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Insight: Brad Bird on Animation | Kees van Dijkhuizen Jr.

Brad Bird, writer and director of animated films ‘The Iron Giant’, 'The Incredibles’ and 'Ratatouille’, gives an insight into his writing process, how he directs animation and why many people fundamentally misunderstand the medium. Subtitles available.

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Brad Bird, writer and director of animated films The Iron Giant, The Incredibles and Ratatouille, gives an insight into his writing process, how he directs animation and why many people fundamentally misunderstand the medium.

Family Feud (12x13)

SAM AND DEAN ASK ROWENA TO FIND CROWLEY’S SON – When Sam (Jared Padalecki) and Dean (Jensen Ackles) look into a murder at a museum, they learn a ghost from a merchant ship that sunk in 1723 may be at the heart of the mystery. After realizing “The Star” was the same ship that Crowley’s (Mark A. Sheppard) son Gavin McLeod (guest star Theo Devaney) should have been aboard, they enlist help from Rowena (guest star Ruth Connell) to track Gavin down. Kelly Kline (guest star Courtney Ford), still pregnant with Lucifer’s child, takes refuge with a demon after an angel attempts to kill her.

Writer: Brad Buckner and Eugenie Ross-Leming
Director: P.J. Pesce

Such A Senseless Death

I’ve spent the evening talking to members of the SPN Family who are just as angry and distraught over the loss of Charlie Bradbury as I am… I have a lot of feelings about this and most of them are swirling around in a vortex of epic proportions that have me alternating between tears and cursing and throwing things…


However, I did want to vent about all the reasons that Charlie’s death just DIDN’T MAKE SENSE. I hate losing characters that I identify with or that representing something unique, but I can usually get over it if their death is necessary or appropriate to the show. In this case though, I feel like the entire Dark Dynasty episode was forced and out of character and it leaves me feeling like Charlie’s death was unnecessary. In essence, if her death was necessary, it should have meant something and it should have been done justice (see: Jo and Ellen Harvelle). Charlie deserved better!


Here are my personal observations of all the ways this episode was just wrong:

- Charlie spent how much time overseas hunting down the Book of the Damned? I am pretty sure she wouldn’t have just run off without Cas.

- Charlie’s reason for running off was weak. “I can’t put up with the evil witch chatting me up…” BULLSHIT! Charlie may not be great with people, but she’s more likely to put on some headphones, rock out to upbeat music, and drown out Rowena than to run off alone

- Cas would never have been so naive. He’s been dealing with Claire for a while now and I doubt there’s a bigger flight-risk out there than Claire. Cas wouldn’t have handled the situation the way he did. Cas might not be the most worldly person ever, but he’s not an idiot…

- *If* Charlie actually HAD to get away, she’d have called Dean or Sam and arranged to go to the bunker or to meet one of them somewhere. She wouldn’t just sneak away…

- She wouldn’t have sat by an OPEN WINDOW in the hotel where she’s hiding away from the bad guys who have tracked and tried to kill her multiple times.

- When she was compromised, she would have prayed to Cas. She’s resourceful and a quick thinker. She would know (especially after reading all the Supernatural books) how prayer works. Which leads me to my next point…

- Why couldn’t Cas locate her? He’s full-on angel mojo again… he should have been able to find her. She doesn’t have brands on her ribs like the boys and she doesn’t have an “invisibility cloak” tattoo against angels so he should have been able to find her.

- And, since it’s canon that angels can sense longing (which is another rant of mine, but since it’s canon I’ll include it), don’t you think Charlie was longing pretty hard for help, for Cas, when she learned she was compromised? Shouldn’t Cas have been able to sense that?


Now on to the out of character behavior at the bunker that facilitated Charlie’s demise:


- Dean tied up a prisoner (who had already exhibited SUPERHUMAN strength) by one hand in the bunker but not in the dungeon? Yeah, because that sound just like something Dean would do. *eye roll*

- Leaving a prisoner unsupervised?! Even when Crowley was there and in a devil’s trap in the dungeon they kept a pretty constant eye on him. This dude that already came close to taking out MOC!Dean gets a pass? I don’t think so!

- And why did Dean leave a prisoner unattended? To go have an interrogation with Sam? Yeah, because communication has always been the top priority in the Winchester family. Don’t get me wrong - they needed to talk it out, but maybe after they finished with the dude tied up in the other room?

