Larry DiTillio

Larry DiTillio wrote BATTLE AT VEKARA

Q You worked with CAPTAIN POWER AND THE SOLDIERS OF THE FUTURE which used CGI as it was in its infancy. Has the advancements in computer animation technology given you more freedom in your writing?

A The only thing technological advances do for a writer is to make more special efx available. This is not necessarily freedom. Indeed in some cases, you are a slave to some great special effect the director decides to do but which you don't like. Where freedom comes into is that now you have more leeway to do efx. In short anything you can imagine can be done now (given a good enough budget and/or a good deal of creativity)... Nevertheless no technological advance can help the essentials of character conflict which is the heart of any story.

Q Christy Marx had worked with you on Captain Power before she began working with Hypernauts. BATTLE AT VEKARA, even though the story brought more depth to the characters, introduced new weapons for the Hypernauts and an impressive battle scene. Do you think the work you had done with Captain Power was a factor in having you work on this part of the story?

A Well I was story editor of the first two seasons of Babylon 5 (and wrote 7 scripts for it during that time) and I think that experience was more what got me the job. But in one sense you are correct about character depth and weaponry, I happen to have a penchant for doing that in shows like Hypernauts.

Q You've been both a story editor (for shows like CAPTAIN POWER and BEAST WARS) and a writer (for shows like HYPERNAUTS and SWAMP THING). There must be positive and negative aspects for each. Which do you prefer?

A Being a story editor is ALWAYS preferable to being a staff or freelance writer. You have more control over your work and the work of other writers and it is a good stepping stone to a producer credit... Otherwise both jobs are writing jobs and have the same pitfalls and perils. The biggest positive aspect is being trusted by those who hired you, the biggest negative aspect is the incredible ego trips that people go on where the writing is concerned (not everybody thinks they can direct or act, but everybody seems to think they can write)...

Q Was there a particular element in the HYPERNAUTS story line you enjoyed working with?

A Well I only did two scripts and both were as a freelancer. I think what I liked best was working with the older characters. Carrie Dobro was fantastic as Kulai and she was a joy to write for. I also enjoyed filling in certain background aspects of the characters, particularly Kulai.

Q Have you managed to stay in contact with some of the people you have worked with on past projects?

A Some. Certainly Christy Marx, Kathy Lawrence and Rich Mueller who all worked on Hypernauts and have been friends of mine for a long time. John Copeland as well.

Q With the advancements in computers, many special effects are now computer generated. Do you think a computer will ever have your job? [grin]

A Nope. A computer has no passion, no feeling, no inkling of the complex depths of the human animal. Saying a computer might have my job is like saying a pencil may someday do it. Well that will not happen. The computer is only a tool for expression, it doesn't CREATE expression... You need a human being to create writing, period.

To Larry DiTillio -- thank you for taking the time to answer my questions.