Monday, August 24, 2009

DVD Review: The Write Environment

Okay, apologies again for leaving the blog dormant for so long, but I've been busy (and still am) writing a monster of an article about writing the miniseries, and until that's finished (early next week, I hope!) I'll be forced to keep things fairly quiet on this front.

However, let's weigh in with another Write Environment DVD review, this time featuring Heroes head honcho Tim Kring.

The interview takes us through Kring's entire career: he didn't start out planning to be a writer (shades of George Lucas there), then one job for a Knight Rider episode led him into the freelance writing game which meant writing movies-of-the-week for television for a number of years.
Later on Kring moved into series television, writing for Chicago Hope among others, which led him to create Crossing Jordan, which ran for 6 seasons, and then achieve a huge success with the first season of Heroes.

The first part of the interview is not that riveting, to be honest - but once it hits the 20-minute mark it becomes very good indeed. Kring gives some very honest advice and opinions on the business(if you're an outsider and you're thinking of pitching the next Heroes to a network? Forget it, can't be done), and he offers some excellent insights into what makes a serialized show like Heroes work, and what he and his writing team had to learn in order to make it a success. Pacing is incredibly important - and it's ironic, then, that the lack of good pacing basically ruined the second season.
Another very interesting part is where Kring discusses how the show's enormous appetite for story material didn't lead to the writers running out of gas and ideas, but on the contrary kept generating new possibilities and options all the way through. Great advice many shows could benefit from!

So, after a fairly slow opening this turns into one of the most interesting and thought-provoking releases in the series. And one I have no qualms about recommending to anyone interested in contemporary television writing techniques.

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