July 22, 2013

He-Man.org Q&A with Dean Stefan #3 [2003]

NOTE: This is done for archiving purposes and posted with permission. Original link-back.

In 2002 at He-Man.org, the fans could post questions on the discussion forums and have Story Editor and Writer for the animated He-Man series; Dean Stefan answer the questions.

There were three rounds of questions. Here is Round #3.

Once more Dean couldn't share too many details about what was coming in future episodes or appearing characters. But he did provide interesting information about the process of episodes being made and more on the script-aspects as well as an average day of being a writer.

Hello He-Fans,
The 3rd and final round. 
And there's the bell...

Posted by Scorpia on December 26, 2002 08:34pm:

Did you personally see all original episodes or just 'the cream of the crop'?

Not all. Not even necessarily the cream of the crop! But I saw many. And read all, or nearly all, the storylines for the ones I didn't see. 

I like the fact that Teela's history was deeply explored in "The Ties That Bind". Are we going to learn more about characters like Buzz-Off, Man-E-Faces and Ram-Man to learn where they really came from?

We'll be going back into the histories of characters, but also forward -- you'll be seeing new histories in the making.

Posted by mattnotis on December 27, 2002 04:16am:

Will we ever see Orko's face or any other Trollans for that matter?

Orko's having some orthodontia done. Maybe after he gets the braces removed. 

Will there be episodes that focus on a particular character's (villains preferably) backstory that reveals why said character acts a certain way? I.E.-What makes them tick and why.

Absolutely. As far as villains, I think we covered a good deal of that with Keldor/Skeletor in the "Beginning." And with Marzo in "Mekanek's Lament". We will be delving further and deeper into motivations, key turning-point moments for villains, both those we've seen and ones we have yet to see.

Posted by leonardo on December 27, 2002 04:29am:

I have 1 statement/request Ninjor, More Trapjaw, More Merman. 'Nuff Said.

'Nuff heard.

Posted by Slackbot on December 27, 2002 04:31am:

Feel free to beat me over the head with a Clue Hammer for these silly questions. Will we see any other Trollans in this series, for example Dree Elle?

Trolly molly, another Trollan question! Gotta have to wait and see.

Posted by pH6 on December 27, 2002 09:46am:

I know this will be deleted, but please spoil me this: Will the SNAKE MEN take their rightful place on Eternian throne 2nd season, or will I have to wait all the the way to the 3rd season to the glorious event?

Deleted? Perish the thought. As a matter of fact, I'm gonna answer your question right now. The Snake Men (balance of answer deleted by JVS3)

Posted by Red Trinity on December 27, 2002 09:50am:

Will Teela's birth-father or "creator" ever be revealed?

Yes, it can now be revealed: Orko is Teela's daddy. :-)

Posted by Star Matt on December 27, 2002 02:47pm:

Will battle armor (battle sound) he-man ever appear on the show?

Could be.

Posted by Zodach on December 27, 2002 03:05pm:

This may have been addressed already: Are there plans for the new series and/or old series to be released on DVD?

Actually there are plans to release them on BVD. They'll be printed on long rolls of white cotton with elastic waistbands.
Okay, the real is answer: I don't know.

How will the episodes be released (collections/seasons) and when?

See previous "I don't know.”

Posted by Dr.Nick on December 27, 2002 04:16pm:

Will Val (JVS3) get to write an episode?

Depends if he comes through with that Sony PlayStation 2.

(JVS3 note: Guess I won’t be writing then. I can send you an 8-bit Nintendo, though) 

Posted by Mastaflan on December 27, 2002 05:13pm:

WaddIwanna Know is when y'all gonna be... In the WB?!! Not everybody has got good cable man...I think the products would mve better if you guys show up in the WB and oust their dumb afternoon line up...

I'll look into it. :-)

Posted by krosfyah on December 27, 2002 05:45pm:

Is there a decision process on what episodes get the Dong Woo animation treatment and which ones get the Dong Yang?

Based on past shows I've worked on, I suspect it may just be the luck of the draw as to which shows go to which studios.

I use to think... back in the Batman: TAS days that the better scripts gets the better animation...but after a while that seemed to not be the case. So can you fill us in on how this works?

Well as I said, the luck of the draw. For instance, if studio "A" is working on say, episode 5, and then episode 6 is ready to be animated, it'll go to another studio, since studio A is already up to their ears.

Posted by MOTUfan on December 27, 2002 06:23pm:

I was wondering if there are any plans to produce a Christmas special for airing next year similar to the classic series??

Hey, these questions are starting to sound familiar! (See earlier responses, MOTUfan.)

But now that I think about it, a Christmas special wouldn't necessarily have to be a literal Christmas special. There may be an opportunity to do a "season of giving" type episode or a real heart-warming tale to coincide with the positive messages of the holiday. Nothing like that is in work (that I will admit to) but then again it might be.

Posted by Premiere Heroes on December 27, 2002 07:27pm:

Will we see the Spirit Of Grayskull in the new series?

I cannot answer that.

Posted by Todd4LOM on December 27, 2002 09:21pm:

Can you feed Clawful to Battle Cat?

No, he's exclusively on dry food.

Posted by Blue on December 27, 2002 09:31pm:

Dear Mr. Stefan, Will scripts from the new series become available to fans? I know that some series like Xena:Warrior Princess sell copies of their old scripts, and I was wondering if you will do the same.

I believe the scripts and artwork are the property of MYP, Blue.

