Tim Sheridan Talks Masters of the Universe: Revelation, Teen Titans, and more! (part one)
We are lucky enough today to get to sit down with writer Tim Sheridan and talk about his work on the new Masters of the Universe Revelations! Join Jeff in this wonderful conversation and before to come back for part two!
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Interview scheduled by Jeffery Haas
Theme music by Ardus
Tim Sheridan – Video Interview Part 1
[00:00:00] Hello listeners, this boiler country today on the show. We have the fantastic Mr. Tim Sheridan. How’s it going, Tim?
Tim Sheridan: It’s going great. Now that I’m fantastic. Thank you.
Jeff: Oh, certainly fantastic though. You’re the list of what you have accomplished is definitely going under the realm of fantastic. At this point, you are making a name for yourself in writing lays that everyone’s entire childhood moving forward, or at least my adult childhood, you
Tim Sheridan: got to know you.
It really is a crazy year for me there. You know, it feels like, I mean, I’ve gotten the opportunity to work on a lot of stuff that is that it comes from our childhood and sort of, you know, revisiting that stuff and, and and, but this year in particular is a lot of stuff. Yeah. Are
Jeff: you purposely looking for every piece of our childhood that has you have not done anything and you know what?
I need to do that one as well. I mean, is there like a mighty max coming or a gargoyles or GI Joe coming from you? Like when I think about it,
Tim Sheridan: I’m like, oh no, of course not. I just, you know, do what comes my way and then, but that’s not true because I will sit here and think, and I have pitches for [00:01:00] like what the things are, what I would do with certain brands and certain properties and things that I’ve loved all my life.
And so I mean, I, you know, I don’t actively go out and try to hoard all of these, these great things from our childhood. But but I’ve been so lucky that that I’ve had the opportunity to get, to add my voice to the ongoing legacy of, of those things. You know, it’s it is a really like, you know, the gratitude I feel is is, is immense.
Jeff: So, so looking back at little Tim shared and like, w what were you watching or reading as, as a kid that, that either made you want to be a writer, I thought to myself, or thought to yourself, I want, this is what I’m going to mirror myself after. W was there anything like that?
Tim Sheridan: I I D I’m just thinking about it’s, I’m glad you asked this.
I was thinking about this because I was thinking about how, when people say who the writers were, [00:02:00] or the artists and the storytellers that inspired them, that, that direct, or a direct connection to the thing they do now, and you, for me, at least I only have that sort of clarity on the thing. Now, when I look backwards, like when I was a kid, I never was sitting there thinking, oh, well, I’m, I’m.
Loving Denny O’Neil and Marv Wolfman. And therefore that’s inspiring me. And I will go on to do things like them. Like it’s only now in retrospect that I look back and I’m like, oh no, your entire philosophy on, on story. And what I do is rooted in the stuff that, that I read from Denny O’Neil and from Marv Wolfman and George Perez and and, and, and Frank Miller, and you know what I’m talking about, comics.
And and then and then, you know, transformers, when I, as a kid, when transformers, the movie came out, the animated [00:03:00] movie you know, oh, that was a monumental thing for me at the time. I knew it was important cause I loved it. And I, I ran to Douglas drug every weekend to their video rental section to re rent it again, you couldn’t buy movies back then it was too expensive.
So I would re rent it every single weekend and watch it over and over and over again, after it came out on video. And so I knew it was important to me, but I didn’t know why. And now in retrospect I look back yeah. And I say, oh, that’s that movie. It was a kid’s movie, but it taught me that sometimes the good guys don’t win.
It taught me about consequences and stakes and, and it’s not even just that the good guys don’t win. Sometimes the bad guy wins. And what does that mean? And sometimes your heroes fault. And that’s a big thing. I think for kid, for a kid who hadn’t really been exposed to that, to sort of come to grips with.
And and so, so [00:04:00] those things really, really are the building blocks of, of, you know, Batman comics, transformers, you know, from toys to, to only entertainment. You know, those were the things that when I was a young kid, GI Joe, like that was the stuff when I was a young kid, but then again, I would’ve consumed anything.
I watched cartoon wise, you know, I th here’s a, here’s an enigma. I also was crazy about gem and the holograms, you know, like I would watch
Jeff: what’s that that’s I remember Jim.
Tim Sheridan: Yeah. Jan is true. The rage it’s like, I would watch that. I would watch, I watched, I remember watching care bears, like, like I couldn’t get enough care bears for some reason.
I still, to this day, Sing the gummy bears, advent Disney’s adventure to the gummy bears up all the time constantly. Yeah. The annoyance of everyone around me. And so, so it’s amazing the stuff that I would’ve consumed, anything in animation as a kid and I did, and I loved [00:05:00] it. And and in comics, when I was young, I was really into iron man and Batman, mostly that.
And then as I got older, I got exposed to Superman comics. The first Superman comics I ever bought that I ever really got into w was reign of the Superman, that story arc right after the death of Superman. And then, you know, fast forward, you know, many years later, I got to work on the adaptation for animation of the reign of the Superman story.
So it was a huge sort of full circle moment for me. And I got to work on a, with Mike Carlin who was the editor of, for Superman at DC when, when those, when those books came out and you know, that was the, you know, the, like I say, the gratitude I feel is immense for the opportunities I’ve been, I’ve been afforded.
And, and to get to work on things that I’ve loved my whole life and to just sort of, you know, keep the ball in the air and lend my voice to it as well. That’s, that’s how I see, you know, [00:06:00] what I
Jeff: do, you know, I, I think it’s fantastic to think that. So many of us share a similar history as children. I think we really grew up in the golden age of cartoons.
It might be like with the quality that they were like, He-Man transformers like the GI Joe. I go, I talk about money max. All the time. Batman animated series was such a golden age. And as you’re talking about transformers, the movie, I was thinking that was probably going back in my head the first time that anything had a consequence where characters are killed, mistakes are made things go wrong.
And every other cartoon, everything always ends. Everything’s back to the starting point. You know, everything resets at the end of each episode and everything restarts again. But in transformers, it didn’t restart. Every things had a definite this is a point where these characters end. I think
Tim Sheridan: about the people that made that movie.
