Interview:Nathan Hoobler (October 28 2010)
<Laura_Ingalls>: Well, let's get started! I'd like to welcome our special guest tonight, AIO writer and director Nathan Hoobler! He has been very gracious to agree to answer our questions and discuss Odyssey tonight.
Thank you for having me. ...I'm going to try to keep up with my typing.
<jesusminime>: Come on man, you write books, doesn't that keep the fingers nimble?
I don't write books fast enough. The guide took 2 years.
<Laura_Ingalls>: To start off, when did you first start listening to Odyssey?
I started listening to Odyssey in 1988. I was 8 years old at the time. I wish that I could remember the first episode that I heard.
<Shadow>: Do you remember the first album?
I distinctly remember waiting for Part 2 of [The] Case of the Secret Room, so it was sometime before that.
<shadowdog>: What is your favorite album?
The first album I got was #10: Other Times, Other Places, [and] I still love [it]. It's hard to pick a favorite now. Of course, I love Darkness Before Dawn. A recent favorite has been [the road trip in] Wish You Were Here.
<jesusminime>: ...You had a small part in one episode of Odyssey: The Triangle, Part 1. ...Where was this "role" in the episode?
I actually have a very small part in several episodes. In The Triangle, I have one line: "Not yet. Did you read her article yesterday?" I play Landon (who is named after my brother). I also say, "1, 2, 1, 2, 3, 4" in "Nothing But the Half Truth."
<Shadow>: Do you take part in episodes for fun, or because they need someone for the role?
I say lines because they need a voice. I definitely don't belong on that side of the microphone.
<Whitty_Whit>: When did you first start working for Odyssey?
I started working for Odyssey in May 2000.
<jesusminime>: And what was your favorite episode to write?
My favorite episode to write was "The Top Floor." I love those intrigue shows.
<Court>: How did you start working for [Odyssey]?
You can read part of the story of how I started on my old website, AIOHQ.com. It's on the page about "My Adventure in Odyssey."
<Regis>: Will we ever see the soda shop game around again?
We probably won't see the soda shop game again. Here's why.… Unfortunately, we didn't have all the right permissions to use it online. It sure was a fun game, though! For a long time, I thought I would update AIOHQ at least though album 50. However, now, it's hard to get the motivation to do it when all the fan sites out there are so much better.
<Whitty_Whit>: What exactly do you do at Odyssey?
I get to do a lot of things at Odyssey. Anything that needs doing. Today, for example, I was editing the audio for the 12 Chris wraps in album 53. I was also working on an upcoming podcast and some goodies for the website. Next week, I'll be working on the bonus feature for 53.
<Irwin>: Can you give us any clues about the plot and structure of album 53?
You may know from a post on the ToO that album 53 is a continued 12 part episode. There will be several new characters. But I believe that Whit and Eugene are actually in every episode. Katrina, Connie, Wooton, Matthew, and Emily will also be involved. As for anyone coming back, you don't really want me to answer that question, do you? I mean, it would give away the surprise if I said that Grocer Jenkins was coming back.
<AIOluver>: What about Connie is going to be back in every ep?
Connie is in almost every episode. I think she shows up around episode 3. We just heard playback on the first 3 yesterday.
<jesusminime>: You said in the ATC interview that you take the fan feedback to the new episodes very seriously. How much would you say does the fan feedback on the ToO effect the writing team?
We certainly pay close attention to the ToO (and all of the fan sites). We know that it's a representation of a portion of our audience and we take their feedback seriously. So reviews that show up on the ToO and elsewhere are read by the team. And actually, we made some changes to album 53 and 54 due in part to fan feedback. I may have mentioned before that album 54 and 53 were swapped. We originally intended the 12 parter to be album 54. But we changed it around.
<shadowdog>: Can you give any clues on Album 54?
Have I mentioned that album 54 will be a thematic album, along the lines of "On Earth as It Is in Heaven" or "It All Started When"? We haven't chosen a title yet, though we've talked about a few. I think it will come out in fall 2011. I'll throw one album 54 title suggestion out there: "A More Excellent Way." But I don't think we'll use that one.
