Dick Grunert has been writing for as long as he can remember. Dick has been writing, producing and directing plays since his time in high school. Grunert graduated from Columbia College in 1996 and subsequently moved to Los Angeles to pursue a career as a writer and filmmaker. He’s best known as being a writer on the Emmy Award-winning Cartoon Network series Adventure Time. He has also written for the shows Apple and Onion, Bunnicula and Yabba Dabba Dinosaurs.
Q & A
Name a Sci-Fi character you relate to on a spiritual level? Who is your Sci-Fi spirit animal/spirit alien?
I think my Sci-Fi spirit animal would be ALF. I rarely leave the house, I’m extremely sarcastic, and I love cats. They’re delicious.
Friend or Foe: humanoid robots with advanced artificial intelligence? What if robots start making their own Sci-Fi films? Will you support them in their endeavors?
Definitely Foe, but I’d be curious to see what kinds of movies they would make – would they be like WALL-E or would they be more like The Terminator? Now that’s a scary thought!
In 1996, Bugs Bunny recruited Michael Jordan and Bill Murray to form the greatest basketball squad of all-time, the Tune Squad; you’re Bugs, who’s on your Sci-Fi Tune Squad?
The Predator, The T-1000, Johnny 5, ALF and Dennis Rodman (he’s from another planet, right?).
You’ve gotta go through some bad ideas to get to the good ones. Tell us one of your bad ideas. How do you get past the bad ones to find your spark?
Sometimes I think 99% of my ideas are bad. The trick is turning those bad ideas into good ones. I start with a basic concept, then come up with the characters. Once I figure that out, the rest usually falls into place.
Do you consider yourself part of a sci-fi community? Or when your brain is in the future and your body’s in the present, is that isolating?
I lean more toward horror than sci-fi, but I do love me some aliens.
Do you consider yourself more of an analog or digital person? What kind of balance do strike between the two? Is there a disconnect between the technology you make films about and the technology that you make films with?
I grew up analog but have had to adapt and would say now I’m (mostly) digital. I went to film school in the ‘90s, so we did everything on film. My school didn’t get AVIDs and go digital until the year after I graduated. But I love how far the technology has come and how you can literally make a movie on you iPhone right now.
When you’re creating the props and sets that make a new world, where do you look for inspiration? How do you create objects that are relatable but unfamiliar?
For “The Trap,” I wanted the trap itself to look like it was made out of random, everyday items. Robert Miller, who built the trap, went to a junkyard and grabbed everything he could find. I love the DIY look of the trap. Believe it or not, I never saw the finished prop until Robert showed up on set the day of the shoot! Also, it’s still in my garage.
Lightning round: Star Wars or Star Trek? Philip K. Dick or William S. Burroughs? Practical or CGI? Dystopia or Utopia? Post Apocalypse or Pre Apocalypse?
Star Wars, Neither (I’m more of a Ray Bradbury guy), Practical, Dystopia, Pre Apocalypse!