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For the next contest why don't you have us guess the name of the Lost Race? It'll be as fun as the clan contest and it'll benefit both the fans and you since we would get a handy piece of information and you'd very short responses.
I'm too backlogged to start another contest right now. (Haven't even gotten Aris his prize from the last contest.) Any contest answers posted now are months from me being close to looking at them.
Time to ramble...
I think this episode had a fun story written and edited by Cary Bates. And I know it had a great moody storyboard directed by Frank Paur. But it suffered from two major problems...
1. Repetitive elements. We had multiple story editors working on multiple episodes. I was overseeing all of them, but sometimes things did get away from me. "Monsters" has a number of elements in common with "Heritage" which had only just preceeded it in the line up. It makes "Monsters" seem a bit more tired than it really is, through no fault of Cary's. For example, we open with a Sea Monster. One of our female cast members is lost and nearly drowned. Goliath searches frantically. Etc. Even my five-year-old son Benny was convinced, "We just saw this one." It just felt very been there done that. My fault.
2. Very weak animation -- some of the weakest of the series -- removed much of the mystery and mood from the boards that Frank directed. I know we called tons of retakes on this ep, but there was a limit. Secrets were given away too early. What's a monster submarine and what's a monster is too easily discernable at the start. We were hoping for more silhouette's in that murky Loch. Throw in some really atrocious character moments (like when Angela wakes up in chains) and you've got an ep that's unimpressive at best.
And yet, there's much in this show that I really like.
It takes an important step toward evolving Angela's relationship with Goliath. Though G's not aware of it, Sevarius reveals to Angela that she is his biological daughter. Having grown up around her adoptive *HUMAN* parents, that notion of biological imperative must have seeped in. She already KNEW that Goliath was one of her ROOKERY parents. But this revelation ignites her curiousity and need. I find it interesting anyway. My eight-year-old daughter Erin was likewise fascinated with this aspect. She was anxious for Angela to tell Goliath about her discovery. Of course, Goliath knows in a 'shrug' sense. It's visually obvious to him. It just isn't programmed to be significant for him.
And if that weren't enough to make the ep worthwhile, we also get another wonderful over-the-top performance from Tim Curry as Dr. Anton Sevarius. He has a TON of great lines in this (all quotations approximate)...
"If it gets any more sacharine in there, I'll have to shove a finger down my throat."
"It must be awful to wake up in chains first thing in the morning."
"Thank heaven for little girls... and DNA markers."
"He's your very own flesh and stone."
"Enough to make my mind boggle..."
But there were other problems too. In my mind and Cary's Big Daddy and Nessie were mates (with little ones revealed at the end). But because of the name "Big Daddy" and because we were intentionally using the L.N.Monsters to parallel and comment on Goliath and Angela's father-daughter relationship, many people thought that Big Daddy was Nessie's dad. I'm not sure it matters too much. But (unintentional) confusion can't help.
Elisa knows they haven't arrived in Manhattan because it's too quiet and because the water's too clean. Of course, Loch Ness is famous for having MURKY, MURKY water. Not that the water is "dirty" exactly, the way New York Harbor is. But it's hard to figure Elisa would think of the Loch as clean either. And I knew that. Don't know how that got by me.
But Elisa does have some fun lines here and there:
"I'm not really the adventuring type."
"It's a show... Themeparks do this five times a day."
(Yes, we weren't above giving a gentle knock to the parent company.)
(Of course, when Elisa said that last bit, Erin said, "I don't think so." Benny noticed the submarine was metal and thought it was a robot. It took him a while to get the notion that it was a ship or sub.)
LITTLE CONTINUITY TOUCHES
Elisa leaves a message on Matt's machine. But the tape is full. This was done for two reasons. Or three...
1. We felt that Elisa would and should attempt to contact someone.
2. We wanted to prolong the agony (at least in the audience's minds) as to what happened to our travelers from the point of view of those left behind.
3. We were in the middle of a tier, and couldn't guarantee (as we saw with "Kingdom" that the episode would air in order. We didn't want Elisa to successfully contact anyone, because it might screw up continuity.