<Laura_Ingalls>: More focused on the current season, what is your personal favorite episode of album 52?
<Shadow>: So, would The ToO be your top fan-feedback? Do you guys have a top fan site?
I don't think we have a top fan site. We like them all. Really! Though I must admit that I often visit AIOWiki if I need to check something myself.
<Connie_>: So, is it true that you use AIOWiki a lot when producing episodes?
I sometimes use it to fact-check. We also have a "writer's bible" that we maintain.
<Whitty_Whit>: How would you rate album 52?
It's really hard for me to rate albums that I've been a part of creating.
No B-TV episodes or Twilife’s planned.
I would be very surprised if we didn't hear from the Ceiling Fan folks in the near future.
<Connie_>: Nathan, you said that Katrina appears in Album 52, correct?
Katrina doesn't appear in 52, but she is referenced. She will appear a lot in 53. We didn't mean to go without Katrina for a couple albums. It kinda of happened accidentally. Here's a trivia point: We considered having Katrina be the teacher in "Stage Fright." I think it was outlined that way. But we changed it because it didn't seem to work with the fear. Katrina wouldn't have been that afraid. Remember how she tutored in early episodes? She'll be doing more of that in future episodes. …Since we have Ms. Adelaide, we probably won't have Katrina be a drama teacher.
<Whitty_Whit>: Will there be any Room of Consequence episodes?
I think we discussed an ROC episode for 53, but it changed. The Imagination Station is used in "Fast As I Can."
<Whitty_Whit>: Will Harlow Doyle come back?
Harlow appears (twice) in album 52.
<Connie_>: Any hints about when Jason will come back or the "Jason explanation" on how he left Odyssey?
…I'm a purist. I don't like to know when characters are coming back. I don't want to tell when (or if) Jason, Richard, Mitch, etc. are coming back. I mentioned Katrina because it isn't really a surprise that she's returning.
<HooblerStalker>: What is unique about the names of Whit's friends in The Triangle?
Whit's friends are named after my brothers.
<Regis>: Is there any behind the scenes stories about The Mystery of the Clock Tower you can tell us?
Did you notice the time on the clock on the cover of 52? 1.21 gigawatts! It is a Lost reference.
<HooblerStalker>: It's 8:15... FLIGHT 815... 4 8 15 16 23 42
15 16 23 42
<Dan_in_Trank_Tank>: Is Connie still 18?
I don't think of her as 18. I think of her as early 20s.
<Jo>: Will Tom Riley be returning?
We don't have any plans for Tom to return at this time. For one, we don't have an actor to play the part. We wouldn't want to bring him back if the actor [wasn't] absolutely right. We weren't too sure about Bart having a new voice in album 50. Not the actor's fault, but the character seemed off. So, for the time being, Tom and Bart won't be on the show for awhile. Of course, they're still living happily in Odyssey. They're just never in Whit's End when the shows take place.
<shadowdog>: What was the last episode you listened to?
The last episode I listened to was "The Green Ring Conspiracy, Part 3."
<Court>: What about Jack Allen?
We had planned to have Jack Allen in album 52, but the actor wasn't available. He was originally in A Thankstaking Story.
<Dr_Watson>: Is Corey Burton still around??
We planned to have Corey in the Truth Chronicles, but we couldn't get him for some reason (I'm trying to remember all the details). We could still bring Dern back for an episode. I love to hear him yell.
<shadowdog>: [Can you give any] Album 55 clues?
Album 55 is still really early in the planning stages. [The] episodes [are] in outline form. But it will be the first "normal" album after 53 & 54, I think.
<HooblerStalker>: Has AIO decided on an end date to wrap up all the storylines?
We don't have a date planned to wrap up storylines. In a sense, that is what we did with album 50. We wanted to bring almost all of the major storylines in Odyssey to a punctuation mark. I certainly wouldn't rule out hearing from Jimmy again. Or hearing from almost anyone for that matter.
