Hi Reddit, I am animation writer/producer Rob Hoegee. Teen Titans, Generator Rex and the recent Amazon Studios pilot Niko and the Sword of Light are some of the shows I’ve worked on. More credit’s here: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1048706

Currently I’m the head writer and story editor for Thunderbirds are Go!, which premiers this Saturday April 4 at 5pm on ITV.

Ask me about Thunderbirds, writing for animation or anything else I may or may not be an expert on (quality answers not guarenteed).

I’ll be answering questions starting at 7pm GMT (that’s 11am Pacific time).

Proof: https://twitter.com/robhoegee/status/582235588172128258

EDIT: thanks for all of the great questions. I'm going to answer them all, but need to "take five." ALSO, I mistakenly said April 5th for the premier. It's april 4th...

EDIT: hey folks. I'm running out of steam here and have some early writer meetings tomorrow to bring you more Thunderbirds awesomeness. I'll answer questions for a few more minutes, so please up-vote the ones you like best that I haven't gotten to. I'll check back in tomorrow night and see if I can answer a few more.

Thanks for all the great questions!

Your pal, Rob

EDIT: Lots of new questions since I signed off, so I'll try to get to a few more.

Comments: 322 • Responses: 65  • Date: 

Firehair1200075 karma

Hello! I'm sure I'll see how it's dealt with once Thunderbirds starts airing but I've been thinking about it a lot. Do you still have the whole destroying photos part and keeping International Rescue secret thing running through the show?   Because of how different the world is now, and the idea possibly of teaching kids to be safe and subtly telling them the importance of privacy etc. I'm just curious if there were any discussions about that aspect of the original show.

RobHoegee59 karma

Yeah it's sort of an antiquated notion. That worked well in the 60s when we were right in the middle of cold-war spy games, but today it's hard to keep a secret from anyone. I spent some time during the development process exploring ways to keep Tracy Island "top secret" but no matter how you cut it, it just made things way too complected. So we're pretty much doing away with all of the extreme secrecy. Honestly I don't think the show suffers at all for it.

whyyesthat35 karma

Were you fan of Thunderbirds before you started Thunderbirds Are Go? If not, what were your thoughts on the series when you watched it?

If you were a fan, was it strange writing for characters with whom you grew up? How did that differ from writing an original series?

RobHoegee48 karma

Growing up in the USA, Thunderbirds didn't have as much cultural impact as it did in the UK and elsewhere, but I do remember seeing it as a kid on reruns late at night. I thought it was cool and weird and fascinating. I didn't have the opportunity to watch very many, but those I did I really stuck with me. When I was approached to help develop it into a new series, I knew it would be a once in a lifetime opportunity. I haven't been proven wrong on that.

whyyesthat40 karma

Good to know :)

Would you rather fight one Thunderbird 2 sized Alan or 100 Alan sized Thunderbird 2s?

Also, what's the best advice you have or have heard for getting into the television industry, specifically children's television?

RobHoegee36 karma

I was hoping I'd get that question in my AMA! One Thunderbird 2 sized Alan. Easier to hide from.

ayfilm32 karma

Team America. Thoughts?

RobHoegee47 karma

I love anything Matt and Trey do.

DangerousDac25 karma

Hi Rob, very much looking forward to seeing the first two episodes on Tuesday at the BFI. The original show had many elements which are now considered taboo (Smoking, guns etc) and certain episodes involved Terrorist attacks which lead to the rescues - is the new show going to shy away from these elements completely or can we still expect a somewhat realistic cause for certain disasters (i.e. Bad people doing bad things)?

RobHoegee4 karma

Times certainly have changed since 1965, especially for what we consider children's television. We still do focus on the universal themes of good vs evil, but that kind of realism just doesn't have a place in this show. We put our focus on helping people. Often in the course of that, nefarious plots are foiled. The one big rule we have for this show is no guns of any kind and no gratuitous violence. There are plenty of other shows out there that trade in that sort of thing - even ones aimed at kids. We wanted to do something different.

The-Creeping-Spleen19 karma

Will the series finally address what happened to the Tracy brothers mother?