I think about Margaret lash. And I think about flip Tilly and I, you know, how they, they must have known, I’ve never talked to them about it, but they must’ve known that they were, [00:07:00] they were touching the stove, you know, that they were stealing cookies. You know,
Jeff: what, for
Tim Sheridan: what they were able to sort of do with that particular movie.
And because it was a movie because it was a feature film. There was a you know, they could elevate the storytelling in a way that was, you know, how obviously really impactful for some kids, you know, particularly this one.
Jeff: And I’m looking at your bag and looking at the unit Chron there and the transformers poster and it isn’t, it.
It’s absolutely awesome. And I think another great thing with that, with that movie talking about once again, how impacted our childhood is that, like I said, introduce things like the hero’s journey. You have hot rod moving into Rodman’s prime, you have cup the wise Sage, you have that you know, and I must even the music.
I mean, I still have the music from Stan Bush on CD and I will listen to it. I don’t care. Dare is awesome.
Tim Sheridan: Well, Bush soundtrack for transformers, the movie is the [00:08:00] ultimate workout mix you. If you’re going for a jog, you know what that thing on, and you can do no wrong. It just pumps you up, which is amazing because for a movie that had so many dark tones to it, it, you know, story-wise, it was it, this, the score is, is ultimately, and by the way, the songs from Stan Bush but the score you know, is, is, is just phenomenal and, and pumps you up as well.
Suddenly so much they did right with that movie that now. It at this point in my life, the fact that the first transformers project I got to work on was transformers war for Cybertron for Netflix. I came in and worked on season two and season three. And all of that. Yeah. Show is rooted in G one, you know, sensibility, if not flat out continuity.
And and, and, you know, I always thought when I started working in animation, I thought someday I’ll get to work on transformers, but it’s going [00:09:00] to be a version of transformers. That isn’t exactly, exactly what I grew up with. It’s going to be something that is transformers adjacent for a kid like me, but I’ll still enjoy it, you know?
But then, you know, Jake DeSanto called and said, you know, Hey, here’s what we’re doing. And told me that the pitch for the show and I just was beside myself. I wanted that job so badly. And because, because it, it really, it, it was right in my wheelhouse and it was exactly the kind of show that I wanted to exist in the world.
And if there’s something I can do to help make it happen, you know, I’m there.
Jeff: And I will say having seen the war for Cybertron seasons, I think they were, I mean, they’re so respectful. I mean, I actually felt they should’ve, all that was missing was a, a see where age of agents of destruction pops in and they blow through shifts.
That’s what was missing it. I watched that so many times and that, for me, that was like bat the bad-ass [00:10:00] metal song. When I was a kid, I was like, oh my God, I’m a bad ass agent of disruption. But
Tim Sheridan: I like that school, that soundtrack is not just Stan Bush songs too. Like it’s, you know, that, that thing’s incredible.
Jeff: That movie’s great. I think animation was appreciated the way it is nowadays where with movies, but the, for, for world Cybertron I think you guys, you, you honored, there was no show, so, well, when you have the, not to the Quintin signs you have you have a nod, you know, with the matrix and you even make a nod with with gravitron as well.
I mean, there’s so many little nods to the movie. We all know, and the TV show, we all love and even continues into what we think the original show would be. That I think, I mean, it was a wonderful thing that you guys did.
Tim Sheridan: I, I think thank you. And I think without you know, I can’t even really talk much about what’s up, what’s coming up and I don’t want to spoil anything, but I will say this, that, that we only, we only got more bold with season three in terms of its connection to transformers, mythology [00:11:00] and mythologies.
And and I, I, you know, I’m, I’m just so happy with with what we were able to do with what Hasbro and Netflix and and, and you know, rooster teeth and and everybody involved. I mean, you know, the, the it’s, it’s for me, for a kid, for a kid who grew up with, with transformers and transformers, a movie, and it’s, it was a, the job of a, of a lifetime.
I was very happy to do it, and it led to, you know, me doing some other stuff at at Netflix. Right, right. After I finished on transformers, I, I started working on masters of the universe revelation for Kevin Smith.
Jeff: Well, before we get too much into the heme, I do have a couple more just warble started Tron questions if you don’t mind.
Sure. So, okay. So for anyone who watched the second season, obviously there’s going to be the crash. The arc is crash lane, basically on earth. It was understanding that was going to be the arc from the original G one series. Because of that will there, they’re still going to be transformers [00:12:00] that will appear that we all know that have not been in the first two seats, or are you now stuck with that one crew that we have already introduced?
Tim Sheridan: Yeah. I mean, I can’t, you know, I can’t talk about anything, but but I, I, I CA I will say that we you know, I think that the way we went into it and I, and by the way, I, so I have to say this, I haven’t seen season three yet. I haven’t seen kingdom yet. So, so I really can’t, I’m not even an authority.
I can’t even tell you what the animators were able to do. So, you know, so it’s, it’s really, I’m going to be as surprised as anyone when some, some fun cameos pop up that we didn’t even put it in the script. So it’s we’ll, we’ll, you know, I’ll be sitting there just like you looking for them.
Jeff: Well, I definitely want to give a pitch, if you can, to introduce a pre. Old cup that can be introduced to what he was before he became a mentor to hot rod, as he deserves to be.
[00:13:00] Tim Sheridan: You know, if you had just come to me a couple of years ago, when we were writing the show, I would have, you know,
Jeff: see if I had known you’re going to write my child.
I just would keep sending you, you know, it’s like, I, another character you need to show up as this, that’d be the most annoying fricking fan. Ha have you introduced a blur yet? Blurt needs to be in the cartoon. I’m going to
Tim Sheridan: tell you though. I think in some, sometimes it depends on the gig. Sometimes that is a thing that someone takes into consideration.
And I think war for Cybertron is a good example of one of the times when that’s been the case for me in my career F J DeSanto you know, and, and Ted BS, Elliott, Netflix, you know, they knew they wanted P people who spoke the language of the fans to be there. People who were fans themselves to be there, to be that voice, you know, you know, I, I was, I was there all the time saying, you know, let’s bring this character in, let’s do this character, obviously in a 3d animated series, You know, the, [00:14:00] the budgetary constraints become something you have to consider.
There are only so many characters you can have in an, a transformer show. There’s only so many characters you can have that you can show all of their alt modes and, you know, and, and, and, you know, have them, you know, interact with everybody. And in all the ways we expect when we want them to. So it’s those questions come up that are above my pay grade.
