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A sit down with Adam Gidwitz on all things Grimm, Grimmer, Grimmest

The time has come! Season 3 of Grimm, Grimmer, Grimmest is here!

Ahead of the launch, Pinna producer, Ilana Millner, and award-winning children’s book author and host of Grimm, Grimmer, Grimmest, Adam Gidwitz, sat down (virtually) to answer some of our fans' most burning questions! Let’s hear some of his answers to our favorite questions!

Ask Adam Anything

Ilana: Our first question comes from Peter, age 7.

Peter: How do you choose which Grim fairy tales to tell?

Adam: I have two bookshelves in my house that are full of fairy tale books, but I have one specific collection of Grim's fairy tales that I like the best. They are translated by Ralph Manheim. And I think they're very beautiful and often very funny. And what I do is I flip through that book and I just read stories and sometimes I laugh and sometimes I scream and if I either laugh or scream I think ok, this is probably a good one to tell to the kids on Grimm, Grimmer, Grimmest.

Ali: If you could change anything in the fairy tale, what would you change?

Adam: What I do when I tell these fairy tales -- before I tell them -- is I actually sometimes change quite a lot. I read the fairy tales. I go through them and I see okay, is this pretty much just ready to tell on Grimm, Grimmer, Grimmest or do I need to improve it a little bit? And I actually have a rule for how I improve these stories. I make sure that every story has a main character that you like or care about. That main character has to go through crazy experiences, which always happens in any good fairy tale, so I don't have to worry about that very much. Those crazy experiences should cause suspense, so we start to worry about that main character. The crazy experiences also make us laugh 'cause they’re nut-so. The laughter plus the suspense plus us caring about the main character is going to make it a good fairy tale, so that's what I make sure happens in every fairy tale. Sometimes I need to add things to make that happen. Other times it's already there.

Ilana: So now we have two questions that kind of go together. The first question comes from Peyton, age 9. And the second question comes from Derek, also age 9.

Peyton: How do you make a Grimm, Grimmer, Grimmest episode? Tell me all the steps.
Derek: How long does it take you to make an episode? I hope to hear more good stories soon!

Adam: Well these are perfect questions to answer with Ilana here, because we make these episodes together as part of a team at Pinna. So really, the way it works is, I find a fairy tale that I like and I share it with Ilana and the rest of the team at Pinna. They give me notes so I make it better, and then I read it live to kids. And that's when the kids ask questions, or they scream, or they laugh, or they heckle me, which means that they tell me that I'm wrong and I try to ignore them and I can't ignore them 'cause they keep heckling me and I asked him to be quiet and they won't be quiet. You know, the fun stuff. Then, once we've recorded that, we write another version of the script which would have the actors in it -- the person who plays the King or the Princess, or the Talking Fox -- and once we've written that up, that's when Ilana really takes over and starts working her magic.

Ilana: Yes indeed, production magic. So once we have our script for the actors, that's when we audition different actors for the roles of the Princess or the King or the Dwarf and come up with these cool voices that we then record in the studio. Then we take all these recordings from our actors in the studio and all of our recordings from the classroom with Adam and we put them all together and make one big giant kind of layer cake of different sounds. We add in some sound design we add in some music and then we listen again and again, making lots of little changes, until we've gotten everything just right. And once we've gotten it just right, that's when it's time to share our episodes with the listeners.

Adam: And when you take all those episodes and do that for all 10 episodes in a season, it usually takes us between, what, 9 and 12 months, you'd say, Ilana?

Ilana: Yeah, I think that's about right. You know, some episodes may take a little bit more time, or some episodes might take a little bit less time, but to get all 10 done for this whole season, it really does take about a year.

And now we have a question that I'm really excited to hear your answer to Adam. This question is from Maddy, age 9.

Maddy: What do you like best about making Grimm, Grimmer, Grimmest?

Adam: Well, it's a lot of things altogether. I like finding the stories. I like imagining how young people are going to react to the stories. I like seeing how young people react to the stories, and realizing, sometimes I imagined right and sometimes I imagined totally wrong. Parts that I think are going to be scary end up getting laughs, things that I think are going to end up getting laughs get nothing -- that's never as fun. Discovering the story with kids and then afterwards hearing your feedback. So my favorite thing about Grimm, Grimmer, Grimmest is getting to share real fairy tales with you all -- that's my favorite thing, by far.


And that’s a wrap on the condensed Ask Adam Anything! To hear the full interview, head to the Pinna app and find the episode under Season 2 of Grimm, Grimmer, Grimmest!

Happy listening!

We’re all ears!

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Pinna staff

Pinna staff