- Not that it’s terribly relevant to this post, but since I’m pointing out blatent inconsistencies in character: What was with Sam being such a shitty liar? I wish he wouldn’t lie to Dean. It never ends well. But Sam is typically a much more convincing liar. I’m  a pretty trusting person and even I wouldn’t have fallen for Sam’s act…

- And for the love of Chuck HOW THE FUCK DID STEIN GET OUT OF THE BUNKER AFTER HE GOT OUT OF THE RESTRAINTS?! One does not simply stroll out of the front door of the bunker unnoticed…


So there you have it, my list of all the reasons that this episode just didn’t make any fucking sense.


tl;dr: Dean, Sam, Cas, and Charlie were all so out of character. It was actually difficult for me to watch. Buckner and Leming did the fandom a disservice today. Not just in the death of Charlie, but in the portrayal of our beloved characters. Charlie deserved better! Her death felt pointless and cheap. It felt like an easy way to stir up animosity toward the newest antagonist - the Stein family. It reminded me a lot of how they used Kevin’s death in Holy Terror (9x09) to stir up hatred toward Metatron. Oh wait, guess who wrote that episode… yep, Buckner & Leming.P.S. Frankenstein? Really?!
SPN Writers

I was summoned to a convo in this post by @dean-o-topia​.

Over there, we could see poor Jeremy Carver answering the question about Charlie’s death in ComicCon as well as Robert Singer answering a similar question in JIBCon. I agree with what some people already said there. It seemed to me that Carver was just repeating the explanation he was given for Charlie’s death, but he didn’t believe it himself. The cast abandoned him, but their reaction showed a “haha, now you handle this one alone because that’s your job whether entirely your fault or not” kind of thing. On the other hand, when Singer was asked the same question, he had no trouble answering. He showed he really believed what he was saying. Misha’s reaction to what Singer said showed utter dislike as if he knew Charlie’s death was Singer’s fault.  

In the case of the other writers, we know Robbie Thompson tried to pitch other ideas in favor of keeping Charlie alive, but nobody listened to him. However, I don’t think this topic is so relevant now since Robert Singer is NOT an Executive Producer anymore. (Read this for more info). 

I was asked by Dean-o-topia about the state of the writers’ room right now. That’s why I decided to write this post.

Who are the writers we have for season 11 of Supernatural? 

Jeremy Carver: He’s been writing for the show since season 3. He left to work on his own projects after season 5 and returned to take Sera Gamble’s place as showrunner for season 8. 

Andrew Dabb: He began writing for the show in season 4 along with Daniel Loflin. Dabb’s first episode on his own was 8x08: Hunteri Heroici. Since then, he proved that, by himself, he was an excellent writer. 

Brad Buckner & Eugenie Ross-Leming: They were responsible for the awful episode 1x13: Route 666 in season 1 and didn’t write for the show again until season 7. They’ve been writing together for 5 seasons now, and I still don’t know how come some of their episodes got approved. Maybe the fact that Eugenie is Robert Singer’s wife and he was an Executive Producer since day one had something to do with that. 

Robbie Thompson: He’s been writing for the show since season 7 and has given us many of the best episodes of Supernatural. God bless his soul! He’s currently the best writer the show has, IMHO. 

Robert Berens: He began writing for the show in season 9. His very first episode was 9x06: Heaven Can’t Wait. He’s become one of the best writers the show has, too. 

Eric Charmelo & Nicole Snyder: They began writing for the show in season 6 but didn’t write any episode in seasons 7 and 8. They started writing for the show again in season 9, and since then, they have given us some “meh” filler episodes.  

Jenny Klein: She started co-writing for the show since season 5 (one episode per season, never on her own). Her first episode by herself was 8x10: Torn and Frayed. She was finally given two episodes to write in seasons 9 and 10. Most of her episodes have been “meh”. In fact, I still can’t get over 9x08: Rock and a Hard Place

Nancy Won: She’s the new addition for season 11 (let’s remember that Adam Glass left). Her very first episode will be 11x05: Thin Lizzie. She worked with Jeremy Carver in Being Human and with Robbie Thompson in Jericho, so hopefully, she’ll be a good writer. 

