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GREG WEISMAN: THE RETURN!

He's baaaacckkkkk!!!!

To quote Greg Weisman: "Gathering 2000 kicked ass."

I really want to thank everyone who attended and helped to make it such a success.

First and foremost my thanks go out to the G2K staff, Kellie, Heather, Syrin and most of all, Sara. You guys were just terrific. Thanks.

Also a special thanks to all those people who were so kind to my kids (who had a terrific time by the way).

I'm bound to leave someone out, but...

Kellie, Heather, Syrin, Sara, Jen, Christine, Tim, Karlyn, Lexy, etc.

and of course, Becca -- who deserved to win the juvenal division of the costume contest hands down, but graciously shared the honors with Erin & Benny.

They're still talking about all of you.

Special thanks go out to Thom, Greg and Vic, who were great guests and had a great time (or so they told me). They have already spread the word around Disney. (Brad Rader was very impressed with the $805 sale of the "Mirror" board.) Making it even easier to gather guests for G2001.

Speaking of which, I had a great time with the G2001 staff: Patrick, Kathy, Kenna and of course Jen. (I know I've left some people out, sorry.) To quote Greg Weisman: "2001 is going to kick some major ass." (I'm getting way too fond of saying that.)

Already, however, I'm seeing people apologizing for not being able to make it next year. HEY! THAT'S THE WRONG ATTITUDE!!! It's too soon to decide you can't make it. You've got ten months to figure out a way. I am personally guaranteeing 20 guests from the cast and crew. Panels on writing, acting, character design and storyboards. Separate Q&A panels on Developing the series, Writing, Recording, Art and Producing. Another radio play. More Q&A at the dinner. Etc. Etc. Etc. Our goal is to get 500 people. Yep, you heard me, FIVE HUNDRED people in attendance. If we look like we're closing in on that number, I will invite every applicaple Disney Exec. We'll show them in a concrete way, the bet they are missing by not doing more with the show. If you want to get the show back on the air, there isn't a single thing that you can do that would better our chances than attending G2001 in Los Angeles. We already have SEVENTY-FIVE people attending. Yep. Pre-paid and everything. Don't be left behind.

A website for the con, will be up soon. Keep an eye out. We have tremendous momentum coming out of Orlando. Let's not let it die.

Ahem, back to the thank yous...

Kudos to the "Greg Weisman Players":

Seth, Jen, Thom, Wanderer, Lanny, Mer, Hudson, Durid, Alan, Michelle, Brian, Sara, Pogo, Jessie, Beth, Heather, Amy, Marie Noire, Sarah, Kelley, Ryan, Slash, Bud-Clare and Ann.

You all did great.

It was also great to see and talk to many fans, some who have been to ALL FOUR CONVENTIONS. WOW. I'm bound to forget some, but Hudson, Heather, Amy, Aaron, Kythera, A Fan, Noel, Scott (sorry, I can't make your Hockfest), Lexy, Lanny, Karine, Aimee, Mitch, Duncan, Denis, etc.

And it was nice to meet some new faces: Ashlee, Kelly, Dreamie, Jessie, etc.

And Carol, it was nice to see you there too.

And the costumes... Another WOW.

Anyway, now I'm back. What's up ahead...

Well, G2001, of course. I'm getting even more involved this year than ever before. (See above.)

I'm still over two months behind on ASK GREG. It could take me awhile to catch up, as I may actually be starting a paying job soon. (I'll keep you posted.) But in the coming weeks, look for:

1. My G2K Diary. (Not that I kept one, but I can always make something up.)

2. A new Archive that will be called something like: "Historical Documents". Jordan Mann has scanned a bunch of recently recovered documents into my computer. I'll soon begin reprinting them (mixed in with stuff you've already seen and other documents I already had in my computer) in chronological order. This stuff covers the entire spectrum of the development of the series in prose.

