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William Kallay book reveals “How Tron Changed Visual Effects and Disney Forever”



This original article was published on January 4, 2012.

It’s the sci-fi cult classic that spawned a pricey sequel last year. Not to mention being the jumping-off point for a brand-new animated series which will debut on Disney XD later this year.

“Tron: Uprising,” which is due to debut on Disney XD later this summer.Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved

But you gotta ask yourself: Would “Tron” have become a really-for-real blockbuster back in 1982 if Walt Disney Productions opted to go a different way with this Steven Lisberger film? Like by – say – having Robin Williams play Flynn in this visual effects extravaganza? Or by maybe seriously upping this project’s star power by hiring Peter O’Toole to portray all three of this movie’s villains: Dillinger, SARK and the MCP?

Or would this ground-breaking motion picture have done far better at the box office that year if Disney executives had just stuck with their original plan. Which was to have “Tron” be the Studio’s big Christmas release for 1982, rather than having this ambitious & innovative production go toe-to-toe with that summer’s other big scif-fi themed / visual effects-filled films (i.e. “E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial,” “Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan,” “Blade Runner,” “The Thing” and “Poltergeist“).

Those are the questions that you get to ask yourself as you read through William Kallay‘s “The Making of Tron: How Tron Changed Visual Effects and Disney Forever” (November 2011). This 272-page paperback is a fascinating, in-depth look at a seriously under-reported era in The Walt Disney Company’s history: the late 1970s / early 1980s.

By that I mean: This was a time when the Studio was trying to reinvent itself, shake off the old ways and become competitive in Hollywood again. So all sorts of seemingly strange ideas were being considered back then. Like – for example – permanently shuttering Disney’s hand-drawn animation unit.

Seriously.  As Jerry Rees told “The Making of Tron” ‘s author, one particularly memorable morning in the late 1970s started off with this then-newly hired animator being called into a meeting where …

Art Stevens and Ted Berman … said, ‘Well, if it were us to us, we would just keep re-releasing stuff from the library because we got enough films. But (management wants) us to make another movie.’ So that’s we started (work on ‘The Fox and the Hound‘) !”

Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved

Of course, what’s kind of ironic about this particular situation is that one of the main reasons that “Tron” development team didn’t initially want to pitch this CG-heavy film to Disney was because – as producer Donald Kushner explained — …

“… we felt (that) they were the vanguard of traditional animation, that they would probably not be interested in computer simulation. Or if they were interested in computer simulation, they would probably want to develop something in-house.”

So here was Disney, toying with the idea of getting out of the hand-drawn animation business. And here’s the “Tron” team, reluctant to pitch their CG-filled film to the Mouse because all that Disney had ever done up until this point was produce hand-drawn animated features & shorts.

Concept art from the original “Tron” pitch. Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved

But after “Tron” had unsuccessfully been pitched to Universal Pictures, Bonnie MacBird (i.e. the original writer of this film) heard that there was this executive at Disney – Tom Wilhite — who was willing to embrace new things.

So Steven, Donald and Bonnie took their movie idea to Tom. And Wilhite thought enough of “Tron” to commission a couple of camera tests. One of which made use of old sentry uniforms from “The Black Hole” that had been dug out of the Studio’s costume department. While the other featured …

… professional Frisbee champion, Sam Schatz. Dressed in clothing and gear raided from a sporting goods store, Schatz threw a Frisbee around as the camera filmed him. The result of both screen tests convinced Wilhite and (then-Walt Disney Studio head Ron) Miller that Lisberger was capable of directing a major $12 million motion picture.

Sam Schatz in all of his sporting gear for the “Tron”pre-production test. Copyright Disney Enterprises,Inc. All rights reserved

Which isn’t to say that the production of “Tron” went all that smoothly. As Michael Fremer, the sound supervisor on this film, recalled:

“Because the set was so dark, all black, (Disney had to use so many lights & so much electricity to properly light this set that) they were literally blowing out the transformers at the Burbank power station.”

