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AWAKENING, PART TWO

Watched the episode again last night.

Little things....

My two year old son is fascinated with Tom. And misses him in the second act after he's gone. Misses him in other episodes too. Kinda puts the lie to the strongly held belief I've always had that contrary to Network Executive Dogma, kids don't need animated shows to be about kids. Of course, my son is just two. My five year old has no problem with their being no "little girl" in the show.

Goliath says "What sorcery is this?" for the first time. We wound up using it over and over in the series, til it became something of an in-joke. But the truth is, we could never come up with a better line that said the same thing.

Goliath's "suicide" at the end of Act One, is still one of the most startling things I've ever seen in a cartoon. That was Gary Krisel's idea (my boss Bruce Cranston's boss). And I've always admired him for it. It's also the reminder I use to keep me humble when I'm listening to notes from the higher ups. Michael Reaves and I were just going to have the Magus offer to cast his spell on Goliath as something of a consolation prize. "Best I can do" kinda thing.

Love that Chernabog moment where Goliath says "I've been denied everything, even my revenge!" Man, Keith David is great.

The way it's edited you'd never know the problem the last fight in the Viking's camp caused me vis-a-vis Broadway. As you may recall from Part One, during the Viking's initial attack, Broadway stopped for a snack, and then opportunistically used the turkey leg to bonk a Viking. A nice little comedic beat. Well, in Part Two, we wanted to contrast that by having Broadway land in front of the roasting spit by the fire -- so that the audience again thinks he's just thinking about his stomach. But that after the massacre, the much more serious Broadway immediatlely starts using it as a weapon. That's pretty much what you see. But that's not what we received in Animation. What we got was a virtual replay of the scene from Part One. Broadway lands with a big grin and starts to eat. Then he gets attacked and uses the spit as a weapon. It took judicious editing to keep Broadway from feeling too one-dimensional. And even then as the series progressed, we started to downplay Broadway's appetite (another good Gary Krisel suggestion). We brought it up again in Hunter's Moon, Part Three to show how far the character had come. Yeah, great kitchen, but an even better library. That kind of thing.

We had a similar problem with Hudson's sword. We were supposed to make a big deal of him using it for the first time in the battle at the Viking camp. But some of the animation in both Parts One and Part Two showed him using the sword and/or having it by his side before that. That's what retakes are for, I guess.

Xanatos' first appearance... I'm really curious to know how many people, seeing this for the first time knew that Xanatos was the bad guy. I thought it was a little too obvious myself. There's a look he gives Goliath when he's taking the gargs' questions in the Great Hall that I thought absolutely tipped his hand to the audience. But we did try to create a guy who looked like he should be the hero of the show. Handsome athletic Bruce Wayne type up against scary monsters. And Jonathan Frakes is terrific.

(There was a while when Gary Krisel thought maybe we should have Xanatos -- or another rich guy, a pre-Renard if you will -- actually be the gargoyles modern benefactor. I'm glad that's one bit of advice I didn't take from Gary.)

We also get the first look at Owen. Jeff Bennett. Man. What a great cast we had. Wasn't Owen just fascinating from moment one? I didn't know he was Puck way back then, but I sure did know there was a story behind him.

Love that moment when they all Shatter out of stone near the top of Act Two. The sky spinning behind Goliath. The rotating camera for the others. Bronx leaning into the foreground. Still gives me a little thrill. Don't disappoint me Xanatos said. Well, it worked for me.

The first time we got the animation back on that sequence, their stone skins didn't really EXPLODE off them. In fact the first version of the footage had no stone at all. Those of you who have been to the GATHERING have seen that footage. We really had to push to make that concept of them exploding to life every night play visually.

There's an intentional this-ain't-Batman moment during the fight with the Commandos. Goliath gets tossed off the building. He's falling and he grabs for a flagpole, just like Batman would. But Goliath is so heavy, he rips the flagpole right off the building, and he has to use his claws to save himself. Back in those days, everyone was terrified that GARGOYLES was going to be perceived as a BATMAN rip-off. I actually had to write up a memo for the Marketing Department, listing all the significant ways the shows were different. This flagpole bit was our (me, Frank, Michael's) conscious reaction to the constant comparisons.

There's a moment during the fight where Goliath is facing a Commando, and from off-stage Xanatos rescues Goliath by firing his laser at the wall and dumping the masonry on the commando. But that scene gave us nightmares, because it looked like the laser beam was coming from Goliath's eyes. Like he was Cyclops of the X-Men. This made us nervous, because the concept was so new, we were afraid that the audience would think that maybe Gargoyles have all sorts of "cool" super-powers like that.

