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Thread: Scott "Toyguru" Neitlich ate a whole bunch of peanuts! (Org Interview)

  1. #1
    Color'licious! JVS3's Avatar
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    Scott "Toyguru" Neitlich ate a whole bunch of peanuts! (Org Interview)

    Not really... well, maybe. He didn't tell me if he did.
    But I know what he DID do. He did a kick-butt interview with us here at He-Man.org!

    Thanks to Scott for his time and for answering these questions!

    Enjoy everyone!

    ---------------------------

    A day in the life of Toyguru...and beyond!

    As fans of the MOTUC toy line, we only experience the receiving end. We have strong expectations and make a lot of requests, with the hopes Mattel will deliver on what we want.

    It's sort of line being passengers on a train, without really knowing what to expect from the ride. Will it be short or long? Are the sights we see what we hoped for? What kind of danger does the train facing, some of which we never see from inside the cars?

    Only the conductor has the answers, and in this case that's Scott Neitlich. He's the man driving this MOTUC train. And based on a suggestion by He-Fan MegaGearMax, we thought it would be a great idea to get some insight on what it's like to drive this massive MOTUC machine each day. We hope this Q&A will give everyone some appreciation of what Scott does to keep the MOTUC train moving!


    1. When it comes to MOTUC, you're the name and face most fans associate with Mattel's involvement with MOTUC. Just how involved ARE you with the line?

    Aside from being the Brand Manager for the line, which means I handle day-to-day operations for the line, I was also integral in its conception. I pitched the original concept for doing a MOTU line for adult collectors and when the Four Horsemen serendipitously showed up at SDCC with an unrequested prototype, the stars aligned!

    When you see small additions such as the inverted bubble in the blister or the positioning of characters in the cross sell, that’s usually my influence. I drive the packaging team and design team crazy with detail requests!

    2. Is there a full time team working on MOTUC? If not, who is responsible for making MOTUC happen at Mattel?

    Yes, there is a full-time team on MOTUC, just like any other brand at Mattel. This includes packaging, graphics, design, marketing, legal and engineering. But like most other smaller lines at Mattel, the members of the MOTUC team also work on other brands. In this case, most of the team also works on DCU and Ghostbusters as well as other Adult Collector lines.

    3. What kind of hours are involved in making MOTUC happen? Is it a 9 to 5 thing, or is there more to it?

    Personally I work on MOTUC in addition to brand managing the DCU line, Ghostbusters and the MattyCollector.com website. This year I continue working on the DCU and Ghostbusters lines along with still handling MOTUC!

    I also coordinate Mattel’s collector events such as SDCC. I usually work almost 12 hours a day as well as some nights and weekends when I have time to check fan sites. I don’t work all day, everyday on any one line or project. I’d say MOTUC takes up about 20 percent of my time.

    4. When many fans have the same request or concern, do you do anything about it? And if so, what do you do and what sort of challenges do you face in the process?

    We try out best to listen to all of the fan requests, especially on a collector-only line like MOTUC. One of the issues we face is that, for various legal reasons, we are often unable to show a figure until it is near completion, and many times already in production, especially on lines with low production runs like MOTUC. So, by the time fans are seeing a figure, it’s usually too late to make changes.

    This is why we are set up to do additional runs. If a figure is popular enough to have a second run, we try to make as many changes as we can, such as when we reduced the redness around He-Man’s eyes for his re-release.

    5. Let's pry a bit more outside of your daily routine and investigate why you'd even do all of this. Fans all know the 4H showed off a He-Man prototype in SDCC in 2007 that was the predecessor to the MOTUC line. But it couldn't have been as simple as just showing that figure and then the line happened a year later. What all exactly happened to make the MOTUC line a reality, and what was your role in this?

    I started at Mattel working in the Hot Wheels® department. I was the guy who named the based cars among a lot of other responsibilities! I even got to name one of Larry Wood’s designs! During this time, I also started working on SDCC helping to build an elevated presence from Mattel at the show.