And as Cindy Morgan (i.e. the “Caddyshack” star who was eventually hired to play Lora & Yori) remembers, performing in this all-black void of a set was often quite challenging for the actors. Morgan recalled in an April 2007 interview with Kallay how she used to butt heads with Lisberger over how he was directing particular scenes.

Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved

“Okay, Morgan, you’re on the Solar Sailer. You’re crossing the Game Sea. Go!” Morgan fixated blankly on the blackness of the set. “What the hell are you talking about?,” she questioned. Lisberger took out sketches of the Solar Sailer and showed her where to go. “And you’re flying the ship,” directed Lisberger. “Another question – what the hell are you talking about flying the ship?” asked Morgan. “That table there, that’s the control panel,” said Lisberger. “You know Steven, there’s nothing here,” said Morgan. “Just do anything and the artists will paint it in.”

And speaking of nothing there, Bruce Boxleitner had some very funny stories to share with the author of “The Making of Tron” when it came to this film’s costumes:

Jeff Bridges, Cindy Morgan and Bruce Boxleitner in their “Tron” costumes.Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved

“There were no pants,” exclaimed Boxleitner.”(The male costumes for TRON were) about as close to being naked as you could be. It hid nothing. Thank God we were only thirty or thirtyone years-old and in good shape. I think there was a situation where we had to wear bathrobes if we went outside or to the commissary. The old secretaries were having the vapors with these young butt cheeks standing there.”

And as this sci-fi film moved through its post-production phase, the topic of Bruce’s butt would come up yet again because …

“Steve Lisberger was in dailies one day and noted that because there was so much black circuitry on Bruce Boxleitner’s original costume butt, the final shots as finished (to be cut into the film) made Tron’s butt glow a lot,” recalls (Harrison) Ellenshaw (visual effects supervisor on this movie).

Harrison Ellenshaw directs Walter Cronkite in a “Tron” – inspired sequence for CBS’s “Universe” television program.

Lisberger rightly felt that the glowing behind would be too distractive to the audience.

“All the guys would be running down the hallway and they’d be looking like blue butt baboons because they have this glowing ass!” exclaims (Glenn) Campbell (who handled animation camera compositing on this film).

“So we had this thing called the ‘butt grad scandal,’ ” says (Tron animator John) Van Vliet.

Jeff Bridges on the Game Grid. Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc.All rights reserved

“I still have daily reports that say this shot approved, this shot approved, this shot needs butt grads,” says Campbell. “(Which) meant that that a shot had to go back and someone has to go through every frame, by hand, and airbrush a darkening density on a guy’s ass so it doesn’t glow as much.”

And speaking of asses … Perhaps the most startling aspect of “The Making of Tron” is the part of this book which discusses why the film wound up being released to theaters during the Summer of 1982. Visual effects supervisor Richard Taylor places the blame for this movie’s mischosen release date on Disney’s then-Chairman of the Board Card Walker.

To hear Taylor tell the story, Card was looking to use “Tron” as a way  for the Company to get back at Don Bluth. Who – back in September 1979 – had resigned from Walt Disney Studios and then gravely embarrassed Walker by announcing that he intended to set up his own animation studio which would then do what Disney couldn’t do anymore. Which was create hand-drawn animated features that had the same sort of lush design & detail that one used to see in classic Disney films like “Pinocchio” and “Fantasia.” Which is why …

Copyright 1982 MGM/UA. All rights reserved

… Card Walker wanted Tron rushed into release. Tron needed at least six months more post production time for reshoots and audience test screenings to finesse the film. According to (Richard), the film was supposed to be released during the Christmas season of 1982.

The Secret of NIMH was coming out on that weekend,” recalls Taylor. “Card Walker wanted Tron to come out on the same weekend to take away from their box office. And that is the reason. No objectivity. Nothing. Pure revenge. No consideration for Tron being something really special. It was entirely motivated by revenge. The stupidest thing in the world.”

