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Behind the Scenes Stories about Yo Kai Watch, Power Rangers, Ni No Kuni, and Sonic the Hedgehog Movie Ft. Marlene Sharpe
8th January 2024 • The Single Player Experience • Sebastion Mauldin @SDM3
00:00:00 01:01:49

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Behind the Scenes Stories about Yo Kai Watch, Power Rangers, Ni No Kuni, and Sonic the Hedgehog Movie Ft. Marlene Sharpe

In this episode of the Single Player Experience, Our host Sebastion Mauldin talks to incredible Marlene Sharp. Marlene shares stories about the projects that she has been involved with throughout her career. In this episode, you'll hear stories about Yo Kai Watch, Power Rangers, Ni No Kuni, and the Sonic the Hedgehog Movie. If you want to hear about experiences in the entertainment, toys, and video industries then you are in the right place.

We've got all this and more on this episode, of the Single Player Experience.

Sebastion and The Single Player Experience Links:

Head to Discord to join the FREE Single Player Experience Discord Server! https://discord.gg/YeCwD6gtDv

For more episodes, head to Apple Podcasts.

Connect with Sebastion:

Write In Here: https://pronerdreport.com/contact/

Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100089582529402&sk=about

Marlene Sharp Social links: 

Marlene Sharp - IMDbhttps://www.linkedin.com/in/marlenesharp/

Transcripts

Sebastion:

what's up?

Sebastion:

What's up?

Sebastion:

What's up?

Sebastion:

And welcome to the Single Player Experience.

Sebastion:

As always, I'm your host Sebastian Malden, and in this episode

Sebastion:

we're gonna be doing something a little bit different than usual.

Sebastion:

So instead of giving you video game recommendations like the typical

Sebastion:

episode, this episode is dedicated to giving you stories in the entertainment

Sebastion:

industry and in the video game industry.

Sebastion:

And the person who's gonna be sharing these stories with us is

Sebastion:

the magnificent Marlene Sharp.

Sebastion:

Marlene is gonna tell us all about her background in the entertainment

Sebastion:

industry and the video game industry.

Sebastion:

She's worked on projects such as Yokai Watch, power Rangers, Nino Cooney,

Sebastion:

and the Sonic the Hedgehog movie.

Sebastion:

So if you wanna hear about stories about those IP and about Ugly Sonic

Sebastion:

from the Sonic, the Hedgehog movie, then you're in the right place because

Sebastion:

we got all this and more on this episode of the single player Experie.

Sebastion:

Dj, start the intro, man.

Sebastion:

Ladies and gentlemen, like I said in the intro, I have a very

Sebastion:

special guest joining me today.

Sebastion:

She is an actor.

Sebastion:

She's deep in the entertainment industry.

Sebastion:

She's the head of Pink Poodle Productions and also the head of IP and Strategy and

Sebastion:

Acquisitions at Rain Shine Entertainment.

Sebastion:

My guest today is the magnificent Marlene Sharp.

Sebastion:

So Marlene, how are you doing

Marlene:

today?

Marlene:

I'm doing great.

Marlene:

Much better now after that introduction.

Marlene:

That was amazing.

Marlene:

Thank you very

Sebastion:

much, . Well, thank you for being on the show.

Sebastion:

So for those people who may not know you, can you introduce yourself to the

Marlene:

audience?

Marlene:

Yes.

Marlene:

So I'm coming at you today from Los Angeles, California, but I'm originally

Marlene:

from New Orleans, Louisiana, and I call myself a multihyphenate because

Marlene:

that's what people like us in LA do.

Marlene:

We, uh, have many, many jobs and many job descriptions,

Marlene:

and they're all separated by.

Marlene:

hyphens or slashes or something like that.

Marlene:

And, uh, for most of my career, I've worked as at, in some capacity

Marlene:

in the entertainment business.

Marlene:

I, I like to joke that I've had, had every job there is

Marlene:

in the entertainment business.

Marlene:

I've been scrappy and, and resourceful and try always trying to learn new skills

Marlene:

to stay employed, which is a constant, constantly, uh, evolving state of being.

Marlene:

But, um, I've worked as a creative executive, well, first started as an

Marlene:

assistant and um, and then graduated to a glorified assistant, which would

Marlene:

be like a creative executive or a producer, um, creative executive

Marlene:

producer, executive producer.

Marlene:

and, uh, writing.

Marlene:

I've, I've done a lot of acting too, but, um, I've made a living off of

Marlene:

mostly kids and family entertainment, a lot of animation and a lot of

Marlene:

adaptation of intellectual properties that come from other countries.

Sebastion:

That's really cool.

Sebastion:

So how long have you been a nerd?

Marlene:

Well, I think I was born this way, , . I'm pre, I'm pretty sure.

Marlene:

But I, I was a nerd before nerd became so specific as to refer to people who

Marlene:

like certain fandoms in some mm-hmm.

Marlene:

. Like I was a nerd in the sense that I was really good in school.

Marlene:

, I studied real hard.

Marlene:

That's what a nerd meant when I was born.

Marlene:

Mm-hmm.

Marlene:

. So, um, so I studied real hard, I did really well in school.

Marlene:

I always wanted to be in show business and I was kind of a weird kid.

Marlene:

I would go to the library and check out books like How to Get Your Kid

Marlene:

Into Show Business and stuff like that.

Marlene:

And I was always planting seeds for my parents to find

Marlene:

like, Hey, I need an agent.

Marlene:

And what do you say to your eight year old when you live in the Deep

Marlene:

South when show business is not really a thing in, in that area?

Marlene:

My parents thought it was very strange cuz I didn't come from a

Marlene:

show business family, but mm-hmm , my parents did take me to children's

Marlene:

theater a lot starting when I was.

Marlene:

Probably about two years old.

Marlene:

So I guess that made a huge impression on me and I, I, but I was never

Marlene:

content to sit in the audience.

Marlene:

I wanted to be on the stage and involved with the goings on.

Marlene:

So, yeah, I guess you could say my whole life is just, uh, um, A nerd,

Marlene:

a big one, big nerd experience,

Marlene:

. Sebastion: So I get it completely.

Marlene:

I've, I've been like that my whole life.

Marlene:

Um, my mine was mostly like fandoms of growing up, like loving, um, you

Marlene:

know, Marvel stuff, power Rangers, you know, all that kind of nineties

Marlene:

kind of nerd, them kind of things.

Marlene:

But like, I, I get it completely.

Marlene:

This is like my lifestyle, you know?

Marlene:

Like I, I couldn't see myself doing anything else besides being an nerd,

Marlene:

so I understand that completely.

Marlene:

So for all my first time guests, I have a segment called Putting You on the Spot.

Marlene:

So I usually ask a question, um, of top five question based

Marlene:

on your area of expertise.

Marlene:

It's normally like, you know, your top five, you know, your top five movies or

Marlene:

your top five games, or even your top five, you know, like shows of all time.

Marlene:

You're big into movies though, so what are your top five movies of all time?

Marlene:

Yeah.

Marlene:

Well, I don't know if I have.

Marlene:

Five, because I have very high standards.

Marlene:

Same.

Marlene:

So I might not ha, I might not have five, but let's see my top.

Marlene:

Well, okay, I have at least three . I have a CL Clueless.

Marlene:

Okay.

Marlene:

Classic.

Marlene:

And Annie Hall and Argo are three of my favorites.

Marlene:

Mm-hmm.

Marlene:

. And let's see if there's any, maybe runners up, like I said,

Marlene:

very high standards, so very

Sebastion:

different movies by the way.

Sebastion:

Yeah.

Sebastion:

Like all three of those are very different.

Marlene:

That's true, that's true.

Marlene:

Um, yeah, and I'm, I'm trying to think, well, I guess they're all,

Marlene:

um, From the, let's see, Annie Hall is probably the oldest of those.

Marlene:

Mm-hmm.

Marlene:

, so that would be like late mid to late seventies.

Marlene:

But then CL Clueless and Argo more recent.

Marlene:

So yeah, I guess there aren't really a ton of common threads except

Marlene:

that they're all American movies.

Marlene:

Mm-hmm.

Marlene:

, I, I am an American and I am partial to American movies.

Marlene:

I understood.

Marlene:

So, uh, but yeah, I, let's go with those.

Marlene:

Those are my sound.

Marlene:

Great.

Marlene:

. Sebastion: So have you seen any movies

Marlene:

Well, I have watched.

