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Back to Jaw About Odyssey

Kathy Wierenga , writer and director for AIO, joined us on November 1, 2001 for a chat. In the hour-long chat, she discussed the Connie and Mitch, her role in the series, and what sort of episodes she'd like to see coming up. Check out the transcript below.

See Kathys's list of AIO credits.

<AIOFG> (Q) How did you get started with Odyssey?
<Kathy_Wierenga> It was a total God-thing. I started out as a coordinator/casting person, and then they realized I had no organizational skills whatsoever.
<Kathy_Wierenga> So I had to write.

<Cash_Cow> (Q)How many episodes did you write for the upcoming season?
<Kathy_Wierenga> I co-wrote two shows with John and Marshal and one that's all mine.
<Kathy_Wierenga> I'm not doing as much this season because I'm working on a novel series.
<Kathy_Wierenga> Grand Opening I and II are the ones I wrote with the guys, Secrets is the name of the other one. Mysterious, huh?
<Kathy_Wierenga> And of course, they involve Connie and Mitch. That's all they let me write for these days. (:
<Kathy_Wierenga> Grand Opening is January 5 and 12, and Secrets is the 19th.

<Cash_Cow> (Q)Whats the name of the novels your writing?
<Kathy_Wierenga> The name of the first novel is Double Exposure, the second one will be either Croutons for Breakfast or I Know the Plans I Have for Me.

<AIOFG> (Q)How much time to you spend w/ odyssey
<Kathy_Wierenga> I spend about 10 hours a week writing and 30 hours playing pranks on Paul, John and Marshal.

<CyberSteve> when you write an episode do you write the scripts or just the story?
<Kathy_Wierenga> Both. But we brainstorm the story idea as a team. I add the girlie parts. There's way too much testosterone on that team.

<Nathan_Host> (Q) Kathy, how would you compare writing for novels and writing for the radio?
<Kathy_Wierenga> Writing for the radio is more difficult. I can give my audience 'eyes' in the novels. On the radio, I have to be more creative.

<AIOFG> (Q) what else do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
<Kathy_Wierenga> I like hiking, reading, painting, hanging out in coffee shops with friends, and an occasional skydiving jump.
<jaredwalczak> Skydiving jump? Are you joking or do you really like to do that?
<Kathy_Wierenga> I only went once. Why test my luck?

<CyberSteve> who thought of Harlow Doyle's part in Potlucks and Poetry. It's hilarious
<Kathy_Wierenga> I'll take credit for the Harlow idea. He's one of my favorite characters to write for.

<Cash_Cow> (Q)What are some of your favorite books?
<Kathy_Wierenga> Anything by CS Lewis, A Severe Mercy. I also like Allender and Crabb.

<jaredwalczak> (Q) Do you have a favorite episode that you have written?
<Kathy_Wierenga> I liked Green Eyes because I've always wanted Connie to have a boyfriend. I get worried about her hanging out with all those old men.

<jaredwalczak> (Q) Is there any episode that you wished you could have rewritten?
<Kathy_Wierenga> Pretty much all of them. After playback I never listen to them again.

<AIOFG> (Q) So do you have "plans" for marriage with E&K and Connie and Mitch
<Kathy_Wierenga> Of course we have plans...we always have plans.
<Kathy_Wierenga> I'm still trying to decide if he's good enough for her. I' m so protective.

<DrBlackgaard> (Q) how soon is Eugene coming back? (You can answer it, can't
you? PLEASE!)
<Kathy_Wierenga> He'll come like a thief in the night....

<Nathan_Host> (Q) Kathy, do you prefer writing or directing?
<Nathan_Host> (Q) Followup: And WHY? :-)
<Kathy_Wierenga> Writing. I'm still insecure about directing.

<Cash_Cow> (Q)Did you direct any this season?
<Kathy_Wierenga> I directed Secrets.

<Kathy_Wierenga> So do you think Mitch is good enough for Connie?
<AIOFG> I like mitch
<DrBlackgaard> no!
<DrBlackgaard> I don't!
<AIOFG> yes she is
<Kathy_Wierenga> Does he sound cute enough?

<Nathan_Host> (Q) How old is Mitch?
<Kathy_Wierenga> Mitch is 24 1/2
<Kathy_Wierenga> And he sometimes forgets to shave
<Kathy_Wierenga> He doesn't have facial hair, just the occasional stubble.

<Nathan_Host> (Q) Kathy, do people ever get your last name right when they call you on the phone?
<Kathy_Wierenga> You should have heard Chris learning how to pronounce my last name. WE did I don't know how many takes.
<Kathy_Wierenga> rarely do people get it right, but I always tell them they do.
<Kathy_Wierenga> Just think of the word "weird" and then put inga at the end. drop the "d."
<Kathy_Wierenga> WE'RE -inga
<pianoguy> so kathy, were you the young writer? i remember someone (other than nathan i thought) being 25ish?
<Kathy_Wierenga> I think I was the youngest before Nathan came on board. Always stealing the thunder that kid.

<DrBlackgaard> (Q) have you heard ALL of the AIO episodes before? Which one is your favorite?
<Kathy_Wierenga> I've heard them ALL, except Opportunity Knocks. Don't ask me why.
<Kathy_Wierenga> I used to do coordinating and casting.

<AIOFG> (Q) Kathy: are you married?
<Kathy_Wierenga> I'm not married. I'm still in love with Richard Maxwell.

