The grunt work of carving out a TV episode

June 25, 2013

I loved this quote from David Chase, the brains behind The Sopranos, featured in a longer GQ article about James Gandolfini:

“Other people have good ideas. And they’re hard to come by. But in another sense, they’re a dime a dozen,” he tells me. “Turning an idea into an episode—that’s the grunt work. The organization can rest for a day or so, secure in the notion that we’ve got an idea. But eventually the showrunner’s the one who has to look at his watch and say, ‘How do we fill up forty-two minutes?’ We can all sit around and decide we want to make a Louis XIV table, but eventually somebody has to do the carving.”


How John Banville writes

October 14, 2012

I love this kind of behind-the-scenes glimpse into how, where and when great writers practise their craft. Here we have John Banville on the different tactics he uses to write his Benjamin Black murder mysteries and his ‘proper novels’ (taken from a recent New Yorker profile):

He has said that he writes the mysteries on a computer and can finish one in three or four months. By contrast, he writes the other novels with a fountain pen, on paper; each takes him between two and five years. If, by the end of a working day, he has two hundred words that he hasn’t crossed out, he considers that a victory. “The sentence is the great invention of civilization,” he says. “To sit all day long assembling these extraordinary strings of words is a marvelous thing. I couldn’t ask for anything better. It’s as near to godliness as I can get.”


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