Every time I talk about the Supernatural writers, I say my favorites are Robbie Thompson, Andrew Dabb, and Robert Berens. Currently, they are the ones given more episodes to write, along with the dreadful duo Brad Buckner & Eugenie Ross-Leming. In fact, when I write meta, it’s very easy for me to identify the continuity of themes in their episodes. I can notice when Robbie, for example, picks up something he left off in a previous episode from the same season or even from previous seasons. He does it with his own episodes, but he also does it with episodes written by Dabb and Berens. And Dabb and Berens do the same, too. I can talk about their episodes as if they were written by the same person because it’s very obvious the narrative has been discussed. They know where they’re going, what they’re doing, and why they’re doing whatever they’re doing.

Have you ever felt there’s a continuity error? Have you ever felt somebody is doing or saying something totally out of character and/or completely stupid? Have you felt that an episode negates the existence of what happened in the previous one, as if the characters have suddenly forgotten everything? That’s what generally happens when we have episodes written by Eric Charmelo & Nicole Snyder or Jenny Klein. Actually, even episodes written by Buckner and Ross-Leming feel this way although they’re always related to the myth arc. Robbie’s filler episodes can have a lot more depth! I’m not saying that Robbie, Dabb, and Berens are perfect all the time, but in terms of writing, their episodes have better quality.

Jeremy Carver just writes the season premiere and the season finale, but he’s the showrunner, so he’s the head in the writers’ room. It’s his job to make sure what he wants is what the audience sees. Of course, the other writers can help him get there by providing creative ideas and interesting sub-plots. Some people say TPTB don’t know what they’re doing, but I think these people are mistaken ‘cause I’ve been reading the text and subtext thoroughly during the Carver era, and I think there is a big picture. What changes is how we’re getting there. They take different routes every time something happens, every time they get one more season, for example.

When Robert Singer was an Executive Producer, I bet things were a little more complicated. The audience saw not only what Carver had in mind, but also what Singer wanted. Because of the previous seasons, I can perfectly see Robbie, Dabb, and Berens playing for the same team along with Carver. And who was obviously going to support what Singer said? His wife! Duh! As well as Jenny Klein. If you pay attention to previous seasons, you will notice that out of the few episodes Klein has written for the show, Robert Singer has directed many of them (and even helped her write one in season 7). That’s why I don’t doubt he could get her support in the writers’ room. The fact Singer stepped down is positive in terms of unity. He’s still there as a director and as an Executive Consultant, but his powers are not the same. Since Supernatural started, this is the first season when Singer’s influence is not going to be so big. His wife is still there, true! Jenny Klein is still there, also true! But Carver is the sole showrunner now, and if he needs help, he has Phil Sgriccia (who’s been there since season 1, too). Sgriccia is not a writer, he’s a director and an Executive Producer along with Jeremy. However, the little I know about him tells me he and Jeremy work together pretty well and have a similar vision.

Oops! This got longer than I intended. I just want to finish by saying that I don’t have any special information regarding what happens in the writers’ room. What I have said here is pure speculation. I might be 100% wrong, so don’t take this as word of god.

Watch on atdq.tumblr.com

September 2008 - I was laid off from my job as an electrician. No more apprenticeship school. No more cell phone. No more health insurance. And no more waking up to go do something I was no longer happy with anyway.

- Brad Writer

Some of the best musical journeys start with “I was laid off from my job…” I never heard of one starting with, “So I kept my day job while I worked on music in my spare time…”

“Spare time,” it seems, resists ever becoming “Killer Time.” This doesn’t seem lost on Brad Writer, whose Killer Times productions first caught my eye because of his dedication to his world of projects:

...almost halfway across the U.S.