And sometimes, you know, I’m sitting there saying, you know, let’s throw in all of these characters, you know, and they have to say, well, we’re going to have to try to reign in him a
Jeff: little bit. And since you’ve done, like transformer, like you’ve done so much work, that it has such a deep fan base who like transformers a massive universe, reign of Superman.
So a teen Titans complex whatnot. When, when, when you’re, when you’re writing a thing about the story. Okay. How do you balance story concerns versus fan service concerns?
Tim Sheridan: Well, I, you know, I don’t, that’s, I think that’s the thing, and that’s why I think on that show in particular. And I think there was a lot of this on [00:15:00] masters of the universe as well, because, you know, master the universe was formative for me as well.
We’ll talk more about that later, but you know, the. They, I don’t think they wanted me to balance those concerns. I think that was the whole idea. And I’ll tell you, it’s not just me, you know, on kingdom I wrote you know, half of that season, the other writer who wrote the other half is a brilliant writer named Mae cat, who is, you know, to me, one of the not just foremost authorities on, but also just one of the biggest fans you’ll ever find for beasts wars.
And and you know, I don’t think, I don’t think if anything, I took my cues from Mae who w who I think went in and as a, you know, as, you know, fig fan foot forward, you know, and said, let’s let me think about how, how, how do I see this? How would I do this as a fan first? And and then, you know, adapt based on production, you know, requirements [00:16:00] later.
Yeah. That’s how we went into it. I mean, we certainly, we did some of that on, on Earthrise as well. I just think that we on kingdom, you know, we, we were able to, to especially with may, there may, may was, you know, I’m so grateful she was there because was not. You know, the, the transformers I grew up with, it was the transformers she grew up with.
So, but you know, for a show that is steeped in, in in, in these wars and in G one and you know, it, it was necessary. I think, to have some folks in there who, who spoke those languages, you know,
Jeff: and I do wonder if someone who is a fan, like you are a know these characters as well as, as a, as a child is a daunting to write them.
Because I imagine there’s part of you that wants to write them as you remember them being because that’s, what’s in your head, you feel loyalty to what you remember at the same time. Characters do need to grow, adapt, change, and make it into a 21st century story [00:17:00] that that’s kind of, you know, a little bit more, more infrastructure times, a little bit more adult than the original was supposed to be.
So the characters do have to change, but you’re also trying to be respectful.
Tim Sheridan: That’s actually, I have to be, I have to be honest with you. That was the easiest part of the job, because, well, only because the show, when you watch, you know, the original transformers, you know, I mean, transformers, the movie, not with fanning.
When you watch the original series, there was, there’s a lot of room for character. It was for more character to get laid. You know, those shows were designed to be very much plot centric, and there’s a problem. And with the Decepticons and we’re going to go fight it and here’s how we’re going to fix it.
And we’ll, we’ll battle it out and we’ll have a clever solution to maybe we’ll even learn something, you know, like that there was a machine you know, by which that show ran. And I think that it left and a lot of shows when I was a kid where like this a lot of animated [00:18:00] series, you know, there’s a, there’s still a lot of room for character development, I think in terms of like what we did an Earthrise with a Lita one, you know, elite one, didn’t have a lot of screen time in, in the old show.
So there wasn’t an opportunity to really the explore more about sort of who she is and what her motivations might be. Yeah. You know, there are clues and those markers that we used when we were writing Elida one for, for Earthrise you know, in order to keep her rooted and truthful to who she has been as a character.
But you know, and, and these things have been explored in comics and other places, but you know, when you’re looking at it strictly from the animation perspective I think there was a. There was just a lot of room there for us to get in and layer in a lot more character beats than we would have gotten if we had been doing the show in the eighties for, for a younger audience.
So, you know, I I’m I’m, I’m I’m I love what we have been [00:19:00] able to do with the lead of one in particular. And we did some cool stuff with with ultra Magnus and
Jeff: bumblebee as well. I, I think I don’t wanna think you did a great job with Leeta one and bumblebee, as you said, all of them. I think you did a great job.
Some of us are so morning ultra Magnus a little bit, but you know, it’s just how it goes. But listen,
Tim Sheridan: I always tell everybody it’s not about the day nothing happened, you know, it’s it’s, you know, you got, you’ve got to, in order to understand the stakes, you have to make big sacrifices
Tim Sheridan – Combined: and
Jeff: it wasn’t even six months.
It was all about the big sacrifice.
Tim Sheridan: That’s exactly right. That’s exactly right. It’s also the philosophy behind the first comics I ever wrote came out earlier this year, there were future state teen Titans and future stages for DC. And that whole thing was all about for me, let me show you how bad it can be for these people who put on these tights and these capes and, you know, you know, because they care and they go out every day.
And sometimes the kids like the [00:20:00] teen Titans, you know, they go out and they care to do this, but it’s so easy to when they have superpowers, we think. You know that it’s easy for them. And in fact, there are, they are constantly knocking on the door of terrible consequences. And if we, in order to appreciate that when we’re having the fun times, like we’re having right now in teen Titans academy we have to understand what is always lurking behind the fun behind that, that door that they’re always knocking on that, that, that it is the stakes are real.
They should be real for them the way that they were in transformers, the movie, once the reason why I love the seasons of the transformer show that came after transformers, the movie isn’t because they were perfect episodes of television it’s because they w they benefited from all of the drama and backstory that the movie gave them that it fed to them.
And it’s the same thing where like the, the star wars, [00:21:00] the original star wars trilogy is, is so great because it, it had a history of the clone wars and all of the, this past that Vader and Obi-Wan and all of these in the Jedi and everybody had had that we didn’t see at that time. But we knew existed and it just enriched the world so much.
You know, that, that stuff is important and it, it helps you understand the stakes.
Jeff: I agree with you a hundred percent LinkedIn, I think a great and well, and also, well, when you’re talking about Lutron Magnus and from the original word, so I we’re trying to you didn’t write the first season you wrote the second one did that open season two, but when you’re writing season two and you know, cause what alternate Magnus death kind of did for the first season, it did open the door that no one is safe.
Every character here that you’d know, and you love can be lost because Walter Magnus is dead. And that means everyone can be dead when you’re writing. The second season is what that, that’s something you can keep in your pocket while you’re writing. And again, I know that when I’m writing season two, [00:22:00] the viewers already know my character.
