Ask K.A. Applegate Q&A

Before the Official Website held it's "According to K.A" monthly Q&A sessions with the fans, Jeff Sampson from the Animorphs fan site had kept in personal touch with K.A herself by showing off his fan website to her. K.A agreed to his request of answering questions from the fans on his website. Unfortunetly, due to legal reasons, K.A soon had to stop doing this on a fan website, and it was from there that the Scholastic began holding "According to K.A" Q&A sessions once every month on the official site instead. These are the columns of questions that K.A answered to before moving to the Official Website.

Column #6

Dear KAA,

My question has to do with your view of the Animorphs tv show. Many followers are very worried that this will totaly destroy the image of your books. Im sure you realize scholastic will make them how they think is best and in their own image. I guess its an obvious question to ask how you feel about it. Im sure yoou arent too thrilled, depending on your view. If your more concerned about having controll of your series and preserving its atmosphere the show may definatly be a bad thing. If you want you books to become well-known and reach a large audience ( if the show isnt a piece of crap) then its a good thing. Which is your view? Most of the views on this side are very negative toward the show. The books are becoming to commercial and will eventualy lose their image if the show isnt true to the series. Have you seen the scripts? Should we fear it? I feel it will be very bad and will totaly destroy the series. We know that they will be morphing with their clothes on thanx to the internet and that is getting a little corny. An interview with the writer of the series revealed that. It also revealed the worst aspect of the tv show medium. It goes much too quickly. I am just starting out writing and I have learned the worst thing ( and most common) thing to happen to stories is it rushing too quickly... I have alot of trouble slowing my stories down to real-time and the show wont even try. It will cut out so many important part and cut out so much explanation trying to cram an entire book into about 24 minutes ( counting commercials) that it wont preserve it at all. In the message I sent you on the scholastic message board I compared you to Bill Watterson of Calvin and Hoobes and yet again it emerges. I read in the 10th aniversary bout his gigantic struggle to keep Calvin and Hobbes from becoming too commercial. And if you think about it if you never read the comic and just saw the merchandice you would probably be turned of by the idea. It wasnt always a bratty kid it would talk about the evils of man and the pollutin of the world and would often get very philosophical. You cant get philosophical on a T-shirt. Scholastic wil be making its own stories for the show besides books 1 and 6. Basically my question in all of this babble is how do you feel about the coming of the tv show? Do you feel animorphs be destroyed by it? Im not sure how you view your own books. Do you feel that the atmosphere created by them should be preserved? or is it just a series about kids saving the world wich many feel is what the show will be about...
Your friend,
- Hawk


I have all the same concerns you do about the TV show. I'm worried it will stink. I'm worried that if it does stink it will turn people off on my books. I'm worried that if it stinks I'll have lost a major opportunity. Worst of all, I have absolutely zero control over the show. None. Zip. All I can do is wait, helplessly, to see if my books end up looking ludicrous on TV.

Animorphs TV has some major problems from the start. First and foremost, a faithful adaptation of the books would cost more than making "Titanic." I mean, we're talking special effects like the morphing, space ships, Dracon beams, and so on, animal training, wild sets, costumes, stunts, intense make-up . . . Not to mention just the cost of having Ax embodied somehow. It would cost a fortune. It would cost a couple of fortunes.

So, you have to realize that merely on the basis of economics there is no way the TV show can be like the books. After all, it costs me nothing to write "then the Dome ship comes into view", while showing that event on TV costs a lot of money.

Which means that in order for the TV show not to stink it will have to make up for special effects with good, intelligent writing: humor and character development in particular. What are the odds of that happening? Well, I guess we'll find out. Given what I see of TV writing for kids, it's hard to be optimistic. TV writers seem to be under the impression that kids are idiots. They seem to believe that they should write "down" to kids. Unfortunately, most TV writers aren't sufficiently elevated to be writing down. Most TV writers would have to strain to write "up" enough for Animorphs readers.

I'm not saying an Animorphs script has to read like a "Frasier" script or an "E.R." script, necessarily (although that would be nice.) But it should at least be on the level of "Buffy, the Vampire Slayer" as opposed to "Sweet Valley High."

My feeling is that I am going to be straight with my readers about this show. If the TV show is great the credit and glory will not be mine. If it's not great, the blame won't be mine. No one wants it to succeed more than I do. I hope that I end up thinking "wow, I worried for nothing, the show is great!" If that's the case, I will be the first to heap praise on the producers.

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