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Thomas writes...

If you were offered to write a Transformers series, would you be willing to do so?

Greg responds...

I have already. Wrote an episode of Transformers Prime and multiple episodes of Transformers Rescue-Bots.

Response recorded on October 07, 2016

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Anonymous writes...

Hey Greg, I just saw your episode of Transformers prime and I have a few questions!

1- Always been curious about this one, what is the process for freelance writing like? Do they call you and give you a generall rundown of what needs to happen? How much freedom does the freelance have? Etc etc.

2- When Agent Fowler pepper sprays Knockout... did that REALLY work or was Knockout just being his usual dramatic self?

Greg responds...

1. Every show is different. In fact, sometimes episodes of the same show can be different. In this specific case, story editor Duane Capizzi handed me the premise for the story. We talked about what to do with it, and I wrote up a a beatsheet/outline and then, after notes, a couple drafts of script.

2. It worked a little. Then Knockout got dramatic with it.

Response recorded on December 11, 2014

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DanM writes...

Hello there Greg (you don't mind me calling you Greg, do you?), how you've been?
Well I hope you have been doing well, and working hard on YJ for us fans.
So let me introduce myself, my name is Daniel I'm from Brasil and I LOVE the YJ tv show. As for the comic book, still I haven't had the chance to check it out. But I cannot see why it wouldn't be as great as the animation.
Anyways… with the recent CN's actions and the future listing of DC's solicitations, a lot of speculations have surfaced the web. Do those same speculations harm you or the crew in any way? Note that I don't mean it physically, I mean carrerwise (e.g. the mood in the work environment, the relationship with the bosses… that kind of thing?).
Have you ever thought about, or did in fact pitch in an Earth 16 title for the DC's New 52 (such as the Earth 2 title)? If not, how about it? I imagine that great things would come out of it. :) And what about novels? That would certainly be interesting!!

Greg responds...

I'm not sure what speculations you're referring to. But...

ANYWAY, I suppose this is as good an excuse as any to go through a bit of a chronology.

We finished the scripts for Invasion in January of 2012. So that's when I stopped getting paid, because although I'm a producer on the series, that title and even the responsibilities that go with it were, in essence, a courtesy, based on my experience, I guess. With a guy as talented and competent as Brandon on the job, Warners didn't feel any need to pay me to do the post-production on YJ. They had no problem with me participating, but they also had no problem with me walking away. (Same with Season One, by the way.) (And it was the same at Sony vis-a-vis The Spectacular Spider-Man. In animation, writers often aren't valued all that much once the script process is completed. From the point of view of these companies, I was really just a story editor with a glorified title, who was willing to do what he had to do in order to make the title real and NOT glorified.)

On one level, I probably should have walked away. But instead, I worked for free, helping to post the episodes with Brandon from January to October of 2012. Simultaneously - because I do need to earn a living - I did a number of freelance scripts for various series, including one for Warners' Beware the Batman, plus a Transformers Prime, a couple of Kaijudos, a couple Rescue Bots and a couple of Octonauts. Plus, there was the YJ comic, a few miscellaneous things, and I was also working on revising my first novel, Rain of the Ghosts. Oh, and Brandon and I were also giving free input on Legacy, as well. So I was plenty busy.

In October of 2012, we finished posting episode 220, "Endgame", and on Halloween I moved out of my office on the Warner Bros. Ranch and moved back to my old office in Beverly Hills. By that time, I was done with the comic as well.

During that period, Brandon and I (both separately and together) pitched all sorts of further Earth-16 properties, including (but not limited to) a third season (of course), animated spin-offs featuring Arsenal and/or the Arrow Family, a comic book entitled Earth-16, the Black Manta Celebrity Hot Tub shorts, a direct to DVD movie, etc. Brandon even pitched a YJ meets Scooby movie. Unfortunately, none of these were in the cards.

I'd love to say differently. I'd even love to say I've moved on, but I haven't really. Like many of the fans, I'm still mourning the whole thing, quite a bit. Perhaps even quite a bit more than is healthy. And - because I do need to earn a living - I'm still looking for both freelance work and my next solid gig. (It's been fourteen months without a real job, and it's starting to get a bit nerve-wracking, to be perfectly honest.) But Rain is coming out in December, and I'm hard at work on its sequel. They've both been very rewarding to work on, at least emotionally. (We'll have to wait and see if they turn out to be rewarding financially - but at least the potential upside is there.)

