Len Uhley Talks Static Shock, "The Big Leagues"
by Jim Harvey
Toon Zone was able to catch up with Len Uhley, writer of the episode "The Big Leagues" to talk about this weekend's Static Shock adventure and much more.
Toon Zone: What hand did you play in this episode?
Len Uhley: I wrote the episode while I was on staff at Warner Bros. Animation as a story editor and writer on Static Shock. Alan Burnett, the supervising producer of the series, gave me the assignment. As you know, Alan was also the guy in charge of all the other Batman series. So a huge amount of credit goes to him for guiding and improving the work I did. He's a wonderful boss, a longtime friend and a superb writer. I would continue to praise him, but he embarrasses easily.
Do you think either/both Batman and Static fans will be pleased with the outcome of the episode?
I hope so. As Dave Chlystek (the director of the episode) indicated in a recent...interview, the network asked for a Batman crossover show, somewhat late in the season. If it's any reassurance to your readers, the show must have turned out pretty well, because they're using it as the second season lead-off.
Obviously, Static has a very different look and 'feel' from the various Batman series. On Static Shock, we did a lighter, somewhat 'younger' show. Also, the Batman episodes were produced, way back when, under rather different circumstances, including a bigger budget. Nevertheless, I think "The Big Leagues" stands on its own merits as a very good show.
The fact is, the entire crew put in a lot of extra effort. Dave and his artists did wonderful storyboards, layouts, backgrounds and props. And of course Alan and Scott Jeralds (a fine artist himself, who produced the series with Alan), made sure that it looked right, calling the retakes, finessing the soundtrack and all that other stuff that happens in post-production.
Why tweak the designs for Batman & Robin? Did you have to, to make them "fit" in the episode?
The writers of an animated series don't really have that much input on the design aspects. Having said that, one of the fun things about being on staff (as compared to being a freelance writer), is that you're in the same building as the artists. You get to see how things develop after you turn in your teleplay. So somebody would show me a character design or a board sequence, and I got to say "Ooo, looks good." Fortunately, I got on well with Scott and Dave and the board guys. As I was writing, I got to run ideas by them, and as they were drawing, vice-versa. Very collegial.
Do you think this episode was pulled off well, in the end?
Absolutely. I hope everyone tunes in on Saturday, Jan. 26, and every Saturday thereafter.
Originally posted on TZN on 01-25-2002.