A Station Eight Fan Web Site
I can't believe I'm still answering questions from back in July.
Please have patience with me. I have been completely swamped working on a new series for SONY (makers of MIB & Starship Troopers) and the WB (the network of BATMAN BEYOND). It's called "MX1: MAX STEEL", and if I survive the production process it should be a pretty cool show.
Here's a little info:
I'm the story editor and one of the producers.
It's not the same job/responsibility/freedom that I had on Gargoyles, but it is the closest I've come to it since way back then.
The Executive Producers are Richard Raynis and Jeff Kline.
The other Producer (on the art side) is Bob Richardson.
Sue Blue is our voice director.
We've got an order for 13 episodes. Each stands alone, hopefully, but as usual with my stuff they'll play better in sequence. I hope they air in order someday.
As of today, the writing breaks down as follows:
1. "Strangers" by Greg Weisman.
2. "Sacrifices" by Greg Weisman.
3. "Shadows" by Lydia Marano.
4. "Sportsmen" by Jon Weisman.
5. "Seraphim" by Michael Reaves.
6. "Spear-Carriers" by Kevin Hopps.
7. "Snow-Blind" by Mike Ryan.
8. "Sharks" by Katherine Fugate.
9. "Sabres" by Cary Bates.
10. "Sphinxes" by Gary Sperling.
11. "Swashbucklers" by Jon Weisman.
12. "Scions" by Cary Bates.
13. "Shattered" by Kevin Hopps.
The voice cast is pretty impressive to, with quite a few names familiar to Gargoyles fandom...
Our five regulars...
Recurring & Guest Cast includes (in order of appearance):
John de Lancie
Thomas Wilson (aka Matt Bluestone)
Edward Asner (aka Hudson)
Jeff Bennett (aka Brooklyn, Owen, etc.)
Cam Clarke (aka Young Gillecomgain & Eric Sturlesson)
Thom Adcox Hernandez (aka Lexington)
Greg Rainwater (aka Natsilane & Coyote Trickster)
And that's just after having recorded five episodes.
The show is 100% CGI. We have high hopes.
In other news, I just attended what could be called my first GARGOYLE wedding. Marc Perlman (our music editor) and Laurel Whitcomb (our publicist) met at the Gargoyle Premiere Party in 1994. They've been an item ever since, and finally made it official yesterday. The wedding was great fun, and I was singled out as being responsible for bringing them together.
Geez, talk about pressure.
I loved it.
I will get back to answering questions as soon as I can. Hope this little update tides you over a bit.
I can't believe I said I "wrote" ten episodes of Starship Troopers. That's flat out untrue.
I meant to say I story edited ten episodes of Starship Troopers:
16 - "No Substitute" by Jon Weisman
17 - "And Then There Were Two..." by Cary Bates
18 - "Marauder" by Michael Reaves
19 - "Liquid Dreams" by Greg Weisman
20 - "Heart" by Lydia Marano
36 - "Funeral for a Friend" by Greg Weisman
37 - "Spirits of the Departed" by Jon Weisman
38 - "Gates of Hell" by Lydia Marano
39 - "Circle of the Damned" by Cary Bates
40 - "Final Inferno" by Michael Reaves
As you can see I wrote two episodes and story edited ten. My apologies to Cary, Michael, Lydia and Jon.
Episodes 37 - 40 were the ones yanked out of production. And of course, the numbers listed above reflect their ideal airing order. There's little chance that they'll actually air in that order. At least not the first time through. And of course, SONY doesn't show the titles on SCREEN. So the best you can do is look out for the above five writers names. These are all scripts I'm VERY proud of. Hopefully, the episodes will turn out as good.
P.S. Now, watch -- I've probably made some new dopey error.
Greg is up to his neck in work right now. Sorry.
Here's what's been going on.
As many of you know, I wrote ten episodes of the forty episode order of STARSHIP TROOPERS (now dubbed ROUGHNECKS: THE STARSHIP TROOPERS CHRONICLES (or something like that)).
My episodes were orignally slated to be #16-20 and #36-40.
My first arc (16-20) were set on a jungle planet. My last arc was set on Earth (36 in Colorado & 37-40 on Hawaii specifically).
Then all hell broke loose.
Two CGI companies were originally doing the CGI for the show. One of these companies bailed -- as I understand it they declared bankruptcy -- still holding onto five episodes worth of SONY's money. But Sony still had to deliver 40 episodes. And they didn't want to pay for 45. So now they've added three clip shows. And taken a couple of single episodes and made them two-parters. In the process they chose (at least for now) not to make my Hawaii episodes. Hopefully, they'll be made later for Home Video or a second season or something.
I've been watching the shows on my local channel. Missed the premiere episode. Then saw the next five. The first one I saw, (the second to air in syndication) was an episode from the third week arc (had to be 16, 17 or 18 in the original airing order) set on the planet Tophet. They followed that with the first four episodes set on Pluto in order. Then yesterday they aired the first episode for at least the second time in two weeks.
Obviously, we're having some delivery problems.
And all of the above, completely out of my control.
The good news is that the five episodes I saw kicked some major ass visually. And the stories were pretty great too. (And I had nothing to do with them.) Maybe that bodes well for the six episodes of mine that should get made soon.
Meanwhile, I've been swamped working on a CGI show for Sony that should air on the WB in January. It's on an inhuman schedule that's literally killing me, but hopefully you'll like the finished product.
Sorry if I haven't had much time for ASK GREG recently. But I love doing it, so I will get back to it as soon as I can.
It's a great dramatic moment. The Weird Sisters, Macbeth and Goliath have successfully (if temporarily) BROKEN Demona.
She gives them the code word: "ALONE".
But why would Demona choose that as a code word in the first place.
Here's the latest contest. (And this one will definitely have a winner.)
Write two paragraphs. Each one no more than fifty words.
In the first paragraph, explain the reason Demona consciously gave herself for choosing that word.
In the second paragraph, explain how that conscious decision interacted with her subconscious mind.
PROOFREAD. Grammar, spelling, even punctuation counts. Please remember that I'm a former Composition teacher and current editor. Nothing annoys me more than sloppy work.