RobHoegee15 karma

I'm not going to say no, but it's not something we've dealt with yet. If and when we do, it will probably only be a mention. Not sure I'd do an episode around it.

thederpmeister14 karma

The technology in the original show was ahead of it's time. Did you keep the technology the same more or less, update it for 2015, or try and think of future technologies like the original did? Or was it a combination of all three?

RobHoegee11 karma

That's a good question. We're definitely thinking ahead, but to the credit of Gerry Anderson, Mike Trim and all of the other creative minds on the original series, some of their ideas are STILL futuristic by today's standards. Still, some of the things that got kids excited in 1965 barely get a meh today. The world would stop back then when a rocket launched. Today, it barely makes the news.

NorseBoy13 karma

How different is writing for 3d animation vs. 2d animation? Also, did you work with the animators when writing the scripts? For example, did you meet with the animators to discuss what was actually possible and work with them to create the scenes, or were you given the freedom to write whatever you wanted, and they had to work out how to film it? I imagine there was a lot of planning that went into everything, and I'm curious to know more about the actual process. Thanks.

RobHoegee9 karma

There is often a misconception that because it's animation, if you think it you can make it. That's only partially true. One of the big differences in CG is we need to be much more conscientious about the assets we create, so we have to plan a little more carefully. I'm always in close communication with the production team as it's important that we deliver scripts they can actually make. In the case of Thunderbirds are Go, we also have to consider the live-action miniatures that are built.

Amberdon11 karma

Why was the decision taken to make the Tracy brother younger and to change their hair colours?

RobHoegee8 karma

I honestly don't know the answer to the hair question. My guess would be to further differentiate the characters. That along with greater variations in size and girth. The truth is, most kids are going to be seeing this for the first time with fresh eyes. They won't have noticed the change. As far as the age goes, research has proven that kid audiences respond more favorably to characters closer to their own age. That poses a problem with this show because it begins to defy plausibility when you make them too young. So we had to strike a balance. Scott is early/mid-20s and the rest of the brothers fall in line with an appropriate age interval between.

edenburns11 karma

Hi Rob.

My question is, I always argue that Thunderbirds was way ahead of time in terms of technology and ideology that was featured in the show that has now become a reality.

For example: there was a space station (ISS), handheld communicators (mobile phones), video communicators (flatscreens / Skype), supersonic flight (the ships) and the list goes on. When writing this new series, did you decide to keep the technology firmly with what is available today, or will you decide to imagine what the world will be like in the time the new series is set?

Also, thanks for helping in rebooting this, I've been obsessed since it was re-released in the 90's when I was a kid.

RobHoegee13 karma

I answered a little bit of this in an earlier post, but we're definitely looking towards the bleeding edge of technology for this show. I can't tell you how many times we've come up with a storyline and then a few weeks (or months later) the writer will email me a link to a story about some scientists trying to do the exact same thing...

pete77809 karma

As a 16 year old I was addicted to the original Thunderbirds series as a child and I still am! Will FAB 1 in the new series be a Rolls Royce like the original or have Rolls like they did for the 2004 movie declined, with another manufacture like Ford becoming FAB 1 like in the movie?

RobHoegee10 karma

Yes! We still have Fab 1. In regards to the make of the car, I will say only this: there are now very strict rules about putting a known brand in a kids program as it's considered advertising. Unfortunately not even Lady Penelope could get around that.

TBCAM8 karma

Will the theme tune sound the same?

RobHoegee16 karma

You won't mistake it for anything else. Our composers are Ben and Nick Foster and they've done some amazing work with the original Barry Gray themes.

Watchd0g8 karma

Thanks for being here, Rob. The fans really appreciate it. I've got a simple question for you: Will we be seeing The Mole?

P.s. What's your favorite machine from the show?

RobHoegee10 karma

hey sorry I answered this a while back but must have hit the red button instead of the blue. I blame The Hood. We will see the Mole, but we've done a bit of a rethink on how the POD vehicles work. My favorite machine from the show (my show not the original) is Thunderbird Shadow. Does a vehicle count as a machine?

Kytori954 karma

Sounds great, can you go into a bit more detail about the new Pod vehicles?

RobHoegee6 karma

I'd really rather not spoil it. Also it seems like I've built up some goodwill in this ama, and I'd hate to say something that might cause the pitchforks to come out.