Posted by ianrose on December 27, 2002 09:43pm:

hi! first i'd like to say that i'm happy that queen marlena is not from earth, i think the element of earth makes it cheesy, and less original, look what happened to the motion picture, without earth it's much more imaginative, reality is boring.

This is a glad-Marlena-is-not-from-earth post??! I'm...stunned.

the last cartoon the mystery of anwat gar i think is the best cartoon so far...

This is a Anwat-Gar-is-my-favorite episode post??!
Stunned again!

but my question is, is why did you decide to differ from the toyline by not having man-at-arms, battle cat, and the raptore get the armour, and it's impossible for them to ever get it, since he-man destroyed the legacy stones?

Well, hopefully the story dictates certain things, not the other way around.

Posted by Crimson on December 27, 2002 09:49pm:

To start off, I have always considered Beast Man to be of higher alegience and rank as henchman go, becuase he was the first and is the most classic. Q's: Will there be an episode or episodes that prove Beast Mans formidability?

I think he was pretty formidable with Man E Faces in "Monster Within" doncha think? And his menagerie in "Dragon's Brood" was pretty impressive, no? Anyhow, we'll be seeing lots more of what ol' Beastman can do in upcoming episodes.

Will his mastery over animals make an impressive show at least once?

Well, in "Turnabout" he directed the Arthros flying critters to attack. He directed the Serpinataur in "Dragons' Brood." He got control of Man E Faces in "Monster Within." He riled up the Sand Creatures in "Ties that Bind." What more can he do -- singing dogs?

Will Beast Man go on his own just once, and give Skeletor and his minions at least reason for pause?

Reason for paws?

Posted by pennypunk on December 27, 2002 11:41pm:

Could you put Faker in the show?

Just have to wait and see.

Posted by Positronic Man on December 27, 2002 11:47pm:

OK, I've got a great idea. You'll love this one.

Season 9.

Posted by ShredderThe on December 27, 2002 11:55pm:

Hehe, Better idea. Will there be a Thundercats-He-Man crossover?

Season 10.

And another one I just thought up, although I hope no one asked it. Any chance someone will start a script writing contest? Either that, or a fan character design contest? Depending on how long the show lasts, this could either be a sweeps, or yearly done type thing.

I think that's a terrific idea, Shredder.

Posted by heftysmurff on December 28, 2002 01:26am:

Just a few questions Is the reason for Teela's Cobra attire because she is King Hiss's daughter?

An excellent theory, but...ummm, probably not.
(But then again, maybe yes.)

Would be a great twist if she was, I guess I will just have to wait for Snake Pit to come out to see but I am mostly anticipating that episode.
Any hints on to who may be in the Council Of Evil?

Yes. No one you'd want to run into in a dark alley!

(JVS3 Note: I heard Dean was in the Council of Evil)

Also any chance of a pilot movie to launch each new season? I would love to see Spikor, Lizard Man, Moss Man, Stinkor, and Granymyr.

Well, I think each season will open pretty big, whether it's a pilot movie, two parter, or whatever.

Posted by heftysmurff on December 28, 2002 01:32am:

I almost forgot Will we get a chance to see He-Man and Skeletor team up for a greater cause? I love the idea behind "Trust," and my favorite old episodes were Evilseed and To Save Skeletor. Also I remember one time Evil Lyn and He-Man helped eachother and likewise Evil Lyn and Teela. I think its a great morale to have good and evil work to a common goal like a giant meteor about to destroy Eternia or something. Just a thought thanks.

While I won't say specifically, I will say generally that I wouldn't like to see much of that happen. It tends to weaken your villain. Now, that's not to say that He-Man and Skeletor might never find themselves with a common enemy...

Posted by Webstor on December 28, 2002 04:12am:

Is there any chance that we will see the Snake Men start to emerge and take their place on Eternia?

See the deleted answer above.

If this does happen please don't make the mistake that was made by making Clawful such an idiot. In fact please don't let this happen to other characters, it just doesn't work.

Clawful, an idiot? I'll have you know he has been taking night classes and is about to graduate Sigma *** Laude!

Please bring back Webstor!

Thanks for your interest in Webstor, Webstor.
Webstor? Hey...waitaminit...!

Posted by lladnar the so-so on December 28, 2002 04:56am:

how soon will you stop using the (now tired) plot devices of "ancient magical stones" and "beastman's swoops in on his griffins at the last minute to save skeletor."

Tomorrow at noon.

my questions: will we see a "pecking order" develop amongst skeletor's henchmen, maybe even a shifting heirarchy?

There is a pecking order of sorts in place. I would say Evil-Lyn is first among equals...and probably Tri-klops a cut below. Both of them are extremely useful to Skeletor -- Evil-Lyn because of her magic and smarts, Triklops because of his inventing skills. Beastman is a favorite whipping boy, but very valuable to Skeletor. Trapjaw's an enforcer and often takes a leadership role in the battlefield.

will we ever get explanations of the motivation behind each of skeletor's henchmen?

Yes, we'll be getting into more and more of that.
(I'm sure JVS3 will interject one of his famous comic book plugs right around here.)

(That’s right, folks! You too can buy your own copy of the Evil Icons Series that debuts this summer! All the drama with twice the action and none of the Dean!) 

will they stop being incompetent any time soon?

Yes. Tomorrow at 12:15.

will skeletor break his habit of laughing when he gets defeated and has to retreat?

Well, you know how it is....there's always something tickling his funny bone.

will there be an explanation of the "of the universe" in the title?(in the old series castle grayskull held the secrets to the universe.)

