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Being an Nigerian, it was exciting in Gargoyles to see the Black Panther story line done in Nigeria! I am curious to know why you chose Nigeria to create the story?
English is one of the national languages there.
So what's the specific appeal of animation to you? Or rather, the appeal of writing it (and by extension, comic books) primarily over other mediums?
I could make guesses, but I'd be curious to know what exactly thrills you.
Well, the MAIN appeal is that they'll hire me.
(Only semi-kidding there.)
Anyway, I love the semi-contradictory notions of the control I have over the final product and the collaboration I get while making my way there.
Apart from the work that he's done with you, what's your favorite thing that Kevin Hopps has ever written?
I don't know off the top of my head.
I have some questions concerning episodic details
1. I noticed the original documents thread only has your memos on the pilot outline up to when Michael Reeves became the new writer, are we ever going to see rest of those memos(assuming there were more).
2. Concerning your tiers and tentpoles plan that started in season 2 you said awakening retroactively became tentpole 1, rewakening tent pole two, city of stone tent pole three and avolon tent pole four. Im curiouse what episodes made up the next sets of tentpoles after those ones. I figured Future tense or the Gathering was probably one of them with hunters moon obviously being the final ones, but what was the tentpole in the middle of the world tour episodes? I assume there had to be one more otherwise that would have been more episodes than usual in that tier.
3. You mentioned after Hunters Moon changed from direct to video to a three episode finally you had to cut 3 planned episodes. You said one was simply the vinnie episode being merged into vendettas, but what were the other two? Was the Coldston world tour story that made it into clan building one? Was Bronx's side story youve said happened during vendattas/turf one? If not do you remember what they were?
4. Youve said somewhere that the wierd MacBeth story was nixed because your superiours wanted it to be one episode instead of a two parter and you didn't think you could do it justice in two if Im not mistaken. Where would that two parter have taken place if you had been allowed to do it? Ive tried to figure out a spot in season 2 where it could have gone but none really seem to make sense and Id be curiouse to know. Also if you ever get the chnace to write more issues of the comics would you try to do this story now?
Thanks for your answers.
1. "Ever" is a long time. But the issue is that I don't have those memos electronically archived. So I have to transcribe them. And I've just been (a) too busy and (b) at my Warner Bros office (and before that at my Sony office) most days, and not in my Beverly Hills office, where I have that stuff.
2. "The Gathering" two-parter was the next tentpole. Then "Hunter's Moon". There was no tentpole in the middle of the world tour. There were more episodes than usual, but Season Two was WAY longer than Season One, so we needed that flexibility.
3. I honestly forget now. (Isn't that sad?) I do have that info written down, but again -- it's in Beverly Hills, and I'm in Burbank.
4. It would have gone in the final tier of Season Two around the time of Vendettas.
are you friends with Diane Duane?
Nope. Never met her.
Hello, Mr. Weisman.
My next questions are for Brooklyn, who was one of my favorite characters in the franchise. Not only did he come off as cool, but he was a relatable character who came off as a sort of rebellious youth. So, here are the questions.
1. I read in a 2008 interview that Brooklyn was quite popular with the fans of the show. How and when were you able to determine that? Nowadays, I figure it would be pretty easy given the pervasive nature of the internet and how fast information can be circulated. But back in the 1990's, during the show's original run when internet use was not as prevalent, how were you able to obtain feedback about certain aspects of the show, such as character popularity?
2. Brooklynâs encounters and love interests in the twentieth century always seemed to have an unhappy ending to them (his initial encounter with Demona and his initial interests in Maggie the Cat and Angela come to mind). Because of this, he seemed to come off as the most unfortunate character in the original Manhattan clan, at least to me.
a. Do you think that all of these unfortunate letdowns were necessary in developing his character, and preparing him for what was to come in Timedancer?
b. Do you think that Brooklyn having fewer ties to (new) people in the twentieth century made it easier for him, mentally and emotionally, to jump around different points in time?
3. Were you concerned about the audience perception of Brooklyn when you had him return from the Timedancing adventures not only with a family, but an eye patch? I think one of the qualities that made Brooklyn such a likable character, in addition to his personality and his cool voice, was that he was a physically attractive and handsome gargoyle. One external change might not be all that drastic though.
Thank you for your time.
1. From the internet. It may not have been AS prevalent back then, but it was prevalent enough. There was like an e-mailing list. Uh... for the Disney Afternoon in general, I think. Then my sister helped me find Station 8.
2a. It just felt organic to us.
3. I don't think he's any more or less handsome now. If you liked him before, I can't imagine the eyepatch would cause you to think he's unattractive now.
Todd Jensen and others have commented on the similarities between âGriefâ and the Batman episode âAvatar.â Toddâs question being here:
I noticed another pair of episodes of Batman and Gargoyles that really reminded me of the other, because of the same writers. âLegionâ and the Batman episode âWhat is Reality?â Both were written by Robert Skir and Marty Isenberg. Both episodes deal with virtual reality, but the third acts are very similar to me.
