Hi everyone and welcome to the final day of Be Cool, Scooby-Doo! Week! To celebrate the end of the series airing this past Sunday, the show's head writer, Jon Colton Barry, is joining us to answer all the questions you submitted throughout the week. All of your questions have been really interesting to read and it's great that so many people submitted questions. Additionally, the first few of these questions are actually mine, which you probably will recognize from the first interview I did with JCB back on the day the show first began. Jon decided to answer some of these original questions again, just as a comparison of sorts to see how his answers have developed and changed since the show began. I'll turn it over to JCB so you can read his answers to all of your questions! Hopefully JCB won't mind me using his quote from one of our messages as a transition here, but it's so awesome I couldn't not use it! So, without further ado, "we might as well say a nice, big 'goodbye' to the series Scooby Snax/Addicts style!"
Do you have a favorite episode, from a writing perspective?
Having completed the series now, I have a few favorites for different reasons. I really like “Party Like It’s 1899” as it was the second episode I wrote and having already done the work of establishing the new take on the characters and tone, I was able to stretch out and explore the characters even more. I loved the idea of the gang having to solve a pretend mystery and deal with the costumed roles they were forced to play. It was just a lot of fun and by the end of writing it; I really felt I knew who these people were.
I also love “The People vs. Fred Jones.” I had wanted to do an episode like that for a while, but we kept getting push back from WB because they were concerned it would just be people talking in a courtroom. I knew that I would just be using the courtroom as a framing device and that the basic structure of the episode would be like any other in actual practice, which it was. That said, the courtroom stuff turned out to be my favorite because I feel like we found some fresh, funny courtroom jokes I’d never seen before (that were still rooted in character), which was rewarding.
“Some Fred Time” is another favorite. Again, any episode that allowed me to explore the characters in new, unusual ways were always fun. The BCSD gang was built to be more dimensional and interact in interesting ways – so episodes that took advantage of that were always fun to write.
Some other favorites are “El Bandito,” “How To Train Your Coward,” and “Ghost In The Mystery Machine.”
Do you have a favorite character in Be Cool, Scooby-Doo?
I remember my answer was Daphne to this originally, and I always loved writing her, but as the series progressed, I really started to enjoy writing Fred more. I mean, it’s amazing that the two characters that had the least personality for most of Scooby history turned out to be the most interesting and funny in BCSD (to me, at least). Fred just evolved in a really organic, fun way and I found myself centering him in stories more and more as we went along. He was full of contradictions and had a lot going on inside his head. He also had the most extremes to his personality, where he could be really full of silly, child-like wonder in “Fright of Hand” to emotionally torn to pieces in “Ghost In the Mystery Machine.” There was always so much to do with Fred and so many sides to explore.
If you could work on any show in the world, what would it be? (You answered "Mystery Science Theater" originally, though I'm curious if that's changed since your experience with BCSD!)
MST3K would still be great fun to write, but since then I’ve been developing some live action, more dramatic television shows with elements of science fiction and fantasy – which is just another huge love of mine having been part of the generation that grew up with “Star Wars” and Indiana Jones (as well as being a huge John Carpenter and Joss Whedon fan). It’s a great age for TV right now and I would love to write for a show like “Sherlock” or “Dr. Who.” The possibility to really get into character and story and strange ideas is very appealing. Then, afterwards, I’d immediately make fun of my own shows by writing MST3K episodes mocking them.
What has been your favorite part of working on BCSD?
It really remains creating and then working with this version of the gang. They became like family to me. Also, of course, working with Zac Moncrief is always pure pleasure, as well as others on the crew, like the original line producer, Wade Wisinski, who I became dear friends with. I learned so much making that show and it’s really helped me on all the new projects on which I’m currently working.
