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GATHERING OF THE GARGOYLES
SUNDAY AUGUST 23, 2009
Got up at 7:30, still a bit groggy, and got to the Hilton by 9AM. I spent the next hour wandering around and talking to a few attendees and friends (I apologize to you all, but I can't remember who right now).
At 10AM, I attended the panel on "'Gargoyles': the Production Process." I wish I had taken notes, because now I find I can barely remember much about that panel (maybe that's because I'm writing this fairly late in the day and coming down from my "Gathering High" as it were). I do remember a great deal of credit for how "Gargoyles" turned out was given to Jay Fukuto. I remember Greg W. and Frank Paur talking about how much they argued during the run of the show. Frank mentioning that the "team" Disney's marketing people said went to New York City for reference shots consisted solely of him and his camera. And Greg W. remarking yet again about the unreliability of focus testing. I think it was THIS panel (and if not, then it was the Writers' one) where Greg told the story of how the guys behind "Kim Possible" had to do focus testing THREE TIMES (each one about 6 weeks apart) before Disney TV would green light their show.
Next was the Production Process panel for "The Spectacular Spider-Man." And yes, right away we got to see some of the scenes that had to be cut for time. Apparently, the Chameleon DID try to break Beck and Mason out, but they were already gone. One thing that was highlighted was that an episode of SS-M had a much smaller budget than an episode of "Gargoyles." That was why the part of the Big Man/Tombstone had to be recast rather than having Keith David phone patched like on "Gargoyles." Also, a very large reason they were able to get away with so much was because they technically didn't have a network to deal with until the script and most of the animation was finished.
Next, I made the decision to go get lunch (a six-inch seafood sandwich from Subway) and take a look at some of the items in the Dealer's Room, then catch the last 45 minutes of the Composers' panel. I loved some of the artwork, especially the Disney Princesses as gargoyles, Wendy Pini's drawing of the clan, Jade Griffin's Gummi Goyles, and so many others. I also finally caught a look at all the merchandise on the back table. Damn. If I had just a *little* more disposable income...*sigh*.
Anyway, sat in on the last part of the Composers' panel, and kind of wished I could have seen the whole thing (especially after hearing other people talk about it). I at least made it in time to see the examples of clips from the SS-M, first with no music or sound effects (just voices), and then with the whole sound track. I will admit, I did not know how huge of an influence Shirley Walker was on music in the animation industry. Carl Johnson regrets not being able to personally score the scene in which Elisa is turned into a gargoyle (it was edited by Marc Perlman--whose name I hope I spelled right).
"Writing in Television Animation" was up next, with even more guests, including Michael Reaves who, due to his Parkinson's disease, had to speak through first Bob Skir, and then his daughter Mallory (who arrived a bit after him). Somehow, his wit and humor managed to still make it through. I remember asking if the panelists thought that animated action shows in recent years were moving more towards continuity between episodes (can't quite recall the full answer, though). There was some discussion of how Story Editors and/or Supervising Producers interact with writers of individual episodes. Someone brought up the rather small ratio of women writers to men writers for animated action shows (and how there seems to be more women writers for comedy and preschool shows). And...unfortunately I'm blanking on the rest right now.
I attended Wendy Pini's panel on "Adapting Stories From Novels to Film." In her case it was more about graphic novels, and she talked about the "ElfQuest" film that's in development right now. She had a great deal to say about the process of adaptation, and how different mediums call for different styles, especially in regards to pacing. I brought up the "CBS debacle," mostly because I never get tired of hearing the strange way TV executives think. Crispin Freeman and his wife were also there, largely as audience and support. I recall the subject of voice acting coming up, and Crispin saying that if he were to cast himself in it, he would *want* to be Cutter, but feels he would be a better fit for Rayak or Strongbow.
At the end of the panel, which was mostly about "ElfQuest" and other comic/graphic novel to film adaptations, Wendy mentioned that she had wanted to talk more about "Gargoyles."
