2002 BotCon Writer/Director Panel

Panel featured Simon Furman, Bob Forward, Tom Wyner, Rich Epcar, and Steve Kramer.

During introductions, the RID guys came first, and they all had multiple credits since they did writing/directing and voices for the show. When Forward was introduced, he had just one short credit, but received a much larger cheer, prompting two of the RID guys to joke about not being needed by getting up like they were going to leave. Funny. ^_^

The RID guys are very talkative and cheery. All of them worked as actors on Robotech.

Tom Wyner explained that the RID writers were provided with literal- translation scripts of Car Robots which they then adapted. He read some pieces of dialogue, which sounded (predictably) terrible. My favorite was the Japanese version of the "forced fusion" battle cry: Compulsary Union God Fire Combat!

Most dubbing work is done as a cold reading. That is, the actor hasn't read the script beforehand and doesn't get to practice it, except in the sense that they can do a few takes in the studio. I'd never thought about that before.

Steve Kramer says half of Sky-Byte's dialogue was made up in the studio because Spellos (the actor) and the directors didn't think the scripts were funny enough. Spellos had told the same story the previous night in social conversation with fans.

The technobabble explanation of the space bridge in the first episode of RID required about 10 hours of effort on Wyner's part. He had to send many, many variants of the line to Hasbro for approval so that it was "just right", and they went with the one that Hasbro chose.

References in RID to previous TF series were specifically mandated by Hasbro. The RID writers were not familiar with older TF stuff, and often didn't understand the references they were being told to make. They didn't use all of them, because they couldn't find a way to fit them all in, but they had to do it most of the time. They clearly felt like this was an unwelcome intrustion upon their work by the corporation, which I can totally understand. At the same time, I thought the references were cool and funny; they made me happy, but I don't think they should be forced upon the writers.
There was no series bible for RID. At least, not beforehand. They sort of created one as they went along.

Bob Forward indicated that near the end of BW they actually talked to Hasbro about where the show was going, and told Hasbro that it should either become more open by, for example, going into space, or should just end. Hasbro agreed. He said that it was very inaccurate to say that he and Larry had been "fired".

Bob and Larry were not "partners". They rarely collaborated on a script, and more or less developed a relationship where they agreed not to veto each others' scripts, but they disagreed on a lot of issues, and at times had a little fun with each other by hijacking a development the other had set up and turning it into something different.

Bob Forward viewed the Vok as "the ultimate evolution of human life" or of intelligent life in general. The name is derivitive from the word "folk". He saw them as guardians of space and time, and that they were attempting to accellerate the evolution of life on Earth into themselves. Larry, on the other hand, wanted to connect them to the Swarm from the G2 comics and the extinction of the human race at its hands.

In general, Bob preferred the G1 cartoon while Larry preferred the comics.

While working as a storyboarder, Forward used to touch up scripts from time to time. They started to give him more scripts to work on, and the scripts he was handed got progressively worse and worse. He asked why all the scripts they gave him were so bad, and they said it was because he was good at fixing them. That's when he realized he should think about being a writer.

Bob said he thinks the Beast Machines treatment (which went to Skir and Isenberg as story editors) was written by Marv Wolfman. Did we know that already?

A typical script length for Beast Wars was 21 pages, while most cartoon scripts are 44 pages. This is in keeping with other statements Bob/Larry has made along the lines of "CG cartoons have to paced like live action, which is slower than cel animation, or they end up feeling too fast".

Forward says "umm" and "uh" a lot.

When Simon was brought on board for Beast Wars, his first question to Bob was "Who can I kill?"

The two of them reiterated that they had really grandiose place for the Nemesis story. One thing they wanted was to pit BW and G1 characters against each other in battle to shut up / irritate the people on ATT who were saying that the Beast Warriors would get creamed if they came up against a G1 robot.

After Bob answered a rather uninteresting question about Tigerhawk, Simon chipped in, "Did I kill him?" to which Bob responded, "Yes, you did." Big laughs from the audience.

Simon Furman is a huge fan of Stan Lee's overblown, vocab-rich dialogue.

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