Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Some Reel Thoughts

I attended a bit of the City of Angels Film Festival this past weekend.

Some as an excuse to hang out with Jeff Overstreet while he was in town accepting the Dribble Glass of Spiritual Honor. (I may have gotten the name of the award wrong.)

And some to sit through a screening of my flick IMPORTANCE OF BLIND DATING so I could exercise my abs by cringing at all the lines I should have rewritten before the picture shot.

And some to attend the Reel Spirituality television panels under the theme: Just TV?

Speakers included Nancy Miller (writer for such shows as The Closer, creator of Saving Grace and Any Day Now) and Larry Wilmore (creator of The Bernie Mac Show, writer/producer for The Office and Senior Black Correspondent on The Daily Show).

Dean Batali (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, That ‘70s Show) gave a little talk on whether he thought that television comedy was just entertainment or could be something more. I need to ask him for a copy, then blog about it more times than I did that Shanley play – it was that good.

So I’ll wait on that.

Michael Taylor spoke (he’s a producer on Battlestar Galactica, and no, I wasn’t geeking out to an embarrassing level; or at least tried not to show it too much). Funny guy; and he confirmed something I suspected. Battlestar doesn’t go into their writing with an agenda (although clearly Michael has his own opinions on politics).

When asked about the shocking result of the trial of Gaius Baltar, he said that the writers debated at the start of the season about the outcome for a long time, and then decided…

That they would have to wait and see how the trial went.

In other words, they waited until the trial scenes were written, and THEN decided (based on the evidence and testimony, ‘natch) what the result would be.

They let the story lead them, rather than manipulated the story.

Interesting, thinks I.

Another tidbit came from Valerie Mayhew, a writer for X-Files (and The Invisible Man, Fugitive and Charmed). She shared a simple strategy from Chris Carter to make the drama more compelling and register stronger with the viewer.

First, they always started with the villain – and not the evil actions of the villain, but instead a great need of the character. So great a need, that their actions would be so bad.

Evil, in the show’s eyes, wasn’t about the bad actions, but rather the tiny steps leading from the need to that action.


Just my thoughts,


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