A Station Eight Fan Web Site
hey mr greg weisman i was just wondering were you aiming a little older and just had to keep it appealing for kids
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.
At what point will Outsider be considered to be in-production? The writing is considered to be pre-production, right? I know you are now recording the voices. Is that part of the production phase?
It depends how you're defining your terms. Broadly speaking, Young Justice: Outsiders is in production and has been for over a year.
But if you're going to divide the broad term "Producton" into it's three main components, i.e. Pre-Production, Production and Post-Production, then:
Writing, voice recording, storyboard, design, direction are all elements of pre-production, and are all done here in Burbank.
Overseas animation is the actual production, done in Seoul, South Korea.
Editing, retakes, music, sound effects, visual effects, foley, sound mixing and on-lining are all elements of Post, which is also done here in Burbank.
Young Justice: Outsiders is very deep into Pre-Production, and pretty darn deep into Production, and beyond the shallow end in Post-Production, as well.
In any case, we're still right on schedule.
I've heard a lot about the "core truth" concept you and your team use in your approach to characters.
Are some of these core truths secrets, or would you tell us any that we ask?
I don't think they're secrets because we put it all up on screen. But my inclination is to let our interpretation stand on its own, influenced by each viewer's own interpretation, as opposed to explicating everything in writing here. Still, I don't mind talking process. I'm not going to go down a laundry list of characters, but if someone were interested in one specific character as an example of the process, I might - depending on my mood and clarity - answer this kind of question once or twice.
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?
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.
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!
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.
Do you enjoy having conversations with people about your work (If they are not asking for spoilers or trying to pitch you ideas etc.
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?
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."
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!
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.
What in the animation industry has changed since you first got into it, for better or for worse?
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.
Is it my imagination, or are 11-minute/11-minute episodes steadily replacing 22 minute animation as the norm?
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.)
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
(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.
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!!!
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.
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,
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.
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?
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.
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?
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.
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?
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.
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!
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?
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.
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
YOUNG JUSTICE 08:00pm - 09:00pm
Main "Villains" Omni-International
SATURDAY, MAY 30, 2015
SIGNING 11:00am - 12:30pm
ANIM CREATORS 02:00pm - 03:00pm
w/Ben Mangum, Mike Reiss
SIGNING 05:30pm - 07:00pm
SUNDAY, MAY 31, 2015
SIGNING 11:30am - 01:00pm
GARGOYLES 02:00pm - 03:00pm
Main "Villains" Omni-International
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!
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.
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?
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?
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.
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!
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
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?
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?
I'm not sure if "animation-phobic" is the correct term, but interest is not high.
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?
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.
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!
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).
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?
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.
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!
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.
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!
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.
The most often asked question to you must be "Will you ever bring back Gargoyles with new episodes or a remake?"
I to wish to know if ever it could happen but my question is about what form of animation would you most like to do it in ?
With CGI or the original style ?
A remake with to many changes so much that its like what they did in G.I.Joe and Transformers ?
The first version is always the best. If its not broke why try to fix it ? A re-shooting with a shrek cgi type animation would look fabulous. In any case I thank you so much for this series and I also loved Mummies Alive.
Greg Weisman says:
"Largely it would depend on what I could sell the higher-ups on. I'd do either if either were the only option. If given my choice (which rarely happens in this business), said choice would be based on issues of content."
[Response recorded on February 1, 2001.]
"It would depend on the show.
I think G2198 would be perfect for CGI. But I'd hate to do Dark Ages in CGI, though maybe not for the reasons you think."
[Response recorded on February 9, 2000.]
Hello Mr. Weisman. You won't remember me - I asked a question a while back about CN's rules about guns on the show.
Anyway, as somebody who really wants to write for television in the future, I'm asking you if you have any tips for breaking into the industry. I'm a high school junior so I'm beginning to look at colleges and was wondering if you had any advice to give out when it comes to getting into the buisness of television writing.
As always, love the series and can't wait for more!
Greg Weisman says:
"First and foremost, you write. Then write some more. Then do a little writing. Read a lot. Write some more. Read some more. Read a lot. Write a lot. Study story structure. Study great literature. Study myth and legends. Joseph Campbell. Listen to how people talk. How they really talk. Learn your craft. Get a kick-ass education. Write. Read.
Get copies of animation (or other television) scripts. Learn the format.
Write spec scripts for shows that you like. Try to use those specs to get an agent. Then your agent can use those specs to get you work. Write more specs. If you can't get an agent, send the specs to production companies that you admire. Don't send a Batman spec to Warner Bros or a Gargoyles to Disney. Legally, they can't risk reading those. But you can send Batman to Disney and Gargoyles to Warners. (I know it sounds weird. There's a real good reason for this, but it's a whole other question, so for now just trust me.) Actually, you shouldn't be writing a Gargoyles spec at all, since that show isn't producing new episodes now. You don't want your spec to come off as yesterday's news. Keep reading. Keep writing. Try writing a pilot script and a short bible for an original series. Try using those to get an agent or work (any work, you need credits on your resume.)
Oh, yeah. PROOFREAD. PROOFREAD. PROOFREAD. Read your own work aloud, you catch more mistakes that way. Read. Write. Write some more. Get used to a lot of rejection. A LOT OF REJECTION.
That's the best advice I can give you except this: writing for television is an extremely difficult career to break into, let alone succeed at; so if you don't really have a PASSION for it, then do something else. You'll need that passion to see you through a lot of dark times. If you can be happy doing anything else, then do that other thing.
Otherwise, good luck."
[Response recorded in the early days of Ask Greg; precise date unknown.]
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.
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.)
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.
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.
Who assigns storyboard artists? You've got big names like Lauren Montgomery, Curt Geda, Michael Goguen, some lesser known ones, and some who I think are people at MOI.
The directors make board assignments - to a great extent based on who is AVAILABLE. We have/had some staff board artists, but a lot of the work was done freelance.
Hi Greg. I've been a long time reader of your responses and I figured after reading through 100's of responses (for my own purposes), I'd find the courage in me to ask you a question. When it comes to planning for a show like "Young Justice" that's episodic in nature (like many of your other works) yet geared for all ages (see previous statement in parenthesis), how do you and your collaborators approach something as daunting like weaving together multiple plot threads, showing character growth, and create story arcs? What are some of the advantages and constraints to writing in the way that you do? I'm currently studying television production as my major in college (a career path I've been told that is faced with rejection, hard work, and passion) and I'm asking this question (well, now it's questions) because I've been fascinated with well organized/structured series. Being the well accomplished writer that you are, I thought I'd ask you on the subject since you have a lot of experience writing/creating/producing shows like "Gargoyles", "The Spectacular Spider-Man", and "Young Justice". If you don't feel like answering this question, I understand that you're a very busy person (you don't need to tell me how busy, I've read the rambles) who takes the time from work to answer the many questions people send to you and I for one certainly appreciate all the hard work you (and of course, the many people you've worked with) put into your each of your projects. Anyways, thanks so much for giving me the opportunity to ramble and I look forward to whatever stories you have planned next (INVASION! WOOT!).
I've written quite a bit on this subject already - even recently (like today). So take a look at the archives, and if you have specific questions after reading what I wrote, feel free to post again.
You are....amazing. No character is wasted in your series, they all connect back somehow, somewhere. Little movement is wasted in plot.
How do you come up with this stuff?
With help from other very talented people and with a lot of index cards on a huge bulletin board. Oh, and with research.
Hey Greg. I wanted to let you know that I, and a large portion of the internet community, absolutely loved Spectacular Spider-Man. The show accurately portrayed who Peter Parker was, his troubles, his difficult choices, and his life as Spider-Man. Me, being a teen in high school, thought Peter was someone I could relate to, even though he had these extraordinary powers. Being able to relate to Peter Parker is something that should be constant (and for the most part, has been constant) in every Spider-Man story. I know I'm not the only one who thinks that the series should have went on for much longer. However, I know that the series' ending had to do with Disney/Marvel purchasing the animated series rights from Sony. Since this was pretty much out of your hands, I'm here to propose an idea.