Batman/Goliath has to go into a virtual reality world to help his friend, Commissioner Gordon/Coldstone. His VR savvy compatriot Robin/Lexington tells him how it works. Once inside Batman/Goliath battles his enemy, The Riddler/Xanatos. Robin/Lexington tries to help Batman/get Goliath out of the VR world, but is painfully rebuffed. A shrill noise blasted into his ear piece in Robinâs case. An electronic shock emanating from Goliathâs body in Lexâs case. Side note: That was the biggest problem I had with âLegion.â I can buy a cybernetic gargoyle and that Xanatos can design a computer program based on his personality, but I never understood how Goliathâs body became akin to a live wire when hooked up to Coldstone. It must be one of those side effects when science and sorcery are combined.
Of course, âWhat is Reality?â and âLegionâ are two different episodes and the execution of third acts are very different. Dialogue, characters and virtual reality as represented in the respective episodes were all different. Even the resolutions are different. I guess writing the virtual reality Batman episode gave Skir and Isenberg the experience to write the Gargoyles VR episode. Interestingly enough, they did write âFuture Tenseâ, which also had a VR sequence in the Xanatos Pyramid, albeit in a dream. They didnât write âWalkaboutâ, which had a metaphysical reality (MR?) scene.
I do think the examples of âAvatar/Griefâ and âWhat is Reality?/Legionâ are interesting examples of how writers will take previous ideas theyâve had and use another chance to expand or improve on them. âAvatarâ didnât work for me, but âGriefâ is one of my favorite episodes of Gargoyles. And itâs close between âWhat is Reality?â and âLegionâ, but I slightly prefer the former.
Science and sorcery indeed.
Anyway, as always, the springboards for every Gargoyle episode pre-date writer involvement (unless the writer was also a story editor). But it may be very possible that once they got the assignment, they created or emphasized parallels with other work they had done.
Is there a list online somewhere of all the overseas animation studios used for Gargoyles, by episode? It's frustrating because the credits always just listed "Walt Disney Television Animation".
Also, a related question: did you have control over which scripts were sent to which studios? Or was it purely dictated by scheduling and budgetary concerns?
I don't have a list. Most of the first season was animated at Walt Disney Television Animation Japan, though I seem to recall that a couple were subcontracted out to Korea.
Season Two featured some eps by WDTVAJ, plus more from Korea (such as Hanho). But I can't remember who did what.
Scheduling tended to dictate what studio got what episode, but we did make an effort to make sure that "Bushido" went to Japan.
I hate to say it, but I was extremely disappointed in the Young Justice premiere. Don't get me wrong--the animation was gorgeous, the dialogue entertaining, the story intriguing. But the gender imbalance was a huge turn-off for me.
Why was it that the women of the Justice League were only shown in the last five minutes of a two-part pilot? Why did the male sidekicks get to go on a rebellious adventure and force the League to accept them as a team of their own, while the first girl is only added to "Young Justice" at the very end, introduced by her uncle and guardian like some sort of token?
I expect that the women will have a lot more to do in the episodes to come, but I still find it profoundly problematic to introduce the characters in such an unequal manner. I believe there are too many men in the world as it is who see women as mere supporting players in their stories. Why reinforce this stereotype for a whole new generation of superhero cartoon fans?
It's a legitimate gripe. And I doubt my answer will satisfy you, but it came down to a couple factors that we at least found important: (1) practicality and to a lesser extent - but intertwined with - (2) tradition.
Let's start with practicality.
You asked why there were no female Leaguers until the end. But where would they have fit? There are no female Leaguers with traditional first generation sidekicks. So Batman, Green Arrow, Aquaman and Flash could not be replaced by Wonder Woman, Black Canary or Hawkwoman. That leaves the four Leaguers introduced at the Hall of Justice. I needed Martian Manhunter to be there to set up Miss Martian. I needed Red Tornado there to set up his interest in the teens. I needed Superman there to set up Superboy. That leaves only Zatara. He was certainly replaceable. But then I would have had to hire another voice actress to read ONE LINE. I couldn't afford to do that. We have budgets. (And you'll notice that Red Tornado never speaks in the episode. Couldn't afford giving him a line either. None of which had anything to do with gender.)
There was NEVER any intent to introduce Artemis this early in the season for story reasons. Wouldn't make sense for her character. And I think the reasons why will become clear as the season progresses.
As for Miss Martian, yes, in theory, we could have introduced her sooner. Manhunter COULD have brought her along at the beginning. But then I'd have had FOUR characters running around the first half hour and FIVE in the second. That steals screen time and characterization from everyone. I think the entire production would have been weaker for adding another character -- ANY other character (gender notwithstanding).
Of course, that begs the obvious question - why not ditch one of the boys in favor of her to create a little balance.