It's a phrase that is long associated with the property. I mean Superman is called the Man of Steel, but he's not literally made of steel. I don't think the phrase "of the Universe" has to be necessarily taken that literally.

Posted by joe-or on December 28, 2002 05:28am:

Instead of completely phasing out old characters as the series progresses, is there any chance of having cameos at least of "old" favorites?(sort of like in this season where Clawful might not have a role in the episode, but he is shown in the background)

Gosh, I don't think anyone has mentioned plans to phase out characters. It is possible though that certain characters may take on new roles as the series progresses. Or might suffer some horrible fate.

Also, off topic, but I have to ask. In the Mish'al Samman interview, you said, "DS: I think Smurfs would be huge if they brought it back, or did a new version. Great design, and kids love it. " Any chance of a push for a new Smurfs cartoon???? Please??

While I would love to see that happen, these kinds of decisions are made by studios and copyright holders. Back in the day, Smurfs was pretty tightly controlled by its creator -- a gentleman from Belgium named Peyo (or maybe it was spelled Payo.) I remember the story editors from Hanna Barbera would have to fly to Europe at the beginning of each season and get his "blessing" and have him sign off on various story ideas. I think Peyo has since passed on. (If he hasn't, my apologies to his family.) So now the Smurfs property is probably controlled by his estate. I certainly have no inside information about a Smurfs revival. I was just saying in the interview that I thought it could be a really popular cartoon if brought back.

Posted by Glimmer on December 28, 2002 07:28am:

I have been a fan of the series ever since I was a child back in the early 80's and it was one of my favorite overall cartoons ever. Since 1999, I have been checking message boards online, and was hoping for a revival of the series. I was pleasantly surprised to see the news early this year that the series would be coming back. I think you guys did a great job updating the series, as the storyline is fantastic and the artwork is beautiful.

Thank you, Glimmer. The production team has worked really hard to try and make it so.

To me, the basic appeal of the entire Masters of the Universe series is that science and sorcery have been intricately woven into a world that has reverted back to barbarism.

Now for a quick question: I have noticed that the new series seems to be targeted towards an older age-group. Since a lot of the fans of the older series are now grown up, is this on-purpose as to relate to seasoned adult fans?

Well, as I touched on earlier, we are very aware of the fan base from the old show. Indeed you guys' ongoing interest and passion for all things Motu was a major inducement to bringing the show back. We're very conscious of not wanting to disappoint the older fans, while at the same time wanting to attract a new generation of fans, who may be totally new to the Motu universe.

Posted by WindRaider on December 28, 2002 02:10pm:

Dear Mr. Stefan, the new "He-Man and the Masters of the Universe" cartoon is really a great one. One of the best this times. But i think the name of the cartoon is a mistake. "He-Man" and the Masters of the Universe... the cartoon should be renamed in "Masters of the Universe and He-Man", because He-Man isnt the great hero like in the old series anymore, the one, who saves the day and makes us feel respect, when he enters the show.

Now he is just a "Master" but not the "strongest man in the universe" - and he is no maincharacter anymore. I have seen all episodes, which where aired now, all characters have their great moments and origns, but He-Man not. He is the most boring charakter in the series. He seems to be just the fire brigade, who appears, when no other Master nows, whats to do.

Well, thanks for the interesting feedback, WindRaider, though I'm not sure all the fans would agree. I do have one specific bone to pick with you: you say He-Man didn't have a great origin?

Let's think about this: A 16 year old kid is given a sword of power by a mysterious Sorceress, and by raising it and saying some magic words is transformed into a powerful, mythic hero. That ain't too shabby.

And where is his relationship between him and the overlord of evil Skeletor? And so my Question is, will this be change?

Well, seems pretty clear what their relationship is: they're arch-enemies. The hero and the villain. One guy wants to take over the planet -- the other is trying to prevent that.

Posted by Dark Vengeance on December 28, 2002 06:25pm:

What new characters, and origins can we expect to see for the rest of Season 1?

The power of Grayskull prevents from divulging such secrets. But you might try checking out the synopses. There are all sorts of hints in there as to who might appear. But I guarantee, nobody's gonna guess 'em all!

Can u give us a sneak peek of what we can expect for Season 2?

Nope. Sorry. (That pesky power of Grayskull again). But know you this: many seeds that have been planted in Season 1 will sprout.

Sorry I have to ask Hordak has always been my favourite villain when can we see him make an appearance? if even only a cameo in a flashback.

Just gonna have to wait and see, Dark Vengeance!

Also are we going to find out more on the origins of Keldor?


The swords of power and protection (even though we have yet to see the sword of protection)? Who forged the swords?


Where Grayskull came from? Snake Mountain (I'm a history major so i need to know where people/ things come from and how they fit into the bigger picture)?

We will be getting into lots of those kinds of histories for you history majors. Then we'll be having a pop quiz.

Posted by battousaisedge on December 29, 2002 01:57am:

will He-Man ever stop destroying every crystal or magic stone he comes by (Corodite Crystal....Anwat Gar's stones....Responsible for Marzo's amulet....etc...)

Well, as I mentioned in Round 2, alot of that has to do with weapons of mass destruction not being allowed to fall into the wrong hands. But when you're dealing with magic, sometimes "destroying" them isn't as final as it might seem. I will say no more.

Posted by Mr DJ on December 29, 2002 02:47am:

hey dean, a big thankyou and congratulations on the new show, i had my resevations at first - but from the first still pic i saw, ive just grown more and more obsessed with the show and marvel at its brilliance.

