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Writer's Showcase: Tim Minear

Posted on December 4, 2000

Dear Readers,

First, let me wish each of you a Happy New Year!! I hope this year brings you Health, Wealth and the Peace of mind to enjoy both.

Wow! What a way to start a new year here at the Writer's Showcase. To say I am excited to bring you this Featured Writer is a huge understatement. On the Excitement Scale from 0 - 10 this is definitely a 10. I hope you enjoy reading this interview as much as I did writing and receiving it. Before I start the introduction of this Week's Featured Writer, I want to thank three very special people who helped me. The first two are my best and closest FoLC friends, Anne and Crys. Thank you both for listening to me and giving me encouragement to follow through on my idea of having a professional writer become part of the WS. The other FoLC I would like to thank is Donna Burton. She graciously approached him with my request and without whom this would never had been made possible. You all where my links in the chain of getting this interview. Thank you Very Much!

Now, getting down to the business at hand. This week's Featured Writer is one of the best known and, I might add, most loved and respected writers for Lois and Clark. His outstanding writing talents go beyond the episodes of L&C but can be found in another favorite series called the X-Files. In fact, one of his episodes for the X-Files received a Best Supporting Actress Emmy Nomination. He also, is a writer who is kind and considerate to his legions of fans and has treated us all with respect and friendship.

Now without further ado, I am proud and honored to present this week's Writer, in the Writer's Showcase....

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Lois and Clark or Superman Status:

How long have you been a fan of ‘Superman’?
All my life -- I actually have a photo of myself at five years old wearing my Supes costume.

Which actor’s incarnations of Superman do/did you enjoy most? (George Reeve, Christopher Reeves, Dean Cain...)
Actually, I loved Kirk Allen! He was in the Saturday afternoon serials -- even before my time! When I was a kid, the Chris Reeves version hit the screens and I did think he was fantastic. Of course, Dean came in and recreated the role and did a great job, in my opinion.

Did you read Superhero comics as a child?
I did -- I even still have a ton of them. I was a pretty serious collector when I was a kid.

Did any of the above have anything to do with you later becoming a writer for L&C?
Only in the most roundabout ways. I think my appetite for comics and fantasy comes from the same part of myself that is the writer.

How long did you write for L&C?
Just for the last season. A year.

Would you list the episodes you wrote?
Brutal Youth
Twas The Night Before Mxymas
Meet John Doe
I've Got You Under My Skin

Eps that I did re writing on -- Sex, Lies and VideoTape AKA Superman

What was the favorite episode you wrote? Why?
Probably "Brutal Youth." It was my first. I really thought David Grossman, the director, did a great job. Dean and Teri were fantastic, of course, but I was also very pleased with all the guest actors. They really underplayed what could have been super campy. I thought all the pieces came together in a nice balance.

The X-Files Status:

How long did you write for the X-Files?
Just last year, season five.

Please list your X-Files episodes?
Mind's Eye

As a writer, how does it feel for an actress to be nominated for an Emmy portraying a character you created?
It was fantastic. I have long admired Lili Taylor and wanted her to play Marty from the start. There was much I wasn't happy with the approved story, so I really put most of my focus into creating a role for the actress. That she brought so much to it and got the nomination was thrilling.

Interview Questions:

How did you begin writing in general?
I grew up in So Cal making super 8 films in my backyard. I guess you could say I was self-taught.

When did you first know you wanted to become a writer?
I recall being about eight or ten years old and wanting to write drama.

What was your first published story?
In my line of work, we call it "produced credit." My first produced credit was a low budget feature called "Digging Up Business." It was a black comedy set in a funeral home. My first paid and produced TV credit was for The New Adventures Of Zorro, a half hour show that aired on the Family Channel.

What attracted you to writing and what about it do you enjoy?
I really always considered myself a filmmaker. I still do, actually. I started writing as a means of getting to make films. What I enjoy is having created something. I am a world class procrastinator and for me it never comes easily.

What advice would you give to someone who is aspiring to become a writer?
What I know about is screenwriting. If one wants to become a screenwriter, for film or TV, one must have samples of their work. My advice is write spec scripts (sample scripts). In television, one writes a freelance episode of a well thought of show. I wrote a spec "X-Files," which is what got me the job on both Lois and Clark and The X-Files.

How does writing on a television series differ from other forms of writing you have done?
Television gets made.

How did writing for the X-Files differ from writing on Lois and Clark?
It was more restrictive in some ways. Lois and Clark was more fantasy due to its comic book nature. It was harder to come up with stories for The X-Files. Plus, by the time I got there they had already done 100 episodes. It was hard not to repeat.

Which characters did you enjoy writing for more, Mulder and Scully or Lois and Clark?
I enjoyed them both. Actually, the male/female investigative nature made them similar in many ways. Since I got to explore more aspects of Lois and Clark's characters, I have to say that was the more satisfying experience.

How are these characters alike and/or different?
As I said, they are similar in that they fall into the same kind of genre in many respects. Mulder and Scully are more fun in that their romance is under the skin. (For those who will even admit it *is* a romance) More fun to write, I mean. Maybe not more fun to watch.

Did you as a writer have any dealings with the actors on the series?
Not too much. In neither case was I a producer. Though I would get notes from Dean.

Which were easier to writer for; Dean Cain/Teri Hatcher or David Duchovny/Gillian Anderson?
In both cases, I never had any trouble with any of them. I would say Teri was the easiest to write for simply because she could literally do anything. I shouldn't discount Dean, either -- they were both great under that table in AKA Superman.

What is your opinion about the following types of writing? Which do you prefer? Action? Drama? Humor? Sci-Fi?
I don't make a huge distinction. All elements can cross pollinate. I prefer a mix.

What are your current project/projects and when will they be available to the general public?
I'm currently working as a writer/producer on a new series produced by Fox for ABC called "Strange World." At the moment, we're slated to start airing in March of '99. I don't have time or night yet. You can read more about our show at http://www.section44.com

Note: This interview was conducted by a Lois & Clark fan and was originally posted at http://simplyorganized.simplenet.com/tim.htm. It no longer seems to be available on the web.

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