As we’ve come to see over the last few years, good writing is essential to a successful Power Rangers season!
There aren’t many iconic writers for Power Rangers, but Jackie Marchand has written the classics! Jackie is one of the longest running show writer and if you love Time Force, Dino Thunder or the voice of Mammamite then you have Jackie to thank!
We got a moment to ask Jackie some questions about her time writing for this iconic franchise leading up to it’s 22nd Anniversary!
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How Did You Ultimately Get The Job As A Writer For Power Rangers?
A: I had previous experience working as an office PA on a TV show when I got an interview with Doug Sloan to be his assistant on Rangers. I was super-psyched when I found out I got the job. In Valencia, we had all of the monster costumes in the production office and I thought that was hilarious. I think I had the Grumble Bee looking over my shoulder that first year. I started out doing admin stuff, then Doug began to ask me to implement network, BS&P and production notes into the scripts. When he saw I had potential as a writer, he asked if I wanted to try a spec script. They liked it, shot it, and I started writing more episodes from there.
Do You Have Any Personal Favorite Episodes Or Characters?
A: I have many favorite episodes, it’s really hard to single them out. A couple off the top of my head are The Samurai’s Journey, Diva In Distress, Countdown to Destruction, The Gatekeeper, Fighting Spirit …those are just a few! We’ve had so many great actors and actresses who have brought more life to our characters then we could have hoped for. I loved writing for the villains as well as the heroes. I also really like writing for supporting characters like Clare from Mystic Force, Fran from Jungle Fury and silly sidekicks like Marah and Kapri, and Boom.
Did You Have Any Characters or Stories You Didn’t Enjoy Writing?
A: My least favorite characters to write were Monster Du Jours that weren’t around long enough to imbue with any personality before we blew them up. There are only so many ways to say “Destroy Them!” Similarly, if I had to write an episode that had to use several Sentai episodes in order to make the budget, those could be difficult because you just can’t fit that much story into a show with so much footage. But they were necessary to do bigger, flashier episodes throughout the season. It was always a balancing act.
What Writing Method Did You Use To Write An Episode (Considering A Fraction Of The Episode Was Already Filmed Due To The Sentai Footage?)
A: The simple answer is that you analyze the footage from one or more Sentai episodes and determine what is usable, break the story, do an outline, get notes, do a first draft, get notes, hopefully do a final draft, get notes, and do a series of revisions. Sometimes this process happened so fast, you would write something and they would be shooting it the next day. Crazy.
How Did The Writing Experience Differ Between The Changing Head Writers And Producers Over The Years?
A: Doug Sloan and Ann Austen would give you some Sentai footage and you would pitch 3 or more possible story ideas. If they liked one, you would go forward with that concept and write it. Chip Lynn and I did a lot of collaborative work, breaking most of the stories together on some seasons and then writing them together or separately. Some producers, like Bruce Kalish, liked to utilize a writing room method where we would all break the story together, then the writer assigned to a particular episode would go off and write it. It really did change depending on the EP.
Were There Any Dropped Pitches For Episodes Or Story Arcs You Wish Had Stayed?
A: Well, truth be told, we did pitch the idea for “Forever Red” years before it was done, but at the time, TPTB didn’t like the idea and rejected it. Years later, I was visiting my friend Paul Rosenthal in Post and he told me that they had shot it for the Wild Force Season. I was like, “OH REALLY!?”
Did You Put Any Of Your Own Personality Traits Into Any Of The Characters?
A: I think every writer does that a little whether it’s conscious or not. My corny humor is definitely in there. One thing that I loved about writing for Rangers is you get to include positive messages in with all of the action. I hope I was able to do that organically now and then through my storytelling. I try my best to live by some of those values we wrote about like respect, teamwork, and honesty. And if I’m going to blow up a building, I always make sure it’s an abandoned warehouse.
Which Season Did You Have The Most Fun Writing For?
A: Gah! Too hard to choose. I loved working for Doug and Ann because they are just fun, lovely, creative people as well as friends. It was a thrill to go to
New Zealand and meet the wonderful people there and be more hands on in the creative process once I started producing the show, thanks to Bruce Kalish’s support. In general, Power Rangers is just a fun show to work on and I have good memories of every season.
What Was Your Main Reason For Coming Back For Ninja Storm After Leaving The Show After Time Force?
A: Doug and Ann asked me to come back and I was thrilled to be working with them again. I didn’t realize how much I missed working on the show until then. The spandex really does get in your system.
Are There Any Story Arcs For Characters Or Plot That You Would Change? (either your own or a season you didn’t work on?)
A: Power Rangers is a unique show that is produced like no other on television. There are so many episodes that I wish I could rewrite, re-edit or just have had more money to spend on, but the limitations of the show are challenging so you just have to do your best and move on. Wait, there is one thing…I would have Jen stay with Wes!
Since You Are The Writer Of Once A Ranger, Where Would You Put The Time For His Birth? We’re all dying to know HAHA!
A: The time of his birth is 4:32 AM.
One Last Question, What Do You Think is the Formula for writing great Power Ranger episodes, as we’ve seen the writers in the previous 4 years before Dino Charge, the writing has lacked.
A: First of all, Power Rangers would not exist without the amazing creativity of our Sentai counterparts, so it all begins in Japan. That being said, I do believe that the best method for writing Power Rangers is to give the writing staff as much freedom to create original stories as possible. Since the episodes are, for the most part, produced here, there is just more control. So yeah, others may (and have) disagreed, but I say let the writers write!