Q&A with John Martin and Scott Seegert Creators of SCI-FI JUNIOR HIGH #SciFiJuniorHigh

A look at the authors who wrote the book Sci -Fi Junior High- you can also enter to win a copy HERE.

1. Collaboration between two artists, especially a successful one, is a rare partnership. How did the two of you meet? What inspired you to collaborate?

Scott: We met the same way all great literary duos throughout history have—through our daughters playing travel softball together. When I discovered that John had all the same childhood influences I did, and could actually draw, working together on children’s books seemed like a no-brainer. Which is perfect for us.

2. What is the inspiration behind Kelvin and SCI-FI JUNIOR HIGH? Did one or both of you always dream of going to school in outer space?

John: I had no dream of going to school in outer space. However, when I was a kid, I created a comic strip of a martian borrowing sugar from his astronaut neighbor in space. Scott and I wanted to collaborate with a middle school concept. For SCI-FI JUNIOR HIGH, I suggested the story title and a basic premise that involved many types of creature students. Then Scott went to town developing the story alongside some of my character sketches. I do believe that our inspiration for Kelvin and his family is based slightly on the Robinson family in Lost in Space. Throw a bit of Charlie Brown and Looney Tunes into the mix, and voilà: SCI-FI JUNIOR HIGH.

Scott: We like creating stories filled with as many bizarre creatures, strange locations, wacky gizmos, and oddball characters as possible, because that’s what we couldn’t get enough of when we were kids. Our first book series, VORDAK THE INCOMPREHENSIBLE, dealt with the superhero/supervillain world, which fit the bill perfectly. SCI-FI JUNIOR HIGH takes that up another notch, what with the entire universe and its contents at our disposal.

3. What are your writing and drawing routines like? Do you work together, separately, or a combination of both?

Scott: John’s studio and my office are located right next to each other in an eclectic old former electric trolley power station. We even have a “secret” door between our two spaces, allowing for top-secret middle grade book concepts to be passed back and forth away from the scrutiny of prying eyes. The close proximity really allows us to work as a team, more so than a lot of other duos, I would assume. We’ll brainstorm the main points of emphasis, and then I’ll begin the writing process and

John will work on character concepts and creating the feel of the world. Sometimes, I’ll have a specific look for a character or device in mind and John will sketch it up.

Other times he’ll show me some crazy thing he came up with and I’ll work it into the story. It’s a pretty loose system. There was one character I particularly liked—a bunny wearing goggles and a jetpack. We turned him into a plushy and made him the book’s villain.

John: Scott has named most of the characters, with a few exceptions, such as our main villain, Erik Failenheimer, who is based on a suggestion of mine. I changed our bully’s character design look based on Scott’s name. We even have a few co-named characters in the book.

4. What do you hope children will take away from this story?

Scott: Two things: first, don’t worry about trying to impress everybody. It’s okay to just be yourself. People (or, in this case, six-eyed aliens and giant talking slugs) will still like you—at least the ones worth having as friends. Secondly, we hope kids just have a blast reading it. We try our best to have something exciting or ridiculous or weird to read or look at on pretty much every page. We want even the most reluctant reader to keep turning the page to see what absurdness comes next.

John: We also feel that James Patterson is a perfect partner for us. He is “dedicated to making kids readers for life.” Hopefully this crazy-zany story will be a big part in making that happen!

(more…)

Interview with Sebastian Stan AKA The Winter Soldier

While we were in LA a few weeks ago, we had the opportunity to interview some of the cast of the new Captain America: The Winter Soldier movie, including Bucky himself.  Most comic fans will tell you that there are two characters that NEVER come back to life- Uncle Ben and Bucky Barnes.  Even I know that!  So what’s it like to break ‘da rules, and risk the wrath of fanboys and girls everywhere, Sebastian Stan?  (It’s cool!  Most of them are over it- the comic cam out quite awhile ago.)

bucky 2

Question- Was it difficult to switch roles from Bucky to The Winter Soldier?

Sebastian Stan: Well, yes and no. I would say no in the sense that everything is so spelled out for me in the comic books that I sort of feel like I have that to follow as a guide. Yes, in that certain things from comic books often aren’t so easily translated to the screen. There were things visually that were new that we had to discover about the character.

I mean in the comic books there was a lot of information but in terms of how the Winter Soldier moved, how he behaved, what his presence was like on screen, those were all things I had to discover once I was in the outfit and we were actually shooting the movie. And that was more difficult I suppose. At the end of the day the most difficult part was playing someone that’s very different while at the same time the same person.

