Archive for the ‘Television’ Category

Geek Girl Authority interview and John Wilkes Booth humor piece

2/16/22

Here are some things you might not know about me:

  • When I was a very young child, I thought The Count (from Sesame Street) was Jewish because he talked like my maternal grandmother.
  • When my daughter Aviya was a baby, I used to hold her horizontally and pretend she was a tommy gun and that I was using her to obliterate mobsters in the 1920s. See, her legs were the butt of the gun, and her arms were the trigger, and um…Please don’t call Child Protective Services.
  • One time, I formed a boy band with some of my fellow MAD Magazine writers. (Well, more of a “man band,” because we were all adults…technically.) We assigned roles to everyone, because the people in boy bands always have roles, e.g. the leader, the romantic one, the cute one, etc. My role? The sexy weirdo.
  • According to my wife Nadine, the other day I talked in my sleep. I got up (still asleep), stood by the foot of the bed, and yelled, “There should be more comedy concerts!” And I’d just like to say: Sorry, sleepwalking-and-sleeptalking Arie, there’s still a pandemic going on. So there are limits on live indoor entertainment for now!
  • Speaking of the pandemic, one of the things I’ve missed about the pandemic is attending comic book conventions in person. One thing I don’t miss? Being asked by random strangers whether I was cosplaying as Rick Moranis in Ghostbusters, which honestly has happened too many times for me to count. For the record: No, not cosplaying as anyone. This is just what I look like.

Now, I didn’t talk about any of those things when Rebecca Kaplan (no relation) interviewed me for Geek Girl Authority. But here are some of the things I DID talk about in that interview:

Yup, I discuss all four of those writing projects in that interview, which you can read HERE.

Also, just in time for Presidents’ Day, I wrote a humor piece called “Other Catchphrases John Wilkes Booth Considered Before ‘Sic Semper Tyrannis!’” It was published on Weekly Humorist. Check it out!

 

 

 

 

 

2021 Interviews With Yours Truly!

10/19/21

Last month, I was interviewed by Rebecca Kaplan (no relation) for the geek culture site Comics Bookcase. During the interview, I talked about my career as a comic book writer and children’s author.

Around that same time, I was a guest on Jeramy Moore’s Storymakers podcast. This was a wide-ranging interview about my writing career.

And, just in case you missed them, here are some other press interviews with yours truly from earlier this year:

For Jurassic June (which happened in – wait for it – June), I was interviewed by Thomas Fishenden for the Jurassic Park Podcast. In this interview, I talked about the Jurassic Park and Jurassic World children’s books I’ve written. That interview was broken up into two parts. Part one is here, and part two is here.

In March, as part of WonderCon 2021, I was on a virtual panel that attempted to answer the question: “Who’s the most neurotic superhero?” The other panelists were Travis Langley, Leandra Parris, J.J. Sedelmeier, and R. Sikoryak. The panel was moderated by Danny Fingeroth. 

Also in March, David P. Levin hosted a panel discussion on his Pop Goes the Culture show to discuss the Disney Plus series WandaVision. I was one of the panelists. The other panelists were Danny Fingeroth, Ray Alma, Steve Van Patten, Adam Freeman, and special guest Fred Melamed, who played Vision’s boss in WandaVision.

And last but definitely not least, in February, I was a guest on the MulDiversity podcast, where I was interviewed by Jonita Davis, Mike Majett, Quamani Greer, Avia Knighten, Aaron M. Johnson, and Keisha Malone. During the interview, we discussed my career in comics, my work as a television comedy writer, and more.

Time-traveling Socks and Neurotic Centaurs

9/22/21

Recently, I wrote a short story called “Previously On ‘Time Sock: The Sock That Travels Through Time.’” It was published in the August 2021 issue of Defenestration, a literary magazine dedicated to humor. “Previously On ‘Time Sock’…” is a story that parodies some of the more ridiculous, convoluted science fiction-themed TV shows from the 1970s and 1980s, especially shows that were produced by Glen Larson (e.g. Battlestar Galactica, Buck Rogers, Knight Rider). But “Previously On ‘Time Sock’…” isn’t a parody of a specific show; just the type of science fiction TV show that used to be quite common on television, 40 or 50 years ago. 

