A lot of your questions and more can be answered by listening to Masterscast Episode 25 in which the gang interviewed me. (I had an awful lot of fun doing it.) But I'll answer your questions here anyway.
I was sitting at home one day when Mark Taylor -- who now runs Nickelodeon but then ran Jetlag for Jean Chalopin -- calls me up and says, "Jack, I've got an assignment for you. I need you to write a Series Bible (about ninety pages) and a five-parter for The New Adventures of He-man." I answer, "Great." Then Mark tells me the only catch is I have to do it all in a month. Mark and I worked together for many years at DIC, so he knew (and knows) I'm a madmad when it comes to writing. My present production company is named 24/7 Productions.
I blasted it out, we got a pick-up from Mattel for 65 episodes and I wrote thirty-seven episodes -- from story springboards to beat outlines, two and three drafts for each episode -- in seventeen weeks. It was a pretty amazing time, but not something I'd like to go through again. Add the fact that I story-edited a number of other episodes and you can imagine what I was like by the time I attended the premier.
As for storyboards, I reviewed and made suggestions on every page of every storyboard for every episode I wrote. It was great experience and helps me now, many years later, as I find myself directing my own film, Ninja Knights: When Warrior Worlds Collide. (Sorry for the shameless plug.)
Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas to you and to all. As I've often said, one of the great blessings in my life is being able to participate in he-man.org.
Last edited by Heeeere's Olesker!; December 26, 2007 at 08:38pm.
Basically, it's a crap shoot. If a series clicks they pull in mega-bucks -- think Pokemon and Power Rangers. In the case of N/A, I'd bet Mattel never came remotely close to breakeven....which saddens me.
That's because Gleep was never made, and we all know he's the star of the show. I was watching the episode where he was piloting the ship for the scientists, and he's hilarious. And he was great when he had to wait on Skeletor and Flogg.
RobCaptain Picard:So...five card stud, nothing wild...and the sky's the limit.
I've said in other posts that I wasn't crazy about the scientists...even though I created them. But upon reflection I think it was their voices that threw me off. I'd conceived them to be comic relief and in that regard they worked pretty well -- my eight-year old loves them. But the voices...
Thank you for your posts. They're much appreciated. I've always been a huge fan of female empowerment in entertainment...and in life. She-ra was certainly waaaaaaay ahead of the curve. But even today, with the exception of a few examples, there seems to be a dearth of strong female characters in animation. I'd like to see much more. In Ninja Knights -- the film I'm directing and for which I wrote the screenplay -- Princess Sirida is a powerful twelve-year old Viking princess and I have a lot of fun with her strong character and great and well-deserved self-confidence.
Hi Jack, I've got a question for you that might've already been asked but I can't recall reading it.
What parameters were given to you when you were given the NA project? When Mattel hired you, what did they ask you to do with the series? For instance, were you told to take He-Man and Skeletor away from Eternia and the rest of the Masters or did you decide to do that yourself?
I've never seen this series, but I just want to say that I think it's swell of you to open yourself up to the fans and offer to answer their questions. That's a gift that most fans of series, comics, films, etc. just don't get to receive. Thank you for opening up your "vault", and for answering 10 pages of questions so far. You're a good man!
Muppet fans, if you like Janice of The Electric Mayhem, check out: Janice: "Fer sure!"
Thank you for your kind words. I'm pleased that my being on the forum has made many fans happy, allowed others to vent and perhaps brought a smile and an occasional laugh to some. (In today's world, I believe we need all the smiles and laughter we can get.)
I'll confess -- as I have in other posts -- that when I first appeared here a year and a half ago, I had some concerns that, having created N/A, I might be drawn and quartered by a mob of loyal MOTU fans. I was relieved to learn that in the expanse of time most fans forgave me (and, to a degree, Mattel) for pulling He-man away from his friends and family on Eternia. As most N/A fans now know, I'd hoped to return He-man to Eternia in Season Two, but it was not to be and, of course, I felt it was a mistake not to tell MOTU fans that upfront.
