1080 – Capable Leaders and Inefficient Storytelling | Making Spice Friends
A look back into pre-podcast times at how The Smiths became leaders but not in the comics, all made into meanders by the world's foremost sonnet fail.
- Bed Time Prep is Best Unkept
- Rainbow Irish Bear
- Kaiju-Based Story (KBS)
- Kurt Vonnegut
- Pacific Rim
Notable Talking Points:
- The Great Sonnet Institute
- I was a frustrated screenwriter
- No more oatmeal for Earth
Episode 1080 – Capable Leaders and Inefficient Storytelling | Making Spice Friends
[START OF RECORDING]
SCOOTER: Friends beyond the binary, ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, it’s time for the podcaster who…I’m looking at a button right now, and the button is an eye of an owl on a quilt that the listeners sent me quite a few years ago. I say well, you…this owl has a button…two button eyes and a nose made out of thread, which I guess is not as catchy as that snow person song about Frosty, which actually has nothing to…that’s just a point…instant pointless meanders; they come right out of my brain, straight to my mouth. Or I don’t know if they go through…there’s a special part of my brain that has a drain that goes to my mouth. No filters. Well, there are some ‘cause I gotta keep it sleepy. So, if you’re confused, you may be in the right place, ‘cause it’s time for Sleep With Me, the podcast that puts you to sleep.
INTRO: [INTRO MUSIC] Hey, are you up all night tossing, turning, mind racing? Trouble getting to sleep? Trouble staying asleep? Well, welcome. This is Sleep With Me, the podcast that puts you to sleep. We do it with a bedtime story. Alls you need to do is get in bed, turn out the lights, and press play. I’m gonna do the rest. What I’m going to attempt to do is create a safe place where you could set aside whatever’s keeping you awake, whether it’s thoughts, things you’re thinking about, things on your mind. So thoughts, thinking stuff, you know. So thoughts, past, present, future thoughts, thoughts about your feelings, anything you’re feeling physically or whatever, changes in time, temperature, routine, situations, you’re visiting someone, someone’s visiting you, you’re going somewhere, preparation.
Don’t do any preparation in bed. There’s another one. I don’t think I’ve mentioned that one before. But be prepared for bedtime, but don’t prepare during bedtime. Bedtime prep is best unkept unless you’re prep…unless you’re preparing during the day for bedtime later. When Scoots talks about preparing for bedtime, prepare to be confused. But what I propose to do is I got this safe place set aside. I can send it to you, you can come by, you can look at it from afar, ‘cause I’m gonna send it across the deep, dark night. I’m gonna use lulling, soothing, creaky, dulcet tones, pointless meanders, superfluous tangents.
What that means is I’m gonna get mixed up, I’m gonna go off-topic, I’m gonna get confused, I’m gonna repeat myself, I’m gonna talk about something else, then I’ll forget what I was talking about, then I’ll go back and try to remember, and then I’ll forget again, and probably do other stuff all to try to take your mind off of stuff and keep you company so you could fall asleep. Now if you’re new, I’m glad you’re here, so glad you’re here. Welcome. If you’re a regular listener, holy mackerel, thanks for putting me in your ears once again or near your room or across the room or in the other room or under the thing or within the drawer. I don’t know, I wonder what I sound like with…from within a nightstand. That’ll be another one of my autobiographies; From Within the Nightstand.
Joy In A Night…Joy Inside A Nightstand. It’s my collection of me trying to…a collection of me trying to figure out what sonnets are. It’s not a collection of sonnets; it’s a collection of attempted sonnets, as they told me at the Great Sonnet Institute of…and I said…they said these aren’t sonnets. I said okay, they’re attempts at sonnets. They said, did you take any…? I said, did you get my letter? They said no. I said oh, okay. Well, how about this; I was gonna send you a letter, but it’d probably be more confusing if I tell you. But I was gonna write…are sonnet…here’s the thing; are sonnets anything like poems? Then I think what they did was they collectively wrote me. It was a fourteen-hour thing where they made me sit down…about their exasperation with me.
After they were done, I tell you what, I felt like crawling into a nightstand. But when I did metaphorically and…no, not metaphorically. I pretended I crawled in a nightstand. I was filled with some sort of joy. This is the opening of my new novel, Joy Within A Nightstand. It’s a novel within a sonnet. Also they said that’s impossible. Never tell me what’s impossible, because I may follow…there may be occasions when you tell me that that I follow through on things. I said I’m pretty sure there was three or four Kurt Vonnegut novels that were novels within sonnets. But I said yeah, it’s…when I crawled in that nightstand, I found joy. It was a joy…it was birthed out of a star named…or came out of a big bang…no, none of that works.
But something about spite, but it probably shouldn’t because joy really can’t come from spite. Well, it probably can. Yeah. Well, we’ll…I’ll prove…maybe I’ll…More Time in the Nightstand; that was my second one. They said you’re doing a derivative book about not…sonnet attempts you’re making from within a nightstand? I said, I am now. The way you use that tone with me, of course I…of course I can’t say no anymore. Then they tried to explain to me that the Great Sonnet Institute only exists in my imagination. I said that must be very frustrating for you, then. I really do pity you now. I said, so you’re a collection of sonnet experts and fans? I said, I don’t know what you did in your other lives to end up in my imagination, but holy cow.
Said I’ll tell you what, when I’m on my knees tonight talking to my HP, I’m gonna put extra words in for all of you. I said I hope you got a nice place…and they said it’s in your imagination. Just imagine the place we live. I said, are you saying that hopefully? ‘Cause I could make it pretty nice; bunk beds, nightstands, but super…okay, I’ll work on it. Oh, sorry about that. That was a superfluous tangent and a pointless metaphor, whatever the other thing I use is. I was gonna say I’m so glad you’re back if you’re a regular listener, and I’m glad you’re here if you’re new because this is a podcast to keep you company while you fall asleep. Now if you’re new, a couple things to know; this show is very different. It’s a podcast you don’t really listen to. I think you just caught that. It almost makes sense.
