A Station Eight Fan Web Site
Hi Greg! I'm such a big fan of you and the spectacular team's take on Spider-Man. I grew up with Spectacular, (and young justice!) and it came back as a big inspiration in my life as an artist and writer after insomniacs fantastic games and rereading the classic comics from when I was a kid. You have created my favorite versions of these characters by modernizing them and giving them that classic feel in ways that blow my mind. Im a pretty classic spidey fan (i love lee/ditko/romita) despite being in my teens and I value cohesion like your take did. I have a question however from an aspiring writer to a professional;
If I think that a version long passed (yours) was the best version of something, what can I do to personally find a way to make my own take, despite having a similar mindset? Should I be afraid to be similar?
I would really value your opinion and again, thanks for your fantastic and inspiring work. Really hoping to see more of your stuff!
Well, first off, thanks.
Secondly, as a professional, I really wouldn't spend much time (even much idle brain time) adapting something that you don't own, unless you're (a) being paid to do it or (b) you have a reasonable hope of being paid to do it. And even for (b), I wouldn't recommend doing very much work until someone said, "Yes! I love where you're going with this. Let me pay you to go further." Instead, I'd recommend coming up with your own original thing. Blow us away with that. And then maybe will want to trust you to adapt something that is theirs, e.g. Marvel with Spider-Man.
But finally, to get to your question, I guess I wouldn't sweat it too much. If I adapt Lee/Ditko or Lee/Romita comics, I'm still borrowing from what came before. And I'm not stopping there, nor am I shy about "stealing" from any of the source material from any era. Because, that's NOT stealing. It's adapting. I'm sure my adaptation had many similarities with others that came both before or after Spectacular. Of course it did. We're all going back to the same source material. So how could it not?
Hey Greg, how do you plot seasons and specific episodes, do you set end goals to achieve in the story or do you begin to plot and see where the story flows naturally?
Um, both. Go through the ASK GREG ARCHIVES for more detailed responses. But we use index cards with events marking tent poles in our stories, and then fill in with more index cards until every season, every episode, every scene is fleshed out fully.
I'm a big fan of your work - particularly on Young Justice and The Spectacular Spider-Man...I was wondering
1. If there's a possibility of the Young Justice comic series returning anytime in the future? As I've been re-reading them recently and forgotten how great they were in expanding the world you've created!
2. What advice would you give to an aspiring writer starting out...particularly in the TV and comics business?
1. Nothing to report, but I'm still hopeful.
2. Please check out the WRITING and WRITING TIPS sections of the ASK GREG ARCHIVE.
(Sorry if it's been answered but I did search the archives, and your answers about plotting YJ have been very illuminating.) Are there any books or guides to plotting a series? There are plenty of books about "how to write your pilot" and such, but I haven't had any luck finding suggestions for how to plot a series.
I would think there are, but I haven't seen/read any. My method has been trial and error, learning by experience.
Hi Greg. I'd like to ask for some career advice.
1. I would love to write for animation. Besides writing as much as possible, what steps should I take that would make me a better writer for this art form?
2. I love animation, but cannot draw nearly good enough for any type of decent storyboarding. Is this something I need to fix in order to write for animation? I'm good at describing what I want to see, but I'm worried not being talented at drawing will hurt my chances.
3. I'm curious on your stance in terms of writing CAMERA ANGLES and TYPES OF SHOTS in the script. Traditionally, I've been taught to leave that to the director as much as possible. How do you tackles this when you write?
4. In action sequences, how detailed do you go? Do you give a general description for the director or an actual play-by-play. For example, is it more: "they trade punches, parrying each other until Clara gets an opening and hits Harry across the face." OR "Clara goes for the uppercut, but Harry leans back and dodges, then attempts to sweep her legs. Clara jumps over the kick, then grabs his shoulders, and head butts her opponent. She makes up for the previous miss with a fist to the face." (Just came up with that, so obviously not the best examples but hopefully that suffices).
