Meet Neil Gobioff. He’s one of the co-writers of The March of the Kitefliers.
That picture simply screams the 1970s. Do you recall what year that photo was taken, and how old you were?
According to my mom I’m 5 1/2 which would put it at 1979.
What’s up with that pose and the make-up – you supposed to be a vampire?
I think so. There was obviously some crazy people at summer camp that year.
What’s the earliest “thing you wanted to be” that you can remember?
I wanted to be an astronaut for a long time. I even went to Space Camp. Twice. Before the movie.
Why didn’t that work out for you?
Do you remember your 3 favorite things to eat from that era of your life?
I’ve always had a bit of a sweet tooth so, I’m guessing all 3 were probably cookies.
Were you a straight-up sugar-candy kid (pop rocks, nerds, pixie sticks) or a chocolate kid?
All of it. Now I stick more to the chocolate, but back in the day I loved my pixie sticks with a Hershey’s chaser.
What about a favorite TV show or movie?
Tell me a little about any pretend games/activities you played.
I remember running around as a super hero with a blanket pinned around my neck. I did this pretty regularly with my best friend. My mom still refers to my friend with the nickname “Super”
What were your favorite 3 toys from around that time. Do you still have any of them?
I’m not positive, but I’d have to guess the Atari 2600 was at the top of the list, with Legos and Star Wars toys close behind. The Legos and Star Wars toys were passed along to the neighbor’s kid at some point. I’ve built quite a collection of newer Star Wars toys though and can’t wait to be able to buy Legos for my son.
Have you ever eBayed or somehow else purchased replicas of any of those toys as an adult?
I now have all the Star Wars toys (remakes, not originals) I didn’t get as a kid.
I know you like comics now – but were there any books you were into at that age?
At age 5? I was actually quite a reader but don’t think I’d gotten much past Dr. Seuss at that point. The next year or two though I’d discover “The Day the Spaceship Landed” by Beman Lord. My brother and I were the only ones who ever checked that book out from the library and we each did it about 3 times. That and the sequel.
When do you remember having your first cup of coffee?
I grew up with it. I was probably in kindergarten and I’d have a cup of milk with a splash of coffee and lots of sugar when the adults were having coffee after Thanksgiving dinner. I didn’t really become and addict though until college when I discovered the joys of the coffee house. Which is actually where I met Shawn.
Did your parents ever try to steer you into any into any kind of career?
No. They’ve always let me make my own mistakes and find my own path.
You’re a father now, has your kid begun displaying any serious signs of imagination? Examples? How do you deal with those things?
He’s still a bit young for serious signs, but he as taken to making the action figures fly and trying to give them his milk. Deal with it? I laugh and try to help!
Would you say you and your wife encourage that, even in a boy as young as yours?
How does anything you two do compare to how you feel you were treated in that regard as a kid?
It’s like apples and oranges. My parents are very different people than we are and it was a much different time.
We know you’ve been co-writing with Shawn since at least 1999 – did you seriously ever try to do anything before that?
Not really. There was some fiction in high school and college, but nothing I feel is noteworthy. The only theater I’d tried writing was for a final project in my IB (International Baccalaureate) English class (similar to the Advanced Placement)
What ever drew you to writing?
That’s rather complicated. I think it was the ability to create with out having to use my hands. I’m a crappy visual artist. I was never able to translate what was in my head onto paper. I consistently got “Needs Improvement” on cutting in pre-k and kindergarten. I think I really decided it was something I wanted to do when a story I wrote was well received my junior year of high school.
Why do you think so many men of our age still play video games and collect toys and comics?
Because we can.
What’s the worst part of growing up?
Growing up isn’t so bad. It’s the expectations everyone has for you that sucks.
Would you go back and do it all over again if you had the chance?
Only if I still got to co-write the Great American Play and have the same great family.