Amberdon8 karma

Did you look at taking some of the stories from the original 1960's TV21 comic and making those into episodes? In particular , some of those written by Alan Fennel would should make good TV shows.

RobHoegee9 karma

I have the beautifully re-printed collection sitting on my desk. I'm always up for revisiting the well, but right now we're more focused on original stories.

Padaster8 karma

Will their be any nods and references to other Gerry Anderson shows/properties?

RobHoegee16 karma

If you watch very closely, you'll be pleased.

Saroekin8 karma

Hi Rob! Thanks for doing this AMA. Here are some of my questions:

  • What are your favorite elements/components related to producing and writing for "Thunderbirds are GO!"

  • What are the best memories you've acquired throughout your career? As in, what did you enjoy and cherish most?

RobHoegee9 karma

I've really enjoyed the fact that this is going to be a show that I can really feel good about showing to my own kids (ages 3 and 8). The people involved in this show are amazing, from the team at Pukeko Pictures and Weta Workshop in New Zealand, to the folks at ITV. It truly is a global production, and all of us are obsessed with making it the best show it possibly can be.

As I look back, I'm always thankful I get to work with people that truly love what they do. Animation is an incredibly collaborative endeavor, and being able to share the thing you help create with the world is really special.

BeanoMaster7 karma

When writing for Thunderbirds Are Go, did you get any influences from the other shows you have worked on?

RobHoegee7 karma

Sort of. Writing (and story editing, which is supervising other writers) is really all about problem solving. The more scripts I do, the more tools I have to solve those story problems as they come up. I start to get a sense of what works and what doesn't. You try not to repeat yourself, so sometimes I'll avoid a specific storyline I may have done on another series. On the flipside, some stories are universal, so you can creatively adapt situations to suit the new situation.

TheActualEgg6 karma

Hello! It's great to see you doing an AMA. I'm a massive fan of Thunderbirds and I am really looking forward to the episode, as is my Jeff (Dad) and my Brother. :D

I was wondering if you would ever consider adapting some of the other Gerry Anderson shows? Obviously you are not entirely in charge of the project or show commissions, but if a hypothetical opportunity came up to reboot, say, 'Stingray' or 'Fireball XL5', do you think they would work in a modern day format like the new Thunderbirds show? If so, would you try to connect their universes with that of 'Thunderbirds Are Go'?

EDIT: I see I've been getting downvoted. Have I done something wrong? If so, then sorry.

RobHoegee3 karma

I have my hands full with Thunderbirds, but if ITV were to ask, I'd definitely be interested. As long as it's a good story, you can make it work in a modern format. I'd say that's not an issue with other Gerry Anderson shows.

Bill_Everatt6 karma

Good Evening from South Wales in the UK Rob. Please can you tell me if the character of Jeff Tracy is ever going to be returning to the full series?

RobHoegee8 karma

Hi Bill, I know this is a question that is on a lot of people's minds. ITV has been understandably cagey about fully answering this up to now, and I think rightfully so. The straight answer is not in seasons one and two. After that, we'll see. Please know that this is not a decision we took lightly and the reasons are many. I should also say this: just because the character isn't physically in the show, that doesn't mean Jeff doesn't play an important role. It isn't an out-of-sight, out-of-mind situation. "What would dad have done" has replaced what dad tells them to do. We spend a lot of story energy on International Rescue finding its way without Jeff, and this brings the six of them into leadership and decision-making roles that do not often come easy. And sorry for the delay in answering: it's important and I wanted to get my words right.

whyyesthat1 karma

That probably falls under spoiler territory. There are some of us who don't want to know.

Bill_Everatt1 karma

Completely understandable. Although some of us actually quite like the character of Jeff Tracy; I'd not want to watch through twenty six plus episodes only to find he was never returning in the first place. Its obviously a difficult call, and I appreciate that. But equally I don't want to waste time and be disappointed too.

RobHoegee2 karma

I think for that reason it's important that you and fans like yourself know up front what you're getting in to. The last thing I want is to string people along. I still hope you'll give us a chance regardless. I like the Jeff Tracy character too, so it wasn't an easy decision.

Bill_Everatt1 karma

Rob, because of your honest answers, I will indeed be giving your work a proper chance and my full support. Like many broadcasters, I'll be doing a short spoken feature on the return of this great series. I am old enough to remember Thunderbirds first time around, so I've been waiting since Christmas day 1966 for new episodes. Needless to say I'm quite excited.

