When Kirk dies it was very emotional and very strange, in the moment and all the way through the process. I'd read it in the script and I'd always be struck by what I'd just done and what we were doing, and that this was my childhood hero and I was writing his death.
The flower inside the fruit that is both its parent and its child. Decadent as ancestors. The portal and that which passes. Nuclear devices activated, and the machine keeps pushing time through the cogs, like paste into strings into paste again, and only the machine keeps using time to make time to make time. And when the machine stops, time was an illusion that we created free will.
The difficult notes are when they say, "And this is how we want you to fix it . . ." Just tell me what the problem is. Just tell me what the issue is, and I'll go off an fix it. It's usually when executives get to a place where they're trying to fix the problem for you that you have issues
And your typical TV series, you've got your police station, your apartment, the hospital, the starship, or whatever it is, and you're constantly going back to those sets and shooting, which saves you a lot of money and time. You can do that faster because you become really familiar with it and you become really good at it.
The creative part, with the writing of it and the vision, and finding the voice of a show and the characters, is much harder to teach somebody. It's like music. You can either play it or you can't. If you can't play music and you really struggle and work hard, you can learn, but you have to have some inner gift to take it to the next level.
I'm a writer. That's who I am, at my core. I'm a writer, and then I learned production and administration, along the way. I feel like most people can learn it because production and the administration part is all about logic, and it's all about learning rules and budgets.
I'm used to something where you have to create an entire world, and I do like that process. I like getting the audience to believe that outside of the frame of your television set, there's a whole real world that exists, that is different from your day-to-day reality.
Writing is like that. You have to have some basic creative spark, and then, if you have that, I feel like you can learn the production side of it. You can learn how to be a good producer. And I guess it does take a certain balance of those two skills in your head to be a successful showrunner.
There were a lot of lessons of production to be learned. On the page, the biggest thing you learn on any TV show is how to write to your cast. You write the show at the beginning with certain voices in your head and you have a way that you think the characters will be, and then you have an actor go out there, and you start watching dailies and episodes. Then, you start realizing what they can do and what they can't do, what they're good at and what they're not so good at, how they say things and... Read more »
You have to realize that people who bother to log on to anything and talk about a television show is a very specific fraction of the audience. It's not the general audience, so you can't get too crazy listening to just that. That's not representative, but they are the most dedicated.
When we're shooting, I commute to the UK, every three weeks or so, and that's hard. That's probably the toughest, physically, on me. It's a much longer commute than I've ever had to deal with. And then, there are the challenges of this particular production. It's not the kind of show that has standing sets.
I grew up as a fan of the original Star Trek series. When I was in middle school, I think in the 6th grade, I remember going to a book fair and finding a book called The Making of Star Trek, by Stephen Whitfield, and I grabbed it and took and home and just devoured it, over and over again. It was a really influential book. It was very nuts and bolts.
Even then, I didn't quite know what to make of it [captain Kirk death]. I was mystified by why I was doing it, why I was so driven to do it, and why it was affecting me like it was. I still don't know what it means. It's a strange singular experience. I don't even know anyone to talk to about it because I don't know anyone who's had that experience.
When I finally got my break in TV, as a staff writer, I always wanted to be at the top of that pyramid. I always wanted to make the decisions. I always wanted to be the one that was saying, "This is what the show is, and this is what the show is not. This is where we're going. It's going to be this kind of series." It was just something I always had my eye on, when I started in the business.
I'm always looking for vacation. I'm always trying to step away from it to watch movies. I'm always trying to carve out free time for myself. But, I love it. I don't think I've ever not wanted to run a show. When I have a show, I'm always really excited. I always enjoy the process.
There are definitely times when the outside eye can shine a light on something you weren't aware of. They're usually exposing a flaw or a problem. Sometimes they're saying, "Hey, this doesn't really work. Have you seen this?" And then, you go, "Oh, I didn't really see that. You're right, that doesn't work." If they're good, they shine a light on issues that you're blind to because you're too close to it.
Now I know that if I'm in a fight or a big argument with executives or the studio or whoever, and it's getting to a point where it's starting to get bad, I don't have to have the fear of, "Am I strong enough to see this through? Would I really make a stand here? Would I really quit over this issue?" And I know in my heart that there is a place where I would walk away. I don't have to make it about my ego. I don't have to make it about whether I'm being strong enough or... Read more »