Nice to see Brendan & Margot taking a little vacation on the Loch, huh?
Angela says to Nessie: "I bet you've never been this close to a real live gargoyle either." But of course Angela's wrong. One of the reasons that Nessie gets so friendly so fast with Angela is BECAUSE she recognizes her as a gargoyle and knows that gargoyles are friendly to the Monsters of the Loch.
Of course, this begs the question as to what the Loch Ness clan was doing throughout this little adventure. I don't have a grea answer -- YET -- but for now, I'm just going to fall back on the notion that they were aware that Nessie was missing, but didn't know the cause. (It is a big murky loch, after all.) And yes, I know that's a feeble explanation, but it will have to do until I figure out a better one.
The title "Monsters" is another one of my thematic one word titles. Angela hits the nail on the head when she calls Sevarius the only monster around here. It's central to the series theme. But again, maybe too obvious, contributing to the weakness of the episode.
We had some trouble with the animation of the scene where Bruno confronts Goliath and Elisa right after they escape the dungeon. It forced us to reuse Jeff Bennett's "All right." line twice in a row.
Speaking of Jeff, my wife Beth thought Bruno sounded very Jack Nicolson. I pointed out that when Bruno was created, way back in "Awakening" we asked Jeff to make him a young George C. Scott. Beth couldn't hear that at all.
Benny used to love Bruno. Not only does Bruno barely register with him now. He doesn't remember ever liking the character. Erin asked him if he remembered the Xanatos Goon Squad. He didn't respond.
Another weakness... Angela just holds her breath forever down there at the end.
And when Goliath does get there, her chains pop off too easily, begging the question why she couldn't free herself.
I know I keep talking about the ep's flaws. But like all the 66 chapters, I really am more fond of it than critical. I do love seeing Goliath launched as a living torpedo, for example. There are a bunch of little things that I like.
And heck, we killed off four more characters. Sevarius and Bruno survived. But I think we have to assume that the other four members of the Goon Squad are gone for good.
But it wasn't one of our best efforts, I'll have to admit.
Sorry 'bout that...
Anyway, that's my ramble. Where's yours?
Here's a follow-up memo on the character designs to the one I just sent praising "Designer E". Mr. Tokunaga sent us a note asking for feedback on the other five designers who had made an attempt on the Trio and Goliath....
To: Motoyoshi Tokunaga 7-26-93
From: Greg Weisman 818-754-7436
Re: GARGOYLES DESIGN WORK
Dear Mr. Tokunaga,
Per your request, a quick note on Designs A-D and F, with a reminder that just because the designs didn't suit our purposes, doesn't mean they weren't worthwhile attempts.
Designer A has the action feel of the show, but to be honest, the designs on Goliath, Brooklyn and Lexington were too unappealing. Although the characters are monsters, they need to be heroic monsters. It's a tightrope we're walking, and this group didn't seem redeemable. Broadway was more appealing, but a little goofy looking, and he seemed to be scaled too large.
Designer B was too cartoony on Lexington, Broadway and even Brooklyn. We're looking for more of an action feel. Goliath, particularly in B-7 and B-8, seemed too human. Like a man wearing a mask. Not unique enough. B-10 was a nice pose, though.
Designer C was just too cartoony. And the trio of smaller gargoyles looked more like aliens from another planet than medieval stone creatures.
Designer D's Goliath was an interesting interpretation. D-1, D-2 and D-3 were all nice poses that gave us the feel we were looking for. But in D-3, Goliath seemed too reminiscient of the Beast from Disney's Beauty and the Beast; and we're already a bit too close to that concept for comfort. We don't want to emphasize the similarities further than necessary. And though it seems like a minor point, we all really didn't like his chicken feet. And again, the gargoyle trio seemed too cartoony.
Designer F obviously stuck the closest to our original designs. Even closer than Designer E, whose work we liked. They seem to be simplified tracings, without the wings. I'm not sure how to describe my response, but the magic just seemed to be out of the drawings. The characters seemed unappealing, unexpressive and flat. Everything that E wasn't.