RobHoegee3 karma

Thanks Bill. I hope you won't be disappointed. This show is being made with a lot of love by a group of people who care greatly about Thunderbirds and the Gerry Anderson legacy.

TheEnemyOfMyAnenome6 karma

Hey Rob! My question is: how did this project get started? Was a reboot of Thunderbirds your idea or were you approached with it out of the blue?

RobHoegee5 karma

ITV has had the idea of doing a reboot in the works for quite a while. Once it looked like it was finally going to happen, they brought me in to write a show bible and a pilot script.

benclarktoo5 karma

Evening Rob, looking forward to watching the new episode on Tuesday! How difficult was it writing Thunderbirds for a half hour format after the original hour episodes allowed for such good character and plot development? Have you been allowed the luxury of two parts where bigger stories needed it?

RobHoegee6 karma

That's the format I'm most accustomed to (22 minutes) so getting a lot in a little bit of time is something I've learned to do. The key is to keep the stories relatively simple, that gives you the room to focus on the details, such as character development, etc. As I'm sure you can imagine, our show is going to have a very different pace than the original. We kick off with a two-part episode and we're in the writing stage for one in season 2 as well.

BeanoMaster5 karma

In the original series, some of the voices were American (or something similar) will this be the same in this series?

RobHoegee8 karma

As with the original, the Tracys are "vaguely North American".

Bob_Stark4 karma

Hi, big fan of the original series, and was wondering what your approach to John Tracy would be; in the original the creators didn't like how his model turned out and so he was sidelined to stay in Thunderbird 5 permanently (except for the stories with a main focus on Thunderbird 5 where he was conveniently swapped for Alan). Will this be the same for Thunderbirds are go, or is he more equal to the other brothers?

RobHoegee7 karma

I think of all the characters in the show (and just a hair past Grandma Tracy) the one who has changed the most from the original is John. In the absence of Jeff, John now provides an essential role as the eyes and ears of International Rescue. He is responsible for logistics and communications, which essentially puts him at the heart of almost every episode. This time around, we've made it a part of his character that he loves space more than anything and would rather be no where else. He doesn't like things quiet, and as space monitor, he always has an earful.

Mans274 karma

When you usually sit down to write things, do you guys usually joke around before getting serious?

RobHoegee5 karma

We're always joking around. It's hard not to when you make TV for kids...

GollaGeek3 karma

Hi Mr. Hoegee, I'm a really big fan of the Thunderbirds and am really excited for the new show. I was wondering, since the boys are younger in this retake, could you tell us what ages they will be, as well as the ages of Kayo, Lady Penelope, Brains and Parker.

Also, will there be an over arching plot to the show, or are you going to go for a more episodic approach? How much will continuity play into the series?

One more question that might be a little touchy, is did you take any concepts from the movie? We can all agree that the writing in the movie was horrible and didn't reflect the dignity of the original show at all, but there were a few concepts that could have been salvaged had they been written better and had more time to be explored. Did you take any of those concepts and weave them into the plot for the show?

RobHoegee2 karma

Hi! Didn't see the movie, so nothing on my side of things was borrowed (unless by accident).

Episodes will stand alone, but we do have a small character arc in season one.

I'd rather not put the actual ages out there. The nice thing about our characters is they can be as young, or as old as you need them to be...

hope you like the show!

Stintfang3 karma

As a fan from Germany I wonder: Will the new Thunderbird series be shown in Germany too?

RobHoegee4 karma

I don't have any specifics and I don't know if it's been announced, but I believe it will.

TMCBarnes3 karma


RobHoegee7 karma

We'll have to save that version for the fan-fic.

EleanorSoprano193 karma

Hi Rob, really looking forward to the new series. My question is regarding Virgil Tracy. I love his new look but about his personality. Will we be seeing him play the piano and tend to his artwork or is it more in the background compared to how he was in the puppet series? Thank you Eleanor Maloney

RobHoegee3 karma

Hi Eleanor, we do still have that as a component of this personality, but the sad truth is given the limited amount of time we have, there isn't a lot of opportunity to hang around the Tracy villa. Virgil plays an important role as the peacemaker in the family. He keeps a cool head and helps everyone see the big picture.

flamingmongoose3 karma

Hi Rob. The original series had some of the best music in any TV show full stop. What route have you gone down? Are you having the kind of orchestral/brass band music from the original or have you gone more electronic? (The trailer did the latter).

