More with Allan Heinberg
Extended Q&A with the television producer and comic book writer.
What’s “Avengers: The Children’s Crusade” all about? It’s about the Young Avengers’ quest to find and redeem a rogue Avenger, the Scarlet Witch, before the Avengers and the X-Men can stop them.
As an executive producer at ABC Studios, what are your primary roles? I’m part of a team of executive producers, and we take turns being responsible for coming up with the stories, writing outlines and scripts, giving notes on — and sometimes rewriting — outlines and scripts, and then talking to the studio and the network about those outlines and scripts. Then, once those scripts are ready, we supervise pre-production with the director and meet with all the production heads (wardrobe, hair, makeup, casting, props, etc.) about every element of the production. Then we’re on the set of every episode, working with the actors and the director, giving notes, making cuts and rewriting. Then we work in post-production with the editors and the network, making cuts, choosing music, scoring, etc., until the episode is ready for broadcast.
Were you involved in the performing arts in high school? I was primarily an actor and a singer at Booker T. Washington, involved in BTW’s vocal music program as well as its drama department.
What did you learn at BTW that has carried on through your professional career? At BTW, I was performing on an almost weekly basis to an audience of my teenage peers and learned an enormous amount, sometimes the hard way, about the nature of the relationship between the performer and the audience — lessons that inform my work to this day.
You’ve had many successes in your career. To what do you credit your success? I’ve been very, very lucky. I also have parents who’ve supported me unconditionally in spite of their anxieties about my pursuing a career in the arts. And I had extraordinary mentors in Tulsa: Frank Ward and Ralph Taylor at Holland Hall; Nancy Vunovich at TU; Harry Sebran at Temple Israel; Janice Bayouth and Jerry Talley at BTW; Ken Spence at Heller Theatre — all of whom treated me like an adult, even at the age of 10, and all of whom continue to have a profound influence on my life to this day. If I’m at all successful, it’s because of their generosity, wisdom and encouragement.
You spoke to Tulsa students when you were in town recently. Do you speak to students and those aspiring to the entertainment industry often? Not often enough. It was enormously inspiring to speak to the students at BTW, Central and Webster high schools last month (in September). The Tulsa high school magnet program saved my life as a kid, and it was very gratifying to see that it’s better than ever and so are the students.
Do you still have family living in Tulsa? Do you come back often? My father and stepmother still live in Tulsa and I try to get back at least once a year, though my visits are never long enough.