You have the entire month of September to enter your two paragraphs at ASK GREG.
It may take me a while to get around to reading them all, but I will eventually choose the entry that I SUBJECTIVELY JUDGE to be the best. That winner will get some kind of prize. It won't actually be worth anything, but hopefully he or she will think it's cool.
All entries should begin with:
"ALONE: The Demona Contest Answer"
If not, they will be disqualified. I'm prepared to be merciless.
I'm on vacation in Nantucket at my in-laws.
They have Web-TV, and I am struggling with it at 2:45am because I love you people. Actually, I'm done struggling with it for the night/morning. But I'll try to log on a couple more times and answer a few more times and answer a few more questions here and there.
WELCOME BACK TO ASK GREG,
Thanks Gore for getting us back up and running.
Unfortunately, as some of you know, I'm leaving today on vacation, and I don't know if I'll have net access while I'm gone.
So we'll try to get the ball rolling for real in late August.
But I will try to answer a couple questions today.
I'm now going to get TOUGH with you guys.
Although I welcome you to post as often as you like, PLEASE remember to only ask one, two or three questions PER POST. Multiple questions are only acceptable if they are on the exact same topic as the first question.
From here on out, if I receive a post with multiple questions, I will answer the first one and then only answer the following questions if they are on the same topic. Otherwise, I will advise the poster to try again.
(Better be okay, grumble, grumble.)
Update: Answered Questions aren't posting at all.
My rambles are posting both to the "Greg's Latest Responses" page and to the "Ramblings" library. But the last two rambles did not post to the "Behind the Scenes" library that I also assigned it to. So we've got a major library problem going on now.
The posting answers function is still not working. So I'm still rambling.
Today, we held auditions for five smaller parts in this new show. Frankly I was surprised my bosses insisted on auditioning these rolls. Normally, we'd just cast them. We had no pre-written audition sides prepared. So we just lifted some dialogue from an old draft of the pilot. Three of the characters only have three lines each in the pilot, and one of those three characters had the following three lines:
"He has failed."
So we just had people auditioning for this character read another character's lines while using the mindset that we described for the guy he was auditioning for.
Needless to say, it was messy. Not the way I like to work.
But the day actually went fairly well. We got a bunch of good people. There were four male parts and one female. And unlike the leads, there was the potential for doubling up rolls among these guys. So a lot of guys came in and read for multiple parts.
I saw Morgan "Petros/Kenneth" Sheppard and Victor "Rabbi Loew" Brandt today. Victor put that Hebrew incantation on his clip reel. Which was nice. Also Emma "Gruoch" Samms and Sara "Una" Douglas each sent in tapes all the way from Europe to audition for one of the two lead female rolls we read for last week. That was nice too.
I met Rene Auberjonous and John de Lancie and Jeffrey Jones. All very nice guys.
Like I said... fun.
Well, as of right now, the Rambles work, but I can't seem to answer any questions.
So I'll ramble.
Last week, we held auditions for a new series I'm working on as Story Editor/Writer/Producer at Sony for the WB and Mattel.
It's too early to give you any details on the show, but I think I can talk about the audition process in general terms.
Auditions took place under the watchful eye of our voice director Sue Blue and her engineer Pat Torres. Sue's directed a ton of shows, including MEN IN BLACK and the upcoming STARSHIP TROOPERS. I was there for most of the auditions, and Sue, Pat and I had a really great time.
We had five lead rolls to cast (three male, two female), and the nature of the rolls were such that we largely had five distinct groups of people coming in to read for each part. But all mixed up and in no particular order.
The actors had each received audition "sides". These were monologues that I had written up for each character that would demonstrate the characters personality and range. Give the actor the opportunity to prove (or fail to prove) that he or she was right for the part. The side I wrote for the lead character was just too darn long. So we cut that one down, which threw off a couple of actors at first, but in the long run made it easier on them -- and us.
The actors would wait in the waiting room (hence the name) and we would take them into the booth one at a time. We three jokers were out in the control room, so they couldn't hear us unless we wanted them to or unless we forgot and left the button on. (No major faux pas this time, but over the years, I've had a few embarrassing moments with that button.)
We'd usually ask the actor if he or she had any questions about the character. We'd do our best to answer them, and then let the actor read the side through once without much input from us. Then we'd generally do a second or third pass, where we gave them direction. Sometimes people who did lousy first reads, did great with direction. That's a good sign. Sometimes people who did decent first reads, didn't improve much with direction. That's not as good a sign. Sometimes people were so good, we wouldn't do a second take. Maybe just pick up a single line or two that we felt could be improved on. Sometimes people were so obviously wrong for the part, we wouldn't do a second take, and just pick up a line to be polite -- or deceitful, it depends on your point of view.
Basically, you're looking for good acting instincts. Do they notice and pick up the various acting beats? After you point them out, do they hit them nicely or force them? Etc.
And just as important, you're listening simply for vocal quality. Do they sound like the character you have in your head? Sometimes they don't, but you like it anyway. They redefine what the character SHOULD sound like. Keith David was like that for Goliath. So was Thom Adcox Hernandez and Bill Faggerbakke.
At these auditions, at most auditions I've ever been to, the actor has no way of knowning how well he or she did. Cause we're equally polite to everyone. It's selfish, basically. Ever try rejecting ten or so people per hour? It's tough on each of them of course, but they only have to go through it once. It would be brutal on us. And everyone reacts differently. Some rejectees would get pissed. Others would beg for another chance, etc. Nightmare. So we smile and tell everyone they did great. It sucks, but I can't fathom an alternative.
Even if we like someone, we don't want to be too effusive, because, we don't know who we still have left to see. We might like the next guy even better, and so you don't want to make promises.
LESSON: Don't become an actor unless there's just nothing else you can see yourself doing. BRUTAL PROFESSION. Writing's not much kinder, by the way.
Anyhow, we lucked out this time. Saw a ton of great people. Now, unlike Gargoyles, I'm not the top dog on this show. I'm a Producer -- the guy on the line, but Sony has two Executive Producers on the show, who are my bosses. Plus Sony has a development executive assigned to the show. And the WB and Mattel have (at least) veto power over the final casting choices.