The voice actors were ALSO iconic! How tricky was it to replace them? (I'm delighted you got David Graham back).

(I realise these aren't directly related to writing but I couldn't not ask :) )

RobHoegee3 karma

The music is amazing and every bit as big, lush and bombastic as the original.

Casting is always the most challenging part of the process, and I feel lucky that they let me be a part of that. We never really looked at it as replacing the originals, but by finding the best voice to bring our version of the brothers (and sisters, and grandmas, and london agents...) to life.

super_liam3 karma

When you were deciding on the opening theme for the show, how close to the original did you want to keep it? Or, like the Captain Scarlet reboot, did you consider changing it completely? Perhaps using the 2004 Busted song crossed your mind.

RobHoegee5 karma

I don't have much (as in any) involvement in the music department, but I can say with certainty that completely changing the theme was never even contemplated. Along with that "5 4 3 2 1" countdown, it's the most essential and iconic part of the entire series.

micksoldermooth3 karma

My father has tons of thunderbirds collectables. He loves all the vehicles. What would you say your favorite thunderbird vehicle is?

RobHoegee4 karma

Of the "classic" ones, Thunderbird 2.

yesidid4563 karma

Are there any plans for Thunderbirds are Go! to air in the US? Also, are there any story threads/details that got cut from Generator Rex? American, sorry.

RobHoegee2 karma

Thanks for asking - I like talking about my other shows too! Where's the Teen Titans love?

Yes, we will air in the US, but the roll-out is a little behind other places. Wish I could tell you more.

I loved doing Generator Rex and we ended it exactly the way we wanted to. It's rare to actually get to wrap up a series on your own terms. I did want to leave open the opportunity to continue on with another season, but sadly it didn't come to that.

altruismjam3 karma

Hey Mr. Hoegee,

I've just watched the trailer for Niko, very awesome concept, a fully animated comic book. It reminds me a bit of The Dark Crystal story, but amped up.

I've been considering optioning / trying to sell a feature live-action comedy script to Amazon Studios.. I realize you were backed by Kickstarter for that project as well, but do you have any advice for when I'm ready to submit my script / pitch to them? It could be also work as a series pilot so maybe that is more your territory.

Anyway, Stay cool

RobHoegee4 karma

Thanks! I'm glad you liked it. That was a really fun show do do, and a fantastic world to play in. I came on board that project after Amazon had already acquired the amazing motion comic it's based on, but my understanding is you can approach Amazon either through their online submission process (which is open to anyone) or the old-fashioned way with an agent. Good luck!

BeanoMaster2 karma

Do you think ITV airing it at 8am on a Saturday will be a good decision?

RobHoegee3 karma

If I were a kid, I could think of no better time to air it. Quiet in the house, the soccer game's not until 11... bowl of corn flakes in my lap... Cue thunderbirds theme. Perfect morning.

Saucefire2 karma

Hi Rob, I'm probably too late for this little shindig, but I had to ask - since we're getting a new Thunderbirds TV show, what are the chances of getting more Fireball xl5?

RobHoegee2 karma

If Thunderbirds is a huge success, I wouldn't be surprised if ITV explores other properties in the Anderson catalog, but as far as I know, nothing else is currently in the works.

jjake1012 karma

Will there be any side vehicles from the original series (like the Fire Flash or maybe the Sidewinder) making an appearance in the new series?

RobHoegee6 karma

Fireflash is back.


My brother got an MFA in animation and is not currently employed in the industry. What advice should I give to him?

RobHoegee6 karma

That's hard to answer not knowing his exact situation. The best advice is to be where the work is. Certain skill sets are always going to be in demand, so if his area of expertise isn't one of the current ones, it never hurts to re-train. Animation is a very compartmentalized industry - it's very much in the manufacturing model, so you typically will focus on one specific aspect. Best of luck to him.