<Cash_Cow> (Q)Do you know who AREM is?(you don't have to tell)
<Kathy_Wierenga> Of course I know who AREM is. Na na na na na...(:
<pianoguy> kathy, you mean, you actually know who arem is? I was kinda wondering if you were just going to play it up as a secret and then decide later who he really was!
<Kathy_Wierenga> Oh...did I say I knew who it was?
<jaredwalczak> (Q) Can you tell us this? Do we KNOW AREM already?
<Kathy_Wierenga> Maybe Arem is Tasha...hmmmm

<DrBlackgaard> (Q)have you heard all of the unreleased AIO episodes?
<Kathy_Wierenga> Yes, I've heard all the unreleased.

<Nathan_Host> Kathy, do you prefer writing the intrigue type of stories (Novacom) or the slice of life ones (Potlucks and Poetry)?
<Kathy_Wierenga> I like slice of life. My intrigue goes as far as broken window.

<Cash_Cow> (Q)Did you create Mitch or was it a group thing?
<Kathy_Wierenga> I created him. What a great thing it is to invent my own man.

<Nathan_Host> Hmmm...is Mitch the sort of guy you would date? Since you created him and everything...
<Kathy_Wierenga> He's a little too scary for me. Wait until you hear Grand Opening.
<Kathy_Wierenga> He might have a mental disorder. I'm not sure.

<DrBlackgaard> (Q) have you ever been to the town hall? (http://www.switchflood.com/Reviews/townhall/index.htm)
<Kathy_Wierenga> Yes. I've been there. I like the decor.

<CyberSteve> have you seen any of the AIO fan sites besides this one?
<Kathy_Wierenga> Yes, I've been to the other sites, but nathan's is the one that's nicest to me.

<Cash_Cow> (Q)Are you going to answer any questions about AIO spin-off for older listeners?
<Kathy_Wierenga> I think a spin-off mini-series would be cool. Just for a summer season or something. Go into some deeper more controversial issues.

<Glossman> Have you seen AIO survivor?
<Kathy_Wierenga> I'm actually in the process of working on Survival in Odyssey.
<Nathan_Host> (Q) Want to give us any details on Survival in Odyssey?
<Cash_Cow> (Q)Is Survival in Odyssey going to be just a thing for Odyssey staff or is it
<Kathy_Wierenga> It'll be released, but not until the whole Novacom saga is over.
<Kathy_Wierenga> Um...by Survival we mean like the being trapped on the island kind of thing.

<DrBlackgaard> (Q) How long have you been a Christian?
<Kathy_Wierenga> I've been a Christian since I was six, but I probably didn't understand what it all meant until I was 13.

<Nathan_Host> (Q) Kathy, what is the easiest part of writing for you?
<Nathan_Host> Outline?
<Nathan_Host> First draft?
<Nathan_Host> Polish?
<Nathan_Host> Brainstorming?
<Kathy_Wierenga> First draft. Definitely. I hate all the re-write stuff.
<Kathy_Wierenga> I'm not a perfectionist.
<Nathan_Host> (Q) So are the subsequent drafts the hardest part?
<Kathy_Wierenga> Yeah. I'm excited during the first draft, but then I get tired of it after the second one.

<pianoguy> kathy, i was wondering which you meant. :) what kind of dreams do you have, if you don't mind saying?
<Kathy_Wierenga> I'd like to travel around the world, get married, and create my own line of designer floss.
<Kathy_Wierenga> Not in that order.
<Kathy_Wierenga> This past spring I went on a European flossing tour and have pictures of myself flossing in seven different countries. Now that should be on the ADA website.

<pianoguy> are all serious fans of aio weird people?
<Kathy_Wierenga> Yes, we're all weird, but in the most charming way.

<DrBlackgaard> (Q)Do you have any website about yourself?
<Kathy_Wierenga> Nope. That would be scary.

<Cash_Cow> (Q)Do you have a favorite movie?
<Kathy_Wierenga> I really liked Shawshank Redemption, Life Is Beautiful and Braveheart.

<pianoguy> kathy, which ofthe aio characters are most like you?
<Kathy_Wierenga> I'm not sure which characters. But I like Bernard alot and I wish I were as smart as Whit--but glad I'm not as chubby.
<Kathy_Wierenga> One my dream shows for Odyssey is to put Whit on a diet.
<Kathy_Wierenga> I' ve tried to set it up by having him eating Twinkies in all my shows, but that part always gets taken out for some reason.
<pianoguy> i always imagined whit as being pretty fit, actually. cuz he sometimes does that cloak and dagger stuff
<Kathy_Wierenga> Well, he's kind of let himself go in the past few seasons.

<Glossman> Are there going to be any more Blackgaard-like shows after Novacom?
<Kathy_Wierenga> Blackgaard is DEAD. GONE. DECOMPOSING as we speak.

<Glossman> (Q) Are there going to be any more Blackgaard like series after Novacom?
<Kathy_Wierenga> Yes. Whit's diet show series.
<Nathan_Host> Blackgaard challenges Whit to a diet match!
<Kathy_Wierenga> Twinkies versus the Oatmeal Cream Pies.

<DrBlackgaard> (Q) have you ever met the man that acts for Dr Blackgaard, and Edwin?
<Kathy_Wierenga> Yes, he's a very interesting person--but a lot of fun to direct. Very, very talented.
<DrBlackgaard> what do you mean by interesting... in he as creepy as Dr. Blackgaard?
<Kathy_Wierenga> Nope, not creepy. A nice man.

<Kathy_Wierenga> I need to sign off, but everyone please write to Paul and tell him that Whit should go on a diet and Clara should return as an adult,.
<Kathy_Wierenga> She'd be way fun.

<Nathan_Host> Thanks for joining us Kathy!
<Nathan_Host> It was fun.
<Kathy_Wierenga> Thanks, everyone. I so much enjoyed chatting with you! Bye!