It's been a delight for me to see some (understandably) formerly irate MOTU fans view the N/A DVDs, judge it on its own merits -- and shortcomings -- and come to enjoy it. I don't expect everyone to like it, but I do so appreciate when fans at least give it a chance. It was an honor for me to work on an incarnation of one of the greatest franchises in television history, made so by the towering talents of Lou and Larry and Robby and Joe and all those amazingly creative individuals who came before me. I, we all owe them so much for the entertainment they have provided us with over the years.
As I've also said in other posts, the really lucky one here is me. Writing is such a solitary existence -- many times I'm at my computer for ten, fourteen or more hours a day. And it's just me and the characters of my imagination. And then, if I'm very fortunate, the show goes on the air. But even though it may be seen by millions of viewers, I rarely get input and interaction. (I do envy theater performers and singers who have that immediate interaction with their fans.) So for me to get the chance to interact with articulate, intelligent and incisive fans of the genre has been an amazing experience. Doing the Masterscast Episode 25 interview with Jon, Martin and Rainbow Brite (who shall forever be so named for me) was one of the high points of this writer's career.
So, for Byron and everyone else -- right back at-cha! Thanks for letting me be here. Thanks for giving me your feelings about N/A -- the good, the bad and the ugly -- and, most of all, thanks for the camaraderie. For any writer -- and surely for this one -- it's a blessing beyond measure.
I just wanna join all the others in saying you're welcome here and we appreciate your openness and willingness to communicate with the fans and the haters alike. This is by far the best message board I've ever been a part of, and there's a true since of good will here than can't be beat, very much in the spirit of the He-Man brand.
I just wanna say that when I first heard of/saw the New Adventures of He-Man pics and story summary on the internet, I didn't like the way it seemed to look at all. But after some investigation, and opening my mind and heart, the volume 1 DVD set is in the mail and I anxiously await what I find therein. In all honesty, this was a brave direction to take the character in and I commend you for taking that chance. What many MOTU fans fail to realize or just refuse to admit is that the original MOTU brand had faded out of popularity, or else the old show would have still been on come the early nineties. I believe that such a set of circumstances necessitated He-Man's Flash Gordon-esque New Adventures.
I'd also like to add that I think Mattel is much more responsible than you are for the demise of the brand. The direction they took with the New Adventures toys was just unappealing in every way, and had they been as well done as the original MOTU toys, I think your show would have been on the air for at least another two seasons, because if kids don't like what they see in the toy isle, then it's hard to imagine them caring enough to watch the movie/cartoon the toy's based upon. As we all know, it's a very symbiotic relationship.
I would also like you to know that I and a friend of mine have nearly completed work on a New Adventures He-Man custom action figure done in the modern style. As soon as it's done I'll be sure to send you some pictures. We both realized the visual merit of the New Adventures He-Man design and just went wild with it, can't wait to hear what you think.
Till then, I can't wait to see the show, and I'd just like to say thank you for everything and above all, your humble appearance on this site, it means a lot to all of us, N/A fan or otherwise. "You are a brave warrior, Jack, a master of the universe!" lol God bless.
i know im late to the party but were can one buy the NA seasons on dvd? i still have the vhs tape of the NA movie. well the origin or setting up of the story were he-man goes to primus. i was unaware that this was out for sale.
also how many seasons did it run? i do like the NA thought it had lots of potential. thank you for any help
sweet thats awesome,, thank you
To answer your question, the decision to take He-man and Skelly away from Eternia was Mattel's and it was made before I came on board. (As you'll see in The New Adventures of He-man 1990 Annual thread, from about post 28 on, I had planned to return them, along with a few mutants, to Eternia in Season Two.) From a marketing standpoint, I understand it. They felt the action figures had reached saturation level -- how many He-man's and Man-at-arms can you buy? They wanted to create a new toy-line and even a toy-line with a different size action figure so you'd have to buy all new figures to play with them. They rolled the dice. If they were right, people would have called them geniuses. As it turned out...
Mattel made a formal presentation to me of the entire toy line. I was advised that there would be two waves. I was told I could use whatever characters I wanted -- regardless of when the figures would be released -- but that they would appreciate me giving more initial weight to the first wave. I understood this from a business point of view and I endeavored to respect that.