On that note, I’d like to make special mention of our supervising producer, Michael Jelenic. I understand that the show, “Teen Titans Go,” he created with Aaron Horvath, is as divisive as it is successful (and, honestly, they relish the show’s polarizing effect and often impishly antagonize the naysayers by leaning into the very things for which the show is most criticized). Many of those who don’t care for TTG didn’t give BCSD a chance because, based on the new designs and Michael’s name being attached, assumed BCSD shared a similar tone and attitude with TTG – which it doesn’t. The truth is, while I’ve expressed frustration with the way WB handled BCSD, Michael Jelenic is an amazingly smart, versatile and talented writer, story editor and producer with a seemingly endless understanding of the entire creative process involved in making a show. While he and I did not always see eye to eye on everything, he truly understood and appreciated what Zac and I were attempting to do with the series and used his position to fight for our vision with what power and influence he had. Michael had my back more times than I can count and I learned so much about the nuts and bolts of being in charge of a show from him. I will always be a very different writer and story editor than Michael Jelenic, but I will never be a better one. Thanks, Michael.
Do you have a favorite villain of the series?
Professor Huh? was conceived VERY early in the development of the show. I knew he was Fred’s father before I even wrote the first episode. I loved the idea of a bad guy who committed inexplicable crimes. Also, although it’s just a gag, I loved the idea of “The Headless Minotaur.” It just makes me laugh.
Did you have any ideas for an episode that you would have liked to have done, if the series had continued? (Pretending WB had actually been humane and let you do what you want lol)
Haha. WB actually let me get away with murder. They got and supported the character changes and comic tone of the show and I really appreciated that. We did some STRANGE things and rarely got pushback for being more sophisticated or writing gags that were clearly not aimed at 6 year olds. We started to stretch out and experiment more in second season and I would have liked to have done more episodes like “Scroogey Doo” where we insert the BCSD gang into classic horror/mystery literature and then destroy it. “Dracula,” “Frankenstein,” Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde,” etc. – making those monsters turn out to be guys in masks and ruining these classic books seemed like a lot of fun.
I also felt Velma became under-serviced as a character and I would have loved to had a chance to find more stories that would have allowed us to explore her. Working with Kate Micucci was ALWAYS a pleasure and she did an amazing job stepping into the role and making it her own.
If you could pick one joke from the entire series as the best one, what would you pick?
Hmmm. I mentioned “The Headless Minotaur,” which just amuses me. That’s a tough one. BCSD was a very gag-heavy show and there were so many moments and lines I was pleased with. For a character stuck with only four words per line, I think Scooby had a lot of great dialogue moments. I also liked Daphne recounting how she wasn’t allowed to be a girl scout because, due to her mother’s influence, she grew up believing, “Nature is just a giant bathroom that wants to eat you.”
You've mentioned before that a lot of the characters are somewhat like your own personality. Can you elaborate on this a bit? Did you write the characters with that in mind?
Well, yeah, I guess I just mentioned Daphne’s line about “nature,” That’s pretty much how I view it, myself, so I relate. Daphne, more than any other character, really voiced my own point of view about the world, including the horrible, cruel manipulation of bribing your friends to endanger themselves with Scooby Snacks. Throughout the series, all the characters voice certain opinions and make commentary about what’s going on that are very much my own opinions on things. I hope the characters were created and evolved in such a way that everyone can relate to certain aspects of all of them and how they view the world or specific situations – though it was all filtered through my sensibility.
On a more fundamental level, though, when it comes to my work, I’m a control freak, like Fred. When it comes to my personal life, basic nature and inner life, I’m more silly, eccentric and creative like Daphne. When it comes to social situations, I’m more misanthropic and socially awkward, like Velma (I can also be a bit cerebral). When it comes to goals or desire, I’m often very Id-driven and focused, like Shaggy. When it comes to interactions with friends, I probably poke fun, make one-liners and sardonic comments like Scooby. I also walk around naked on all fours wearing a collar.
Did you want to continue the series for a third season, if you could have?
