelligent well told stories such YJ fet taken more serious?Why are they seen as directed ot young boys who buy toys?

Greg responds...

Let me answer your second question first and work my way through the others from there.

I don't know.

I don't know why animation isn't taken more seriously by the general audience of adults. But the fact is: it isn't. Wish it wasn't so, but it is so. Even Pixar movies are largely viewed by MOST adults only if they are parents taking their children. There are a ton of exceptions, of course. And, of course, parents would rather see a movie that works on multiple levels, so that there's something for their kids, but also something for themselves, i.e. for adults. So parents/adults have learned to expect more from the animated movies of Pixar/Disney/Dreamworks/etc. because they've seen good movies from those companies and have started to learn the difference between a good animated move and a bad animated movie. And what is that difference? Well, your mileage may vary, but it's basically the same difference between a good movie and a bad movie, period.

As for a series like Young Justice, your thinking is backwards. Young boys don't buy toys. How could they? Where would they get the money? Parents buy toys for kids (boys AND girls) based on (a) what they think their kids like and (b) what their kids tell them they like.

A show like Young Justice is PAID FOR by the money that toys bring in. If there weren't toys, there wouldn't be any money to make the show. So, frankly, bitching about the shows being directed to kids for the purposes of selling toys is basically bitching about the show being made at all. Because, again, without the toy component, there is no show. NO SHOW.

That's why YJ didn't get a third season. The toyline failed. (We can spend hours discussing why, but that's another topic.) So no more money was coming in from the toy company. No money. NO SHOW. (Or no third season under that financial model, anyway.)

And I am 100% fine with that. Because I WANT kids watching Young Justice. Like a good Pixar movie, YJ is written on levels. There's plenty of eye candy for younger kids. Explosions, young heroes in costumes, etc. And plenty for tweens, teens, college students, adults and geeks of all ages to enjoy as well. That's the game plan. We have a target audience, we MUST hit, i.e. boys 6-11 years old. As long as we are successful in that demographic, everyone is happy. And everyone is HAPPIER if we also get girls 6-11 and boys 11-13, and girls 11-13 and teens and adults of all genders, etc., etc.,etc.

As for anime, and/or the DC animated movies, they are doing well - or better, at least. But let's not kid ourselves. They are still only serving niche audiences in the United States. They serve geeks of various flavors (myself included). On a grand scale - say, compared to LION KING or SHREK - they're not doing big numbers. They're just not. Fanbases on the internet fool themselves into thinking things are more popular and money-generating than they really are. "I like it and my friends like it and a bunch of strangers on the internet like it, therefore nearly EVERYONE must like it!' But that's a fallacy.

Which finally brings us to your first question: what is [my] opinion of the current status of Animation in America?

I don't know.

Response recorded on April 04, 2016

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Long Beach Comic Expo - 2016

Here's my schedule for this weekend's Long Beach Comic Expo at the Long Beach Convention Center:

SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 20, 2016

11:30am - 12:30pm
DOWN TO NERD: INVADER ZIM AND GARGOYLES: CONQUEROR VS PROTECTOR
Thunderdome (Seaside Pre-Function) w/RuthAnn Thompson (moderator), Dave Crosland, Greg Weisman.
Description: Some come from another time to protect, another from a different planet to conquer- but both hold a special place in our hearts! Gargoyles VS Invader Zim. We will focus on the first 5 episodes of the TV series Gargoyles with writer/creator Greg Weisman and the first 5 issues of the Invader Zim comic books with Dave Crosland. What are the differences and similarities do these creatures out of space and time have? How will they fit in on modern day earth? Casual Fans and Hard Core Nerds alike join host RuthAnn Thompson and be "Down To Nerd"!