Marlene:

A lot of streaming since the pandemic.

Marlene:

Mm-hmm.

Marlene:

, I wasn't even really a big, in fact, I was kind of against streaming as

Marlene:

a concept before the pandemic, only because I love going to the movie theater

Marlene:

and I wanna support movie theaters.

Marlene:

And so, and, and plus I just don't like being at home.

Marlene:

I, I can't replicate that wonderful experience of being in the dark.

Marlene:

I, I don't have a screening room in my modest living space,

Marlene:

so I, I just love the theater.

Marlene:

But then the pandemic changed everything.

Marlene:

And so, so now most of my viewing is done on, uh, , my phone A actually mostly

Marlene:

my phone, and also my laptop, and then also on my boyfriend's tv cuz he, okay.

Marlene:

He's got it, it all hooked up to the internet.

Marlene:

But, um, one of the favorite things that I've seen lately, not a movie, but, um,

Marlene:

it's the H B O series, the Staircase.

Marlene:

Oh, I hear great things.

Marlene:

Oh, but that is a whole, that's a whole Pandora's box because you can't reference

Marlene:

the staircase, the H B O interpretation of it, unless you go back to the source

Marlene:

material, which is um, well, which is a murder actually, unfortunately.

Marlene:

A real life event.

Marlene:

A murder.

Marlene:

Mm-hmm.

Marlene:

. And then the documentary that.

Marlene:

The French documentary that was made while the first trial was going on.

Marlene:

So, so the, the H B O series is about the making of the documentary that

Marlene:

happened when the first trial happened.

Marlene:

And there were, there were, were several, um, goings on in court,

Marlene:

like May, I guess maybe you could say like one big trial, but then thi like

Marlene:

appeals and motions and like things getting overturned and this and that.

Marlene:

So there were a lot of court proceedings after the actual c conviction.

Marlene:

So, um, it, I know it sounds like really tedious and boring, but I

Marlene:

cannot tell you how riveting it is.

Marlene:

It the whole, I I am obsessed with the staircase.

Marlene:

I, I, I've bought books to read about the case and everything and I love it.

Marlene:

I also kind of feel like, um, getting into that, not just.

Marlene:

Not just the staircase, but lots of other true crime documentaries and docu-series.

Marlene:

It, it makes me feel a little naughty because most of my day-to-day is working

Marlene:

on very sanitized kids and family stuff.

Marlene:

Okay.

Marlene:

And then as a consumer, I just like to go nuts and go like really hardcore

Marlene:

into anything that's the opposite.

Marlene:

The total opposite of what I work on day to day.

Marlene:

And I feel like the staircase fulfills that need for me.

Marlene:

That makes

Sebastion:

sense.

Sebastion:

I mean everyone needs that kind of balance.

Sebastion:

You know?

Sebastion:

, it would be weird if you just came home and you were like just so engrossed

Sebastion:

with like little kids stuff as well.

Sebastion:

I'm like, you kinda have to have a balance there.

Sebastion:

But

Marlene:

you know, it's funny because.

Marlene:

A lot of people who are in the animation business, especially

Marlene:

the animation business, they are obsessed with animation.

Marlene:

And it's animation 24 7.

Marlene:

And when I, that was never more true than when I worked at Disney.

Marlene:

I worked at Disney for a couple years.

Marlene:

And, um, , we would have, we'd had various team building events or, um, even like

Marlene:

the Crisp, there was a, a Christmas party every year at Disneyland in Anaheim.

Marlene:

Mm-hmm.

Marlene:

, because we, I worked in Burbank and then we would, we would do this pilgrimage down

Marlene:

to Disneyland in Anaheim every so often.

Marlene:

And oh my gosh, it was like the bus to summer camp when we would

Marlene:

go, because people would get all decked out in their Disney gear.

Marlene:

And this was, these were for.

Marlene:

Meeting, we were essentially going there.

Marlene:

It wasn't like we were going there to ride, ride, I mean, eventually mm-hmm.

Marlene:

, we, we would have a break and then we'd ride rides and have fun.

Marlene:

But it was a, a work thing.

Marlene:

Even even the Christmas party, I mean, the Christmas party people let

Marlene:

people let their hair down, but still we'd have to work a whole day and the

Marlene:

Christmas party was like at night.

Marlene:

I'm sure they still do it this way, but I mean the.

Marlene:

Amount of grownups decked out in Disney gear, going down to, and,

Marlene:

and like we get inevitably stuck in traffic on the, the freeway.

Marlene:

And I just imagine like, how weird we must have looked this big bus of people

Marlene:

cuz they would rent all these buses to, some people would drive down there.

Marlene:

But I like to take the bus cuz I kind of like that summer camp.

Marlene:

Like we we're the whole vibe of it.

Marlene:

Yeah.

Marlene:

Yeah.

Marlene:

And, um, and so, so especially at, at Disney, people are

Marlene:

perfectly okay with Disney 24 7.

Marlene:

Um, and then I've, I've worked with other people who have some other

Marlene:

specific niche within animation or character driven universes and so forth

Marlene:

where they, they're perfectly happy to stay in that mode all the time.

Marlene:

But I'm not one of those people.

Marlene:

. not for you, huh?

Marlene:

No.

Marlene:

No.

Marlene:

There's really nothing.

Marlene:

Uh, there's nothing that I would like to do 24 7.

Marlene:

The only thing that comes close is sleeping.

Marlene:

That's about and, and being with

Sebastion:

my dog.

Sebastion:

I understand that completely.

Sebastion:

So let's talk about some of the animated stuff you've been a part of.

Sebastion:

Can you Sure.

Sebastion:

Can you give the audience a, a kind of like an imdb of what you've

Sebastion:

actually done in, in your career?

Sebastion:

Cuz there's so much, like, there's so much, you're like a Swiss Army

Sebastion:

knife of like the entertainment

Marlene:

industry.

Marlene:

. That is an excellent observation.

Marlene:

Sebastian, a Swiss army knife.

Marlene:

You nailed it.

Marlene:

Because that goes along with my saying.

Marlene:

I've done every job there is to do in show business and, uh, so my

Marlene:

original dream was to perform mm-hmm.

Marlene:

. So I went to college and even graduate school in performance.

Marlene:

And then when I finished graduate school, it was, it was.

Marlene:

A wake up call.

Marlene:

I thought my safety job, like my practical day job would be teaching at a university.

Marlene:

That that's what I, I thought I, I would, I had it all mapped out

Marlene:

that I was gonna be a, an acting professor, but unfortunately a lot

Marlene:

of people, especially in Southern California, have that same dream.

Marlene:

Yeah.

Marlene:

And those people, a lot of them are Oscar winners and Emmy winners.

Marlene:

Tony winners, um, they come from show business families, none of which applied

Marlene:

to me when I finished grad school,

Marlene:

So I could not break into academia at all.

Marlene:

I C I I E even today, it's still perplexes me how people can get jobs,

Marlene:

especially in Southern California.

Marlene:

I register with a number of temp agencies and.

Marlene:

I was placed at a company called Renaissance Atlantic Films.

Marlene:

And that is, or was the company of a gentleman named Frank Ward.

Marlene:

Okay.

Marlene:

Who had been the president of Bandi America, and he was very instrumental

Marlene:

in bringing Power Rangers from Japan to other parts of the world.

Marlene:

And so he, he had been in the toy business for a very long time, and

Marlene:

so he was retired and he retained an exclusive consulting agreement with Bandi.

Marlene:

Mm-hmm.

Marlene:

when he retired.

Marlene:

And so he started Renaissance Atlantic Films, but Bandai was his one and

Marlene:

only client, so he still worked for them, but essentially is a freelancer.

Marlene:

And so he had a small office when, when I showed up there on my first

Marlene:

day, it was just him and he had a director of development, and then

Marlene:

I was the temporary assistant.

Marlene:

But then after a couple of weeks, He offered me the job on

Marlene:

a permanent basis and I ended up working for him for five years.

Marlene:

And so that was my entree into the kids business, into the

Marlene:

foreign adaptation business.

Marlene:

Um, the mech merchandise driven TV series and movie business.

Marlene:

Mm-hmm.

Marlene:

the toy business.

Marlene:

It was like a, a real life education and how the business really works.

Marlene:

I, I, uh, was not very smart in how I approached Frank in the beginning about

Marlene:

wanting to act, and it is a touchy subject in Hollywood, like if you have

Marlene:

an office job, You, it's in your best interest if you wanna keep that office

Marlene:

job to pretend that you're not an actor.