But it seemed to us that would create balance at a cost.
There are FOUR TRADITIONAL sidekicks: Robin, Speedy, Aqualad and Kid Flash. To leave one out seemed wrong to us. Which brings in the Tradition argument, which I'll admit is somewhat feeble, but as an old comic book geek, I'll also admit it matters to me and to everyone else here.
The very first Teen Titans story ever in Brave and the Bold featured only THREE heroes: Robin, Aqualad and Kid Flash. Wonder Girl did not join until their second adventure. So we felt there was a precedent for beginning with Robin, Aqualad and Kid Flash and saving the real introduction of Miss Martian (beyond hellos) for OUR second adventure.
For what it's worth, if you give the series another chance, starting with episode three (i.e. the one immediately following the pilot "movie"), I think you'll see that female characters including Miss Martian, Black Canary, Artemis, Wonder Woman and MANY others will be playing ESSENTIAL roles in the show as we progress. I think the balance - and then some - is absolutely present in the first season when viewed in its entirety.
Yes, the pilot was very boy-centric, but that's not the rubric for the series. Personally, I love writing female characters, and if you're at all familiar with my past work, you'll know I have a history of doing them justice. (At least, I think so.) Gargoyles, for example, is FULL of strong female characters, including Elisa, Demona, Angela, Fox, etc. WITCH was nearly ALL female leads. Even Spider-Man had a strong female supporting cast, in my opinion at least.
If we did "reinforce a stereotype" (which I think is overstating it) then perhaps we've lured in kids that we will reeducate over the course of the season - organically without forcing it.
So I'd beg a little patience, a little indulgence... maybe even a little trust that we'll do right by this issue.
But judge for yourself.
Hello again, Mr. Weisman.
I've had a question in the back of my mind for some time, and now seems like a good time to ask it.
Recently, you released the writer's rotation for the first 24 episodes of YJ.
I've always been fascinated with television writing,as there seems to be no one way to do it, so I wanted to ask a few questions on how you approach it.
1. Back when i first wanted to ask this, I checked the SpecSpiderman archives to see what you mentioned about writing for that show. When going over writing duties, you mentioned that some of the episodes that you "reserved" some of the episodes you wrote. Since Young Justice finds you in a similar position of being both a producer and staff writer, I'm curious to know, what factors do you use when picking episodes to reserve for yourself (and confirming that reserve wasn't just a metaphor you were using)?
2. While I'm here, I was hoping you could also shed some light on how much freedom your freelance writers are given. Do they ever get the chance to write an episode completely from scratch, or because the shows you work on are so arc based, are they always given a firm foundation to start with, and if so, how rigid is this foundation (generally)?
1. Sometimes I end up writing an episode for pragmatic reasons... or a combination of the creative and the pragmatic. For example, I wrote the two-part pilot of Young Justice (i.e. episodes 1 and 2). Of course, I had a creative desire to write these episodes, but it also would not have been pragmatic for anyone else to write them. I needed to set the tone of the series for the other writers to be able to get it.
Another example: staff writer Kevin Hopps and I were set to write the last two episodes (25 and 26) of the first season. Though we know the basics of what takes place in them, based on meetings that Kevin, producer Brandon Vietti and I had over a year ago, we hadn't broken those episodes yet, and creatively I hadn't decided which of the two I wanted to write. But scheduling realities last week made it apparent that Kevin would HAVE to write 25, meaning I was writing 26. All of which is just as well. I started the season; I might as well finish it. But the decision wasn't creative; it was purely pragmatic. The creative decision might have been no different. But the creative decision became moot for pragmatic reasons.
On the other hand, I've also written three other episodes. In those cases, the pragmatic need was for me to write one episode each between 6-11, between 12-17 and between 18-24. Within those parameters, I chose 11, 15 and 19 for purely creative reasons. Those were the ones I felt a special affinity for (based on reasons I can't reveal now without spoilers). So going into the three writers' meetings for each of those three "sets" of episodes, there was SOME flexibility as to which writer took which episode (keeping scheduling pragmatism in mind), but I had "reserved" for myself the one I wanted to write in each case.
2. My freelancers have, for better or worse, very little freedom when it comes to WHAT stories we are telling. The premises were all approved long before the freelancers came aboard. If a specific writer feels no affinity for a specific story, then he or she doesn't have to take that episode. I always try to give each writer an episode that jazzes him or her. But the basics of the stories are set. Now, the writers are very involved in the execution of those stories. That's where their freedom comes in. But they still have quite a gauntlet to wade through... beat outlines, outlines, scripts (and notes from many sources). Ultimately, I take responsibility for every episode, and I'm the guy doing the final pass on every beat outline, outline and script. But I couldn't do this job without stellar writers providing me with great stuff. And on this series, I couldn't do it without Brandon and Kevin actively participating in the inception and breaking of every single story.
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