4. What should I do to get hired on a show? I know that connections are key, but as someone who has no connections, what's the best thing for me to do? I have a spec of another show and a pilot for an original series. I'd love to be a writer's assistant, but that also comes about through connections. I have occasionally messaged a creator on social media and asked if there was any opportunities on their show, but I know that's hardly a good method to pursue a career. Any guidance on this aspect would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks for taking the time to answer these fan questions.
1. Sebastian, I'm going to refer you to the ASK GREG Archives on "Writing" and "Writing Tips" and "Biz, The". No offense, but I've answered this basic question so many times, it's kinda pointless for me to right it up again.
2. I can't draw stick figures well.
3. When I began in animation, we used to do much more directing in our scripts, as opposed to live action scripts, where you are advised to stick to Master Shots. Nowadays, we limit that calling of shots and angles, etc., to specific needs, e.g. we need a close-up on that light switch being turned off or a wide shot to reveal who is in the room or a tight close-up on a character's lips turning up into a cruel smile, etc.
4. I go for the specifics, because it expands page count. And page count equates to time. And if you're script is too long, you'll have to cut. So we try to get an accurate sense of time in the script, even if the board artists chose to choreograph the fight a bit differently.
5. Pre-pandemic, my first question would have been, "Where do you live?" And if your answer was anywhere other than Los Angeles, my second question would have been "When are you moving to Los Angeles?" Now, all the old rules are out the window, at least for the time being. I'm not sure what to recommend. Some of the advice in the archives should still be helpful. Otherwise, we're all just going to have to wait and see what happens, post-pandemic - assuming we ever get post-pandemic.
As a writer and creative, you've been responsible for some of my most cherished childhood and adulthood favorites. Given your experience, I wanted to know what one's approach would be when they come up with a story that they could see manifesting as an animated series? Do you flesh the whole story out as if writing a novel, or do you try and create episodes on paper and tell the whole story; is the process entirely different altogether? I would love your insight on this sensei. Thank You
Are we talking about selling or producing? They're two very different processes.
I'm an aspiring writer. But mainly just as a hobby. Yes I know, writers who write for fun will likely never become accomplished writers.
Bit of dark humor aside, um. I seem to be stuck in a creative rut.
For the past seven months I've made up ideas for superhero stories. Yet, every time, I get quite far into the creative process, and my mind just disconnects. I end up lacking motivation to write, I scrap the idea, and I start over.
I was wondering if you had any advice from writing Gargoyles, or really anything else, that might be able to help me out of this cycle I find myself in time and again.
My main advice is to write every day. EVERY. DAY. Think of it as a muscle that you have to exercise and build up over time. Some days you may only write a sentence and get stuck. But the next day you write another sentence. And the next day, you cross out the first sentence but write two more. Etc. You work the problem.
More advice is to break every notion down on index cards. Keep adding cards. Pull cards, but never destroy them. If you cross something out, only put a single line through them so you can still read what you wrote. (You never know when an old, formerly-rejected idea may prove useful.) Then once you have your cards feeling right, you write it up as a prose document.
Hey there greg i fiorst want to say that you're a writer I admire deeply and try to emulate you my writting. One dream of mine is seeing you writing a full Superman series (m,y favorite superhero). I know silly, but I fee like you would be fantastic
Onto my question.
How do you manage to keep us guessing with so maby questions. I mean whenever you answer a question there seems to be another around the corner.
How do you acomplish that? I mean most writers when they answer the big questions, theres nothing else to. Yet with you whenever you answer something a new question rises.
Thank you greg
We just think of our series as real worlds, with on-going issues. Nothing ever ends, so no answers answer everything. The characters keep moving and advancing on all fronts, including the heroes, villains and supporting cast. Once you keep that in mind, it's harder NOT to raise new questions as you go...
Can you tell us the meaning of the colors of the index cards you use to plan your shows?
It changes from show to show, even from season to season. And on YJ S3, because of index card shortages of specific colors (this happened, believe it or not), it changed more than once DURING the season.
As an example, in YJ S1:
Green - villains
Red - Justice League
Blue - The Team (hero stuff)
Purple - The Team (teen stuff)
Yellow - Stuff where a specific date matters (like holdays)
White - Stuff that we're laying pipe for but will not objectively reveal to the audience at this time
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.