Yes and no. The show, itself, was really fun to write and, as I’ve mentioned many times, I loved those characters so much and would have really enjoyed the opportunity to explore them more and push the boundaries of the series. Season one was about “finding” the show. Season two was about stretching out and experimenting once we’d found it. I really think we were just hitting our stride and starting to discover new possibilities when the plug was pulled, so I’m confident if there had been a season three, it would have been highly entertaining, interesting and strange – that is, if Zac and I still had control over the execution of the show.
Which brings me to the “no” part. The politics behind the scenes became an absolute drag and playing politics was never my forte. I just wanted to do my job and make the best show I knew how to make. That became increasingly difficult until it finally got to the place where I was no longer able to make sure the episodes were being executed as envisioned. At that point, the fun of writing the show became overshadowed by the frustration and disappointment of seeing things get changed or misinterpreted without consultation - and by the end of season two, even episodes that most everyone seems to enjoy could/would/should have been enjoyed so much more if they’d actually been executed as intended. The “11 minute” experiment was a huge red flag that the battle had been lost, so it’s unlikely that, if there HAD been a season three, I would have enjoyed the experience at all. Or that I would have even been around to not enjoy it.
Are there any classic Scooby monsters you wanted to re-imagine or any new villains you were planning to bring on stage?
A lot of people seem to focus on the “monster reimagining” aspect, and I can understand why, although it was actually a very minor element of the series, which we played with sparingly. Zac and I always envisioned BCSD as a new approach to the same premise on which the original, classic “SDWAY” series was based. In many ways, BCSD was one of the more conservative and traditional reboots of the franchise, going back to a focus on the five main Scooby gang characters driving around in the Mystery Machine solving mysteries in various locations. In that respect, the entire series was a “reimagining” of the 1969 series.
The use of classic monsters was a device to contextually connect and orientate the audience to that approach as much as it was an attempt to add some foundational and familiar grounding to a series that we were well aware was doing a LOT of very radical, new things. We wanted to make sure our use of any classic monsters from the original series was never just a gimmick or cheap nostalgia shot. We always tried to make sure we were creating a new, interesting contexts for the classic monsters, like Elias Kingston or Space Kook, or, at the very least, like in “Where There’s a Will, There’s a Wraith,” using them to play with how OUR version of the gang would behave in a classic situation with our specific comedic tone.
After almost 50 years of Scooby Doo shows, movies, comic books and other media, we quickly discovered that trying to find a brand new kind of monster was a fools errand, so we eventually gave up researching what had or had not been done before and, as a result, many monsters that people assumed were reimagined, were simply us just telling the character-based stories that interested us and finding the monsters or settings that best helped us do that. If we could push the design, here and there, a bit to lean into a classic monster feel, we’d sometimes to do that for fun to keep the spirit of the original series alive.
As I mentioned earlier, apart from wanting to play more with placing the BCSD gang into classic horror and mystery literature and using (ruining) those specific monsters and villains, there weren’t any new monsters I can think of that we had planned on using – or wanted to use - but didn’t. BCSD was about the characters and their relationship to one another, so our focus was always, first, on exploring them and, then, on coming up with the right settings and monsters to do so.
If you could live any one of the character lives, which one would you pick and why?
I suppose if I had to choose only one, I would choose Daphne because she is creative, eccentric, funny, intelligent and doesn’t care what anyone thinks about her. She’s only 18 years old in the series and (although the audience never got a chance to see this next part) she goes on to have a great, very long, fun, successful and fulfilling life that she truly enjoyed.
I was wondering if Velma's allergies in Eating Crow, the everybody jumps on Velma joke in Where There's Will, There's a Wraith and Fred's urge to save the orphanage in Scary Christmas are conscious references to the instances in A Tiki Scare is No Fair, That's Snow Ghost and A Nutcracker Scoob respectively. Are there any other hidden references to past incarnations?
