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Hey Greg, got two questions for you
1. How did you meet Brandon Vietti?
2. I ask because I'm a big of the DCAU, how did Rich Fogel get involved with the series?
1. Brandon and I met a couple times when I was at Sony and when I was freelancing for WB. But, honestly, we really didn't meet for real until Sam Register teamed us up to develop a new series for WB Animation. (That series was a Green Lantern series that was never made, followed by a Space Ghost series that was never made, before we finally were assigned to Young Justice.)
2. Rich and I go way back to my Disney days. He and Mark Seidenberg were partnered up, editing Gummi Bears. We've kept in touch, on and off, over the years. And more recently, we were both staff writers on Shimmer & Shine. I truly loved the Shimmer & Shine writing staff (Stephanie Simpson, Dustin Ferrer, Kevin Hopps, Cisco Paredes, Andrew Blanchette and Rich), so when YJ started up again I tried to get everyone to write an episode for Season Three and/or Four. Stephanie and Dustin haven't had the time, but the rest have all pitched in for an episode or two. (Of course, Kevin was already a YJ writer.)
What has it been like to work on so many different show that so many people remember fondly?
What was your favorite show to work on out of all of them?
1. It's very cool, honestly. Though, if I'm being even more honest, I do wish that I'd been able to make more of fewer series than so many different series.
2. Choosing between my "children" is not something I tend to do. Ultimately, I truly enjoyed working on Gargoyles, WITCH, The Spectacular Spider-Man and Young Justice as a writer-producer. And although it was never "my" show, the writing team on Shimmer & Shine were such great people, that I truly loved working with them on it.
I'll begin by saying I loved Shimmer and Shine's Season 2 episode 1. Namely because I already took a fancy to Season 1 and so enjoyed how this episode played on the norms of the previous Season while also establishing its own, like for example how it acknowledges Shimmer and Shine's mistake making tendencies while also establishing that they don't make as many as they did before. Zac getting to be "in the know" about the genies for real (and with no take-backsies) was also pretty cool.
Kaz, a boy genie, the first since that one older genie merchant in a Season 1 episode's opener, if I recall correctly, was also a great addition a few episodes later, as were Zeta and Nazboo (how I have lived my like without Nazboo up until that point, I'll never know; everyone needs a Nazboo in their lives) and Princess Samira in that same Season premiere.
Though things on that front are likely set in stone, I will say that the only things I wish that Season had more of (from what I've seen; I need to watch the episodes that have aired since they came back from their last break) is Zac. Zac was a unique kind of starlight in the Season 1 episodes, whether it be in a secondary plot of his, like with that crab early on, or in a primary one, and it is this spark, shown clearly in the first episode of Season 2, that makes it so gratifying for him to finally be let in on the secret, and gain a genie and lamp of his very own (and boy has Zac earned it!). With that in mind, the fact that he's almost never around anymore (from the episodes I've seen thus far, at least) really kind of dims some of the show's starlight, at least from my outside-of-target-audience perspective.
The general lack of Kaz (clever naming scheme by the way) has similar issues for me, since when he is around, he makes for a wonderful contrast to the more extroverted Shimmer and Shine.
Lastly, I don't think Rocket has shown up at all. That is down right "criminal", namely 'cause I like him, he's cute, his interactions with everybody is always some form of awesome, and everyone else, bar Kaz, having a pet, particularly the new Samira and Zeta, makes the lack of Rocket almost feels like it was purposeful. It definitely makes it more noticeable for me.
With that said, here are a few questions for you:
1.) Was it taken into account that Zac already met Shimmer and Shine in the previous Season's Halloween episode (A Very Genie Halloweenie) when he meets them again in Season 2's first episode, or was that just an oversight?
2.) Who came up with the idea of Zeta's, Nazboo's, Kaz's, and Samira's characters, especially Nazboo and Kaz's?
3.) Similarly, who came up with the general change in story direction? Actually getting to see Zahramay Falls was a simple stroke of genius, and I've read from a production website that talked about upcoming and current cartoons under its name that Season 3 will go even beyond Zahramay Falls. Just wondering who's to thank for that?
4.) Will we ever see the "real" world again in the episodes and Season to come?
5.) More personal opinion, but do you agree/disagree that we, generally speaking, need more Nazboo in our lives? :D
Well, thank you for your time. A lot of folks love you for some of everything else you've worked on, and here I am talking to you about Shimmer and Shine. I hope you don't mind too much.
And now, for the long wait for a hopeful answer, with the additional hope that I won't end up overlooking it when/if it does come. It has just dawned on me that, as of the time of this writing, you're still on late August...
I don't want to claim for an instant to be the final word on Shimmer and Shine. That was not my role on the show.
Zac and Kaz, I believe have plenty of appearances over the course of the two seasons I worked on (i.e. Seasons Two and Three). I also fought to bring Rocket back, and... well, NO SPOILERS.
1. I'm sorry, I can't remember. I'm so immersed in YJ right now, it's pushed other things out of my head. And I came on staff after the season two premiere of S&S was written.
2. Again, I came aboard after they were already a part of the show, but I'd guess it was some combination of second season story editor Stephanie Simpson and series creator Farnaz Esnaashari-Charmatz.
3. Stephanie, I believe made the initial suggestion. Then she and Farnaz worked it out with staff writer Dustin Ferrer and others on the series. Again, all just before my time.
3a. The direction for Season Three sounds like spoiler territory, so I'm not going to spoil.
4. No spoilers.
5. I do. Yes. Indeed, I do.
Well, I'm answering December questions in March. That's some improvement, anyway.
Now that Rain of the ghosts is done, what next big/not-so-big project should we expect next? Are you looking to present a new IP to the big studio-execs or go through the hassle of kickstarter again?
I'm never doing Kickstarter again.
Right now, I'm working at Nick Jr. on Shimmer and Shine, and for Scholastic and Blizzard on World of Warcraft: Traveler.
5. It seems like you say books and TV sort of go atop everything else as far as entertainment goes. I'm sure it's been asked before, but I'm interested in what you're watching right now (or when I wrote this), specifically within the realm of animation. The animation I'm watching right now would be Korra, Gravity Falls, and, well Star Wars Rebels. Do you have any interest or attachment to any of these (aside from SWR of course)? I'm particularly interested in your thoughts on Avatar because I connected to it hugely when I must have been only seven or eight so I have a huge attachment to it. But I would be interested to hear about what TV you watch in general, at the time I wrote this, or when you answer this, whichever you want to answer. Perhaps just from recent months?
Thanks a bunch, I'm really interested to hear your responses to these questions.
I loved Avatar, The Last Airbender. Watched it with my son. I want to see Korra, but my son is now in college, so it'll have to wait until his vacations.
I keep up with Star Wars Rebels, and I still love the series, even though I have nothing to do with the second season.
I still watch the Simpsons.
I'm watching the first season of Shimmer & Shine, though I'm only working on Season Two. But I want to see what they did.
And that's pretty much it, animation-wise. I think because I work in animation all day, every day, I'm a bit burned out on it. So I'm mostly watching only live action stuff.