So what Sue and I did (with help from Pat and Cynthia, Sue's assistant) was put together a voice CD, with about seven actors per character on it. We eliminated all the people we hated, and by consensus put our best choices on the CD. I felt very good about the CD. I liked most everyone on it, and feel confident we'll have a GREAT voice cast, even if my personal first choices aren't chosen.
I did rank my picks (on a separate memo) for the Exec Producers. We'll just have to see how it all turns out.
A side benefit of all this is that I got to see a bunch of people that I hadn't seen for awhile.
Thom Adcox Hernandez auditioned. Of course, I have seen him recently, at the Gathering and at a few movies that we attended together with our respective mates, (RUN LOLA RUN and AN IDEAL HUSBAND). But it's always great to see Thom.
Marina Sirtis, Brigitte Bako and Sheena Easton all gave great audtions, and it was terrific to see them again. (Of course, it doesn't hurt that they're all knock-outs.) They all have fond memories of Gargoyles. Marina said that at Star Trek conventions, she signs more Demona dolls than Troi dolls everytime.
I also saw Gregg Rainwater (Coyote Trickster, Natsilane/Nick, Young Peter Maza). James Avery (Shaman). And a few others too. (I'm blanking out. It's late.) They were all terrific. I wish we could cast them all.
Unfortunately, I couldn't be there for every audition (seven hours a day for four days), so I missed seeing Kath Soucie, Tress MacNeil and Rocky Carroll. Bummer.
But I did get to meet Ben Vereen, Lauren Tom, Rosalyn Chao, James Marsters (who plays Spike on Buffy) and a bunch of other people that I really admire.
Frankly, the voice stuff is the most fun part of my job.
Sorry, but for the second time since this latest server crisis began, an answer I took some time on didn't post and was lost. Before I go in and start answering questions again, I'm just going to see if things are posting properly with this latest test ramble.
SUNDAY (or what was left of it)
Got up. Showered. I was major damaged goods by this time, but I had had such fun. Went downstairs. Said some goodbyes. Dominick interviewed me for his German magazine. Had an interesting conversation with Steve Jackson and Christine Morgan. Talked with the G2000 folk some more. Said good-bye to Thom. He told me about his and Jen's plan to tattoo themselves. I told them both if you don't have the guts to get a tatto in your hometown, you're better off skipping it.
(Side note -- Saw Thom today [7/12]. He showed me his new tattoo. Sorry, Jen, looks like he stood you up.)
Jen cabbed me to the airport and kept me company until my plane left, which was incredibly nice.
Flew home. Got home. Hugged my kids and wife. Told them what an amazing time I had, and suggested that next year may be the perfect time for them to come along.
And that's it.
But again, thanks everyone. I had an amazing time.
You guys are the best.
SATURDAY - (a.k.a. THE BIG ONE)
I dragged myself out of bed just in time for the room service I dopily ordered the night before. The food was fine, but now I was running late. Showered, etc. And ran downstairs.
Took us a little while to get our acts together, but finally Thom, Jen and I sat down to hold auditions. I gave everyone the same shpiel. LOUDER AND SLOWER.
All of you who auditioned were great. I hope the experience, whether or not you got a part, was fun (and maybe educational). We had a huge turn-out and auditions ran at least an hour longer than we had anticipated. (Causing a cascade of lateness that continued throughout the day.)
When we were finally done, we set about casting over KFC brought to us by Van & Sara. Just for the record, the cast was:
Charles E. Calvert
Thanks, gang. And thanks to everyone who auditioned.
Lanny & Sara are becoming regulars at this. ("The Greg Weisman Players" Hmmm. I like the sound of that.)
We took a quick break and then went almost immediately into rehearsal. Suddenly people who had given very loud auditions were whispering. It made me a bit nervous. Mr. Punctual, Thom Adcox, locked himself out of his room, and was late to the rehearsal. Which gave me a lot of opportunities to rag on him. Thankfully, he's a good sport.
We finished up and then brought people in for the performance. I can't say much about the show, but it's a pilot that I wrote for a new series. My pilot was rejected, and they hired a new writer to do the version that will air in the fall. It was a messy business with both sides hiring lawyers, and though I still feel ripped off, it's over. But I'm glad someone at least got to see the version I did.
I think the performance went pretty well. My cast was great. I'm not sure the script was as much of a crowd pleaser as ROTG was last year, but I have no complaints. When it was over, I answered a few quick questions for people who couldn't be at the dinner, then I went upstairs to make a phone call and relax for a bit while Dinner was being set up. (That actually took quite a while. So again, I wound up bouncing upstairs and downstairs a few times.)
Finally, we went in. Dinner was very good. And it helped being the guest of honor as I got my food first. We (the guests) all ate while everyone else got their food, and then I moderated the Q&A while the audience ate. The Q&A was the most fun of all. Some really good questions, and I admit that I really got on a roll there with my answers. People tried to stump me, but I was just unstumpable that night. Very fun.
After dinner, Thom and I went back to my room to chill out a bit. He and I really had a great time. Didn't realize how much I missed the guy.
We came back downstairs for the costume parade. Becca and Jack as Lex and Goliath stole the show, but there were a bunch of great costumes. Was that AJaye as Angela? And that Graeme guy? (Whoever graeme is.) Wow. Anthony shaved off his beard between the radio play performance and the ball to play Tony Dracon. (Shows almost as much dedication as Aaron.) Skippy the Klingon won Ms. Congeniality. Vannessa as Lady of the Lake and Sara as Hyena, plus Jen as Saloon Girl Demona. Bluebonnet, Lexy... The list goes on. Again, wow.
Thom and I needed ice cream and some air, so it was back to 7-11. Thom revealed that during his AM/PM commercial he had to consume 100 bigsticks. He can't go near them anymore.
We returned to the ball. Vanessa dragged me onto the dance floor. I attempted some swing moves that must have seemed so convincing that I was later complimented for my line dancing ability. (Go figure.) Anyway, it was very fun.
