Sunday, July 20, 2008

Jess Winfield

The introduction and first exchange from Kelly Hewitt's interview with Jess Winfield:

Jess Winfield's My Name is Will: A Novel of Sex, Drugs, and Shakespeare is a tale of two men one is the tale of graduate student Willie Shakespeare Greenberg who, with superpsychedelic mushroom and a pound of marijuana in his possession, attempts to finish his thesis and prove his theory about Shakespeare's secret Catholicism. The other character is Will Shakespeare himself who, in the months leading up to his wedding, encounters his own psychedelic substances, attractive women amidst a secret attempt to deliver a mysterious package to a Catholic dissident. Winfield's narrative is lively, his tale of Willie Greenberg and William Shakespeare provides a very different and entirely exciting view of Shakespeare and his work.

Kelly Hewitt: So, the moment I ready your biography I knew that the first question had to be about your stint as a writer of Saturday morning cartoons. Which ones did your write for and what was that like?

Jess Winfield: I worked on a dozen or more series, everything from hard-edged action series like Incredible Hulk and Iron Man for Marvel (boring) to Donald Duck and Mickey Mouse cartoons at Disney (fun) to the Emmy-award winning comedy Disney's Teacher's Pet (rewarding!). By the end of my 10-year stint in animation, I was producing as well as writing. Wrangling a couple hundred half hour episodes from conception to broadcast, I learned a lot about story structure... but also about the importance of revising, revising, revising until the last moment the product goes out the door. I learned not to become attached to every word I write, and the importance of workshopping material thoroughly (this also a holdover from my days in the theater). Producing also gave me a taste of marketing, promotion, art direction, design, new media, product tie-ins (I actually got to give creative notes on Lilo and Stitch Happy Meal toys... and, absurdly, pasta shapes! "I think the Stitch macaroni won't hold cheese very well...") These are all things that have been helpful in preparing and selling my novel.
Read the full interview.

Visit Jess Winfield's website.

The Page 69 Test: My Name Is Will.

--Marshal Zeringue