Marlene:

. Okay.

Marlene:

So, um, but I was so honest and dumb, I guess I was, I thought,

Marlene:

well, you know, why wouldn't somebody wanna help somebody like me

Marlene:

Yeah.

Marlene:

I'm so, I'm so adorable.

Marlene:

And why wouldn't somebody, why wouldn't someone realize that

Marlene:

I'm supposed to be on the screen?

Marlene:

And so, um, so I mentioned wanting to be on Power Rangers at one

Marlene:

point, and Frank got very angry.

Marlene:

Oh, wow.

Marlene:

So I was like, okay, well that thus began my Secret life.

Marlene:

My secret life as an actor sneaking off to auditions and things like that.

Marlene:

And I, I was like, well, I'm not gonna have any opportunities

Marlene:

through these shows.

Marlene:

Yeah.

Marlene:

But then eventually what happened was, towards the end of my

Marlene:

tenure with him, I think he.

Marlene:

He decided that he was going to retire from show business.

Marlene:

Mm-hmm.

Marlene:

essentially, and he would be laying me off in the near future.

Marlene:

And so then he, uh, I guess to soften the blow, he offered to make

Marlene:

a phone call or to, to, um, Saban Entertainment, which was the company

Marlene:

that we worked with on all mm-hmm.

Marlene:

, these Power Rangers, did Jimon all, all these different shows.

Marlene:

And he, he is like, Hey, um, I have a, a great actress here

Marlene:

who would love to do voiceovers.

Marlene:

And then that was all it took.

Marlene:

I, I was able, and he let me go off and do these voiceover things

Marlene:

during the day and I didn't have to pretend or hide or anything.

Marlene:

So that, that was really great.

Marlene:

That was a, a wonderful perk of the job.

Marlene:

So I did a.

Marlene:

Voiceover.

Sebastion:

So Marlene, what was it like working with the Power Rangers?

Sebastion:

This is an iconic franchise that I grew up with.

Sebastion:

Like just imagine me at five years old just running around my house

Sebastion:

singing Go, go Power Rangers.

Sebastion:

And that was pretty much my life in the early nineties.

Sebastion:

. Marlene: I'm so glad to hear it.

Sebastion:

That was not my life when I was working on Power Rangers.

Sebastion:

It was, it was a grind and I, I was not working with the cast and crew on set.

Sebastion:

Mm-hmm.

Sebastion:

, or even at the Saban Entertainment offices.

Sebastion:

So Saban was the production company that worked a lot with Bandi to

Sebastion:

take their intellectual properties that were merchandise driven.

Sebastion:

So Bandai is essentially a Japanese toy company.

Sebastion:

Mm-hmm.

Sebastion:

, and they were one of the pioneers in making TV shows.

Sebastion:

that featured play patterns associated with their toys.

Sebastion:

And that formula worked really well in Japan.

Sebastion:

And then, um, when Frank became the president of Bandi America, he, I, I'm not

Sebastion:

even really sure how he met Heim Saban, but uh, at some point they got together.

Sebastion:

I mean, I guess Hollywood is sort of a small, small place.

Sebastion:

And um, and Heim also had a background in doing music for cartoons.

Sebastion:

Mm-hmm.

Sebastion:

. So maybe they crossed paths, something with cartoons and Japan and toys and such.

Sebastion:

And so, um, they.

Sebastion:

They formulated this idea to, to take Power Rangers specifically, um,

Sebastion:

localize a few episodes and then take it around to different broadcasters,

Sebastion:

see if they could get a deal, a broadcast deal in the US in particular.

Sebastion:

They were start, wanted to start there and then, um, and then also

Sebastion:

put the toys in stores, um, in, out in the US and outside Japan.

Sebastion:

Mm-hmm.

Sebastion:

. And so, um, that was not an easy task.

Sebastion:

It took them seven years.

Sebastion:

It took Wow.

Sebastion:

Several years.

Sebastion:

Just constant rejection.

Sebastion:

In fact, Frank, you saw always joke.

Sebastion:

He'd be like, he's like, we, we couldn't give this stuff away,

Sebastion:

He's like, no, nobody wanted it.

Sebastion:

He's like this.

Sebastion:

And to be honest, that was kind of my mentality when I started

Sebastion:

working on Power Rangers.

Sebastion:

Mm-hmm.

Sebastion:

, I mean, I had gone through, A very rigorous m FFA musical theater program

Sebastion:

where it was instilled in me that, you know, artfulness and award-winning.

Sebastion:

And, you know, that was my, that was my mentality.

Sebastion:

I want also wanted to be Tina Fe.

Sebastion:

I wanted to, um, I, I love comedy.

Sebastion:

Mm-hmm.

Sebastion:

. And so I wanted to write and perform comedy.

Sebastion:

And I, I did stand up for a couple of years and, uh, so I thought,

Sebastion:

okay, you know, I'll write stand up.

Sebastion:

I can perform it.

Sebastion:

I'm like a one woman production waiting to happen.

Sebastion:

That's what I'm gonna do.

Sebastion:

Not making TV shows for little boys.

Sebastion:

Um, so I had a, I had a really bad attitude for a long time.

Sebastion:

I did mm-hmm.

Sebastion:

and, and I didn't tell people that what I was working on, um,

Sebastion:

because I thought it was the worst.

Sebastion:

Stuff ever.

Sebastion:

And um, and then it really, gosh, I guess so after I worked for

Sebastion:

Frank, I went to work for Disney.

Sebastion:

What was the first like voice acting gig that you

Sebastion:

got after Frank made some calls?

Marlene:

It was probably Digman.

Marlene:

I did a lot of Digman episodes.

Marlene:

Oh, that's really cool.

Marlene:

Yeah.

Marlene:

That's really cool.

Marlene:

We did a lot of that and oh, oh, and also, um, we had to take the original footage of

Marlene:

dinosaurs and um, before that that I think that might have been something that Saban.

Marlene:

Passed on.

Marlene:

Like they didn't see potential that much in it.

Marlene:

Uh, so if, if, so Saban kind of had like a right of first refusal or so, like,

Marlene:

so, so Bandi owned a ton of content and a ton of like, toy driven properties

Marlene:

that they would expl, they would do their Japan thing and then it wasn't

Marlene:

an automatic that Saban would do the work that was necessary to export it.

Marlene:

Most of the time that's what happened, cuz it became a good relationship.

Marlene:

But it wasn't like Saban and Bandi were the same company or that it was like an,

Marlene:

even though Power Rangers was such a big hit, but we did a lot of shows with Saban.

Marlene:

But there was, I, I think there was, there was a moment where Saban didn't wanna do

Marlene:

dinosaurs and so we were gonna have to.

Marlene:

Make, we were gonna have to take a bunch of this footage and cut a

Marlene:

pilot and, and then take the pilot to New York Toy Fair and, um, make

Marlene:

a big splash at the Bandi booth.

Marlene:

We did a lot of that.

Marlene:

We would make these pilots that would go in the, the display for New York Toy

Marlene:

Fair, where a lot of broadcasters would go and they would get excited about the

Marlene:

next big thing in kids' entertainment.

Marlene:

And, um, so I worked on dinosaur.

Marlene:

I I I had to do a lot of work.

Marlene:

I, I was essentially the line producer of the dinosaurs, uh,

Marlene:

English language version of the pilot.

Marlene:

Um, but, uh, I was able to sneak myself in as a voice actor.

Marlene:

I don't think Frank knew.

Marlene:

I don't, I think I did that.

Marlene:

Like, that was something that I did on my own because he wasn't paying

Marlene:

attention and it was just like, oh, okay, well, um, he's not here.

Marlene:

And we hired a studio and like I was, I was, it worked, it worked out.

Marlene:

Um, that's good.

Marlene:

. So I think that was the first thing.

Marlene:

And uh, I don't know if he ever found out, cuz I don't think we did.

Marlene:

We, we put any credits in the pilot or anything like that.

Marlene:

And then I, and then it turned out, Saban changed his mind, I guess

Marlene:

cuz we did such a great pilot.

Marlene:

Mm-hmm.

Marlene:

good work me, good work me for, for making a good pilot.

Marlene:

And, uh, and then they did wanna do the show and then I,

Marlene:

it didn't last very long though.