These are the sorts of stories that you’ll only find out by reading “The Making of Tron: How Tron Changed Visual Effects and Disney Forever.” Which is an eye-opening account not only of the making of this ground-breaking motion picture but also a great look back at what the Walt Disney Productions was like back in the late 1970s / early 1980s. What was actually going on at the Studio back then.

David Warner as the Evil Genius in “Time Bandits,” the part that supposedly help Warnerwin the roles of Dillinger, SARK and the MCP in “Tron.” Copyright Disney Enterprises,Inc. All rights reserved

I mean, did you know that Disney seriously toyed with releasing Terry Gilliam‘s “Time Bandits“? I didn’t. Not until I read this book, anyway. Which is why – if you’re a Disney history buff – I think you’ll really enjoy reading  William Kallay’s well-researched, highly-entertaining book.

FYI: (Just because there are JHM readers who actually want to know these things) I didn’t pay for my copy of “The Making of Tron.” Mr. Kallay sent a review copy to me for gratis. But given all of the great behind-the-scenes stories that I tripped over while paging through this paperback, I would have gladly paid for a copy of “How Tron Changed Visual Effects and Disney Forever.”

Jim Hill is an entertainment writer who has specialized in covering The Walt Disney Company for nearly 40 years now. Over that time, he has interviewed hundreds of animators, actors, and Imagineers -- many of whom have shared behind-the-scenes stories with Mr. Hill about how the Mouse House really works. In addition to the 4000+ articles Jim has written for the Web, he also co-hosts a trio of popular podcasts: “Disney Dish with Len Testa,” “Fine Tooning with Drew Taylor” and “Marvel US Disney with Aaron Adams.” Mr. Hill makes his home in Southern New Hampshire with his lovely wife Nancy and two obnoxious cats, Ginger & Betty.

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Books & Print

The longish path that “Catch My Breath,” Paul Briggs’ picture book took to be published by Disney Hyperion



Catch My Breath Book by Paul Briggs

How long can you hold your breath?

I ask this question because Paul Briggs wound up holding his “Breath” (i.e., “Catch My Breath,” that charming picture book which Briggs wrote & illustrated. This is also the 48-page hardcover that Disney Hyperion sent out into stores late last month as the most recent installment of its Walt Disney Animation Studios Artist Showcase series) for over five years.

“I initially submitted my pitch for a children’s book back in early 2012. But just as my idea was selected for Disney’s Artist Showcase program, I was then asked to become Head of Story on ‘Frozen,’ ” Briggs recalled during a recent phone interview. “So I put my picture book proposal in a drawer and then devoted the next year of my life to ‘Frozen.’ All with the idea that – once this job was done – I’d then turn my attention back to ‘Catch My Breath.’ “

Paul Briggs at a recent signing for “Catch My Breath,” his new picture book. Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved

That was Paul’s plan, anyway. But then in the Fall of 2013, just as the team at Walt Disney Animation Studios was completing “Frozen,” Briggs learned that he was needed on “Big Hero 6.”

“I was literally at the ‘Frozen’ wrap party when I learned that I was going to be asked to come on board ‘Big Hero 6.’ So I was like ‘Okay! I’ll now go work on that project and then – as soon as that’s done – get back to work on my picture book,’ Paul continued. “But once I finished working on ‘Big Hero 6,’ there were another couple of projects that the Studio wanted me to help out with. Which meant that another year or so went by before I was then finally able to circle back on ‘Catch My Breath.’ “

Given all of these delays, another writer might have thought “It’s not meant to be” and have just left this book pitch in that drawer. But not Briggs.

