Monday, October 26, 2009

Talent Assumed Of Course

A NICE SUMMARY HERE of a panel on TV Development at the Austin Film Fest starring “Lost” co-creator Damon Lindelof, “Freaks and Geeks” creator Paul Feig, and late-night comedy writer Chuck Sklar.

A taste:

On writing “safe”: “Nobody knows what safe is,” Lindelof said. “If anybody knew, there would be no pilots and no failures. People are always asking me, ‘Do you have another “Lost” in you?’ That completely ignores that (‘Lost’) was a fluke. People are always saying something is the the next ‘blank’ to create an illusion of safety.

“The public and television executives all say ‘we want something new,’ but (the executives) anesthetize it — make it the same,” he added. “If you can get your pilot made without compromise you’re good.”

“Really be original, don’t be beholden,” Feig said. “Don’t mute your voice; write what you’re passionate about. If they love the idea, it blasts through. (TV executives) are not ultimately creative people, but they know what they want, and they want good content.”

On casting: “We did not have a script when we started casting (‘Lost’); we just had an outline. Yunjin Kim came in to read for the character of Kate … we just had to create a character for her. We made a suit tailored to the body. That’s entirely different than pulling suit off the rack and trying to find most perfect fit. If I ever do another TV show I’d do it the same way.

Feig talks about a youngster coming in for an audition. “Smart show runners go, ‘this kid is so great, there’s nothing in the script that’s so good that we can’t change it’. It makes it easier to write the show. You need the blueprint, but then you need to be open to the human beings who are bringing it to life. There’s nothing worse than the inflexibility of saying, ‘well, this is how I heard it in my head’.”

On opportunity: “Every great success story has 2 things in common: right place, right time — also called luck, which you have no control over; and you knew somebody — that you do have control over,” Lindelof explained. “I was in LA for 5 years building up my network of somebodies. Talented is the other important part, of course.”

Of course.

Be original. Be flexible. Be passionate. Be adaptable. Be talented. Be lucky. Easy peasy.

Good Monday morning TV stuff. Go. Read. Now.

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