UGA alumnus heads to Neverland

The New Adventures of Peter and Wendy” has all the makings of a great web series: characters based on a beloved classic tale, romantic and comedic elements, fairies and a co-creator with a UGA background.

Shawn deLoache (BS ’05, AB ’05) moved to L.A. several years ago to pursue his love of the arts, and has since created the increasingly popular web series.

UGA Alumni Association Communications intern Bernadette Green ’15 had the opportunity to speak with Shawn about his impressive and colorful career.

Tell us a little about yourself and “The New Adventures of Peter and Wendy.”

I received degrees in psychology and criminal justice from UGA. After college, I moved to New York City where I got a job writing medical comic books for children, which used super heroes to explain illnesses to kids. Writing pilot scripts and my work in comics led me to L.A., where I’ve been hired to do several screenplays and some script doctoring. Recently, my writing partner and I sold a comic book series called L.A.R.P., and I’ve been writing for Rockstar Games’ comic book department. And of course, I co-created and wrote “The New Adventures of Peter and Wendy” (TNAPW).

TNAPW is a modern retelling of J.M. Barrie’s “Peter and Wendy.” It focuses on Peter Pan, a 30-something man child in Neverland, Ohio, and Wendy Darling, a woman ready to leave her childhood behind and conquer the world. It’s a romantic comedy with magical elements that stays true to the core of the beloved story and characters Mr. Barrie created.

What inspired the series?

The series was originally inspired by a piece of fan art that someone made of co-creator Kyle Walters as Peter Pan. Kyle wanted to create a new show and asked me how I felt about writing a Peter Pan series. As we are both children in adult bodies who rage against the very concept of growing up, this felt perfect for us!

What advice do you have for others who want to enter this field?

I could write an entire essay on advice for artists, but here are my top five:

  1. Only enter the arts if you can’t see yourself doing anything else. Seriously, the road is incredibly hard financially, physically, emotionally and spiritually. You have to be an artist at your very core and know nothing else in this world could possibly make you happy.
  2. You need strong legs. Rejection is the bread and butter of the arts. You are going to suffer rejection and criticism time and time again. When we create art we put our heart out for the world to see, and when people insult your heart, it’s going to hurt. You need to have strong legs to get back up and keep going.
  3. Create! I have seen far too many people get stuck waiting tables and saying they are a writer/singer/actor/painter, but who never actually work on their craft. We all have to pay the bills, and survival jobs are part of the artist game (it took my five years before I was being paid for writing, now I live off of it), but if you aren’t practicing your art, you’re wasting your time.
  4. Tell your story. Here’s the thing, pretty much every story has been told and every type of character used, but they haven’t been told by you! Your unique voice makes your zombie/vampire/doctor show different than any other ever created.
  5.  Don’t wait on others to give you approval to make your art. With crowdfunding tools, the Internet and talented friends, you can create projects that are just as good, if not better, than anything mainstream. Don’t wait for someone to tell you your stuff is good enough- show them.

What has been your greatest accomplishment during your time with the series?

A fan wrote to tell me that the series helped her get through a rough time when her health was in a downward spiral. She said the show made her laugh and helped make the bad days a little brighter. Joss Whedon’s and Neil Gaiman’s work did that for me, and that’s why I got into writing. It was a gift I wanted to give back, and I’m glad that, for at least one fan, I was able to do just that.

How did your time at UGA prepare you for your career?

For me, the heart of a good story is the characters, which is why I studied psychology. I wanted to learn the about the human mind so that I could craft fun, interesting and multi-dimensional characters.

UGA was a challenging school. It helped me build the work ethic needed to sit down and write a full script, and then rewrite it and then rewrite it again. It also taught me how to properly party when the work was done!

What inspires you most when you’re writing and producing?

I’m inspired by other writers and stories; people like Joss Whedon, Jane Espenson, Neil Gaiman, Michael Chabon, Harper Lee, Tina Fey and Brian K. Vaugn. My family and friends are also incredibly supportive and push me forward.

As far as producing goes, I think it has to be a mix between the actors and the fans. I love getting to work with talented people like the cast of Peter and Wendy and bring their amazing gift to the world. The fan support and love is beyond amazing. We are nothing without the fans – I am merely their loyal scribe.

What is your favorite memory of your time spent at UGA?

Does it get any better than game days?

Interested in learning more about Shawn and “The New Advetures of Peter and Wendy”? Keep your eyes peeled for a feature in the December issue of Georgia Magazine. Want to keep up with Shawn and the show? Follow him on Twitter @ShawnIsWrite.