If you’re…I mean, part of it does make sense. If I was going to attempt to make a sonnet, that would be a sonnet attempt. Then tomorrow at breakfast, hopefully you say what was that podcast you were listening to? Was he trying to reach supersonic speed on a sleep podcast? I thought he said something about sonic attempts. You say, I don’t know, I think he was talking about those…yeah, those gold rings on Sonic the Hedgehog and something about Summersent…that…that writer whose name he can’t pronounce. Well, he could have been talking about sonnets. I don’t know. Maybe he was talking about Sonic, the place you go to get cherry limeade, but I slept so good. So, this is a podcast you just…it’s kinda like background noise, but it’s a little bit inane, but you could listen, but you don’t have to listen.
So, that does take some getting used to, so most listeners of the thousands and thousands of reviews we’ve gotten have said give it two or three tries before you decide if it…you don’t like it or you do, because it usually takes that long to put your skepticism and doubt aside, obviously. If you don’t have doubts now, you…I mean, you’re definitely already a superfan, but most people would have doubts. I mean, if you’re saying I doubt he knows what a sonnet is, you’re 100…I tell you what, you’re 100% right. I have no idea…other than…I don’t even know if it’s poetry. I just know I’ve seen it on covers of…I was probably supposed to read quite a few in my day. Sonnets; I was supposed to read a few, but I did it my way instead, which means a life less lived, in that case.
But I mean, I do have an entire collection of sonnet-makers or experts. Huh, you’re right, I should ask them if they make…if their sonnet…maybe…I don’t know if their…the…well, let’s not get into it ‘cause I gotta get through this intro. The sonnets within my brain. I think I would like writing sonnets, though, from the inside of a giant nightstand. So, just kinda barely listen to me at first and see how it goes. I’m also not here to put you to sleep; I’m here to keep you company while you fall asleep, to be your bore-friend, your bore-bae, your bore-sib, your bore-cuz, your bore-bestie, your bore-bor, your neigh-bore, your friend in the deep, dark night, to take your mind off of stuff so you can fall asleep. I don’t really put you to sleep; I distract you and keep you company. If you can’t sleep, I am here to the very end, so don’t worry.
I’m here to keep you company. So, there’s all of that. What else do you need to know? Oh, the structure of the show, the reason I make the show. So, the reason I make the show is because you deserve a good night’s sleep. It’s that simple. I know how it feels tossing, turning, trouble getting to sleep, trouble staying asleep. I’ve dealt with all that stuff, so that’s important ‘cause I know how it feels. That’s why I call it the deep, dark night, because I know it can feel unfriendly and not great. Probably…I mean, sonnets have been written about the deep, dark night. That’s clearly probably probable. But also, I believe you deserve a good night’s sleep. You deserve a place you can rest, you deserve a bedtime you don’t have to dread, and if I could help provide that for you, it would be my honor because it means your life will be more manageable.
Your life will improve if you’re getting the rest you need. That means the world we live in a better place. If your world is a better place, our entire world is a better place. That is true. So, that’s important to me. That’s why I make the show, twofold; I know how it feels and you deserve a little bit better bedtime and a little bit more rest. Structure of the show really throws people off. Totally normal or expected, so let me run through why we have the structure we do. Then as you become a regular listener, you could kind of adjust and see what works for you. But the show starts off with a greeting; friends beyond the binary, ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, then I say something silly so hopefully you feel welcome and seen and you say okay, this show’s a little bit lighthearted. So, that’s what the greeting is.
Then there’s support for the show because I like it to come out twice a week for free, so paying for it is 100% optional. But it comes out twice a week, and then there’s support for listeners, there’s support for communities around the show, because that’s also…being empowered to take positive action is a part of getting a good night’s sleep, or will lead to that path, just like having positive action in your community and having positive, caring action for yourself. So, that’s what the support at the start of the show is about; the show being free and supportive. Then there’s the intro, which we’re almost done. It’s about ten to twelve minutes long, to eighteen to twenty minutes long, sometimes. Maybe twenty-four. Sometimes thirteen, sometimes fourteen.
It’s a show within a show to introduce the podcast to new listeners, but also to ease everybody who’s listening, whether you’re new or you’ve been listening for over 1,000 episodes…thank you; that you kind of…the intros are always new. They’re always different. Never talked about sonnets that I know of before. So, that way your brain can’t quite adjust. It’s always got something new to kinda not fixate on and be distracted by. But the intro also serves as a bridge between being awake and being asleep. It’s to ease you into bedtime, a slow wind-down. So, the majority of listeners are doing some sort of wind-down activity whether it’s getting ready for bed or they’re in bed or they’re doing some sort of wind-down activity. They’re easing into bedtime. There is a small percentage of listeners that are already asleep.
Oh, they’re so lovely. Hopefully everybody’s asleep in their bed, but maybe you’re listening and we’re here to keep you company, too. There’s 2% of listeners who skip the intro, start the show at twenty seconds. There’s actually more people that listen to all-intro episodes on Patreon than story-only episodes, but it’s pretty close. So, some people like just listening to the stories. But for the most part, the intro is there for most listeners to slowly wind down. Then after the intro is more support for the show, again, so it can come out twice a week for free on any podcast app. Then there’s the story. Tonight will be a recap of our season of Spice Friends, so that’ll be fun. Then there’s thank-yous at the end. So that’s the structure of the show, that’s why I make the show, and that’s what to expect if you’re new. If you really loathe the show already, I mean, still I would say give it two or three tries.