Here are some other short stories and humor pieces I’ve written during the last few months:

I wrote a story for The Daily Drunk called “If You Act Now…”

And I wrote a list for Points in Case. It’s called “Other Things That Were Considered Evidence of Witchcraft in 17th Century Salem.”

Last but definitely not least, I wrote a piece for Weekly Humorist called “Thanks To The Pandemic, Nobody Cares That I’m A Centaur.”

 

 

The Entire Eastern Seaboard!

7/7/20

Many many many (many) years ago, I was a writer for the late, lamented television series Codename: Kids Next Door, which was on Cartoon Network. The show’s head writer was Mo Willems. (Yes, the children’s book author. Back then, he was doing quite a bit of work in television, mostly as a writer or head writer for various animated series.)

One day, I was in a story conference with Mo, and we were going over a premise I had pitched him. For the most part, Mo liked the plot that I’d concocted…until he got to the end of the first act. He turned to me and said, “Wait a minute…the bad guy wants to destroy the entire town? THE ENTIRE TOWN? What does THAT mean?” I wasn’t sure what he meant, so he elaborated: “It’s too vague, too big, too general. If someone’s trying to destroy the entire town or blow up the entire world, there’s nothing specific about it.” Mo’s point was that you can’t have a supervillain character with a generic goal.

Mo always wanted a villain’s goal to be specific and personal. In other words, the villain shouldn’t want to brainwash everyone in the entire town. She should want to brainwash the person who used to be her best friend, so that they’ll be BFFs again. See? Specific. Personal. The supervillain’s goal is tied to that villain’s personal relationships.

And this is something I’ve really taken to heart as a writer ever since. To this day, I can’t stand it when I’m watching a trailer for an action movie and there’s a scene with the U.S. military reacting to the villain’s big plot and a general says, “My god! He’s going to wipe out the entire eastern seaboard!” Really? He is? WHO CARES! That’s too big, broad, and vague. I can’t respond to it on an emotional level. I honestly get angry whenever I hear the phrase “eastern seaboard” in an action movie. It’s usually a signifier that the movie suffers from lazy writing. Or maybe it’s just a movie where the villain ORIGINALLY had a unique, interesting goal…in an early draft of the script. But somewhere along the line the screenwriters got a note from the studio that said, “You know what? The villain needs a BIG goal. How about he wants to detonate some nukes and wipe out – I don’t know – the entire eastern seaboard? It really raises the stakes, right?” I mean, sure. It DOES raise the stakes. But it’s also TOO big. I can’t engage with it. I can’t care about this supervillain character if his/her/their goal is so big and impersonal.

That’s certainly something I was thinking about last year when I wrote a Batman children’s book called Harley at Bat, which was published by Penguin Random House. In fact, the book came out today, Tuesday July 7th, 2020. Harley at Bat is an early reader, and it’s illustrated by Marco Lesko, Fabio Laguna, & Beverly Johnson. Harley Quinn is the supervillain in that story, and she doesn’t just have a vague goal like “Destroy all of Gotham City.” No, she has a very specific goal. She wants to…

Oh, but that would be telling. Guess you’ll just have to buy Harley at Bat in order to find out what Harley’s big supervillain scheme is. But trust me: she doesn’t want to wipe out the Eastern seaboard! In fact, I can honestly tell you that the words “Eastern seaboard” never appear once in Harley at Bat. That’s a promise! 

And while we’re on the subject of Batman: you should be like Batman and social distance. I mean, Batman socially distances because he has trouble forming personal relationships, which is in turn because his parents were murdered, he was heavily traumatized by that horrible experience, and he doesn’t even trust most of his fellow superheroes. Meanwhile, you and I social distance because it’s how we stay safe and healthy. Know what else Batman does? He wears a mask when he goes outside. Be like Batman. Wear a mask. Please.

Please contact me if you want to use this for any reason. arie@ariekaplan.com