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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.
From what I understand, a lot of people tend to forget that what makes a character strong (metaphorically-speaking) is how he or she deals with his or her problems. Most seem to think that "strong" in the metaphorical sense means that they are tough and flawless, when in reality it is the exact opposite.
What do you think? Am I off course or am I on the right path?
I definitely think you're correct.
Hey Greg, theres something I would like to ask your opinion about.
You see comics have been notorious for being hard on average people to get into. You should know that your cartoons have been much more influential than whatever it's publised on printed form.
For millions of people when they think Young Justice they think of earth 16 and when they think of spiderman they think of spectacular.
Say Teen Titans Tv show' has Starfire as a cute alien and naive girl wich is among the best female characters ever in my opinion. While on comics she is a dumb bimbo with hardly more personalitybthan a brick
Comics on the other hand are harder to get into and well you might jot agree but the quality is much better in cartoons such as yours. I would rather watch young justice that get into the continuity mess that comics are.
It would seem that every continiuity reboot that tries to make things simpler just makes things worse.
In your experience what would you do to make comics as approachable as tv shows are?
Well, I'm going to start - without going point by point - by NOT agreeing with everything you've stated above. Some comics have issues. Some are both accessible and very well-done. In general, I'm really liking DC's REBIRTH, for example. I'm reading all of it - trying to keep up. I don't love every series, let alone every issue, but generally, I think they're doing a pretty darn good job. I'd particularly recommend Wonder Woman.
And I think there are plenty of crap television series, as well.
It's all about execution. Plenty of good comics series. Plenty of good television series. Plenty of lousy examples of both. But I'm glad you like YJ and Spectacular.
Is there some sort of prejudice against animation writers by live-action producers? For example, would the producers of the Flash hire one of the Young Justice writers to write an episode? Or, would their experience working in animation not be taken seriously, or might it even be considered a strike against them?
If this prejudice against animation writers does exist, I have to say I don't understand it. I mean... do you really have to be a genius to write an episode of the Flash, or Blue Bloods, or the Big Bang Theory? I can understand shows like Breaking Bad or Mad Men or Game of Thrones being fussy about who they hire to write, but the simple reality is that most TV is not on that level.
I don't think there are any consistent rules, and there are plenty of writers who've done animation and went on to work in live action. But, generally, yes, I think there's a prejudice against animation writers. I've certainly felt that way, anyhow, though I admit I'm biased. I tried really hard just to get my foot in the door at Arrow when it was first starting up. Couldn't even get an interview.
Hi! I'd like to ask you a question from a writing standpoint if you don't mind. When juggling a lot of plotlines, how important is it to develop relationships on-screen? On the one hand, obviously the main couples should be. But for the minor ones/background characters, I'm not sure if it's better to leave their relationship status static (which would be unrealistic for most) until I can properly develop something for them, or sometimes put them in side relationships based on chemistry even without much prior development. This would be provided that these relationships could be used to further individual storylines, just not important enough to warrant too much attention from the main plot. It's okay if you don't have an answer, but I'm curious if you do.
Every character should have his or her own life, even if you don't always have the screen time for it.
Will you ever consider teaching a writing class? If so, teach it on MasterClass! (https://www.masterclass.com) I would love to be a writer half as good as you! You could make Family Guy good!
Ignoring the non-sequitor attack on Family Guy...
I have taught classes in Writing for Television Animation in the past. I don't think I have the time now. And the internet largely scares me.
I found a tumblr post that talks about great characters with the link below.
I also remembered you answered a question like that.
"I believe they exist as fully as possible. I create backstories for them, whether or not those backstories will be revealed on screen or on the page. I make them real to me."
So for the actual questions:
1. What do you think about the tumblr post? I think "compelling" and "fascinating" seem too subjective.
2. What exactly do you mean by "exist as fully as possible"? I'm guessing you want to give as much of an image of a character as you can, but I'm also sure that's the main task of any story.
3. You also said that you want to make the characters seem real to yourself, but how do you make them real to the viewer?
4. This one might be redundant, so it probably doesn't need to be answered. But just in case, how do you make characters and stories that the audience can enjoy?
5. I also know you've said that you write your passion, but how do you know it will appeal to others? It all sounds like being hopeful.
1. Perhaps. But so is "relatable" and "sympathetic". They're directions to head not a detailed map.
2. It's not the main task to make of any story to make EVERY character in the story fully realized. My feeling is - within reasonable parameters - that it SERVES the story to have fully realized characters, who have their own backstories and motives that are specific to them.
3. I cross my fingers that if it works for me, it'll work for a substantial portion of my audience.
4. I write what I like, and cross the above-mentioned fingers. The alternative is pointless. If I can't get passionate about my story, how can I possibly expect anyone else to?
5. That's all it is. Honestly. See above.
You recently responded to another poster who sent you his review of YJ season 1. Your response made me question what the point of doing something like that might be. I mean... I understand the poster probably wants to feel that his opinion matters, but what kind of response could he or she possibly expect from you? Did he think you were going to agree with him? Was there ever a chance that you were going to say, "You have made some excellent points, and I will take them into account as I am writing season 3"?
So, my question is: does audience feedback or reviews ever effect how you YJ in even a general way?
Nope. Doesn't mean they don't have the right to express them. But Brandon and I have to follow our passions and instincts. Have to. We can't let either praise or criticism effect our plans. For starters, for every person who likes something, there's bound to be someone who hates it and vice versa. All we can do is write the show we want to see - and pray that enough people like our work to make it successful.
You often say that ideas minus their execution are subject to unfair second guessing and that you've learned this the hard way. Can you share the specifics of this realization? What story did you share that brought this about?
Lots of Gargoyles stuff. The first thing that comes to mind is Nashville's name. But there were all sorts of things.
Not so much a question as an attempt to clear some things up. You said that you didn't remember our first exchange, so, here's a link:
The follow-up exchange:
I do hope this clears things up. I checked the links on my end and they appear to work. If they don't work for you then I'll just have to copy and paste, which will probably take up more space than I wanted to use.
Okay, yeah, reread it all. (You've got the links switched, but they're both there.)
As I suspected, I wasn't upset the first time. I don't even seem to be annoyed. I was just giving you my honest response to your question, which was that I thought to some extent it was the wrong question for a writer to ask.
As for the second post, as I noted, you seemed to have a better handle on things.
So no worries on my end.
Good luck with your stories.