A little while later was the Banquet. There was a lot of good food there (I particularly liked the garlic mashed potatoes, the salmon, and the cheese cake). For the guests at my table we had Crispin Freeman, his wife (no, unfortunately, I didn't catch her name) and Wendy Pini. They were great, and I felt I had some great conversations with both Crispin and Wendy. Among other things, I complimented Wendy on her drawing of the clan. I mentioned to Crispin that one of his characters has inspired an Internet meme (kind of a popular repeated phrase), which led to a fun story about how the sound engineer for that show had left a clip of Crispin's voice work (when his character was acting particularly crazy) on Crispin's answering machine!
After the meal, instead of a trivia contest, we did a final Q&A with all the guests. Strangely enough, most of the questions were directed at Greg Weisman. It was at about this time that Thom Adcox FINALLY arrived and helped himself to some dinner (I forgot to mention, he was also late to the Blue Mug on Saturday...and he brought one of his dogs, practically derailing the whole thing with its cuteness).
After that, everyone left to prepare for the Masquerade and Dance. On his way out, Crispin Freeman mentioned his voice acting workshops and that one is next month. If I can gather enough funds, I intend to attend.
While waiting for the Masquerade to begin, I spoke at length with Greg Bishansky, and eventually Landon, Matt, Harvester of Eyes, Ben Diskin, and Lucas McLain (not all at the same time, of course). Mostly we just talked about the developments of the comic, aspects of the con, and how cool the guests were.
This year's Masquerade was small, but there were some very nice costumes. I really liked Aaron's Jackal (I especially loved his "cyber-eye"), and...that blue thing (AARRGH, what was his name!). King Arthur gave a great Shakespearean style speech (AWAY from the judges, unfortunately), and Zehra looked INCREDIBLE as Shari. Of course the "AWWW" cute moment was Jade Griffin (as Fox) carrying out her baby, who was dressed in Alexander's Halloween costume (and man, that kid loved to crawl!).
We also got to see some music videos, including one by Greg Bishansky which made a medley of the themes to SS-M and "Gargoyles." The funniest one was "Poor Unfortunate Souls" from "Little Mermaid"...with Puck singing Ursula and (of all people) DEMONA as Ariel!
Well, the awards were given out, and people began dancing (well, some anyway, the rest of us just talked or went to bed). I asked Greg who he felt should voice Peredur (Jude Law) and who he wanted to voice Falstaff (John Goodman, initially, but maybe more British...). I shook hands with Keith David and mentioned how sad I was that this was the last Gathering. "You never know," he said. And he's right. Who can say what the future holds? I, for example, hope to act alongside him someday.
At 11PM I made my way back home and tried to get a decent 7 hours of sleep.
My fourth and final con-journal...will be posted tomorrow. Right now, I'm too close to sleep to make a truly coherent entry.
I'm feeling all nostalgic...
So, a multi-part question!
Having done the final Gathering on a seriously tight budget, I was unable to get the 3 comic volumes (Clan Building vol 1 and 2, and Bad Guys) which I really wanted copies of to have you sign. Now, as far as my limited knowledge goes, I feel I've lost my opportunity.
My questions are: Is there a way I can purchase signed copies directly from you? If not, is there a way to get you to sign the copies I do purchase?
I don't sell this stuff -- except at the rare convention appearance, like CONvergence.
But you can read my response to the previous question or come see me at Comic-Con. (I'm at the SLG booth most every year.)
Hey! Loved meeting you at the Gathering these last two days. My sister, however, has a conundrum. She was unable to get the books while we were at Con, and she really wants them signed by you. Is there anyway that, after she gets the books, she could mail them to you (with a self addressed, stamped, return package included, of course), and you could sign them for her?
I'm afraid, I can't give out my home address to strangers. If you know someone on the constaff and want to mail it to him or her and have him or her mail it to me, then the S.A.S.E. thing works, I suppose.
I didn't know it until a few weeks ago, but I'm a pretty big fan of your work (Buzz Lightyear of Star Command, The Big Guy and Rusty the Boy Robot, The Batman, Men in Black: The Series, Gargoyles and the Spectacular Spider-Man).