01:00pm - 02:00pm
THE ART OF STAR WARS & THE FANDOM BEHIND IT
Danger Room (S1) w/Ben Paddon (moderator), Terry Dodson, Craig Miller, Cat Staggs, Greg Weisman.
Description: Cat Staggs has been working for the Star Wars / LUCASFILM family since 2004, for which she has illustrated short fiction for starwars.com, produced sketch and trading cards, exclusive prints for Star Wars Celebrations III, IV, Europe, Celebration V, and Celebration VI. Terry Dodson is an American comic book artist who penciled the Dark Force Rising comic series in 1997. He has also provided art for Mark Waid's Princess Leia limited series. Moreover, Dodson has drawn the Books-A-Million variant cover to the first issue of the Shattered Empire miniseries, and the CBLDF variant to Star Wars: Vader Down, Part I. Greg Weisman is the writer for Star Wars Rebels - "The Machine in the Ghost", "Art Attack", "Droids in Distress", "Breaking Ranks", "Gathering Forces" and Star Wars: Kanan: The Last Padawan. Craig Miller was Director of Fan Relations for Lucasfilm from 1977-1980. He created and oversaw the Official Star Wars Fan Club as well as having edited and written virtually all of the first two years of Bantha Tracks. He was the producer of the Star Wars Sesame Street episodes in addition to operating R2-D2's head in the episodes, as well as being Producer for Lucasfilm on commercials such as the ones for licensee Underoos.. He was also responsible for creating the 800-number telephone hotline for The Empire Strikes Back that allowed fans to call up to receive more information about the movies and characters.

02:30pm - 03:30pm
DWAYNE MCDUFFIE AWARDS
Creator's Lab (S5)
Description: Long Beach Comic Con is proud to announce the commencement of the Second Annual Dwayne McDuffie Award. This one of a kind award will be granted on February 20, 2016 to an American comics work, published in print or digitally in 2015, deemed by the Selection Committee to promote diversity. In the spirit of Dwayne McDuffie, "promoting diversity" can be judged as either broadening the range of characters portrayed in comics, or adding to the variety of creators contributing to the medium.

04:00pm - 05:00pm
THE SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN PANEL
Danger Room (S1) w/Greg Weisman (moderator), Victor Cook, Kevin Hopps, Kelly Hu, Josh Keaton, Pamela Long.
Description: In 2008, a new version of everybody's favorite friendly neighborhood Web-Slinger - dedicated to recreating the feel of the original Stan Lee & Steve Ditko and Stan Lee & John Romita, Sr. comics - hit the air. Come hear the creative talents behind The Spectacular Spider-Man talk about what went in to making this classic take on a classic character. Panelists include Victor Cook (Director-Producer), Kevin Hopps (Writer), Kelly Hu (voice of Sha Shan Nguyen), Josh Keaton (voice of Peter Parker/The Spectacular Spider-Man), Pamela Long (Color Stylist) and Greg Weisman (Writer-Producer)!

06:00pm - 07:00pm
GETTING ANIMATED WITH TOP ANIMATION EXPERTS
Rumble Room (S4B) w/Ray-Anthony Height (moderator), Chris Copeland, Greg Weisman, Dean Yeagle.
Description: Top animation experts Greg Weisman (Gargoyles, Spectacular Spider-Man), Dean Yeagle (Caged Beagle Productions), and Chris Copeland (Marvel/Disney Animation) discuss how they broke into animation, their work and a Q&A with the audience!

I'll also have a table a on the show floor, specifically table AN-11 in "ANIMATION ISLAND" between Ellen Jin Over and Amy Mebberson, and near Dino Andrade, Michael Bell, Keith Coogan, Chris Copeland, Matt Doherty, Loren Lester, Tiffanie Mang, Joey McCormick, Chuck Patton, Peter Paul, Sara Richards and Aaron Sparrow. I'll be there between panels on Saturday and all Sunday morning until noon. (Not as sure about Sunday afternoon. We'll have to see.)

I'll sign and personalize anything you put in front of me, but I will also be selling copies of my two novels, RAIN OF THE GHOSTS and SPIRITS OF ASH AND FOAM ($10 each), CD sets of the RAIN OF THE GHOSTS AudioPlay ($30 each) and RAIN OF THE GHOSTS prints, drawn by artist Christopher Jones ($10 each, but free with a purchase of the AudioPlay and/or both RAIN and SPIRITS). In addition, I'll be selling animation scripts from series including GARGOYLES, W.I.T.C.H., THE SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN, YOUNG JUSTICE, STAR WARS REBELS and others, ($20 each). Finally, I'll be selling script copies of a couple of the special one-off convention radio plays we did, i.e. THE SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN MEETS GARGOYLES and GARGOYLES MEETS THE SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN MEETS YOUNG JUSTICE ($20 each). All purchases are cash only.

I hope to see you there!


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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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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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Bilbo writes...

Considering you are part of the TV animation community, has anyone ever tried pitching an animation to a non-kids network ?

Do you think the cable and broadcast networks are too animation-phobic to actually try one out?

Greg responds...

Yes.

I'm not sure if "animation-phobic" is the correct term, but interest is not high.

Response recorded on April 11, 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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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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