I'd happily do a YJ Novel, but like anything YJ related, it's just not up to me. It's just not a property I control AT ALL.

Response recorded on March 22, 2013

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Anonymous writes...

i remeber reading in the archives that you pitched a premise for transformers in the 80s. when you say premise do you mean like a story arc or single episode. do you remeber what your idea was? be interested to hear what you would have done with that universe.

Greg responds...

Cary Bates and I pitched five separate springboards for individual episodes. No arcs.

Here's one:

Transformer Premise
by Bates and Weisman

After endless study of Transformer programming specifications, Quarto Quintesson, a young programmer-artist has designed a construct that has a 97% probability of starting a devastating war between the Decepticons and the Autobots.

The Quintessons send a few Sharkticons to one of Saturn's moons. The Sharkticons drop off the construct and retreat. Earth sensors detect the Sharkticon intrusion. Rodimus Prime, Spike, Blurr and Bumblebee are in the vicinity on a diplomatic mission. They pause to investigate. Arriving on the moon, they discover the construct. The construct is a small crystalline "sculpture" on a rotating stand. The "sculpture" looks like an over-sized three-dimensional micro-chip. As it turns on its stand, colored light refracts through the crystals and a soft music is played.

Spike says: "Hey, it's like an old-fashioned music box!" But it takes him a few seconds to realize that the Autobots are absolutely entranced by the beauty that they perceive in the "Ultrachip".

Cut to Chaar, where Quarto has arrived to seek an audience with the mad leader Galvatron. He informs Galvatron of the mysterious Ultrachip that all Transformers will desire, but that the Autobots will attempt to keep from the Decepticons. Cyclonus suggests that such an Ultrachip might help Galvatron consolidate his rule over the divisive Decepticons. Galvatron is infuriated at the suggestion that he needs any help and attacks Cyclonus but then unpredictably changes his mind and sends Cyclonus, Scourge and the Sweeps to appropriate the Ultrachip.

Meanwhile, on Saturn's moon, Spike is explaining the concept of art to the Autobots, who like eternal soldiers, have never had the time to think about such things before. Spike accesses computer hologram records of various earth masterpieces...Rodin's The Thinker, Warhol's Soup Can, Bisin's Quantum Lady, etc. None has any real effect on the Autobots. The Ultrachip, however, is something new and wonderful to them.

And then Cyclonus and the Sweeps attack. The Autobots defend themselves, and the Ultrachip is momentarily forgotten, until the Decepticons get a good look at it. They too are mesmorized by its beauty. Without truly understanding why and having little to do with Galvatron's orders, they know that they must have it at any cost. The Autobots feel the same.

Spike pulls Rodimus aside and asks whether this "music box" merits all this trouble. Rodimus must explain that to Transformers, there can be no greater prize. Nevertheless, he offers Cyclonus a compromise. The Ultrachip will be left in a neutral location, where both Autobot and Decepticon can admire it. Cyclonus refuses the offer. Only the Decepticons may gaze upon the Ultrachip. Blurr in turn says that only the Autobots will be allowed to admire it.

Watching on his viewscreen, Quarto is practically gleeful, soon this skirmish will escalate into a full fledged war.

The battle continues. And the fragile Ultrachip is nearly destroyed by the conflict. Rodimus makes the extremely difficult decision to let Cyclonus take the Ultrachip. Better that the Decepticons get it, than that such beauty should be destroyed. Thus the Quintessons' latest plot is foiled by Rodimus' reason and compassion.

Cyclonus takes the Ultrachip back to Chaar and gives it to Galvatron, who orders everyone to clear his chamber. When he is alone, the mad leader destroys the Ultrachip...(or maybe he doesn't).

And on Cybertron, Kup is talking to Rodimus about the Ultrachip: "Too bad the Decepticons got it, we got a raw deal!"

But Rodimus opens a door, where we see Bumblebee, playing with crystals, constructing his own personal artistic Ultrachip, and Rodimus points out, "They may have gotten the chip, but we got the inspiration."

Now, before ANYONE posts questions about this premise, please keep in mind that this was TWENTY-SIX years ago. I remember NOTHING more than what you see above. NOTHING.

Response recorded on July 17, 2012