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David FuryInterview with the Vampire (producer) - Chron.org
By Cherise Huang
Friday 31 October 2003, by Webmaster
Interview with the Vampire (producer) An exclusive talk with the producer of ’Buffy the Vampire Slayer’ and now ’Angel’ - David Fury Posted 10-30-2003, 15:26 by Cherise Huang Northwestern Chronicle: What advice do you have for college students today interested in working for TV writing?
David Fury: Write for the stage first. Involve yourself in as many aspects of productions as possible: directing, acting, set design, etc. The more you can think with many hats, the more you’ll understand how to make scenes work, and how to write for those various arenas.
Take improv classes. Thinking on your feet goes a long way toward learning how to break a story, get the the heart of what the scene’s about. Along with that, hone your sense of humor. Nothing, I say NOTHING is more valuable than a writer who can write funny dialogue, be it for shows like The Shield or Gilmore Girls or ER. Lots of people can learn the craft of writing, but coming up with the funny [things] will get you hired, guaranteed.
And, of course, live a life. Writers who often enter the profession early wind up regurgitating stuff they’ve already seen on other tv shows. If you have life experience, your voices will sound more real, more lived in.
As for more practical advice, while you’re honing your craft (through workshops you can start with fellow writers), apply for a job as a writer’s assistant on any television show in, or going into, production. There are plenty of sources to get numbers of production offices, including getting a copy of Daily Variety which prints the numbers once a week.
NC: What inspires you to write? (Do you have a method when you sit down at a computer?)
DF: Frankly, the biggest inspiration to write is, for most writers, a DEADLINE. Meaning, if we waited to be genuinely inspired to put words to paper, we’d probably never actually write anything. Writing’s hard. It’s lonely. And frustrating. The trick is to focus your energies on a small portion of a script... Maybe a scene, sometimes a page, once in a while, just a speech. Looking at the big picture, the task of putting out 55 pages of an hour-long series can be daunting. Anne Lamott’s book Bird by Bird is the best, most accurate, how-to about writing I’ve ever read.
As for me, my method entails playing PC games and websurfing for hours before I get around to putting something down. My tiny brain can only handle so much.
NC: Who is your hero and why?
DF: I have many heroes... Zeus, Caligula, Drew Goddard (’cause, well, he’s so dreamy)...But, ultimately, my biggest heroes are my kids. They remind me what’s important.
NC: What do you think of the general quality of TV writing today?
DF: Generally, there’s some great tv writing going on, though admittedly, the best of them are showing their age: Sopranos, Everybody Loves Raymond, West Wing, Six Feet Under, Yes, Dear... I... Wait, did I say Yes, Dear? Sorry, I meant Reba.
NC: In your opinion, who has been the most intriguing "Buffy" character to tackle?
DF: Intriguing? I guess I’d have to say Spike, since he’s arguably gone through the most changes. From villain, to anti-hero, to hero... And sometime’s back again (or so it seems). It’s fun writing such a sardonic, pragmatic guy with super powers.
NC: Your opinion of reality shows?
DF: Personally, I hate reality. That’s why I choose to live in a fantastical world of pixies and unicorns, with candy cane trees and marmalade skies...
NC: Have you ever gotten emotional while writing a script?
DFYes. Mostly, depressed and suicidal. Not from the words, but from the thinking up the words. Like I said... writing hard.
NC: What do you do to unwind in your free time?
DF: Free time... What’s that? Oh... those couple of hours on the weekends playing soccer with my sons and taking my daughter to the movies my wife won’t see with me.
NC: What TV shows, books, movies or music do you recommend?
DF: There’s so few of any of those categories I can recommend, but here goes...
TV Shows: The aforementioned aging shows are still good television. Add Curb Your Enthusiasm, and, oh, yes, World Poker Tour on the Travel Channel;
Books: Seabiscuit’s an amazing book ( I recommend it, even if you’ve seen the movie - which I didn’t), The Kite Runner, the aforementioned Bird by Bird, the Harry Potter books are still fun reads (though Ms. Rowling is tending to overwrite in the last couple)... I also like reading plays (which I recommend to any aspiring TV writer) - Homebody/Kabul by Tony Kushner, Take Me Out by Richard Greenberg;
Movies: Lost in Translation, Kill Bill are the latest... Recent favs: The Lord of The Rings, Memento, Chicago... And of course, classics like Casablanca and Citizen Kane (it’s trite to love them, I know, but they’re frickin’ GREAT);
Music: Listening lately to the White Stripes, the film soundtracks of the great Ennio Morricone.
NC: Anything to say to the universe of hard-core "Buffy" fans out there?
DF: Hope you enjoyed the ride we tried to give you. If you still need a fix of the Whedon world, the fun continues on SPIKE— I mean, ANGEL... Otherwise, thanks for six and a half years of slaying.