Thanks, Mr DJ. Writing aside, I too am a big fan of the show. I love seeing what the artists do with the scripts, making them come alive and making them much better than I could've ever imagined.

Do you guys come to the boards often?

Can only speak for myself. As mentioned, I like to check out fans' reactions to episodes. It's very rare to have the opportunity when working on a show to get that sort of feedback. You guys really point out and pick up on some interesting things.

What is the next expectation from you guys in regards to teh series - obviously getting picked up for a second season is a huge achievement, so what are the other goals? a movie? a spin off shere's - sorry - Series?

Spin offs? Hmmm.... How about Marlena in the Middle? Orko and Mindy? Law and Orko? Starsky and Ram Man? King Randor of the Hill? TrapJaw John, MD?

What's been your personal highlight working on the show so far?

I think just being involved in a project that everyone is so enthused and passionate about -- production team and fans alike.

Are there any positions going for a stupid australian 24 yo who doesn't really know that much about anything??

What's a "yo?" Is that an Australian term? Considering the company who make the toys, I'll hesitate to say "Put another shrimp on the Barbie."

When do i start??

Soon as Cringer starts talking on the cartoon.

Posted by Slackbot on December 29, 2002 03:36am:

Not a question, but a comment - My favorite episodes are the ones that are driven by the characters themselves, the ones in which we see inside their heads rather than watching them move around in interesting ways. "Lessons" and "Ties that Bind" stand out as my favorite episodes for this reason.

Glad you feel that way, Slackbot. I said something similar in "Round 1" of the Q and A. Those are my favorites types of episodes as well. It's true in action adventure movies, it's true in comedy, it's true in life -- if you don't care about the characters involved, then nothing they do or that happens to them is gonna mean much to you.

Posted by ShredderThe on December 29, 2002 04:23am:

Another one that has popped in my mind. Is there ever going to be an episode where He-Man LOOSES to Skeletor, and the other Masters have to come in and save his behind?

Considering that He-Man is not invulnerable and that Skeletor is a force to be reckoned with, what you propose is not beyond the realm of possibility.

Posted by Onekorn on December 29, 2002 08:40am:

Is she or isn't she from Earth? (Marlena) If not, are there any plans to incorporate any "Earthlings" into the new series?

Nope. For the same reason we're not having Marlena be from earth.

Posted by Rei11y on December 9, 2002 09:57pm:

Is there any particular reason why most of Skeletor's plots involve stealing some kind of magic crystal?

Yes, 'cause he's a bad dude and never pays for anything.

I mean, how many of those suckers are there anyway?

37. (give or take) :-)

Have you ever considered that some of the cartoons that are most popular with todays kids are long series with continuous story lines, like Dragon Ball and Yugio? Do you think more in-depth, multi-part story arcs would be a possibility for some of the future MOTU episodes?

Well, we are doing multi-part story arcs, but lots of them are cleverly disguised as episodes that can "stand alone." In time, you'll see lots more of the interconnected, "arcing" elements play out more and more.

Posted by tornadobr on December 30, 2002 12:24am:

Will She-ra come back on the next season of He-man? Please, make some crossover episodes or include her into the new cartoon. 

The future holds many surprises. Whether that is one of them, I dare not, cannot, will not, say.

Posted by danielsan52 on December 30, 2002 03:03am:

Will The Sorceress send He-Man to other worlds via dimensional gates like in the old series?

While we have most likely ruled out space as a direction we want to take ths series, we have not ruled out other dimensions.

Posted by krosfyah on December 30, 2002 03:59am:

Do you ever read the official episode talkback threads and picture one of us to be like comic book guyfrom the simpsons??

 No, not really. But I do admit that when I see those little pictures next to peoples' names (are they called avatars?) I unconsciously get a mental picture, assume that the poster looks like that.

Posted by Mer-man442 on December 30, 2002 06:15pm:

Where the heck has Mer-man been??

Uh, fishing?

Posted by Razzbel on December 30, 2002 10:42pm:

First off, thanks for a great season so far. I've been truly impressed and have watched each show repeatedly. I like the fact that the stories often make refernce to past stories, and that you also DON'T need to have seen the previous episodes to enjoy it.

Thanks, that's something we strive for. To have the episodes be able to stand alone, yet, for those who are paying attention, to realize there is a story arc going on. As mentioned, this will become increasingly more interesting as the series progresses, as various elements play into each other and build.

Forgive me if some of these are repeated, but I just wanted to be sure that I asked anyway... What is do you like most about your job?

Besides what I previously mentioned, I like the commute. I work out of my garage.

What was the hardest part about adapting the old stories, bible, and cartoon events with the new series?

With such a rich mythology to draw from -- a litany of characters, etc. -- alot of the difficulty was picking and choosing what elements we wanted to use, what we wanted to build upon and what we wanted to let go by the wayside.

How does a story get written? Are the writers given a rough outline and then given certain boundaries? Or are they told "just make sure that X character shows up and looks cool!"

Well, there's no set way. But in general, for the He-Man series, I confer with the production team and we decide what stories we wanna tell. The stories sometimes come out of particular events in the overall arc that we want to happen. Or a specific character quirk, or need. Or perhaps we want to tell an origin of a hero and villain. Most likely a story will have a combination of all those things. We toss around various ideas -- until we come up with a workable premise.

The premise is then given to one of our stellar writers, who will flush it out, add their own unique sensibities to it. The premise will then go to outline and then to script. All along, it's being refined over and over -- as it goes back and forth between the writer, myself and the production team. The stories will occasionally change dramatically along the way -- either because they're not working, or perhaps because we've come up with a better way to tell it.