I’m not saying that for me; I’m saying it for you ‘cause really, podcasts don’t make anything except on…all our income is derived from active listeners, so just asking you to listen to a extra episode, it just benefits you if you become a long-term listener, which is just what most people say. They say at first try, I was trying to figure the show out. Second one, I was waiting for it to get started. The third one, I realized it was never going anywhere and then I fell asleep. But if you dislike the show for sure already, sleepwithmepodcast.com/nothankyou has other things you can try out, like other sleep podcasts and stuff like that. So, check that out. But I’m glad you’re here. I really appreciate your time. I really work hard, I yearn and I strive, and I really hope I can help you fall asleep. Thanks again for coming by, and here’s a couple of ways we’re able to do this for you free twice a week.
Alright everybody, Scoots here. This is Episode 13 of Spice Friends. This is where we kinda look back at the episode and the ideas for it and maybe what’s coming up next. Also, a little behind-the-scenes. I recorded twenty-five minutes of this already, but it wasn’t…I didn’t hit Record, which hasn’t happened in a while. The good news is…well, I haven’t watched the video yet, but I provided a video; I was doing a interview somewhere for Bloomberg, for Henry, and…who’s a listener, which is cool, and I provided a video to Henry. So, once it’s released, then I’ll release it on our Patreon and our Midnight Mission newsletter so you could watch that for free. Sleepwithmepodcast.com/midnightmission, and you’ll see the moment I look down and realize it’s not recording. I may even have to delete it. I have no idea what I said.
I know I was very unhappy. That was just ‘cause I was out of my normal process. But watch that. If you like it, if it would encourage you to support the show on Patreon, which is a huge thing, or to support our building hygiene kits for people experiencing homelessness, let me know by taking action; become a patron. Let me know you want more of that. I could occasionally record intros or stuff like that. I can’t record every recording just ‘cause it’s…again, you see…you’ll see what happened. Too many moving parts. Also, I don’t want to take away from any of the magic. So, we’re talking about Spice Friends, Episode 13, where it came from, how it came to be, what was it like, what did I think of the series, how did it turn out, all those things.
So, it’s interesting because this one really formed a lot different than other Sleep With Me series in that…not like…well, some things became…I guess an amalgamation is the right way to describe it, of different ideas I’ve had over the past…oof, twelve years. But so, pre-sobriety, pre-podcast, even. So, these ideas…and I can picture where I was, different times, thinking about some of these original ideas that ended up becoming parts of Spice Friends. So, let’s talk about that, then we’ll talk about the characters. So, the genesis or the log line…I don’t know what the log line…Spice Friends is a mashup of something like Care Bears, what’s…My Little Pony, Smurfs, and the famous…well, Godzilla movies, which have been a huge influence in my life.
That’s what got us there, when I just said to myself, what if there was a world where…a world like the world of Godzilla movies and there was a world with…whatever, Care Bears, My Little Pony. What if those worlds…that was one world? That, to me, is where…then I said okay, yes, but it took a lot to get to that what if. There’s kinda three pools of what ifs, and I’ll go…let’s start with HBO Max and Godzilla movies as a general thing. So, that was one idea, was…I’ve always loved Godzilla movies. I used to watch them on WPIX as a kid. They were an influence of Spice Friends, and Spice Friends was a parody of the…it’s not a direct…it’s not related to it in any other way other than influence and satire-parody.
So, when I was a kid, I used to watch…WPIX would have Godzilla movies sometimes as marathons and sometimes just on a afternoon, just like a afternoon serial. WPIX was New York superstation, they called them. This is pre-WB and pre-UPN, which none…this…a lot of this isn’t gonna make sense to those of you younger in the audience, but…so, whatever; Godzilla movies had a big place in my life. Now, once we entered the streaming era or even the DVD era, I don’t know what it was like on Netflix when you’d order the DVDs. I never thought to say…DVDs. I know the Criterion collection had a Godzilla collection. But at some point, when HBO Max became one…was trying to go…during the pandemic, I think, become one of the main streaming services, one of their big gets in my opinion was the majority, at least, of the Godzilla collection, especially the early-era films.
So, that was one of my things. Especially, I work a lot on Sunday. Like, on the podcast; Sunday’s one of my biggest work days of the…on the podcast. I’ve thought about changing that, getting a life, those kind of things. But the reality is that on Sunday, my daughter’s with her mom and there’s not a lot of e-mail coming in or people that need to have a Zoom meeting or a phone call for the podcast. So, that means the day has a different rhythm to it, and something just about that it’s a Sunday…I feel a little bit more relaxed. So, it’s just…it’s a somewhat…it’s not…well, it’s not leisurely, but it’s a different kind of feel to the workday, and something I would never do, weirdly enough, on…well, I don’t work from home everyday anymore, but when I used to work from home every single day…I wouldn’t do it during the week, but on Sunday I will usually watch…I’ll play a Godzilla movie in the background once HBO Max had them while I was doing other work.
Mostly prepping release stuff, ‘cause there’s a lot that goes into getting the episode ready to come out on Sunday that I do normally on Sunday. There’s a lot of work that’s gotta go into the last stages of the podcast. It always ends up…it’s like day-of kinda stuff and if it’s not day-of, sometimes then…I don’t know. It doesn’t want to be…I don’t want it to be a part of my process. It’s not like I’m going up to the last minute, but the times I get everything ready, I still need to double-check everything Sun…at some point on Sunday to make sure everything’s coming out the way it’s supposed to and everything…all the stuff is correct, because the reality is some people say well, your standards…there’s a lot of commitments to be able…for the podcast to exist and be sustainable and partners we’re accountable for.