Story sketches that Paul Briggs did for Disney’s “Frozen.” Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved

“I’m the kind of guy who likes to fold bits & pieces of his real life into the stories that he’s trying to tell. Take – for example – ‘Frozen.’ I have four sisters. Which is why – when I was working on that movie – I tried to make sure that Anna & Elsa came across as realistic siblings. That – over the course of that film’s story — these two behaved like real sisters do,” Paul explained. “Now on ‘Big Hero 6’ … Well, my Mom had just passed away as I began working on that movie. So as the story team was sorting through how to best tell ‘Big Hero 6’ ‘s story, I was in the middle of my own personal journey of understanding. Trying to learn how to accept grief into my life without it then overwhelming or undermining everything else in my life. And what I learned by going through that part of the grieving process then influenced a lot of the story suggestions that I made on ‘Big Hero 6.’ “

Truth be told, the passing of Briggs’ mother did help shape the sort of story that he was hoping to tell with “Catch My Breath.”

“The very same year that my Mom died, my son was born. So in that same short span of time, I got to see my mother take her very last breath and my first-born take his very first breath,” Paul remembered. “And that’s when it occurred to me that our breath is kind of like our bestest, closest friend. Which is why you can’t ever allow it to get away.”

Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved

So with that creative conceit in his head, Briggs then began to sketch out a story for ‘Catch My Breath.’ A tale which Paul admits took a teeny bit of inspiration from that Grammy Award-winning author, Shel Silverstein.

“I just loved his stuff when I was growing up. But – to be honest – there are so many authors that I read when I was a kid, so many artists whose styles I’d tried to emulate when I was just getting started with my career and I was still trying to find myself that …,” Briggs stated. “Well, when it came to ‘Catch My Breath,’ what was really important to me with this picture book was that I just do my own thing. Mind you, I didn’t exactly know what that was when I was just getting started on this project. But in the end, it would up being this very intimate, personal thing.”

And given that his pitch for the Walt Disney Animation Studio Artists Showcase was so personal, Paul wasn’t entirely sure that they’d actually go for this story.

Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved

“Even when I first proposed it, I was like ‘The illustrations for this book are only going to be two colors and they’re just going to be line work. Is that going to be a problem?’ But Samantha McFerrin and Scott Piehl at Disney Publishing were so supportive. And they said ‘No. This picture book is great. We love it just the way it is,’ ” Briggs said. “So barring some tiny tweaks that the three of us made for clarity’s sake, this story pretty much stayed the same throughout the entire development process. It’s pretty close to the same thing that I originally pitched.”

“Which – I have to tell you – is just not something that I’m used to. Because when we’re working on the story for a new film at Walt Disney Animation Studios, we’re just brutally honest with one another,” Paul continued. “You see, our process is that – every couple of months — we have these screenings of the animated movies that we’re making. And then we look closely at what’s working – more importantly, what’s not working – and we just attack it. I think that’s what makes the films that Disney Animation Studios makes today so great. There’s this honesty between the filmmakers & the writers & the story team & the Studio as a whole.”

And given that Briggs has been working for the Mouse for 21 years now (“I started back when I was 20. Which meant that I couldn’t drink. So it was really painful sometimes to have to work on some of these movies,” Paul laughed), he’s had a front row seat for the huge creative cultural shift that Walt Disney Animation Studios has undergone during that period.

Story sketch that Paul Briggs did for Disney’s “Tangled.” Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved

“I started at the satellite studio that Walt Disney Feature Animation had in Florida back then working on ‘Mulan.’ That was a really tight unit down there. Especially once ‘Lilo & Stitch’ came down. That was a very special movie to me,” Briggs recalled. “Then after 9 years, I moved out here. But I still run into a lot of my old Florida friends here at work. There’s definitely a feeling of family here, a sense of pride. You can definitely feel that nowadays. We all want to continue to make great films here. Which is why we’re always so focused on the next movie we’re making.”

Which is why Paul can’t get away at the moment to do the traditional promotional book tour for “Catch My Breath.” You see, he’s right in the middle of working on a project for Walt Disney Animation Studios that Briggs isn’t allowed to talk about. Not yet, anyway.

“We’re still trying to figure out what my schedule is. When the best time to travel would be, so that I can then go out in the world and do some promotion,” Paul admitted. “In the meantime, I’m sticking pretty close to home.”

Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved

And speaking of close to home … Given that Briggs & his wife Christin have two little boys of their own (i.e., Luke & Leo), who does Paul tell his sons the lead character of “Catch My Breath” is based on?

“It’s funny.  My boys have actually asked me that. ‘Daddy, which one of us is this?” And my response is ‘Well, it’s my favorite,’ ” Briggs teased.

Here’s hoping that Luke & Leo don’t decide to try and wait out Paul out when it comes to getting a definitive answer to their which-of-us-is-this-character-actually-based-on question? Because – as Briggs has already proven by the five-plus years it took to get his children’s picture book published as part of the Walt Disney Animation Studios Artist Showcase program – he is an infinitely patient man.

This article was originally published by the Huffington Post on Tuesday, October 3, 2017

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Books & Print

“My Golden Ticket” allows Willy Wonka fans to go on a personalized tour of that fabled chocolate factory



My Golden Ticket

Ever since “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” was first published back in 1964, people have dreamed of visiting the Wonka Works. Make their way past those fabled gates and then … Well, go for a sail down the chocolate river aboard the Wonkatania.

Copyright Wonderbly. All rights reserved

Or – better yet – visit some of the rooms at that factory that Roald Dahl mentioned in his text but which readers then never got to explore. I mean, what sort of machinery is actually inside of the Juicing Room (i.e., where the Oompa-Loompas took Violet Beauregarde after she chewed that piece of gum which isn’t ready for human consumption yet and then wound up as a giant blueberry)?

Well, thanks to “My Golden Ticket: A Journey into Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory,” you can now do what Charlie Bucket did. Wander that factory floor. Peek behind all of those closed doors. Have a literary adventure that – thanks to the state-of-the-art personalization technology which powers the creation of this volume – will be different for every single person who orders this book.

An inspired collaboration between the Roald Dahl Literary Estate and Wonderbly (that Google-backed personalized startup), “My Golden Ticket” not only allows the reader to revisit some of the candy rooms that were described in the original “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” book (and were subsequently visualized for the two films that followed), it also takes them to rooms that Roald only mentioned in passing. Better yet, visit sections of the factory that Wonka fans didn’t even know existed before that were taken directly from Dahl’s original notes for this much-beloved book.

Copyright Wonderbly. All rights reserved

“It has been an amazing privilege to work with the Roald Dahl Literary Estate to bring to life and re-open the gates of one of the most iconically imaginative worlds in children’s literary history,” said Asi Sharabi, the CEO of Wonderbly. “Our two teams here worked closely to strike just the right balance here: Creating a book that captures the spirit of Roald Dahl’s original tale, while – at the same time – crafting a story that expands & enriches what people already knew about Willy Wonka’s factory that also allows plenty of opportunity for personalization.”

And how exactly does Wonderbly go about personalizing each reader’s journey through “My Golden Ticket?” Just like that mysterious chocolatier, this innovative children’s book publisher has its secrets. But what can be revealed is that “A Journey Through Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory” – as it goes through its personalization production process – then makes use of an algorithm that keys off of the placement of letters in each child’s name.

Take – for example – what happens during this tour after each child eats a sweet that comes out tumbling out of Wonka’s Fizzical Effects Machine. This particular spread in “My Golden Ticket” makes use of whatever the fourth letter in your child’s name is. So if your daughter’s name is Sofia, that character in the book then becomes invisible. Or if your son’s name is Charlie, that character then becomes rubbery in this story.

Copyright Wonderbly. All rights reserved

This sort of super-specific personalization continues as each Golden Ticket holder explores the factory. In the Toffee Apple Orchard, each child will discover a Dahl-ified version of their family tree that then  keys off of what their individual surname is. In the Rainbow Drop Room, as the reader makes a rainbow, something goes wrong. And then everything turns a color that’s dictated by the second letter of this child’s name (EX: Sofia = Orange, Alan = Lavender, etc).