One line got cut from Part One that would have helped a bit in understanding Lex's character. In Part One, during the initial battle with the Vikings, we had Lex investigating a catapult, fascinated with how it works. That little scenelet got cut from the script for time. But I still miss it.

Anyway, please feel free to post your own responses here on the episode. Both how you felt when you first saw it, and what strikes you now looking at it again.


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Steven writes...

Hay Greg,
I read you've been working on a few projects lately like Starship Troopers and Max Steel.But,would creating a new series from scratch be totally out of the question?
e.g. new plot, characters etc of your own....

Greg responds...

No. I've created many new series, as anyone who's attended the Gatherings and our Radio Plays can attest to. But selling those is another matter. I haven't (as yet) had any luck selling another new series.

Response recorded on February 09, 2000

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David writes...

Hey there Greg,

I just want to say first that the show Gargoyles is the best cartoon show ever and it´s also so much more than a cartoon show, thank you for making these shows!

Now for my quiestion: I don´t now much about the movie that is being made but I´ve been wanting to ask you, is it a cartoon or not? And also is about the Gargoyles story that is in all the shows about the Gargoyles or something else?

Thank you for your time.

P.S. Hey did you now that The Gargoyles have got fans here in my country(Iceland)? It´s a little island in Europe. Anyway it shows that the shows are great and will hopefully come some time again!(We can only hope!)

Greg responds...

I'm greatful for all our fans all over the world. Thanks for the kind words.

I really have nothing new to say about the movie, so you should check the "Live-Action Movie" archive for all my old responses.

But briefly, it's live action with CGI. And I can't tell you how closely they're sticking to our stories. I don't know if they have an approved script. But if they do, they have not shown it to me.

I'll try to get some more information in time for G2000 in Orlando.

Response recorded on February 09, 2000

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Zeliard writes...

Hi mr. Weisman!

1.Are you still in touch with Michael Reaves, Frank Paur and Laura Perrotta?

2.Do you know what they're doing now since Gargoyles was cancelled?

Greg responds...

I haven't seen or talked to Laura in some time. She left Gargoyles between the first and second season of the series to become an Associate Producer on SANTA BUGITO at Clasky-Czupo, I believe. I ran into her in a restaurant once since then, but that's it. I think she told me she had moved to Warners, but I can't remember.

I last talked to Frank, last summer. He was trying to get to the Gathering 99 and was having flight trouble. Instead of calling the Gathering staff, he kept leaving messages for me at my hotel room. I called him back at an airport payphone. He had just finished work on season two (three?) of SPAWN. I'm not sure what he's been doing since. Maybe more SPAWN?

Michael Reaves and I worked together fairly recently. He wrote a couple of the STARSHIP TROOPERS and one of the MAX STEEL scripts that I edited.

Response recorded on February 03, 2000

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Zeliard writes...

Hiya mr. Weisman!

This is a rather hard question, but did you know what episodes K. Davids, J. Frakes, S. Richardson and the other voice cast liked best?

Greg responds...

No. Sorry.

Did anyone ask Keith this question at the first Gathering?

Response recorded on January 25, 2000

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Greg "Xanatos" Bishansky writes...

At the first Gathering you had the BAD GUYS Leica reel, at 98 you had the NEW OLYMPIANS pitch, this year it was Dark Ages. What else can we expect for Gatherings in the future?

Greg responds...

That would be telling.

Response recorded on January 10, 2000

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Gathering Diary, Part Last

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.


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Gathering Diary, Part III

SATURDAY - (a.k.a. THE BIG ONE)

Well...

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:

Chris Marti
Jade Griffin
Thom Adcox
Stephen Sobotka
Regina McClendon
Lanny Fields
Sara Hutchinson
Robby Bevard
Loren McLaughlin
Don Martinez
Kara Metzger
Aaron Wheeler
Charles E. Calvert
Jennifer Anderson
Kythera Arevern
Dominick Fahrni
Anthony Zucconi
Matt Cooper
Stephen Zeber
Jimi Robinson
Heather Rice
Vanessa Wright
Abby Johnson

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.


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Gathering Diary, Part II

FRIDAY

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...)


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Ladies & Gentlemen...

WE'RE BACK!!

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.

THURSDAY
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...



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