So, making sure everything’s…and Sleep With Me listeners, the majority of them, have very high standards, so double-checking everything before it’s released is a important part of it, but there’s a lot that leads up to that. But it’s like, work…it’s not rote work but it is…it’s different than writing or something where I can kind of just be playing a Godzilla movie in the background. So, I started doing that and I said oh, I forgot how much I loved…there was a lot of Godzilla movies I hadn’t seen and I was struck by…and I don’t know the eras. I’m not a Godzilla historian, but just the early eras of the films, how bonkers some of them are, and…in a good way. In my opinion in a good way, and how many plots…there’s…a lot of times there’s a love story plot, there’s an espionage plot, there’s some other group that has resentment with Earth plots.
Usually those have those…they have interesting belief systems, and it really is interesting and it’s fun to watch. I don’t know. I really enjoy it. You learn a lot about storytelling and going for it. Sometimes there’s kids and I don’t know, so I just really love Godzilla movies. So, I was watching them for pleasure, mostly. Maybe as research to be like, could I ever do something with giant kaiju? But mostly it was just for fun. But the question was already in my mind. So, I was watching those and working on the podcast, so it’s one part. The second part was, over the history…I don’t know what year it was I had a…even a intro about it, but I did have this idea of the Spice Friends, which is not what it ended up looking like, but I think it came from a intro where I talked about being a Spice Girl.
I would be Cinnamon Spice, and different…it’s like oh, could I do something like that? So, again, it was another idea. Could we do something that’s like the Care Bears or My Little Pony or something like that? The Smurfs would have been a earlier version, ‘cause those are all like…Huggy Bear or what…I don’t know what the names are like. I don’t know. I think there’s a rainbow Irish bear for the Care Bears. I don’t know what that does. But there’s Rainy Day Bear, or I don’t know. I don’t know any of those. Actually, I don’t know anything.
I mean, I watched some Care Bears, some of the newer ones, but it seemed like they were existing…those ones that I watched were very similar to Smurfs in the sense of like, okay, so you have these bears and they have different antagonists and each episode is somewhat of a procedural…working against…whatever, something’s going on and they…the problem’s gotta be fixed, or something like a…somebody’s planning a birthday party for a Foo Foo Bear, and then Z Z Bear realizes that…it’s a two-page invitation, but Z Z Bear only saw one page in the invitation and didn’t think they were invited, ‘cause it was a alphabetized invitation. So, then Z Z Bear goes whatever, and then the antagonist…and something happens. But all works out in the end. Now, in the one I was watching, there was never human beings involved.
But for me, I was like oh, would the Spice Friends be helping the humans? Would it be…? Then I was like, I don’t want to do Spice Girls because that already is a thing. So, I don’t know. I was like huh, okay, well, I don’t know if that would work. It just seemed too straightforward. It’s like oh, we just do our own version of that? That’s basically…I don’t know if that has enough juice for me to work on it. Like, just doing a reboot of…or a reimagining of something that already exists kinda feels flat to me, too flat to put people to sleep, or too flat to put in all the work it takes to make twelve episodes, which is a tremendous amount of…it’s just a tremendous amount of stuff to make twelve episodes, or even ten or even eight. So I said okay, well, I like that idea. Spice Friends; that’s kinda catchy. There’s a lot of spices. Yeah.
Then I kept realizing that a lot of them, they exist in their own…the Smurfs lived in the Smurfs’ world. I thought the Care Bears originally were supposed to come to Earth and help kids, but in the new…like I said, in the new Care Bears, they didn’t. I can’t remember; Gummy Bears was another one on Disney Channel or something, but I don’t remember if they helped…I think that was a direct copy of Smurfs, but just a smaller cast. Other than being called Derpy, I don’t really know anything…and saying oh, that’s majority; that’s my type. Even though people call me Derp, I say Derpy’s my type. That’s all I know about My Little Pony, really. So, that’s the limits of my knowledge, is…so I said okay, but I could do more research. Like I said, I’ve watched some Care Bears.
I think that was already…maybe that was when I was like okay, so we’re making Lady Witchbeard. I still didn’t know what we were gonna make next. I had had one or two other ideas and I think I had one other one that I forgot, but I said okay, well, none of those ideas are quite gelled yet. The other idea had…it again was…I still don’t have a way to make it, where it’s like okay, I don’t…I’m just not feeling it. It’s not a Sleep With Me thing. It’s a different story. It’s not a Sleep With Me story. I do prefer the rhythm of a second or third season…new series, second or third season. That’s just a rhythm I like working with, because it keeps creating new material which is fun, and then we get to return to a series where I have a relationship with the characters.
Like, the first season is kinda character…me getting to know the characters and their worlds and stuff like that. So, whatever; I had that idea. So, there’s two things that…this was closer to the release, when I’m still writing Lady Witchbeard. Those two things are happening in my mind, in some place. But I don’t have a development time because I’m working…all my time’s used by the podcast. So, those are just ideas that I have written down. Okay, I don’t know what to do, but we gotta…okay. It’s also about trusting the process, which is never easy. I talk about on these episodes that something will come together and we’ll get it done. Now, the third element of Spice Friends, which I would have had no idea sitting here in April of 2022 where we are, that the pop culture part of it would have become…it just…in disbelief.
When you hear the history of it, you’ll be in disbelief, I think, too. It wasn’t just one thing in 2022 that happened in March or April, but it was different things over the past…including a number-one hit, Meet Me at the Spot or whatever, which that song I love. I think there’s another hit right now, or I know there is. But so, okay, what was I saying? So, okay…so, at some point well before Sleep With Me, again, I was a lover of Godzilla movies. I was a frustrated…I was trying to write screenplays to break in, trying to write YouTube stuff to break in, whatever that means. I don’t even live in Hollywood. I didn’t even…it was more of a hobby and wanting to make stuff. I was trying, but I also had a alcohol problem or drinking problem, whatever you want to call it.
