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Steven S. DeKnight: Interviews

22 January 2012 Leave a comment

Steven S. DeKnight – INTERVIEWS

2012:

20 Jan: Whedonopolis – Spartacus: Vegeance Red Carpet Interview 

Jane Espenson on Crazy Sexy Geeks Podcast

24 December 2011 Leave a comment

Jane Espenson chats about Husbands and Once Upon a Time with The Crazy Sexy Geeks. You can listen to the podcast here.

Jane Espenson: Is TV Writing The Best Job Ever? from the Huffington Post

16 December 2011 Leave a comment

Jane Espenson

Writer, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Firefly, Rge O.C., Gilmore Girls and more.

Is TV Writing the Best Job Ever?

Posted 12/14/11


Hello, Gentle Readers. Who’s up for a good blogging? I know I am!

I used to blog on my own site, expounding on the art and craft of television writing. But I stopped one day when I realized that I had expounded myself into the ground. There was nothing left for me to teach. That was a few years ago, though, and since then I’ve learned new things and refined my thinking on a lot of the old things. Right now, I’m writing for the network hit Once Upon a Time (ABC), and for my own web series Husbands, so I’m topped off to overflowing with knowledge.

When I get a chance, now and then, to contribute to these pages, I can explain how storytelling has to change as audiences get better at anticipating twists, and how to write compelling stage directions, and how to deal with the fact that you can’t goddamn swear on the TV, but right now I’d like to start out by addressing the fundamental question: IS TV WRITING THE BEST JOB EVER?

Well, it is stressful. Parts of it can be awful, just awful. You will make mistakes that will be broadcast to millions of people. You will be kept away from your bed by work, and kept awake in your bed by worry. You will almost certainly be made fun of by people with cruelly fast wits. You’ll be rewritten. You will have to say “thank you” when complimented for lines you didn’t write. You will have to bite your tongue when criticized for choices you didn’t make. You’ll be asked to make decisions about costumes and hairstyles. You will have to compromise your vision because an actor or set or special effect or executive isn’t cooperating. You will be punched in the self-esteem. You will cry.

The answer is YES.

It’s the best job ever, because as down as that downside is, the upside is so much upper. The up is so up even the down is up. You are handsomely paid to sit around with intelligent people, talking about a TV show. You laugh all day long. And if you’re writing for a comedy, you get to stay late and laugh all night, too. You quite probably drive through the big gates of a Hollywood studio on your way to work, just like Lassie did. And sometimes you get to put computer to paper and put words in the mouths of talented actors who then, get this, act out your story for you. That part is crazy. Even after 20 years, it still seems nuts to me that these gorgeous talented people breathe life into words I wrote. And if that weren’t enough, another talented person points a camera at it and shows it to everyone you went to high school with. It’s frakkin’ amazing.

It does suffer a bit from being hard to attain. People talk a lot about how hard it is to get into TV writing. And that’s true. But there are new TV writers every season. I see them showing up, shiny and scared, every year. Also, there is the new and amazing world of web series, which meets almost all of the goals except the part about the handsome pay. I recently entered that world withHusbands The Series, and found that not only did it provide most of the upside, it also avoided a lot of the downside. You get to hear the words you wrote all the more clearly when you’re listening just to satisfy yourself, not several layers of bosses.

TV writing (and web writing) is the best job ever. I feel lucky every day. I learn every day. And they pay for lunch every day. Score. Hang around and I’ll tell you what I know.

Original Post at The Huffington Post

Eliza Dushku Talks The League and White Collar with nTV Guide

14 December 2011 Leave a comment

Eliza Dushku Talks The League, a White Collar Return and What Really Matters to Her

Dec 8, 2011

by Damian Holbrook

She’s battled Buffy, brought it on and made us want to play in the weirdest dollhouse ever, so it’s no wonder we can’t get enough of Eliza Dushku. But for those of you still not hip to the hotness that is Dushku, we’re happy to say that she is more than just a pretty face who can kick ass. She’s also a funny lady — as proven by tonight’s bawdy guest spot on The League (10:30/9:30c, FX) — a budding filmmaker, and a philanthropist. Here, the multi-hyphenate fan fave discusses her latest foray into the funny business of TV and what we can expect from her in the coming year.