Since the rights to the theme song, character designs, etc. for The Spectacular Spider-Man are locked by Sony, and you couldn't possibly resume the show even if you wanted to at Disney/Marvel, I suggest making, if you'd be fine with doing so, an INDEPENDENT episode (about 45 min. or an hour long)of The Spectacular Spider-Man and release it online. Sean Galloway could come back to do the designs, and you could get the voice actors who would agree to it back if the scheduling works in the favor of both parties. This is more than a scheduling thing than anything, when you're not busy with Young Justice and they're not busy with anything, but it may be able to work. And since it wouldn't be
released under the Sony or Marvel banner, and if you make it perfectly clear that it's a "fan film", no breach-in-contract would occur at all.
I'm sorry if I'm sounding selfish, but the show had a HUGE, HUGE fan base, and most of this HUGE fan base, when tuned in to watch Ultimate Spider-Man on Sunday, all cringed in unison (no offense to Marvel or anyone who likes the show). It just doesn't match the charm that your interpretation of Spider-Man had. So I would definitely like for you to take this into consideration. Would you be able to make an independent "final" episode of Spectacular Spider-Man exclusively for online, one that is a "fan film" of sorts? Thank you for your time.
Justin, it's just not up to me. I can't create a "fan film" with someone else's property.
For starters, who would pay for it? Even if I and everyone else involved were willing to donate services for free - which honestly I'm not - who would pay for the materials? None of us have the hundreds of thousands of dollars that it would take to do even one episode at the quality level you'd expect. And why would we want to produce something at a lower quality level? Why would you want to watch it at a lower quality level?
And that's aside from the fact, that I'd never be allowed to work for Marvel, Disney, Sony or probably any other studio again ever. I'm a pro. They know that. I can't make a fan film, stealing someone else's characters, and just get away with it.
For this to happen, Sony would have to make a deal with Marvel/Disney to do this - and then they'd have to reassemble the key players from the original cast and crew. I'd LOVE for this to happen, but I don't see that as realistic.
I mean, don't get me wrong. I'd love to do more SpecSpideys. But it's less likely than me doing more Gargoyles, even.
I forgot to ask this last night.. What are the logisitical difference now that cartoons are broadcast in HD? Do the films have to have more detail? Does it cost more?
Everything costs more, it seems. But I'm afraid I'm not really up on the technical aspect of this sort of thing.
Wow! Is it hard to keep up with even the questions to post new ones. Thanks for reopening the queue!
Condolences on the lose of your Grandmother. I remember the months before my grandmother died how she had retreated into herself and was all but unrecognizable, than all of a sudden came back to herself for a week or two at the end. I still treasure it as a great gift that we were reminded who she was before the end. She was a good deal younger than 100 so we were not quite expecting the end, but I can understand what you mean by feeling that the person you love is already on the way somewhere else. I am glad you have so many years and so many wonderful memories to look back on.
1- I see someone already asked if you can explain some of the terms you used when you broke down the stages the of episodes in progress. He mentioned âonlineâ in particular. If you didnât already do so, can you also define âslugâ?
2- I know you prefer to record the voice actors together in conversation, unlike many other cartoons that record the voices in isolation. In live action tv and movies are recorded out of order, thatâs the most efficient way to use the sets and actors. Since there arenât sets for cartoons, and you prefer to have all the actors together anyway, are the scenes more or less recorded in order?
3- You mentioned in the past moments when stories just come together and surprise you- when the next event seems to announce herself, unplanned but seemingly totally organic to the story. Like when âOwen is Puck!â announced itself. Or when you kept hearing âThailogâ when the video was being rewound. Did you have any such moments for Spectacular Spiderman and the other shows you worked on? Have you had any with Young Justice yet? Can you share any if theyâve already happened?
4-One last question for this catch-all batch... what do you think of the new DC Nation shorts? Iâm not crazy about loosing the opening credits, but I love shorts and think it is an easy trade. I love that they are all different and playful and yet often also a series. My favorite so far is the one with Batgirl and Supergirl trying to convince Wonder Girl to âborrowâ Wonder Womanâs invisible jet. (Oddly I have become used to (and approve) on Dianna being portrayed as someone from another country, with a light to strong intonation of something foreign, but it never occurred to me the same would apply to Donna.)
Begin pontification: Iâve never loved the Teen Titan cartoon, (plenty to like, but never loved), but I love the fact it is turning up in the shorts. Back when Disney XD was Toon Disney I wondered why they didnât run shorts. (To be fair I didnât have a TiVO at the time and it was possible they were already running the âHave a Laughâ abridged classic shorts as well as Shaun the Sheep. But they werenât running any new material.) It seemed odd to me they were trying to compete with the Cartoon Networkâs reach into the older demographic and didnât, for instance, declare one night a week the 10 oâclock older folks movie night, (say a Miyazaki flik), and intersperse it with shorts- gorgeous, varied, counter expectation shorts like they gleefully did for Fantasia 2000. (I had the idea a long time ago.) If some of those shorts were back door pilots...great. It worked for the Simpsons They could have led to another late evening night of new programming of new shows. They couldnât compete with cheap nostalgic cartoons or crude adult ones because that just isnât Disney. Disney can never put out a Family Guy type show under the Disney label. Maybe they could do it on ABC, but not something with Disney in the name. (Even Miyazakiâs Princess Monenoke had to be released in the US under the Miramax label because a PG-13 cartoon would be problematic under the Disney label.) It a rather obvious route for a high end cartoon station to go and might have netted a few Oscars away from Pixar. Or perhaps more for Pixar. End pontification.
Of course it would have been an ideal place to run a little Gargoyle related short. :)
1. A "slug" is the section of action BETWEEN lines of dialogue. A "slugged board" is a board that's been timed, i.e. the time for each action has been calculated - and since each line of dialogue has also been timed - you have an exact length, and you know whether or not your episode is going to be long, short or right on the money. If it's long or short, we need to cut or pad to get it to time.
2. Generally, yes. But for example, I poked my head in at a recording on Monday for "Beware the Batman". And there was one actress at the record who was only in one scene, and it happened to be the last scene. So after the rehearsal, they recorded that last scene first, so that the actress wouldn't have to sit through the entire record. It's a courtesy thing. Other times, it may be a scheduling thing. But, again, generally, we record the whole episode from start to finish.
3. It happens all the time. I wish I could remember a specific example from Spidey, but nothing immediately comes to mind. And it's too soon to discuss this stuff on YJ.
4. I love DC NATION. Sincerely. I think some of the shorts have been great, and some have fallen a little flat, but in general, I LOVE the FACT that they're doing the shorts. I just wish they'd expand DC Nation to two hours or something.
5. I'm game for ANYTHING that brings me back to Gargoyles.
Hello Mr. Weisman,
I am a teenage aspiring writer and I love to think of story ideas to write about. But whenever I actually sit down and try writing, I don't know how to start or I have second thoughts about my characters, plot, etc. So, I was just wondering if you could give me any tips on writing a story. Thanks!
Just spit it out onto the page, and worry about quality later. You need to get past the self-imposed barriers you're creating. So just get it out.
do you have any advice for people who want to go into animation.
Yes. Check the ASK GREG archives under "Animation" and/or "Biz, The".
One quick question regarding production-ey type stuff(I think).
Is it conceivable for you to be the head show-runner for two different series at the same time? Like, say if DC decided to have another series take place in the same continuity and they wanted your input, would you be open to giving feedback and story ideas?
It's conceivable, but I have enough trouble getting hired on one job, let alone two.
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!
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.
How do you get a job writing animation scripts?
Initially, I pitched premises to a number of shows with my writing partner Cary Bates, until Jem and the Holograms bought one of our ideas.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
I have a question on the western animation process in general (with special regard to YJ), if this is too complex to explain here or not the appropriate place for the question please ignore.