Tim Morgan had missed the Starship video friday night, and Thom wanted to show us his reel, so we started off on a VCR hunt. We wound up in the Morgan's room watching Battle of the Gargantua. Then made our way up to the con suite. About 20 of us at first, watching tapes and talking. As the hours past (and as I got punchier) the numbers dwindled. Thom called it a night around 3am. But I stayed up until 7am with Christine, Tim, Stephen, Flint, Heather, Jen and... ARGGGH... Who am I forgetting? So sorry.
Anyway, I think I was literally drunk on the adulation you all fed me all week end. I started pontificating to poor Stephen. In my memory, it was all very pompous, though both Stephen and Christine have been very gracious about how helpful I was.
Anyway, I was just having a fantastic time. Too great to go to bed. And no, I'm not going to discuss "the game" in print. You nuts?
Finally, at seven I made myself stand up. Flint had snuck away and Stephen was asleep on the couch. It was time to try and sneak a few hours of sleep.
But I was too wired. I rested in bed. That's the best I could do. I think I finally dozed off around 10am but Thom called me at 10:30 to see if I wanted to grab some coffee. Thom's dead now. (Just kidding...)
Anyway, that was Saturday (with a good chunk of Sunday). Part IV of the diary will be pretty pathetic but I'll get to it eventually.
I DO NOT mind tons and tons of questions. I love that.
I do mind tons and tons of questions within the same post. That makes it difficult for me to fit in a quick answer between doing other things. It bogs down the process.
I know it's a bit of a pain, but please ask multiple questions (particularly questions on different topics) in multiple separate posts.
I know we're all excited to have ASK GREG back.
But those of you posing multiple, multiple questions in one post are killing me and not getting your money's worth. I can't just sit down and answer them quickly. So I wind up giving very brief responses (or non-responses) to most or all of the questions that come packaged together in mega-posts.
I understand that if you're asking multiple questions on the same very specific topic why you'd want them all together. So I'm not going to set any absolute rules. But use common sense. I know it's slightly more time consuming to have to submit individual questions one (or say two) at a time. But I promise you, you'll tend (more often then not) to get more worthwhile answers for your trouble.
As I said, I went to bed way too late, so I got up very late too.
I was wearing my grey gargoyles t-shirt, so even people who didn't recognize me personally knew I was there for the con. Lots of people said hi. A Fan, who I've met three years running, complimented me on the shirt like three times.
Found Jen, met Stephen in there somewhere, and Ogre, got my box of radio-play scripts which I had shipped ahead to Thomas.
I had missed breakfast, and things were just getting organized, so I decided to walk to Taco Bell for some lunch. It was raining as I walked along the expressway, and all I'm thinking is that I'm gonna get Stephen Kinged for a Taco. But I make it back without dying. (Last time I was in Dallas I was in a very bad car accident, so I have a reason to feel paranoid.)
My cousin Debbie picked me up at the hotel. She doesn't know anything about Gargoyles beyond the fact that I worked on the show. When I came downstairs, the first thing she said to me was that there was a guy flashing a huge gargoyle that was tatooed on his chest. I got to see it much later. (Aaron that was you, right?) But I thought it was hilarious that he was flashing Demona to perfect strangers.
Debbie gave me a quick driving tour of Dallas. Then we stopped by her house in "The Bubble", which isn't too far from the hotel. Then it was back to the hotel to change and get ready for the opening ceremonies. Things were running a bit behind schedule, so I kept bopping up and down from my room to the con. Saw Pogo, Kanthara, Lanny. (It's so great to see people who have been to all three cons. And I'm finally learning the names. Though I mispronounced Lanny for like the eighteenth time. Sorry.) Then we got going. Thomas got us started. Everyone seemed very happy to be there. I know I was.
I got up and started my presentation. I showed the same old stuff again. Told the same old anecdotes. (Only slightly abbreviated.) The original Garg pitch. The original Garg promo. The New Olympians Pitch. The Bad Guys Reel. Also added the Dark Ages pitch to my repetoir and showed a promo for Starship Troopers. It all seemed to go over very well.
Then I took off to have dinner with Debbie and her husband Larry... But...
When I got to my room to drop off the tapes, I had phone messages from Thom Adcox (calling from Dallas-Fort Worth) and Frank Paur (calling from LAX). They couldn't reach Jen of Thomas and so were leaving messages for me. I had to keep going downstairs and interrupt the Clan Feud game to talk to Jen and then race back upstairs to talk to the guys. But we finally told Thom to get in a cab and Frank to take a later flight. (Neither thing happened.)
I went out to Dinner with Debbie and Larry, then back to their house to look at some pictures of their kids (who were away at summer camp, so I didn't get to see them). Then back to the hotel. By this time Thom Adcox had arrived. (He and Thomas eventually found each other.) So we hooked up. Took a quick trip to the con suite, but we had already missed the G2000 party. And Thom was hungry. So we hooked up with Sara, Vanessa and Garfield (the guy with many names) and went on a hike across Dallas. Burger King and Taco Bell were drive through only. So we headed for 7-11. Next door was a pizza place. And while we were waiting for the pie, Vanessa and I went next door to get root beer float fixings. Believe it or not 7-11 had NO root beer at all. So I went back to the pizza place to get the root beer there, leaving Vanessa alone in the less than safe 7-11. (It's not that I'm unchivalrous, it's just that I'm an idiot.) I went back to get Vanessa and the ice cream. Then we all returned to the hotel to eat in the lobby. Met Wanderer. By this time, we were beat, so we called it a night.
Went back to the room. Watched CRUEL INTENTIONS which was o.k. And eventually went to bed.
To be continued...
(And as usual, if I've forgotten anyone or anything, forgive me...)
Contest #2 (This one's all but impossible)....
At the time of "The Journey" there were ten clans extant in the Gargoyles Universe. Some were flourishing, some barely surviving.
By the year 2158, all ten would be in much better shape and two more clans would have already have been launched.
In the century that followed, two more, for a total of FOURTEEN clans, would also be launched.
Name the location of all 14 clans.
Same rules apply as in the Arthurian contest. Name all 14 correctly if you want a response. No hints for partial or partially correct answers. Guess as often as you like, but always on a separate "question" post to ASK GREG.
There will be a prize of some kind.
Officially restarting the contest...
In the Gargoyles Universe, there are eight survivors from the days of King Arthur. (I know I once said seven, but I forgot someone. Which isn't like me.)