Where do stories come from? I've told this before, but here's a good example as regards "Mekanek's Lament". We would joke here's this guy, Mekanek, surrounded by all these other guys with great powers...flying, amazing strength...and basically his main ability is that he can stretch his neck. We would joke -- his powers kinda suck. Then it struck me, heck, maybe Mekanek feels that way also -- has a bit of an inferiority complex. So something that just came out a jokey observation became grist for the story mill.

There's no set method, and sometimes you get a cool idea and have to backtrack a bit. I'll give you an interesting example, as regards "The Monster Within." If I recall correctly, I believe we only came up with the idea of doing Two Badd's origin later on, after we'd started storyboarding the Beginning and various others. In other words, Two Badd was originally gonna be a member of the Evil Warriors from the get-go. But then we had the idea of making him two guys who get fused -- which we thought would make a cool origin story. So Two Badd was pulled out of some earlier episodes in order to intro him in Monster Within. This sort of thing happens rarely, but it does happen.

Are we going to see more tension from Adam on his duality? 

Well, based upon what you saw him go thru in "Courage of Adam" I think this inner struggle is probably a part of Adam's character. To what degree he embraces his He-Man persona, to what degree he feels it's a burden -- these are all interesting elements to ponder and to use in telling stories.

How is this impacting Cringer?

Not sure, he won't say. (Sorry, Razzbell, couldn't resist.)

I'd like to see Adam shocked to see that his Mom can hold her own like any of the Masters, just like his Dad could. As children, I feel we often fail to see our parents as people with a past.

Very good observation.

Could we also not see anymore giant fish swallowing Duncan?

LOL. Stay tuned for the episode: "Man At Arms and the Tuna Fish Sandwich: Duncan's Revenge."

I don't mean to sound mean, but are crystals the only things that hold any power on Eternia? It seems that those are the only things that Skeletor goes for.

Well, they're shi-ny. :-)

Posted by ShredderThe on December 31, 2002 01:23am:

Another question I forgot about... I see to be full of 'em! ...
Any chance we can see a re-working of the original theme song updated for 2003?

I'm not really involved with the music side of things. But I rather like the music and the composer that's doing the show.

Posted by Voice_Guy on December 31, 2002 04:04am:

Hi Dean, I have a few more question about scripting itself.
Most know that the proper screenwriting format is 12 point Courier, but with some software there is no option for Courier itself. My question is , can 12 point Courier be switched with either Courier 10 pitch, or Courier New and still be accepted as proper formatting?

Whoa, this is way technical. But I'll answer you best as I can. WARNING: any He-Fans that are not interested in fonts, please scroll down. This is gonna be real boring to ya!

As to your question, Voice Guy, I believe you're correct -- most shows use a 12 point courier font. I think what we use is called courier final draft. (Not to be confused with the scriptwriting software known as Final Draft -- which has become very popular and is, in fact, what all writers on most of the recent shows I've worked on, including He-Man, have used.)

To my mind, the drawback to using a 10 pitch vs. a 12 -- beside the obvious of it being smaller and harder to read -- would be that it could affect the page count. Which doesn't seem wildly important, but when you're working on a show, you wanna know every 25 page script is the same. Meaning that if they don't all have equal margins, font size, etc. it's much harder to estimate if you're running long or short. Which is why there's an industry standard. For a "spec script" I'm not sure that it would matter all that much.

Let me amend that, it should't matter, but maybe it does...
Here's the thing: if you're serious about writing and getting your scripts read, you should try to do everything you can to make a script LOOK like every other professional script. Presentation is important. You'd be amazed at how people at studios will use any excuse not to read a script. If the font looks funny -- who knows? -- they may put it at the bottom of the pile, or not read it at all.

For someone such as myself who works for minimum-wage --- How can we go about getting our written teleplays optioned to be produced without the need of an expensive literary agent?

First of all, part of the beauty of writing, unlike say being a photographer, or a sculptor, is that you need very little equipment or workspace. Long as you've got something to write on and a place to sit, you're basically dealing with the contents of your brain. So whether you're minimum wage worker, or the son a millionaire, the blank page is a great equalizer. It's just you and your imagination.

As for agents...A literary agent is not expensive. In fact, a literary agent is free. They work for you. They're in the business of securing you work, or negotiating your deals. For providing that service, they get a commission -- usually 10 percent. That's the only money they get. They only make money if you make money. Anyone calling themselves an agent who asks you for money is a crook. (Now "crook" may be a much nicer term than what I've heard many people call their agents, but that's usually for different reasons.)

What is the length of an average Masters of the Universe teleplay? The original series sometimes averaged around 40 pages, are the teleplays for the current series any shorter?

Yes, significantly. I'd say our scripts average about 25 pages. That's because the artists and animators tend to play out the action alot more -- and we're sparser on dialog than most shows.

Do freelance writers need a literary agent to have a script optioned or is it possible to do so without one?

Again, I'll assume this is a question about writing in general and not about the He-Man series.

I'm not sure what you mean by "optioned." I've only heard that term in the world of movies and writing for the big screen. As I understand it, an option is when a producer or studio says: "I'll give you a little money, with an option to buy this script later, if I decide it's something that I wanna produce." It's a way for them to have sole "ownership" of your work for a specific period of time -- say a year or so. It ties up your project -- you can't bring it elsewhere, unless and until their option period is up. Then they either pay you a bunch of bucks, or the rights and ownership revert back to you.