I was very excited last year when The Spectacular Spider-Man premiered on the CW, and I thought the first season was beyond fantastic.
I have a few questions for you and I hope you don't answering them.
First off, I've noticed that there seems to be a lot of doubt and uncertainty regarding future seasons, is there anything we as fans can do to help?
I'd hate for tSSM to die like the last spider-man series I enjoyed (Spider-Man Unlimited; which while heavily panned I enjoyed greatly.)
(Then again my opinion may be tainted being that I just a younger kid while that was still on the air;but I digress)
How long does it take to produce one episode, and a complete season?
What kind of animation is being used? Traditional pen and paper? Computer? or Hybrid?
Why is the airing of season two in the US being delayed? I just noticed that the next episode has been delayed until October 5th; which adds two months in between episodes.
What is your stance on creating original characters for the series? I do believe that every character has appeared in the comics in some form, and I'm just curios as to see whether you'd consider creating any new characters.
Will the series get any "darker" in tone and style as in progresses? Or will it remain mostly up-beat?
Would the series adapt the One More Day/Brand New Day (the greatest Spider-Man FAIL ever in my opinion) If the series were to continue that long?
Next to last, I'm starting to view tSSM as a series not unlike Batman Tas; that being said, do you thing tSSM could become the starting point for animated series based on other Marvel comics Characters; not unlike the way Batman Tas "spawned" Superman:Tas, Batman Beyond, Static Shock, Justice League, etc.?
So Basically, Is tSSM to Marvel as Batman: tas was to D.C.?
And lastly, I've read several times that there won't be any cross-over with characters from other parts of the marvel universe because you don't have the rights to them. IF you had access to any Marvel character(s) in the Marvel Universe, would you have cross overs and what kind of cross overs would you have?
You hope I don't answer them? Hmmm....
1. See the archives.
2. It takes between eight to ten months from start to finish to produce an episode, add a week or two per additional episodes and you'll get the total time for the season.
3. It's cel animation, but with computerized color and a few toon-shaded computerized elements, like vehicles or the occasional building.
4. I think they saved the later episodes for sweeps.
5. We made the decision early on not to have any original characters.
6. It is what it is.
7. I liked Mr. Negative a lot.
8. I'd be all for it, but no one's asked me.
9. Check the archives.
GATHERING OF THE GARGOYLES
SATURDAY AUGUST 22, 2009
I'm glad I don't have to get up at 4:50AM every day. I wanted to give the dog a fairly long walk that morning because I knew I wouldn't have time that evening.
I got to the Hilton at a little after 9AM and signed up for Josh Keaton's Mug-A-Guest (I had considered Keith David's, but that was already full). Josh was cool, and I'm not just saying that because we share the same first name (and I finally learned how they avoided confusion when both he and Josh Lebar are working on the same day). One thing both he and Ben Diskin had in common, they both started acting at a very young age (3 for one, 6 for another), largely because they already had some family member in the business. I mention this only because I'm around the same age as them and I'm still trying to break into the darn business.
After another bagel for lunch, I attended Crispin Freeman's "Anime Mythology" panel on "Knights and Dragons." Being a dragon fanboy, this one was a joy. I had already known about the differences between so-called Western and Eastern dragons, but this was the first time I heard somebody actually analyze what these creatures say about the cultures they sprang from, and how they influence their respective media. I was surprised when he pointed out how a difference in dialogue between the Japanese script and the English dub of "Spirited Away" showcased this difference. I was also pleasantly surprised when he brought up "Vision of Escaflowne" as one of his favorite animes (it's one of mine, too!).