Here are the rules. You have to name all eight correctly. Partially correct answers will receive no partial credit. I won't say you got three right and five wrong or whatever. I won't provide any hints at all beyond the following two names:
1. King Arthur
2. The Lady of the Lake
You have six more to guess. Remember, I'm looking for their Arthurian names. Yes, I've mentioned that Duval is one of the survivors, but listing him doesn't count, i.e. it doesn't count as a guess as to who Duval is, who the survivor is.
The winner will get a prize, I think. Nothing of any worth, but something. (Maybe a xerox of my recording script for Pendragon, complete with all my scribblings. That sort of thing seems to go over fairly well.)
You can guess as many times as you like. But always post it as a separate "question" to ASK GREG. Don't lump it in with other questions. And don't make multiple guesses on the same post. Just eight names. First to give me all eight correct in one post, wins.
And better than ever, don't you think. Sure it took awhile, but how about a standing O for Gorebash. The new ASK GREG digs look great.
As promised, as my first ramble...
A GATHERING '99 DIARY (of sorts)
I had such a damn good time. So let me start with an apology. I'm gonna forget some stuff. I met so many people. Some for the 2nd or 3rd time. I tried very hard to remember names, faces, etc. But I'm bound to screw some of it up. Just forgive me.
My back is killing me. I get up, I can barely move. Barely lean over the sink to brush my teeth. I don't know how I'm going to endure a three hour flight to Dallas. So I make an emergency call to my chiropractor. He can fit me in. But now I have to shower, pack and drive over there for an adjustment on my way to the airport. Nothing like starting a trip with pain and stress.
By the end of the weekend, I'll have forgotten about both. (You guys. So great.)
Anyway, "SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE" is playing on the flight, which strikes me as a VERY good omen. I promised Christine I would start her book on the way to Dallas. And I do. But I can't resist this movie, even with goof airline edits on my fourth viewing, so I get less reading done than I had hoped. (Sorry. Christine. I'm still reading a chapter a night (give or take). I just finished the "castle" section. The "Curse" to follow.)
Spike and her boys pick me up at the airport. We have fairly light traffic and get to the hotel pretty easy. My hotel room is ready. I see Jen. Unpack. Call home. And go out to dinner at the Spaghetti Warehouse with Thomas, Jen, Christine, Tim, Becca, Sara and Patrick. The Spaghetti Warehouse is a dead-ringer for L.A.'s Spaghetti Factory, right down to the cable car in the middle of the restaurant. I can't help wondering who ripped off whom. Dinner is fun, but I'm still feeling shy. And I know everyone's still acting way too impressed with me. (That'll change. Yes, yes, you may still be impressed with me, but you got better at hiding it.)
We go back to the temporary con-suite, and video tape the DARK AGES & NEW OLYMPIAN pitches. I meet Demona May and Anthony and someone else (sorry). My back, though better, is still killing me, and I had promised my wife I'd phone her before she went to bed, so I call it a night. I'm actually way too excited to sleep much. I wind up staying up way too late. But I can sleep late Friday.
To be continued...
RAMBLE, RAMBLE, RAMBLE
GARGOYLES, SEX and ROMANCE
Did that get your attention?
I've seen a lot of discussion as to whether or not it's appropriate for
FanFiction to depict the characters from Gargoyles having sex (graphic or
otherwise). I thought I'd weigh in with my opinion. BUT IT'S JUST MY
Let me start with my standard disclaimer. I don't read fanfiction. I feel
I can't take the legal risk. I don't want to get sued by a disgruntled
fanauthor who at some point down the road thinks I stole an idea from him or
her. I also have very mixed feelings about fanfiction in general. Part of
me is very gratified. Part of me feels territorial. I've talked about all
of this in greater detail elsewhere.
But should fanfiction based on or in the "Gargoyles Universe" include sex?
Yeah, sure. I don't see a problem with it... at least not in theory. In
practice, might be another matter.
But let's talk about theory first. Many relationships in the Gargoyles
series pack a pretty hefty erotic charge. (At least I think so.) Fox &
Xanatos and Goliath & Elisa are obvious. If we're talking flashbacks, then
I'd also say Goliath & Demona is pretty obvious as well. And you don't have
to look hard to find less obvious choices. So why not explore that? I
wouldn't put graphic depictions of sex on broadcast tv for an afternoon
audience of children, but this is a different medium. I think Gargoyles
should be able to expand into whatever medium it encounters. I hope I built
the show strong enough to survive that. I think there needs to be some
safeguarding for children, but beyond that, if sex stories don't interest
you... DON'T READ 'EM. And no harm done.
Personally, I've had a few fairly graphic fantasies about Gargoyle Mating
Habits, about Goliath and Demona's first time. About Goliath and Elisa's
burgeoning relationship. I don't know where I'd ever write those up, but I
won't deny that the idea fascinates me. (If that makes me a pervert, well,
I can live with that label, I suppose. Though frankly, I don't buy into
Where it doesn't work for me is in that old "in practice" arena. First off,
gargoyles aside, there's a lot of very bad writing being done in the
so-called adult corners of the net. (Frankly, there's a lot of bad writing
everywhere.) Bad writing is bad writing is bad writing. Gratuitous
Gargoyle sex doesn't interest me. (Alright, well maybe a little, but it
doesn't make for good story-telling. And GARGOYLES was always about telling
great tales, not getting some tail.)
But more importantly, (and this is what I really wanted to RAMBLE about) I
have a sense that fanauthors are letting my characters "get some" a lot more
often than I think I'd believe. That's where ROMANCE comes in. (Thought
I'd forgotten about romance, didn't you?) I think collectively, Gargoyles
Fans lean toward the romantic. And I'll include myself. There's a desire
to find Brooklyn a mate. To find Lex a mate. To find Hudson a mate. To
find Owen a mate. To find... Well, you get the idea. Again, I'm as guilty
of this as anyone. We weren't halfway through writing "Her Brother's
Keeper" when I realized that Fox was in love with Xanatos, thus creating a
relationship that I couldn't resist exploring. If I had done BAD GUYS you
would have seen a difficult but intense chemistry between Harry and Robyn
(Dingo and Hunter to the uninitiated). New Olympians would have had a Romeo
& Juliet relationship as one of its core dynamics. Plus there's the
Tom-Katharine-Magus triangle. Coldstone and Coldfire. Oberon and Titania.