I think you can get by without an agent, especially when you're starting out. If you have something good -- and a producer or studio likes it, you'll have agents climbing out of the woodwork wanting to sign you.

What is an average day at work for you like?

Well, no day is average. But a typical day might be: I plug in the coffee machine -- down several cups while reading the newspaper and checking my E-mail. After I've procrastinated as I long as I can, I'll...procrastinate some more.

Finally, though, it's time to get cracking. Perhaps I've got three story outlines sitting on my desk. Two of them I'm gonna rewrite myself, one I'm gonna have the writer take another whack at. At the same time, I have to rework two premises that we're developing, because they're still not working. Concurrently, I know I've got a first draft of a script due the day after tomorrow and another script that has to go "final" three days from now. I'm trying to get the promised rewrite from a writer, but she hasn't informed me that she's out of town for the weekend. The studio is emailing me because the artists are clamoring for a draft of the episode I promised them last Friday...

The day fades into an endless stream of rewriting...faxes, emails...phone calls to the production team and to writers ... more rewriting...more phone calls...more rewriting...(Interspersed with all this is real-life stuff -- picking my daughter up from school, taking the kid to dance class...occasionally meeting a writer for lunch...)

At some point I look up and it's eight o'clock at night. I unplug the coffee machine. I'm ready to knock off work. Just then, I get a fax from the production team with story notes I've been waiting for since 2 days ago. I'm informed they really need a script rewrite by the end of day tomorrow. So I plug the old coffee machine back in...and burn the midnight oil.

Of course not every day is like that -- some are more hectic, some less so. But there's a whole lot of deadlines (which I like by the way -- since I tend to be a very lazy person otherwise.) I learned early on that if you wanna do this job, you really have to do whatever it takes to get it done. There are no set hours. In fact, most times it seems there simply aren't enough hours in the day!

Posted by PanMan on January 1, 2003 06:16am:

Will Carnivus become a full-time Master anytime soon (or at least part-time like Buzz-Off) or will he be forgotten like the Faceless One seemingly has (or will he re-appear soon too?).

There are no plans to make Carnivus a member of the Masters, but I have a feeling you'll be seeing him again.

Posted by GFDSA on January 1, 2003 09:34am: Movie

Can everyone wait for me (Jaysun) to come and make the coolest 5 part live action He-man movie? i know all involved with the new he-man are all about making a movie,but in a few years i will be up there making films, can everyone wait? you guys will know me cuz i have such great ideas, and you will just know, it's a lot to ask, but can anyone even hear me?

Go for it jaysun. I'm a full believer that if you have a goal...you focus on it...and pursue it, you can achieve it.

Posted by Hordak on January 1, 2003 07:52pm:

Hiya! Could you please let the fans know whether or not the 'Evil Horde' is, in fact, the Evil Warriors new moniker, or if that's just folly on Mattel's part?

We call them the Evil Warriors on the show.

And, will the true Evil Horde, and Hordak, be alluded to or brought into the series anytime in the near future?

You'll have to wait and see about Hordak, Hordak.

Posted by danielsan52 on January 2, 2003 02:22am:

Fearless Photon: Any chance we can get an appearance or at least a brief/hidden cameo (easter egg) of him?

When I saw the words Easter egg, I expected another Christmas Special question. You'll see some cameos in upcoming episodes, though I won't reveal who.

Posted by Dark Vengeance on January 2, 2003 07:17pm:

Are we going to see other races like the Widgets make an appearance?

There are all sorts of beings populating Eternia. We will be exploring more of those to be sure.

Posted by He-Ant on January 2, 2003 07:40pm: Mr. Stefan,

Will Dree-Elle and the other Trollans be returning any time soon?

Where did they go? They've never been on the show in its current incarnation.

If Marlena is isn't from Earth, then where on Eternia is she from?

Um, the south?

Also, is Delora gonna still be Stratos' wife?

Well, you know how it is -- it's darn hard to maintain a happy marriage when every week the hubby is flying off somewhere.

Posted by Deformity on January 2, 2003 07:48pm:

Can you discuss anything in regards to the new characters that might be popping up in the 2nd season?

Golly gee, Deformity, just gonna have to wait and see. (wow, I think I just wrote a poem.)

Posted by mike-or on January 2, 2003 08:42pm:

Will there be an episode to further explore Adam not depending on He-man to save the day? Realistically how much can Adam take when Teela and the King (his own father) think he's a coward?

That's a good question and something Adam may have to deal with.

Can Skeletor stop trying to take over Grayskull and maybe find a new power to become ruler of Eternia? The episodes are starting to become redundant. 

Hey, so are some of the questions! 

Posted by Jean on January 2, 2003 11:16pm: -

Is there a possibility of having one episode where Cringer can temporarily speak? Sort of as a nod to the old fans?

How about if he nods to the old fans?

Have you considered simply writing one episode featuring the villains and no heroes at all? Some of us would love to see a day in the life of the villians rather than see the good guys.

Well, there will be episodes where the villains are featured to a larger degree. But our show is called He-Man and the Masters of the Universe -- gotta give the big lug his fair share of screen time.

Posted by Dr.Nick on January 3, 2003 12:16am:

Will ever see the new races again like the cat people and Whiplash's kind?

I think it's very likely you will.

Another chance of a parody of the lessons of each episode, you could do it on Adult Swim?

Sounds like a fun thing to do in a fan fiction.

Posted by PanMan on January 3, 2003 05:40am:

Will Tri-Klops' origin turn out to be that he came from Earth on a space ship like it is in the He-Man Bible or will it be different from that?

