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Interview With David Michel (Oct. 22, 2003)

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At Marathon heís the Creative Director of Animation.  Along with Vincent Chalvon-Demersay, heís the co-creator of both Totally Spies and the new Martin Mystery series.  Davidís also a co-producer of Totally Spies and Martin Mystery with both series currently in production for their third seasons.  Heís an extremely busy guy but he was nice enough to answer a few questions about Totally Spies.


someguy959: When did the idea for Totally Spies first come about and how long was it in development?

David Michel: Back about 4 years ago, girl bands & girl power was all the rage. We knew this was the right time for a show that would carry these values, as most girl-skewing shows were playing very young at the time (princess stories etc.). We went from development to production in less than a year.

I created & produced Totally Spies along with Vincent Chalvon-Demersay who is the company's general manager. We wrote the first script, bible and ran the show creatively. I was 26 when we started!

sg959: I've never seen the pilot episode but looking at some images from it, the "look" of the show changed a lot to what everybody recognises today. Was the show supposed to have an anime flavour to it or did you have something else in mind? If it was not originally planned to have an anime "look", when and why was it decided to make the change?

DM: The trailer of the show is anime-looking but, from this to the first episode, we agreed with the show's director, Stephane Berry, who wanted to blend in even more anime.

sg959: The show seems to be very popular all over the world. Are you surprised by the success of the show?

DM: The one thing that surprised us the most is the consistency in the male / female viewership split: from Brazil to Italy, we have a 50% boys 50% girls audience ratio, whereas everybody was predicting the show would score very low on boys.

sg959: How many more seasons of Totally Spies do you think Marathon will produce? Do you think it will have as long a life as shows such as Pokemon, Power Rangers, Batman (etc.)?

DM: Our goal as a company is to produce a limited number of long-running, high production-value series. The 3rd season (ep 52 to 78) is in production right now and we are already discussing season 4 with our partners.

sg959: Are there any plans to release a Totally Spies soundtrack with the background music tracks and theme song?

DM: This is being discussed...

sg959: After Totally Spies was dropped from ABC-Family, it took a long time for the show to return to the USA. Could you talk about what Marathon had to do to get Totally Spies back onto US TV's?

DM: Unfortunately, I'm not familiar with the business side of the story, sorry about this.

sg959: Many fans of the show have noticed little "Easter eggs" that the Marathon animators insert into the show. For example, in the Green With N.V. episode, there is a street sign that says Marathon and there's also a Totally Spies poster in the background in another scene. Who decides to put them into the show and why? I think most fans find it fun to look for these things during the show.

DM: It usually comes from the storyboard artists or model designers. We love these too!

sg959: Do you have any interesting stories or inside jokes about something that ended up being put into an episode of the show?

DM: In season II, guess what's the name of the totally hunky, totally clever boy that the 3 girls fall in love with at the same time? David!

sg959: What are some of the favourite episodes of Totally Spies among the Marathon staff?

DM: Usually, opinions differ on everyone's favourite episodes. I tend to like best episodes with strong narrative & dramatization elements, where Stephane, the director, is usually more interested in animation quality. My favourites are: Nature Nightmare (Season 2) & The New Jerry (season 1)

sg959: In Season 2 you brought back some of the villains from the first season. What are the chances that we will be seeing some more familiar faces in season 3?

DM: Very high! We love doing this!

sg959: What about seeing some of the other spies from WOOHP (Britney, Bob, Pam, Alice, and Crimson) showing up in season 3? I'm also curious to know if the show will devote any episodes to exploring some of the supporting characters such as Mandy or Jerry?

DM: Britney makes an impressive comeback in season III and we have a few Mandy / Jerry specials.

sg959: Has season 3 come far enough in its production for you to make available the episode list for the new season?

DM: Not really, but I promise I'll keep you posted.

sg959: Are you able to reveal any tiny bits of information about the upcoming third season? Anything.....???

DM: OK- You're really the first one we're disclosing this info to: the girls move into the same house together and Jerry has completely revamped WHOOP. He now has a new, very invasive assistant!

sg959: I really appreciate having you take some time out of your busy schedule to answer this email interview. Thank You. Are there any closing comments you would like to say to the Totally Spies fans reading this article?

DM: We just love receiving fan mail and look up bulletin boards often to keep up with what the fans like or not. So thank you for being so supportive.


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For more information about Marathon and it's different programs, visit their website.  Marathon's website can be found at




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