Went to Kapolei library last night to see the inimitable Lee Goldberg. If you ever get the chance to go listen to Lee tell you about television writing, do it. You won’t regret it, I promise. Though he’s been doing the same talk at library after library on this island over the past week, I couldn’t detect a hint of fatigue with the presentation. It was his second time doing the talk yesterday, and his enthusiasm was so good you’d have thought he was saying everything for the first time ever. He had us laughing so hard I began to worry about my bladder.
I always thought WALKER, TEXAS RANGER was a bit ridiculous, but who knew it was so much fun you’d want to watch the title sequence again and again? Lee says he can watch it over and over; I think if I were sitting in the same room with him, even I could stand it. Because he’s so enthused over his subject, and he makes you howl with laughter when he points out that you’d better watch your back in Texas because there’s a ranger behind you. ROFL!
I must confess that I don’t want to write for television. Heck, I don’t even watch much of it, though I wasn’t about to confess that to Lee in person. 🙂 But writers can learn things in any situation that deals with writing. I learned a lot from Lee. I even developed an uncontrollable urge to watch title sequences. (Thanks, Lee! Just what I need, another distraction from writing my novels. Hee hee.) Deconstructing them is much like deconstructing literature, so I found the process fascinating and a bit addictive.
If you want to know what a title sequence is and why it’s important, I’ll give you the brief answer. For a much better answer, and more fun, either go see Lee in person or buy his book on television writing.
Basically, a title sequence is that 40 seconds or so that you see every week where they say the name of the show, present you with a collage of scenes, and tell you who’s starring while theme music of some sort plays in the background. This is where you learn what the show is about and what kind of stories they promise to deliver. The aforementioned Walker, for instance, is about a larger-than-life martial arts ranger with an ego that Texas is barely big enough to hold. The other characters aren’t very important. It’s all Walker, all the time. If you wanted to write an episode for that show, it better not be about how one of the minor characters has a crisis/epiphany/personal growth moment. It better be about Walker the omnipotent, kicking ass and taking names. Walker is the sun around which the show turns. Forget that and your script gets shitcanned.
Okay, so it’s all much more complicated than that, but that’s the basic idea. Lee also discussed money, how to get an agent, and the process of cracking a story. Totally fascinating.
Afterward, we spoke briefly about blogs and how informative they are. A lady was taking pictures for her writers’ group newsletter and she got one of Lee with me and 3 of my fellow RWA members (how about that, Lee surrounded by romance writers). But, lol, we don’t know who she is and none of us managed to trade info with her, so who knows where that pic will show up. I had my camera in my laptop bag, so I snapped one myself. Being the sort of person who never wants to offend others, I asked him if I could blog it. He said of course. 🙂
Without further ado, here’s the man himself in his aloha shirt. Notice that he’s incredibly handsome, witty, and resembles Pierce Brosnan. 🙂 Thanks for the great time, Lee.