They are the names you see, yet pass over. They are the names self-proclaimed purists will remember only so they have someone to blame. However, they are the names others will remember so they can give credit where credit is due.
I am, of course, referring to the "Written by" and "Adapted by" credits from the Redwall Television Series. And, specifically, Glenn Norman and Michelle Goodeve.
Collectively, the pair are responsible for writing 22 of 'Redwall's' 39 episodes-- a very impressive number. This includes #3- "Treachery", #4- "Sparra's Kingdom", #12- "Underground", #19- "Ironbeak", and #28- "The Return of Clogg", as well as many others.
What the casual fan doesn't know, however, is how much work they and the other writers put into the series and how much they try to make things work. I'm sure many of you think that the writers don't care how things were done in the book, that they wish to create a Redwall series rather than the Redwall series.
Well, there you'd be wrong.
When I first came into contact with Glenn and Michelle, it was a surprise, to say the least. A welcome one, but a surprise, nonetheless. I have to confess that I'd never thought much about the ins-and-outs of the whole Adaptation process. Then, as I learned more about what it was they did, how they felt about the show, and so-forth, I had a newfound respect for everyone on the Redwall Writing Team. It's a difficult job and they've done it well.
But, enough from me. You'll be wanting to read the interview to learn all this for yourself. ;)
Please note that Glenn and Michelle opted to be interviewed together and, as such, answered the same questions. However, they answered each question separately and did not see the other's response until later. As such, they sometimes cover the same point, but with a different perspective. To help you easily discern who's talking, Michelle's answers will be in purple and Glenn's answers will be in brown.
They're great people to talk to, as you'll soon find out. If, after the interview, you're interested in finding out more about them (and, yes, that's them up in the banner), you can visit their personal website at www.fearlesswidget.com.
Thanks again to Glenn and Michelle for the interview! And so, without further ado, let's get to it!
Martin (The Long Patrol): First, I want to thank you both for allowing me to conduct this interview. It's an honor.
Michelle Goodeve (Redwall Writer): Answering questions about the "Redwall" series is my pleasure :)
Glenn Norman (Redwall Writer): You obviously put a great deal of work into your web site, Martin, so it's our honour to be asked to contribute.
Martin: Let's start by giving our readers an idea of what you've done in the past. What shows or movies have you worked on prior to "Redwall"?
Michelle: My past, hmm - very eclectic... I started out as a very young dancer, but injured my back in a cross Canada tour and needed a new creative outlet. I tried singing for a short while, with a rock band that was touring the Great White North, but was advised by those nearest and dearest that I should definitely consider a different line of work - one that didn't require attaining perfect pitch. Then, I discovered Acting, a great love of my life (I played the teacher on the "DeGrassi Jr. High" and "DeGrassi High" TV series [PBS] for four years) and through acting I developed an irrestistible urge to write the words that are spoken on the screen.
(Now - The Truth. One day, I was complaining to a friend of mine, who is an American television producer, that the scripts I was receiving for audition purposes really sucked.... he shrugged and said "Well then, get inside and do some damage." And I did.)
I started by writing original screenplays for movies which eventually got a buzz and were read as "samples" , which lead to getting a Literary Agent, which lead to getting work on a television series.
Along with shelves of "spec" scripts for movies in various stages of development, here's a short list of produced television credits:
"White Fang"- original stories + Asst. Story Editor + Actor/series regular. (It was fun to get three separate credits as Guest Star, Asst. Story Editor and Screenwriter.) "Mysterious Island" - original stories + co-authoured series Bible + Story Editor. "The Redwall Series"- screenplay adaptations of three Brian Jacques' books. "Maggie and The Ferocious Beast"- original ideas + stories adapted or given by producers.
Glenn: Phew! Well, my partner Michelle Goodeve and I are based in Canada, so a lot of our shows have originated from here. However, most of them ended up on US T.V. - Network & Cable - at some point - as well as being shown in many other countries around the world.
I've written live action episodes for series such as "The Campbells," "Danger Bay," "Night Heat," "Adderly," "Diamonds," "My Secret Identity," "White Fang," "Mysterious Island," and our own "Vulcan E.F.T.S."
(Note: Adderly, Diamonds, & Night Heat are currently in re-runs on Canadian Cable/Satellite TV & "White Fang" is in re-runs on the Canadian CTV network, Saturdays at 12:30 p.m.)
Michelle & I were also the Executive Story Editors on the first season of "Mysterious Island," & the second season of "White Fang."
(Note: As well as Writing and Story Editing, Michelle also wore her "Actor Hat" on White Fang - Guest Starring in two episodes as a Helicopter Pilot.)
My animated series include: "Redwall," "Mattimeo," & "Martin The Warrior," (Which you know [g],) as well as two new series: the french sci-fi "Malo Korrigan & The Space Tracers," & a bizarre new E.U. comedy, "Howdi Gaudi."
Martin: Did you both always desire to become writers?
Michelle: On Writing. I have always written, even as a child. At first, I wrote secretly and destroyed everything afterward. (A psych would have a ball with that one.) I had such a love of books and such a great reverence for Writers that I didn't dare presume to openly attempt their craft. Then, I grew up and met some of them....
Suddenly, I discovered that Writers came in all different shapes, sizes and colors with differing degrees of talent (and social skills.) Writers were people who came with Missions or World Views or a simple desire to see their personal view of the world reflected back to them. Some were plagued by angst or driven by a creativity that just 'needed out.' Meeting them led me to the keyboard to risk the inevitable rejection...
(The Truth. I had a great idea for an original movie (a female buddy road picture) and Glenn was too busy to write the screenplay for me to star in... so, I stubbornly sat down and wrote it myself.)