We’re not saying that you’re are you purposely playing with that idea? Th that is
Tim Sheridan: exactly why it’s there. I think, I mean, I don’t know. I wasn’t on season one, but when I came in, that was the effect for me. I, I, you know, you know, knowing that this is not just a, you know, a prequel, something that happens and we know it’s going to turn out a certain way.
You know, it’s something I’m doing a lot. It’s it’s again, I compare it to what I, what I’ve done in comics with future state. And now the books I’m doing you know, it’s, it’s, you know, the future for me is. Is prologue, but the future is also never set in stone. So it’s, you know, even the future of war for Cybertron that we saw, which was the original entertainment, you know, you know, to me, that stuff, you know, may or may not be set in [00:23:00] stone in the world of war, for Cybertron, as we saw with ultra Magnus.
Right. And, and with more characters in season two. So that was, that was definitely something that I carried with me, but now the biggest thing I cared into it was, I, I knew that one of the first scenes I was going to write was you know, was, was, would involve, you know, the head of ultra Magnus, you know, Gavin, Hank Knight, who was another terrific writer w who I worked with on Earthrise, we were from the beginning, we were like, yeah, that Megatron would keep ultra Magnus his head and would.
Interact with it, you know? And, and so we were like, what’s that scene going to look like? And so we talked about that. I think he wrote some stuff. I wrote some stuff in my first episode and you know, those are the, you know, the opportunities that are presented you know, with something like when you have characters as bold as Megatron you know, the, you don’t want to, you don’t want to let those, those, that ball fly by, you know.
Jeff: And [00:24:00] I think, and I do wonder if that’s also kind of the key of bringing in gravitron the way you did as a way of saying the future is not it’s immutable, it’s not immutable. It can be changed as we go. This is a character that we’re going to bring in to prove that we’re not going to be let’s say chain to the original Canon.
Tim Sheridan: mean, that’s, you know, that seems to be, I didn’t write that episode, but that, that seems to be you know, what, what is, what is happening there is, is sort of, you know, we’re seeing that there are different ways to look at at that the mythology that we know in different lenses of time that we can see through.
I, I don’t, I don’t know if that was the intention, again, I didn’t write that episode, but as a fan, I can, I can agree with you and I can. Yes. And on that,
Jeff: well, I mean, and the cool thing about transformers is that the Canon and mythology that we know of for transformers. It’s one of those few instances, I think where the [00:25:00] mythology was really created as they went, like the idea of the matrix and some of the hits background of where the transformers came from.
That’s not in the original G one. I mean, no one does no matrix. There’s no content Quintin. Sons’ none of them exist
Tim Sheridan: seasons. Yeah. The first couple seasons you’re right then. And that’s there, but you don’t want to be all spark came with the live action movies and that, you know, that, that has really become a big part of the lore now.
You know, it’s all additive, a lot of that stuff. It, it, it, it it’s sort of, oh, it’s cumulative, it’s cumulative. It all sort of, you know, the, the stuff that people that people think fits into the Canon, you know, ends up sticking around for a while. The stuff that people enjoy the most, hopefully there’ll be some stuff like that from, from more for Cybertron.
Jeff: Is there, is, is there any of the candor mythology that you were told to stick to, or are you able to dictate the Canon mythology as you’re going, as you’re writing this, the episodes and what you’re going to follow or not follow?
Tim Sheridan: Well, I mean, you know, I will [00:26:00] say this is, this is why it’s great to work for somebody like FJ.
It’s you know, nobody ever put, put the brakes on to say, you can only think of it this way, or you can only, you know, stay within these, these, this, these walls, this small little box we’re going to put you in. It was never like that. It was go. You know, blow it out, like think of, you know, give us everything you got and and, you know, use your imagination, draw on your fandom and, you know, and your, your, whatever, you know, the, the in your instincts.
And then, and then we’ll, we’ll talk through it and figure out the best way to move forward and tell our story, you know, F J had an idea of, you know, he had a document that showed sort of what the progression, what would be plot-wise for Earthrise. And and so we kind of knew then the, the, the rough edges of, of what, how it would shape up.
But then Gavin and I, he [00:27:00] just turned us loose at the, at the planning stage, in the imagination stage, you know, he let us run wild in that respect. And then, and then sometimes, you know, it’s not even the producer showrunner, like FJ who says, well, maybe focus more on this and not this. Sometimes it was us.
We’re just, you know, it’s just, that just comes with experience. You think, well, what is this story about in this particular episode? What are we really saying? And does this part serve. You know where we’re trying to go, knowing that we only have so much time in order to tell the story. So sometimes we can edit ourselves as we’re going, and sometimes it takes a good story editor coming in and helping us sort of refine our vision.
But the biggest thing I can say is, you know, on a show, like, I, I don’t think I’ve ever been on a show. And then this is another part of just the luck of my life and careers. I don’t think I’ve ever been on a show where they have [00:28:00] told me, you know, to limit my imagination. You know, when you go in the door, I think, you know, what, what they value what, what the, all the good, all the good bosses and the good producers, all what they all value is somebody coming in with a lot of ideas and, and, and, and imagination.
And, and and the knowledge, the working knowledge of the thing, especially when you, when you’re working in IP that exists, which I often almost always do. Right. You know, having a working knowledge of the, of the existing brand and intellectual property, so that you know how to tell the story that pops into your imagination.
I think, you know, everybody really values that from, you know, from the shows I’ve worked. I worked done justice league action was the first thing I worked on an animation for Alan Burnett and Jim Creek and Lucaj and you know, I think, you know, they certainly valued that. And, and Lauren Faust, I worked with her on.
On DC superhero girls which, you know, which is a really fun show. And, and and you know, I think she, she was, I had some of the greatest time I’ve ever had concocting stories [00:29:00] with, with with Lauren and her team. You know, to the, the movies I’ve worked on for people like, you know, James Tucker and and Butch Lou kitsch, who I mentioned, you know, this, they, they, the people who are doing this stuff by the way, not even, not even dimension Kevin Smith, you know, Rob David from Mattel and Ted PSLE of Netflix on masters of the universe who, you know, they just, they want the they’re good at that’s.
They’re the reason why they are, where they are in their career is because they are people who, who, who want to inspire creators and writers and artists to do that their best work and use their imagination. And and, and then to help I realize it and that is you know, that’s, that’s the, that’s the real fun part of doing what I do.