3. The revamped version of GARGOYLES 2158. Which for starters, will be set in the 23rd century at least.

4. More Ramblings on episodes as my family and I watch them at home.

5. Some info on an exciting new project that I'm working on with Gorebash and Doug Murphy (one of our storyboard artists).

6. More G2001 updates

7. And, yes, I'll even be answering your questions. Bear with me.

But finally, thanks to all of you. You always manage to make MY YEAR with this con, and all your kind words at this site. I could never thank you enough. But I'll continue to try.

Greg Weisman


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UPDATE & HIATUS

Whew -- I finally made it through June of 2000. (I thought June 27th would never end.)

I'm still officially over a month behind, but I'm out of time.

Tomorrow I'll be leaving for Orlando for a week. And I won't be answering any more ASK GREG questions until I get back. (And probably not for a couple days after that until I catch up.)

So if you have questions that just can't wait -- come to the GATHERING!!!


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My kids had a midsummer night's dream...

Last night there was an outdoor production of Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream" at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. We were told it was a very kid friendly production and it was free, so we figured it wouldn't hurt to take the kids. If they got antsy, we could always leave.

As most of you know, I have two kids: Erin (age 5) and Ben (age 3). I asked them if they wanted to see a show with Puck in it. (The only Puck they know is the one from Gargoyles.) They were very enthusiastic about wanting to go. I tried to tell them the story of the play. But it's fairly complex when compressed, and I wasn't sure if they'd gotten it.

There was supposed to be a pre-show at 6:30pm, so we got there in time for that. But there was no pre-show. Instead the show started at 7pm. Since they had already been sitting for a half hour I was sure the kids wouldn't make it through the whole play.

But, man, they loved it! Erin was riveted throughout. Benny had a couple of moments when he was more interested in the stars that had begun to appear as it got darker. He also started to sing to himself a couple times. But he never fell asleep, never got drowsy. Never ran around. Or got noisy or anything. Both of them sat on the grass and watched the show, laughing and applauding until it was over an hour and forty-five minutes later. (Obviously the play was trimmed a bit, but all the language was Shakespeare.) They loved the costumes, the magic, the comedy. When Titania ran through the audience and approached them, they were both beaming.

After the show, they ran up to introduce themselves to all the actors. They gave BIG hugs to Titania. It was pretty amazing.

And for me it represents the first step in introducing them to Shakespeare. We're not exactly there yet. But I've been missing a lot of Shakespeare Festivals since the kids were born, and soon I'll be able to take them along.


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LASER DISKS

My friend and fellow producer Jonathan Klein has just informed me that the TOWER RECORDS OUTLET STORE on Hollywood Blvd (in the mall with the Galaxy Theater, just east of La Brea) has multiple LASER DISK copies of the GARGOYLES animated "movie" available for $7 each.

Now, I never knew they released this on laser disk so I have no idea which of the three versions it is.

It could be the five episodes of the pilot collected together.

It's probably the version of the pilot which we edited for the big screen premiere in Orlando in '94, which was later released on home video.

But it may be the version that somebody edited as a TV movie for syndication.

Or, since it's a Laser Disk, it's possible it contains all three. I don't know. I haven't seen it myself.

But I just thought you'd all want to know.


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Good news (in the long term)...

I have found a cache of documents relating to the early comedy development of the series. Historically speaking, these are fairly interesting. Unfortunately, they are hard copies. I don't have them on computer files. Transcribing them will have to be a LONG-TERM project.

But at least we know they exist.


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More...

After our comedy garg pitch was rejected (of which little documentation survives), we searched about for a dramatic version. In the long run, we wound up coming back to many, if not most, of the concepts from the comedy version of our show. But here's the earliest document that I can find on the dramatic version. As you can see, it's largely single character and very different from the final.

[Unedited as usual, except for what's in brackets]:

THE GARGOYLE
(Weisman / Summary of meeting 12/19/91)

1000 years ago in barbaric Briton, an evil Wizard wanted to ransack the castle of the good princess.