Glenn: Not really. I wanted to be a pilot - So, I left school and got a job at a film company in order to pay for flying lessons. I worked my way up to Film Editor, then moved to the CTV network where I eventually became a News Film Editor for "The CTV National News."
About the time I got my Private Pilot license, I fell in love with the writings of Aviation Writer, Richard Bach. Michelle and I were fortunate enough to become friends with him and it was during our flying adventures across North America with Richard that I caught the bug to be a Writer.
Things evolved from there.
Martin: Who are some of your influences?
Michelle: Influences. Well, I know how Glenn Norman will answer this one. Richard Bach.
But, I'm a little strange about admitting to or feeling... influence. I get 'inspiration' from seeing something done extremely well. The television screenwriter/producer I think is getting it done would have to be Aaron Sorkin (West Wing) and I have a host of favorite authors including: Timothy Findley (Inside Memory, Piano Man's Daughter), Michael Ondaatje, Ann (sp?) Michaels (Fugitive Pieces) Ray Bradbury (Zen in the Art of Writing) and, of course, over the last few years - Brian Jacques!
Glenn: Put simply, I became a writer because of Richard Bach's influence. And I became a Screenwriter because of Michelle Goodeve's influence.
Shortly after we met Richard, I sheepishly gave him a story I'd written and asked if he'd read it. He read the story on his flight home, called me that night and offered to buy it for "Private Pilot," the aviation magazine he was editing.
Being somewhat compulsive [g], I decided to quit my job at CTV the following day to become a full-time writer. That night, Richard called to say he'd had a fight with his publisher and quit the editing job - so, that was the end of my story [g].
The day after that, I crashed my antique biplane and tore off one of the lower wings. Then, on the way home from the airport, I seized the engine in my VW van.
So, I used my severance pay from CTV to buy a new engine for the VW, sold the van to buy a new wing for the biplane, then, eventually had to sell the airplane in order to stay alive through the LONG year I suffered through before making my first real sale.
Certainly a big factor in my life was watching Richard go from a well loved, but relatively unknown aviation writer, to one of the best selling authors of all time with his 1970's phenomenon, "Jonathan Livingston Seagull."
Watching something like this happen to a friend had a tremendous impact on me. It showed what was possible if you had a dream, held it fast in your mind - and most important of all - learned how to persevere.
BUT - I was making a BIG mistake. I was trying hard to be "Richard the Second" in my writing, and both Richard & Michelle knew that was wrong.
It took me a long time to see that - And I found my way to Screenwriting through a very circuitous route. Michelle had been working as a dancer in a Gershwin revue when her dance partner, Delroy Lindo (now, world famous star of such movies as "Get Shorty," "Ransom," & "The Cider House Rules,") had a fight with the producer and the show was cancelled.
I figured - as I was a writer, I should be able to write something to replace it - and, as a result, (and with a LOT of help from Michelle [g],) I accidentally became a playwright!
A producer who saw our multi-media play said I should try my hand at Screenwriting.
So, I did.
And that's how I became a Screenwriter [vbg]!
Martin: How was it you came to be associated with "Redwall"?
Michelle: I came to be associated with "Redwall" by way of my friend, Steve Roberts. When Glenn and I were Story Editing the "White Fang" televison series on location in New Zealand, the producer flew Steve in from L.A. to work with us.
Glenn and I are both pilots and share a huge passion for flying rare, vintage aircraft. (I own a Pietenpol Aircamper, an open cockpit high wing monoplane based on the Jenny, which I fly from a farmer's field on the edge of my village.) In New Zealand, Glenn & I discovered, to our amazement, that Steve is also a pilot and also smitten by unusual, old aircraft. The three of us connected on many different levels, and our friendship was immediate and lasting.
After the "White Fang" series wrapped, we visited Steve in L.A. and in England, and he visited us in Canada. All of us kept our eyes open for a project we could work together on again.
In the summer of 1998, Steve called to ask if Glenn and I would like to write screenplay's for the "Redwall" series. After reading Brian Jacques books, my answer was a resounding,
Glenn: We met Redwall's Head Writer, Steve Roberts, when Michelle and I were working as Story Editors on "White Fang," a Canadian action series shot on location in New Zealand.
Steve was world famous as creator of the "Max Headroom" phenomenon of the 1980's . And I'm pretty certain the only reason he agreed to write for Fang was because he wanted to fly old airplanes around New Zealand [g].
Once Steve discovered Michelle and I were also antique aircraft pilots, we became great friends - And we try to work together whenever possible.
(NOTE: Aside from the obvious benefits of working with people you like - Once you've written together for a while, you tend to learn each other's "short hand." And that saves an enormous amount of time in the writing process. Because a word, a raised eyebrow, or even the inflection on a word in a Story Meeting, speaks volumes when you know and trust the people you work with.)
So, the long answer to your short question is - It was Steve who first contacted us and asked if we'd like to write episodes of "Redwall."
Martin: Did you need Brian's approval before being hired or was the decision solely that of Steve Roberts?
Michelle: As far as I know, the initial group of writers on the "Redwall" series was chosen by our Story Editor, Steve Roberts, according to the rules and needs of a television co-production between several different countries. Each stage of each script is approved by Brian Jacques before progressing from script form into production.
Over the years, Steve has very kindly informed us that everyone in production highly values the "Redwall Writing Team" and we appreciate their confidence in us.
Glenn: I guess that's a question for Steve [vbg]. But, what we do know is that Steve ALWAYS passes Brian's comments and concerns on to us and that we take them VERY seriously.
After all - these are Brian's books we're being asked to adapt to the screen and (despite the fact that you probably think I'm just "kissing up,") the truth is, none of us take that role lightly.
I'll touch more on this in one of your later questions.