The, the frustrating part is when, you know, I’m sitting here, like right now, I’ve got a script open right now, and I’m looking at. That, you know, I’m, gosh, you’d probably see it reflected in my glasses. I probably should. No, it’s a close guys.
Jeff: Read the glasses.
[00:30:00] Tim Sheridan: It’s a teen Titans cat academy script that I’m working on for my comics and, and you know, I’m, I’m, I’m in it and I, I know what I want to do.
And, you know, sometimes I get frustrated because I don’t, maybe I don’t know what the next thing is and how this is going to tie together with the other thing to get to the point that I need to make in this issue. So you don’t think that all the frustration like that can be really, you know, can be, can slow you down later, you know?
But yeah, most, most of the time writers are crippled by the by the the blank page. And and that’s not me. I, you know, I, I see the blank page and I’m just like, okay, let’s get going. You know, for me, I, I freeze up when it’s time to, to rewrite when I’m going. And I really agonize over what’s the right thing to say here, what’s the right thing to do here.
And how do I reorder this thing? It’s, it’s [00:31:00] easy to, to just fill the, fill the page with words but to actually make it a story and make the story make sense is is the real job, you know, that we do,
Jeff: you know, I, I imagined that a lot of our listeners. Are probably either writers or want to be writers, including myself, who is somewhere in the, in the, the, the line between want to be right on a writer.
So when you do get to that level of frustration or, or forgetting or not knowing how to go to the next point, how do you approach it for not only is it effective, psych psychological on you, probably thinking about how to go forward, but you also now have to actually do the hard work of constructing it.
Tim Sheridan: yeah, no, that’s a good question. There’s a couple of different things, pers is everybody’s different, I think. But what I was taught and one of the things I know a lot of my colleagues, my closest colleagues do is we call each other, you know, and we pitched things to each other. We show, we take screenshots of, of screen grabs of pages that [00:32:00] we’re working on.
We shared them with each other. Sometimes it’s when we think something we wrote is really great and we just wanted to see, to float it out there and see what our friends think. And, and and sometimes it’s, it’s just because it’s like, I don’t know how to, how to do this thing. And, you know, so we, we all do that with each other.
And so that’s one way to get out of that. The other thing is there’s two other things that I do, one is to just make a decision. And, and be okay with it not being necessarily the right one. And what that frees you up to do is just put the, you know, put a version of the thing down the bad version.
You give yourself permission to write the bad version all the time. And once you get that down, then you can try to go back and maybe you’ll agonize over it. But chances are, once you put something down, it’s going to shake something loose and in your brain that when you go back to it and look at it later, you’ll know how to it’s the mystical and mysterious in that way.
But sometimes that’s how it works. You can just we’ll know how to fix it. Then. The other, the other great [00:33:00] tool that we have that I use, and I know a lot of writers do is I shut it all down. I shut it all down and I close out my brain and I don’t think about it at all, because one of the big things about writing that people don’t understand, most people who aren’t writers, weren’t creative, people don’t understand is that we’re writing all the time.
And most of the writing takes place back in the back of our brain, somewhere that we don’t even know that we’re thinking about what we’re writing. It’s just. It’s all happening in a mysterious way. And when we sit back down again more often than not, we figure out, we know, we just know it’s there the way forward presents itself.
And and so shutting it all down and giving yourself permission to take a break from it for a little bit is a big part of it. For me, it’s driving. If I can get in the car and drive for a while, there’s something about being in the car, driving that shuts off certain parts of [00:34:00] my brain and activates other parts.
It’s driving is, you know, you get to a point where you’ve been driving long enough that it’s there. A lot of it is instinctual. You know, you’re always aware of what’s happening, but you have more space to listen to a podcast and think about what they’re saying, or listen to music or sing along, or, you know, there’s, there’s other app parts of your brain that get to get to be accessed.
And so that’s, for me, driving is an easy, quick, fast way to, to sort of clear my head. So yeah, for what it’s worth, those are mine.
Jeff: I think that those are such great answers because for one, I I’m a, I’m an English teacher for my day job. I always tell my students as a writing their essays, I go. You know, and I, and I tell him to go, you know, it’s not easy.
Writing is never easy. Your first draft is going to suck. It just usually always does, but you need to get the idea on paper, get the idea out there, and then you can go back and make it sound the way you wanted to, but the idea needs to needs to land. So write the crappy sentence first, if you have to, you know,
Tim Sheridan: if if I can give some unsolicited advice to your [00:35:00] students, it is for me, the biggest and best piece of advice that I can give is that the greatest motivator is a deadline.
And the more real you can make your deadlines feel to you, even if they’re just internal deadlines that you’ve set for yourself, but if you can really make them feel real. And for me, it’s usually because literally a production needs to start and we’re going to lose artists if we don’t have the pages, you know?
So it’s a real real-world thing for me. But if you can have at that deadline will, it’s amazing how much motivation it gives you and what it has instilled in me. And this is the advice I would give is that there’s almost, almost never. And a lot of writers aren’t like this, but I am almost never late on a deadline.
I will, even if it’s not perfect, I will turn in the finished product, a finished product to you on the deadline, because it’s important for me, I [00:36:00] think, to, to adhere to those things and to know that the thing is never going to be the perfect version. It’s always just going to be the version that exists on the day that you have to deliver it.
And and so, so for somebody to come in and say, you know, I, I’m not done with it yet. I I’m gonna miss my deadline for me. That’s just not a thing. You know, I, I think no turning what you got, let’s see where you are and that is, is it, it helps keep me moving
Jeff: and it must also help to focus you completely, because once again, you’re, you’re realizing they’re there that end point.
And I guess the moment you do skip a deadline and everything’s okay. The deadline stops being real the next time I imagine as well. That’s,
Tim Sheridan: that’s exactly right. And of course I talk a big game, but oh, and I’ve got a visitor coming up right now to say hello on the podcast, which is my cat just jumped onto my desk because I’m going to have to open the door and let him out of my office in a minute.
[00:37:00] So, the The I don’t even remember, we’re talking about deadlines, but yeah, I dunno.
Tim Sheridan: no worries. Bye. Cute cats. I can’t help it. I have a, this is another great tool we have as writers. If I don’t know what to do, I look at cat videos on,
Jeff: well, I will say I have several cats and a dog.
