I grew up in the late 80s & early 90s. My childhood was overloaded with classic rock, (thanks mom!) comics, and cartoons thanks to the curse of dial-up internet and AOL's constant running-man.
Therefore my entertainment was tied to what I could find on Saturday morning and the reruns that played throughout the afternoon after school and in the summer. Scooby-Doo was my saving grace more often than not. The Mystery Incorporated team was always available on my little 20 inch tube TV and I loved them for it. I watched Scooby and the gang face down the Space Kook, Redbeard's Ghost, Mummy of Anka, Ghost of Mr. Hyde, Creeper, Miner Forty-Niner, Ape Man, Witch Doctor and so many more. I can remember nearly every adventure the team brought me on growing up. What's even better is that I have a 3 year old son, Brycen, who goes crazy about Scooby-Doo. I got him hooked on a Pup Named Scooby-Doo last year and he's never looked back. Scooby-Doo is something that my whole family will watch together so when I was given the chance to take a look into the latest Scooby-Doo movie and interview the movie's writer, Kevin Shinick, thanks to the wonderful team at Moviepilot, my response was:
I was beside myself with excitement, and I couldn't wait to sink my teeth into the movie. I was even more excited when I realized where I knew the name Kevin Shinick from. He was a hero of mine in the mid 90's and he's lived a life that I could only wish to live. So I couldn't wait to ask him about his career, working on Scooby-Doo & Kiss as well as what he thought the future held for him. Here is our conversation.
I was 11, when you first became my hero as "ACME Time Pilot Squadron Leader" on Where in Time is Carmen San Diego - How did you make the transition from Broadway & Television to Writer/Director of some truly successful sketch comedy shows?
That’s sweet of you. Fortunately, you never saw the Carmen Sandiego episode where Acme Time Net brought me up on charges for stealing the Chronoskimmer and using it for selfish purposes. Because the real reason I’ve had such a diverse background is because I went back in time and gave myself a better career. But if that’s too much to wrap your mind around, let’s just say that all my interests go back to a very young age, and as a result my career path has had the focus of an eight year old.
So he stole a time travel device and basically became a Time Lord. I'm good with that answer. It makes total sense to me, and I will be sure to look for any type of dimension altering, time traveling device I can find as I continue on with my life.
As you’ve written for Marvel, DC, Lucasfilm, Robot Chicken, Disney and so many more – Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
My number one rule is to always go with the door that opens. I’ve said it before, we all have goals in life and it’s important to follow those goals, but when I look back at my career, some of the things I’m most proud of came out of left field. I didn’t know where they would take me, but when the door opened I went with it. That’s not to say you have to stay there, because you also have to be careful, so My number two rule is don’t be afraid to close the door.
My number three rule is don’t have more than two rules. The truth is, I never set out to host a kid’s game show, but when the opportunity arose in the form of Carmen San Diego, it was just the right balance of comedy, adventure and hosting that I agreed to it, and I’m incredibly happy that I did, but afterwards I got offered a lot of other hosting gigs, but I didn’t feel the need to continue that type of work anymore because the circumstances had changed for me. So I closed the door. Will I do it again someday? If the right show comes along, sure. But it has to be in sync with what I want. I guess what I’m saying is it’s okay to ask the universe for specific things, just don’t question the road map it gives you.
Obviously, I’m here to find out where in the world you came up with the idea to bring together iconic yet the two very different teams of KISS and the Mystery Incorporated team?
I find it so funny when people ask me that question, because for me it was a no-brainer. Considering that over the years, Scooby and the gang have teamed up with everyone from Sandy Duncan to Abbott and Costello, I think the question that should be asked is why didn’t it happen sooner? But to be specific, I think it was Warner Bros. who reached out to KISS to see if they were interested and the answer was yes. After that, there were only a few people with sensibilities warped enough to take on such a trippy adventure and my name was somewhere near the top.
Gene Simmons! How was it to work with him in term of scripting and dialogue? Was it a fairly fluid process? What was your favorite part of the whole process?
For me, the crazy part of this whole thing was that when I was a kid I had a Gene Simmons doll and I would constantly make him say things, and now here I am as an adult getting paid to make the real Gene Simmons say things. So I feel like I’ve come full circle. And Gene was fantastic to work with. I had heard a lot of crazy things about the man, I read a lot of his books, experienced the persona, but when I met him in person he couldn’t have been nicer. In fact, he paid me a great compliment when, after seeing the film, he told me that I had really kept the integrity of both groups. I think that when you have two icons on the screen it’s easy to have one get lost in the shadow of the other, or to dumb one down, but I aimed at doing them both justice and apparently Gene thinks I succeeded. And, I’d like to point out, he did not charge me for that compliment.
How did the switch from the short, quick jokes that you are most well known for- to this more long form narrative work for you?
Oddly enough, I don’t consider myself a short format kind of guy. I just consider myself a writer. Granted short format is mostly what I’m known for, because that’s what’s been asked of me. But one of the reasons I was happy to take this job was because I thought it would give me a chance to showcase my long form talents as well. (I’m sure there’s a short format joke in that sentence somewhere.) Plus, once I started writing, it was as if I had been working on this screenplay since childhood, so it just poured out of me.
There’s such nostalgia in this Scooby adventure: the classic amusement park plot for and the 'superhero' powers of the KISS quartet (reminiscent of KISS: Phantom of the Park) – Was it fun for you to return to that background?
Absolutely! I grew up with both of these iconic groups. They were my staples. So for me it was truly Nostalgia Central. And while Scooby and the gang have gone many places over the years, I felt I had to have mine take place in an amusement park because that’s where I always remembered them ending up. In fact, I even gave Daphne a line where she says something like, “We’re the Scooby Gang. If we’re at an amusement park the odds are pretty good someone’s going to need our help.” Once we agreed that a park was the appropriate setting, I approached the other side of it with the idea of ‘What if I had a second chance at righting whatever wrongs my eight year old self felt were made in KISS Meets The Phantom of The Park. So if you notice, there’s a lot of homage to the ’78 movie. Namely, as you said, the superhero powers, which also appear in the comics, but which got their start in that particular movie.
You took some jabs at the over the top branding commercials throughout the movie, did KISS find it as humorous as you and I probably did?
I have to say, when I was writing that stuff I half expected them to take me to task for it. But they were great and I heard them laughing along with everybody else. They’re very good natured about that kind of stuff. I also wrote a lot of classic songs into the movie without ever knowing if I’d be able to use them, but they were awesome in granting us the rights to use every one of them.
You’ve done so much and had so many opportunities to do all the things that have made an impact on pop culture. What’s still on your radar as something that you’d love to do? Anyone you’d like to work with in film or animation?
It’s a tough call. I’ve had the great opportunity to work with people whose work has had a significant affect on my life: Stan Lee, George Lucas, KISS, to name a few. So I’d be lying if I didn’t say I’d love to work with Stephen Spielberg, mostly so that I can thank him for having made such a huge impact on how I view the world. But then again, since I said the things I’m most proud of have come out of left field, I’ve also got those to look forward to.
There you have it. It truly was an incredible opportunity for me to watch this movie and take some time to blast Kevin with these questions.
- If you are like me and this brings back memories of your childhood, then this film is definitely worth your time.
- If you didn't watch Scooby-Doo as a child, then this film is definitely worth your time.
Regardless of your Scooby-Doo upbringing, you definitely should check out the new movie. AVAILABLE EVERYWHERE NOW.