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Q & A with Tim Minear: June 2000

Posted on June 1, 2000

"But since it wouldn’t interest people much to watch Angel sitting around tearing his hair out at a computer while freaking about a deadline, I mostly just try to write what entertains me..."

Doug Petrie wrote the Buffy comic #20, dealing with what happened after Angel's departure. This story is supposed to be "canonical". In the end, although parted, the connection between Buffy and Angel remains, and that is what makes these two warriors strong. Considering everything that has happened this season, do the writers for "Buffy" and "Angel" share this vision? Is their love, not just friendship, something that all of you see as a connection that is an integral part of their existence?
I can answer this one pretty plainly. Yep.

After writing "Sanctuary," where Angel confesses to Wesley that he wants to rush after Buffy but purposefully stays put, how did you feel when the writer of "Primeval" had Angel going to Sunnydale to apologize? It seemed a weak and sketchy reason for him to show up in town, given his strong conviction the previous week.
He didn't purposefully stay put, really. Fact is, the ep ends there. When asked by Wesley, Angel says -- without hesitation -- that he "wants to go after her." It was never the intention to convey that he wasn't going to.

Do you have any advice for aspiring screenwriters on both what to do and what NOT to do?
There's no road map. I'll keep my remarks centered on television writing. The best thing to do is to get to know the show you want to write (to work as a TV writer one must have samples. One must write spec TV scripts.) by watching it, then by reading the actual scripts of the show. Finally, write what amuses you. Of course there's an element of trying to write what you think the Powers That Be might want to read, but in the end -- write what *you* would want to see as the audience.

Who comes up with the Title and Subtitle names (i.e. Episode 18: Titled: "Sanctuary", Subtitled: "Slayer’s Vengeance") for the Episodes; the writers, Joss or David and why two titles? Follow up: What’s the reason they are never shown in the credits or say, TV Guide?
The writer of the episode will usually title the ep. For instance, the working title for "Somnambulist" was "The Killer I Created." When I saw that the entire story had been spoiled on the internet, I opted for the new title to hopefully throw the fans off track so they’d have some surprises. It worked. The reason we title the eps is so that we can keep track, frankly. Besides, each story deserves its own title. You wouldn’t call your children "Kid #1," would you?

I have to admit here that I didn’t know about the subtitles. Not sure where those come from. It's true we don't put the titles over the opening of the eps during the credits sequence. Just a choice. I’ve worked on shows, "Lois and Clark," for instance, were we did. Dunno about the TV Guide thing. They don’t list ep titles as a rule, do they? All shows title their stories. .

Will we see any of the following on the next season of Angel: Jenny? Spike and Angel in days gone by? Willow?
We’re in the early planning stages of season two at the moment. You’ll see plenty.

How much of what you write is based on personal experiences, uh.. well, as much as one can incorporate personal experiences on a show about creatures of folklore that really don't exist.. and along the same vain, does Joss *let* you incorporate your own stuff? Or...do you just say to hell with it, and fake it?
I think I bring something of my own experience to my TV work. Let’s just say I know how Faith felt when Angel was telling her to take it "ten minutes at a time." Without getting boringly autobiographical, I think I tend to bring my own life in subtler ways as well. But since it wouldn’t interest people much to watch Angel sitting around tearing his hair out at a computer while freaking about a deadline, I mostly just try to write what entertains me (and will please Joss and David, of course. Though luckily that generally seems to be the same thing.). I want to be in that audience. If I’m entertained by it, then I can assume that others might be as well.

In the season finale, Angel cuts off Lindsey's hand. When we see Lindsey at the end, his hand is bandaged. Is his hand gone for good or was it reattached?
That baby’s gone.

Will everyone (Kate, Gunn, Lindsey, etc.) be returning for next season? Will there be any other additions to the cast? Can you tell us about any of them?
All of the above are returning. No word yet if we’ll be introducing any other new characters, but Joss has a way of giving birth a lot. For a guy, I mean.

The focus of the show seems to have shifted from the 'damsel of the week' to a greater emphasis on Angel and his path. Do you agree with that assessment? If so, is this a change that you are happy about?
It’s true that "Angel" has moved from being almost totally an anthology show to having its focus on our main characters more often. It’s my feeling that there’s room for stand alone stories, be it damsel-driven or not, and stories which explore our main characters. Am I happy about the opportunity to explore Angel and his path to redemption? You bet. That’s actually why I took the gig. Well, that and the chance work with Joss and David.

Are there any story ideas you would love to do on the show but know you never will due to restrictions (i.e., network limitations, Joss' preferences, etc.)?
Not yet. I’ll let you know.

What were you thinking when you picked "Liam"? (Ed. Note: I feel the need here to point out that I did NOT ask this question...I was just thinking it.)
Growing up there was an Irish family that attended the same church my family attended. They had a son, "Liam," who seemed a particular devil to me. Maybe I was thinking of him…

All of the above questions were submitted by fanclub members. Thanks to everyone who contributed.

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