The “everybody jump on Velma” thing was something that I remember happening in the original series from when I was a child watching it in reruns (although I seem to recall it happening more than in just one episode). Even then, it struck me as so odd and surreal. I believe it was in “Tiki” that she carries everybody to safety into the jungle and then she actually APOLOGIZES to them for getting them lost! No one says, “Oh, please, Velma, what are YOU apologizing for? My God, we all piled on top of you like a football defensive line and you physically carried all of us to safety. Thank you, Velma!” It was just taken for granted. I thought it would be fun to origin that strange trope and “hang a lantern on it,” as they say in the writer’s room. Once we established it, we did it a couple more times and I’m sure I would have returned to it and explored it even more in the third season if I had the chance.
As for Velma’s allergies or Fred and the orphans, they were not specific references to past episodes at all. Honestly, the allergies thing seemed fine in the script stage, but I thought it became a little overly gross in execution. I’m not a huge fan of bodily function humor. Fred and the orphans, on the other hand, I loved, and the execution of the sad, poor little orphan boy staring out hopefully at them was fantastic.
I've had this question for sooo long!! In the episode "There-Wolf" is the Shaggy and Scooby costume gag a reference to the original Where are You werewolf episode? (Because in both of them they mess with the werewolves' fur)
I’ve had this answer for a very short time: No. Again, there are actually much fewer specific references than people think. Most of the time it’s a function of what I said above – after 50 years, it’s really hard not to coincidentally bump into an idea that’s already been used. We were aware of this and just assumed the characters and tone of BCSD was so different that it really didn’t matter all that much.
If Be Cool Scooby-Doo was someone's coma dream, who would the dreamer be? (Weird question, but curious on answer!)
It may seem like a weird question, but the answer is actually surprisingly simple (you’re gonna kick yourself because it’s obvious in hindsight) – BCSD would have been the coma dream of late Egyptian president Anwar Sadat.
What was the brief you had from WB/CN, and how far removed was that from what they actually wanted? Did they even know what they wanted? (Russm)
WB was coming off SDMI, which they said was “75% scary/25% funny” and so they wanted to go in the other direction this time and do “”75% funny/25% scary.” They also said they wanted something “smart and funny like Phineas & Ferb,” which is why, I assume, Zac and I were there. Honestly, I really think they wanted “73% funny/27% scary,” but were in too much of a hurry to realize it at the time.
Apart from that and a few loose ideas they were throwing around, Zac and I were actually given a blank slate and were really allowed to develop an approach to the show on our own – which they then approved at each stage. I don’t think it was really a case of them not knowing what they wanted as much as them sincerely being interested in seeing what we came up with and then making adjustments from there.
As we went along, we’d bump into things that, more or less, became “rules” (at least to start with) based on their reactions to whatever new ideas we were bringing to them. For instance, we wanted to do monsters that were more interesting or funny (being that it was a comedy). We felt that the Stay-Puffed Marshmallow Man from “Ghostbusters” was a good example of a funny monster, conceptually, that was still frightening – and as long as the audience believed that the gang was scared of the monster, whatever monster we chose to do would work. That idea got nixed and a mandate came down that they wanted sort of big, classic Scooby-type monsters that spoke very little and growled or roared more. They loosened up on that as we went along, though.
Who was ultimately calling the shots, WB or CN? (Russm)
In matters of creating and producing the show, WB was in charge and we got very little notes from CN, who really seemed to like what we were doing quite a lot. Then they aired it once on a Thursday night at 2 AM.
When working up to write the show how much did you engage with the loose assortment of bits that is the Scooby 'cannon'? Was it a help or a hindrance? (Russm)
We watched the original series, but found it to be of little help, apart from really showing us how little personality and point of view as characters Fred, Daphne, and to a lesser degree, Velma, had. Our goal was to create a comedic ensemble and give the whole gang really clear and dimensional personalities built to play off one another and make the series very character-driven to the point where solving (or not solving) the mysteries had a direct impact on their lives. We were also pushing and heightening the humor, so the tone was going to be very specific and nothing like any previous Scooby series – so really, everything Scooby-related that came before was merely there for us to plunder for ideas if we chose to. But since our new versions of the characters were now driving the series, we felt pretty outside traditional Scooby canon and, apart from playing with some of the tropes, we mostly ignored it and just did our own thing.
