The Writer’s Guidebook

As I mentioned, the first time I met Robert Mandell, he gave me this “Bible” for the show. I dug it up from my files this morning. The title on the cover reads Adventures of the Galaxy Rangers: Writer’s Guidebook.

I’d like to share a bit of it with you, so you’ll see why this thing got me so fired up:

The Concept

The concept of The Galaxy Rangers is to create the best animated action/adventure series ever produced for television. The scripts must contain the elements necessary to establish this goal. These elements are: characterizations; plot development; humor with setups and punchlines; action with setups and stings; a solid basis of logic or reason for why things happen the way they do.

Characterizations

Each character must have his or her own unique personality. It is the interrelationships and dynamics of these personalities that will make the show come alive for the audience. There are six lead characters: four human Rangers and two alien Rangers. These require the most development. Each script should add another layer to the complexities of these characters, giving them a rich sense of history, a clear sense of a past and a purpose for the future.

… One of the reasons for the success of Stephen King is his ability to create “ordinary” real persons and place them in an extraordinary circumstance. Their “ordinary” reactions to these circumstances are what we relate to, because that’s what we would do if placed in the fantasy setting. It has to make logical sense to us. On the other hand, this show must push the boundaries about as far as they can be stretched to create a truly unique and entertaining series.

Plot Development

… the framework for how the story should be told should never be the same in any episode. Every plot device ever used for television, film or even theater can and should be employed. Devices such as first-person narrative voice-overs, flashbacks, subplots that run counterpoint, montage, or anything else you can think of should be used. The only ground rule is that it must work.

Humor and Action

… The style of humor should be eclectic. Again, anything goes, from pure slapstick, to a comedy of errors, to Monty Python style bizarre (remember Standards & Practices), to running gags (generic and episodic), to pure cartoon fantasy, to allusion (having a character look and sound like Ralph Cramden or George Jetson).

Logic and Lock

This will be the only hardcore science fiction series since Star Trek to come to television. Everything must be based on plausible science and logic. Even the fantasy elements must have a reason for doing whatever they do.

Don’t forget who’s editing these scripts. Owen Lock is a virtual walking thesaurus of scientific, science-fiction, and technical terminology. If you can’t think of a what, where or why, ask Lock.

Talk about opening the door to the stars! If you didn’t get hooked by the goal of creating the best animated series on television, or by using each episode to add complexity to the characters, if you didn’t really want to push the boundaries as far as possible, then you’d still probably get hooked by the prospect of working with the well known book editor, Owen Lock. 

Wow … I want to write for this show again …

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5 Comments on “The Writer’s Guidebook”

  1. Elizabeth B Says:

    Yow! That’s awesome. Thank you so much for sharing this. Getting even a vicarious glimpse at the Writer’s Bible for GR is like getting to have a huge piece of cake. (With no calories, yet.)

    I want you to write for this show again, too. Even if you guys just got to do a direct-to-DVD movie or something. Talk about cake…

  2. John Says:

    Elizabeth, what you have here is pretty much the entire cake. The stuff I excerpted is mostly stuff you already know, like it’s supposed to be a western in space, and that it’s intended to appeal to a wide range of different viewers.

  3. Elizabeth B Says:

    Heh. I know you guys told me there wasn’t that much of a Writer’s Bible, but it’s only since the box set showed up that I knew there was one at *all*. Why, is there more in there you haven’t excerpted that is Sooper Sekrit?

  4. John Says:

    No sekrits – just some of the stuff is not all that interesting. Like I said, it’s stuff you already know, once you’ve watched the show.

  5. Elizabeth B Says:

    Hey, to a rabi–, uh, froth–, er, die-hard fan, it’s all fairly interesting. But yeah, I can understanding leaving out the bits that say that Doc’s a computer psychiatrist and Goose is 19.


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