FTN: Before we get going, tell us a bit about yourself and what path led you to where you are right now.
GW: I started out writing for comic books when I was a sophomore in college. After graduation, I held a staff job at DC Comics for a couple years, then left to go to graduate school. After getting my Masters in Professional Writing, I started as a junior executive at Walt Disney Television Animation. I eventually became Director of Series Development and in that position, created and developed the Gargoyles series for Disney. After Gargoyles, I went to Dreamworks, and after that I went freelance, and I’ve been a freelance writer-producer ever since, working as a showrunner on everything from W.I.T.C.H. to The Spectacular Spider-Man to Young Justice to Star Wars Rebels. In between, I’ve written more comics and two novels, Rain of the Ghosts and Spirits of Ash and Foam, the first two books in a potential nine book series.
FTN: Ok, your passion right now is Rain of The Ghosts, before we talk about the Kickstarter, tell us about the story which is, of course, already a successful book.
“It is a joy to be able to take a break from all the corporate rigamarole and work on something that I own.”
GW: Rain Cacique is a young girl living on a chain of Caribbean islands called the Ghost Keys. Rain lives and works in the Bed & Breakfast that her parents own and operate. And though she lives in a tropical paradise, to her the Ghosts are a small town, and Rain is feeling trapped. Then she learns – to her initial horror – that she can communicate with ghosts: she sees dead people. Rain finds that she has a mystery to solve, a mission to complete and a destiny to fulfill, and it’s all wrapped up in the mythology and legends of Rain’s ancestors, the Taíno. (continues after pic)
FTN: Rain of The Ghosts is obviously a personal work for you; do you prefer working on something like this?
GW: I don’t know about prefer, but it is a joy to be able to take a break from all the corporate rigamarole and work on something that I own, something that is, as you said, very personal.
FTN: Was it always a story you felt you needed to tell and why?
GW: Well, I can’t claim “always”. But from the moment I began to learn about the legends of the Taíno, it certainly felt imperative. Rain sprang very naturally from these legends, very organically. And I quickly fell in love with her and her friends, family and foes. From that point on, I couldn’t wait to tell these stories.
FTN: So, now you have started a Kickstarter campaign to get Rain of The Ghosts to a whole new audience in the form of audiobook. Now, as a father of two and someone who works 50+ hours a week and runs this site, I do most of my reading through my iPod these days. Explain to us why you feel audiobook publishing is important.
“Think of it as a four hour animated movie – with all the visuals taking place in your head.”
GW: For starters, it’s not really an audiobook in the standard sense, i.e. it’s NOT a single narrator reading the book and doing all the voices himself. This is a full cast unabridged AudioPlay, with twenty actors playing thirty roles, a full musical score and sound effects. Think of it as a four hour animated movie – with all the visuals taking place in your head. This format will really allow the characters and their story to come to life for the listener – and yet still allow her or him to use their imaginations to visualize what they’re hearing.
FTN: If the campaign is successful – and it certainly looks like it is already – do you plan to do more audio work alongside your writing?
GW: I’d like to, starting with (obviously) the second book in the series, Spirits of Ash and Foam. But if we prove this format can be profitable, the sky is the limit as to what we might be able to achieve. Funding new animated episodes of an old series (say, Gargoyles or Young Justice) would be prohibitively expensive. But funding AudioPlays like this, written by the series’ original writers and featuring their original casts might be within the realm of possibility. (Continues after pic)
FTN: Now, moving onto your other work, many folks know you from your Star Wars work, but before we go into that, your career pretty much started with the much-loved animated show Gargoyles, tell us a little about that show and the impact it has had on your career.
GW: Gargoyles was the first series I created and produced and is still probably the thing I’m best known for. And I’m fine with that, because the work still holds up twenty years later, and because this series was and is my baby. I was there from its inception all the way through the end of post-production on all 65 episodes of the first two seasons. I also wrote all the SLG comics, which we consider to be the canon third season of the series. (Continues after pic)
“Gargoyles was the first series I created and produced and is still probably the thing I’m best known for. And I’m fine with that.”
FTN: Now, moving on to Star Wars, especially Rebels, with Celebration just over, everyone is talking about the trailer for Season 2 – it was amazing by the way – so, I told the FTN writers I was chatting to you and instantly got sent a load of questions… I understand if you can’t answer some, but I promised i’d ask.
GW: I’m not working on season two of Star Wars Rebels, so I’m as much in the dark as anyone. I am still writing the Star Wars Kanan comic book spin-off from Marvel and Lucasfilm.
FTN: I see that you wrote “Eyes of the Chimera” for Season 3 of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles – I’m such a fan of this new series – how was that? Are you a Turtles fan and were you told before penning it that season 3 was going to be very heavily influenced by classic horror movies?
GW: I am a Turtles fan, and it was a real kick getting a shot at writing one. And, yes, the horror influence was intentional. (Continues after pic)
FTN: You have also have an amazing career writing for comic-based series from Spidey to Batman so I have to ask, who is your favourite superhero to write and in general? (Hint: Batman is the right answer to both)
GW: Captain Atom.
“I am a Turtles fan, and it was a real kick getting a shot at writing one.”
FTN: With you being so busy and especially now that you’re focusing on the AudioPlay version of Rain of The Ghosts, what is next for you?
GW: Once the Kickstarter is over, I plan to immediately jump on the post-production of Rain and get the AudioPlay finished for all our backers. Plus, I’ll continue to write Star Wars Kanan for the next half a year, at least. Beyond that, I really don’t know. Truth is, I’m looking for work.
FTN: Finally, where can people get in touch with you online?
GW: I’m on Twitter at @Greg_Weisman. I’ve recently joined Facebook at Greg Weisman Official and GregWeismanwrites. (But I haven’t quite gotten the hang of Facebook yet, so be gentle). And, of course, folks can still ask questions over at AskGregWeisman.com. There’s also a huge (searchable) archive of already answered questions there.
FTN: Greg, thanks for your time and we will continue to watch and read everything you’re involved in with great interest.
GW: Cheers guys…
You can support Greg’s Kickstarter for Rain of the Ghosts by clicking here