In hindsight would you have done anything different from a creative standpoint? We know of the studio meddling, this is more of a initial approach/concept question. (Russm)
I really don’t think I would have done anything different, creatively, on our end. I think we got it right. Everything that was or went “wrong,” as far as I’m concerned, is rooted in the decisions WB made, some large, some small, some early on, some later on – but all, cumulatively, creating a snowball of issues that we were always running from like Indiana Jones – until it eventually flattened us.
What was your snack/beverage of choice while writing? (Russm)
I usually like to have both a large, cold, carbonated drink and a cup of coffee near me at all times.
Honestly, I tend not to want to eat while I’m actually writing for a fairly silly reason that I still, personally, believe, regardless. I think human beings evolved and developed these large brains to adapt to changing environments. We became creative and toolmakers as a means of survival. I prefer to work in dark, cold rooms, slightly hungry to sorta tap into that primal “fight or flight” survival mechanism, which actually makes me feel more of a creative edge. Pretty much every fellow writer to whom I’ve told this theory has said something to the effect of, “You know that’s idiotic, right?”
I also do most of my writing in my head, pacing around the room, twirling a wooden presentation pointer stick. Then I go over to the computer and hammer it all out - then get up and pace around some more. I discovered I have a health app on my phone and now know I average 3 miles a day just walking around in circles in a room waving a stick around like a crazy person. Every person I work with seems to accept this or, at least, eventually gets used to it.
How much of the earlier shows did you mine for ideas? (Scoobnick)
I think you can glean from earlier answers that we only really took inspiration from “SDWAY” and then looked at the remaining huge pile of 50 years of SD sitting there and said, “Screw it, let’s just do our own thing and hope for the best.”
Were there any characters you wanted to bring in, but the studio refused permission? (Scoobnick)
Not really. We got a lot of requests for the Hex Girls and, while WB never said we couldn’t use them, we weren’t really feeling great enthusiasm about it from them. I think, if we had kept going, we would have eventually found the right story idea and used them, though, because I like doing music in shows.
How long did it take for a normal episode to come to fruition? (Scoobnick)
The analogy for an animated show episode is usually a pregnancy. It normally takes about nine months from conception to having the final episode ready to air (also the early part is really fun and it’s often painful to see the final results, so the pregnancy analogy is fairly solid).
Why did you decide to change Daphne's personality?
We didn’t. We decided to actually GIVE Daphne a personality for the first time.
Was "Ghost in the Mystery Machine" supposed to be the episode before "Professor Huh?" because it was the only episode to have a cliffhanger?
Well, it was supposed to air, sequentially, at some point before “Professor Huh?” (as it does) because it sets up Rose, but it was never meant to literally be the episode that aired directly, right before the finale. I actually wanted and planned to have a few episodes in between to kinda leave that hanging out there for a little bit.
Why was the scene with Daphne with earplugs in her nose cut from "Mystery on the Disorient Express"?
It was because someone decided it was imitable behavior and that children all over the world would immediately begin shoving things into their nostrils, which, of course, was our plan all along, so that was very disappointing.
Was the Sea Monster in "All Paws on Deck" a reference to the Beast of Bottomless Lake from The Scooby-Doo Show? Also, was the Ape Man a re-imagining of the Ape Man from Scooby-Doo, Where Are You?
I believe the design for the sea monster WAS slightly inspired from “Beast,” or, at least, nudged in that direction because the director liked the design. The Ape from “Upsetting Shorts” was actually just supposed to be a real ape in the story and it was a reference to and reimagining of an ape from “nature.”