And th th they often are a very convenient distraction when you’re stuck on something and you don’t get aggravated by it. So there’s like, you know, the cats right here. I probably got to pet the cat for a few minutes. And, and it was, again, as you’re saying it, it’s funny how the brain of a writer works. I, there was a story just recently that I’m working on like a comic book.
And I was stuck on a concept because the creator of the comic book changed the storyline that I wanted to tell and wanted a different storyline, a plot line and whatnot. It’s like, okay, I’ll do whatever you want me to do. Cause you’re paying me. I don’t care. And I wasn’t, I was stuck on a photo thing two whole days until I was just sitting there listening to my wife, talk to her friends, and the idea just popped to my brain out of nowhere.
I was like, that’s the secret? And it’s amazing how sometimes just that distraction allows your brain, [00:38:00] that relaxation, where the, you don’t even realize the gears are moving. It pops up with an actual concept.
Tim Sheridan: Yeah, I think that’s, I, you know, I mean, I think everybody’s different, but that that’s, that speaks really.
That’s true for me when you just.
Jeff: So th th the other story that you’re, you’re working on, once again, as you complete our childhood when were, were, were you a fan of He-Man growing up?
Tim Sheridan: Oh, yeah. So, so I, I, but, you know, I didn’t, I didn’t collect the, I didn’t play with the toys, which is such a huge part of a masters of the universe and being a masters universe fan.
But when I was a kid, I had to pick, we, we didn’t have a lot of money, you know, like I had to pick what was the thing that I was, you know, and for me, transformers just dominated my life. So, you know, so I didn’t get to play with the toys, but I watched the show. So that was what I got was, was the old classic show.
And and so [00:39:00] that was you know, really kind of the foundation for, for for my work coming on, on masters of the universe. Although I have to say, you know, in adult, I mean, I, I collect action figures and toys, and now as an adult, I have a. I developed a pretty good working understanding of the, of the toys.
I never had a collection of, of masters of universe stuff until I started working on, on a revelation.
Jeff: Well, I will say I have a very, I’ve been buying up the childhood toys that he made that I had growing up and I’ve been buying them now on eBay and getting the collection back. So my wife is tolerant and allows me to showcase them around the house because she’s a very tolerant woman.
And I got lucky that she is. But for, for me it was always him and back. I mean, the toys, when they came at me, they were just cool looking. I mean, they were, they were cool set of toys and the cartoon had, you know, it was just. Awesome. Looking back as an adult, watching some of the cartoons, you’re like, that’s kind of cheesy here and there, but that’s that sequence where he’s getting, you know, I have the power and the sword is up [00:40:00] there and he that’s when the coolest fricking seat sequences in all of television,
Tim Sheridan: you can watch it over and over again, you know, and you do when you watch that show.
But yeah, it’s there there’s I don’t think you could grow up in the eighties, you know, without being exposed to things like master of the universe, which was the biggest thing in the world, you know what I mean? Jay transformers was big in a lot of ways. Master of the universe was even bigger. I mean, I, I I wonder if it has anything to do with the fact that I grew up in Rhode Island, right.
Where Hasbro was, you know, that I, that I gravitated toward the Hasbro Mattel property of the masters, but I don’t, I don’t know. I don’t know.
Tim Sheridan: with the people that I worked for on revelation are some of the biggest motu fans in the world. One of them works for Mattel now, and one of them works for Netflix.
And so they’re just like [00:41:00] this, you know, it’s, it’s a strange confluence of events that those two ended up in the positions they’re in. And they S they said, oh, let’s make a show.
Jeff: Well, it. Well for our listeners who may not realize what we’re talking about Tim Sheridan, he’s writing, or one of the writers on Kevin Smith’s, new Netflix series coming out at some point was it, I think you said July, maybe June, July
Tim Sheridan: there’s no, they haven’t announced when the show is going to come out.
But what I have also had the good fortune to do is to work with Kevin and and, and Rob David one of our producers, the, one of the guys I told you about from Mattel on the eight on a series of of a four-part mini series for dark horse comics, which is a prelude to the series that will debut on Netflix.
That comic book begins in July. I think, shoot my, I think the F I want to say the first week in July, but I might be wrong. But yeah, that just got announced. So, so, so, so [00:42:00] I know that that’s happening but it really doesn’t give any indication about when the series is going to drop.
Jeff: So for, for listeners who are curious about the He-Man once again, it’s called mescaline universal revelation.
Does it start off with prince Adam already He-Man or is it that’s the, what the comm books are going to be doing? Okay.
Tim Sheridan: You know, I try to, let me just preface this by saying, I try to stay out of the way, you know, Kevin. Talks about the show from time to time and, you know, because it’s, it’s his show, he’s the executive producer and and you know, but and, and he’s very, very generous with the amount of information he shares with everyone.
And but I try to be really cautious about it until they sort of take the leash off of me. But based on the stuff that I’ve heard him say, I can say this, you know, the, the the, the series, the way Kevin looked at it, and the way we came into it was that the series would be a, it would feel like a natural [00:43:00] continuation.
It would feel like, like it was connected to the classic era of masters of the universe.
Jeff: Does the Shira mythology exists within it as well? Like, it’s like what’s called troubles as a student of hoard, that kind of thing. Or is he man? And she wrote, it’s going to be two separate existing entities for the
Tim Sheridan – Combined: series.
Tim Sheridan: Yeah. That’s a question for Mattel. You know, I think that my understanding is that there’s that there are there’s complicated ways in which, you know, sort of the, the animation rights to those properties, all mingle and work together. So, I mean, I don’t, I don’t, I can’t speak to any of that. So, I mean, that’s, that’s You know, but, but I know for me you know, you, you, you don’t for, for, for speaking personally, as a fan, like, I, you know, you don’t have one without the other, like, those things are, those things are, you know, whether I see it on screen or not, those things are connected and a part of each other.
Jeff: Yeah. Because it feels like Kenya is another one of those series. Like transformers was growing up [00:44:00] that the mythology evolved over time. Like it started off just being a show, but over the years they create a mythology using the character. It kind of grew and became a little more complex at least for what the cartoons were back in the day.