    As a lifelong MOTU fan, I really wanted to find a way to bring an adult collector MOTU line to market. Along with a few other brand managers, we put together a proposal for not only doing MOTUC, but the whole Mattycollector.com website as well.

    As I mentioned above, the Horsemen showed up with the unrequested prototype and it was a perfect match. Not only did we have a concept, but we now had a visual to present.

    After receiving approval on a handful of figures we set off to work. A team was put together and I would brand manage the line, similar to what a movie producer does, someone to oversee all the different groups from packaging to design. Luckily, the line really took off and we were able to plan it out for a full year. If not, the line would have likely ended with Hordak.

    6. There are stories of how you were actually in line as a fan, before working at Mattel, waiting to buy a 2004 She-Ra convention exclusive. Is this true? If so, just how much of a He-Man fan are you?

    I am a lifelong He-Man fan and those stories are true!

    When I was 4 or 5 years old, I was very sick on my birthday and my parents had to cancel my party. To cheer me up they bought me Castle Grayskull and a handful of MOTU figures. I collected most of the line and when I was in college I was a huge fan of the 2002 series and toy line. I did indeed wait in line for Keldor and She-Ra and just managed to get one of each at SDCC.

    I started applying to Mattel after graduation and was finally able to get my foot in the door after a brand manager saw a display I did of toys at a local library. From working as a writer in an ad agency for four years I had a very professional book and this was needed to get me an interview and, in time, a job offer. Eventually I worked my way over to the marketing department by working on SDCC and other collector events and pitched MOTUC as an adult collector line during the Mattycollector.com planning meetings.

    7. Fans have heard that you have gone through archives to dig up info for MOTUC. What kind of time and effort was involved in this, and how did you make that happen?

    When we started the MOTUC line, the approved direction was to put all the figures in a plain white box. As a huge MOTU fan I pushed for more and spent a lot of time in the Mattel archives researching the history of each and every character in order to have accurate bios on the back.

    I wound up doing hours and hours of research, mostly on Friday afternoons after Mattel ended the work week. I pretty much requested every box from the archive related to MOTU or any of the original designers who worked on the line. I remember their being a lot of dust!

    Luckily Mattel keeps everything and I was even able to locate the original pitch drawings from Mark Taylor as well as the story line “bibles” for the Snake Men and Powers of Grayskull lines. I always wanted to know what was going to happen in part 2 and 3 of that last mini-comic. And in time, that information will come out in the new bios!

    8. Word on the street is that you also had a lot to do with the artbook. What all went into making that happen, why did we get the content that we did, and what was your role in bringing that book to life?

    The art book was something done as a fundraiser for Make-A-Wish Foundation® and as a way for Mattel Design to celebrate their work at SDCC. As Mattel’s resident “MOTU expert”, I came on board to help organize the book and layout the pages. I also wrote all of the copy and captions. Most of the research I did for the MOTUC line went into the book and while it may not have made it to every fan it did celebrate Mattel Designers and raise a lot of money for a great charity as intended.

    9. No matter what, fans are always going to wonder where MOTUC is going. What exactly are your goals with MOTUC?

    Personally I’d love to keep the line going as long as possible, at least to the point that we can include every figure from the vintage MOTU, POP, NA and every major new character or re-design from the 2002 series. Right now we have a road map through 2016. Things could ALWAYS change, it is a blueprint, not an unmovable stone. We fully expect things to change and there is no guarantee the same team working on the line will be here a few years from now.

    But if the plan is played out, a few years from now, collectors should have a very robust MOTUC collection!

    10. Running MOTUC must be a “dream job” of type. Are there any great fringe benefits from working on the line.

    Aside from helping to select characters and the release order, I’m also one of the lucky few who received an employee sample of the Spirit of King Grayskull figure. Aside from the 2 made for the public, a handful were made for Mattel employees who worked on the line and he is truly a gem in my personal collection.

    11. The fans have been very detail oriented reviewing all of the facts and choices behind the line. Is there anything they have missed out on?