After this, I attended BOTH voice acting panels. The "Gargoyles" one was special not for the number of guests it had, but because it was the first one attended by Marina Sirtis, the voice of Demona herself. Of course, there were also Greg Weisman, Jamie Thomason, Thom Adcox (naturally), Keith David (with his GREAT laugh) and, a little later on, Elisa Gabrielli. I got to ask a question (or rather series of questions) that I usually put to all the voice actors at these things: "What episode/scene was the most challenging/fun/fulfilling?" Greg W. reminded me that the series was 15 YEARS AGO, so that might be a difficult question to answer. But Marina had no trouble stating what annoyed her the most: "The effing impact grunts." I learned something very important in that panel: if you do something she does not like, she will throw Jolly Ranchers at you. And Thom stated, yet again, his reasons for why he did not care for the Avalon world tour arc: largely, that he wasn't in most of those episodes (in his own words, "Avalon SUCKS!"). Well, that'll teach him to go out and buy a new car. Keith got to say a couple of his favorite lines ("I've been denied everything..."), though not with as much volume as I'm sure he would have liked. Also, Marina and Greg have two different versions of how she was cast as Demona (she maintains she came in on two separate days, he says it was just the one). There was also the story of how Jonathan Frakes was briefly fired by Greg's bosses because the cast recorded at a hell-hole of a studio. It was great fun.
So was the "Spectacular Spider-Man" panel. There were...a LOT of voice actors for this one, including a few who overlapped from the "Gargoyles" panel. In fact, there were so many that I couldn't help but feel that there weren't enough questions to properly involve all of them. I thought the revelation that Daran Norris needed two microphones when he was recording both the Jamesons (because J. Jonah is SO LOUD) was fascinating. I asked those who did multiple voices what their process was for differentiating them. Phil Lamarr talked about the difficulty of making two voices (those of the Robertsons) sound distinct and yet related (something Daran Norris had to figure out, too), while Steve Blum mentioned that he just had so many voices in his head that he needed the work to get them out.
I forgot to mention that, in between the panels, I went to check on the cast for the radio play. Since EVERY ONE of the voice guests said yes, there were only a handful of roles for the fans. I was quite happy to get one of them, and after the panels, the rehearsal began.
It was a Gathering-Original script. A crossover between "Gargoyles" and the "Spectacular Spider-Man" written to take full advantage of ALL 16 GUESTS who said they would do it. I was quite surprised to find that I was cast as Zaphiro (a character with a Spanish accent!). We only had enough time to run through the 78-page script (that's FEATURE LENGTH) once, and then a quick break before the beginning of the radio play.
It was a BLAST! The script was full of in-jokes (a lot of them breaking the fourth wall), but even managed to pack in an excellent bit of drama. But no where else will you hear Lexington mention porn on the internet, or hear Demona refer to Elisa as Goliath's "human whore." Steve Blum talked to himself, as did Thom Adcox (I hoped people picked up on the slight difference between Lexington and Tinkerer--and I loved when Lex mentioned Homunculus #5's annoying voice--said Homunculus ALSO voiced by Thom). For my part, aparantly I managed to pull off the Spanish accent well enough. Elisa Gabrielli was kind enough to offer me some pointers on a particular line of Spanish (yeah, I also had a few words and lines entirely in Spanish).
At the end I got kudos from many fans, and even a few of the pros.
I had really wanted to attend the panel on "Rope Bondage 101" but I needed to hurry back to my canine charge to feed him his evening meal if I wanted to make it back in time for the Blue Mug. I just barely managed to make it, and got to ask one question that I felt was appropriate given that this was the last Blue Mug: how it all got started. The short answer is it grew out of the regular Mug-A-Guest when they wanted to keep that family-friendly. Anyway, about an hour in, Greg had to hit the bathroom, and that bastard Edmund Tsabard seized the opportunity to come in and make the Blue Mug about "Blue Mug Productions." The one thing I got from his section of the panel was that if you want the smut, you have to "SPEND THE MONEY!" All I can say about the third page of "Last Tengu in Paris" is, "GREAT GOOGLEY MOOGLEY!" Anyway, about an hour later, after the questions dried up, Edmund left and Greg FINALLY came back. Unfortunately, it was about 11PM and I had to get back to my friend's house to be there to greet him and give over care of the dog. He came in at 1AM, and I was back in my own home and asleep by about 2AM.