Tim Sheridan: Yeah. And, you know, some, you know, even in the, in the classic days of, of when the toys, you know, and when the cartoon was around it, you know, they, there was, there were, there was a, there were evolutions of, of the stories of like, you know, the origins of skeletal war and, and you know, there were lots of different sort of conflicting narratives and versions, but back then, I think there were a few at least.
And and so, you know, like, this is kind of like what we were saying earlier about transformers. I think the benefit is that when something is as popular as masters of the universe is over time, all of the different sort of voices that have lent themselves to the cannon, you know, the, the bits and pieces that the fans really.
You know, gravitate to, and, and, and, and feel something about [00:45:00] end up becoming part of, of the lexicon and part of the Canon going forward. And then sometimes some of that stuff sort of falls to the wayside and you get to come along and do another show. And maybe if you’re lucky or do some comics, you know, and maybe if you’re lucky, you can pick up some of the threads, you know, that, that, you know, that, that maybe haven’t been explored as much, you know, in, in, in other, in other media.
So, yeah, I think that what my point is to say, think that the, the, the great legacy of brands and, and, you know, things, properties like masters of the universe is that there’s a lot to draw upon and and a lot of great stuff to draw upon. So it really makes you know, my job a lot easier. I went into every day that we were in the writers room on masters of the universe revelation.
I walked in with my giant you know, master of the universe character guide you know, and, and [00:46:00] compendium, you know, world compendium. It had all the, the you know, because as much of a fan as you are. With something like masters of the universe. There’s I don’t think there’s anybody who can, who can tell you with exact certainty, every single version of a thing that has happened throughout the, you know, the history of the, of the, of the property of the story as it’s evolved.
So it’s, I love that reference guide. I love being able to flip to a page and say, you know, well, let’s, you know, this character, we know we’ve got character who does this thing. I seem to remember, there was a character who did something like that in the, you know, in the mini comics. So let me look that up.
And and we do, and then we’re like, okay, well, this character in the show is going to be this person who is, you know, someone with a, with a pedigree in, in the, in the, in the world, in the story of masters of the universe, you know, that that’s again, it makes my job a lot [00:47:00] easier because I know this already is a thing, right?
Let’s, let’s mine it and use it for, for this story, you know, but again, I I’m just a writer on the show. Like this is the stuff that, that Kevin, you know, and our other producers you know, really make the decisions.
Jeff: So w when we were talking to you about making the show, do they give you an intended audience or age group that the show is supposed to be gravitating towards, or be written towards.
Tim Sheridan: Yeah, pretty much every project I’ve got yeah. Ever gone into I’ve I’ve known what the, you know, the, the audience, you know, the projected audience would be for that thing. And yeah, you know, that’s, that’s pretty standard. I mean, and that’s, it’s important for somebody like me who, you know, I’ve written things like I was saying, DC superhero girls earlier, I’ve written Scooby doo movies, but I’ve also written, you know, you know, movies like reign of the Superman and man of tomorrow, which were more adult in, in their sort of [00:48:00] nature in terms of the themes that they explored you know, in some of the, the imagery that was, that was used in the movies you know, then, then, you know, then what you would necessarily get into Scooby doo movie.
So, so in something like, you know, mastered the universe, you know, there’s, there are two masters of the universe shows at, at Netflix. There’s our show, which we always knew do was, was a show for all ages, but that would appeal to To the adult fans who grew up with the classic, you know, He-Man story.
And then there’s another show that is, you know, really about sort of, I think developing the next generation of, of, of masters, of the universe, heroes of email, of a master universe fans of of, of of, of He-Man fans. And that’s yeah, that’s, I, it’s amazing that that, that Mattel is able to do that, that Netflix is, is doing that with them.
And, you know, I think it’s a great time to be a fan right now.
Jeff: And, you know, because you’re writing to the universe for [00:49:00] a, a slightly older audience as well, or at least you want adults be able to enjoy it. Something that kids didn’t really think about too much when we were watching the cartoons originally is what I call the prince Adam problem, prince Adam, and He-Man look exactly the same, but yet no one can tell the difference.
I mean, like I said, I think he may has a slightly darker hair. His skin looks like he has a tan, but for the most part, even the build of these two characters is exactly the same. I mean, he’s a pretty built prince. Adam, how would you guys solve it in the He-Man. Cartoon.
Tim Sheridan: I don’t understand what he’s saying when you’re saying prince Adam, even at the same time.
Jeff: Yes. It’s a, it’s a shocking reveal. Listen, I’ve
Tim Sheridan: heard some crazy internet conspiracy theories, but I’ve never heard
Jeff: the paparazzi are like shocking. They’re like, what the hell? Hey, listen,
Tim Sheridan: man, you’re talking to somebody who, who wrote, you know, a couple of Superman movies, you know, like, man, you know, we try to have fun with it. You know, sometimes where it’s like, you know, let’s, he just puts on glasses, [00:50:00] maybe changes the hair part, you know, a little bit.
And nobody really can figure this out.
Jeff: But compared to prince Adam though, that’s high tech identity changed compared to what prince Adam’s kind of going on.
Tim Sheridan: Yeah. But the, but I will say the difference. And again, this, let me, let me again, preface by saying, this is just me talking to you as a fan. This should, you should not in any way think that this leads or points to anything that would exist in, in the series or in the comics, but you know, personally as a fan, I would say that if I was going to make an argument about this, I would say that Superman doesn’t call down any sort of magical power that, that changes him.
So it’s a little bit of a tougher sell with him, but, but where there’s magic involved I feel like it’s possible that. That, that those around you may have something that I think in doctor who they referred to as a perception filter, right? There’s the idea [00:51:00] that maybe with magic, all things are possible and maybe people can’t see through the power to see that that He-Man is prince Adam.
Again, this is just me some wild speculating as a fan, but I think, you know, I think that’s a pretty good argument right
Jeff: now. There’s a very good possibility right there.
Tim Sheridan: You can see this, obviously this and the reason why this is fresh in my mind is because I’m also right now I’m working for doing some stuff for DC comics and I’m doing a thing called teen Titans academy, a monthly book.
And then I, it just was announced, I’m also doing a four-part shazamm comic book mini series, and it ties into teen Titans academy. And but you know, when they announced that I was doing the Shizam book and then the next day the announcement came out from dark horse, that I was doing the masters of the universe book.