So, I don’t know how…I was somewhat delusional, but at least I was trying. This over, whatever, my thirties. I don’t know. One of the ideas I had in my…back then was…and this was before…I don’t know. At some point I can remember pitching one guy and…the idea to draw it for me, and he was not…just didn’t work out. But I had this idea and I was gonna write it, and then I was like, I’m just gonna write it and release it; I’m gonna try to release it as a free comic ‘cause I knew it was based on IP I didn’t own and from a company that really goes after people. But I had this idea that I called President Will Smith vs. Godzilla, which I’m just saying is an idea. I’m not saying it’s anything to do with anything else.
The basic concept was that…the original concept, which was different than what happened on Spice Friends but not that different, and this…so, this is at least ten to twelve years ago. Probably maybe even fifteen years ago. Probably fifteen…I don’t even know. But so, I said okay, so, there’s a world where Will Smith is president of the United States. I think even now you’d say okay, I could believe it. Maybe now you’d say…I don’t know. You say okay…but fifteen years ago you’d say okay, I’m with that. Seen him make speeches in those movies. You say, that was Bill Pullman. I say well, it should have been Will Smith, then. No offense, Bill Pullman, but…love you lots, but…so, I said okay, so there’s a world where President Will Smith, the actor, and Will…is playing a role where Will Smith, the actor, is president of the United States.
So, a little bit meta there. Now, in the…in Spice Friends, Willow Smith is his…is vice president. In the book…or I mean, in my original idea, she was not. She was actually an elite marine. So, just…’cause she was part of the B plot in the comic book. But she still had a role. But so, basically the idea, which kinda played out…or the comic was…the main points of the comic were Will Smith was president of the United States. We’d had a time without Godzilla, then Godzilla appeared. Again, I’m just telling a…this is not…I could always edit out the…and say big lizard, big forest friend that was famous returned to the world or became out of…whatever. I mean, just like in the other movies; now they live on a island. I don’t know, there’s some sort of…it’s a portal to another world, whatever it is.
Godzilla comes out or the big kaiju, and comes to the United States. Now, they already had a failsafe plan in place, and unfortunately for President Smith, the kaiju lands in California; comes up on California, and Will Smith’s asked to…President Smith’s asked to make a split-second decision which, kind of similar to Spice Friends, means that in order to save the rest of the United States, which is his role as president…or the majority of the United States and the world, he has to enact this plan, which…I mean, Sleep With Me pod…separates California from…and sends it off with…ideally with the kaiju into the big farm. Now, the part…the underlying thing was that only Willow, who was stationed somewhere being a marine…everybody else was in California, so President Smith’s having to make this decision that has emotional stakes.
So, he has to make this decision which is never…no one would want to make, whatever, but he has to. But it also becomes fuel for the story because now it’s personal, right? Of course, it doesn’t work. I mean, part of it works, unfortunately, but Godzilla…or the kaiju returns later in the comic book, and then of course what happens is…and of…that’s the only reason it would make any sense anyway, ‘cause you’re president of the United States; you can’t possibly do this. But they say well, who else would? Is that…there’s some sort of, whatever, ray or serum that allows President Smith to turn into a giant kaiju. In the movie it would just be straight-up one-on-one and President Smith would win but no longer be a human being, and probably go to the big farm anyway, but would be saving the world.
Then the B plot was more…while this is all happening, there’s also a belief system based on the kaiju that’s trying to take over stuff, so that’s where Willow would be…is trying to take over…I wanted something where they were trying to take over the White House. I don’t know. Willow would have been in a action role. So, that was the idea. It was just gonna be a comic book for fun and that I was gonna put out for free, but I couldn’t get…I didn’t have the emotional capacity to follow through on things or find a collaborator at the time. So, that was an idea I just had, and I…in the back of my mind, every once in a while I’d think about it again. I’d say, that’s pretty cool. Again, pre-2022; you say huh, I could see that. I don’t know, at least I can. I say, I would…I think I would go to that movie.
If it was done the right way…you’d say there’s…that’s gonna be tough. But I say yeah, it would be tough, but I still think one of my peak…of last four or five years…I was in a movie theatre watching Mission Impossible whatever, and Tom Cruise is running in London or something at top speed for like, whatever, fifteen minutes, sprinting. The movie theatre I was in, people including me were standing, cheer…we were laughing and cheering and loving it. It was just one of those movie experiences that was like…where you were giving…your suspension of your disbelief was full and you were immersed in the joy of Tom Cruise running. I don’t know if anybody had that experience. I don’t even know which one…I mean, that was the one with Henry…you know, Henry Cavill, whatever. The Superman guy. I don’t know.
If you saw it, I don’t know if you…and I was at…it was fairly packed and I think it was a matinee on a weekday. But I’d say Will Smith as a kaiju against…that could be…in the right hands, it could be possible. So, I don’t know. So, that was…so, those are the three ideas that ended up becoming Spice Friends. What happened was the what ifs just happened to overlap. I said okay, what if the Spice Friends…? No, not enough there. Then I start…I kept watching these Godzilla movies. I said well, could this be a…? No; how would that be a Sleep With Me? I don’t see how it could ever work. Then at one point I said what if the Care Bears were giant and they were the ones going against the kaiju? Then I said those could be the Spice Friends. I said okay, I think I like that idea.
I think that could be…you say, that’s gonna be a Sleep With Me idea. I say yeah, that I can see is a Sleep With Me episode. So, then it was about brainstorming; okay, what if? So I said okay, let’s do it. I can see that Spice Friends…now originally, I didn’t know what it was gonna be called because I knew we couldn’t use the word…I knew we couldn’t…like, a lot of the words are…those…some of those names are owned by companies. But the concept isn’t, of giant beings roaming the Earth. So I said okay, so…and then I said okay, Spice Friends…and how do we get in? What’s our in point, right? I said okay, well, that…and that’s where the comic book kinda helped me, ‘cause I said well, when do we get into this story? When do we join it? When do the Spice Friends join it?