    One thing that comes to mind is the bios. A lot of fans have pointed out that the ‘tone” often seems a bit corny, pointing out examples like “Evil Lyn foreseeing the evil future”. But what fans may not realize is that 90% of the time the last line of every bio is taken word for word from the vintage card backs. Read em all and you’ll see a lot of thought went into this.

    Another one that comes to mind is Adora’s gun. To date, I don’t think anyone has figured out the “Easter Egg” behind the gun design.

    12. Anything else you want to say to the fans?

    Keep collecting! MOTUC can only survive as long as fans support and purchase the product. This really is a line where you vote with your dollars. We can only keep MOTUC going as long as there is fan interest, so lets us know what you like, what you’d like to see improved so we can keep making this as line fan friendly as possible.


  2. #2
    Heroic Warrior sephron13's Avatar
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    Great interview! Welcome back Scott, and congrats on the addition to your collection! As a fellow father (and Scott), I can attest to how amazing you're feeling right now!
    PORK CHOP SANDWICHES!!

    Great transactions with these members!!

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  3. #3
    Council Elder Darkspecter's Avatar
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    Very nice interview. Great little tid-bits of information I wasn't fully aware of...and how he got in at Mattel is always cool to hear.

    I do know about the Easter Egg behind Adora's gun design though. The FourHorsemen spilled the beans in an interview they did at NYTF 2010 with AFI, TheFwoosh or someone else. If I didn't hear it straight from the Horse's mouth (literally), I never would have figured it out!
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    Broncos lovin' admin! dorrmann's Avatar
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    Great interview. Thanks to all involved in getting that done.

    Unfortunately, my figures are stored away at the moment, or I'd be running to see Adora's gun. So what's the Easter Egg?

  5. #5
    Heroic Evil Warrior! Neutro's Avatar
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    AWESOME Interview! Thanks Scott!

    And yeah, um what's the Easter egg?
    – No comment.

  6. #6
    Ray of Sunshine Lookie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dorrmann View Post
    Great interview. Thanks to all involved in getting that done.

    Unfortunately, my figures are stored away at the moment, or I'd be running to see Adora's gun. So what's the Easter Egg?
    Th gun is actually the one Teela uses in the live-action movie.
    Jeremy Soronen
    My Collection

  7. #7
    Totally Rad Underling's Avatar
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    Always nice to hear from Scott. Great interview.

    So what's the easter egg regarding Adora's blaster?
    END OF LINE

  8. #8
    Heroic Evil Warrior! Neutro's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lookie View Post
    Th gun is actually the one Teela uses in the live-action movie.
    Huh? really? I'll have to go back and check that out. I thought it looked familiar, but I assumed it was because it was based on the Filmation version. Maybe they both have similar designs then?
    – No comment.

  9. #9
    Lumpy Space Person Brad2dbone's Avatar
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    I just checked out my Adora's gun. Whatever the Easter egg is, I can't figure it out.

  10. #10
    Heroic Evil Warrior! Neutro's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brad2dbone View Post
    I just checked out my Adora's gun. Whatever the Easter egg is, I can't figure it out.
    LOL! You guys should **READ ABOVE**
    – No comment.

  11. #11
    LittleSpinny TOKYONEVER's Avatar
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    Excellent! Thx Scott and He-Man.org.

    Need to work with Mattel to have my Spirit King Grayskull figure too now

  12. #12
    Evil Lord of Dorkdom skeletom's Avatar
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    That was a great interview! I really enjoyed reading that!
    I'm hoping for a Disco Skeletor for the next subscription exclusive! Fully flocked!

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    The REAL Mo-Larr yodafreakmaster's Avatar
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    Thanks for the great interview!!! It is awesome to see Toyguru making a solid effort to connect with He-Man.Org by doing this interview and by continuing to post here on a fairly regular basis.

    LONG LIVE MOTUC's !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  14. #14
    Heroic Warrior jzguitars's Avatar
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    Yeah great interview with the Toyguru himself. Very interesting to see how much influence he actually has on the MOTUC line. I think it's great to have such close contact with the man in charge of the current MOTU line. Back in the day Mattel couldn't have such contact with fans. Long live the internet!! and yeah, what's with the easter egg?