<HooblerStalker>: What if the show gets canceled?
I don't think AIO will get canceled anytime soon. I mean, anything is possible, but we're planning for at least 2000 episodes. I think we're planned about the episode 702 at this point.
It would be cool to hear from Lucy and Jack again. The actors live in Texas, which would make recording a little tough.
<Otter>: If AIO starts to get stale, Cousin Oliver can move to town to bring new life to it.
I do have a question that I want to ask at some point… Okay, here goes. Which of the new characters are you most excited about?
<Laura_Ingalls>: Alicia Jennings!
I really liked Alicia's voice too. I would have more of a crush on her than on Connie.
<Otter>: Is there any hope of the still "lost" episodes, Harley ones, etc, maybe being at least available via iTunes for the strict competitionists?
I'm pretty sure that we will be releasing the unreleased episodes as downloads at some point. It might not be on iTunes, though.
<Fang>: Would it be too much to ask to make an episode mocking Twilight?
Ha ha. The Twilight episode would be funny, though it might be a little over many of our listeners heads. Then again, maybe not.
<shadowdog>: What is your least favorite album… honestly?
<Dr_Watson>: What type of show do you like writing the most?
My favorite to write are intrigue and suspense. They are the most fun to brainstorm in a group, too. It was very exciting when we were brainstorming "No Way Out."
<HooblerStalker>: Is No Way Out a reference to the movie?
No Way Out isn't a movie reference (as far as I know, anyway!).
<Jo>: Do you own every AIO album?
I do own every album. But I don't think I have any episodes at home. I have them all digitally now.
<Fang>: How much space do they all take up?
All AIO episodes take up 31.76 gigabytes.
<jesusminime>: That depends on what quality type you have, I had about 35 albums on my computer at one point and they only added up to about 6 gigabytes.
[Wow]! Bit rates on all of the episodes is 256 kilobytes.
<jesusminime>: Is there some way we can redeem our old tape albums to get the digital versions?
We're talking about trying to do some sort of trade-in program. The logistics of getting it to work might be kinda tough, though. Still, we're trying to figure it out.
<JF777>: Why did you guys make two episodes on stalking but then play it down so much?
As for episodes about stalking… uh… which episodes were about stalking? Right, it was part of Clock Tower. But the "stalking" angle was kind of a red herring.
Eugene will sing, yes. In fact, he sings on "A Thankstaking Story." Will wrote all of the songs on that one.
<shadowdog>: Will Album 53 be as suspenseful or intriguing as an episode like "The Mysterious Stranger" or "The Case of the Secret Room?"
Yes, it should be suspenseful like those shows. It will also have humor.
<Jo>: Could you have an album or something called "The Ultimate AIO Collection" or something that has albums 1–50? That would be awesome!
I like that idea, too.
<HooblerStalker>: How come the albums are released before the episodes air now?
We are trying something new with releasing the album first. We may or may not do that with album 53.
<Laura_Ingalls>: Okay, THANK YOU to Nathan Hoobler for coming! I think we've all had a great time tonight! *applause*
<Catspaw>: Thanks so much, Nathan! We really appreciate your generosity with your time! You are more than kind too us crazy fans! *joins Laura in applause*
I know that we're supposed to wrap up now, [but] any quick questions before I go? If I miss any, I can answer on the TOO.
<HooblerStalker>: Yes, when will you return my emails!
Send me an e-mail. I'll respond. As soon as you update your website. [Just kidding].
<Otter>: Does AIO ever accept freelance scripts?
We don't accept unsolicited scripts. However, we do accept people who are interested in writing. If you are interesting in writing a script, send us a formal request and we will get back to you.
<Jo>: What graphics program does Gary Locke use?
He uses Photoshop. He draws all the covers on his screen now. No canvas.
Okay, I have to go. Thank you everyone. And thank you Ms. Wilder for setting up the chat.