TacticalFox882 karma

How's the writing process like? I know episodes for tv shows when they end they show a "single" person writing the episode and it switches off depending on season/episode/plot. Does that person have a general outline and they write the script for the episode from there with no direct supervision or is it something a bit more complicated?

Basically does being head writer basically mean you get to say "Fuck no." if a script isn't to your liking?

RobHoegee2 karma

Every show works differently depending on the style of the head writer. On my shows, it's a very collaborative process between the episode writer an myself. It's a sequential process that starts with a springboard idea. Maybe three sentences. That is turned into a one-page premise. from there, we do what's called a story-break. In this meeting, the writer and I (along with the episode director) flesh out the entire story beat for beat, scene to scene, start to finish. At this point, the writer has a beat sheet for a very detailed outline. Those are about 16-18 pages double-spaced. From there, the writer does a first draft script (about 28 pages). Then a second draft, then a polish. Every step is read by the studio and network, we get notes and feedback and I take a writing pass on every step as well (often I don't have to). By this process, we catch little problems before they become big problems. We start a script every other week (on average) during the writing period and each script takes about 12 weeks to write (a lot of that time is spent waiting for notes). I have between 6 and 8 episodes going at any given time.

DalekaniumEgg2 karma

Hello Rob. Thanks for doing an AMA. My question is: Have you seen the 2004 Thunderbirds film? If so, what do you think of it? Have any features of that film inspired changes in your series? (Other than the flying FAB 1, which looks wonderful in your recent trailer).

RobHoegee3 karma

I haven't seen it. Please don't count that against me.

brumben2 karma

I presume your demographic's the pre-teens - but will you be bearing the mind the 60-plussers like me who were fans of the original? Sounds FAB, by the way.

RobHoegee4 karma

Our target demographic is boys aged 6-11. That's the business answer. We do however truly hope that this will be a show that everyone will love and that kids and their parents will watch it together. It may sound corny, but my ambition is for this to be a true family show. We're also very mindful that fans of the original series (that may have actually watched it way back when!) will be a small, but important part of our audience. For that reason, we've built in a lot of nice little easter eggs.

Kytori952 karma

Hi Rob, loving all the hype for the series so far, the trailer really took me back. My question is why is how much homage to the original series will we get in terms of familiar characters (Such as Braman, I loved that robot!) and locations? I saw your reply about 'Trapped in the sky' and I'm very much looking forward to that, but what other things from the original series may be in it, plus what would you like to be in it?

Another off topic question is will there be any awesome adverts for FAB and Zoom like there were back in the day? I'm only 20 but seeing those ads on Youtube really make me think they could somehow work today.

RobHoegee2 karma

Thanks! We're making a concerted effort to bring in as many elements from the original series as we can. Sometimes it's the big things that have to change, but the details can remain. Brains now has a new robot helper called MAX (Mechanical Assistant, E(x)perimental) I think I must have missed the FAB and Zoom adverts. Was that only a UK thing?

montewills2 karma

thanks for the ama! i was wondering what route you took to be where you are today and how would one write for animation if he/she isn't an animator?

RobHoegee4 karma

Unless you want to work on a storyboard driven show (think Adventure Time) writing and animating are mutually exclusive. I can't draw to save my life, but I love and respect the medium. Writing for animation is not a whole lot different than any other form of writing for television as we use (for the most part) the same process. If you ask 100 animation writers how they got started, you're likely to get 100 different answers. I loved making home-movies as a teenager and that inspired me to go to film school. I was always interested in photography so gravitated to cinematography as I wanted to be behind the camera. I shot a lot of short films and some ultra ultra low-budget features then decided to go back to school for my MFA. I wanted to learn more about producing and was accepted into the Independent Producers Program and UCLA. I learned two things there: I didn't want to be an independent film producer, and I liked writing. Then I learned that in Television, often the writer is also the producer. That seemed perfect, so I set off to be a television writer. Turns out I ended up in animation by my good fortune. Haven't looked back. So. Long post, but if you want to write for animation, first start by writing anything you can, make the contacts, move to where the work is and keep at it until you succeed.

BOSSK_lunch2 karma

I'm sure the rules for kids television are fairly standard in your past experience. Have there been any surprises in terms of content standards and practices from your experience with traditional US cable, Amazon, and ITV?