That was like watching the Godzilla movies and realizing that yeah, there’s a lot of other plots. None of them are super-complex usually, and I don’t think this is…it ended up following a ordinary Godzilla plot. I think originally I thought it would be a procedural, so I thought each episode would be a procedural where it’s like okay, we have a Spice Friend, we have a kaiju, and the procedural is finding the…I thought that…but you can already hear my pausing. I say wait a second, where’s the procedural? You have two beings, but what’s the procedure? Who’s gonna win? What are the stakes? So, that was one challenge that came up later. I guess I’m getting ahead of myself, but it was like okay, what is the end of this story? Where are we starting? Why are we starting there?
That’s where it kinda got to the point where I said okay, well, what if we start…so, we could start it at…okay, we got this…okay, so maybe right after the…’cause I had the comic book idea. I said okay, I like that leadership. Now, this is again, where it was still a non-challenging idea that President Smith and Vice President Smith would be running the country, or they would have had recently been running the country. That was the idea that I’d say 94% of Americans could be like, I’m…count me in. They got my vote. So, I said okay, but it probably would be afterwards, and that gave us…very similar to the comic book, I say okay, now Vice President Smith, now President of the World Smith, she would have personal stakes which were…also be confusing.
She would have…she has a need to heal and her lack of healing is gonna get in the way of her decision-making, but it also makes her a character I want to get to know. She’s obviously capable, she’s…she was vice president, then president, now President of the World. She’s had this experience, she’s a daughter; I have a daughter. So, I don’t know, that made me interested in her. She’s been through a lot. She’s lived through this new era of kaiju. So, I said okay…and she’s the leader we need, I think. I think with these stories, for me, I don’t know; I prefer…I guess I fall into the…I don’t need a perfect leader. I need a…I like to have a capable leader like a Picard, Riker, Janeway, Shellstrop. Whatever it is. I say okay, that’s…I want a capable leader.
Don’t give me what’s believable; give me what’s relatable or whatever. I don’t know what they say. I say, that’s someone I can relate to. I haven’t been through what she’s been through, but I can relate to that. I said okay, and that’s a good starting point because we already have…and then our world’s already dealt with it. Then one of the things I liked about the Godzilla movies was that there was always this outside influence or inside the Earth or Atlantis, and I wanted it with Sleep With Me, but I think sometimes in the movies, you can’t tell if they’re antagonists, they’re good, or what their intentions are. I felt like that added a layer, for me, of suspense but conflict that could be explored through the season, but also of capability.
Like, how would we be…on Earth here be capable with dealing with this, and…I don’t know, other-worldliness? Also just helps make it…I don’t know; it just fit with where I needed the story to be. Okay, so we’re living in a world where it’s calm now, but there’s a ticking clock. I said okay, so that’s kinda where some of the ideas came from, I think, when I was trying to figure out how do we get into the story in a way where we’re joining it…the story’s starting at the right time for us to join the story. The story’s been going on, but we’re going into the story at the right time. I said okay, when the clock’s about to run out. Then I also like…I don’t know, just for me, these are just elements of stories I like, and that makes it easier for me to tell. I say okay, so they’re waiting. We have a capable leader waiting.
She does not have all the information she needs. In fact, she has very little. She also has expectations which I would say are relatable and realistic in the sense, or understandable expectations that a answer’s coming from this other world that they’re…we’re working with to put a stop to the kaiju. Then you have a figure coming in with the answer, and of course you’re saying okay, is it a serum? Is it a ray? Those are what you would expect from the movies, and that’s where it fit in with…so, that’s all very kaiju story-based. This is where we go back to what makes a Sleep With Me story or what makes a story sustainable for me to tell, is to have a turn and for Sleep With Me stories, it’s a turn into the story swamp in a bit of a…so you want morass? You got it. You’re in the right place.
We got morass for you here at Sleep With Me. Morass; whatever you say, wherever you say it. I said okay, so it could turn into the story swamp there, because it would be too easy if someone came back and they said okay, just take a cinnamon stick, put it in this serum; problem solved. That’s not even how Godzilla movies work, which is frustrating in the modern era for people. Or at least when I’ve seen the movies, even for me, you say well, what…when…Godzilla didn’t even start getting in the movie ‘til like, forty-five minutes in there. I didn’t even realize it ‘til I had to do it myself how that doesn’t work. You can’t have two hours of a giant being running around.
It just gets…it’s just not…I don’t think you can and have it be entertaining or sleepy, because I don’t know what episode that was; two, three, or four, where I said holy cow…so, I’ll get into that, maybe. But so, you have a capable leader. She’s waiting for this astronaut to return. The astronaut and the planet have set up a lot of stuff that didn’t make a lot of sense, but of course you’re gonna go with it. So, they have all this children’s programming, and I don’t know; I just liked this in a sense of like, it’s…I don’t know, what’s the word? Counter-cultural or…I don’t know. There’s another word for it, but that the idea of saving the world by…through children’s programming, that…and I don’t know if we were able to fully deliver on this concept because the story just went…it was…it just became a matter of those two characters were too powerful, that they kind of took over the story.
I don’t think that’s a bad thing, but the story just ended up going with them, which happens a lot with these twofers. I didn’t want to make it so…I don’t know, because…of all the things, this is wild to say, but it was like a very grounded story in those two characters. So, as surreal as some of the stuff that happened was, it had to have an element of groundedness where something else…or I don’t know. That’s just where I’m…I’m trying to detach in the next series from the limitation and move into staying in a surreal place where anything can happen. But for as wild as Spice Friends was, there was a lot of underlying rules which may or may not be apparent, understandably. But so, they’re waiting for this savior-type figure to come with all the answers.