1. I think you mentioned that the inbetweens are done in South Korea. So is it fair to assume the key frames are done in house?
2. Using episode 2 "Fireworks" as an example how does an episode get made?
Does it start with you writing and onto the storyboard and to the animation team? (Sorry this part of the question was a bit vague)
3. At what point of the process does the Director of the episode come into play and what are his contributions?
4. What are the producers contribution to the process and how much weight does their word carry as opposed to the directors if a disagreement should arise?
Thanks. Also I did catch Scooby-Doo after hearing Victor Cook had a hand in it and it was a nice nostalgia trip, a bit weird like how real nostalgia is but nice nonetheless. Ermm thanks again I guess.
1. No. Key frames are done in Korea too. Boarding is done here in the states for the most part.
2. Writing, recording, boards and design, color, shipping, animation, post-production.
3. At all points. And his or her contributions are omniverous.
4. Producers trump directors, and Brandon and I are very involved at every stage.
Todd Jensen and others have commented on the similarities between âGriefâ and the Batman episode âAvatar.â Toddâs question being here:
I noticed another pair of episodes of Batman and Gargoyles that really reminded me of the other, because of the same writers. âLegionâ and the Batman episode âWhat is Reality?â 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 Robinâs case. An electronic shock emanating from Goliathâs body in Lexâs case. Side note: That was the biggest problem I had with âLegion.â I can buy a cybernetic gargoyle and that Xanatos can design a computer program based on his personality, but I never understood how Goliathâs 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, âWhat is Reality?â and âLegionâ 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 âFuture Tenseâ, which also had a VR sequence in the Xanatos Pyramid, albeit in a dream. They didnât write âWalkaboutâ, which had a metaphysical reality (MR?) scene.
I do think the examples of âAvatar/Griefâ and âWhat is Reality?/Legionâ are interesting examples of how writers will take previous ideas theyâve had and use another chance to expand or improve on them. âAvatarâ didnât work for me, but âGriefâ is one of my favorite episodes of Gargoyles. And itâs close between âWhat is Reality?â and âLegionâ, but I slightly prefer the former.
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.
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?
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.
First, let me briefly state that Gargoyles remains among the best animated series IMO of all time. I particularly appreciated the classical and Shakespearean references, I'm not sure I would have been as big a fan of Shakespeare in school and today, were it not for Gargoyles. That being said, the animated shows today lack the originality, narrative, and cutting edge that shows like Gargoyles, Real Ghostbusters, Batman, and even Duck Tales had, which is a real shame. Instead, today's cartoon for adults and kids, fail to have any purpose to them, and seem to have deevolved to the level of entertainment for 5 year olds. The only ones in past decade worth viewing have been Justice League and Boondocks.
My question involves trying to connect the 'Golden Age' of cartoons in 80's and early 90s, with today. I'm looking forward to your new series, and had a thought. I know that Mike Reaves worked with Gargoyles, as well as other cartoons, such as Ghostbusters and Dungeons and Dragons. While Gargoyles got a proper sendoff with Hunters Moon, there was never a finale for the short, Dungeons and Dragons cartoon, even though it was still popular and in syndication over a decade later, with only a dozen episodes. However, there was a screenplay finale done by Reaves, just not animated. What about in your or your production's free time, with Mike Reave's approval, you animate the finale of Reaves' screenplay, providing a link to your new series, which will remind the fans of cartoons of the serious narrative medium that cartoons used to be, that your cartoon series will have that 'edge' and give free publicity with many views (likely viral views) about your new series when people watch the link to the finale that was never done for a famous cartoon from the 1980's? It sounds like a good idea, which is why I am suggesting it.
Well, let me begin by RABIDLY DISAGREEING with your statement about today's cartoons. Some suck. Some are great. I'm proud as hell of the work I did on W.I.T.C.H., Spectacular Spider-Man and Young Justice, and there's no way I would pretend that I'm the only guy out there doing great work. I think Brave and the Bold is a TON of fun for both adults and kids. I thought Kim Possible was great. And I barely worked on either of those two series. And Avatar (which I never worked on) also seems great and rich. And that's just off the top of my head.
Your definition of "Golden Age" seems to have more to do with you than history.
As for your D&D idea, you just seem to have NO idea about the way the business works. I couldn't do what your asking even if it was my fondest wish in the world. Believe me, if I had that kind of power, don't you think I'd be doing more Gargoyles?
None of this stuff is up to guys like me or Michael. Different companies own the rights to different series, and most are uninterested in spending money on the kind of thing you're suggesting.
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)?
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.
I had a question. I'm currently a theatre student in college. However, I've always had my hand in multiple areas in the arts. It was only my love for writing and acting that had me not decide to go to a strict art college (I had wanted to be a comic book artist for a long time).
I plan to move to California eventually and try to make it in the show-biz, either through acting, my art ability (I'm currently doing a lot with prosthetics/mask making) or writing. My question was how exactly you got into your current field of work? It's something that interests me, what with my love for comics both in writing and art. So basically, I was just wondering how you got started.
Any advice would be greatly appreciated!
For a fuller answer, check the archives here at ASK GREG under topics like "Weisman, Greg", "Animation", "Biz, The", etc. As I know I've answered this before.
But the short answer is that I started as a comic book writer for DC Comics, while I was still in college. I then became an editor there for a couple years after college. Then I went to graduate school to hone my skills as a writer, while interviewing at various studios. I was hired as a junior executive at Disney Television Animation, got promoted a couple times, developed Gargoyles and became a writer-producer.
This is a silly question, and I might ask others on the blog page.
I was watching Pochahantes on youtube and I thought-what if "Gargoyles" had been directed and animated by the people who did this *f'd up* cartoon?
Could you imagine YOUR animation being done by the people who did that cartoon, or for that matter, "Fern Gulley?"
xD I lol at the concept XDD
Are you actually asking about the animation or about the design style?
All the delays and schedule changes for Spectacular Spiderman, besides being terribly annoying, jepordize the chances of the series to catch on and continue. I listened to the podcast mentioned early and have a sense of the legal changes and problems that contributed to the crazy schedule, but still I can't shake the nagging feeling that there is a disrespect, perhaps born in ignorance, to animation that is greatly contributing to the problem. It wouldn't occur to TPTB to tell a cast of a live action show, "we'll let you know if we are picking you up for another season in 18 months." Let alone the none acting staff and crew. Beyond that, once the script is written, the turn around time for an episode is much shorter on a live action show.
Is there any truth to that nagging thought? The closest analogy I can think of was to how tv series handled the most recent writers' strike. It wasn't perfect, and some good shows died as a result, but the reoccuring question seemed to be, "do we try to rush in a delayed 2nd half to this season, or just pick up at the next.", not "let's send everyone home, wait a year, and then decide.
I'm not sure how to respond. In general and IMHO, animation gets less respect than live action, but no company actively tries to sabotage its own show. Though mismanagement can do great damage.
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.
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.
My brothers and I are impressed by the fluid animation in Spectacular Spider-Man. We imagine it must be very expensive. How much does it cost to do those cool action scenes?
I can't spit out a number for the action scenes in a vacuum. SpecSpidey had a fairly standard "per episode" TV Animation budget. We tried to get as much bang for our buck as possible.
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.)
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.
i was wondering about something. Why did you guys took off gargoyles? I was upset over the years cause its my favorite tv show and also movies?
Don't include me in the "you guys". It wasn't my choice. Disney stopped the syndicated version because they had a full 65 episodes, which is standard. They cancelled Goliath Chronicles because of poor ratings. For more details CHECK THE ARCHIVES!!!!
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.)
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.
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.
Different networks have different rules, I guess.
Hey Greg, I have a quick question regarding the episode "Subtext" from Spectacular Spider-Man Season 2. I've watched the episode on my DVR a couple of times now (I'm from Canada, so I've seen 'em all already), and I've noticed that the animation is little off from all the other episodes. It seems a tad jerky and unpolished, and I was wondering if there was some sort of mishap when it came to animating the episode? Off course, you have every right to deny me an answer in case that Sony gets the wrong impression, and that's completely understandable. I am merely curious.