TV Guide Magazine: So how did a nice girl like you fall in with The League?
Eliza Dushku: They called, and Rick [Fox, her beau] and I had literally just watched a bunch of episodes we had downloaded. It’s always weird how that happens. Something comes on your radar and then the phone rings. We’re huge Curb fans, so we were familiar with [executive producers] Jeff and Jackie Schaffer, plus I think everybody knows I’m a huge sports fan. [Laughs]

TV Guide Magazine: What did you think of the episodes you watched?
Dushku: I think the show is so funny. I like the part-improv, part-scripted style, which is not something I’ve ever really done.

TV Guide Magazine: That had to be a little intimidating.
Dushku: It is! And yet, when you’re doing it with people who are so good at it…they show up, have the outline of the scene ready and really deliver. The creators Jeff and Jackie are on set every second helping you with [all this]. So I think I was more intimidated before I got there and realized how much they participate. Then you get to just shoot a bunch of things and have the confidence that they’ll pick your best stuff.

TV Guide Magazine: What do they have you doing on this episode?
Dushku: Kevin, who’s played by Stephen Rannazzisi, is getting pressure from his wife, Jenny, to be more active and less of a fat ass, as she says. So she sends him to a Krav Maga class, and I play the instructor. He suspects that there is something more than just teaching going on between himself and my character, but he can’t tell at first. Is it Krav Maga or is she hitting on him? Then it sort of escalates when he takes this back to his friends to see what they think, then we find out what is really going on at the end.

TV Guide Magazine: Are you trained in Krav Maga?
Dushku: I am not. But I am trained in being physical. I can take a guy down. [Laughs]

TV Guide Magazine: How do you like doing comedy?
Dushku: I love it! Of course, most people are more familiar with me from Buffy and Dollhouse, and more dramatic work. But Bring It On was in there, and I did Jay and Silent Bob with Kevin Smith. And it’s always “the grass is greener.” When you’re doing a drama, you think, “God, I want to do a comedy,” and then you do one and want to do something more dramatic. To mix it up and do something like The League is the ultimate.

TV Guide Magazine: Would you consider doing another series?
Dushku: After Dollhouse, I actually shot a comedy pilot over the summer that was from the producers of Two and a Half Men. And this was when it was questionable as to whether that show was going to return, and it was this really, really fun pilot. Then two days before the upfronts, the photos of Chuck Lorre and Ashton Kutcher having lunch together came out and it was like ‘ohhhh man!‘ We thought maybe we’d get picked up, but CBS clearly filled that slot.

TV Guide Magazine: I think your White Collar role earlier this season as the Egyptologist was the first time we saw you as a dressed-up grown up.
Dushku: Yeah, I was a very dressed up in that, wasn’t I? Those were my own shoes, I have to admit. I had to bring my own six-inch Prada pumps into the mix. [Laughs]

TV Guide Magazine: Any chance we might see you back on the show?
Dushku: They have talked to me about possibly coming back. That was so much fun…and the show is so great because it has that combination of the dramatic and the comedic to it. And I love Matt Bomer. He has been a friend since the Tru Calling days. In fact, I just found a picture of Matt and Zach Galifianakis from back in the day and they both look like babies!

TV Guide Magazine: What is next for you?
Dushku: My brother Nate and I have a production company, and we have been working for eight years on our Robert Mapplethorpe project. And over those eight years, when I was consistently working, it was really hard to get it finished. So we’re focusing on that and developing another feature that I will probably act in, which is really exciting to me. It’s a dramedy. And we’re working on a documentary on Albania — I got my Albanian citizenship this summer — we shot a special that may turn into a series. It’s sort of my love letter to Albania. I’m trying to diversify my portfolio, I guess! [Laughs]

TV Guide Magazine: And those are really diverse.
Dushku: Yeah, I know! I’m also working with my mother’s NGO [non-governmental organization] as well. She started a group in Northern Uganda…she’s 70-years-old and has been teaching African politics for so many years, but this was really her first project and I’m on the board. We’re trying to build a center there for trauma, healing, reflection and the rehabilitation of former child soldiers and victims of the war in Uganda. That’s a totally different world for me, but it’s so cool. I was asked to speak at Harvard a few months ago about the work we’re doing there. I’m definitely my mother’s daughter, and that’s a part of my life I never got to tap in to so much in the 20 years I was riding the acting thing. There is a lot I want to do and I feel like I have an opportunity to do it now and still stay in the acting world.