RobHoegee2 karma

It's fairly standard across the board (seat belts in moving vehicles, helmets on bikes, etc) and over the years I've gotten pretty good at self-regulating, so it's rare that I get standards notes anymore. When I do, it's often because I've forgotten to write in a detail that would have been done anyway (such as seatbelts and helmets). I've found that the biggest differences has been in language. Some words are more sensitive than others. For example, "stupid" was forbidden at Cartoon Network, but may be more acceptable overseas...

Kytori952 karma

Is the fancy way they get to the Thunderbirds still present? I have spotted some things in the Tracy Villa shots such as the rotating light area for Scott, the picture of the rocket, and a some what updated green sofa. Do all these things work as they did originally and will we get (At least in the first episode) a nice sequence of the launches?

RobHoegee3 karma

I want to leave some surprises left for the premier, but i f these things are important to you, you'll be pleased.

OhYesItWillFit2 karma

Why couldn't it be ThunderCATS?

RobHoegee2 karma

We'd have to change it from go to ho, and this is a family show after all.

2Right3Left1Right2 karma

Hi Rob, thanks for doing the AMA I'm really looking forward to the series. I loved the original as a kid.

Thinking back to the old series it seems to me (may be totally wrong) that it was fairly well balanced between emergencies that were caused by villains, and emergencies which were caused by idiots. It sometimes seemed to present a world where International Rescue were the only competent people. Do you think the new series will try to balance the two types of situation, or will it skew towards one or the other?

Also, the old series has almost no continuity between episodes, which is something that's since become a lot more common in children's TV - will we see many stories developing in multiple episodes in the new series?

RobHoegee4 karma

Last question first: while there are some re-occurring themes and the slightest of season arc, our episodes stand alone. This is mostly a function of the need to have them air in any order a broadcaster would require.

Our rescues fall into three categories: villains, nature, human error. They seem to be evenly divided. For the human error ones, we try to ground them in plausibility from a story/motivation perspective (as opposed to bad driving or bad Mexican food). For example, someone might cut corners on a piece of technology that cascades into a situation. We depart in terms of the villain-based stories somewhat as well. Rescue situations are caused as a side-effect of some other goal, and are not the goal itself.

benclarktoo2 karma

I've heard that one episode of the new Thunderbirds series will be a remake of a classic episode, I've got my hopes for which one! Was this something you wanted to do or were asked to include? If it was something that you pushed for, did you have a particular favourite or was it just something which fitted well into the overall thread of the series?

RobHoegee6 karma

I mentioned in another post that we'll be remaking "Trapped in the Sky". I hope that was the one! ITV has been very enthusiastic about looking back at classic episodes, but this one in particular seemed like the perfect fit with our new vision for the series. As for most of the others, I don't think we can improve on the originals.

DomBird22 karma

Will we hear some of the incidental music such as the prompts like Moving the Empire State Building (Used in City of Fire, Terror in New York City, Operation Crash Dive, Day of Disaster and Duchess Assignment) from the original series? And also will we see Fireflash which was featured in the old series?

RobHoegee7 karma

Ben and Nick have taken a lot of inspiration from the original music, so I won't be surprised if we hear familiar cues. Yes, we'll see Fireflash. That was the one original story I knew we had to do our version of.

SkuffleBoiUSA2 karma

Hi there Rob! I'm an aspiring TV writer with a big old soft spot in my heart for animation. How'd you get started? Is it important to know how to draw (because I only write, I'm a pretty terrible artist)? What's the best way to meet people in the industry (I've been in LA about the year and I've been struggling to make connections my field)? I realize that was a lot of questions but any advice you have would be greatly appreciated. Thanks a whole lot!

RobHoegee3 karma

Hey thanks for writing. See my earlier reply and that might give you a little bit of insight. Being in Los Angeles is a big help because you need to be where the work is. As I mentioned, you don't need to draw to be an animation writer. There are several organizations you an join to help with the networking. ASIFA, Women in Animation (which you can join even if you are a guy!), the WGA Animation Writers Caucus has events for people starting out. Google One Plus Hub - they have networking events several times a year - one is coming up this Wednesday (sadly I'll still be here in London). Go to Comic-Con in San Diego, go to Wonder-Con in Anaheim. And the best advice: find other aspiring writers like yourself and band together. Start a writers group. Share contacts. Get good at writing by reading and critiquing others' work. It's a long road to success and one that requires a lot of persistence and good timing, but if you keep at it and it's really what you want to do, you'll get there. Who you know is important, but hard work pays off best of all.

