Sunday, March 02, 2008


When I write a scene, I have a clear visual of what happens. The action, the emotion, the conflict -- I see it all play out. In fact, most of the time I act it out -- revenge, murder and mayhem echoes from my office. I see every nuance, every glance, every unspoken gesture. What you learn however, is that the scene in your head is never the scene that is produced. Nor should it be. The trap for a lot of writers is that they cannot see beyond their own pond. Either they've been boned by direction and performance in the past, so they have no trust, or they just don't have the capacity to collaborate. They hold onto those scenes in their head as the only way. Maybe it's my theatre background ("hey kids, let's put on a show"), but I enjoy and embrace the idea of collaboration. Yes, I've been boned by direction and performance in the past, but the lesson there isn't trust less, it's work harder. Meaning, you have to put in the time upfront to find the right director, crew and the right actors. When you trust the people handling your vision, the experience can be unbelievably rewarding. I collaborate, not out of generosity of spirit, but out of sound creative reasoning. Collaboration offers alternative vision -- options. Even if 90% of the options don't work, the 10% that do only make the project better. Again, one must do the upfront work to employ people whose creative vision is worthwhile. I don't easily embrace creative solutions from suits, because they're not creative entities, they're employees working for a greater cause -- the conglomerate. For me, the ideal situation is having a director that not only honors story, character and tone, but enhances it through the lens. Makes it more better. The same goes with the actors. You want an actor to have his or her own interpretation. They are looking at it through a different prism. There's nothing more boring than a song with one note. As long as they say the words on the page (verbatim) and honor the character arc, I encourage actors to explore, take risks, change my mind. A good actor will always take the scene to a new, more exciting place. The bottom line is that when all the gears are synchronized and everyone is at the top of their game, the writer looks better. Great acting, great direction make a good script a great script. So far, that is the case with Sons of Anarchy. Everyday, I am surprised and awed by the talent I have surrounded myself with.