Also, I was able to pay off how I wanted to pay it off later with the astronaut’s backstory. I don’t think I even knew that at the time. But so, the astronaut arrives and says oh yeah, here’s how we fix it, is through children’s programming, teaching children to express themselves through the joy of song and dance. They say, what do you mean? I do want to jump to the underlying historical significance of these kaiju, and their significance in the story was that they appeared and people thought their appearance related to fission or fusion used in an offensive way. But really, I mean, the…their myth and in Spice Friends was that no, no, it’s tied to the emotions of that, not the history or the existence of fission or fusion used in an offensive way, but our deep, deep, deep-seated feelings about that because I…that’s just my generation, whatever.
I grew up in…or I was…I guess…I don’t know, I grew up in the…in 80s and 90s, right? As things went from the Soviet Union to the Soviet Republic where…during the Cold War where they said oh boy, this is how much stuff we all have. So, that’s something you deeply repress or you just use cognitive dissonance to escape from and say oh yeah, it doesn’t make a difference. But there’s gotta be…I mean, come on, we’re not gonna…we don’t need Freud or Young over here to say okay, there’s gotta be some cost to that. Maybe it’s cost we all share. But in Spice Friends, the cost is that these beings exist. They’re a manifestation or they feed on our feelings about that…you can’t…it can’t hide from those feelings in the story.
Also that there’s a obscure idea of manifestation, but it’s not that different than portaling, right, because…or whatever…is like, I think in one movie it was like oh no, they come from…they come through a hole…a portal at the bottom of the sea. So again, it was like…I don’t know, the idea that they already exist or something. I don’t know. But I think that it made it less a capable leader…say no, your manifestation theory; that’s made up. It doesn’t even make any sense. Then the astronaut’s…I’m trying to explain it, but then…that it works, but it only works…the real trick is that it only works if you’re in the process of expressing true feelings, because that’s what makes the kaiju appear, is when you’re in the process of repressing true feelings.
So, it’s just the flip side of the coin; if you’re expressing your real feelings through the process of song and dance, you could get the Spice Friends to come. But it’s just such a easy thing to forget. Again, a lot of this just is about me. I can only write from where I am. So, it’s just ideas that I’ve…thinking about or whatever. It’s like oh, okay, so it’s a process, but it’s a process I’m gonna forget about tomorrow, and then I gotta…then I’ll reluctantly be like, you gotta be kidding me; I gotta do this again, express myself or get in touch with my feelings or journal or meditate? I don’t want to. That’s annoying. So, I guess each episode, instead of being a procedural, was almost like…every episode was some aspect of someone or some process getting in the way of the process, or a need for the results most of the time.
Like, a need for results getting in the way of that this is a process-based thing. If you want the Spice Friends, you can’t just get the Spice Friends. Then also, all these unintended consequences and all these collisions of humanity or later on, Zipparians just being natural, real…just, how do we behave? Again, another process-based thing; imperfectly. So, a lot of the story complications just came from people being people or leaders being leaders or these things that keep occurring throughout history. I think that it was be…able to be fun, because otherwise the problem with a capable leader and…is that as she becomes more and more capable and then as she developed a working relationship with the astronaut was that then the story becomes too boring again.
If she becomes…if each episode she became more and more capable, she would have had stuff solved by Episode 4 or 5. Oh, and that goes into the thing of like, the procedural. So, I had a procedural one. I don’t know which episode it was. Maybe it was the Cinnamon Spice one where I was like okay, I thought the Cinnamon Spice dance-off would take somewhere between twelve and twenty-two minutes. So, on the writing, I had that much set aside for it, or…and not written. So, whatever; I had twenty-two…yeah, I had twenty-two minutes written and then another eight minutes after, which is thirty minutes, and I need fifty to sixty recorded to get what I need for the episode, not counting the intro; this is just the episode portion.
So I said…so when I got into that dance-off part, it took literally three minutes, even with different things happening. At least in my mind; I don’t know how long it took on tape. But I said okay, this is a big mess because I still need another…now I need nineteen more minutes that I don’t have written. So, I think I…whatever. Luckily the characters were strong, so I was able to figure out…I don’t even remember what happened there, but…so, I don’t know. So, that was another thing; with the procedural, I said okay, well, the procedure can’t just be every episode. That’s what I thought once I was working. Initially I said okay, each episode will just be what Spice Friend, what emotion. I had the wheels of emotion; what emotion? ‘Cause that would be very procedural, like Care Bears.
Oh, here’s the problem; it’s caused by this…either ignoring this feeling or not enough of this feeling. One, two, three, and then we find this feeling or we strengthen this feeling or face this feeling or express it, and then the Spice Friend solves the Big One. Problem is that it’s too efficient. That might be good for a eighteen or twelve-minute Care Bears episode if there’s two for an hour, or whatever, eleven minutes. Eleven minutes; that works. Plus they have a minute-and-a-half to start and finish. So, nineteen minutes. That makes sense for a Care Bear, but it’s not gonna work for a fifty-minute Sleep With Me episode. Efficient stuff and capable leaders make for less meanders, ‘cause if it’s a perfect leader, then they’re just gonna make the perfect decision.
Or if it’s a capable leader in controlled circumstances without chaos, then she’s gonna make a decision. She knows how it’s gonna turn out or she knows she can focus on the process, and then it’ll turn out. But again, I think a lot of what I wanted to relate to with President…or…yeah, President of the World Smith was that is she still experiencing her feelings from earlier and her father and these big beings? Also, not just the hard feelings, but also her own self-image of her father’s heroism, that could be very enticing for a lot of people, to be like well, I want to…I need to live up to that image or I want to because it makes me feel something inside. Maybe that’s what my purpose is, is to kinda do the same thing my father did. One day I’ll have that opportunity and then I’ll…that’s…they’ll complete my journey here.
