Friday, May 4, 2007

TV fan alert…

One cool thing about being a dues-paying member of the Writers Guild of America, west, is receiving its monthly magazine, Written By, and reading interviews with other screenwriters.

There’s a doozy in the new issue: Tom Fontana (“St. Elsewhere,” “Homicide: Life on the Street”) chats with his paisano David Chase (“The Sopranos”). Two of TV’s all-time best storytellers, shootin’ the shit over tea (Fontana) and Merlot (Chase)… that’s a day-maker.

You can read the whole thing online here. But I’ll give you a little appetizer:
DAVID CHASE: … [S]trangely enough, in a way, I don’t consider myself a writer. I mean, I do, but I don’t think I could write anything but scripts and screenplays.

TOM FONTANA: Well, writing a novel right now myself, I said to my editor, “You should call this the first and last novel by Tom Fontana because the process is too overwhelming.”

CHASE: To me, it’s so daunting I won’t even go near the thought.

FONTANA: It’s stupidity; it was complete stupidity for me to undertake this.

CHASE: What was so bad about it?

FONTANA: When you’re writing a script, especially episodically, you go, Okay, I got that, I got this scene. I’ll fix the other scene on the set, or the actors will carry the water, or the music will come in here and it’ll save my ass because the scene really kind of doesn’t have the oomph I thought it would. When you’re writing a novel, you’re sitting there literally going, Holy shit, there’s nobody but me!

You’re climbing the literary ladder and you’re looking at Faulkner’s ass and Chekhov’s ass, all these other guys who are a billion times better than you are, and the book is going to sit on a shelf somewhere –

CHASE: You’re in the ring with the big guys…

FONTANA: Yeah, and I’m like a lightweight in a heavyweight boxing match.

CHASE: I’d be, “How do I find just the right word every time?”

FONTANA: Exactly, exactly.

CHASE: Every fucking time.

1 comment:

Mr. Obie Joe said...

And yet these are the guys who get paid the big bucks. Well, at least book writers have their self respect that nobody but themselves wrote the blame.