Glenn Norman & Michelle Goodeve Interview

Martin: How much does what you write affect what's shown when animated? For instance, Cheesethief's death in Episode #8 (written by Ms. Goodeve) stood out to me as very dramatic in the cinematic sense. Do you describe the scene, such as switching between a close-up on the heroes to a bird's-eye-view of Cheesethief's silouhette in the distance, or is that left to the director?

Michelle: Good question.

Hmm. Gotta find the stool under that pile of papers... find another place for that pile of books... reach for the top shelf... searching... episode #8...

Got it. Okay ... Let's see...
"BATTLE PLANS" 1st draft. July, 1998...


INSIDE Cluny's tent, Cheesethief greedily LICKS his greasy lips and lifts the cheese toward his mouth...


Matthias holds his breath.


as the setting sun lines up perfectly. The tent flushes blood red.

Cheesethief's shadow, in Cluny's wargarb, is perfectly spotlighted inside the tent.


Constance as she sights down the arrow.

She BREATHES out slowly and RELEASES her grip.

The huge arrow FLIES...


The arrow WHISTLES through the air. It travels straight and true, flies, then RIPS through the tent...


Constance LOWERS her bow slowly and stares into the distance.

Fade to black.

That's what it looks like on the page...

Glenn: As writers, we always have to be VERY careful in writing "direction."

In the end, the Director will decide how s/he wants to shoot (or animate) a scene - so, we don't write: Close on Martin's eye, then pull back to reveal his nostril. Pan down to his paw - etc. Something like that wouldn't get any farther then Steve [g].

But, that doesn't mean we can't imply direction. For example, if we wrote:

As Matthias clutches desperately to the eavestrough, it begins to tear away.

He reacts with shock and disbelief.


A group of Redwallers gather in the courtyard and look up in horror!
Well - we didn't give any direction - but - if Matthias is watching the eavestrough tear away, you're not going to see that from the ground - so, we're implying a medium shot.

If he reacts in shock and disbelief - that's gotta be a close up if you want to see it.

And, if the horrified Redwallers are gathered in the courtyard looking up - that pretty much nails how that shot's going to go.

Bear in mind, the director can change all of this if it doesn't work for him/her - So, our job, as writers, is to "run the movie" in our heads, then describe as clearly as possible what we are imagining.

The clearer our notes, the easier it will be for the director to understand the way we see the episode unfolding then s/he can take it from there.

In other words - The writer is the architect. We draw up the plans then hand them over to the people who actually do the building [g].

Martin: Speaking of Cheesethief's death, that portion of the book is rather infamous among fans as it is the only time a beaver ("The Solitary Beaver", as he is known) has been used in the Redwall Series (helping Constance construct the giant crossbow). As such, many of us were disappointed when he didn't make it into the TV show. Why was his role cut?

Michelle: Oh no, my apologies regarding "The Solitary Beaver". It's agony to have to exclude anything from Brian's books, but it's also impossible in TV time to include everybeast. I can only extrapolate that "The Solitary Beaver", having such a short visit to the book, was too expensive to animate and give voice to.

Glenn: I'll leave this one to Michelle.

Martin: As readers of my "In-Depth Reviews" will have undoubtedly noticed, I'm a big fan of the tapestry-closings. I feel it's that point in the episode where everything is given the "Redwall" touch. It's also home to some very emotional moments, such as Matthias standing over Methuselah's grave. Are the tapestry-shots written/described by you, the writers?

Michelle: Tapestry Shots. (I love them too.)

Searching... Ah, Sorry... couldn't find Methuselah's ep. (I agree. Very touching moment.)

An Example:
    Pg. 1- Mattimeo - A Tale of Redwall" by Brian Jacques.
    Ep.#19 First Draft - "IRONBEAK"
    Adapted for the screen by - M. Goodeve.




1. Slagar's victory dance on the cliff.

2. Warbeak examines the "Top Abbey Crow."

3. Matthias prepares to thrust the axe handle into the rockfall.

MORPH into....
(The rest of the script goes here.)

Then on Pg. 28...

Ironbeak spreads his black wings wide till his looming shadow seems to fill the roofspace.


FREEZE FRAME on the Raven as his threatening words echo through the rooftops of Redwall Abbey.