The "GOLIATH SPECIAL by Hashimoto" didn't grab us. Again he seemed like a normal man, an older man, with pointy ears and big hair.
Hope all the above is helpful.
cc: Bruce Cranston, Barbara Ferro, Lenora Hume, Gary Krisel, Paul Lacy, Tom Ruzicka, Dave Schwartz.
I'm sorry to disturb you, Mr. Wiseman, but what I meant to ask was, how many floors does the Eyrie Building have?
I'm curious because my friend, Andy Morrison, wanted to make certain he had the right number in his tale about the Eyrie Building.
Thank you for your precious time. I can imagine that these questions are pestilential, but some good does come from answering them, I promise you.
I'm afraid I don't know the answer.
And I wouldn't use the word "pestilential" to refer to these questions. Even if that was a word.
Are there anymore magical islands besides Avalon?
Does Atlantis exsist in the Gargoyles Universe? If so, would it have made an appearance in future Gargoyles episods?
All islands are magical.
As for Atlantis, if you came to Gathering '02, you know the answer to that question. Yes, Atlantis existed in the Garg Universe. The Praying Gargoyle was created there.
I hope you had a nice birthday! :)
I have a profane question, to which you might not even have an answer, but I figured I'd try. I'm hosting ELISA MAZA'S WEBSITE, all about her, have been for a pretty long time now. I've been considering getting "elisamaza.com" as a domain, but even though there's no profit involved, I'm not quite sure if I'd get into deep trouble with that.
"Gargoyles" is not a copyrighted name, so sites titled "Gargoyles.com" don't have problems - but "Elisa Maza" is a copyright by Disney...you worked with those guys, so maybe you can tell me your thoughts on that. I don't want Disney's hitmen on my doorstep or something.
Thanks for your time, and seize the night!
By now, you must be married or darn close to it. Say hi to Tony for me. Tell him the CD was great. (Although the song he credited to Alanis Morissette wasn't by her.)
Anyway, I can't answer your question. I'm not a lawyer. I don't work for Disney and I don't know what the rules are for this thing. Is it expensive? I mean would it kill you if you did it and at some point down the line, Disney asked you to stop? They wouldn't punish you -- at least not at first -- they'd just send a cease and desist.
I don't know what the likelihood of even that is, but I wouldn't want to advise you to do something that could cause you problems down the road. Good luck.
Okay, I've never been able to get to S8 before, and I don't have the extensive amount of time to read through EVERY answered question, but I did skim through the archive and FAQ contents, so I'm hoping not to repeat an old question. Anyway, I was curious as to whether you felt Disney (or more precicely cartoon form) was the best outlet for your vision, considering the amount of pressure ratings, time slots, ect. puts on those types of entertainment. I would have thought that you would have built a comic or graphic novel (and I differenciate them due to the difference in quality of art/story)fanbase like more sucessful Jap Cartoons (Dragonball, Pokemon, ect.)have done. I'm not questioning methods and I'm not exactly an expert on your past in the greater Disney hierarchy, what's dodne is done, just curious.
Are we talking generally or about Gargoyles specifically?
To take Gargoyles out of the context of its creation at Disney is to remove any reality from my answer. I'd love, at this stage, to do Gargoyles in any format that would have me and it. But at the time, the show was created by a specific group of people in a specific place.
If we're talking generally, again, I'd love to do any of my ideas in any format that would have me. But no one is battering down doors to get me. I'm scrounging these days for every freelance assignment.
when Arthur begins his quest for Excalibur and to find Merlin, how does he know if Merlin is still alive or if Excalibur still exists? are Excalibur and Merlin so powerful that they will always be around?
He certainly thinks so.
Do the space-spawn in 2198 still use the brainwashing trick that Nokkar is familar with?
I read a Japanese legend about the Tengu - winged, gnomelike creatures, that studied martial arts.
Was this one of the legends that inspired the Ishimura Clan?
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