No question. Just a huge thank you. I’ve been a fan of Scooby-Doo since my childhood in the 70s. Done my best to hook my kids on the show & BCSD was a fun iteration. Mystery, Inc was a little too scary for them. This was a perfect mix of fun & mystery. My daughter really got a kick out of Daphne’s wacky bits. Thanks also for your work on Phineas & Ferb and please keep mentioning the “tri-state area” so that we know it’s you doing the writing! (Alicia)
Thank you so much, Alicia. That’s very kind of you to say. I’m so glad you and your kids could share in the fun of the show. We really did want to make a series, like “Phineas,” that the whole family could enjoy equally.
It’s also so wonderful to hear your daughter got a kick out of Daphne. It was important to me that we finally get Daphne away from being merely “the pretty one” or defined solely by her crush on Fred – or, on the other end of the spectrum, to be any sort of clichéd attempt at being “empowered” by physically fighting well (yet with no personality) or being some kind of “intrepid reporter.” I’ve never heard anyone walk around being proud of their “intrepidness.”
BCSD’s Daphne is a creative, smart, funny, empathetic, curious, open-minded person who dances to her own drummer and doesn’t give a hoot what anyone thinks of her. In fact, I was just interested in creating a funny, interesting character and if one were to describe what defines our version of Daphne, I think it’s kind of nice that all the adjectives or phrases that one would probably come up with actually have nothing at all to do with her gender. She could have easily been a male character and done and said the exact same things. Again, I was in no way trying to create a role model, but I guess you could do a whole lot worse in terms of aspirational characters – for girls OR boys, than Daphne in BCSD.
Either way, I appreciate the generous comments and, just to make life a little easier and free me up word-wise, if you see my name credited as writer, it’s probably me doing the writing.
Now that there's been some time since the series stopped airing, it would be nice to get a reflective overview. How do the earlier episodes of season 1 compare to the later ones of season 2 and such? Did the setup pay off as intended? I for one enjoyed the intra series callbacks that we gradually got more of. I'm aware of the studio interference but besides that, are there any improvements from a writer's POV that could have been made?
Jeepers, I’ve written virtual essays to answer questions like “Did you base so-and-so on the episode such-and-such?” I’m not even sure how to approach this one.
Broadly speaking, I would say we got better as we went along. I think we started strong with “Mystery 101” and “Party Like It’s 1899” was actually the second episode I wrote, although they aired it, like 8th, or something. It’s VERY difficult to discuss this without getting into the behind the scenes political issues because they play a large part, if not the entire part, of what went wrong with every single thing that went wrong with the writing process.
Let me just say that the natural, organic evolution of the show for the first half of season one got stunted by some problems and we got bottle-necked pretty badly. I think a lot of those episodes suffered as a result. I look at season one and, for me, maybe one out of every three episodes are very disappointing compared to what they COULD have been. By the time we got our flow back and could breathe, we were heading into the last third of season one and things started to shape up again. I think there are some really great episodes in the first half of season one, but the organic evolution of the characters and series just isn’t there. We had certainly begun that process. You’ll notice Daphne was still “danger prone” in the first episode, but I soon found she was so much fun and had so much going on that we didn’t need it and it just fell away – I mean, pretty much IN the same episode.
We also had some ideas for Velma that we wanted to weave in but the “issues” we were having prevented us from playing with them and figuring out how to make them work. I think Velma got under serviced as a character because of it. We had planned more for her – but then never replaced those things with other things. Kate Micucci was the key to Velma and she brought a great vulnerability and social awkwardness that blended in nicely with her other attributes. We just needed more Velma-centered stories to explore her character and there was always pressure for more Shaggy and Scooby, while Daphne and Fred were quietly becoming everyone’s favorite characters in the show. I feel bad that Velma kind of got lost in the shuffle.
That said, the saving grace of BCSD was really the first few weeks where Zac and I sat down and hammered out the characters and the tone. It was really solid and I felt the characters just worked. The “algebra” of them worked. I could just begin with a blank page and start them talking and they just took over. It was like taking dictation. I never knew what any of them would say next until they said it. They often surprised me. That’s what got us through season one.