I was free to create whatever histories and backgrounds I wanted for each character and I did that in the series bible -- i.e., there was nothing about where they came from or their interrelationships in their presentation to me. They simply showed me the toy line. for instance, The Running of the Herd (one of my personal favorite episodes) happened because I created the entire backstory and history for Sagitaur. All I was shown in the presentation was the action figure, They told me I could do anything with him that I wanted -- which is probably the greatest aphrodisiac any writer could possibly be given. And, again, I have to say that after all these years that I truly do love them for that -- and I don't use that word too often when it comes to toy companies -- because by giving me that freedom they allowed me to create an episode (and many other episodes, btw) that I am proud of even today. I apologize if that sounds immodest, but you have to realize that it's pretty rare that a writer is given that sort of freedom and, thus, I have an enduring sense of gratitude toward all who granted it to me.
Master Sebrian and Mara were my own creations, as were the Gleanons and the Mites. I will say that Kaaren Lee Brown and Debra Galliani at Mattel were a joy to work with. Of course we all had a long history and I had developed numerous series for Mattel by that point. But I respected them so much for letting me run with creating the series pretty much as I wanted.
I've said before that I feel the series wasn't a huge success because we didn't let everyone know we (or at least I) were planning on returning to Eternia in Season Two. Still, remember that those were the days of syndicated television. We produced sixty-five episodes, of which I wrote thirty seven...in seventeen weeks! A season for a Saturday morning series is thirteen episodes. So our sixty-five episodes essentially came out to five seasons of a Saturday morning series -- something missed by a lot of folks. That Mark Taylor -- then at Jetlag but now running Nickelodeon Animation in Burbank -- was able to achieve this was nothing short of astounding...but then he's Mark Taylor.
Last edited by Heeeere's Olesker!; May 26, 2008 at 09:21pm.
thats pretty sweet that they let u have control of backgrounds and stuff for characters. i was so happy when that first came out , he-man had returned , and i loved the fact that it was completely ridiculous at times IE: he-man haveing the power to turn into tornado or superman breath?: and no gaint bunny bad guys like in the funmation series tho i loved that as a kid now i find it hard to watch some episodes with out laughing out loud,
i wish that your story had continued , i also cant beilve i missed that it was out on dvd already
oh ya i was wondering why you decided to draw he-man as the 2nd or 3rd one released from toy line?
not that its a big thing but if i remember right the first one released was the one with green sword and shield and a gold helmet and chest plate under the chest plate he had some sort of ormor over one shoulder. but the one in shows had just a belt for sword worn across chest?correct? and i think that was either the 2nd or 3rd version of he-man they released?
again no big thing just curious thank you
Last edited by Leoghan; May 27, 2008 at 07:12pm. Reason: another question
N/A only ran for one season, but there were sixty-five episodes...of which I wrote thirty-seven and story-edited most of the others (he said a bit immodestly). When you realize that a Saturday morning series had thirteen episodes in a season, those sixty-five episodes compute out to five seasons.
I hope you enjoy the series.
I don't really have any questions about the series, Jack, but I did want to go on record saying I loved the portrayal of Skeletor. I always thought of him as a bit of a smartass myself.
Sometimes you gotta dance with the Devil, but when you do, don't let him lead.
Jack, if we get some NA characters in the new Classics toy line, which character would you like to be made first?
Seriously, I vote for Crita because she's a compelling, complex character. I've always liked villains more than heroes -- give me Darth over Luke, J.R. Ewing over Bobby, The Green Goblin over Spidey any day. What I like about Crita is that she isn't the top dog, but she plans to be. Ambition and greed are wonderful character traits for a writer to work with. Plus she's got such a great 'bad girl' side to her. (Can't you just hear her giving a husky coo of, "You've been a bad boy, Skelly. Now what are we going to do about that...") And sometimes bad is good. Sometimes bad is very good.
Her look, her swagger, her...well...everything about her just cries for an action figure, I think.
Unfortunately Crita is not going to be made since Entertaiment rights has the rights for her character so Mattel won't be able to make her.
In that case who would you like to see done first in MOTUC Jack?
SLUSH HEAD FINALLY SHOWED UP IN MOTUC YAY!!!
Interested to know as well. (You can only pick a character who already has a toy.)