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Tim Minear

Tim Minear - "Drive" Tv Series Pilot - Drive-tv.blogspot.com Interview

Saturday 1 July 2006, by Webmaster

With the pilot wrapped we took the opportunity to interview Tim Minear on how it went, his influences, how the concept evolved and more. Thanks to Tim for taking the time to take part.

* Who or what has been the biggest influence in your writing and shows?

Tim Minear: Many influences, of course. I’ve been influenced by my favorite books, stories, films, television just like everyone. Too many to recount here. Add to that all the people I’ve worked with over the years. And in no small way, the audience is an influence. Maybe the biggest. And by that I mean partly real people in fandom with whom I interact, but also a kind of larger, imagined audience that I have with me and I’m always working for as I create something.

* In your previous shows you’ve dipped in and out of many genres - is there one you prefer more than others?

TM: I’ve always been partial to science fiction, fantasy and horror — or more broadly, what Ellision calls "speculative fiction."

* Obviously you can’t say too much at this stage, but how has the concept of Drive evolved since Ben Queen initially brought it to you?

TM: Not at all and totally. The initial concept was so clean, so specific and so broad at the same time. My notion of what makes a good series franchise is something that is both specific and broad — for example, CSI is a genius procedural franchise idea because it’s specific: crime scene investigators who use science to solve puzzles. But it’s broad: one can tell endless crime stories under that rubric. Lost is a brilliant franchise because it’s specific: plane crash, stranded, island: but then it becomes endlessly wide reaching because instead of Giligan’s Island, JJ and Damon landed on the mystery of mythology and character revelation.

If something is only specific, so very "high concept" that it sounds more like an episode of a show, rather than a show, then it’s probably not going to hold the weight of a franchise. In other words, if you pitched Star Trek as "a show about a space ship that comes across a planet with a time portal" you’ve just described an episode: "City On the Edge Of Forever." In my opinion the finest episode of STTOS, but it’s so specific that one knows what each episode is: the crew travels through time every single week. But a show about "a space ship with warp drive that has a five year mission to seek out new life and new civilizations — to boldly go where no man has gone before" opens it up.

So back to Drive. A secret, illegal, underground road race can be anything from Cannonball Run to The Game to North By Northwest to "Magnolia-on-wheels." Ours is all those things.

* How did shooting the pilot go - any anecdotes you want to share?

TM: Very smooth! Amazing cast, fantastic director (Greg Yataines), great crew. I got to work with Loni Peristere of Zoic again and I can’t wait for people to see our first shot: it’s a combination of road work, green screen and CGI. What you get is a five minute shot with no cuts that moves from car to car in speeding traffic and introduces us to an entire ensemble of characters. The visual grammar of the show continues like this — long, energetic and elaborately choreographed one-ers!

* Will Drive have fantastical elements a la Angel and Wonderfalls or be more grounded in reality like The Inside - or will it be a combination?

TM: It really is, stylistically, its own thing. But there are echoes of all that. I’d say that it’s more genre than not. But no vampires, no talking knick-knacks. Though there are characters with secrets, dark pasts and at least one disaffected teenage girl.

* What approach to narrative will you be taking with Drive? There have been rumors it may be like 24 or will there be room for the non-linear episodes from time to time that you’ve been known for doing in your other shows?

TM: It’s nothing like 24. And again, because of the wide canvass of the premise, it can literally go anywhere narratively.

* On a scale of Wonderfalls to Angel/The Inside, how dark can we expect Drive to be?

TM: You kind of just described the scale: it can be as comedic and whimsical as Wonderfalls, but go as dark and operatic as Angel.

* Final question: what is the status of The Moon is a Harsh Mistress and The Inside DVDs? And if they’re not coming out soon is there anything fans can do to persuade Fox to release them?

TM: I hold no hope for The Inside DVDs. My best advice is for people to find the aired episodes on-line: they’re all there, and in nice quality. Moon is in the hands of the people who hired me to adapt it. I understand they’re pursuing ways in which to set it up. That’s really all I know.