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Where have I been...

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...
Christian Campbell
Jacob Vargas
Shannon Kenny
Chi McBride
Lauren Tom

Recurring & Guest Cast includes (in order of appearance):
John de Lancie
Keith Szarabajka
Jean Gilpin
Martin Jarvis
Thomas Wilson (aka Matt Bluestone)
Edward Asner (aka Hudson)
Jason Marsden
Jeff Bennett (aka Brooklyn, Owen, etc.)
Julia Kato
Obba Babbatunde
Cam Clarke (aka Young Gillecomgain & Eric Sturlesson)
Thom Adcox Hernandez (aka Lexington)
Greg Rainwater (aka Natsilane & Coyote Trickster)
August Paro
Robert Cait

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.


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CORRECTION

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.

Greg

P.S. Now, watch -- I've probably made some new dopey error.


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Where's Greg....?

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.

I swear.

Greg


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My son Ben wanted to ramble. He's two years old.

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ben

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ALONE: The Demona Contest.

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".

Perfect.

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.

Good Luck.


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I'm so dedicated...

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.


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NEW RULES

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.

HOWEVER....

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.

O.K.?

(Better be okay, grumble, grumble.)

Greg


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ARRGGGHHH...

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.

Sorry.


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Auditions addendum

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."

"Yes."

"Yes, Sir."

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.


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What I've been up to recently...

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.

7-21-99



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