Pardon my writing skills, I tend to write as I would speak- slang and all. So please bear with me because writing this is way easier than talking to everyone on the phone. Randi and I left on our “Adventure to the West!” Monday, November 12th- around noon. We took both of our cars, carrying our entire lives (including four cats) in our trunks and backseats. My car is so packed that it looks like a low-rider -I even scraped the ass pulling out of the driveway. I unfortunately was not able to take my turntable coffin and refined record collection-I also had to leave behind a few other things. The cats were divvied up 2 per car, each pair having their own pet carrier. Day one we drove through Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio, and rested at Motel 6 in Indianapolis, IN. We hit heavy rain mostly through PA and OH. The drive was tolerable and the cats mewed on and off-but  stayed calm and quiet mostly. We decided not to use sedatives for the cats because…well, Nancy Reagan brainwashed me into thinking drugs are bad. We woke up and hit a McDonald's for the free WiFi so we could see our path for day two of our adventure. Then we drove through the rest of Indiana, then Illinois, and are now resting in Springfield, Missouri. We drove through St. Louis and saw the big arch and some sports arenas and lots of big city buildings-it was kind of like Baltimore, but felt a lot “cleaner”. The road ways were pretty lousy and there was a lot of road work on the roadways around the city. About 80 miles before we got to the Motel 6 in Springfield, Randi and I gassed up at a Love’s-which is a deluxe rest stop with friendly faces and lots of beef jerky. I pumped Randi’s car while she went to use the restroom, and then she pumped my gas while I went in to use the restroom. Immediately after pulling out of the gas station my check engine light came on. I took the next available exit and found an auto parts store right off the ramp. I checked my oil-which was fine- and all my other fluids-which were also fine. My dash gauges all read normal, so we got back on road and headed to the Motel 6 (we are sticking with Motel 6 because they don’t charge extra for pets). I worried that maybe overloading my cars weight capacity and driving 75 mph for over 8 hours a day may have been a probable cause for the issue. Before we got there, I called the Motel 6 we were driving to-fortunately we had the number under the address in our itinerary-and I made a reservation. We arrived and unpacked our essential belongings. With prior research about our resting points, we knew we wanted to go to the Springfield Brewing Company, which is a local brewery pub. The location was relatively close to the hotel and the on-street parking was close and free. We decided to go all out and start with an appetizer- Artichoke and Spinach Dip with pita bread. Then for the entree I had a “Brewben” which is the pub’s version of a reuben- and quite frankly the best I’ve ever had! Randi had the London Fish and Chips- also very delicious! Along with the meal we enjoyed a few local beers- Randi had the “Black Sheep Stout” made from the coffee beans of a local coffee shop and I had the seasonal specialty IPA, “ Hip Hop Opius” which smelled and tasted like cannabis  After a fine dining experience, we headed back to the motel. I used Randi’s laptop to comb the internet for troubleshooting my “check engine” issue, and I also used my Haynes shop manual for reference. I concluded that maybe someone didn’t tighten my gas cap on securely, which supposedly could cause the “check engine” light to come on. So I removed the gas cap, and re-closed it again, making sure it made the one click- then I disconnected my car battery (to reset the computer) and BAM! -the “check engine” light was gone. I celebrated by walking to the “Kum-N-Go” (not kidding!- it’s a local and frequent gas station) and bought one of my current favorite sodas, Squirt! There was also a wide variety of beers- but I didn’t feel like getting my drink on. The night will be finished off by watching Netflix on Randi’s laptop. Oh, and all four cats are purring- so I feel that is an indicator that they aren’t getting traumatized by this whole moving thing. 

Excerpts from the Indigenous Media Panel at Tribeca Film Festival 2016

Brad Martocello: As a writer, I think, like, women are such an, like, it’s such a great area to write in because -

Josh Hutcherson: Because I don’t understand them

Brad: Women are, like, so fun to write if you just take a little time.  I don’t think like, they have, a lot of times women aren’t written very well; so often women aren’t written very well.  Like, I know in my life, the most interesting characters are pretty much women because they’re powerful and they’re so nuanced-

Josh: Confusing

Brad: No, they are, they’re, like, so dynamic that I think, like, a lot of times, male writers will, like that’s totally something that happens; male writers are just like, ‘yeah, then they cut to the woman and she’s just doing’ and it’s like, no, she should be an absolute character, like, spend time with her, create a nuanced character.  The women in my script are like, some of the most interesting characters to write because they’re like, powerful and they’re like, really truthful and honest and they’re impulsive and like smart.  And I think any writer who doesn’t spend time with his female characters is just like, he’s robbing himself of like, half his-

Josh: Of the honesty

Brad: Yeah.  It always makes me really upset when I see a female written on a television show or a movie and I’m like, why would you go to a cliche when there’s so many interesting women out there?  Just like, I know, in that writer’s life, what’s your mom like-

Josh: Think about some of your like, biggest accomplishments or biggest mistakes; they probably have to do with women in your life.  I just mean, like, they’re a huge part of everyone’s life, it’s just a fact, like, let’s write it true.

Brad: Exactly.  It’s so strange to me-

Josh: I’m not doing this right