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Discussions About A Career In Cinema: Glen Mazzara, Writer/Showrunner

In this wide-ranging interview, executive producer Glen Mazzara (The Walking Dead) looks back on how he broke into filmmaking as a writer, and gives a detailed look at the mindset of the show runner behind one of today’s biggest television hits. Mazzara’s observations constitute a fascinating glimpse into the workings of a television show, as well as a generous and honest take on balancing his all-consuming work with family life.

0:00 – Choosing a career in television production – is it a rational decision?

3:16 – Learning the form, making connections; writing spec scripts

6:03 – Creating the first break on Nash Bridges

 9:35 – Training ground; it’s all about structure

10:21 – Presenting and pitching yourself as a storyteller

13:08­ – How to research and prepare for a meeting

14:11 – Thinking in pictures; the visual element from a show runner’s perspective

17:08 – How an understanding of editing affects writing

18:10 – Communicating your vision; the collaborative process; constant improvement

22:14 – Choosing directors and DPs; maintaining style through different directors

26:43 – The logistic versus the artistic; how far to push; the line producer’s role

29:41 – Developing a team

31:25 – Focusing on the next script; constant reinvention

34:31 – In terms of technology, what has changed? What hasn’t? Everything is ready

37:31 – Techniques for streamlining; collaboration, hurt feelings and accountability

39:58 – A script is not a restaurant; notes and criticism

41:13 – Bold choices are necessary; critique in a way that opens up further creative debate

42:40 – Balancing family with the stress of success; disengaging from the work

47:30 – