• Matt Trakker

Agents of MASK Interview

M.A.S.K. The Movie Co-Writers – Wyatt Bloom and Jason Gross

http://mobilearmoredstrikekommandmovie.blogspot.com/

If you are in the film industry and are interested in reading a copy of our script, please contact Wyatt and Jason at mask.movie@yahoo.com For those of you who don’t know, Jason and Wyatt have a script for a live action movie in hand and ready to go! They need your help with exposure of MASK to get Hollywood’s attention and realize that MASK is great source material for a movie, especially with today’s CGI. Thank you for your efforts and remember that I have a wide range when it comes to acting!

  1. JW – Gentlemen, I guess my first question would be how did you both meet?

Wyatt and I went to the same small private school in Clearfield, PA. I believe Wyatt started attending in 4th grade, so we’ve known each other for a long time!! We’ve been kinda like the brothers we never had since that time. We had our own hangout in high school, which was this little hole-in-the-wall burger joint that had a game room. We spent hours there playing pool, listening to the jukebox, and playing games like Pole Position and Heavy Barrel. After we graduated in ’94, we both had a part time job at the same local radio station. Wyatt entered the US Air Force in ’95 and I went off to college in ’96, but we’ve still managed to remain close friends since we went our separate ways. Wyatt now lives in Virginia, while I live in Alabama.

2. JW – As kids, I’m assuming you were fans of MASK. Do you still have any of your toys from your childhood?

Jason – I was a very big fan of MASK growing up and had a few of the toys. The only one that managed to make it unscathed was the first MASK toy I ever received. On my 10th birthday I received the Hurricane ’57 Chevy. That is the one that remains in my collection today. I remember having a Piranha and Condor as well. Wyatt and I also had a mutual friend that had a few of the toys like Rhino and Outlaw.

Quick story, I vividly remember buying a Boulder Hill that was on the clearance rack probably a good two or three years after it had been out. My mom and I were at the Hills department store in State College, PA (about 45 mins from where we lived) and I noticed they had two BH playsets on their clearance rack. I revered BH as one of those toys I always wanted. When I saw the opportunity to own one, I made the payback promise of a lifetime to have my mom buy me one. I remember getting it home and storing it under my bed to keep out of harm’s way. Sadly though, my mom gave most of my childhood toys away while I was at college, which included my MASK toys and others like He-Man and Thundercats.

Wyatt – Yes, I certainly do.  I’m quite sentimental and thrifty with my toys.  My collection includes the talking KITT and Michael Knight figure, a few GI Joe toys, original Transformers, Dukes of Hazzard toys, an Airwolf, a He-man figure, Legos, Connectex, and many matchbox and hot wheels.  Oh, and of course a Condor!

3. Wyatt – Thank you sir for serving in the defense of our country. I hold great respect for any man or woman who has served in protecting our country. How did you get involved with the Air Force? What are your duties? Where are some of the places you have been stationed during your tenure? Can I fly one of the stealth bombers? I actually became interested when I watched Airwolf, wanting to fly helicopters.  As I matured in high school, however, I wanted to gain an education, some experience, and above all, serve my country.  What are your duties?  Wow, do we have enough e-paper for that answer?  Seriously, currently I work as a satellite, cable, and robotic production camera technician for the Defense Media Activity providing news, sports, and entertainment for other service members and their families who are stationed overseas. Where are some of the places you have been stationed?  My career has taken me from San Antonio, TX to Belleville, IL, Aviano, Italy, South Korea, Mountain Home, Idaho, Vegas, Fort Dix, NJ, and finally Ft Meade, MD with a few training locations in between.  Can I fly one of the stealth bombers?  Sure, the security forces are always looking forward to proficiency training. 4. JW – I’m an avid hockey and baseball fan, more notably the Philadelphia Flyers and Phillies. Which teams do you guys root for?

Jason – I was born in Pittsburgh, so you will probably not like what I have to say, Bill. I’ve been a Pittsburgh Steelers and Penn State Nittany Lions fan all my life and also been tortured by my Pittsburgh Pirates for the last 20 years. I don’t follow hockey on a regular basis but of course pull for the Pens. I will say hockey is my favorite sport to watch live and have enjoyed going to major and minor league games for years.

My favorite sport both to play and watch is basketball, but was never a fan of my home state Sixers. I was enamored with the Showtime Lakers in the mid ‘80s and my favorite player has always been Magic Johnson. Still a Lakers fan to this day.

Wyatt – Being from Western PA, I root for the Pittsburgh teams as well as Penn State.

Bill’s Response – Don’t feel bad, I don’t think anyone likes the Sixers. 5. JW – You are both family men correct? Care to share a little bit about your families with us?

Jason – I’ve been married for 12 years and have two boys, a seven and a five year old. I LOVE subjecting my boys to the things I remember from my childhood in the ‘80s. Wyatt and I bought the first 36 episodes of MASK on DVD for our script research a couple years back. I played some of the episodes to my boys and was surprised to find that they still held up and they loved it! Well that experience (a couple years ago now) began a trend that has continued through today of watching old shows through Netflix like Thundercats, He-Man, and G1 Transformers. Recently, we watched the entire Street Hawk series and have made it through about half of the Knight Rider episodes. It’s been a great time of bonding with them and also reliving some of my childhood memories. I also recently bought the Activision Anthology game on PS2 as a Father’s Day gift for myself and sat down with the boys to show them some video games that I used to play with my dad. Let me tell you, it was an awesome experience.

Wyatt – My family has been in the starting gates.  My wife and I have been married for 3 years and recently welcomed our first child, Adam, only 11 weeks ago.  Most of our time is taken up by taking care of him with a few moments in time to go to church and record MASKast.

6. Jason – I hear that you are still collecting MASK today. Can you fill us in on your collection as it stands today?

Oh man, where do I begin? LOL. Guess it all started the summer of 2011 as Wyatt and I were promoting our script through the blog and social media. I decided to sell some of my childhood toys on eBay that were far less meaningful to me than MASK and try to collect some of my favorites again. The snowball has continued to roll and grow larger ever since! I finally made the goal of collecting all the toys from the cartoon show. As it stands, I believe I have accomplished my goal and have collected all the vehicles/figures from the first three toylines and a few from the forth toyline. Since I don’t have a place yet to display them in all their glory, I keep them in a few large boxes and allow my boys to choose a couple toys at time to keep out. Some may say I’m crazy for allowing them to play with my collection, but I’ve always approached collecting MASK to share with my boys and let them experience what I did when I was a kid. Other than the toys, I have the first two series of DC comic books and the mini-comic series (which I hope to discuss on MASKast in the future.) I keep watch for other MASK collectibles and frequently sell complete toys back on eBay. It’s become more of a hobby, now because of the extra figures, vehicles, and parts. I’m always looking to complete a figure/vehicle set and sell it for someone else to enjoy.

7. JW – Are either of you collecting anything other than MASK?

Jason – Wyatt has a pretty extensive Dukes of Hazzard collection that I’m sure he’ll brag about. As I said before, I sold most of my vintage toys to feed my need for MASK. Some vintage toys that I’ve kept and probably will never sell include a die-cast Voltron (which I think you also own, Bill) and a G.I. Joe Sky Striker jet, both of which I’ve owned since my childhood. I have more recently collected some Hot Wheels cars, mainly because my boys’ lives revolve around them. I’ve mainly collected the recent Hollywood throwback cars like K.I.T.T., the A-Team van, BTTF Delorean, Ecto-1, etc. and also some vintage HW cars. Also recently found the 1985 red Chevy Camaro ala Thunderhawk that has been released with the 2012 HW line. Was very happy to find that!

Wyatt – Currently, my hobbies have taken a back seat.  If anything, I collect DVD – TV series, both old and new shows

8. JW – You are both doing a great job with your MASKast’s. Where did that idea come from? Why haven’t you invited back the person who put them on the map yet haha.

Ha! It was great to have you on the show, Bill. You will always be able to brag that you were our first guest! We appreciate promoting the show through your site and social media outlets too.

Well, I think it was early 2012 that Wyatt and I had a brainstorming session about how to get more people involved with our cause to bring MASK back. I had caught the podcasting bug at the end of 2011 from being a guest on the UnderScoopFire Podcast and the Title Pending Movie Podcast. I think I suggested to Wyatt about starting a MASK podcast and kinda getting back to our radio station roots. I think we both immediately agreed it would be fun to go back over and relive the entire cartoon series, toys, comics, and anything else MASK related. So far, we’ve been “having a blast” as Wyatt always says on the show. We’ve covered the first 12 episodes of MASK and the first series toy line so far. We’re set to release MASKast 16 this week. It will feature our second guest interview, Paul Panfalone who is the creative mind behind Swivelarms.Com and an avid MASK fan. We invite everyone to visit our Mixcloud archive which includes our very first podcast titled “Meet the Writers” in which we talk about how we put our movie script idea to paper.