Other than that, the episode was well-written as always, and I especially enjoyed the fact that it starts in medias res (an artistic technique that I am quite fond of). If the scripts for Season 3 maintain such a high quality I'll tune in every week -- even if the show is animated using xerography (like "Marvel Super Heroes" back in the 60's...a Canadian-made show, sadly). Best of luck to you and your team and I hope that you guys get that 3rd season!
I'm not denying you an answer, but I don't in ANY way agree with your assessment of the animation. I noticed no qualitative difference between "Subtext" and any of our other episodes, and I've been doing this for a LONG time.
Hi Greg!..iam a full supporter of your show....this show is by far the best spidey show ever...everytime i watch an episode i need more!! AMAZING JOB!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Truly amazing! AMAZING !!!!!!
I have 3 Questions And A Request. :)
1) How much time does it take the crew to make one episode? and then a whole season ? i mean the final thing when every things (editing etc) finished,
2) If the confirmation for season 3 comes out (i hope it does!) ...how much time will it take for it to air? i heard season 2 came late because of the whole channel changing thing...now that every things set how much time will season 3 take ? i mean which month?
3)If ratings on all future seasons are good how many seasons would you plan to make ? (i hope more than 10 !!!lol)
And a Request
This show....has made me an addict to the extent that ive spent my holidays discussing episodes of Spectacular spiderman with my friends and not doing anything else lol....and i like it !!! this is the 1st show that im in love with ....i want you to promise your fans that other than the ratings you will do everything in your power to make this series a success and by success i mean doing more seasons! :)...Please please please please x 100000 Dont Stop making new seasons please.And i pray that this success will continue.:)
Eagerly waiting for your reply.
Long Live Spidey.!!! Long Live Spectacular Spiderman!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
1. It takes between eight months and a year to produce a season of animation, with multiple steps going on simultaneously on multiple episodes, a bit like an assembly line.
2. No way to know at this point. We'd need the pick-up. I'd have to plan the season, then we'd get started. And even once we finished, they could choose to hold the episodes for a more auspicious launch time (at least to their minds).
3. Generally speaking, I'm shooting for 65 episodes and then hope to continue with Direct to DVDs. But I'll take more or less... basically whatever I can get.
As for your request, it's just really not up to me. If they offer me the opportunity, I will make more. But I have no control, I'm afraid.
1. You've often mentioned how you chose Tombstone as the new "Big Man of Crime" because the Kingpin was unavailable due to legal issues. What other characters besides Tombstone did you consider for this position? Also, is the phrase "Big Man" a title given out to whoever happens to be in control of New York's crime rings at the time and is passed on to their successor, (ie, like a king or queen) or is it an alias that is permanently attached to Tombstone? I've seen evidence to support both cases.
2. How exactly does Doc Ock get dressed in the morning? The part of his harness that lines up with his spine clearly goes on underneath his clothing but the ring around his waist goes overtop of everything else. Can the harness still open up in front or is that fused shut too? Just watching Ock go through his morning routine would probably clear most of this up, plus the notion of him using his tentacles to brush his teeth is just hilarious. (Just be glad I'm not asking how Rhino goes to the bathroom.) I also assume that for the duration of Season 2 he's had enough time to acquire or build a new power source for his harness that can last for years at a time?
3. You burned down the Big Sky Billiard lounge! I loved that place. Every comic book needs a place where the supervillains can go for some downtime and hang out. Please, I know you don't want to spoil anything you have planned for season 3 but at least give us a vague hint that we'll get to see a new "Bad Guy Bar."
4. Is Chameleon's white visage a mask that he wears with other masks going on top of it, or is that actually his face after being surgically altered to have any distinguishing features like a nose and ears removed? Typically one would expect a face-changer to remove as much of their original face as possible and then add on top of that as needed, (just look at Metal Gear Solid's Decoy Octopus, the guy shaved down his cheek bones and cut off part of his nose and ears.) Wearing two masks doesn't seem to be that effective since you're doubling the amount the disguise is lifted above your actual face.
5. Exactly how long has Norman been inhaling the gobulin green? I'd assume he'd either start as soon as he'd invented the stuff, shortly after he was nearly killed by a giant geriatric buzzard and wanted to make sure he didn't have to rely on Spidey the next time something similar happened, or shortly after his first dealings with Hammerhead when he started planning to overthrow the Big Man. By the way, what kind of guy develops an experimental highly dangerous performance enhancing drug and then brings it home to show his family and then just leaves some lying around where his son can start chugging the stuff without anyone noticing it's gone?
6. We didn't see much of Aunt May in Season 2, but with so many characters floating around this isn't too surprising. If May does play an important role in any season three episodes is she going to get a spot in the opening credits for that episode?
7. When comparing animated shows through the years there doesn't seem to be a large change in the style and tone from the 1960's through to the late 80's. All the animated shows had a simplistic plot and generally weren't mentally demanding. However sometime in the early/mid 90's we started seeing shows like Fox's Spider-man, Batman The Animated Series, Reboot and Gargoyles, all of which felt more sophisticated than earlier shows and had such features as real character development and story arcs that could last through a season. Somehow I have a hard time imagining an episode like "Lethal Force" being done on G.I. Joe. As someone who has been in the industry a while did you notice a change in attitude from networks or executives towards animation at around that time? When producing Gargoyles did you find that in general people were more willing to let you attempt making a show with more mature themes relative to what you had done before?
8. Should Spiderman not get a third season or become cancelled for certain after season three wraps up, how likely is it that production could continue on direct to DVD movies? Generally speaking is it easier to convince producers or whomever to greenlight a single movie length piece of work comparred to an entire season of an animated show?
1. No one really. Tombstone was pretty much my instant second choice to replace Kingpin. And as for the "Big Man" title, I've seen evidence to both sides too.
2. I'm mostly content to leave Ock's morning routine to your imagination. As for his power-pack, he has had time to find one that lasts a long time. But he still NEEDS the power-pack. The arms won't function without it.
3. Yes, eventually.
4. Again, I'll leave this to your interpretation.
5. As you indicated, he started immediately after surviving Vulture's attempts on his life. He did not like feeling that powerless.
7. I think Batman the Animated Series was a revelation to many of us, and gave us the courage and evidence of success that allowed us to at least attempt to match or better that great series. Simpsons helped too, as did Who Framed Roger Rabbit and The Little Mermaid (the movie), and to a lesser extent The Great Mouse Detective. Animation seemed to be in something of a renaissance. But it shouldn't have been surprising. A generation of multi-discipline writers and artists who grew up on cartoons, comic books and genre fiction -- creative types who had learned to be discerning readers and viewers -- began to execute the kinds of shows they wanted to see. As for Gargoyles specifically, the miracle wasn't that people let me do what I wanted, but that they left me alone, which allowed me to do what I wanted. A subtle distinction, I know. But a significant one.
8. If we got cancelled or not picked up after Season Two is done airing, it would, I believe -- despite all evidence to the contrary and no matter how unfair that perception might be -- put the stink of failure on the series. Which would make it hard to get a greenlight on a DVD.
So, I'm curious about something involving the early development of Gargoyles...particularly, the pitching process. I'm not exactly sure how to word this, as my knowledge of how the process of actually pitching a show works, but I'll try my best.
Listening to commentary on Awakening recently and browsing the Archives revealed that you had pitched Gargoyles multiple times: First as a comedy, then as an action show. What intrigues me in particular is the fact that the show had multiple pitches over the course of however long (the amount of time escapes me, sorry).
1. Are repeated pitching sessions common for television shows?
2. On what basis are pitches repeated (after being tweaked)? Positive notes from executives, faith in the concept, a combination?
3. Has the environment for pitching become stricter? As in, are concepts expected to be marketable/viable in one try or are multiple pitching attempts on the same concept still possible?