Gargoyles are stone sculptures that are used to decorate castles. Inspired by this, the wizard creates his own giant (Beauty & the Beast-sized) Gargoyle. He instructs this engine of destruction to fly to the castle tonight, while the wizard's army attacks from the outside.

(Perhaps he gives the Gargoyle a powder that will temporarily bring the other little stone gargoyles to life.)

The Gargoyle, which is stone colored, even when it isn't stone, flies to the castle, intent on destroying it.

He meets the princess who teaches him the error of his ways. He will fight against the wizard. But as the sunrises, he falls asleep turning to stone. A part of the spell he was not aware of.

When the sun sets again, and he awakens, it is too late. The princess is gone (dead?). The castle has been ransacked. Even the wizard has left him behind. Angry at his betrayal...He is alone. Cursed as an outsider, able to function only during night hours. Frozen as stone during the day.

He stays in the ruined castle over the centuries. Making occasional forays to the outside world. Sometimes briefly, to steal books. Sometimes for long periods to fight evil (World War II, perhaps). But always returning to the castle and his loneliness. He despairs of ever finding a true friend. Despairs of ever having a purpose to his life.

One night he awakens, and finds that some repair work has been done on the castle. Each night he finds that a little more work has been done while he slept during the day. Construction equipment has gathered outside the castle walls.

One day, as he sleeps, the castle is lifted, lock, stock and gargoyle and flown whole across the atlantic to New York, by giant airships.

It is placed on the top of the Xavier Enterprises skyscraper.

Xavier is our arrogant villain. Not comic. Evil behind the scenes. Manipulator. Respectable to the rest of the world. Untouchable.

Our Gargoyle finds himself in this strange new world. Here he meets a young idealistic girl (perhaps a plain clothes police detective) who will be his friend and teach him not to despair. That he can help make the world a better place. In New York, the barbarians are at the gate, every night. This time, he can do something about it.

He becomes a de facto super-hero of sorts, though we don't have to flag it.

Xavier can hire other minor villains, plus we need to create some real psychos, and powerful ones at that, for Gargoyle to battle. Plus the ancient wizard could return in some form. Perhaps he has put his spirit in a amulet. Whoever wears it is possesed by him.

Perhaps, our Gargoyle can still temporarily awaken other gargoyles, little mischevious things who aren't too bright, but would try to follow his orders. But when they sleep each day, they have to be awakened by the magic dust each night or they will remain as stone. Only our hero awakens by himself every night.

Does our young girl have a child?

Who else populates this world?

Is the Gargoyle named Gargoyle, or is there another name for him?

Other villains?

cc: Bruce [Cranston], Gary [Krisel], Kat [Fair], Bob [Kline], Mike [Ryan], Fred [Schaefer], Tad [Stones], DoMo [Dolores Morris]


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Another tidbit

From the very next day...

3-12-91:

GARGOYLES

They've been sleeping for a long time. It's been cramped, damp and uncomfortable up on those buildings. Now, it's time to wake up and PARTY!!!!!!!!

Gargoyles asleep for a thousand years.

Awaken in modern times.

They're the good guys.

We're working on villain.

Opportunity for a lot of broad cartoony, fun characters.


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A real fossile...

This is the earliest file I have on the series, dating back to 3-11-91. It's short. But very strange. Here it is unedited:

GARGOYLES

They've been sleeping for a long time. It's been cramped, damp and uncomfortable up on those buildings. Now, it's time to wake up and PARTY!!!!!!!!

Only one problem: the evil DOCTOR VOMFU, who turned them to stone in the first place, is still out there making trouble for our bat-winged friends.

But, hey, NO BIGGIE. They're GARGOYLES! Vomfu won't know what hit him.

Vomfu was a joke name around our office. Look at a computer keyboard. And move the natural position of your hands, one key to the left. VOMFU becomes CINDY. Cindy Chupack was one of our development associates who was working on the show with me. Cindy has since gone on to be an emmy nominated sitcom writer on such shows as COACH, EVERYBODY LOVES RAYMOND and SEX IN THE CITY.