And it was really ironic. It’s funny. I was just like, I put out a, a tweet. I said, you know, and, you know, in addition to. The the [00:52:00] apparently in addition to the four-part comic book mini series about the young guy who calls down incredible power to become a mighty hero. I, that spring in July, I also started, I have a four-part comic book mini series about a young guy who calls down a great path, want to become a mighty here.
So, so for me, there is so much similarity between Billy Batson and prince Adam He-Man and Justin, because those guys both call down this magical power to, to, you know, to, to be so they can become something else. So they become something bigger, something greater, something super. And you know, but, but nobody asks that question about, about Billy Batson, because he’s very clearly a young kid who grows, you know, he grows to be a man in his prime when he Suzanne, right.
So nobody ever says, well, how come nobody makes the connection between, I think the 2000 series, the 2000 X series of masters of the universe [00:53:00] they, they played with the Shizam of it a little bit. Didn’t they? And he had a
Jeff: younger, yeah, he was a thin Adam and he turned,
Tim Sheridan: he looked younger and then he looked older and much bigger as, as, as, as He-Man.
So that was that was an interesting way to do it. I think it was smart, you know, of them to do that.
Jeff: And, you know, and I thought it’s kind of funny that in the cartoon you have cringed, you’re growing to massive size to become Battlecat. When he, you know, gets the power stored, but humane doesn’t even grow a couple of inches.
He figured, you know, at least given the guy a little bit of extra, you know, to make it work for him. But, you know, we’re, you know, get, get like, like a longer hair or something.
Tim Sheridan: I just keep pitching to get prince Adam glasses. That’s it.
Jeff: So, so not only do you write our childhood, but you write every super character with super strong character is also your thing.
Tim Sheridan: They all have glasses. I’m going to give, you know what you heard it here. First, I’m going to get Billy Batson glasses. That’s
Jeff: what I want to do. I’m an optimist prime. You can use a pair. You never know. Absolutely. Absolutely.
[00:54:00] Tim Sheridan: How’s this prompt getting glasses. People are going to be wondering what’s he hiding?
Jeff: I mean, the cool thing as well with He-Man is that they announced the voice actors and it’s a hell of a group. I mean, you’ve got mark Hamill, you got to think is open Heimer and open Heimer. You have basically every name in I think Kevin Conroy is a role in that as well.
Tim Sheridan: Replays Merman. Yes.
Diedrich Bader is king Randori. Yeah. Like every
Jeff: major voice actor of the last 20, 30 years is going to be in your cartoon in He-Man. So when you’re writing the series, did you, did you already know, you already know who the voices were and did that affect how you wrote them?
Tim Sheridan: N a D I, you know, I don’t think at the, at the, when we first started, I don’t think we knew any of that that, that hadn’t been determined yet.
Right. And it, it also is the kind of thing that normally is not, you know, part of what I do normally my work is done. And then th the thing gets [00:55:00] tasks. And, you know, if there, I have an opportunity as a writer too, suggest like, this is the type of sound, this is the type of actor that, that we would re you know, that we could look for for this type of role.
But, you know, they don’t have to listen to me. It’s just me sort of trying to help people along. I mean, you know, to understand sort of what I think the story needs are, but but no, I remember, I’m glad, I’m glad you asked this because I do remember I was, I was in the middle of writing an episode of masters of the universe revelation, and and I got the word that we were going to get, oh, I’m going to pronounce, I don’t know, I’m going to pronounce her name wrong and I’m, I hope maybe, you know, how to pronounce her name, but that we were going to get Lena Headey or Hedy, Hetty.
I think it’s.
Jeff: Well, I was wondering if the one from game of Thrones, I cannot pronounce it correctly.
Tim Sheridan: Searcy [00:56:00] on game of Thrones. I know her from the Sarah Connor Chronicles. That was my first exposure to her and found her to be, and I’m embarrassed that I can’t pronounce her name. Right. I’m I, I found her to be one of the most engaging and interesting actors I had ever seen on television when I saw her on Sarah Connor Chronicles back in the day.
And then when she showed up on game of Thrones, I said, yes, of course, this person is a genius. You know, I can’t wait. And then that show was crazy and she was wonderful. So the day I heard that we had gotten Lena as evil Lynn. I went immediately to my computer and rewrote all of evil Lynn’s dialogue and in that episode and and it was, it was because, and I went up, the reason I’m telling you this is because sometimes the inspiration for something comes from, you know, you know, it can come from all [00:57:00] sorts of different places in, in that situation for me, because I had an understanding and appreciation, I felt as a fan of hers of what Lena could bring.
To that role. It completely immediately changed how that character sounded in my head and I could not wait to get in and refine dialogue for her and make it sound the way that I could hear Lena doing it in my head. And and it just elevate. I mean, if I may say, so I think it elevated everything. He’s such a huge way.
And that’s the power of being able to, when you do a show with Kevin Smith, for Netflix, with huge iconic characters, like from masters of the universe, when you can attract talent of that caliber at that level who not only bring their a game plus when they come to the [00:58:00] record, which by the way she did.
And so did the whole cast. But, but, but, but, but when they also can inspire the writers and the production team and the artists and everyone, because of their body of work up to that point, if that can inspire the creators to, to, to, you know, get, you know, make it even better or, or to get through whatever that sort of.
Writer’s block or artist’s block moment they’re having or whatever. That’s, that’s an incredible gift. And it’s on that particular, in that particular moment on that particular show on masters universe, I was so grateful that day when I got that call about Lena, because it, it changed everything for me.
And, and I think people will really take to her performance and in a big way, because I think everyone on the whole production felt that that we had, you know, between her and mark Hamill, you know, and, and Chris wood and, and Sarah, Michelle Gellar you know, we just had such [00:59:00] inspirational, amazing artists.
We knew we could trust to to, to, to just make the whole thing sing. And you know, I, I’ve seen a little bit of the show and I, I humbly submit that, you know, this is one of the best casts you’re going to see in a, in a, in a series anytime soon,
Jeff: the cast is absolutely amazing. I mean, Phil Lamarr is playing hero.
I mean, there’s, so there’s so many amazing actors in this and I mean, as you, and I think it’s really cool that when you found out who evil was playing evil Lynn, you changed the dialogue to fit in, you know, to make it sing for the actress, who’s going to be doing it.
Tim Sheridan: Can I stop you for a second and just say,