Macbeth and Gruoch. The list is pretty darn endless. But there are a
couple things that put the breaks on actual SEX.
One is that TRAGEDY is a built in factor in the dramatic truth of the
Gargoyles Universe. I'm not... I can't make life easy on these characters.
Oh, every once and awhile sure. And Gargoyles is basically a series
grounded in HOPE for a better tomorrow. But if I'm going to be a good
dramatic storyteller, I can't make things too easy. So when are Goliath and
Elisa going to have sex? No time soon, as far as I'm concerned. It took
them 65 episodes to kiss, for heaven's sake. There are a lot of roadblocks.
Elisa can no longer deny her love for Goliath, but that's not the same as
committing to him. And frankly, I don't think she's there even yet. They
haven't even talked about their feelings. Elisa has studiously refused to
talk about hers, beyond finally acknowledging that they exist. When they do
talk, as I've noted before, I think they'll mutually come to the conclusion
to break up before they ever really get together. In theory, Elisa still
wants a normal life. They're going to have to learn that they're love is
inevitable. It'll be awhile before they get to attempting any kind of
sexual fulfillment. And actual intercourse is a LONG WAY away, assuming it
What about the others? Well, I've no doubt that Fox and David go at each
other like rabbits. No doubt that they're quite adventurous, even kinky.
But don't expect much from any of the others.
I gather that in fanfiction, Brooklyn was mating more than Hugh Hefner. But
that brings us back to the tragedy factor. If I were still writing this
thing, I wouldn't make it easy for him to find a mate. Heck, he has to time
travel back to Feudal Japan to do it. One of the tragedies of the Gargoyles
is that their race has been so decimated, that it's a good question as to
whether the species can survive at all. AT ALL. So I'm not, or I should
say, I wouldn't start introducing a number of new gargoyles (female or male)
that would allow Brooklyn or Lex to suddenly and easily find a companion.
It CAN'T be that easy, no matter how much we'd like it to be.
This isn't arbitrary. I think it's really HARD to find a lifemate. REALLY
HARD. I'd be lying through story, if I made that seem easy.
And I'm NOT going to be handing out human mates to Gargoyles on a regular
basis either. Elisa and Goliath HAVE to be special. The problems they're
facing MUST be unique. Or else, all their angst is reduced to just a lot of
whining and indecision. So don't expect to see a lot of human/gargoyle
pairings. Either in flashback, the present or the future. I'd tend to be
extremely stingy with that.
And Hudson. Well, I've made a big deal about Gargoyles mating for life.
Then in the key relationship of the series... I blow that myth away.
Goliath mates with Demona. They, in essence, divorce, and Goliath begins a
new relationship with Elisa. So someone has to carry the dramatic weight of
that mate for life thing. So Hudson gets the nod. Sure in Dark Ages, I bet
he and his mate were getting it on regularly. But now that she's gone, I
think he's going to carry a torch for her forever. Forever. I know it's
sad. But nothing else makes sense to me. I can't live in a universe
without sadness. I can't create one either.
And talk about tragedy, how about Coldstone and Coldfire. I suppose someone
could write a story about built-in robotic sex organs, but dramatically,
that changes everything about their relationship. Yes, finally, they are
MORE RAMBLINGS ON TIME TRAVEL AND FREE WILL:
Hey, Gary (and everyone)... You asked me further questions about time. The
answers all come down to Point of View. You didn't comment on the
"religious" aspects of my comments, but frankly, they seem unavoidable.
PoV. To Goliath, in the 1990s, the past seems fixed. The present and
future, not. To Goliath in 1940, the past and present seem fixed, and the
future seems fixed for a few decades, and then past the mid-nineties, not.
To Greg Weisman, in his capacity as god of the Gargoyle Universe, the past,
present and future seem fixed.
But what does this mean? It means we are bound by what we know and nothing
more. What does "fixed" mean? Goliath realizes that Griff can't return to
his clan in the forties, because he didn't return in the forties. But that
doesn't mean Goliath cannot affect their mutual futures, by bopping Griff
forward to the nineties.
Greg Weisman knows that something big happens in the year 2158. But he
doesn't yet know all the results of that. For that matter, Greg has a lot of
knowledge about what happened in 984. But what exactly happened between 984
and 994? I've got a basic idea, but there's room for movement. There are
facts I can't dodge, therefore facts that my characters can't dodge. But
that doesn't remove their free will.
Pre-destination does not NEGATE free will, unless the character abdicates
free will in the mistaken belief that he or she has none. And even then, the
"act" of abdication is a choice, an act of free will.
One other note: the Gettysburgh Address in my previous example could be
called a "time circle". Unbroken. No beginning or end. The Archmage is not
a circle, but a loop in a straight line. Think of a roller coaster. It goes
along straight for 100 yards. Then it begins a loop-de-loop. We travel up
and backwards and around and then the track flattens out again at the eighty
yard mark. For twenty yards the tracks run side by side, or put another
way, since the track is unbroken, lengths of the ONE track run side by side.
Then one length, "the younger length," heads back into the loop, while the
other "mature" length continues forward on the straight flat track.
Hope this helps. (GDW/1-27-98)
Here's a rambling:
There's been a little debate in the comment room, regarding the Archmage
time travel loop, time travel in general, and the subject of free will in
the Gargoyles universe. I posted my two cents, but thought I should include
it here too, in case anyone missed it:
Oh, I'm probably going to regret this, but...
Gary, Gary, Gary> Yep. There is a loop. And you're comparison to the
classic "Kill your own grandfather" chestnut doesn't parallel.
I could show you this pretty easy on a diagram, but it's a little more
complicated in type. But let me give it a shot.
The grandfather thing is a "non-working" paradox. The timestream short
circuits. [No cheating, now. No "Well, it turns out the man I always
thought of as my grandfather wasn't really my biological grandfather" and no
"He had sex with my grandmother just before I killed him." None of that.] I
go back in time to kill my grandfather. He dies. My father's never born.
