So, without further ado, I present An Interview With... Tom Konkle. (Questions are asked as Scoobypedia. Replies from Tom Konkle are shortened as TK.)
Scoobypedia: How did you get into the biz?
TK: I got into the business as an actor while also being a filmmaker since I was a teen. I enjoyed creating characters as an actor so I moved to Los Angeles and broke into commercials and sketch comedy shows. Then, I got an agent that I love, AKA Talent, for commercials and started making a living at acting which freed me to study the craft and create through writing and by directing productions.
As I got more voice acting work, Peter Sellers being a huge influence, I signed with Imperium 7 to represent me. My long term theatrical agent is Linda McAlister at LMT Talent, she has always believed in me and provided TV and film opportunities. On the screenwriting side I have grown in learning to hone a script and have been writing for television, internet shows and most recently a feature film which I co-wrote with partner Brittney Powell called Trouble Is My Business. I've been involved with performing and production 26 years now.
Scoobypedia: How did you get involved with Be Cool?
TK: Jon Colton Barry and I had known and deeply admired each other's work in the sketch comedy arena.
Jon had seen some of my comedy work with my sketch troupe called McFwap, and as part of a throw back British comedy duo with Dave Beeler on stage and later on the internet with shows like Invention with Brian Forbes. I loved Jon's writing so we kept in touch.
We both intrinsically have similar tastes in comedy like Monty Python, Peter Cook, The Marx Brothers and many others and we have complimentary working styles. Jon graciously invited me to become the first staff writer on the show after I'd written my first Be Cool Scooby-Doo episode, Area 51, Adjacent. He is a great friend and was so supportive of ideas on that show.
Scoobypedia: What was the writing like for you coming on the show (for Area 51 Adjacent)? Did any prior exposure to the franchise, if any, make it a challenge or even refreshing?
TK: I was thrilled! I actually came over to Warner Bros. for a tour of the office and I saw Jon had a big board up in his office showing the vision that he and Zac Moncrief had developed for Be Cool Scooby-Doo.
I immediately got seduced by the idea that we could play within this established world and put our own comic spin on it while having the great Scooby fan base already there to enjoy it.
I got all the character references and where they wanted to take the show as it was very much up my alley.
So, when I could, I jumped in and started writing. They also wanted me to do voice work at Jon's recommendation because one of the ways I work is to write then perform it all out loud as the characters which take on their own life as I develop the stories and construct the comedy.
Be Cool Scooby-Doo was character based comedy melded to the mystery. We got some great conceptual comedy in as well, so a lot of thought went into tone and structure which is everything in a comedy script.
I looked at some of the first notions of script and some of the storyboards and it all kind of organically grow out of that day.
I did know the Scooby TV series and was a fan. I hadn't seen recent versions so I liked the idea of starting without bias and they'd tell me if anything had been done before when I presented drafts. It has such a long, varied history that a lot of mystery tropes had been covered already.
Scoobypedia: Aside from writing one episode, you also did a couple of voices for another episode, Giant Problems. How did that happen?
TK: Well, I love doing voice acting. There was always kind of an understanding that there were certain characters that I would probably play. Jon helped push for me to act in some episodes. Collette Sunderman was kind enough to see me, I don't think she really got to see what I was capable of doing because of time and schedule, but had me do a few characters while I was freelance. I would have liked to do more for Collette Sunderman and perhaps she will bring me in on another animated show because apparently Warner Brothers has a clause that once you are staff or full time writer there you can't do voice work on Be Cool. Which was a drag as I had written second season episode characters like the Dr Mesmer one, a British scientist in Mysteries on the Disorient Express for myself. The charter was a variation of a character I've played for years called Sir Reginald Bo-Hey No or Dr. George Flightus depending on the show. They did a great job with all the voice work on Be Cool Scooby-Doo especially the main cast and the guest stars are superb professionals. I would have liked to perform with them more.
In fact, in Area 51, Adjacent I lavished a lot of attention on General Stall because I had hoped to play that character, however I was honored and blown away that someone like Mark Hamill wanted to play it. The 14 year old Star Wars fan in me was high-fiving inside to learn he would do it.
He might have recognized so much attention was paid to the comic bits because a fellow actor wanted to play him lol.
Frankly, that he would pick something I wrote to play is as good as doing it myself, Mark Hamill nailed it. He is a terrific voice actor and I happily relinquished that role.
Scoobypedia: You got to write 3 more episodes for season 2. What was that like coming back? Do you feel you got to know the gang better and cover more ground?
TK: By season two, I was a staff writer on it so I got to really concentrate on developing those scripts especially mandated to do the Scrooge Christmas episode. They were all written under a lot of pressure because they wanted to get the show episodes out on one tight schedule at first. Still, I got some latitude to pitch and break stories with Jon and we certainly knew the tone and the characters better in that season so we got to play a little more.
The rollout of season two became confusing as it came so much later than Jon and I had anticipated and so at the very end after we'd both been let go from the show then the season two shows finally came out quite a bit later than we expected.
Overall, I'm very proud of any of the writing that I did in season two and I'm grateful that the audience has embraced and enjoyed the episodes of Be Cool Scooby-Doo that I was involved in.
Scoobypedia: Is there anything you're particularly proud of that maybe hadn't been done before, or just in general?
TK: I was proud that I was able to deliver my own voice and that the trust that was placed in me was earned and it was an interesting challenge to write for an existing property like Scooby which I hadn't done before and animation which is always fun because it's the theater of the mind which can go on some wonderful flights of fancy because it becomes a drawing which can often be more ambitious and absurdist as animation. It's always cool to be a staff writer on the network show. I would love to be involved in another studio production and I look forward to doing it again.
Scoobypedia: Was there anything you would've liked to have done that missed out on? Are there still more stories to tell?
TK: Honestly, we were just getting a full head of steam when I had to step away.
I really would've liked the distribution continuity of the show to have been a little easier follow to allow for the success of the show and most importantly the discovery of the show while we were still creating it.
Having a stable platform so that it could incubate the stories would probably mean it would still be on and we had so many more ideas. There were so many more places we would've taken it.
We wanted to assemble an amazing writer's room. We had so many great ideas that regrettably you will never see in that show.
Scoobypedia: Is there anything you'd like to plug that you're currently working on now?
TK: Yes! I have a feature film that I star in as private investigator Roland Drake. I co-wrote and directed the movie.
I love directing especially in the realm of feature films. It is a serious, yet witty neo-noir film set in the 1940's and done in the classic style called, Trouble Is My Business Trouble Is My Business is distributed worldwide by the company, Random Media. It will be out everywhere in March 2018. I hope you'll look for it on digital platforms like iTunes.
I'm very excited for people to see the feature film. Currently, it's premiering in the Valley Film Festival on October 28 at 8 PM at the Leammle Theater NoHo7 in North Hollywood. http://troubleismy.biz
I also have an adventure book called, Red Skies, which is published by Epic Press as part of their Survive series of young adult books available at most booksellers and Amazon.
I continue to act and write and I am looking for financing for my next feature film project.
End of interview.
I'd like to thank Tom for giving his time to take this interview, I very much appreciate it. If you haven't seen Area 51, Adjacent yet, you can find it on the Boomerang app and on DVD. For season 2 episodes, they are viewable in certain countries around the world on either Cartoon Network or Boomerang.
If you wish to follow Tom on Twitter, his handle is @TomKonkle. For updates on Trouble is My Business, you can also follow the Twitter handle, @NewFilmNoir.
Goodbye for now!