Adding to the fun of “A Journey Through Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory” are all the great illustrations that Adam Hancher has created for this project. Using classic candy & chocolate ads from the 1950s, 1960s & 1970s as his jumping-off point, Adam filled this 36-to-40-page volume with dozens of witty drawings & paintings that perfectly capture the look of what a modern-day Wonka Works might be like.

The end result is – to borrow a phrase from the song that Leslie Bricusse & Anthony Newley wrote for “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” – is a product of “Pure Imagination.” A beautifully illustrated book very much in the original Roald Dahl style where – thanks to the algorithms that power Wonderbly’s personalization technology – no two readers will ever have the exact same adventure.

Copyright Wonderbly, All rights reserved

So if you’d like your child to receive the Veruca Salt treatment (i.e., finding out what their own personalized Oompa-Loompa song would be like) without then being tossed down a garage chute by judgmental squirrels, why not wander over to the Wonderbly website and learn a bit more about “My Golden Ticket: A Journey into Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory” ?

This article was originally published by the Huffington Post on Thursday, September 7, 2017

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Books & Print

The Property Brothers take Jonathan and Drew’s House Party on the road to promote their new memoir



Property Brothers

The long Labor Day weekend is traditionally when Americans kick back for a bit. Catch a three day-long breather before these same people then plunge into all of the projects work that they’ve got planned for the Fall.

Drew Scott and Emma Slater, his professional dancing partner for the upcoming season  of ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars.” Photo by Craig Sjodin. Copyright American Broadcasting Companies, Inc. All rights reserved

Well, Drew Scott clearly never got the take-Labor-Day-off memo. For – while he’s been out in Los Angeles with his twin brother Jonathan shooting “Property Brothers at Home: Drew’s Honeymoon House” episodes (FYI: The latest season of the Scott’s super-popular house renovation / home improvement show “Buying & Selling” began airing on HGTV this past Wednesday) – Drew’s also been rehearsing with Emma Slater for their upcoming debut on ABC‘s hit reality series, “Dancing with the Stars.”

“Whenever Jonathan and I are shooting new episodes of our ‘Property Brothers’ show, we typically spend 12 – 14 hours a day in front of the cameras. But these days, as soon as I finish doing that, I then do three, sometimes three-and-a-half hours of dance rehearsal with Emma,” Scott admitted during a recent phone interview. “It’s been exhilarating but exhausting. I love taking on a new challenge.”

And speaking of challenges … The next two weeks should be especially challenging for the brothers. For – on either side of “Dancing with the Stars” September 18th premiere – Drew & Jonathan will be traveling all over the country, making stops in 11 major cities as they promote their new memoir, “It Takes Two: Our Story” (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, September 2017).

Copyright 2017 Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved

“And because Drew and I have never done anything normal in our lives … Well, we decided that we didn’t want this to be the typical sign-and-shuffle kind of book tour. We wanted to do something special for our fans. Something that really lets these people know how much my brother and I appreciate all of the support that they’ve given us over the years,” Jonathan explained.

Which is why – tomorrow night at the Bergen PAC in Englewood, NJ – the Scott brothers are kicking off Jonathan and Drew’s House Party tour. Which promises to give “Property Brothers” fans an uncensored look at the lives of these 39 year-old twins.

“Our goal with this book tour is that – at each stop along the way – we want to make it seem as though we’re staging the ultimate variety show for 2000 of our closest friends. Drew and I have actually been calling this a bro-riety show, because – as part of this program – we’ll be singing a song that made Billboard’s country charts a few years back. And I’ll also be doing some magic. Plus showing behind-the-scene bloopers from the show and giving away door prizes,” this Scott Brother enthused. “There’ll be something for everyone.”

Copyright HGTV. All rights reserved

One aspect of Jonathan and Drew’s House Party that “Property Brothers” fans are particularly sure to enjoy as their impromptu design consults.