I'm never born, therefore I don't exist to go back in time to kill my
grandfather. Since I don't exist, my grandfather never dies. So my father
is born, and, subsequently, so am I, allowing me to go back in time to kill
my grandfather. And so on, and so on, and so on... It iterates without
fusing. Again, short circuit.
Compare another chestnut that I made up a few years ago. I am a historian.
My specialty is Abraham Lincoln. I travel back in time and meet him just
before he's scheduled to give the Gettysburgh Address. To my horror, I
discover that he's got writer's block. The most famous speech a president
ever gave, and Abe can't think of what to write. I panic. And "write" the
speech for him. Of course I didn't compose it. I simply write down the
Gettysburgh Address from memory. Abe loves it. Gives the speech. Reporters
transcribe it. Historians put it in history books. I study it and go back
in time. Time flows unbroken. It is a "working" paradox. A paradox that
doesn't short circuit the time stream. Now it raises a HUGE question? Who
composed the Address? Not Abe, he got it from me. Not me, I got if from a
history book. Not the historians or the reporters, they got it from Abe.
The answer is it was born with the timestream, created by God or the Big Bang
or whatever. It is mysterious. But it works.
The best example of a working paradox story I've ever read is Robert
Heinlein's "All You Zombies". It's a brilliant, subversive little piece of
The Archmage (and/or the M.I.A.) loop has much more in common with the
Gettysburgh chestnut than the Grandfather chestnut. It is a working
paradox. Simpler even than Gettysburgh. You are the Archmage. Once upon a
time, you were a kid. Then you grew up to be a man, and you wind up falling
into a chasm. You're rescued by a "STRANGER" who looks something like you,
but not quite. The "Stranger" mentors you and gives you power and actually
changes you so that you look more like the stranger than like your old self.
Then the "stranger" sends you back in time to that point where you rescue
your old self. Now to that old immature version of you, you seem like "the
stranger". You mentor the old you, you give him power. Then you send him
back to effect the rescue. It's a loop, because you don't go back again.
You continue forward until Goliath does you in. There's a beginning and an
end and a loop in the middle. It IS a paradox. But it's a working paradox.
There's no short circuit. Time flows. THERE IS A BIG QUESTION! Where did
the Archmage get the idea to save himself. Well, he knows to do it because
his old self was a "witness" to the rescue. His old self was the rescuee.
But where did the IDEA come from? Again, a quirk of the timestream.
Many people have asked me why I made this the time travel rule in Gargoyles.
It's a very conservative approach. You can't change history. Period. Sure
we may not know the whole story. But what happened, happened. We can't
change it. That's the rule as I established it in "Vows," and as we stuck
with throughout the series. Why? Time travel is all theoretical. I could
have chosen any rule I wanted. I could have chosen no rules. Why did I
chose this rigid approach? Basically, cuz I thought it was MORE fun. I hate
feeling cheated at the end of stories. Time travel stories are easily
subject to this abuse. So many great Star Trek episodes full of time travel,
wind up wimping out in the end. Cheating. Using non-working paradoxes or
breaking any semblence of rules they've already established. I always felt
ripped off. I didn't want that for Gargoyles. Also it presents our
characters with a greater challenge. Griff vanished in WWII. Goliath goes
back in time to change it. AND HE CAN'T!!!!!! So he has to find another way
to solve the problem. It also explains why our guys just don't go back and
fix things so that the Wyvern Massacre never happened. Once you open a a can
of worms, you're stuck with a lot of worms (or worse, you pretend they aren't
there). That seemed lousy to me, so I made it clear that once an event is
absolutely known, you can't dodge it. Only work within it's frame. It's all
a matter of opinion, but that seemed like MORE fun to me.
And now...DAH DAH DAH. Predestination vs. Free will. This is an ancient
argument. God is omniscient. He knows what Eve is going to do. So she had
no free will, right? Well, most theologians would say she does. Eve is
created with free will by God. She doesn't have to take that apple. Cain
doesn't have to kill Abel. Sure, God knows that Eve is gonna take it, that
Cain is going to kill, but he doesn't impose that knowledge or his authority
on either Eve or Cain. (He's God. He can make those subtle distinctions in
his creations.) The fact that Mom tells you not to eat the cookies and
nevertheless knows you're going to, doesn't mean that you have no free will.
You could surprise Mom and skip 'em. Now you can't surprise God. He's God.
So he knows ahead of time what you're going to do. But it's still your
choice. Nothing touched your free will.
Now, I'll admit, that at times in Gargoyles, that distinction seems less
clear. I'm the main (though not the only) god of the Gargoyles Universe.
(At least I used to be.) But, obviously, I'm not GOD, and I don't have his
subtle powers of creation. But I tried. I suppose it's tough to figure how
the Archmage could choose not to save himself. But I think the key is that
he wouldn't want to choose anything other than what he did. So his free will
isn't touched. Griff chooses to fight in the Battle of Britain. He chooses
to risk his life. He doesn't know about Phoenix Gates or time travel. But
he knows the risks of war. He doesn't make it home for forty years. Maybe
that's a consequence he couldn't predict, but it's better than dieing. His
free will isn't missing from the equation just because the time stream (or
God or whatever you believe in) knows that he's not coming back even before
he departs. In GONE WITH THE WIND, Rhett Butler doesn't join the Confederate
Army until he knows the Confederacy is doomed. HE KNOWS. But that doesn't
effect his free will. We all make decisions. Maybe someone out there knows
the results. God. Or a psychic palm reader living in Petaluma. Or your
Uncle Ralph, who did the exact same thing when he was your age. But the fact
that someone else know, whether we know they know or not, does not effect our
Anyway, that's my two cents. (GDW/1-26-98)
Here's another tidbit you've never seen. A cut scenelet from "Hunter's Moon,
Part Two". It takes place during Act Two. Goliath, Brooklyn and Lex have
spotted the Huntership. Goliath glides in and latches onto the craft,
digging his talons into the metal hatch. He rips it free and lets it fall...