Of course, the early episodes up through the first half of season one where we were supposed to be figuring more stuff out, really “finding” the show and fine tuning the characters got totally messed up and we were just rushing to make deadlines. Thankfully, the characters were strong as they were originally conceived and could carry us through the mess until it finally cleared up and we could get back to focusing on where they were going – or could go - again.
“El Bandito” was when Zac and I both felt, like, “Ahhh, yes, that’s our show again and we can start planning ahead now.” The last few episodes of season one were where we began to really hit our stride and “The People vs. Fred Jones” was when I really felt like I had regained control of the ship and had the freedom to stretch out and start having fun.
I stayed on through the hiatus between seasons to get a head start on the writing and episodes like “Some Fred Time,” “There Wolf,” “How To Train Your Coward” and “Mysteries On The Disorient Express” are me just having a blast working with great writers and pushing the boundaries of what we could do with the series. Having a little more control and time allowed me to start planting seeds to grow and find things to call back. Once all that was up and running, I think everything worked extremely well as intended. The only problems were where things were executed NOT as intended.
Which leads us to the last third of season two where we lost control of the ship again and politics took over. I’m happy with the original scripts for the last 6-7 episodes of the series, but since it was decided that since the scripts were finished it was a grand idea to let the only writer and voice of the show go, I was not around for when something in the script was misunderstood or misinterpreted or if it was executed differently as intended or someone decided that something just doesn’t work for some reason. In cases like that, you need a writer to explain what was intended or rework something that wasn’t working on the screen or explain how a certain line needed to be read in order to make sense, etc. Imagine a company letting a writer with no training in art draw and storyboard a scene. It’s unthinkable. Yet storyboard artists and directors with no training in the craft of writing structured, character-driven scripts were rewriting scenes and whole character arcs on a whim and so, for me, the last 6-7 episodes of season 2 goes back to me feeling very disappointed with 2/3’s of them. So many of the seeds and planning and momentum we built up from the end of season one up through about “Ghost in the Mystery Machine” (which I love), didn’t all pay off or paid off incorrectly or got changed or misunderstood or whatever. It was a drag.
A lot of people really like episodes I, personally, don’t care for and I love certain episodes I’ve never heard anyone mention. My point of view is totally warped, though. I know what was supposed to happen and how it should have happened in certain episodes, so seeing something else there that I don’t think works as well or changes what was intended just leaps out at me. That stuff is all part of a massive continuity of character arcs and personalities and running gags – a series is like one really long story about a group of characters and is all connected and evolves organically – and only I had that whole big picture in my head. Seeing something that doesn’t fit or contradicts something or that a character wouldn’t do or say or that I know informs something a character does 3 episodes from now or is being informed by something a character said 16 episodes ago is like mentally hitting a speed bump at 100 MPH for me. It’s just so clearly wrong – but usually only to me. I’m 100% positive that if everyone could watch the same episodes executed exactly as I had intended, they would go, “Ohhhh, I see, yeah, that whole thing did NOT work before and THIS feels so much better and right.” Trust me. You’re lucky you don’t know what you don’t know, though I’m sincerely thrilled people like ANY of the episodes – even ones I don’t like. It’s all subjective, anyway. Except, of course, if you like “Pizza O’ Possum.” Then you’re just wrong.
Outside of Be Cool, which Scooby-Doo episodes and movies are your favorites?
I like “SDWAY” the best, but the “New Scooby Doo Movies” were also a lot of fun and established so many of the Scooby tropes people love. My guilty pleasure is that puppet Scooby Doo thing they made several years back. I just thought it was so cute looking. I would have loved to write the BCSD personalities grafted on to those puppets.
Hey Jon. A lifetime goal of mine is to someday be a writer for the Scooby Doo franchise. My question is, what is your advice in making that dream become a reality someday? I'm in college for communications and journalism, and my goal is to make it a Scooby movie/series!
