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Q & A with Tim Minear: June 2001

Posted on June 1, 2001

"Mostly I figured if someone was going to butcher one of my scripts it should be me."

Directing is one of those terms that everyone knows but few people understand. Can you give us an idea what a director's role is?
The director takes the script and translates it to the screen. It's about making choices -- what should the scene look like? This includes where to put the camera, how to block the actors, etc. It's also about performance. Any scene can be played any way. One could, without changing a word, make Hamlet a silly comedy through action and tone. It's mostly about trying to tell the story and giving off the impression that you know what the hell you're doing.

Did you enjoy directing?
Huge, big whopping love.

Was there anything about the experience that surprised you?
Not so much, actually. I'd been on sets many times before. Mostly I figured if someone was going to butcher one of my scripts it should be me.

Did you do anything special to prepare for your directorial debut?
In television often scripts are late. Directors have a short period of time to "prep" an episode. But as the writer, I sort of got to prep as I wrote. I was seeing the thing in my head as it came out.

Television is frequently referred to as a writer's medium. Do you think that's true and, if so, why?
It is true. Writers run shows. We're there from conception through post production. The director is "double parked" in many cases -- a woman or man who is with us for a couple weeks then on to another show.

Are there any directors that have been a particular influence on you? If so, did they add anything specific to your style?
Lots of film directors for certain -- Hitchcock, Woody Allen, Spielberg. But in my personal universe, I think I learned a lot just from watching Greenwalt and Whedon work, and also David Semel who directed "Are You Now..."

Did directing this episode in any way change your perspective on writing? Do you view the writing process with new eyes now that you've directed an episode?
No. However, the hardest scene to direct was easily the first scene of act one of "Through The Looking Glass." Five characters for four and half pages or so in one room all moving.

Both Joss Whedon and David Greenwalt have directed episodes written by others. Is this something you would like to do in the future? If so, do you think it's a greater challenge to bring someone else's script to life?
I imagine it would be a greater challenge. And it's not something I would want so much. There is a certain comfort level to directing one's own script. You know how it's supposed to sound.

Any plans to branch out into features?

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