TV Guide Magazine: It’s nice to be at a stage in your career where you can pick the jobs you want to do, huh?
Dushku: I’m so grateful that I have been able to get offers and say “This is a cool piece, but it’s not exactly what I am looking to do.” It can be hard, because parts of me go “Oh, I really want to work.” But the truth is, I am working on like 15 different things that are part of the whole picture.

TV Guide Magazine: Has Sarah Michelle Gellar hit you up for a guest spot on Ringer?
Dushku: She is such a sweetie! You know, the life of working on a show, you’re sort of in lockdown, and I think she’s doing well with the show…but no, I have heard anything about a spot yet. [Laughs]

TV Guide Magazine: Well you have been busy.
Dushku: True. [Laughs] Oh, and I started a campaign on Crowdrise.com for my birthday this year, where we’re trying to raise money for Uganda. We just added a YouTube video, too, because when we were in Uganda, we also shot footage — part of our program is using film therapy where we give the people there cameras. Instead of just taking videos, we have them shoot their own footage and tell their own stories. We posted a video of some of the trip on the Crowdrise page.

TV Guide Magazine: When is your birthday?
Dushku: December 30!

TV Guide Magazine: Well that’s a pretty awesome way to celebrate.
Dushku: Thank you so much!

To contribute to Eliza’s campaign and help the former child soldiers of Uganda, visitcrowdrise.com.

Original Interview at TV Guide

Eliza Dushku’s Birthday Wish 2011

6 December 2011 Leave a comment

Eliza Dushku

Eliza Dushku is once again fundraising in honour of her birthday and as she will be 31 this year, her goal is to raise $31,000 for the THARCE-GULU project she started with her mother. To donate and watch a video with information on how your money is helping the people of Uganda go to Crowdrise

Eliza Dushku To Guest on The League

6 December 2011 Leave a comment

Eliza Dushku

Eliza Dushku will guest star on this week’s The League.  She will play a very hands on Krav Maga instructor.  Check out our Eliza Dushku gallery for a pic of her on the show.

Source TV Guide

Jane Espenson Talks Husbands with We Love Cult

6 December 2011 Leave a comment

Jane Espenson is a crown short of being named “The Queen of All Genre Television”, so when she teamed with Youtube sensation Brad “Cheeks” Bell, actor Sean Hemeon, Alessandra Torresani from Caprica, and sitcom director Jeff Greenstein, the geekosphere took note.

I interviewed Jane, Cheeks, and Sean about the now concluded first season of Husbands, concerns about typecasting, and if they care about offending people. Take a look at what #TeamHusbands had to say.

Sean, Brad, Jane, season 1 is through, you earned your success merit badge, is season 2 definitely happening and can we expect a Husbands DVD, Blu Ray, or Betamax in the future? Not VHS, VHS is gauche.

Brad “Cheeks” Bell: VHS is so not gauche. It’s totes got retro hipster appeal now. Cassette tapes too. Now, CDs? Those are gauche.

Jane Espenson: We don’t know yet about a season two, but we are exploring the idea of some kind of bonus content. We’ll see. And we’d like to make a DVD or iTunes version – this is all still up in the air.

Are you looking to aggressively sell Husbands as a TV show or are waiting for TV to come to you?

Brad “Cheeks” Bell: Ha! TV coming to us? Does that ever really happen? I don’t think anything can get done in Hollywood unless you’re shopping it in some capacity or another. Unless maybe you kill someone and they want an exclusive… say, there’s an idea. 

