ABOUT ME: After high school in AZ, I went to UCSD and majored in Chemical Engineering. A very unhappy, black period of my life, I barely survived. While running river rafts the following summer, I had a revelation. I went for broke, applied to USC Cinema School. Was accepted to USC Cinema School, graduated. Wasn't impressed. Got out, did low budget features, as an production manager, writer.
Met Jonathan Tzachor. Very good friend, very good person. He had the opportunity to work on the pilot for "Dino Rangers." (The original working title of PR.) They wanted anyone who would work very cheap and gamble that if the show took off we'd have long term employment on a series. The pilot was decent and it got picked up. We started shooting the show and after seeing the first few episodes, all of us sharpenned up our resumes... including the kids who played the Rangers. No one thought it was going to survive past the first season. The rest is history.
I spent the first few years as Production Manager, then directed second unit scenes for second movie, "Turbo." It was awful, unwatchable in my opinion, which meant my tolerable scenes stood out. I got my first chance to direct the TV show because of my "newly discovered" talent, and because finding directors has always been, and continues to be, one of the production's biggest problem. Later, I became the Story Editor. I didn't think much of the show's writing and decided not to use any of the writers that we had been using to that point. I tried bringing new people on board, but couldn't find anyone that could write for what was admittedly a damn strange show. So I started writing all the scripts myself. It was easier than completely rewriting other people's work. Lots of all-nighters, sleeping in my office. Somehow, I soon gained the title of Co-Producer. On the edge of burn-out, Jackie Marchand began co-writing all the scripts with me. She's a great partner, probably should have been doing MY job.
Left the show in 2001. Have been building houses on weekends for the last few years, continuing to do so now. Developing other ideas, still writing. A free man.
MY BEST EPISODE: Hmm. Very subjective. Probably should just let you form your own opinions. Ah, what the hell. There are two philosophies regarding what makes up a quality Power Ranger story. One camp says it must be based on action. That sells toys. That's what the boys want. The other says it must be based in character. I say that any experienced story teller, given these choices, will smile and see trickery ahead. He/she'll tell you that you can't have one without the other. Without a character we care about, there is no intriquing action. A hollow character can't do anything of import (a la Jean-Claude Van Dammme) On the other hand, a 3-dimensional character need only take off his hat and have the audience on the edge of their seats. All that being said, my favorite episodes are the ones with strong characters that drive the story into unavoidable action. Some of these I directed, since it's always easiest to be Captain of a good ship (direct a good script).
In The Limelight from Lightspeed Rescue was very good, the perfect mix of humor and action. In Time Force season, Uniquely Trip when Trip tries to emulate his friends only to find his own worth, was another nice one. The Barillian Sting from PRiS was also exciting. Also in Space, Shell Shocked where the Ninja Turtles arrive to fight the Rangers was a lot of fun, and turned out terrific.
My most unfavorite...?
Try any episode where the action is riduculous and out of character, like Timeforce's finale when Jen, after supposedly spending 40 episodes learning the value of making your own destiny, leaves Wes on Earth and goes back to the future for no reason whatsoever. Stories don't come from just one person. Many, especially those which are pivotal to the season's story arc, are decided upon by committee. That can be very useful, when new ideas pop up, or very problematic as great plots are flushed down the toilet.
LAST GOOD BOOK I READ: They're all about rebuilding houses. Sorry.
WHAT I DO IN MY SPARE TIME: I'll let you know what I do with my spare time when someday I have some.
A PLOT I NEVER GOT TO DO: There aren't any plots I didn't get to do, but there are about 3 million plot points I didn't get to put in. I suppose every writer has the same complaint.
THE BUZZ ON THE PHANTOM: After debate, it was decided that the Phantom would be no one, a superhero whose identity was never to be disclosed. Dumb? I think so too. Some of us hoped that he would turn out to be Justin's dad. But, you can't win them all.
HOT GOSSIP... THE ANCIENT RANGERS: Sometimes the actors come by and chat with us in our offices. We throw around ideas that we are playing with. Yes, there was some talk of an episode that talked about ancient Rangers. I never liked the idea... Samurai Rangers is what I saw it turning into, which isn't so different that usual. Even when we had a feature film budget to play with, we couldn't create realistic looking "ancient" people. (The Malakians from T:APRM, the tribe on Mirinoi) I thought it would have been a flop.
AM I PROUD OF MY WORK ON PR? We did some good stuff, we did some awful stuff, but mostly we did mediocre stuff. It went from being too childish the first few years, to being too serious, cold, sophisticated, and violent the last few years. If we could have matured the show a little less, kept the humor, given the kids more memorable Rangers and villains... then we could have made great shows. A tall order, sure. But we could have done much better than Silver Guardians who execute trespassers and teens with no semblance of real lives other than being Rangers.
IN CLOSING... Thanks for your interest, but there really isn't anything so mysterious about how PR is conceived. In fact, if you knew how nuts and bolts it is, you'd probably make a show yourself. Don't spend so much time in wonder and awe. If you like it, get a video camera and some friends together and do it yourself. Keep your kid's perspecive, and after 417 episodes you'll probably be better than we were.