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More archives material...

It recently occured to me that I only started to post old Garg internal memos starting with "REAWAKENING". Since this info seems to be of interest, I thought I'd go back and start over by posting some of the earliest stuff I still have on file.

First up is a memo to one of the earliest (pre-Michael Reaves) writers that we tried out on the project. Note the December, 1992 date of the memo. You'll see that some of the concepts never changed at all. Others, like the notion that Goliath might Demona-like live through the 1000 years changed a lot.

Anyway, here it is unedited:

GARGOYLES 12-4-92
Notes on 5-part Outline

GENERAL NOTES

--We want to stick closer to the original pitch. Keep the story solidly from Goliath's point of view, with his relationship with Elisa as the central emotional arc.

--We want to clarify what a Gargoyle is and what the "rules" are:
1. Gargoyles were not created by an individual. One thousand years ago, they were real living creatures, a now extinct race that even then was scarce.
2. Gargoyles are nocturnal. At sun-up they transform into stone statues as a protective measure. Theoretically, there may be some magic involved, but from a gargoyle's P.O.V. it's a natural biological process.
3. They cannot wake up at will. They cannot turn back and forth from stone at will. Daytime, they are sleeping. Frozen in stone. That makes them fairly protected, though if someone took a sledgehammer to them, it would kill them. At night they are not stone, they are strong and powerful, and they can fly, etc. But they are not invulnerable.
4. Gargoyles don't have any special instinct or telepathy for danger. What they do have, instinctively, is a territorial and protective nature. Up to this current story, that never extended beyond the castle walls. One of our main objectives is for Elisa to give Goliath a wider definition of his territory...extending it across all of Manhattan (all of NYC?). She gives him hope and a revived sense of purpose.
5. Naming is a human trait. The medieval humans deal w/Goliath so he gets a name. The others have none until they get to the twentieth century, when Elisa encourages/insists on it. Then they pick their names.

CHARACTERS
--We have to know and sympathize w/Goliath much sooner on in the story. We should largely see it through his eyes. His concern for Elisa should drive the latter half of the story, much more than any desire to foil a crime.

--The absolute key to this is the relationship between Goliath and Elisa. We need to develop this slowly. She's got to get used to him in a big way, and for his part, he's not comfortable around humans, and definitely unused to human kindness. He's awkward. Maybe even stunned. We don't have to play it for romance, per se. Even friendship from a human is a foreign concept.

--Hudson is an ex-gargoyle warrior, long past his prime, who now acts as Goliath's advisor. He tends to knock around the castle. Maybe, he likes television. He is not and would refuse to act as a baby-sitter for the younger kids. THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT. Goliath is the Gargoyle-Master. The other gargoyles are HIS responsibility, not Hudson's.

--We'd like to play the younger Gargoyles (Broadway, Brooklyn and Lex) more as teens than little kids. Very eager to explore the new world as you have it, but with a more adventurous sensibility.

--Bronx, the gargoyle-dog does not have wings. His ears allow him to hover a bit for short periods of time. But it's hard. (Keep in mind, he has a weighted tail, like a mace.) He can't really fly. He CAN scurry all over the place, up straight vertical walls, across the ceiling, etc. He has claws that really allow him to dig in.

--Our fault, but we don't think the Bannister character is adding anything. We can probably drop him.

--Xavier needs to be much more imposing. Not bordering on broke. Though obviously, he's not in Goliath's league in terms of brute strength, underneath that three-piece suit he should be a powerful man. As men goes, he should be very strong. And brilliant. On the surface, a rich powerful man, but underneath with his hand in all-things nefarious. He should not be petulant. He should always feel menacing threatening. If, at the end, we do send him to prison, we should not weaken or reduce him. He should go off like Al Capone, with an attitude like "You don't expect prison walls to stop me, do you?"