First, I would learn the craft of writing. A great book about character and scenes and structure is Laos Egri’s “The Art of Dramatic Writing.” It’s an older book that mostly uses plays as examples because movies weren’t even considered “serious” writing when it was written, but, I mean, even Aristotle has many useful things to say about writing. I would recommend reading them all – Syd Fields’ “Screenplay,” “Save The Cat,” “Making a Good Script Great,” and also read other books – lots of them. Words are your friends and your tools and your job. Read. Also write. Write what you want to write, find your own voice and your own style. I highly recommend writing for the stage and theater. The script is respected in theater – no executive notes, no marketing notes, just pure YOU up there and immediate audience reactions night after night. That’s where I found my voice and style as a writer – and also my confidence. I watched audience after audience laugh at certain things – and not other things. I’d make adjustments and then watch the reaction. Eventually you get to the point where you can trust your gut. You KNOW that if YOU like it, an audience will like it, because you’ve had that proven to you over and over again (hopefully for years).
There are a million ways to break into the business and it’s a golden age for television. So many great shows on so many different networks and cable stations and streaming sites. It should stay that way for a while. The classic method is to write some spec scripts for a couple series that are in the style of the show you’d like to write for and try to get an agent with them. In animation, things are a bit looser and I know many writers and artist without agents, but it’s better to have representation and be professional. The studio will just respect you more and there’s less of a chance anyone will take advantage of you.
Once you get a foothold in the industry anywhere, you build on it and always try to move closer to your goal. It’s hard to aim for writing for a specific series. I mean, I’d like to write for “Sherlock,” but it ain’t happening (this week, at least). If you work hard enough and have your own voice as a writer, then people will want YOU. People will hire you because they want specifically what YOU do, which will always make your life easier since you just have to trust your gut and write what you think is good (because you honed that skillset in theater). I guess if you have an agent, you can ask them to check to see if the current Scooby show is hiring – and keep checking, or get your work seen by someone at WB and try to get a job there (and don’t mention my name) and once you’re writing for them, tell them you’re interested in working on Scooby. Ideally, it would be best to get to a place where you’re creating and pitching your own shows and you can go to WB and pitch them your own ideas for a Scooby series. If you DO have your own voice and style, though, demand a writer’s room instead of freelancing 56 episodes a season. You’ll have to then teach dozens of writers how to write in YOUR style, which will not work. Trust me. But for now, read and write. A lot. Break a leg!
Please settle an argument between me & my kids. In Ghost in the Mystery Machine, Daphne laughs nervously after decapitating a statue. Was that because she thought she may have killed someone?
Hmmm. Gotta re-watch that to see what you’re talking about. Hang on….
Okay, got it. You mean when she cuts the helmet off the Japanese suit of armor in the lab.
While Daphne’s expressions and gestures in that moment were not scripted and the work of the director and storyboard artists, I take them to mean something to the effect of: “Wow, I know decapitating him with a sword is pretty violent and dramatic, but it was just kinda reflex – I had to try something and, well, at least it worked, right?” It’s rooted in Daphne’s big-hearted, loving nature and how she surprised HERSELF with her choice.
Who won, you or your kids? Or neither?
Thank you to Scooby Snax and to all the people who took the time to write in questions. I hope I answered them to your satisfaction. I truly appreciate the fans of BCSD. They’re a diverse, intelligent, individualistic bunch of very cool people. It’s been an absolute pleasure and honor to interact and get to know many of you. Thank you for letting me know that what I do brings a smile to someone’s face. It makes it all worth it.
Thank you so much to Jon Colton Barry for taking time out of his busy schedule to answer all these questions. Additionally, I'd like to thank JCB one more time for answering all of our questions on the ScoobyAddicts forum. It's been great getting to know him over the years on there, and I'm honored to be able to call him a friend. And I want to send out one more thank you to all of you, the fans, for making our little Be Cool, Scooby-Doo! Week so successful and fun! Hopefully, some day this witty little show will be discovered by a wider variety of fans, and be appreciated for the fantastic show it truly is.