I’m open to many future avenues for Husbands. My main priority is the ability to produce the show we envision and to retain the incredible creative team and cast we have assembled. The platform is all a part of the details.

Jane Espenson: We’re not waiting. On the other hand, I wouldn’t say we have a “TV or nothing” attitude. We are talking to people with the means to help us continue the show, through whatever means.

The world that you have created for the show is, sadly, a fantasy world where full marriage equality exists, and where a baseball player can be out of the closet and in the spotlight. I’m curious, what made you choose to make Brady a baseball player?

Brad “Cheeks” Bell: I think I might have suggested athlete and Jane is the one who settled on baseball. I wanted someone who was opposite of Cheeks in every possible way and also high profile. Obviously there is still plenty of taboo about openly gay men in the sports world, so it just sort of made sense. 

Jane Espenson: We wanted Brady and Cheeks to both be public figures, to raise the stakes in maintaining the marriage, but we wanted them to have different relationships with their fans.  By making Brady an athlete, we gave him a much more conservative fan base, which gives him very different concerns than Cheeks.

If you will, talk about Jeff Greenstein’s involvement in the project and what that meant to you all. 

Sean Hemeon: I have been absolutely spoiled by having Jeff as a director! He’s the real deal – a genuine stand up guy. He’s the biggest little kid I know and really tries to keep a fun and drama free set. He has a graceful way of steering the ship. He makes it look effortless. And certainly has enough great stories to keep anyone entertained for days!

Jane Espenson: Oh, man, we couldn’t have done this without Jeff.  Jeff is a long-time writer and executive producer, and also an accomplished director.  We needed his keen eye and keen mind. More than anything, it was Jeff who made the show look like a show. 

Sean, Brad, is there a concern about typecasting? 

Brad “Cheeks” Bell: If my role as Cheeks provides so much media exposure that the public just can’t see me as anything else, I’d consider that a high end problem. I should be so lucky. I also think that much of that question is up to the actor and his abilities. Ultimately, I see it like this: I’ll keep doing what I’m doing and cross that bridge should I come to it.

Sean Hemeon: Not at all worried about it. Brady’s not a typical gay character – he’s just a guy who happens to be gay. You could see him in straight situations and gay.

Glee just had an episode where two gay characters lost their virginity. The sun still rose, the seas did not part, and kittens didn’t take to the streets with switch blades. Naturally though, some people were up in arms. You guys didn’t really seem to offend anyone with Husbands and I’m wondering if that was a surprise and if you would have cared about offending people?

Sean Hemeon: We, as gay men, offend people every day just by being out and open in our daily lives. If others want to be bothered by it, then its fine by me cause its their day they’re ruining, not mine. I’m happy in my gay world.

I don’t think, though, Husbands set out to offend people but rather to support people… we got a fan letter from a young boy in the middle of the midwest who saw Husbands and became hopeful that one day he could be out, married and HAPPY!

Brad “Cheeks” Bell: I would have cared about offending people if we’d done so for the sake of a joke, such as throwing a group of people under the bus to make a gag or punchline work. Other than that, for the people that are already morally opposed to what we’re creating, why should I care about offending them? They’re not our audience. They can watch Nancy Grace. They’ll be happier in doing so, as will Nancy Grace.

Jane Espenson: I was kind of looking forward to the kitten gangs because that sounds adorable. But yeah, the viewers are much more ready for content like Husbands than I think some people realize. As we’ve taken Husbands online, we’re finding that we don’t just have a lot people watching, but that there is a core of highly engaged superfans. What we have not found is the opposite – there’s been very little negative reaction and certainly no core of haters. The world has changed a lot in recent years and Glee is a show that’s reflecting that change. So is Husbands.

——————-

You can re-watch or discover Husbands for the first time by going to HusbandsTheSeries.com. 

Oh, and genre fans, here’s a bonus question for Jane Espenson…

Did Barnabas really die in Caprica?

Jane Espenson: I didn’t see a body.  If you don’t see a body, the writers are probably keeping it open for a reason.

Original Interview at We Love Cult

 

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