Marlene:

I, gosh, this is a long ago memory, but I think I did some episodes

Marlene:

when it became a show, but it didn't, it didn't last very long.

Marlene:

. And I think the reason why a lot of times the, the reason why

Marlene:

shows didn't last very long would be because the toys didn't sell.

Marlene:

It wasn't that people didn't like to watch the shows.

Marlene:

Sometimes the shows would have excellent ratings and a huge

Marlene:

fan base, but it wouldn't be the right fan base to buy the toys.

Marlene:

And that was the whole point of everything.

Marlene:

And that's, that is true for a lot of the stuff that I've worked on.

Marlene:

Sonic The Hedgehog being top of mind for that because, um, segueing into the

Marlene:

Sonic , I, I, I came on board Sonic Boom for the second season and the toys weren't

Marlene:

selling and um, they weren't selling a lot, a lot of the Sonic Boom video games.

Marlene:

And so, um, so the thinking, the think corporate thinking was that, okay,

Marlene:

maybe if, if we do something a little bit different for season two, we can.

Marlene:

Turn this Titanic around and, and suddenly the merchandise will start selling.

Marlene:

And so Sega invested a ton of money in the second season, well,

Marlene:

in both seasons of Sonic Boom.

Marlene:

And, um, it didn't work.

Marlene:

It, it and it, it, it didn't work partially well.

Marlene:

There are a number of reasons, but then Sonic Boom, the cease to exist anymore

Marlene:

because the consumer products weren't

Sebastion:

selling.

Sebastion:

So, yeah, I understand.

Sebastion:

I remember growing up, I remember, um, Sonic boom, um, I, my

Sebastion:

introduction into Sonic Boom was the game though, instead of the show.

Sebastion:

Like the game, like I originally played the game and then kind of got

Sebastion:

drawn into the show based on that.

Sebastion:

But yeah, I remember, um, Sonic Boom.

Sebastion:

What was it like working there, you know, like trying to get that off the ground?

Marlene:

Oh, it was tough.

Marlene:

It was a grind.

Marlene:

. It was, that's another thing.

Marlene:

The, the cutthroat world of kids and family entertainment is.

Marlene:

Not to be believed and not to be underestimated either.

Marlene:

It's mm-hmm.

Marlene:

, um, my belief that animation and, and also especially ki kids and family,

Marlene:

merchandise driven entertainment, a lot of people, maybe not everybody, but a

Marlene:

lot of people, myself included, think or thought at one point that they wanted

Marlene:

to use that as a springboard to go on to the next big thing, a bigger plateau.

Marlene:

So to think it's tough.

Marlene:

Mm-hmm.

Marlene:

, it's a grind.

Marlene:

Yes.

Marlene:

And also there's been men, there have been many iterations

Marlene:

of sonic cartoons, so mm-hmm.

Marlene:

, I'm guessing what you watched.

Marlene:

As a kid was probably, those were, they were probably the 2D cartoon at one point.

Marlene:

There were like two or three different Sonic running, concurrently

Marlene:

cartoon running at the mm-hmm.

Marlene:

Yes.

Marlene:

Mm-hmm.

Marlene:

running concurrently.

Marlene:

That was like the Glory Days of Sonic.

Marlene:

But when I worked on it, it was from 2015 to 2017 when we were making the, um,

Marlene:

the CG show that was on Cartoon Network.

Marlene:

Mm-hmm.

Marlene:

. And, and also I worked, um, a little bit on the development of the feature film.

Marlene:

I call myself a consultant on the feature film

Marlene:

Um, but really, well, first of all, if you go see the movie,

Marlene:

you will not see my name.

Marlene:

anywhere, uh, because it wasn't, it wasn't official, but by God I worked on that

Marlene:

movie . But, um, so I called myself a consultant cuz it was kind of like, Hey,

Marlene:

Marlene, will you help us make a, um, a plan, a, a, a rollout strategy for the,

Marlene:

the movie and the toys and like, help us align with like, when we need to have the

Marlene:

art assets ready to, to send to marketing.

Marlene:

You know, like lots of like strategy stuff and, um, pe I interviewed screenwriters

Marlene:

and, uh, lots of other stuff.

Marlene:

But, um, it, it was difficult because at the time I was there 2015 to 2017,

Marlene:

Sonic had been on a steady decline for a number of, yeah, for sure.

Marlene:

Of years.

Marlene:

And Sega Japan was very much trying.

Marlene:

Turn that chip around and, and, you know, revive the brand.

Marlene:

It's a very old brand.

Marlene:

I think it's like 32, 30.

Marlene:

Let's see, we celebrated his 25th birthday in 2016.

Marlene:

So then 2020 was his, yeah, so he's like 32.

Marlene:

Yeah.

Marlene:

and . He's really

Sebastion:

old.

Sebastion:

I like how you did the bath like, like you remember when he was

Sebastion:

born and everything like that.

Sebastion:

, Marlene: right.

Sebastion:

So, um, so with a brand not old, it's not surprising that

Sebastion:

it will have its ups and downs.

Sebastion:

And when I was working there, it was not good times for Sonic.

Sebastion:

Mm-hmm.

Sebastion:

, it was very difficult.

Sebastion:

And then, A lot of stuff happened, including Ugly Sonic, uh, his , his

Sebastion:

big scary teeth and whatnot, which to me is the best thing that could

Sebastion:

have happened to the brand at all because it was totally organic.

Sebastion:

The way this, the, the Sonic fans did some amazing trauma bonding and

Sebastion:

they rallied together, like people who couldn't agree on anything with

Sebastion:

Sonic Cannon suddenly came out of the woodwork and everyone was united

Sebastion:

against ugly Sonic and, um, and that.

Sebastion:

Changed the, the movie in the sense that Paramount and Sega, you know,

Sebastion:

the people listen to the fans cuz they outcry could not be ignored.

Sebastion:

And then that caused the designs to be redone.

Sebastion:

And then, you know, we, and now we sit where we are today with Sonic

Sebastion:

being the king of Hollywood . And, um, and so sadly I'm not there anymore.

Sebastion:

But I, from what I hear, it's still, it's, it's different when you work

Sebastion:

behind the scenes, like mm-hmm.

Sebastion:

, when, when you're in the audience you see all the glory and the success and Yeah.

Sebastion:

What have you.

Sebastion:

But even behind the scenes, I, I know my friends who still work

Sebastion:

there are just like, they need to try to sustain it or mm-hmm.

Sebastion:

or exceed it.

Sebastion:

And so that's always a challenge.

Sebastion:

times change and tastes change.

Sebastion:

And a new crop of kids is born every year.

Sebastion:

And then how to, how to sustain their interest in a brand that's so old.

Sebastion:

And sometimes people associa it with their parents or whatever, and then it has like

Sebastion:

that, the stink of their parents on it,

Sebastion:

So then you've gotta do something new to keep, keep new people,

Sebastion:

keep it fresh, you know?

Sebastion:

Yeah.

Sebastion:

Keep it fresh.

Sebastion:

Mm-hmm.

Sebastion:

So, so it's never, uh, it, it's, it seems like even, even when things are going

Sebastion:

great for anybody, even a celebrity or a brand behind the scenes, there's some

Sebastion:

nail biting , because how to sustain it.

Sebastion:

So I got a question for you.

Sebastion:

What was your initial reaction to Sonic, like the ugly Sonic?

Sebastion:

Did you really think he was that ugly or do you feel like, like

Sebastion:

did it confirm something that you were thinking all along?

Sebastion:

Or was this just like, oh wow, this was a huge reaction, like

Sebastion:

that you weren't expecting

Sebastion:

? Marlene: Well, my re, my reaction

Sebastion:

And here's why.

Sebastion:

Well, first of all, I wasn't working at Sega when Ugly Sonic

Sebastion:

made his debut to the world.

Sebastion:

Mm-hmm.

Sebastion:

, I was working at Level five, which is a, a company that is very much

Sebastion:

like Sega, except their Sonic is, uh, Jabian of Yokai Watch.

Sebastion:

Yeah.

Sebastion:

So, um, so, so instead of Sonic being my boss, I had

Sebastion:

Jabian that I had to answer to.

Sebastion:

And everything was about Yoka.

Sebastion:

Like Yo Yoko was the main focus.

Sebastion:

Mm-hmm.

Sebastion:

. And then we had a bunch of other things that we, we worked on,

Sebastion:

like the latent series and, um, Nino Cooney and uh, and Azuma 11.