Joshua, I just want to thank you again. We cast you as Zafiro cuz we knew you could handle it (accent and all). And you totally pulled it off.
OF A SORT
Never having truly posted to this site before (or any other for that matter) I thought that now would be an appropriate time to speak of the Gathering. I wonât bore you with memories like the look and grief I gave my brother (a PhD in Bio-chem.) who told me about a really well written Disney cartoon and the humble pie I ate after watching the first show. Or the joy my oldest daughter experienced after asking a question of Keith David at the 2001 con and he responded by giving his famous line âIâve been denied everything, even my REVENGE.â Caiti was 8 at the time. Or of how my youngest daughter, Ally, started watching Gargoyles when she was 2 and became instantly enraptured with Lexington. Then heard his voice 2 years later in the dealerâs room, shouted out âItâs Lexingtonâ and ran over to hug a complete and somewhat startled stranger (Thanks for being so understanding, both then and now, Thom). Orâ¦but I digress.
And so, as per Gregâs request, and with apologies to W.S.:
Why so sad, coz?
This is the time call'd the Gathering of Gargoyles.
And he or she that shares this meet, and comes safe home,
Will stand a tip-toe when this time is nam'd,
And rouse at the name of Gargoyles.
He that shares this time, and sees old episodes,
Will yearly on the vigil recount to his clan,
And say âTis the time of the Gathering.'
Then will he bring out his memories and show his photos,
And say 'These friends I met and these moments I had on this day.'
The old forget; yet all shall be forgot,
But he'll remember, with advantages,
What adventures he had that day. Then shall our names,
Familiar in his mouth as household words-
Greg the Creator, Keith, Salli and Thom,
Michael and Marina, Bill, Ed and Jeff-
Be in their flowing cups freshly rememb'red.
This story shall the good man teach his clan;
And the time of Gathering shall ne'er go by,
From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be remembered-
We few, we happy few, we clan of brothers;
For he or she to-day that shares this time with me
Shall be my brother; be he or she ne'er so far,
This day shall bring them near;
And those who stayed away
Shall think themselves accurs'd they were not here,
And hold themselves cheap whiles any speaks
That Gathered on this final meet.
Thanks for the memoriesâ"may there be many more to follow.
(Hey, Greg's not the only one who can borrow from Shakespeare)
I LOVE THAT!!! Thanks...
GATHERING OF THE GARGOYLES
FRIDAY AUGUST 21, 2009
Well, Greg, you asked for the con-journals to be posted. And here I am at home with the evening ahead of me, so I may as well oblige. I will be writing largely from memory, so I apologize in advance to anyone whom I may forget.
My day started fairly early--about 5AM. This was because I was house/dog-sitting for a friend. This overlapped with the first two days of the Gathering, so I had to juggle my responsibilities with the convention. That meant getting up early enough to give the dog a good, long walk and feed him before heading off to the Gathering (and this is a BIG dog, with a LOT of energy, who does NOT like being left alone).
At any rate, I managed to make it to the registration desk at a little before 10AM, and apparently became the first attendee to receive my badge! I spent the first 2 or so hours just wandering around and meeting both old friends (like Greg Bishansky) and folk I had only met online (like Harvester of Eyes).
At 12PM (after munching a bagel with cream cheese for lunch), I attended the "Drawing Comics" panel hosted by Karine Charlebois. It was an informative look at translating Greg's comic scripts to a page in a comic book. This included:
-having to turn a one-panel scene with TWO actions in the script into two separate panels.
-the importance of character positioning during dialogue.
-keeping track of where everyone is during a battle sequence (even to the point of having a map of the area so you will know where the "camera" is facing at any given time).
-the differences in layout between American comics and European comics.
After that, I really wanted to attend the "Machiavelli on 'Gargoyles'" panel, but I had too many other things to do. For starters, I had to audition for the Radio Play. True to the nature of the radio play itself, the audition sides contained BOTH "Gargoyles" and "Spectacular Spider-Man" sides. I had considered reading Brooklyn (my favorite garg), but I decided that others could do the "heroic-snarker" role better than myself, so I chose a more extreme character: the Green Goblin. The audition sheet also asked if one was capable of imitating a Spanish/Hispanic accent (I marked "No"), and if one was capable of emitting a "Ghoul Shriek" (I marked "Yes").
