Katherine Lawrence

Katherine Lawrence wrote Ice Bound and New Alliances. Ice Bound was nominated for Outstanding Children's Script by the Writer's Guild of America.

Q How were you brought in to write for Hypernauts?

A I worked with Christy Marx on "Conan The Adventurer" in 1992-93, and when "Hypernauts" got a pick-up she called me to pitch.

Q When you started to write your first script for Hypernauts, what did you do to prepare to write the story and what went into getting the finished script turned in?

A Christy sent me the bible for the series, and asked me to pitch story ideas. I thought about it, and pitched several based upon the situations and characters in the bible. She approved one of them, gave me notes and I went to outline. Got more notes, and went to script. Simple. [grin] Same for the other script I wrote.

Q You wrote for Hypernauts early in the series and then as the series came to a close. Did you find it easier to work with the characters after they had been developed over time or was it easier to work with them before they had an established series history?

A It was a fairly short period, from August through December, as I recall for the first 13 episodes, and my two scripts took much of that time. I wasn't sitting around between the first and second script. In fact I was in the hospital with pneumonia for part of it. The characters didn't change much because we knew the casting before we got to script by episode #3.

Q Ice Bound was nominated for Outstanding Children's Script by the Writer's Guild of America. Did the nomination surprise you?

A Pleasantly so. I knew it had been submitted, but there was a lot of live-action children's television in 1995-96 so the odds were pretty much against me, statistically. It was a totally wonderful surprise and I'm still jazzed about it. The winners (Angel & Brown, as I recall) that year for "The Cuckoo Clock of Doom," one of the anthology horror series episodes on Fox, deserved to win, btw. My script was good, but not the best I ever intend to write, so I liked having the win put off. It really was an incredible honor just to be nominated. And I'll have a better idea of what to say in my acceptance speech next time.

Q Much of your work has been with television animation. Did working with live actors and special effects change the way you handled the script?

A No. Just meant the budget went to some areas more than others. For example, you can do explosions in animation that would cost a lot in live-action, but crowd scenes are easy -- just draw them on the background artwork.

Q You've written both short fiction and scripts. What sort of differences are there in creating stories for the two?

A There's enormous variation between ANY two mediums, especially these two.

Short fiction is done to a deadline months away, is totally, 100% mine, and isn't a turn-in-or-starve situation. If I miss a deadline, I simply submit to another anthology later. Short stories can take YEARS to work from original idea to finished story. Scripts are always under tight deadlines, don't allow a lot of time for rewrites, and are somewhat collaborative in that you're not writing for your own pleasure, but to earn ratings for someone else. There's no comparison other than I do both on the computer.

Q You have refered to yourself as a magician with words and have admitted that you are also a fan when it comes to some shows. Do you think being a fan helps you keep the "magic" in your writing?

A The magic comes from the talent and the craftsmanship. I create the magic.

Being a fan just means I keep trying even during the years when there's very little work, because I love the medium of animation in particular. The reason is that in animation, at least pre-CGI, you could turn fairy tales or any fantasy story into a visual delight for all audiences, without the budget problems of live-action television. Plus, there's a special joy in writing for kids, and opening their eyes to just how cool the world can be, if they let it.

Q Even thought Hypernauts was originally aired in the United States, the series was also released on videocassettes around the world. Have you had a chance to see the show in another language?

A Not yet. I don't have a VCR capable of viewing PAL or SECAM tapes, just NTSC (U.S. and Canadian broadcast standard), so the copies of "Hypernauts" I have from a friend in Australia just sit on my brag shelf. The really phenomenal thing was hearing it was sold on videocassette in Russia. I'm a child of the Cold War and having my ideas be watched behind the Iron Curtain is just too cool. Those are the tapes I really want, whether I can watch them or not.

Q Can you think of anything I haven't asked that you would like to add?

A Yes. [grin]


"Ice Bound" came about because I took the idea of the station, and extrapolated it into reality. What would the problems be in finding this 50-year-old station? Ta-da! Water. Limited supply. Must find more water. The planet is based on Europa, which we now know to have a deep, underground ocean, and may indeed have life down there, though not like my worms. Speaking of which, though they're furry, they were originally based on a Robert W. Service poem, "Ice Worm Cocktail." If you haven't read it, go search it out. I heard it in grade school and it stayed with me. It's hilarious, about hazing Alaska-style.

"New Alliances" has a couple of pretty obvious homages to two of my favorite filmmakers. The aliens are the Sacul and the leader is Nevets. Try them backwards, if you haven't already. [grin]

To Katherine Lawrence -- thank you for taking the time to answer my questions.