I apologize if these aren't worded all that correctly, it's just something I find very puzzling and I'm not entirely sure how to word my questions.
1. Sometimes, although more often if a show doesn't sell the first time out it dies. But often enough, a creator will keep trying variations until he or she sells their idea... or runs out of people to sell it to.
2. All of the above, plus a smidgen of desperation.
3. See above. Nothing's really changed, though it's definitely tougher to sell an original idea now than it was back then.
I've got for you a very in-depth question: How did you get to where you are today? What kinds of steps did you take? If you could give specifics, I'd be quite happy.
You see, I myself would love to go into the business of TV and film, and I frequently identify myself with you (in a non-creepy way - I mean regarding style and that kind of stuff).
I've answered this in depth and with specifics before. Check the archives for a more detailed answer.
Generally, I'd say the first things you need to do, if you haven't already are...
1. Finish your formal education.
2. Move to Los Angeles.
3. Read, write and proofread a lot. Practice. Learn that your first draft may suck, and that even your second draft may need shelving.
As for my specifics...
*Bachelors from Stanford in English with a Fiction Writing emphasis.
*Started working as a writer for DC Comics as a 19-year-old while still in college.
*Moved to New York to work in comics, cuz that's where THAT action was.
*Masters from U.S.C in Professional Writing with an emphasis in playwriting.
*Staff Assistant at Disney Television Animation.
*Eventually promoted to Director of Series Development.
*Developed Gargoyles and moved sideways to produce it.
How much does it cost to commission or create a series or season and how does that work?
sorry for my ignorance and ambiguity,
Um... costs really vary. A lot depends on the mode of production, the development budget, etc.
Episodic costs on Gargoyles averaged about $450K per episode, at least for the first 65 episodes. (I have no idea what the final budget was for Goliath Chronicles, but I imagine it was considerably less.) And those per episode costs do NOT include development costs, marketing costs, etc. So making a series is a VERY expensive prospect, which is why we need/put up with studios, networks and the like.
In the series Elisa's hair color seems to be dark blue, although it is black considering her African and Native American ancestory. Is the reason you did this because of the series' generally dark color scheme and the probability of it getting lost in the background if it were black?
Or do you just like the color blue? :P
There's kind of a tradition in comics and cartoons to use blue to highlight black hair. You can't highlight black with black. And lightening the black, i.e. making it grey, makes a character look old. If you use brown, then the character's hair looks brown, not black. For most people, the dark blue sheen on black hair still reads as black hair.
Thanks for doing such an amazing job with The Spectacular Spiderman. Both seasons are really enjoyable. I've just got two questions:
1) Why is it that a lot of the background music in season 2 was stuff that had previously been used in season 1? Aside from character themes, nothing seemed to be repeated in season 1, but in season 2, lots of music from previous episodes kept popping up again and again. Was a smaller budget used for the music in the second season?
2) The animation in season 2 seemed to be weaker than season 1 as well. Some episodes looked beautiful, but others seemed a bit choppy and off-model at times, like "First Steps" and "Identity Crisis". Was there a smaller budget for the animation in season 2?
1. Themes were reused intentionally -- and by the second season we had a LOT more themes to reuse -- but to my knowledge, no actual music was reused, and I attended EVERY music spotting session, muisc preview session and sound mix.
2. No. We've had inconsistent animation here and there both seasons. Both our seasons contain some of our most gorgeous stuff and some of our weakest stuff.
I'm so sorry, I forgotten to tell which show I mean ^^
Of course Gargoyles ;)
So I ask again:
Can you tell me, which Animationstudio produced the episodes of the show?
Maybe a name of one or all?
thx a lot.
btw: keep on to bringing Gargoyles alive! :)
Oh. Sorry, I guess I was in Spider-Man mode.
As for Gargoyles, the series was produced by Walt Disney Television Animation. Most of the first season episodes and many of the second season episodes were animated by Walt Disney Television Animation - Tokyo. Some others were animated in Korea by Han Ho. There were other studios too, but it's been too long, and I don't remember off the top of my head.
Can you tell me, which Animationstudio produced the episodes of the show?
Maybe a name of one or all?
thx a lot.
Sony TV Animation produced the series. But if you mean what studios animated them, we used Dong Wu, Han Ho & Moi.
I read your guidelines, and I am curious how to 'break into the business' Not necisarily starting my own comic book, but working for a smaller, more independent company such as Creature Comics. I have purused job sites, having recently graduated with a Bachelor of Animation, but am not having luck finding any such companies or positions.
As a side note (coming from the fan side of me) thank you for keeping the Gargoyle universe alive for your fans!! I am so excited to read the new comics, and see the Gargoyles making a comback!
Creature Comics isn't really a company. It's more of a partnership -- between myself, Greg Guler and Marty Lund (and not really that anymore either) -- formed to get the license to the Gargoyles comic. That didn't happen, and we wound up at SLG instead.
But in any case, my first question is "Where do you live?" You have to go where there's work. Do some research into companies you might want to work for in your area. And if there are none in your area (or if the concentration is too slim to get employed) -- move.
So I unexpectedly came off work early today and found myself with a bit of free time-- not much, mind you, but enough. I don't know what it says for my intelligence or creativity that my thoughts immediately wandered to television, but eh . . . free time is supposed to make you feel good, not benefit humanity as a whole. And it felt like it'd been awhile since I'd gotten to actually sit down and watch anything (as opposed to, say, piping up the volume and listening from another room while I do this, that or the other thing). I wasn't sure what, if anything, I was in the mood for, and cast a casual eye onto my DVD shelf.
Well, why not Gargoyles? The quality ratio and fun factor with that show is so high that the only difficult part there is choosing which episode to run. So I pulled down Season One.
Initially I thought to watch Awakenings, but that's a lot of time to commit for one sitting when I had other things to be doing later on. I decided I'd watch "Enter Macbeth" instead.
It is, of course, one of my all-time favorites. mainly because of its titular character.
I actually watched it two times through for the hell of it. When I was finished, I ended up thinking and rethinking through a lot of it . . . and then somewhere in the back of my mind I remembered ASK GREG.
So, I thought I'd ramble. That *is* allowed, isn't it?
Yeah, we'll tell the truth on this one: The episode does kinda look like . . . well, crap. I have a much more affectionate eye for the episode than I did upon first viewing and look past a lot of it now, but there are still moments of "Enter Macbeth" that I can't get out of my head as something to say, "God, that's some [your negative adjective goes here] animation." I can't quite put my finger on what it is-- the whole episode just feels so off from a visual standpoint.
This would, in fact, become the start of one of the things I disliked most about this particular studio. When gargoyle wings fold over cloak-like, you should not see the three "limbs" as you do when seeing their interior. Or at least, you don't in the better animation studios. Drive me nuts; don't know why.
And of course, there was that one shot of Macbeth with the most yellow friggin' teeth. WTF?!
Greg, it's been many years since I've checked the archives in any great detail, but I think I remember you saying something like, "I was sure that the bad animation would make it so that almost no one would be interested in seeing Macbeth again." Well, this is one of those instances where the characters and plot shine through to make up for an episode's lackluster animation. (I call them "Korean Incidents".) It never detracted from the story. Not for me, anyways.
Let's start with Macbeth himself. This is an interesting character. At first glance, he appears to come out of nowhere. His motivations are unclear, so for now he's just "the bad guy". So how do you sell him without the cool backstory that will be developed later?
You have him kick copious amounts of ass, both literally and figuratively.
The scene with him posing as a prison guard is a highlight. So much of the credit for this episode should go to John Rhys-Davies, who from what I can tell just leapt into the role. Although, is it my failing memory or is this practically the only time that Xanatos and Macbeth have any real interaction with one another? If this is true, then that's a shame because they play well off of one another. But why would Macbeth introduce himself as . .. well, *himself*, rather than Lennox MacDuff (presuming that this is the identity he's gone by for many hundreds of years as a cover)?
