Thursday, September 25, 2014

Nora Ephron/ Hart Hanson

This is on my

Sept. 13 Nora Ephron: I cut out this Globe and Mail article “She remembers everything (and writes it all down) by Olivia Stren on Nov. 13, 2010.  She interviews Nora Ephron about her books and movies.  Here are some excerpts:

It's Ephron's sixth book of non-fiction, but she remains most famous for her films (no, not the flops): When Harry Met Sally, Sleepless in Seattle, You've Got Mail - romantic comedies, both witty and consoling, that follow the bourgeois and besotted.

"Rob Reiner said that romantic comedies are like that Olympic dive. That is, that plain and simple dive with a high degree of difficulty," she says. "There are no car chases and there is no sex; the sex is the talking."
Ephron's essays have that same seeming effortlessness (generally your first clue that the process was anything but easy). "Writing just gets harder. It should get easier, but I don't think it does," she says, "I have a room with a desk and a chair in it and I'm in that chair most of the day, but I'm avoiding writing for so much of it."
If her writing is welcoming and confiding, Ephron herself is more withholding, authoritative and assessing.
Her apartment, meanwhile, where she lives with her screenwriter husband of 23 years, Nicholas Pileggi ( Goodfellas and Casino count among his credits), is as soigné as she is. We sit in the office, an expansive, luminous room washed in shades of cream and, well, egg white.

Still, Ephron determined from a very young age that she didn't want to live in Los Angeles. "Before the word sexist had been invented, you certainly knew that it was not a place for women or for smart women. … I just thought, I'm getting out of here."

So she did - and resolved to become a journalist. "I had a very romanticized version of it from watching Superman and it was that you had a notebook in your purse and you were ready to cover absolutely anything that happened." (She describes her journalistic aspirations differently in her new book: "I can't remember which came first - wanting to be a journalist or date a journalist.")

It was clear, though, that Ephron didn't want to be a screenwriter, because that's what her parents were. "You always think when you're a kid that you can avoid the magnetic field, but it always gets you in some way," she says. In her late 30s, Ephron turned to screenwriting, co-writing Silkwood, which got her nominated for an Oscar.

"Of course, in my pathological way, I then decided everyone should be sure to change careers when they're on the verge of turning 40, then again at 50. I celebrated my 50th birthday on the first movie I directed. I always make things into rules."

Her mother's most famous rules - Everything is copy, Everything is material –

"It all still clocked in as 'Save this - it's going to be something some day.' "

Despite the claim she makes in her new book's title essay ("I have not yet reached the nadir of old age, The Land of Anecdote") she shares one: "When [my sister]Delia got her head stuck in between the banister rails in our house, and the fire department had to come and get her out, it was in a movie my parents wrote that came out, with Natalie Wood and Jimmy Stewart, less than a year later. That's how fast things were recycled in our house," she says. "We knew we were the raw material."

About the downside to viewing your own life - and those of others - as potential material, she says pragmatically, "It makes you a cold, heartless person that's always a bit outside of things, but that's not all you are.

"Nobody ever said, 'Delia, is it okay if we use your head-stuck-between-the-banister episode?' Nothing belonged to anybody. But that's how it is with writers."

Then she divulges another Ephron rule: "Don't say anything funny that you plan to save for your book, because they may put it in their newspaper article."

My opinion: I have to agree anything in life can be used for writing material.

Hart Hanson: I cut out this Globe and Mail article “It’s a thrilling experience when a show works” by John Doyle on Jan. 15, 2011.  Hanson is the creator, executive producer and writer of the TV show Bones.  I never saw the show.  I still like to read his path to creating a good TV show.  Here are some excerpts:
A graduate of the University of Toronto and the University of British Columbia, he fell into writing for TV in Canada and, for a decade, had a typical Canadian TV career. After The Beachcombers he wrote for Neon Rider, Road to Avonlea, Ready Or Not, North of 60.and Street Legal. He was a writer and supervising producer on Traders, Global’s series about Bay Street, in the late 1990s. Then he landed in L.A. and wrote for shows such as Judging Amy and Joan of Arcadia. Next he was in charge on Bones.

When we eventually sit down in a quiet corner, I ask him: “How did that happen? How did you go from a typical Canadian career to running a huge show on Fox?”

I’d been running Traders and in 1998, I think, we’d just won our third Gemini,” he says. “It was nice but kind of depressing. Traders had about one million viewers, but it aired against ER and ER was getting more than three times the number of viewers. I was just turning 40. I had this feeling that it was time to move on. I wanted to work on something with a bigger audience.

“The next day, actually, I got a call from an agent in L.A. At that time several American network shows were being made in Canada for tax reasons and a low dollar, and this agent asked if I was interested in being the showrunner in Canada for one of these productions. It was flattering, I suppose, but my reaction was to tell him I wanted to test myself, to see if I could cut it in L.A. I just wanted to see if I could do it. He told me my first test was to write a “spec” script for a U.S. show, which I did. I came here and I wrote episodes of Cupid, a show that only lasted a season, but it got a lot of praise. I learned things. I was lucky.”

After that, Hanson wrote episodes of Snoops, an offbeat detective show created by David E. Kelley, then the hottest thing in TV because his Ally McBeal was huge. “I left Snoops and was offered a contract to develop shows. Best thing that ever happened to me,” he says. “A clause in the contract obliged me to create a new show idea and that is what led to Bones. I was asked to meet this producer who had bought the rights to the books and life story of Kathy Reichs, the forensic anthropologist. I met the producer but I told him and my agent, “I’m not doing a forensics show. Not a CSI thing. Not a police procedural. It’s just not me.”

But after reading the books by the Montreal-based Reichs and watching a documentary about her work, Hanson knew there was a show in the material – what he calls “a sort of comedy-drama-romance-forensics series.” And that’s what Bones is – an immensely clever series that relies on both the chemistry between FBI Agent Seeley Booth (David Boreanaz) and tart-tongued forensic anthropologist Dr. Temperance “Bones” Brennan (Emily Deschanel), while filling each episode with the science of forensic anthropology. “The network said, ‘Fine, okay, go with it,’ but I knew they were lying,” he says, and laughs. “They didn’t know what they were getting. We were the last pilot to be picked up by Fox that year.”

It was like working on a Canadian show, where you’re always up against these huge other shows.” Soon, Hanson adds, the show will introduce a character who will be the basis for a new show that Hanson is developing. Not a spinoff, he insists, but a new show that starts with an episode of Bones.

I ask Hanson what it means to be “showrunner” on Bones. “Everything,” he says. “Every decision goes through me. It sounds like an evil, maniacal job, but it isn’t. I’m the one in charge, that’s all.”

I have 30,000 followers and I did the math. That’s way less than one per cent of the viewers on Bones. I can’t hear myself think, listening to the noise from those really vocal people.”

My opinion: This article was inspirational.  He was truthful like how his show was the last show to be picked up by FOX and how working on a Canadian show, you’re up against all these other shows.  I did some research, and Canadian shows and networks do want these Canadian shows to succeed.  They put most of them in the summer or mid-season.

Shows like The Listener and Rookie Blue air during the summer.

Murdoch Mysteries: They came out in Jan. 2008.

Republic of Doyle: It came out in Jan. 2010.

Cracked: It came out Jan. 2013.

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