Sebastion:

And there were bunches of other stuff, but certainly Yokai watch

Sebastion:

was like the top of the heap.

Sebastion:

We're gonna have to get back to that cuz I, I am

Sebastion:

huge into, um, especially Nino.

Sebastion:

Kuni.

Sebastion:

Like, that's a game that really, really speaks to me.

Sebastion:

So I'm like, we're gonna have to come back to that one.

Sebastion:

But like, oh yeah, though, Like, what was

Marlene:

your reaction?

Marlene:

Yeah, so, so I was working at level five when Ugly Sonic mm-hmm.

Marlene:

happened and I had, I had um, poached someone from Sega to come

Marlene:

and work with me at, at level five.

Marlene:

So the two of us were working there, a very small office.

Marlene:

I mean we were, and it was just a group setting.

Marlene:

There were like 10 of us in the office.

Marlene:

Sergio is gentleman's name.

Marlene:

And so Sergio and I had some chuckles that day.

Marlene:

. Cause we were like, oh, well, and we knew that our friend Aaron was

Marlene:

probably bearing the brunt of it because he is the head of social media.

Marlene:

Mm-hmm.

Marlene:

. And so he's the one who like the, the fans would always, like, you

Marlene:

would think that he was responsible for the whole ugly sounding debacle.

Marlene:

Yeah.

Marlene:

The whole mm-hmm.

Marlene:

, the whole company and everything.

Marlene:

And, um, and so, um, so we're like, oh, what Aaron must be going through

Marlene:

today, just like getting all the anger from the fans and stuff.

Marlene:

So, but, We weren't Sega employees anymore, so we kind of chuckled

Marlene:

like, well, yeah, it's not our problem anymore, . Like at least

Marlene:

we can't get in trouble for it.

Marlene:

. At least our heads won't roll.

Marlene:

Um, but yeah, so we thought it was funny.

Marlene:

But then, so, uh, cut to just a few weeks ago or, uh, okay.

Marlene:

Maybe a few months ago.

Marlene:

Um, so I, um, uh, am an advisor for a school mm-hmm.

Marlene:

, that has a, an animation program for adults on the autism spectrum.

Marlene:

And so one of the things that I do for them is I bring in a lot of guest speakers

Marlene:

to do these virtual presentations for the students, typically on Fridays.

Marlene:

And it's mostly people who are friends of mine from the

Marlene:

business or former coworkers.

Marlene:

And so, um, so I've had Sega folks, I, I've, I've enlisted them to come and do

Marlene:

a free workshop for the, the students on a number of occasions because.

Marlene:

The students really love Sonic and Sega.

Marlene:

Mm-hmm.

Marlene:

and also my f my former, uh, coworkers are great talkers.

Marlene:

So we had, uh, so I had invited Chuck, Chuck Williams.

Marlene:

Mm-hmm.

Marlene:

, who was one of the producers of the Sonic movie, and Chico Slowinski, who,

Marlene:

um, essentially was a, I, she, she wasn't CRE credited on the movie either.

Marlene:

Mm-hmm.

Marlene:

, but she worked on it with Chuck for several years and left

Marlene:

before the credits were created.

Marlene:

So she didn't get a credit either, but she Oh, that's neat.

Marlene:

She was like a production manager or producer too.

Marlene:

And, um, so anyway, they have a company together now and they're

Marlene:

adapting, um, they're doing a new Pacman movie and mm-hmm.

Marlene:

, a bunch of other stuff.

Marlene:

So they're very much in the same world as me, adapting

Marlene:

Japanese ips for the big screen.

Marlene:

So they came to talk to the students and on Zoom, and so, I told Chuck and

Marlene:

Chico ahead of time, I was like, if you could talk about ugly Sonic , they

Marlene:

would love, they would love that.

Marlene:

They would love to know how that happened.

Marlene:

And so, Chuck, God bless him, he took responsibility for the whole damn thing.

Marlene:

He's like, that's sweet, ugly Sonic was my fault.

Marlene:

He said, because we had two sides that we had to try to appease.

Marlene:

We had the, the new, new folks.

Marlene:

Mm-hmm.

Marlene:

, who were not sa, Sega employees.

Marlene:

So this consisted of, um, these big name producers, Neil Meritz, who's

Marlene:

famous for Fast and Furious, and Tim Miller, who's famous for Deadpool.

Marlene:

Mm-hmm.

Marlene:

, they had suddenly become involved with the movie, not the other Sega

Marlene:

and Sonic stuff, just this movie.

Marlene:

Mm-hmm.

Marlene:

and um, so they are big name producers with, you know, lots of.

Marlene:

Influence.

Marlene:

Yeah.

Marlene:

And then Paramount Studio had become involved, so there were those

Marlene:

people who needed to be satisfied.

Marlene:

But then there was Sega in Japan who owns the intellectual property mm-hmm.

Marlene:

and knows what the fans like and how Sonic is typically portrayed and so forth.

Marlene:

So the people, the non Sega people wanted Scary Sonic, and he, Chuck brought out

Marlene:

that some of the concept art that I had never seen, like I, I don't even remember

Marlene:

the scary sonic art that came out, but it, it was, it was after I left mm-hmm.

Marlene:

I had seen some early designs that were questionable, but

Marlene:

nothing like, I mean, like, they really wanted to go dark with it.

Marlene:

Like they wanted, they.

Marlene:

Sonic to be like a dark, a dark force.

Marlene:

And they wanted wow.

Marlene:

Him to walk more like a real hedgehog.

Marlene:

Mm-hmm.

Marlene:

, they wanted him to walk on four legs.

Marlene:

Ugh.

Marlene:

To have like fangs and like, I don't know, it was like, have these

Marlene:

people not ever seen Sonic before?

Marlene:

Mm-hmm.

Marlene:

, it was really a head scratcher.

Marlene:

Cuz I know Tim Miller and his company Blur had worked on Sega games before.

Marlene:

Mm-hmm.

Marlene:

as like independent contractors.

Marlene:

So, but I don't know, you know, artists, again, they wanna put their own stamp

Marlene:

on things and they wanna bring something new to the table to attract new fans.

Marlene:

So anyway, but Chuck was in the middle, uh, he, he was technically

Marlene:

a Sega employee cuz he, he worked for Marza Animation Planet, which

Marlene:

is a Sega owned animation studio.

Marlene:

And, um, so Chuck was kind of put in charge of making the two

Marlene:

sides get along and so, so Chuck.

Marlene:

So, and, and then the Sega side of course wanted Sonic to look more like he does

Marlene:

in the games and more cute and cuddly.

Marlene:

Yeah.

Marlene:

And so, um, so Chuck kept trying to like, you know, he was like

Marlene:

the ho hostage negotiator and he's like, well, what if we do this?

Marlene:

And then, so it was a combination of the two sides is what Ugly Sonic was it.

Marlene:

And, and that was what Chuck Chuck said.

Marlene:

He's like, I was just trying to get two groups of people on opposite ends of

Marlene:

the, the, uh, the spectrum, basically the spectrum argument to come together.

Marlene:

And Ugly Sonic was the baby that was born for that effort.

Marlene:

And so, um, so then, okay, this is so crazy.

Marlene:

So then, so we're having.

Marlene:

Class.

Marlene:

Mm-hmm.

Marlene:

with the, the students.

Marlene:

And somebody asks, Chuck, what do you think about Ugly Sonics

Marlene:

starring in the new Chippendale movie, ? And Chuck was like, what?

Marlene:

What?

Marlene:

Because he had just spent like 20 minutes apologizing to these students.

Marlene:

Mm-hmm.

Marlene:

, who had, were so enamored with Sonic and they wanted to hear all

Marlene:

the behind the scenes shenanigans.

Marlene:

And so Chuck , Chuck was like, what the new Chip and Dale movie?

Marlene:

And it was like, We did this workshop, like maybe within a couple of days of

Marlene:

when the Chippendale movie came out.

Marlene:

Mm-hmm.

Marlene:

. So I didn't, I hadn't seen it.

Marlene:

I think I had heard that Sonic was in it, but I hadn't seen it.

Marlene:

So I didn't know it was like an iteration of Ugly Sonic in the movie,

Marlene:

or I didn't know any particulars.

Marlene:

And so, so neither Chuck Norco nor I, who were like, you know, oh, here we

Marlene:

are, the professionals in the room.

Marlene:

We're gonna, we're gonna teach you guys, you know how to

Marlene:

do show business with Sonic.

