J. Michael Straczynski Interview

Interview by various Usenet users - 1995

Why did you work on He-Man and the Masters of the Universe and She-Ra Princess of Power?

This may sound awful, but I kinda liked the show. I'd seen the first season, and just for the heck of it, wrote a spec script. Sent it to the producer. Cold. No agent, no contacts, no nuthin'. Got a call to go for a meeting. He commissioned a story. I wrote it. He bought it, commissioned a script, which was also bought (and produced). Wrote a second one a week later. Was then informed that their budget for freelance contributions was almost gone (foo!) but that I was welcome to come on staff for a weekly salary. This was my first offer of a staff gig, and I took it. And I've been on staff somewhere almost constantly since then, with only minor breaks.

What was it like working for Filmation?

Overall, I enjoyed the experience. I learned a lot, got to see nearly everything I wrote produced, learned how far I could push myself (writing a full script, from zero, no outline, in 24 hours...and this was before computers, just on an IBM Selectric). I tried in general to write stories that were more adult in nature...alternating those with comic episodes just for fun. (Favorite scene...two disgustingly cute elf-like folks asking Skeletor if he'd like a bowl of warm Spoo. Responding in a mimicking tone of voice...SKELETOR: "No, I don't want any SPOO! I *hate* Spoo. And I don't even know what Spoo IS!") Also got to re-write a lot of freelance scripts, there and on its sister-show (literally, in this case). Learned how to become a script doctor. Met Larry DiTillio (well, no experience is ever 100% great).

(Here's my very first conversation with Larry). I'd been working for about a week, and had not said about two words to Larry, despite the fact that he occupied the office directly across from mine. Finally, after turning in a script, I leaned in his door, and mentioned how relieved I was that the job was going so well, "At first, I didn't think I could do it." "I know what you mean," Larry said, "I didn't think you could do it either." At that moment, a lasting friendship was born.

Remind me sometime to tell you about the occasional wars we would declare on one another's offices, and the time he tried to burn down my office.) Point being, as I said in my I'm taking a break column that ran in Writer's Digest last month, no experience is ever wasted, and no writing is wasted writing provided that you learn, and grow more muscular, and become a better writer from the experience. 

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