Interview:Brock Eastman (November 2010)
- Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I’m 26, I have a wonderful wife, and a 1 year old. We live in Colorado, but come from Illinois. I like to hike, write, but most of all be with my family. And my middle name is not Lee.
- Had you ever heard of AIO before you started with FOTF?
Sure did. I grew up on Adventures in Odyssey. My family listened on long car rides, and even some short ones. But most of all it was part of our nightly routine. We’d put our AIO cassette (yes cassette) into the player and fall asleep to AIO.
- How did you get started with FOTF and come to work on the AIO team?
All God’s divine plan (period).When I graduated from college, I took a job briefly with a (for lack of a better term) secular for-profit. I was unhappy. Anyhow I applied with Focus, and got a job in IT (my degree was in Marketing). God can use anyone for His purpose. Then just after one year (the minimum service requirement in your initial job with Focus) a job opened up in Product Marketing. It so happened, it would turn out to be, well honestly a dream job. I now help manage the AIO brand, focusing on what I like best which is Marketing! So you never know where God’s plan is taking you so remain faithful to Him.
- What is your favorite episode that you’ve got to work on so far?
I have a limited amount of episodes I’ve worked on because, well we’ve only released Passages, 51, 52 and soon 53. The album I really got to sit in on from the beginning is album 54, which won’t be out until fall of 2011. But an episode I really like was #98: “The Visitors”. It really pulled on my heart strings. I also could see myself driving down the snowy backstreets of Odyssey with my family, searching for the strangers.
- What do you think of album 51 and 52 and how do you think they compare to before album 50?
I like them. It’s a new direction for Adventures in Odyssey. The new volumes will bring new life and create more relationships with people. We all relate to stories in different ways, and I am excited to where AIO is headed.
- If you could change something about the show what would it be?
Not too much. The AIO team has more years experience working on the show, than I’ve been alive. I’ve pitched a few ideas, I’d like to revisit Camp What-A-Nut and maybe even go on a Missionary adventure with Jimmy Barclay. But change, not much, however I wish Blackgaard wasn’t really dead. He was my favorite villain, and probably why I am enjoying working on our latest compilation so much.
- Have you had a chance to read the new Imagination Station books yet? What do you think of them?
Yeah I’ve read both several times; in fact book 3’s first 5 chapters are sitting in front of me right now. I’d say out of all the AIO content, I’ve had the most hands on with these books, brainstorming, titling, and cover design. Marianne and Paul are really the masters behind it and are doing a great job, so I’m a bit nervous about my upcoming assignment to write book 5 in the series.
- Are there any other AIO books or videos planned for the future?
Actually nothing for sure, I’ve pitched adding more to the Passages series, reinventing the Mystery series, and of course we do have one top secret series that I’d love to pull the trigger on. But ultimately we have to see sales to produce new product lines, so can I just encourage you to go out and pick up some copies of Kidsboro, the new Passages, the AIO Omni books, and definitely the new Imagination Station books. You can also write us and let us know what you want to read. Feedback is vital to making decisions on new products. As for videos several things are being tossed around, you know AIO turns 25 very soon. But nothing is for sure, I’d really like to see a big screen movie for AIO, something that can launch the brand into a whole new market. What do you think, Live Action or Animated?
- Can you tell us anything about the progress of the show being in other languages like the Indian TV version?
Dave is in India right now, so we should have a good update. We are moving along with a Spanish version, and there may even be a Mandarin version soon. Translating and making the town fit into different cultures takes time. But what I have scene about India’s Live Action and discussed about the Spanish version has been very positive.
- In an official podcast it was announced that there would be more Kidsboro episodes in 51, what happened to that?
- The 25th anniversary of AIO is coming up soon, is there anything planned for that?
We have lots of ideas floating around and a few that we are pursuing. We don’t want to the same thing again, but sometimes the same thing is what the fans want. Personally I hope we do an AIO Cruise, with exclusive episodes being recorded on the cruise.
- How’s the progress coming on the Family fun buttons?
We are planning on releasing the videos and putting the panels in each volume, but have decided to discontinue the buttons. If you have a button, it’s certainly a collector’s item.
- I’ve heard you’re working on a book series, can you tell us anything about it?
It’s true, the first book in my series, Taken, will be out June 2011. I was picked up by P&R Press to write The Quest for Truth. I’d been working on the first two books since 2005 and finally came to a point where it was time to seek a publisher. I am very excited about my first series, and hope that kids will enjoy it. Think Indiana Jones, City of Ember, and a touch of Star Wars (a very slight touch). My goal all along has been to provide clean content to kids, that is exciting and engaging. In fact you can read the first two chapters if you like (of course this is un-edited) [you download this preview here.] I am also writing the fifth book in the Imagination Station series, so look for that in Fall 2011 as well. My years of listening to Adventures in Odyssey has certainly helped give me a broad imagination. Kids should check my website brockeastman.com for contests and updates.
- Is there anything you can tell us about the future of AIO such as albums 53 and 54 and if there are any returning characters from the past?
Well there are some past characters returning. I think the fans will be pleasantly surprised at who reappears, as was I when I heard. But Volume 53 will be a very exciting 12 episode arc. I think fans will be thrilled and likely will want to download the volume, instead of wait for the weekly airs. At least I would. As for #54, I think it’s going to be a fun volume, it was decided for it to have a central theme. But did you know, that originally the theme volume #54 was suppose to be #53, and the current #53 story arc volume was suppose to be #54. Did I confuse you? Basically we swapped the volumes release dates.
- Anything else you think we might find interesting?
Can Money buy Love?
- Thanks for your time Brock!