Marlene:

And he, the, all the students chimed in and they're like,

Marlene:

no, he's a, it's ugly Sonic.

Marlene:

And he's called Ugly Sonic.

Marlene:

And they started telling us about the Chippendale movie, and we were like,

Marlene:

all three of us were like, blown away.

Marlene:

We had no idea.

Marlene:

So, um, so then, uh, so then I contacted some of my friends from Sega.

Marlene:

Mm-hmm.

Marlene:

and got them, uh, got their.

Marlene:

Behind the scenes, you know, to spill the tea on what happened, what happened there,

Marlene:

and how ugly Sonic got in the movie.

Marlene:

And, um, they asked me to not talk about it in public because it's, yeah, for sure.

Marlene:

It's an ongoing, it's an ongoing issue.

Marlene:

But just this week I posted on LinkedIn because I read in the, the trades, um,

Marlene:

the, the entertainment industry trades.

Marlene:

Mm-hmm.

Marlene:

that the director, the director of the Chippendale movie, went on the

Marlene:

record and said that the sequel to the Chippendale movie should

Marlene:

be all about ugly Sonic . And, and that it was his favorite character.

Marlene:

And he's a huge Sonic fan.

Marlene:

And let me tell you, Disney is not a SA stakeholder in Sega or Sonic at all.

Marlene:

No, at all.

Marlene:

and, um, . And so, so he said like, he gave this long interview where he said

Marlene:

basically, um, yeah, that, that that was his, he was gonna put that out there in

Marlene:

the universe and hope that it happened.

Marlene:

And, um, and so I posted it on my LinkedIn cuz I'm a, I'm a maniac on

Marlene:

LinkedIn . And I tagged on a lot of my, my former coworkers saying like,

Marlene:

Hey, what do you think about this?

Marlene:

And, uh, we'll, we'll see what happens, but there's a lot of stuff

Marlene:

that needs to be worked out between Disney and Sega before that happens.

Marlene:

And that's all about all that I'll say on that subject cuz I, I, again,

Marlene:

I'm not an employee it either one of the companies, but I have been

Marlene:

an employee At both . At both?

Marlene:

Yeah.

Marlene:

At both.

Marlene:

Yeah.

Marlene:

And I, when I worked at, at Disney, I worked in business and legal affairs.

Marlene:

Mm-hmm.

Marlene:

. So I was a legal assistant working with all the lawyers and.

Marlene:

working on copyright infringements.

Marlene:

Yeah.

Marlene:

And talent deals and all, all the stuff that is kind of sounds like a

Marlene:

snooze fest to people just hearing about it, but it's very important.

Marlene:

It's a very, for sure, important part of the, the business.

Marlene:

Some protecting someone's intellectual property is, uh, that

Marlene:

that's how these companies survive.

Marlene:

Mm-hmm.

Marlene:

and Sonic is the number one IP for Sega.

Marlene:

It's the company mascot too.

Marlene:

Yeah, for sure.

Marlene:

Yeah.

Marlene:

So, um, so to be continued, but yeah, that, that was the, that moment was

Marlene:

just hilarious when we heard from these, these students who were so

Marlene:

passionate and like wanted to tell us the plot of the whole movie.

Marlene:

So of course, like that night I watched the movie and I was,

Marlene:

yeah, ugly Sonic makes the movie.

Marlene:

I mean, he.

Marlene:

It's great.

Marlene:

It's, it's like, which is a less a life lesson.

Marlene:

You must never discount anyone or anything because you just never know.

Marlene:

Yeah.

Marlene:

I think it's an inspiring story.

Marlene:

And then here was Chuck like apologizing all over himself for disappointing

Marlene:

fans and whatever, and it's like, well Chuck, I guess there's no need

Marlene:

No, for sure.

Marlene:

You can, you can retract that apology now.

Marlene:

Cause you mi you might have, you might have come up with

Marlene:

a solution to two companies.

Marlene:

Basically working together, you know?

Marlene:

Yeah.

Marlene:

Collabora, uh, uh, collaboration for the ages.

Marlene:

A a, mm-hmm.

Marlene:

a huge moment in the entertainment business.

Marlene:

So, yeah, I just, I, I, I like that, I like that story.

Marlene:

And, um, it's a new, a new story that I can add to my, my portfolio.

Marlene:

But just, just that you, you must never discount anyone or anything cuz what

Marlene:

can seem like the stupidest idea in the world at one moment in time Can.

Marlene:

It's the best's the best thing ever for, well, one person's trash

Marlene:

is another person's treasure.

Marlene:

Oh, oh, for sure.

Marlene:

Not, that's one of my favorite SA sayings

Sebastion:

for sure.

Sebastion:

So let's, um, pivot and talk about level five.

Sebastion:

You brought up some really cool ips.

Sebastion:

Um, YOKA Watch, uh, Nino Kumi, both of those.

Sebastion:

Uh, you know, I haven't played Yoki watch, but I, I've very much put in

Sebastion:

like 80 hours in Indian Nino, Kuni.

Sebastion:

Wow.

Sebastion:

Yeah.

Sebastion:

Like, wow.

Sebastion:

I really do deep into that game.

Sebastion:

I really love the atmosphere, the color production.

Marlene:

Did, you know, studio Gibby did the animation and um, as far as

Marlene:

I know, that's the only video game animation that they've ever done.

Marlene:

Like, that's so beautiful.

Marlene:

A strict policy at mm-hmm.

Marlene:

, um, studio Gibby, you know, they're very much Artis, so Oh yeah.

Marlene:

Miyazaki and so forth.

Marlene:

And they have very high standards and, Part of their business

Marlene:

plan is to not do video games.

Marlene:

. But I think the relationship between Hino San who mm-hmm.

Marlene:

is the founder and head of level five.

Marlene:

Like, hi Osan is very much respected as an artiste in Japan.

Marlene:

And I think that superseded anything, any, any mandates that Studio Ley had.

Marlene:

Yeah.

Marlene:

Um, you know, they wanted to work together and Nina Ku Kuni is what came from it.

Marlene:

I don't think that they worked, I don't think Studio Ley worked on the,

Marlene:

the second, I don't think they worked on the studio, the game Uhuh, but

Marlene:

it's the same art style, so mm-hmm.

Marlene:

, so it was different.

Marlene:

And I, I wasn't involved in the game animation for Nino Kuni,

Marlene:

but what I was involved in, and sadly it did, it didn't happen.

Marlene:

But I was trying to put together a series, so I thi I thought Nino Kuni.

Marlene:

Could have been arcane before ar you know, it was, this was a

Marlene:

couple of years before arcane.

Marlene:

Mm-hmm.

Marlene:

. But like, that's what I had in mind for me.

Marlene:

That's really cool.

Marlene:

And I was trying to put that together.

Marlene:

I did a, a whole, uh, cuz that's, that's really the, the area where I work is the

Marlene:

intersection of the consumer products and the screen entertainment that mm-hmm.

Marlene:

that goes out into the world.

Marlene:

So, um, so at level five, I was the head of production, um, in the Los Angeles

Marlene:

office, which meant that e everything, all the ideas came from Hino san in Japan.

Marlene:

And usually that, that's where everything started.

Marlene:

And, um, A world would be created and built out, but then they, it would

Marlene:

land in our office to Westernize or, uh, make it more of a global

Marlene:

intellectual, uh, property or to, um, localize it for different markets.

Marlene:

But anyway, with Nino Cooney, um, yeah.

Marlene:

When, um, level, so Level Five closed its LA office in 2019.

Marlene:

Mm-hmm.

Marlene:

. And, um, that was the end of my job there, which was so sad.

Marlene:

But I was deep into the development of, of Nino Kuni.

Marlene:

I, I created a bible up, a pitch Bible to mm-hmm to send to various stake potential

Marlene:

stakeholders like streaming platforms.

Marlene:

And again, like what, what arcane was, that's what we intended for Nino Kuni.

Marlene:

And, um,

Sebastion:

that would've been amazing.

Sebastion:

Like, I can't even imagine how cool that would've

Marlene:

been.

Marlene:

I know, but, um, it didn't happen.

Marlene:

I guess it still could happen, but really level five has.

Marlene:

Scaled back, its business outside Japan quite

Sebastion:

considerably.

Sebastion:

Big way.