EXT. STREET - NIGHT
VINNIE is out for a stroll. Suddenly, the steel hatch SMASHES to the
sidewalk in front of him, digging a big chunk out of the sidewalk. Vinnie
takes, looks up. Shakes his head.
VINNIE: (gasp, then) Can you believe it?
And we're back inside the Huntership with Goliath, Lex and Brooklyn. That
little touch of Vinnie in the night was scripted and I think boarded, but it
was cut before the show was shipped because we were too long. It's a silly
moment, but it does help motivate Vinnie a little more for his role in "The
Journey," and anyway, I thought you all might get a kick out of it. (GDW / 12-5-97)
I did have Ed Asner/Lou Grant in mind when I was writing the character description for Hudson. The last line of the description was "Hudson hates spunk."
Jason Canmore has a younger sister Robyn and a younger brother Jon.
So do I. But my siblings don't have much else in common with his.
I knew I didn't want the show to be filled exclusively with gargoyles and white male humans. So we intentionally tried to present a more honest, inclusive version of America (and the world).
Xanatos is the kind of villain I like to write. Anyone interested in seeing his precursor (and Owen's) should check out General Eiling (and Captain Allard) in back issues of the DC comic book CAPTAIN ATOM which I used to write with Cary Bates.
Goliath is the kind of hero I like to write. Noble and flawed. Not a guy who's as bad as or worse than the bad guys he fights.
As to whether I was disappointed...
The short answer is honestly, NO. Not a bit. I'm very proud of all 66 episodes and our entire ensemble of characters.
The longer answer is that there are plenty of little things that I wish I could fix. Most of them are ticky-tack things, many I'm sure you wouldn't even notice. There are even two story things (one each in "Grief" and "The Hound of Ulster") where I feel like I missed a peace of the "true" story.
There's also material that got cut for time that I wish I had been able to include, particularly in "Avalon, Part II" and "Hunter's Moon, Part III".
There was a great scene in the clock tower between Elisa and Jason the morning after the Hunters blew the place up. It was really gorgeous stuff. But the script was way too long.
The only other regret I have is that I opted not to write and/or edit the GOLIATH CHRONICLES. I had good, sound reasons at the time, but in retrospect it was a mistake.
GARGOYLES: THE LOST MOMENTS
(First in a series.)
The following is a scene from "Hunter's Moon, Part Three" that was cut because the script was way, way too long. It was written by Michael Reaves, who was also the story editor. As usual, I did the final pass on it. We did record the scene with Salli Richarson and Deidrich Bader as Elisa and Jason, but I can't remember if we did storyboards for it. I know we never shipped it for animation. There isn't any lost footage. But I thought you all might get a kick out of reading it. Imagine Jason speaking in his true Scotish accent, not in the phony American one he generally used with Elisa. (Also note: I'm just typing this in without bothering with teleplay formatting.)
This scene would probably play better in context. So if you taped "Hunter's Moon, Part Three", then watch it right through "Robyn Correy's" video-phone conversation with "Dominique Destine". Dominique tells Robyn to enjoy life because it's so fleeting. The screen goes dark. Robyn nervously holds up the disk. Now pause the tape. Imagine one of our trademark "Claw Wipes" and read...
EXT. CLOCK TOWER RUINS - DAY
Elisa picks sadly through wreckage, occasionally placing something in a cardboard box. She bends to pick up a charred photograph.
TIGHT ON PHOTO
It is a snap-shot from last Halloween: Elisa in her "Belle" gown arm in arm with Goliath. Both very happy.
A tear rolls down her cheek. A shadow falls over her. Elisa turns.
ANGLE INCLUDES JASON
behind her on his sky-sled, in Hunter garb except the mask, aiming a tranq gun at her. Elisa drops the box and reaches for her holstered gun.
JASON: "Please don't. I'd just have to tranq you again, and I came here to talk."
She lowers her hand slowly. But she's still on guard.
ELISA: "Okay. Let's talk about what a monster you are."
JASON: "I never meant to hurt you --"
ELISA: "You really are a piece of work. Using me to get to the gargoyles."
JASON: "No! I admit I infiltrated the twenty-third because there were so many gargoyle sightings here. But I never planned--"
ELISA: "Lies. Everything was part of your plan. That phony accent... even that phony kiss..."
He looks desperate and vulnerable, despite the gun in his hand.
JASON: "That kiss was real. And I never planned on falling in love with you."
This hits her hard.
JASON (CONT'D): "The hunt's been my whole life -- I never realized how lonely I was...
ELISA: "But why are you hunting them?"
We see a flash of Jason's fiery determination. Elisa responds in kind.
JASON: "Those monsters killed my father!"
ELISA: "Those 'monsters' are my friends!"
He looks shocked and disgusted. This, he was not expecting.
ELISA: "And they couldn't have killed your father. When he died, they were in Scotland, frozen in stone by a magic spell."
JASON: "So they weren't personally responsible. They're still evil! All gargoyles are! My family has been hunting them for generations!"
Trying desperately to reach him.
ELISA: "BUT WHY? What started this blood feud?"
He's stumped. His fury won't help him on this one.
JASON: "I -- I don't know. It doesn't matter."
Elisa senses his uncertainty, presses her attack.
ELISA: "Of course it matters. You hate an entire race and you don't know why! Listen, Jason. You've been lucky so far. No one's been killed. Give up the feud. Turn yourself in. It's not too late to walk away from this."
TIGHT ON JASON
He hesitates, then shakes his head.
JASON: "Yes, it is."
He revs up the skysled and takes off fast. Elisa draws her gun, but she does not fire -- it's ambiguous whether that's because he's already too far away or because she feels too much for him to shoot him in the back. Her arm drops to her side. PULL BACK to show her forlorn and surrounded by rubble.
Now restart your VCR and pick up back at Elisa's apartment, where Elisa is trying to stop Goliath from playing vigilante. As she failed with Jason, she fails with Goliath, which leads to events at the dam, which propels things to their tragic (if semi-hopeful) conclusion.
Please don't hesitate to post comments on this scene at "ASK GREG", I'd be curious to read what you thought of it. It was always one of my favorite moments, and it broke my heart to cut it. Yet, ultimately we felt it wasn't crucial, and since we had to cut something, this seemed like the thing to go.