The freeze frame morphs into the...


1. General Ironbeak threatens Redwall.

2. Mattimeo climbs the Great Southern Cliffs.

3. Constance battles the "Invaders."

...the battle to save Redwall continues....

Episode #19 Ends.

That's what the Tapestry "bookends" look like on the page.

Glenn: We all saw, very early on, that Steve's tapestry sequence was a wonderful way to link all the episodes together - and since then - all the various Redwall shows.

We do, indeed, choose the main beats from the show and describe them in the opening and closing ... Though one small snag turned up when we realized that we would, of course, have to match our opening with the previous writer's ending ... However - Because of the way we'd divied up the chapters, once or twice, the previous episode hadn't been written yet!

Still - the few times that did happen, Steve looked after those changes for us (And Steve, of course, can choose to feature some other beat from the Episode if he feels it will look more dramatic on the tapestry.)

Martin: I couldn't help but notice, Ms. Goodeve, that your name is often associated with Warbeak episodes. You wrote Warbeak's introduction to the series (Episode #4), an original episode (#10) where Warbeak is captured by Cluny, as well as her eventual death in "Mattimeo" (Episode #21). Was this by happenstance or did you form an attachment to the character and request episodes involving her?

Michelle: Initially, the episode including Warbeak's introduction was assigned to me by Steve. I immediately identified with her feisty, flying ways and enjoyed playing with Brian's Sparra- speak. (Especially when she dubbed our Hero - " Crazee-Mouse!")

In the second Warbeak episode, I have a distant memory (correct me if I'm wrong, Stinson-Steve) of a phone call where Steve said he enjoyed what I did with the first Sparra ep. and asked if I would like to write another. I jumped at the chance.

By the time "Mattimeo" was rolling, I had indeed formed a fierce attachment to Warbeak and distinctly remember requesting the opportunity to bid her farewell on the page. (On a personal note: Warbeak's last episode was partially written in the emergency ward of the hospital where my Mother was receiving emergency chemotherapy for a missed diagnosis of Burkitt's lymphoma. We both knew that this was the last script of mine that my Mother would ever read. Warbeak's touching departure was in part a tribute to my Mother and my farewell to two feisty females.)

Glenn: Well spotted, Martin. You really DO pay attention [vbg]. This, of course, is a question for Michelle to answer - but, I'd just like to say that I think her "Death of Warbeak" was one of Redwall's best episodes. When she handed me the script for notes, I was moved to tears by the ending. Steve had the same reaction and, from what we heard, so did most of the folks at Nelvana.

What they don't know. but I (and now you) do, is that, because Michelle had a deadline to hit, she wrote that episode sitting on the floor of a Hospital Emergency Room. Her Mother had just been diagnosed with cancer, so Michelle plugged her laptop into the only outlet she could find and wrote her script sitting in the hospital corridor while her mother was in the next room having her first chemo treatment.

How Michelle found the strength to do that is beyond me.

(NOTE: Michelle lost both her Mom and Dad to cancer in an 11 month period. Before they passed away, both parents became HUGE Redwall fans. They watched every re-run, over and over again, and soon knew the dialogue better than we did [g].)

Martin: Were there any characters either of you grew especially attached to?

Michelle: See above. Warbeak's a fave + I'll also admit to having a soft spot for Matthias.

Glenn: In truth, I grow attached to all the characters - and it's terribly difficult to write the scenes where some of them have to die.

I guess I have a special affection for Matthias, as he was the first Redwall "hero" I came to know - Plus - we got to write him all over again in Mattimeo.

As I was born in England, I guess I'd have to say Basil Stag Hare was also a fave. It was so easy to write his dialogue, Wot, wot?

And, an interesting trivia note - I felt TERRIBLE that we couldn't work Ambrose Spike into the first series. I remembered Hedgehogs from my childhood in England and was delighted by Ambrose - But, there were so many characters - and we had restrictions on the number of speaking roles we could use, so poor old Ambrose fell through the cracks.

In Mattimeo, we tried extra hard to make sure he was used and when we saw the final product we were delighted we'd made the effort - because we discovered the character was voiced by actor Paul Soles, a very good friend of ours - and yet another antique airplane pilot!

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