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Laura 'as astra' Sack writes...

And now for something completely different...
You mentioned you wrote a few episodes of Octonauts. My daughter loves that show. (Catchy tune… and who would have thought there was such a thing as a blob fish?) As far as I noticed the credits only list the head writer.

1. Which episodes did you pen?
2. Did they by chance explain what exactly Turnip and kitchen crew are?
3. On a less frivolous note-
I was thinking about shows like Octonauts or Doc McStuffins or Dora or Little Einsteins or etc, the shows aimed young, as opposed to the shows my kids think are on screen for them but are really for Mommy, like the action plot shows, or the crazy clever ones like Phinias and Ferb. Ironically, a lot of the little kid shows are in a way more realistic because they center on smaller things- "3 simple steps to tying your shoe" or being worried how your old and new friends will get along at your first big sleepover party. The fact that a panda is teaching you to tie that shoe, or you are now a princess in a castle and that's why you have old and new friends to invite to the castle is not something that needs particular explanation. And without having to explain those things you can leave the world gentle.

As you get older you require a setting to make the fantastic events explainable. You can cling to a wall? Radioactive spider! You put on a suit and fight crime from the shadows? You're a rich orphan with a mission to protect the world from suffering as you did! You're a giant scary looking flying 'monster' with the soul of a poet wandering around Manhattan? You a magically time lost nearly lone survivor of a horrible betrayal of a near extinct species! (And you can only glide, not fly!) In order to explain why your heroes act as they do, whole worlds are dreamt up in which the hero's action is logical. The fantastical setting makes the actions in them realistic or at least self-consistent. A side effect of that is to introduce a dark element into the world- parental units are murdered, crime or war is at the door, etc

Which leads me to the dilemma: When, in your opinion, do you begin to transition a small child from the world of Octonauts to the world of Young Justice? (Transition isn't the best word, since you can go on watching the old stuff.) It's not a question of comprehension. Kids can understand an awful lot. The question is; when do you make your child's world less gentle? When my eldest saw the TiVo grabbed an episode of Batman she wanted to watch it. With my luck it's the episode with the amnesia girl who turns out to have started out as a piece of Clayface. Great episode. It ends when she rescues Robin and gets reabsorbed. The show explicitly calls it a murder. Then I got to explain how it is murder, what is murder, to a 3 or 4 year old. What fun! I look forward to watching Gargoyles with her, but not it being her introduction to what a massacre is. ("Well it's just like what happened to your great grandparents...") It's not that you plan on sheltering forever, but small children deserve to be sheltered, and sometimes parents are better as the zone of shelter rather than source of disturbing imagery.

Yes, there is another set of cartoons that avoid the dilemma- she loves Tom & Jerry. But frankly, I can say- 'Wow you could really hurt someone if you did that in real life- but isn't it funny when it's fake? Isn't it funny how everyone overreacts!" And then I'm done. Watching Tom getting hit in the face by a rake doesn't make her life less gentle. Explaining why Tye Longfeather left home would.

There are parallels as kids get older. Harry Potter is age appropriate to whatever age Harry is in the book. So you give an 11 year old book 1. If your 11 year old is a reader he or she will want to tear through the series and might be at the last book before turning 12. The last book is appropriate for a 17 year old. Or as my friend complained that it is frustrating to have so many comics she can't share with her 13 year old - it's not that he isn't going to be reading things with mild sexual imagery, (or not so mild; she was considering starting reading Saga), but maybe it's best he not get it directly from mom. She knows he'd love Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, but he doesn't want to start the series only to stop before the 4th book with the aerial sex scene.

At least I only have to worry about it once : The younger one will see everything too early over her sister's shoulder :}

I guess this isn't so much a question as a ramble, but I was wondering your thoughts on the matter.

Greg responds...

1. My episodes haven't aired yet.

2. They seem to go out of their way NOT to explain. ;)

3. I may not be the right guy to ask. My kids grew up on Simpsons in utero. I remember watching Dexter with my 15-year-old daughter and realizing what a bad parent I must be. (And yet, I have great, great kids despite this.)

My kids learned at an early age how to figure out murder mysteries on television (hint: casting plays a major role), how to expect and anticipate surprises, etc. (We've evolved a system of high-fives when one of us correctly guesses a surprise revelation in advance.) They're fairly sophisticated television watchers. But that doesn't mean they didn't have their time with Barney and Friends. They did. But they probably graduated earlier than most. And there was a ton of overlap.

I myself had a television in my room literally from infancy - as my mother placed televisions in nearly every room of the house for her sake - with no restrictions on what I could watch. So I've always let my kids tell me (mostly) what was appropriate and inappropriate. NOTE: I'm NOT recommending this approach. Just explaining why I'm unqualified to judge.

But I have always believed that kids can handle/fathom more than is traditionally believed. If YOU feel good about (for example) Young Justice's moral center - than I personally don't think there's anything particularly problematic in the series, and that includes the reason Tye ran away from home. Teachable moments are worthwhile - even necessary (though perhaps that's unfortunate) - at even the youngest age, particularly in the world we live in today.

So I don't think it's too soon for your kids to watch Gargs or SpecSpidey or WITCH or YJ assuming it holds their attention and assuming you watch WITH them. But again, I'm no expert on parenting. So follow my lead at your children's peril.

Response recorded on January 10, 2014

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Eli writes...

Question for Greg, Are you doing any work in the future? After Young Justice that is. HUGE fan of your work.

Greg responds...

Thank you. And, yes. I'm currently working with fellow Executive Producers Dave Filoni and Simon Kinberg on STAR WARS REBELS, a new animated series from Lucasfilm and Disney, which should begin airing in Fall, 2014.

And my first novel, RAIN OF THE GHOSTS, will come out this December. It can be pre-ordered here:


I'm currently writing the second book in the RAIN series.

In addition, I've written an episode of Beware the Batman and a few Octonauts.

Response recorded on July 24, 2013

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Grant writes...

What is your next project after Young Justice?

Greg responds...

I am currently freelancing scripts for a couple different companies. (Octonauts, for example.) Mostly, I'm working on the sequel to my novel, Rain of the Ghosts, which debuts in December 2013.

Beyond that, I'm looking, talking to people, etc. I've gone over 14 months now without a consistent paying gig, and it is nerve-wracking. But I'm hopeful I'll have something soon.

Response recorded on April 22, 2013

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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