Kevin Shinick. His name might not be familiar to some, but it should. This man is living the life that you want to live and might one day have his face on the Comic Con Mount Rushmore between Joss Whedon and Stan Lee. Shinick has been a busy bee in the past few years. He’s a regular fixture on the Adult Swim/Cartoon Network lineup; writing for Mike Tyson Mysteries, narrating the Robot Chicken DC Comics specials, and show running for the BAFTA nominated* MAD animated series.
Kevin’s latest project combines two tastes that taste great together in the direct to video Scooby Doo! and KISS: Rock and Roll Mystery. I was lucky enough to sit down with Mr. Shinick to learn more about how he came to write probably one of the most hotly anticipated team ups in animation history since that time the one cat in Heathcliff dressed as Inspector Gadget.
WILL ROMINE: What was the genesis for this idea? KISS and Scooby Doo are like peanut butter and bananas; seemingly great together, but not the obvious choice.
KEVIN SHINICK: Says you! I think the question is why didn’t this happened sooner! Considering that over the years Scooby has teamed up with everyone from Sonny and Cher to Batman and Robin, I think this was a no brainer. The over the top nature of the band paired with the cartoonish nature of the Scooby gang made this an easy fit. Now if they had come to me to write a feature about Scooby-Doo and Phyllis Diller, I think THAT would’ve been peanut butter and bananas. Or peanut butter and boas as the case would be.
WR: What are some of the challenges of writing a fictionalized version of a character knowing that the real life person will eventually perform that dialogue? Did Gene Simmons find any of the dialogue “un-Gene Simmons like”?
KS: Much to my relief, Gene was very happy with the script. Afterward, he told me that he felt I really kept the integrity of the band, which was very important to me because aside from writing for a real life person, I was also writing for someone for whom I’m a huge fan. So yeah, the pressure was on. But at the same time, we had a lot of fun in the VO booth and encouraged the members of the band to improvise if they felt like it. So a few of those extra growls and grunts are pure demon.
WR: Did Kiss Meets the Phantom of the Park influence the writing of Scooby Doo and KISS, a Rock and Roll Mystery? Would you consider SDKRRM a spiritual sequel? Should I rewatch that made for TV masterpiece to pick up on any easter eggs dropped?
KS: I think comparisons to KMTPOTP are inevitable, because they both take place in an amusement park, but that’s fine, because being such a KISS fan I approached this as a sort of second chance at delivering the goods that my eight year old self felt was lacking in KMTPOTP. That being said, SDKRRM has no connection to the prior other than the amusement park feel. And while there are numerous KISS easter eggs throughout the film, none of them tie directly into KMTPOTP.
WR: In crossover fiction, there is either a literary device that merges the two universes, or the reader assumes that both franchises have always inhabited the same universe. What approach did you take for SDKRRM? Does this film carry on the grand tradition of Scooby-Doo Movies, where anyone can appear at any time?
KS: You’re blowing my mind. Are you telling me that these characters don’t inhabit the same universe? I guess growing up watching Scooby-Doo, I thought nothing of the fact that they ran into Don Knotts, so I guess we are carrying on the grand tradition.
WR: Your experience with Mad and Robot Chicken showcases your strengths in the short, one off joke department. When writing SDKRRM, (which itself sounds like a Robot Chicken sketch), was it difficult to change gears and avoid one off jokes that, while funny, would detract from progressing the narratives?
KS: That was the great thing about working on this movie. I’m known for being funny in short formats because that’s what I’ve been asked to do, but this gave me a chance to showcase my feature talents as well. Funny will always be my go to, but character and story always have to come first. So, no, it wasn’t difficult to change gears. In fact it was refreshing, and exciting to expand the realm of what people know me for. One of my inspirations is Lorenzo Semple Jr., who not only wrote the first season of the campy Adam West Batman television show, but also the movie Three Days of the Condor. That’s a scope of work I’d love to have.
WR: Your life reads like a geek bucket list. You’ve made more of a mark in pop culture than most. Is there any distant geek Mt. Everest that you’d like to climb some day?
KS: It’s funny you say that, because my “geek bucket list” is exactly how I refer to it. I’ve been very fortunate to work in world’s which I’ve loved since childhood. That being said, Planet of the Apes and Star Trek are both playgrounds I’d love to play in. Maybe they’ll want someone to turn Star Trek: The Primate Directive into a feature. And more superheroes. Always more superheroes.
WR: Any love for Scrappy Doo?
KS: Perhaps. At the ASPCA, maybe. But not in this film.
Well readers, that concludes the interview, but not Bleeding Cool’s coverage of Scooby Doo! and KISS: Rock and Roll Mystery. Will the combined sleuthing prowess of Mystery Inc. and America’s favorite glam rock band be enough to stop the random hauntings in Coolsville? Will the main villain have gotten away with it too, if it weren’t for those meddling kids? You’ll just have to keep reading to find out! I will be covering this panel on Friday and also interviewing Gene Simmons and company at the press roundtable. If you can’t wait for the article to post, try following me @notacomplainer for all of my antics.
*Prove that it wasn’t nominated.
Scooby Doo! and KISS: Rock and Roll Mystery will be released through WB Animation and Home Entertainment