From the StudiosUSA Netforum - May 5, 2000

Questions were submitted by fans and answers collected by Dave Gentile

Netforum Interview

In your conversations with RT and RJS and others of the staff did they indicate what they thought of season 5? Did they indicate what went wrong (if they think something did)?

The comments that RT made regarding the fifth season indicated that he felt there were a number of reasons the middle of the season fell apart. His involvement with Cleo, Lucy's pregnancy, new writers, there were a lot of reasons that things didn't work. He felt that the end of the seasion (last five eps) were a return to focus for them. (I think so too - I've liked what I've seen the last few weeks - can't say the same about the preceding couple of eps.)

Did you have any conversations w/RT or RJS that reflected what they think "subtext" is or isn't? Are they aware of the opinion of many fans that the "closeness" between X&G was missing this season? Did they express any opinions on that?

We didn't actually discuss this - I did have a fairly extensive discussion with him about why pairing either character (specifically Xena) with a guy was tough, and didn't usually work well. (or at least, (g) I gave my opinion on the matter, whether he agreed or not is a matter of conjecture)

What would you like to share with us about the entire experience?

It's been very interesting - I had no idea what the process behind producing a story/script for a tv series was like, and being thrown into that world was definitely an eye opener. Those people (meaning RJ, RT, Chris, etc) work really hard - they had ten Xena scripts, and ten Cleo scripts all being submitted at once, and they had to hold story meetings with all the writers to get them on track about at the same time. Plus, some of the scripts were theirs ( meaning RT and RJ) so they had to go through the creative process of doing the teleplay in addition to guiding the rest of the writing staff. It's a very dynamic environment.

Since she can't tell us stuff about the ep. she is writing obviously, I wanted to know if TPTB are aware of the style Xena FanFic she writes and, if so, what they thought of it.

I had to submit a writing sample to RT before the whole process started - and, naturally, I took it from my stories. I did two comic bits, two very serious bits, and two bits intended to indicate how I felt about the two characters. None of the samples were overtly alt (two came very close (g) RT then went to and read further - so in answer to the question, no, it's no secret I'm an alt bard. (well, half alt anyway) It didn't seem to give them cooties.

I'd also like to know if she made them aware of her feelings on the Joxer prop. If I remember correctly, she used to have a statment on her site about why she didn't like Joxer that generally said that (besides the frat humor) she didn't like the attitude of the people behind Joxer (from the actor to TPTB who said "if you don't like him, tough!".

Considering the circumstances, Joxer didn't come up. (G) If he had, I'd have expressed my feelings on the character, which haven't really changed a whole lot since I posted that note up on my site.

Has Tapert removed her original dialogue and ideas from the script she is writing? Is the script she is writing one episode or a story arc? Are you enjoying yourself and the process? How do you feel about some fans negative take on Tapert bringing you in to write an episode? Do you feel like a publicity stunt like some fans are alluding? Do you feel that Tapert and the others respect you, your ideas, and the relationship between Gab and Xena? Can you tell us a bit about what the theme of your episode is? Can you describe Tapert and RJ and do you feel that they are treating you right? Does Tapert and Co. realize the mistakes made in season 5 and are they being corrected? Thanx again and congratulations Missy

Well, so far I've submitted a first draft of the script. In the meeting we had about that, they asked for certain changes, but left it up to me to make them. I've now submitted a second draft - what happens after that, we'll have to wait and see.

If the storylines remain the same, this story shares common elements with two others.

I"m enjoying the heck out of it yes - the actual process of writing the teleplay was extremely enjoyable.

I expected a negative reaction from some people - both from anti subtexters because I'm an alt bard, and from subtexter who don't like my writing style. There wasn't much I could do about either reaction - after all, I *AM* an alt bard, and lots of people *DON"t* like my writing style. (we were having an interesting discussion about it on another list - I think I've realized I don't quite process stories like a lot of people, and the way I go about relating them is very different, but that's another topic entirely) However - I decided to accept the opportunity, and go as far as they were willing to go with it as a valuable learning experience, and certainly, a dream come true for any fan.

Do they respect me? I don't know. I'll let you know when I see how much of what I wrote ends up in the final draft of the episode. (g) I've been treated with good grace, and a lot of professionalism by both RJ, RT, and everyone I've spoken to/worked with at Renpics, and I like all of them a lot.

I know she can't tell anybody, but do they have the rest of the season mapped out already along with a series ending?

I don't know - I suspect that they do, but I haven't asked (sometimes, it's better not to know, if you know what I mean)

Hmmm. I guess I would like to know if she is going to try to have any loving affectionate subtle subtexty moments in her ep or if she isn't even trying knowing the constraints by TPTB. And I gues a follow-up to that, if it is the latter... I would find the whole thing very frustrating. Kinda like having a piece of chocolate in your hand and not being allowed to even bite it... how does it make her feel? If it is the former, do you feel they are at all open to these moments, or is it an uphill battle?

There were no restrictions placed on me in terms of intensity or content - I made the choice to consciously leave out any overt subtext, and instead concentrate on writing a solid friendship. It wasn't frustrating at all.

I guess I am curious about how it all works. Who has she met so far of TPTB and what is it like working with them?? We all hear third hand what these people are like, etc. I was just wondering from Missy's perspective, (positive and negative)...

"met" as in face to face - none of them - on the phone I've worked with RJ and his staff, and Rob Tapert, and it's been a great experience all round. They were all nice, and funny - it was obvious to me they really do care about the characters, and the product, and it seemed to me that it's a good team of people to work with. It's kind of hard to judge all that over the phone, but I got warm and fuzzies from them, if it's any indication.

Back to Missy Stats