“During this interactive part of the show, Jonathan and I are going to do something that we’ve ever never done before. We’re going to have people who come out for our House Party tour submit a photo of the worst room in their house. And then Jonathan and I are going to bring these fans up onstage and we’re going to be doing live digital makeovers of these problem spaces in their homes,” Scott continued. “Mind you, it’s only the people who come out for our book tour who’ll get this opportunity. And did I mention that everyone who buys a ticket for Jonathan and Drew’s House Party also gets a free copy of ‘It Takes Two’ ?”

And what makes “It Takes Two: Our Story” different from the Scott’s earlier book, “Dream Home: The Property Brothers’ Ultimate Guide to Finding & Fixing Your Perfect House” (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, April  2016) ? That New York Times best seller was really more about the design side of things. Drew and Jonathan’s process when dealing with their clients. Whereas “It Takes Two” attempts to address a lot of personal questions that “Property Brothers” fans have had about this pair.

Drew & Jonathan roughing it as kids. Copyright HGTV. All rights reserved

“What we tried to do with this book, this memoir, was show the good, the bad, and the ugly. Drew and I weren’t born with silver spoons in our mouths. We grew up on a ranch in Canada after all. We had to work hard for every penny. And we’ve definitely had our ups & downs over the years,” Jonathan stated.

“That’s why – when we began working on ‘It Takes Two’ – Drew and I made a pact with one another that we would not eliminate anything from this book. That if something that happened to us was an important part of our story, crucial to our fans understanding how we wound up the way we did, it was going to be in this memoir,” Scott continued. “That’s why – in ‘It Takes Two’ – even I’ve never ever talked about my divorce before, I share how painful that was for me. I also talked how when I was scammed when I was younger and how I was forced to declare bankruptcy.”

The present day has also had a lot of challenges for the Scotts. Take – for example – all the effort it takes to complete production on all of their series for HGTV.

Copyright HGTV. All rights reserved

“We shoot up to 17 episodes at a time. That means that we’re actually doing 17 full renovations at the exact same time. Which would just be impossible – especially when you take into consideration that, every two or three months or so, we move across the country to a brand-new city and then start working with families on their house renovations. But that’s where our great production team comes in. Without that well-oiled machine, our terrific design & construction crews, Jonathan and I would never be able to do what we do,” Drew said.

It’s this kind of candor about what actually goes on behind-the-scenes that’s sure to Jonathan and Drew’s House Party a must-attend event for Property Brothers fans. Not to mention the insights you’ll be able to glean about the brothers’ next show for HGTV, “Drew’s Honeymoon House” (which doesn’t officially debut ’til November).

“I overheard a recent conversation when Drew and Linda were negotiating who gets how much closet space,” Jonathan laughed. “And Drew was saying that he’d only allow her to have 30% of the closets.”

Linda Phan & Drew Scott

“That’s because my shoes are three times the size of hers!,” his brother interjected.

This is the sort of live onstage silliness that you can expect to Jonathan and Drew’s House Party. Which – after it kicks off tomorrow night at the Bergen PAC in Englewood, NJ – then travels over North America before this not-your-typical-book-tour makes its final stop at the Cobb Energy Center in Atlanta, Ga on September 19th.

And speaking of energy … That’s one of the main reasons that the Scott Brothers are so looking forward to the Jonathan and Drew’s House Party getting underway tomorrow night.

Copyright HGTV. All rights reserved

“The two of us actually come from an improv comedy, stand-up background. That why Jonathan and I have always enjoyed cracking up the crew whenever we’re on location shooting a new episode,” Drew enthused. “But now we get to do that silly sort of stuff for our biggest fans. I can’t wait to feed off of their energy of the audience.

“You know, we have a very unique relationship with our audience. Thanks to social media, we’re very, very close to a lot of these folks,” Jonathan concluded. “That – to me, anyway – is the greatest compliment. When people come up to us on the street and then say ‘You two are just like you are on the shows.’ ” That’s because we’re not pretending to be somebody else. These are the people that my brother and I actually are.” 

This article was originally published by the Huffington Post on Monday, September 4, 2017

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