Sebastion:

So you were talking about like your experience with Yokai watch and you

Sebastion:

know, at level five, like you've done some of the Hedgehog Yoki watch, you've

Sebastion:

also, you know, been a part of like Nino, Cooney, like empowering yous.

Sebastion:

I'm like, what was your favorite IP that you've worked with?

Marlene:

Wow.

Marlene:

Um, well I do have a soft spot for Snack World, which is level five ip.

Marlene:

Mm-hmm.

Marlene:

. And it, it's under the radar for sure.

Marlene:

It, it was a big hit in Japan, and I know there were high

Marlene:

hopes for it outside of Japan.

Marlene:

It's a little weird.

Marlene:

So, um, , so it's, it's, first of all, it's it's cg.

Marlene:

Mm-hmm.

Marlene:

. So a lot of people who, who are, are fans of level five and, and fans of Japanese

Marlene:

content in general, they're fans of.

Marlene:

Anime and that style, that 2D style, and the people with the big eyes and you know,

Marlene:

all the tropes that go along with it.

Marlene:

Yeah, for sure.

Marlene:

And Snack world does not look like that at all.

Marlene:

It's cg.

Marlene:

Um, the characters very much, look, they're, they're very cutesy, but mm-hmm.

Marlene:

, they're, they're naughty.

Marlene:

They're, um, . So it's like an irreverent take on fairy tales and myths and legends.

Marlene:

And so there are all these characters that are thrown together in this

Marlene:

environment where, um, They, they don't get along and mm-hmm.

Marlene:

, uh, that, that, you know, uh, like for example, Peter Pan is renamed

Marlene:

Peter Pancake and he's got like a dad bod and . He, he's a, kind of,

Marlene:

has a drinking problem and, uh, you know, the, he's got a lot of issues.

Marlene:

And then he crosses path with a k, uh, with a a J-Pop style.

Marlene:

Mm-hmm.

Marlene:

singing group made of Little Red Riding Hoods.

Marlene:

Um, and it's, it's very, it, it seems very non-sequitur in a lot of ways.

Marlene:

Um, and, uh, I think it was, and it's just the, the universe is huge.

Marlene:

It's like so many fairytale characters and then these unique spins on them.

Marlene:

And, um, just even tracking all the characters was so difficult.

Marlene:

But I didn't like Snack World at first when I started

Marlene:

working on it, and it was so.

Marlene:

Excuse me.

Marlene:

Challenging to work on.

Marlene:

It was just, there were a lot of parts.

Marlene:

We had to, we had to localize a lot of music.

Marlene:

Mm-hmm.

Marlene:

. And that's always challenging because in Japan, songwriters, composers

Marlene:

and lyricists have a lot of power.

Marlene:

So they, they will get creative control over their songs if

Marlene:

somebody, if somebody's gonna do a cover of their song or mm-hmm.

Marlene:

, if it's, if it's gonna be done in another language or whatever.

Marlene:

And so, so we had to have the, and this is a very musical

Marlene:

property, Snackwell does mm-hmm.

Marlene:

. And so, um, we had to get translations of the songs, and then we had to

Marlene:

have, uh, musicians who would massage the music and the lyrics to mm-hmm.

Marlene:

make them make sense.

Marlene:

Because the raw translations are usually just a bunch of gobbled,

Marlene:

dego, . And, uh, it's, and so you need an extra layer of adaptation

Marlene:

in at least one extra layer then.

Marlene:

Then the adaptation has to be reverse translated into Japanese

Marlene:

for the original composers and lyricists to look at and approve.

Marlene:

Wow.

Marlene:

And then if they reject it, then it comes back to me and

Marlene:

my team to do more work on it.

Marlene:

And then we were doing that in French, in English simultaneously.

Marlene:

And the composers that we were working with were not happy

Marlene:

with us most of the time.

Marlene:

, we had so many struggles just with the songs.

Marlene:

And then, then we were also adapting stuff to go into the toys

Marlene:

because they were talking toys.

Marlene:

So, so, and then everything had to be aligned, like we couldn't.

Marlene:

We, we had to try, try to make synergy among all of the different

Marlene:

iterations as much as we could.

Marlene:

And so, yeah, for sure.

Marlene:

It was just, it was, it was so much work.

Marlene:

And then, then I, I, I grew to love Snack World.

Marlene:

It was like my little problem, child . I gave it so much attention.

Marlene:

And, um, and then I lost my job before it ever went to crunchy roll.

Marlene:

Oh, mm-hmm.

Marlene:

. So that was sad.

Marlene:

I, I was glad when it finally went on Crunchy roll.

Marlene:

Yeah.

Marlene:

Luckily my name's in the credit, so that didn't, that's really cool.

Marlene:

Didn't change.

Marlene:

Yeah.

Marlene:

That, that's good.

Marlene:

And I got a producer credit on that.

Marlene:

Mm-hmm.

Marlene:

. So that, that was awesome.

Marlene:

But, um, yeah, that's one of my, my favorites.

Marlene:

It was just like this little, this little orphan, this little, uh, you

Marlene:

know, problem child essentially.

Marlene:

So I have a soft spot for it.

Sebastion:

One more question before you go though.

Sebastion:

Like I've, I've loved having you on the show and everything like that.

Sebastion:

I know, like it's been a long win and I know you've probably got other

Sebastion:

things to do, but I gotta ask you though, you've been a comic-con

Sebastion:

panelist for San Diego Comic-Con.

Sebastion:

Something that like most nerds think as the mecca of nerdom like that is where

Sebastion:

like all the major stuff gets an out, all the Marvel stuff gets announced.

Sebastion:

So I'm like, what was it like to be a panelist on Comic-Con?

Marlene:

Oh, it was, it was really fun.

Marlene:

And, um, it wa.

Marlene:

It was, it was, it was fun.

Marlene:

I, I, I, I'm not gonna lie, it was a, it was a great experience, but I

Marlene:

will, uh, I will burst the bubble a little bit in saying that I was not

Marlene:

in a hall age panel, so hall age.

Marlene:

Uh, and I think that's what most fans think of.

Marlene:

When people think of the, the Angels singing for com con, they think of

Marlene:

these hall age panels where people have camped out for days and mm-hmm.

Marlene:

, it's just like a massive humanity outside of the convention center and

Marlene:

then like standing room only, and then some for these, the, those halls that

Marlene:

can hold like thousands of people.

Marlene:

Yeah.

Marlene:

That was not me.

Marlene:

I was not on one of those panels , but I, I was on a panel that was small

Marlene:

but mighty and, um, it was, it was really the, the panel that I did was.

Marlene:

Called World Builders.

Marlene:

Mm-hmm.

Marlene:

. And they're, um, one of the instrumental folks from Halo, the Halo franchise.

Marlene:

Mm-hmm.

Marlene:

was on the panel with me, and there was somebody from Lucas

Marlene:

Film, uh, maybe two people.

Marlene:

Um, it, it was a bunch of heavy hitters in, in the nerd.

Marlene:

I was about to say,

Sebastion:

do you realize you just named like two things that are

Sebastion:

iconic and nerdom, like we don't necessarily need Hall H like we

Sebastion:

have Halo, you have Lucas films.

Sebastion:

Like

Marlene:

that's already, it was a, it was a, it was a quite a distinguished panel.

Marlene:

Mm-hmm.

Marlene:

, but not, we didn't have like Chris Hemsworth on our panel . We, we didn't,

Marlene:

you know, we didn't have Paul Rudd.

Marlene:

We didn't mm-hmm.

Marlene:

, we had me and we had other executives or, or, or creative.

Marlene:

PE people who were behind the scenes and, and like we didn't have like John

Marlene:

Favreau e we didn't have Yeah, yeah.

Marlene:

Any of the Buzzworthy directors either.

Marlene:

But we ha we had people who were decision makers at these huge

Marlene:

companies, but they're not like the recognizable faces that you mm-hmm.

Marlene:

typically see.

Marlene:

Um, and so, um, so it was great.

Marlene:

I loved it.

Marlene:

And, um, I, I actually, I was invited back this past summer mm-hmm.

Marlene:

to be a, a, a, a panelist again on a similar, similar kind of panel.

Marlene:

But, um, for a variety of reasons I wasn't able to do it.

Marlene:

And I was so disappointed cuz it's, it's always so much fun and the, the,

Marlene:

just the energy of the fans Yeah.

Marlene:

And everything.

Marlene:

Have you, have you been to San No.

Marlene:

No.

Marlene:

That's

Sebastion:

a dream.