  15. #15
    Heroic Evil Warrior! Neutro's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jzguitars View Post
    Yeah great interview with the Toyguru himself. Very interesting to see how much influence he actually has on the MOTUC line. I think it's great to have such close contact with the man in charge of the current MOTU line. Back in the day Mattel couldn't have such contact with fans. Long live the internet!! and yeah, what's with the easter egg?
    Oh my goodness, really guys??

    RE: the "Easter egg" gun...
    Quote Originally Posted by Lookie View Post
    Th gun is actually the one Teela uses in the live-action movie.
    – No comment.

  16. #16
    Heroic Warrior
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    So even though people curse the lightning fast sell outs (or at least the quicker ones back in teh day as I think Hordak lasted, what, an hour) it looks like they do help the future of the line go forward.

    I mean, I don't like the Insta-Sell Outs, but I can deal with them here and there if they help the line go forward as long as the number of figures available are tweaked up.
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  17. #17
    Heroic Warrior Son of Keldor's Avatar
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    great interview!

    thanks to Val & Scott for the awesome Q & A.

    lond live motu!!!

    =)
    Oh MOTU, Why Can't I Quit You!

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  18. #18
    Council Elder Darkspecter's Avatar
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    Lookie is correct, and I was right on my FIRST guess. It was an AFI interview (at 3:40):

    Last edited by Darkspecter; May 2, 2010 at 02:09am.
    Take part in Illumina Day! Let people know who she is and help get her in MOTUC.

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  19. #19
    Heroic Designer SUPERHEMANMIKE's Avatar
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    Teela's gun:


    Adora's gun:


    I'm surprised I've never noticed this. I might have to give the gun to Teela now.
    SUPERHEMANMIKE

    "It tasted good..." - Gwildor

  20. #20
    Heroic Warrior Arvulis's Avatar
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    I didn't know for the GUN !! Wow !! so cool !!!
    However, when I read that :

    Luckily Mattel keeps everything and I was even able to locate the original pitch drawings from Mark Taylor as well as the story line “bibles” for the Snake Men and Powers of Grayskull lines. I always wanted to know what was going to happen in part 2 and 3 of that last mini-comic. And in time, that information will come out in the new bios!
    WOW..... !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


    Aside from helping to select characters and the release order, I’m also one of the lucky few who received an employee sample of the Spirit of King Grayskull figure. Aside from the 2 made for the public, a handful were made for Mattel employees who worked on the line and he is truly a gem in my personal collection.
    Wow !! More KG spirits exists !!!!


    AWESOME INTERVIEW !!! Thanks a lot Scott !!! The Motuc Line is well and awesome and that's thanks to you !

  21. #21
    I am that I am Heidi's Avatar
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    Thank you so much for this interview, TG. Lots of kewl information in it.
    "The most difficult thing is trying not to forget who you really want to be." - Nong Toom

    I am looking for these Marvel Legends figures

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  22. #22
    Greatful his pants are on bskcase's Avatar
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    I can't believe I missed the gun clue. I knew it was familiar but I couldn't pin point it. I thought it was a tribute to another toy line.

    Good interview.
    You just read a post from the head Honcho of Nerds On A Couch!

  23. #23
    Heroic HamStar Minion's Avatar
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    Excellent interview. It's great to read some insight into TG's work.

    I didn't know about the gun, but that is one cool Easter Egg.

  24. #24
    Inappropriate Tree Hugger The.Idea.of.Evil's Avatar
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    I wish there would have been more hard hitting questions like "When can Mattel accept that the line is a success, especially when every figure sells out immediately?" and "Why do all the Q&As slam fans of MotU as being unimportant in favor of "non fans"?"

  25. #25
    Council Elder Tallstar's Avatar
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    Thanks Toyguru and .org for the interview. Yeah, I knew about Adora's gun too. hehe

    As I said a few weeks back, I really hope we gets to see parts 2 and 3 of the story for Powers of Grayskull in their original form, word for word, instead of just some things being mentioned in the bios.

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