One fun audition and shriek later, I ducked into the Dealer's Room to pick up a copy of "Clan-Building: Vol. II." I read the darn thing until 3PM when it was time for Ben Diskin's Mug-A-Guest, which I had signed up for.
Ben Diskin is a great guy; very approachable, easy going, with a great sense of humor. He had a number of funny stories, including a voice session for "Kids Next Door" where Tom Kenny played Santa Claus (and went a *little* off book while the director and engineers weren't listening). I have to agree with Greg B., though--it's amazing that Venom's voice comes from such a skinny guy!
After heading out to Rubio's on CityWalk for a little dinner (and finishing CB:V2), I returned to the hotel and waited for Opening Ceremonies, which were running a little late. Thus, I spent the time talking with several people, such as Greg B., Phoenician, Lucas McLain (I'm sorry, I can't remember your net name!), Guardian, Matt, and others I'm forgetting, I'm sure.
Opening ceremonies were great. There was, of course, a bit of sadness that this would be the last one. On the plus side, since this WAS the last one, Greg Weisman and the members of the staff (OTHER THAN Jen Anderson and Patrick Toman), decided to break the rule that staff members could not be "Fan Guest of Honor" and gave that distinction to both Jen and Patrick for their YEARS of work to keep the Gathering going and "Gargoyles" alive.
Greg did his usual spiel about how "Gargoyles" came to be, and showed the videos he had shown for Opening Ceremonies over the years. Now, as I understand it, for the past few Gatherings, Greg would show one video one year (one version of the pitch, one version of the promo), and would show its counterpart the next year (for variety). This year, being the last, he showed them ALL! So I got to see at least one video I had not seen before: a version of the pitch read by Jim Cummings, and with some artwork not seen in the other version (the one on the first season DVD set). After these, the reconstructed "Dark Ages" and "New Olympians" pitches, and the "Bad Guys" leica reel, we saw the fan constructed animatic for the "Team Atlantis" episode, "The Last." A great deal of progress has been made since 2006 (my previous Gathering), with only a few blank spots left to fill (and it sounds like work will continue on it, with or without the Gathering). Watching the videos was kind of bittersweet, since I don't know when I'll be able to see them again.
Inevitably, Opening Ceremonies ended, and I made my way back to my friend's house to walk and feed the dog and try to get a few hours of sleep.
Wow, it seems so long ago already...
"Do gargoyles suffer from gargoyle-specific illnesses or handicaps?"
Not many. Stone sleep goes a long way toward heeling or curing.
Well I finally got my copy of Clan Building 2 last week; it was weird, even though I'd been waiting MONTHS to read this, when I had the book in my hands I wasn't in that much of a rush to read it. Maybe subconciously I was registering that this would be the last few stories of Gargoyles that I would read for some time. :(
Anyway, I have to say when I did read it I loved it, couldn't put it down.
Just one question (for now at least):
As of 1994 (or "Awakening part 4") did Demona remember her encounter with "the gargoyle of the sword" back in 997? If so, how did she reconcile it with Brooklyn waking up in 1994 after being put under the sleep spell?
I have to say, I loved the 997 arc btw; thought it was brilliant. Especially loved the end pages of #12; finally we get to see Katana, Nashville (or Gnash as he likes to call himself) and Fu-Dog (& not to mention Egwardo) after all these years.
It was also a surprise seeing Coldstone and Coldfire rejoin the clan.
On the whole loved the book; here's hoping for more soon.
Yes, she remembered. She must have put SOME of it together. And it may be why she chose Brooklyn in "Temptation".
Since we now call them "Beasts," if you could, would you change the line in "Awakening 1" from "I see you've met our Watch-dog..." to something like "I see you've met our Beast..." ?
No. To Goliath, it is -- and always was -- a metaphor.