Look at this guy, though. Not only does he wait for the gargoyles to awaken, he takes them all on single-handedly and wins. Not only that, but he takes prisoners. All on their home turf, and without so much as breaking a SWEAT. His knowledge in these "creatures" is so expert that he knows precisely what to do and how to do it with cold and calculated precision.
Check that attack. He throws (an admittedly off-guard) Broadway into Hudson and over the castle edge with ease. Then before anyone else can react, he tosses the smoke pellets and gains the upper hand over everyone else. Confusion ensues. The gargoyles who can't see and don't move end up blindsighted by gargoyles who can't see and DO move in very wrong directions. Or by Macbeth himself, who most assuredly can see and makes short work of Brooklyn before he can do a damned thing.
From there, it's just zap zap zap and it's finished. "Captured me three gargs in under 20 seconds, EL-OH-EL."
I always found this battle to be interesting in and of itself. Macbeth, for as much as we know this far in the game, is ordinarily human. He doesn't have biological enhancements or special powers or even henchmen; he's as human as you or me. And he takes them ALL down. Hell, Goliath himself probably gets the worst of it-- the outcome is so nakedly humiliating that I'm blushing. Oh, and that body slam into the fusebox didn't help either.
And is it me, or was Elisa WAY too close when Goliath came swooshing down after being electrified by the hull of Macbeth's ship? I say that she was damned lucky: If he had actually COLLIDED with her at that speed, I say that she might've been crushed to death.
So now Goliath leaves to track them down. Hudson and Broadway are left to defend the castle, but of course that's another subplot all its own.
Elisa warns Goliath that it's not safe to stay at the castle. Hell, she says it three times in a row. And his best reaction is to shrug her off-- something he won't be so apt to do in later episodes. He took off awful fast to rescue the other gargoyles at that point, almost as though he couldn't avoid the conversation fast enough.
Something else we don't see a lot of in later episodes tends to show in abundance with regards to Season One and particularly "Enter Macbeth", and that's Goliath Pissed Off. It was only juuuuuuust last episode that he was in a rage over what he thought was Elisa getting shot by Dracon. Goliath holding Dracon over the railing was a powerful dramatic moment. (Although in hindsight, he does that a LOT. Twice in "Awakening" with Hakon and Xanatos, Dracon in "Deadly Force" and I think at least once more somewhere down the line, although I can't remember when.) But in "Enter Macbeth", it's kinda flipped around. Goliath caught Dracon with relative ease, and it was clear what he would have done had Broadway not fessed up in time. Goliath never catches Macbeth, though. And he spends so much time chasing mirrors and shadows that I think Goliath might have been pissed enough to do worse than simply drop him. So we get to see a lot of vicious anger on his part in this ep. Roaring. Tearing through walls. Getting into a slugfest. Goliath isn't just another species, he's a dangerous one when it comes to the defense of his clan.
But that just makes Macbeth even cooler. Now it's Goliath who's handled with ease. Think about that for a moment. GOLIATH. A gargoyle warrior who is more than a match for just about any human out there. But against Macbeth, and especially on his turf, that same gargoyle finds himself at a disadvantage. And what makes that so interesting is that Macbeth isn't this ZOMG "genetically-engineered gargoyle sorceress hybrid mutant clone" superior foe. He's a human being. A human being with technology up the wazoo, but still human.
Look at the way he handles himself in their duel, after the chase is over. It's completely even. It was smart of Goliath to grab for a weapon when he got the chance, because even if weaponry isn't his habit I think he knew that against a sword-swinging Macbeth it was his only real chance. Even so, Macbeth doesn't relent. Goes on and on. Fights until the mansion is about to go up in flames . . . and he never gets too angry or panicked even when forced to escape. Is he pissed because the plan went to rot and his house burned down? Sure, why not? But he still takes it all with a certain amount of stride. No loud threats for vengeance, no personal grudge against Goliath, no real "villainous" actions taken at all (except, maybe, leaving the other gargoyles to burn alive). He just leaves when the gettin's good, and knows a little more for next time.
Love that little slip-out-of-the-jacket thing, by the way.
No, Macbeth doesn't have extra emotions to waste on Goliath and company. He wants Demona, Demona, Demona. The other gargoyles are just pawns (albeit useless ones as it turns out). I think it was a wise decision for her to not show up in this episode at all; it would have been too convenient, not to mention that it would also have detracted from Macbeth's character study. This is his episode.
Back at the castle, the remaining Gargoyles decide to take the Grimorum off Xanatos' hands. Now Owen gets his moment, too.
Hudson: Who's going to stop us? You?
You can tell by Hudson's attitude that he didn't expect Owen to knock his ass onto the floor. I don't think any of us did! Then, before Broadway can intervene, he's got a loaded gun pointed at his head. (I don't think that S&P would let that slide nowadays.) Owen is capable and reasonably prepared, no matter the circumstances. I think it's great that it's Elisa throwing a crutch at him that effectively turns the tables-- for all their strength, the gargoyles ended up pretty helpless otherwise.
Ah, well. All part of the job for Owen Burnett. However, I wonder if he faced some sort of penalty or reprimand for failing to prevent the theft of the Grimorum.
I despise when recurring characters are introduced via Korean outsourcing. I would say, introduce them some other way, and then give them crap animation somewhere down the line. Macbeth has a great character design; it should have been introduced through one of the better studios, perhaps the best one. (Not that I'm implying fault. You can give only so many episodes to Japan's Tokyo outlet; you make your choices and you live with 'em.) This is one of those episodes that I say to myself, "Damn, I'd love to see what this would'a looked like with kickass animation."
The "City of Stone" four-parter becomes interesting for this reason, given that we see how many changes Macbeth has gone through throughout the centuries . . . again, both figuratively and literally. It's not done by the Tokyo studio, but we're given so many designs for Macbeth. It's wonderful.
I've gotta start dinner now, so I guess that about does it for me. Later!
We couldn't know while writing scripts which episodes were headed for Korea vs. Japan. Of course, nowadays, things in Korea have improved quite a bit. ALL of The Spectacular Spider-Man is animated there, and we're generally thrilled with the results.
1.) I didn't know if you knew, but your show currently holds the record for the most episodes to feature Sandman on any Spider-Man animated series, as he's never appeared in more than one episode of a Spider-Man cartoon. I've noticed some villains that have appeared on the various cartoon shows have been used surprisingly little. Mysterio's had no more than four episodes (as shown on the Fox Kids, 1990s "Spider-Man" show), Electro's had three (from the 1960s animated series), and Kraven's had three or four appearances at the most, I think (also from the Fox Kids TV show). Do you have any plans for future seasons to try and break these villains' current records and let the villains appear in more episodes?
2.) Is there any chance we will see Doctor Octopus meet with Mysterio in season two, or maybe in another season?
3.) When season two is a huge hit (which I'm sure it will be), will you guys get started animating season three or does it usually take a few months of planning before you can get right back to work on another season?
1. I'm not interested in records, just in telling the best possible stories I have in my arsenal.
2. There's always a chance.
3. Planning, arcing, outlining, scripting, voice recording, pre-production, design, direction and all sorts of levels of approval must happen before animation can start. If we don't get a pick-up - for scripts at least - until Season Two airs and is (hopefully) declared a success, than there will be over a year gap between Seasons Two and Three.
This has been bothering me for sometimes, and i dont know how or who to ask this, so i'm just going to ask you because your in the cartooning busniess, I'm a senior in high school. And I've alwayed dreamt of becoming an cartoonist, I've alwayed enjoyed drawing and cartoons, and ever sense i was small I use to watch gargoyles and loved it, And from there I started getting into the arts, but it stopped when i enterd in high school,there was no arts and so my talent has gone to waste, -_-... You probably dont really have time for this but I'd really like your opion on how you started off or where to i could start, ...Thanks for putting up with me if you do response to this
I don't know too much about art schools, but obviously it wouldn't hurt for you to look into them and find one that has a solid animation department. CalArts comes to mind, because I know so many artists in the business who went there. But I'm sure there are other decent programs out there too. If you're truly serious, then start doing research and find the program that's best for you.