No Earth. No spaceship. Something completely different for Tri-klops.

Preferably I would have it different since I would not want to include a real world (Earth) into this unreal mythological universe. It would make it less interesting in my opinion.


Posted by danielsan52 on January 3, 2003 03:22pm:

Are ratings down for the cartoon? It kinda sucks that He-Man will only be airing on Saturdays starting in Feb. Is there a reason for the change?

Wish I knew the answer to that danielsan. But schedules, all that stuff, are handled by those who handle that stuff.

Posted by Cringer0 on January 3, 2003 07:34pm:

Why isn't Queen Marlena going to be from Earth? Why does Cringer and Battlecat not talk? I would like a REAL answer to this and not a "Creative Decision" answer which tells me nothing.

It was a "Creative Decision." :-)

(see my previous replies in rounds one and two)

Keeping the Queen Marlena question in mind, if she isn't from Earth any longer, why am I getting this "Tigers don't talk on Earth line"? You've made it clear now that Eternia is not connected to Earth, so the RULES of Earth don't apply on this planet, which means that tigers can talk, fish can fly, water can run backwards, etc. because Eternia is mystical and magical.

Gosh, I don't recall ever making the argument that "tigers don't talk on earth" as a reason why Cringer and Battlecat don't or can't talk in the show. You're absolutely right that the rules of earth needn't apply on Eternia.

Why is Orko dumber than he was in the original series and why is he obsessed with revealing Adam's secret?

I've never thought of Orko as dumb. I consider him child-like and prone to child-like enthusiasm -- so that he may speak or act before he thinks.

Posted by MOTUfan on January 3, 2003 07:40pm:

I bet I can answer the Orko part about the secret. I think Orko just can't keep a secret to well, and is a blabber mouth. Craving all the attention, and him having the biggest secret on Eternia must just eat him up inside.

Again, I think it's more the kid in him -- rather than a big ego or a desire for attention. I think one of Orko's biggest drives is to want to fit in, to be taken seriously, to feel a part of the team. He's like the little kid who hangs out with his big brothers' friends -- wants them to notice him, show him respect, take him seriously.

Posted by ladyisme on January 3, 2003 08:09pm:

Just what are the rules of magic in MOTU? I'm asking because I've noticed that the rules on how magic works changes slightly with each new book, series, show, story or author.

Hmmm, first rule of magic: never give away the secrets.

Is there a disstinction between wizards who are able to create there own magic and those who must absorb it from outside forces? If so witch is considered more powerfull and why? Does the gift of magic affect the ageing process, for example could the reason Orko acts so foolish be that a being of magic ages and matures slower that say a normal human being?

Interesting theory.

Can wizards who absorb outside magic drain wizards who can make their own or must absorbing wizards draw power fom objects only? We all know that cutting off a wizard mid-spell can lead to trouble but does the extra power from the cut off spell put the wizard at risk of injury?

Whoa. These are very difficult questions and I'd need a crystal ball to ascertain the answers.

If you have set exact rules for magic I would be fasinated to hear what they are.

Well, I think that magic, by definition, operates outside those realms. I mean if it had exact rules, it'd be called science.

Posted by Te00 on January 4, 2003 10:09pm:

I was just wondering if the episodes will all be stand alones, or if there will be some type of story archs? Also, how old is Teela?

Teela is about 16. That's in Eternian years of course. All the episodes, aside from 2-parters are hopefully stand alones -- at least in the sense that you can watch them and understand what's going on. Of course, they may reference some previous episode or event, or foreshadow some event in upcoming episodes.

By the way, I like that Marlena is not from earth and that Cringer can't talk. Just thought I'd add that, since so many people have stated they don't don't.

Well, I'm glad to hear you say that. By my count, that's about 202 to 3. In fact, I'll bet there's more why-doesn't Cringer-talk questions to come.

Posted by Sword-of-Grayskull on January 5, 2003 02:19am:

Why doesn't Cringer/BattleCat talk?

See? Told ya.

His role as He-Man's sidekick has greatly diminshed because of this. For that matter, why does he barely appear?

Well, he has a part-time job as a stand-in for Tom in Tom and Jerry cartoons. (In classic Tom and Jerry, Tom didn't speak) Just as a side note, I worked on the revamped Pink Panther cartoon a few years back. For those of you who recall the original, the Pink Panther was a very successful cartoon character -- created years ago by the legendary animator Friz Freleng. So anyhow, in the revamped version, the decision was made to have the Pink Panther speak -- something never ever ever done in the classic version. The new version was a big flop. The moral to the story? Well, there's actually no moral. Just a little anecdote.

Why does Skeletor not use any real magic? The most we have seen is energy being fired from his Havoc Staff, and he constantly relies on Evil-Lyn for REAL magic. WE WANT TO SEE SKELETOR AS A POWERFUL VILLAIN!!!!!!!!!!

Judging by the number of explanation points you used, I can see you feel strongly about this!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Why was the Eternian/Horde War completely rewritten to feature Keldor instead of Hordak? Will Hordak have a part in the new series, and will this part play into the Eternian/Horde War again?

Well, the premise of your question is based upon a mythos that we may or may not employ. I know it's hard if you're a fan of the old show, but I think you need to try and approach the new series from a fresh perspective.

Why is Adam a whiny teenager? No offense, but I find that he is annoying and a bad role model for children.