--We don't necessarily have to use the Gladiator-esque PACK, but if we do, we should keep their strengths clear in mind. The television aspect is a front, but one we might need to see in order to understand why the public regards them as good guys. Since clearly, no single member could be as strong as Goliath, their strength lies in the pack mentality. Goliath tosses one aside, their are five others leaping on top of him, etc. Also keep in mind, that our toughest pack members as they were originally designed were probably Wolf, Jackal and Hyena. Dingo, Fox and Coyote were never designed to be very threatening on their own. Another possiblility might be the SCARAB CORP. Robots from the pitch. (Scarab could also be a division of Xavier Enterprises.) However, feel free to create new villains or a different threat.

PART ONE
We want to get to know Goliath right away. Preferably, all the beats we played in the pitch.
1. He and his fellow Gargoyle warriors defend the castle from "barbarians". We establish his territorial and protective nature.
2. For their pains, they get no thanks or even kindness. Humans look at them as necessary evil.
3. Goliath spends his time reading and keeping the younger Gargoyles out of trouble.
4. We might want to plant a seed for the Demona character here. Establish her as the gargoyle he cares for the most.
5. Also establish Hudson, his advisor, and the younger gargoyles.
6. Goliath and Hudson are sent or lured away from the castle (perhaps by Demona, though the viewers don't have to know she betrayed them). They do not get back before sunrise.
7. The trio of younger gargoyles chase Bronx down into some hidden dungeon. At daybreak they are frozen their.
8. During that day the castle is overrun and sacked.
9. When Goliath and Hudson return that night, Goliath is horrified to discover that the rest of his Gargoyles have been destroyed. Someone took the equivalent of a sledge hammer to them during the day. Demona, his love, is probably part of the rubble. (We don't have to revisit her in the five parter. She can be an element of the tragedy of Goliath. We can bring her back in an episode if this goes to series).
10. Bronx and the younger Gargoyles survived, because they were hidden from the attackers.
11. It may be stronger for Goliath not to be cursed into a thousand year sleep. He takes responsiblity for the disaster. Hudson and the others are cursed to sleep "Until the castle rests in the clouds." (I.e., theoretically, until kingdom come.) Goliath is forced to guard them (the last of his race) alone for a thousand years. This means that he won't be totally ignorant of planes and cars etc. He's seen them over the years. And it might increase his tragedy. At any rate, we don't want to bring up the issue of exorcisms. Dangerous ground.

PARTS TWO - FIVE
1. Let's keep in mind that the whole castle is moved to New York. It can be dismantled, but the human focus should be on moving this castle to the top of the skyscraper. The gargoyles are nothing more than decoration to the humans.
2. There's probably something to Goliath being on a castle top in Scotland one night. Falling asleep and waking up crated in the bowels of a ship, the next night. But we probably want to go for a more dramatic problem than him leading them with a lamp.
3. The other gargoyles, Hudson and Bronx included, don't wake up until the first night after they are installed on top of the castle in the clouds. They've gone from riding a parapet a 100 feet above the ground, to the top of this mega-story skyscraper. It's a pretty hefty transition for them.
4. Art thefts and Bank thefts aren't nearly as crucial as putting Elisa in danger and involved in the case. That's what brings Goliath in. Perhaps we should open with her undercover, infiltrating Xavier's organization. Perhaps that leads her to the Pack training grounds or some other aspect of Xavier's operation. Make her a vital and integral part of the Xavier story. Not simply on the trail of it. And though we don't want to make her helpless, we do need to put her in jeopardy.
5. We're not sure what the red herring of blaming the gargoyles for Xavier's crimes buys us. Not opposed to it, but does it just force us into awkward moments? Lots of talk about guys in gargoyle suits. That's not really a major issue for the series.


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Whew...

Done with May...

We're now back to being only two months behind. And I hope to catch up even more. I'd eventually like to get to the point where I'm only a week behind. I don't know how realistic that is, but that's my hope.

I'm also scanning about for a new contest.



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