Sebastion:

That is like a bucket list thing.

Sebastion:

I've been to local ComicCon here in the Dallas area, but I've never

Sebastion:

actually got to go to the big bang of ComicCons in San Diego.

Sebastion:

So yeah, that's kind of a bucket list kind of thing for me.

Marlene:

It, it's a wonderful experience and really, like I, I've

Marlene:

been to all different kinds of cons and festivals and trade shows mm-hmm.

Marlene:

and whatnot, but San Diego Comic-Con is more like Mardi Gras to me.

Marlene:

Oh yeah.

Marlene:

For sure.

Marlene:

Than anything else, because it's taken over the entirety of downtown San Diego.

Marlene:

Mm-hmm.

Marlene:

, and it's tons of people in costume, much like Mardi Gras.

Marlene:

Yeah.

Marlene:

And, um, it's just like, it's more than just.

Marlene:

The exhibit floor and more than just the panels mm-hmm.

Marlene:

, it's like taken over.

Marlene:

Every bus, every business in downtown San Diego has something to contribute.

Marlene:

. Oh yeah, for sure.

Marlene:

Whether, whether it's like drink specials or, you know, a costume contest or like,

Marlene:

it, it, it's so, um, so much a part of the culture there now and, um, just the energy

Marlene:

and, and, and it's all kinds of fandom.

Marlene:

Of course, it's very closely associated with the, the big names Marvel, DC Lucas,

Sebastion:

I mean, but it's a celebration of all things nerdy though.

Sebastion:

So it's not just the, not just Marvel in dc.

Sebastion:

So yes, there's a lot of things to do there and a lot of things to see.

Sebastion:

Yes.

Sebastion:

and you, you are right, like the gas, the gas lamp district is like,

Sebastion:

it goes off for that time of year.

Sebastion:

Like I, I've been both after and before ComicCon.

Sebastion:

I've never actually got to go during that week.

Sebastion:

So Yeah.

Sebastion:

But even then I'm like, you can almost still see the, like the, either the

Sebastion:

preparation for ComicCon or like the after effects of it, and you, you just still

Sebastion:

feel that electricity kind of in the air.

Sebastion:

So I, I really wanna go.

Marlene:

Yeah.

Marlene:

Yeah, definitely.

Marlene:

It's, um, again, more like Mardi Gras than any other celebration of film or, or, uh,

Marlene:

consumer products that I've ever been to.

Marlene:

Mm-hmm.

Marlene:

. It's just more like a b a big party.

Sebastion:

Yeah.

Sebastion:

Yeah.

Sebastion:

It really is.

Sebastion:

So before we go, we got to talk about Pink Poodle Productions.

Sebastion:

Can you give the audience a rundown of

Marlene:

that?

Marlene:

It's basically me and my dog, , and my dog is a Bichon poodle mix.

Marlene:

Mm-hmm.

Marlene:

. So she's the.

Marlene:

Chairwoman of the board, the mascot, , the, everything that I don't do,

Marlene:

she, she serves those purposes.

Marlene:

She's my muse.

Marlene:

She's the subject of some of the original stuff that I've done.

Marlene:

Mm-hmm.

Marlene:

. But essentially, I, I started Pink Poodle Productions as a glorified resume.

Marlene:

uh, a a lot of places when you apply for jobs, they wanna wanna

Marlene:

know about your website or your portfolio or your demo reel.

Marlene:

So, so I started it back when I was in Sega Days, just, just to have a website

Marlene:

to showcase stuff that I worked on.

Marlene:

Mm-hmm.

Marlene:

and then, excuse me, when I lost my job at the end of 2019, I didn't have another

Marlene:

job waiting for me, so I just decided.

Marlene:

Pink Poodle Productions was gonna be my employer, . And, uh, I,

Marlene:

I own the domain name, therefore I can make those decisions.

Marlene:

And so, so I was fortunate to have some consulting projects to roll into.

Marlene:

While I didn't have a, a full-time job at another company at that time, um,

Marlene:

I did have some consulting projects, so it just became part of what I was

Marlene:

doing for Pink Poodle Productions.

Marlene:

And, um, actually now I am a full-time employee for Rain Shine.

Marlene:

Mm-hmm.

Marlene:

, uh, rain, rain, shine Entertainment.

Marlene:

But I, I don't, I, I, I don't think I'll ever abandon Pink Poodle Productions

Marlene:

because that's something I created.

Marlene:

Yeah.

Marlene:

And, and I, and it's, it's a place for.

Marlene:

Besides social media, a place for me to showcase things that

Marlene:

I've worked on and mm-hmm.

Marlene:

um, you know, projects that I've done, whether it's like pro bono consulting

Marlene:

or, you know, uh, um, like spec projects and short films that I've put

Marlene:

in short film festivals and things, like, just anything creative I can,

Marlene:

I can make it a part of Pink Poodle Productions and that's like my own

Marlene:

brand cuz I love Pink and I love poodles

Marlene:

So , that's a, that was all the thinking that went into the, that name.

Marlene:

Two things that I love coming together.

Marlene:

So

Sebastion:

sometimes that's the best recipe, you know, just the simplicity

Sebastion:

of two things coming together.

Marlene:

Yeah, and I wanted to think pleasant thoughts.

Marlene:

When I talk about my work, it, it doesn't always turn out that way.

Marlene:

Uh, I am a complainer, , so I thought, well, with my business,

Marlene:

at least the name of the business will make me smile cuz it'll make

Marlene:

me think of two things that I love.

Marlene:

. Sebastion: I get that completely.

Marlene:

I get that completely.

Marlene:

Marlene, thank you so much for being on the show today.

Marlene:

Like I really enjoyed it.

Marlene:

I really enjoyed hearing these stories and learning more about you cuz like,

Marlene:

you're such a cool person and I wanted to say like the industry, but there's

Marlene:

so many industries I'd be talking about.

Marlene:

You're so like, you're such a cool person in all faces of nerdom.

Marlene:

So thank you again for being on the pro nerd report.

Marlene:

Thank you, you so much.

Marlene:

Thank you for being a connoisseur of nerds, and, and a,

Marlene:

and a, a curator of nerd experiences because it it, it really comes through

Marlene:

in your interview style and everything.

Marlene:

So thank you for a, a wonderful interview.

Marlene:

Thank

Sebastion:

you.

Sebastion:

Where can the good people find you?

Sebastion:

? Marlene: Well, there's my website,

Sebastion:

am a maniac on LinkedIn, so if you wanna connect with me, go to LinkedIn.

Sebastion:

I also manage the Women in Animation LinkedIn group, which is very active.

Sebastion:

We've got almost 20,000 members.

Sebastion:

Wow, that's really cool.

Sebastion:

So I've been the moderator from the very beginning, so I, I try

Sebastion:

not to moderate with a heavy hand.

Sebastion:

Mm-hmm.

Sebastion:

, but, uh, but I, I'm there a lot during the day just cuz it's, it's part of my world.

Sebastion:

And, um, and then I'm, I'm on also on Facebook and Instagram,

Sebastion:

all the, the usual suspects.

Sebastion:

I'm, I'm, I'm findable.

Sebastion:

Well, that's great, Marlene.

Sebastion:

Thank you so much for being on the show, and I will catch you on the next one.

Sebastion:

Thank

Marlene:

you.

Marlene:

Great.

Marlene:

Thank you, Sebastian.

Marlene:

Take care.

Marlene:

Alright, bye

Sebastion:

bye-Bye.

Sebastion:

so that's a wrap for today's episode.

Sebastion:

I wanna give a special shout and thank you to Marlene Sharp for being on the show.

Sebastion:

I also wanna let you know about the single player experience Discord server.

Sebastion:

It's the perfect place for single player gamers to talk about the good single

Sebastion:

player games they've been playing lately, and to get video game recommendations.

Sebastion:

Think of it kind of like a book club for single player gamers.

Sebastion:

The link to join will be in the description.

Sebastion:

Once you're in, feel free to share your video game backlog list.

Sebastion:

Talk about the good games you've been playing, or give your feedback

Sebastion:

on the show if you have a game that you think should be recommended or

Sebastion:

that you think I should talk about.

Sebastion:

Let me know in the single Player Experience Discord server.

Sebastion:

I'll see you there.

Sebastion:

Before we go, I just want to thank you so much for listening to today's episode.

Sebastion:

Stay safe, stay gamming, and I hope to catch you in the next one.

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