I mean, ‘cause at least for me, these are the kind of…I mean, not the exact same things I get caught up in, but delusion is a way I live my life. It’s just a part of my normal existence; cognitive dissonance, delusion, forgetting…all those things. If it was just as easy as express…well, I guess I would never…expressing my feelings through the joy of song and dance. But I thought that it would be that easy for the season. At least initially, I wanted the…an astronaut. I don’t know, I liked also the conflict. It’s like, this is never gonna work. This idea is ridiculous. But at the same time, it’s one of the only ideas we have. We need this to work now.
Then there was also the thing of toning down stuff, but as…still having the kaiju have all the powers they have, but a lot of times causing…giving the…relating the stakes more to the actions of human beings or Zipparians versus the Big Ones, but also saying well, what will we do? What would it be like in a world where these…there are these Big Ones running around? If it was the real world; not a fictional world. I don’t know. As fictional as my worlds are, I say what would it be like if it happened today, here, and then ten years from now, we still had them? What would our world be like, really? Not in idealized fiction. Say huh, that’s interesting. I don’t know. At least that’s interesting to me. So, then I was like okay…I don’t know. So, then I just got to…so then things just kept turning away, but then some stuff became obvious, right?
Like that a lot of times, especially in Sleep With Me stories, the capable leader’s leadership is rejected because they’re asking us to set aside something and we don’t want to set aside it. At least, that…and that’s my experience with my own life. Or we have our other underlying values or stuff. Say no, no, that’s…I’m not into that. I don’t want to take on that. I’d prefer to have soda and go to bed. So, yeah. So, that stuff was going on. Yeah, it kinda just went from there. It wasn’t what I expected, but it ended up more and more than the president and Astro kinda took the show, that it never really settled on the self-awareness and intelligence of the Spice Friends or the kaiju until later, that it was like…maybe it was just that they were self-aware and they did have consciousness; it’s just impossible for them to communicate with us because we…you know.
I don’t know, that there was also that barrier. Then Zipper was really something taken from those…some of those movies that I saw. It’s like okay, here’s this other world. They’re totally different than us, but at the same time, they have feelings. But they also have stakes and they have stakes dealing with the kaiju. Then yeah, did…their idea of being Earth-focused kinda answered some questions that I kinda felt like were some gaps in the story. Maybe there was a little bit of the dome…the end of the…I didn’t see the TV mini-series, but the book The Dome in there, but a little bit different, ‘cause I think those felt like teenagers in The Dome. I don’t know. I just…I was curious about Zipper, but I didn’t fully…it was…that wasn’t a main character in the story.
It was a main device and influence, but I wanted the Zipper to be just otherworldly enough to not be totally relatable or understandable. Then finally we headed towards the finish line, where it’s like okay, I knew for the finish line I wanted a third world where the Spice Friends would exist, and the Big Ones, but that they would come to Earth. I don’t know if I’m spoiling that, but if there was other series, that then it explains the Care Bears or the Smurfs and My Little Pony. That was like, if I just did the Spice Friends now, it’d make sense ‘cause where the heck are they coming from? Why would they come to Earth? But then I was like oh, wait a second, where the story ended up with…about emotions and feelings, that’s where the pen pal idea came in and the cloud of delusion.
It’s like okay, this is taking place in a Sleep With Me world, probably earlier timeline of the same world, like a lot of the Sleep With Me…it’s like a version of our world. I said okay, yeah, that all fits. But I wanted them to have their own world, but I still want them to be a part of our world. I don’t know. Then I wanted stuff to work out for Zipper, but I definitely wanted…and maybe it got repetitive; I’m not sure. But when you’re process-based and you’re looking for results, it can be repetitive of like okay, we can’t work together. I definitely wanted the idea that we could have solved things, but there’s no way we’re gonna compromise. I relate to it. I don’t think…I’m not being judgemental about Earth, but it’s like, we’re not gonna give up the sacrifice for another planet.
If some other planet was like hey, we’ll work stuff out with you if you never eat oatmeal again…your whole world; you gotta stop growing it, stop eating it, no more oatmeal for Earth, and…that’s our compromise with you, and then we’ll…won’t build a freeway through Earth or whatever, Earth would…I think I would probably agree. I’d be like, no way. Work out another solution, then. They’d be like no, no, no. That’s the only solution. Every Earthling has to agree to never eat oatmeal; never store it, whatever, thirst for it. Be like well, that’s…you’re asking something impossible. You must not know Earthlings then, because we might do it, but we’re never gonna forget about it. So at some point we’re gonna find a way to get you back for making us give up oatmeal. A reasonable person might say it’s just oatmeal.
You say, for you. But for me, it’s symbolic of us giving up too much to this planet, that…why you gotta build a freeway here anyway? Why don’t you leave us and our oatmeal alone? So, that’s kind of one of the cruxes of us trying to work stuff out with Zipper. It was a little bit less…they needed us in a unhealthy way, but they also had more power than we had, and we were having trouble listening to the president and Astro. But I think it was…the cool thing was when you get…when there’s that many weird…there’s that many rules, if I give up too many rules and get away from the procedural…like, find all these inefficiencies, maybe? I don’t know. Maybe that’s what I’m good at, is finding inefficiencies in storytelling.
Then the inefficiencies and their relatability…I can focus on that stuff and it creates more problems for me to solve, which creates more meanders which creates a better bedtime story. I don’t know. I feel like my…the feedback I got and…I mean, other than a couple people that were too focused on the kaiju, was that this was…I mean, ‘cause basically it was a story about these two people trying to work together in leadership roles and solve stuff. A couple episodes were about their own personal journeys, too. I don’t know. I don’t know. I had fun and I really appreciate being able to tell these kind of stories. I’m looking forward to the next series we’re gonna do, which will be a return…Season 3 that I’ve worked on for a little while. Yeah, that’s it. Thanks so much for listening to this show, and goodnight.
[END OF RECORDING]
(Transcribed by Leah Hervoly)