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?
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.
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?
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...
This question is actually not about Gargoyles.
I was wondering if you have seen or know about the animated series "Avatar: The Last Airbender." If you have seen it, what do you think of it?
I've heard some people complain about how animation and animated shows in America have been in a decline since the 90's, but Avatar is actually the best animated show I've seen since Gargoyles. It came out a few years ago on Nickelodeon and is currently in it's third season.
The shows strong points are many that made Gargoyles such a great show, namely very complex characters, a complex plot and excellent pacing among other qualities. Like Gargoyles, it also appeals to many different age groups, not just kids.
You've mentioned how it would be difficult to air a show like Gargoyles these days with the current lack of S&P freedom, but the creators of Avatar have nonetheless managed to make a great show with an excellent storyline apparently without sacrificing anything, and it has become quite a hit.
So I thought you might be interested in looking into it, if you haven't already.
I've seen clips from Avatar, but I haven't seen a full episode.
I've heard very good things, but it doesn't change my argument. Nick has Avatar and... and...
Myself and others I know have pitched shows to Nick, shows that might be great companions to Airbender, and yet... and yet...
Avatar seems to be the exception that TESTS the rule. But the rule seems to still be in place.
Friend, fan and pro, Shan Muir -- who some of you may have met at past Gatherings -- has been interviewed on a podcast promoting her new book on the animation biz. Check it out.
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!
Thanks for the congrats.
1. None of the studios I've ever worked with in Television Animation have their own post houses.
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.
In "A Long Way To Morning," Demona, Hudson and Goliath do not turn to stone until the clouds clear and the sunlight shines through - with the sun clearly well over the horizon, suggesting a bit of time has passed after sunrise. However, in "The Silver Falcon," Broadway turns to stone even though he is in a basement, cut off from the light of the sun, suggesting a circadian rhythm. Was it simply an animation error in "A Long Way To Morning," or is there a reason for this. (I assume it's the animation, but I was curious)
A little from column A, a little from column B.
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.
*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!
Hi Greg, me again. Sorry but I forgot this other question I've been meaning to ask:
What type of animation did you guys use for the show? Was it dark deco like in Batman: The Animated Series? And although I know you didn't work on TGC, from the looks of it, do you know what animation they used as well? Thanks a lot!
"Dark deco" isn't a type of animation, it's a term coined for the styling the creative team used. The type of animation was cell, i.e. as opposed to 3D CGI. Same for us. I'm afraid we never bothered to coin a term for our style.
I know this will not reach you for awhile. But I was perusing internet movie database and found an outstanding review of the series I thought and hoped you might enjoy.
This person captures the spirit of the fans in every way, on every level. We have bought the DVS's we WILL buy the comics, and Yes, I believe we will bring this timeless show back.
We cannot do otherwise guys.
I have just one question: How can Disney Television Animation produce such a wonderful show as "Gargoyles" for a couple of seasons and then go back to being Disney Television Animation? I simply cannot understand it, and if anyone has any thoughts, PLEASE share them with me! This show was a breath of fresh air on every level. If this wasn't a groundbreaking show, it certainly raised the bar sky high.
Voices--Many's the time I have thought that they could have chosen a better actor for a part in animation. Not here. The voice cast was so good that to this day I cannot imagine anyone else filling the bill. In the role of Goliath, Keith David demonstrated that he possesses one of the greatest speaking voices of any actor in the business. Jeff Bennett was also great as Brooklyn, my favorite character. (Loved the white hair!)
Music--Carl Johnson's scores were great. They beautifully set the tone and underlined the action and the drama.
Animation--Excellent. Dark, moody and stylish. The shots of the clan as stone statues are downright eerie at times. To this day, I still can't believe Disney did this one.
Plot--Action, drama, technology, mythology, humor and a little Shakespeare on the side. Folks, WHAT MORE COULD YOU POSSIBLY ASK FOR? This series had the most tightly structured story lines ever--there was not a single moment of dead air anytime.
The best thing about the series, however, was the characters. For being a clan of gargoyles (with a couple of humans), these characters were as real as you and I. Things HAPPENED to them! They actually got HURT as a result of violence. They matured, sometimes in ways unexpected. They found out the hard way who their friends and enemies were. And they had to live with the consequences of their actions, which sometimes came back to haunt them in later episodes.
Here's hoping Disney will realize the error of their ways and bring this show back. If you are already a fan, may you continue to enjoy the show. If you haven't seen it, give it a chance. But be advised: Once you have seen television and the world through the glowing eyes of a gargoyle, you will never want to settle for "standard kiddie fare" ever again.
I hope you enjoyed this Mr. Weisman
Thanks, Justin. It's always nice to read praise. (I'm not shy about admitting that I like the ego-boost.) But I have to say that I don't see or understand the need to praise Gargoyles by BASHING Disney -- in particular the shows which preceded Gargoyles at Walt Disney Television Animation. "The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh", "Disney's Gummi Bears", "DuckTales", "Darkwing Duck", many episodes of "TaleSpin", "Chip 'N Dale's Rescue Rangers", "Aladdin" and a select few of "Bonkers" and "Goof Troop" strike me as some of the best TV Animation that's EVER been produced. Likewise shows since Gargoyles, like "Kim Possible" and a few episodes of "Hercules" and "Buzz LIghtyear of Star Command" also send me. (And there may be more, but I don't watch cartoons as much now as I did back when I was a Disney Exec.)
Obviously, not all these shows are going to send every Gargoyles fan. And that's fine. But I can't really understand not recognizing how superior they are to most of what's out there.
And remember: NO GUMMI BEARS; NO GARGOYLES.
Mr. Weisman this would be my first time asking a question. I have to say I have been a big fan of Gargoyles since the beginning. The show really change my feelings about people who are different. Thank you Mr. Weisman for introducing this show to my life. As for my question. Do you feel that Animation in America has been on a steady decline? These days that aren't that many animated shows that are made with the same quality as Gargoyles or any animated shows during the ninties which I dubbed the golden age of animation. I just want to know your opinion on this subject. Thank you and I hope you can bring Gargoyles back in any shape or form in the near future.
It would be easy for me to look back on shows like "Batman the Animated Series" and "Gargoyles"; "Ducktales" and "Gummi Bears", "Roughnecks" and early "Simpsons" etc. and play the old curmudgeon and say THEY JUST DON'T MAKE 'EM LIKE THAT ANYMORE.
Cuz, well, they don't. But they do other things VERY well. I really like Kim Possible. I like Ben Ten. And I'm very, very proud of the work I just did on the second season of W.I.T.C.H.
I honestly don't watch as many cartoons now as I did back then, when as an executive at Disney it was my job to know ALL of our cartoons and ALL of the competitions'.
We certainly, with the loss of the syndication market, have less S&P freedom than we used to. But that's nothing new. Last night I watched the classic "Charlie Brown Christmas" with my wife and kids. And they did stuff in that half-hour that we would NEVER have been allowed to get away with in the 90s, from an S&P standpoint.
Hey Greg I bought the GARGOYLES DVD today and I have enjoyed it already here is my question
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
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.
have you thought of pitching a non-gargoyles Animated-Action-Fantasy-Drama to Disney (or Fox, or Cartoon Network, or whoever)? I'd watch it. It's bound to be loaded with Gargoyles inside jokes
I'm always pitching. Pitching is easy. Selling is hard.