Question- How do you mentally prepare for a role like this in terms of playing someone who doesn’t even know who they are?
(more…)

The New The Tom and Jerry Show

There is a new Warner Bros. Animation series, The Tom and Jerry Show coming out soon!

pic10

The series will be premiering Wednesday, April 9 on Cartoon Network.  Entertainment Weekly just debut a trailer for the show yesterday which you can check out here:  http://family-room.ew.com/2014/03/17/tom-and-jerry-exclusive-video/

As you can see the cat and mouse grudge match between these two continues with the same brand of slapstick humor that made Tom and Jerry two of the most beloved characters in animation history.  In addition to their familiar suburban house setting, each 11 minute short of the new series will expand Tom and Jerry’s never-ending game of cat-and-mouse to include more fantastic worlds, from a witches cabin to a mad scientist’s lab.

Voiced with comedic stars such as Simon Helberg (The Big Bang Theory) and Jason Alexander (Seinfeld) leading it’s talented  cast, the show should be a hit with kids.  Here is what Jay Bastian, the WBA creative executive had to say in an interview with me last week.

Q1- Have you always been a Tom and Jerry Fan?

Jay Bastian– Who isn’t?  I always loved watching Tom and Jerry cartoons with my father, since he would laugh just as much as I did at them.

Q2-  Who is your favorite, Tom, or Jerry?  (And why)

Jay Bastian– This is a debate I have been in both at Cartoon Network and at Warner Bros. for years.  People are entrenched on one side or the other and can speak at length about their respective stance.  I guess I always root for the underdog, so I’ve always been firmly on Jerry’s side.

Q3- How is the new The Tom and Jerry Show different the the older cartoons?

Jay Bastian– Hopefully the characters, their relationship and the slapstick violence will still feel like what was established in the classic shorts.  The newest thing we’ve added in this series is the reoccurring scenarios of the science lab, the witches’ house and Tom and Jerry’s detective agency.  The idea was to keep them the same characters they have always been, but add in new locations and things to throw at one another.
(more…)

Interview With Scarlett Johansson #CaptainAmericaEvent

A few weeks ago, I was able to interview Scarlett Johansson about her role as “The Black Widow” in the New Captain America movie.  She came in, all dressed in white, and acted like a normal person, which was pretty cool.  She was as pretty in person as she is on screen, which was pretty annoying  😉 but we can let that slide.  The movie was awesome, and comes out on Friday- make sure you check it out.  Black Widow was a cool character in it, I can’t imagine too many people who won’t like this flick.

Here is an excerpt from the interview. Read on.

scarlett 2

Question- So when are we going to see the Black Widow movie?

Scarlett Johansson: Um, two years… [LAUGHS] don’t print that. The thing about working with Marvel is that how loud the audience voice is. Marvel, and particularly Kevin Feige is such a fan of the source material himself that he understands the fans are kind of what drive this train. If people want a Black Widow film, I’m sure that we can get something together.

Question- In The Winter Soldier, the Black Widow’s like cupid, talking all about love and relationships with Captain America. Why the transition?

Scarlett Johansson: That’s interesting. First of all, when the character is talking to Loki [in Avengers], she’s kind of putting up this front. She’s not, as we come to realize, being completely honest with him. It’s partly for her Widow face that she wears. And in this film, we really get to see a lot more of Natasha. I like to think that Natasha has a romantic side.

You know, she’s been really damaged. I think that she very early on in the past probably learned to not care too much about people because they could be easily taken away from her and used against her. And she probably didn’t want to hurt the people that she loved the most. So she never needs them or never invested too much in them knowing that it would probably put them in danger.

But I think she hopes that for someone like Cap, I think she sees someone who could have his life enriched by sharing it with somebody. She sees someone that kind of yearns for that, but, you know, is also scarred by the series of events that have changed his life. Maybe she kind of sees in Steve [Rogers] a little bit of herself and wants something more for him.
(more…)

Ted Reader- Cooking with this Canadian! #Interview

Coffee With Sam: Chef Ted Reader Speaks On Grilling

I recently had the opportunity to have a virtual cup of coffee and chat with Ted Reader, chef, barbecue guru, and cookbook author extraordinaire. Ted has set the world record for the largest hamburger ever grilled and is the celebrity spokesperson for food companies like McCain and TGI Friday’s. So, Ted? What’s for dinner?
(more…)