9. JW – What have you thought of some of the 80’s toys coming to life on the big screen over the past few years?

Jason – Although I have qualms like most children of the 80s about how Hollywood is “ruining” our beloved childhood, I’m glad that people in general still revere the 80s shows and toys enough to bring them back to the big and small screens. I’m mostly in the neutral ground on the recent Transformers and G.I.Joe live-action adaptations. I know they aren’t as true to what we remember, but still enjoy them. We’ve tried to stay more true to the characters and vehicles of MASK in our script and haven’t delved into our own MASK world.

My favorite of all the remakes so far has been the recent A-Team movie. It was just plain fun and the characters were pretty true to what I remembered. I’ve also enjoyed the recent cartoon remakes of Thundercats, G.I. Joe Renegades, and Transformers Prime. They are a bit more edgy than the shows we were accustomed to in the 80s, but think there is still an audience for those types of cartoons. Wyatt and I have said from the beginning that we’d be happy if our script was used for a live-action film or perhaps the beginning of a new cartoon series.

Wyatt – It’s really is great to see our 80’s childhood return.  It’s as if the 80’s set the mark and though the writers and directors have altered it in their own way, it’s still great to hear Peter Cullen as Optimus Prime, hearing the yell of Murdock as he takes flight, and so forth.

10. JW – What is your favorite episode of MASK? Why?

Jason – Wow. I always kinda struggled with this question and even more so now as we are re-watching and critiquing each episode on MASKast. I guess the episode that always sticks out in my mind now is the Roteks. It is the first episode that really shows the mortality of the characters and vehicles. The image of Thunderhawk’s horrific crash-landing which includes many barrel rolls down the highway with doors flying off the car was amazing. There is also a point shortly after the crash where Matt is helplessly crawling out of the wreckage and Mayhem has him dead in his sights to destroy him once and for all. Great drama like that is what I enjoy now while I watch MASK. It’s also those kinds of moments that I fed on while writing the script with Wyatt. As a kid, I think I was just hoping to see some of my favorite vehicles in the episode.

Wyatt – The Roteks  Why? We get to see the mortality of MASK.  The writers and cartoonists did extraodrinary work with this episode.

11. JW – How on earth did the two of you come up with a script for a MASK movie?

It all began with a conversation over the phone one weekend in 2007. (Wow, has it been 5 years?) Wyatt was stationed I believe in Idaho at the time and we were talking about the new Transformers movie that had come out that year. Then, we started talking about what other franchises that should also make a comeback. I believe G.I. Joe was rumored at the time and then one of us said, “remember MASK?” We started reminiscing about the show and toys and then I think I literally said “someone should write a MASK movie” and Wyatt said “we should!” I think we gave it some more thought over the next day or so and agreed that co-writing a MASK movie script would be a great way for us to stay in touch. We had very little writing experience at the time and virtually none for movies, but decided we would give it our best effort. It started with basically a mutual brainstorm that we put in a Word doc. Wyatt would write down ideas and send to me. Then I would jot down more ideas and send it back. Eventually we narrowed it down to the ideas we both agreed were good and also a character/vehicle list. From there we began writing in the same manner, each taking turns writing scenes that we had conceptualized in our minds. We’d then edit the script while communicating over the phone and instant messaging. Eventually, the script turned into more of a hobby as we both had stretches where a month or more would go by before we picked it up again. After a push in 2010 mainly from Wyatt to finish it, we sent off our completed script to the WGA and US copyright office to finalize our work. 12. Is there anything you would like to promote or say to the MASK fans who wish and hope everyday to find out a movie is in the works?

Stay active. Whether it’s through the message board at Matt-Trakker.Com, the MASK Movie blog, or any other MASK website that appreciates the show, just stay active and one day it will happen. What Wyatt and I have done is just a step. We didn’t write a script just to say we did. We really want to see MASK make a comeback in some capacity. If our quest inspires someone to write a script of his or her own or if our script is picked up to produce, we just want a deserving 80s show to make it on the big screen. Many talented MASK fans in the film industry have contacted us since we began our journey to promote our script in Jan 2011. It’s been amazing to hear them say that they would love to direct or produce a MASK film or draw concept art. We both know that there are fans out there that want to see it happen…and we’ll continue to promote MASK until it does.

Wyatt and I are limited based on our current situations to pause life and personally pitch our script to Hollywood. But thanks to the internet, we will continue to broadcast our MASK signal through the web, social media, podcasts, and even word of mouth to whoever might be listening. In this case, illusion is NOT the ultimate weapon…keep MASK active and one day we’ll see it again.

If you are in the film industry and are interested in reading a copy of our script, please contact Wyatt and Jason at mask.move@yahoo.com

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