Hi Greg-- first off before my question I want to say that my previous question regarding Goliath using the Phoenix Gate to not return to Scotland in order to save his clan when he used it to save Griff in London-- I submitted that a year and a half ago and when I didn't see an answer I took it upon myself to copy and paste it during the chat you had a couple of weeks ago (Nov./03). So it was not a double post but you had answered it twice. For what it is worth, I understood it the second time around. :)
My question for 2003 is, with Gargoyles being property of
Disney and the reality of not being able to do much with
the show without their blessing, have you ever considered
coming up with an original idea for a show and trying to
get something new off the ground? Perhaps not even a
syndicated show but something more akin to Todd McFarlane's
'Spawn' on HBO? I am not suggesting any particular idea, just one of your own which created a new universe of characters and storylines that perhaps one day could be funded and see the light of day notwithstanding our hopes
of Gargoyles one day returning to the air. It is encouraging to see Fox considering reviving 'Family Guy'
after the syndication and DVD sales surprised the hell out
of everyone. Maybe Gargoyles can see the revival it needs
on DVD to open Disney up to that possibility. Thank you for your time and I hope to see you at the next Gathering that comes stateside again.
I am constantly trying to sell new and original ideas. It's harder than it looks from a distance.
First off, thank you for creating a masterpiece. Undoubtedly one of the greatest animated shows of all time.
Now some questions about the TV industry:
1.You are quoted in the FAQ as advising aspiring television authors "If you can be happy doing anything else, do that thing." Working in the industry for all these years, do you feel that most of your peers have taken this advice, or do you feel surrounded by bitter and disillusioned cynics?
2. Why is it that you were given such a position of significant control with "Gargoyles" relatively early in your career, yet have been unable to find a position in similar role since adding that credit to your resume? Despite being a moderate hit, did losing the ratings war with Power Rangers attach a stigma to the show (and thus you) as "not being able to hit a homerun ", making it harder to get future opportunities (you have done some good work since, but nothing with the creative control or depth of Gargoyles)? Or is the industry understanding of what Gargs was up against (A barinless "Pokemon" like monster) and don't disparage it as a "failure" simply because it couldn't defeat a (ratings) behemoth, and your current situation is just the brakes of a volatile industry?
3. I don't necessarily want to be a TV writer (I'm into prose) but I am a big fan of animation. Do you think the FoxBox and the new Ninja Turtles cartoon (the blocks highest rated program by far), in going up against Kids WB, is in the same position Gargoyles and Disney Afternoon was in in 1995/96? Foxbox has moved to Sundays ostensibly to avoid the competition. As a creative Producer once in a seemingly similar situation, could you just objectively tell a worried fan if this is a sign of The End? ( TMNT has, however been signed on for more episodes up to 52, which according to you is succesful in todays market.) As an aside to this question, how much of keeping an animated show on the air has to do with sales of merchandise as opposed to pure ratings?
Thank you for your time.
1. I am indeed surrounded by bitter and disillusioned cynics. Though most of us are pretty cheerful about it.
2. Mostly it's just the breaks. But I have been stigmatized here and there by various individuals who were in power... some of whom are no longer in power. Also there were a unique set of circumstances at Disney at the time of Gargoyles that resulted in me getting so much creative freedom and control. Circumstances that would be hard to duplicate. But since then, I have had substantial control over my ten Roughnecks episodes. I had some control over the first season of Max Steel. And on the show I'm working on now, W.I.T.C.H., I've had more control, more freedom -- and more fun -- than on any show I've done since Gargoyles.
3. I'm just not up to speed on the Fox Box/Kids WB situation, though I know that Kids WB is phasing out their weekday afternoon kids block. As for merchandise vs. ratings... Both can be HUGE factors. A network can't survive on bad ratings, but most shows have trouble making their budgets without merchandising revenue.
Im a fan of yours!!! and im a fan of manga, comics and drawing, i wish one day i could illustrate my own story
i only want to ask you: What things do you need to do
to have a nice story and character desing?,please answer me
My mail.- firstname.lastname@example.org
I don't know where to start. I'm not an artist myself, so I'm not the best person to advise you on that.
As for story, I'd recommend education. Read a lot. (And not just manga and comics.) Write a lot. Proofread. Read some more. Write some more. Proofread. Go to college. Get a solid liberal arts education. Read the classics. Read the daily newspaper. Read some more. Write some more. Proofread.
(Get the idea?)
Greg, i am making some "comics" cause my dream is becoming a professional japanese comic maker (mangaka) ,here is my only question:How can you become a good drawer and how can you make things that people really like?
here is it, please answer me,ops! and im a fan of yours n.n !!!!
n_- bye !!!!
I wish I knew how to "become" a good artist. I'd love to be able to draw. But I don't have that talent, so I'm not the greatest person to answer that question.
As to how to "make things that people really like"? I usually start by trying to make something that I really like. If I'm not passionate about it, how can I expect anyone else to be?
Hey Greg. Concerning all the different series you've worked for and all the jobs you've held in them (creator/producer/voice director/writer/etc.), which do you think actually "sells" your talent to companies to make them want to hire you? Do you feel any particular works of yours outshine the rest and really impress the execs? How well is "Gargoyles" regarded by these company execs, for instance? Or do you think it is instead the fact that you've worked for big name companies in the past, like Disney and WB, that impresses the execs, rather than any particular works you've done? Or when you apply as a freelance writer, for example, do you just submit several sample scripts of your ideas, and they decide from that whether to buy the story or not, regardless of your actual background? I'm just curious how it all works. Thanks!
Uh.... all of the above, really.
There was a time when clearly Gargoyles was actually a liability for me on my resume. Thankfully, that time has passed, at least for now, and it is once again my biggest selling point and calling card. In part, this is because a new mini-generation of execs has surfaced. The group that I was part of respected my work on the show. But then a slightly younger group came in that didn't know the show and didn't care about it. Now we've got a group that remember it fondly from their youth.
Yes, I'm just that old.
But frankly, my "Resume" is GIGANTIC, and I think the mass of it is impressive to people who value experience and good credits. To people who are intimidated by those who might know more than they do, I think it's a roadblock.
Obviously, everything depends on the job at hand. The folks at Disney (but not SIP) were nervous about hiring me for WITCH because they were convinced I wasn't funny enough. It occured to me that they might not have read my comedy scripts, and so I sent a couple of them over. Having read the stuff, I was funny again -- and hired for the job. So the work itself can help. When asked to submit script samples, I have a ton to choose from. So it becomes a guessing game. I try to get a sense of the project or kind of project they're interested in me working on and then choose scripts that seem to fit ... in tone at least. But you never know if you're sending the right material or not. And sometimes they don't bother to ask for it.
It also truly helps to be able to talk a good game. I give good meeting. I have off days, but I generally do pretty well in a room. That helps. It's ironic, because I'm shy and lousy at small talk. But ask me about creative stuff, and you pretty much can't shut me up -- as anyone who's attended a GATHERING can attest to, including, I'm sure, you, Vash . I am also a pretty consumate bullshitter... and yet not afraid to admit that I haven't figured EVERYTHING out yet.
I think that covers the basics.
Sorry, it's me again. I know you must be getting tired of me, but I just rediscovered Ask Greg after five years, and I have tons of questions to ask.
I have an animation question.
1. I'm fairly certain without being 100% sure that all the episodes of a multi-parter are being done by a single studio. Is that true? It sure seems that way, like "Awakenings" and "Hunter's Moon" having gorgeous animation throughout and "City of Stone" and "Avalon" having moderately good animation all accross their parts.
I can see how it might be better this way. It insures a lot more consistency within the same story, and that includes scene continuity from one part to the next. Character models and background for all parts will be done by the same staff or supervised to make sure they fit together. I can't see communication ever being good enough between two distant animation companies to insure that two episodes would mesh together seemlessly.
Of course, sometimes it might be difficult for a company to complete 3, 4 or even 5 episodes at the same time, but I assume that those studios had their episodes assigned a lot of time in advance, with as few other episodes as possible being expected from them while the multi-parter was being done.
You mind shedding some light on the matter?
As far as I can recall, multi-parters went to the same studios... although often not to the same exact crews. (Often a studio has multiple crews.) For all the reasons you stated above, it makes more sense.
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,
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.
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?
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.
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!
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.
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.
Thanks. Glad you liked it.
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.