Kytori952 karma

Is the making of documentary about the original?

If so will we see any behind the scenes of the new series?

RobHoegee2 karma

It's about our new series, and it's 100% behind the scenes.

Sir-hamster2 karma

Hi Rob, From what I have seen I can't wait to see Thunderbirds Are Go, I think you and the rest of the team behind it have done an amazing job. My question is, if Thunderbirds are go is success, would the series follow in the wake of shows like Doctor Who and do extended Christmas special for example or even if a feature film? Many Thanks Andrew

RobHoegee3 karma

I hope so, and I hope they ask me to write it!

SirTomster1 karma

Do you know how those of us in the US will be able to watch this?

RobHoegee2 karma

Eventually, I promise. I live in Los Angeles, so its hard for me to have a show about to launch and not be able to have my friends and family see it. Our patience will be rewarded however.

aquaplex151 karma

So we know that Jeff isn't gonna be in this series, but what about our old favourite Kyrano? Would be great if he could be in it!

RobHoegee3 karma

There is no shortage of characters in this series. To service even the main ones is no small feat. We have 10 major characters not including the Hood that all need to remain relevant and involved. Kyrano unfortunately just didn't have a place in the show. I would love to see him at some point though.

BeanoMaster1 karma

Do you think TBAG will be renewed for a 3rd series?

RobHoegee3 karma

I hope so, but it's still too soon to tell.

Skedoozy1 karma

What parts of the show would we be surprised to learn that you're utilizing live-action miniatures versus CGI?

RobHoegee3 karma

You know, sometimes even I have a hard time telling the difference. Sorry it's a cop-out, but I don't want to spoil the magic.

DRM_Removal_Bot1 karma

Will they have "visible strings" or obvious puppet movements from time to time as little nods to the original? Or maybe real shots of Human hands flicking switches?

RobHoegee2 karma

he he heh. no strings, but we did purposefully approach the CG with a certain "made in someone's garage" realism. It's important that the CG blend seamlessly with the live-action miniatures, so that means making the minis look "cg" or the other way around. We went for real.

chrisofedf1 karma

Hi Rob, loving the show so far :) If the show is a success, do you think there will be chances of feature length episodes or direct to dvd (or theatrical) movies? Like The newer Star Wars or Transformers Prime had? Keep up the good work :)

RobHoegee3 karma

Thanks! I think that would be awesome. While nothing like that is in the works right now, it's becoming more and more common thing to see. A lot of people who have watched what we're done are saying it looks feature quality - we've really raised the bar for tv animation with this.

Kytori951 karma

I have a bizarre question, what is that tube thing on the back of Virgils character model? It looks like a futuristic RPG, is some sort of line shooter?

RobHoegee3 karma

Its sort of a mulit-tool thing. Flashlight, expander jack, demolition charge...

LeadBandit1 karma

Hi Rob, thanks for taking the time to talk to us!

I'm curious: as the head writer, how did you and the writing staff approach the task of bringing the show to a 21st century audience? Specifically in regards to the characters. In the old show, the focus was mostly on the machines, and the pilots were less important, and didn't have a lot of personality. However, from what we've seen of the new show so far, it certainly looks as though you are very focused on giving each character not only a unique role, but a fully fleshed out personality, as well. How did you go about accomplishing this transformation?

RobHoegee4 karma

Precisely. I think if you can find any fault with the original, it's that it did seem that the characters played a secondary role in the series. Honestly when I first started immersing myself in the series, I had a hard time telling them apart. That was a big problem and I knew that for this to become a success we needed to put characters first. This is a show, after all, about people. The vehicles need no help and no introduction. I always start with what we call the "skyline pose". You've seen it in this and many others. You should be able to tell who that person is in a single glance. From there, it's finding the nuances in how they act an interact - and that's the fun part. Also, I can't discount how absolutely crucial the voice acting is. That's probably the single most important aspect to bringing a character to life. I can only write the words. The person who performs them and the person who then draws it does the lions share of the work.