Hey, most teenagers are bad role models for children! :-)

Is Adam annoying and whiny? I dunno, I think he's the classic reluctant hero. Someone who has awesome power and responsibility thrust upon him, when all he really wanted was to be a normal teenager.

Will we see Adam mature into a young man who takes his responsibilty seriously (even though he may mask it to keep his identity as He-Man secret) by the end of season 1 or in season 2?

I think we'll see Adam growing into his role a bit more. At the same time the burdens of his "secret identity' may not go away, but continue to cause conflict and complication. And that's good mews for us storytellers -- since conflict is what good storytelling is all about!

Is it possible for Adam's words, "By the Power of Grayskull!" to be just as loud as He-Man's "I have the Power!"? It seems that not enough emphasis is placed on the first phrase. You don't even hear Adam say these words in the intro.

If you get really close to your TV while Adam is speaking, then run back about 10 yards when He-Man speaks, I think you'll get the effect you're looking for. J/k Actually this is the first time I've heard this particular comment. I'm gonna listen for what you're referring to next time I watch the show.

When are we going to see a REALLY COOL battle between He-Man and Skeletor? Not like "The Mystery of Anwat Gar", mind you, with the DragonBall Z-like action. I mean a no holds-barred battle with the two using all their power in MOTU fashion. Even though we never saw it in the old series, every MOTU fan has wanted to see this.

Not to worry. We will see He-Man and Skeletor clash plenty.

Why doesn't He-Man use the Power Sword more often? Will we get to see him use it in battle? Even if he can't stab, mame, or cut foes because of the violence, can we see him use it for blocking/parrying, attacking other people's weapons, or cutting things like rocks?


Posted by snakeface on January 5, 2003 09:24am:

First, I think you guys are doing a great job with this new series. I've been a big fan of He-man for nearly 20 years.

This "resurrection" is a dream come true. Though I think this new series is great, I feel it has great potential to be better.... I feel He-man lacks the presence he brought to the classic series. Skeletor also lacks a certain presence as the overlord of evil. These two characters use to have a great chemistry between them. That chemistry seems lost some how...

Well, in the new series they haven't known each other all that long. Give 'em a little time to work on that hero/villain banter. Their chemistry will put Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan to shame.

I also regret that Marlena is no longer from Earth, that gave her a certain uniqueness that really elevated her character.

Yeah, but think about when she had to phone home -- those long distance bills were horrendous.

I agree with the non talking Cringer/Battlecat decision....
So we'll tally you as a "split decision"!

Posted by Fisto on January 5, 2003 12:20pm:

I have to say again, I really do love the show. Just wondering,alot of the supporting characters have been developed further,which I really like. But will the Adam/He-man and Skeletor,characters, be further developed, I am hoping, they are alsoexplored, I know, it is early yet. By the way congratulations, on an awesome series.

Thanks. And yes, there's lots more exploration of characters coming up.

Posted by Prism on January 5, 2003 12:56pm:

Is there any chance of Teela's destiny being revealed in thecoming seasons. And one respectful request, plz,plz, plz give us closure in theend of the final season of this ride of "HE-MAN & the Masters of the Universe".

Final season? May that not be for many many more years!

Posted by galmorzu on January 6, 2003 03:18am:

First off, like everyone else I really want to thank you for helping to bring us easily one of the best animated shows. This newest reincarnation of He-man, so far, seems to have been handled extremely well, and we all enjoy waiting until the next new episode airs to see what you all have in store for us. The writing is exceptional, especially compared with the majority of rather bland, slap-stick cartoons that are on television now. The stories are thoughtful, epic, exciting, and most important of all, character driven.

Thanks, glamorzu. The check is in the mail.

This brings me to the question that I'd really like to ask. When you are introducing or creating the characters for the show, how much thought do you put into their backgrounds, mentalities, and subtle character intricacies?

Well, we try and put as much thought into that stuff as we can. For someone like Ram Man, we thought it'd be interesting to give him that vulnerability of being scared of the dark. For Man E Faces, we gave him some conflict over his various personas, especially after Beastman took control of his "beast side." As far as their backgrounds, yes, we're always talking about where they come from -- whether they're part of a certain "nationality" -- if there are any more at home like them, that type of thing. All of these thoughts go into the mix. Sometimes the things are made up as we go along, such as in deciding that Whiplash was part of a group called the Caligars, and that he was an outcast because of his evil ways and connection with Skeletor. The more elements and histories we have percolating, the more opportunity there is to see how these various things interconnect.

When you put Whiplash into the first episode, did you plan for him to be a traitor of his rather good-willed race, or have him wishing to be a higher ranked soldier of Skeletor's?

No to both of those questions. As mentioned above, the Whiplash-as-Caligar idea came up as we were developing the Underworld story. As far as his sucking up to Skeletor, that was just something that seemed to develop naturally.

Do you plan ahead to have some character's have various weaknesses or important feelings towards certain issues? Or do you get a basic blueprint and see where the stories bring you with them?

It's probably a little of both. As you start working with characters -- and this is true of any kind of writing -- they hopefully start "talking to you." They seem to take on a life of their own -- develop their own unique voice and attitude. As an animation writer, you're helped along in the process by how they're drawn, how they move when animated, and by the voice acting. Shades and textures start appearing. Certain quirks, mannerisms, characteristics. You build on these and get a clearer and clearer picture of the character. On the other hand, there are some times when you have a very clearly defined character in your head when you start off and it varies little from how you imagined it.

Well, I guess that's it. The end of Round 3. And I'm still standing. (I feel like Rocky!)

Thanks for all the great questions, everyone.
We'll do it again!


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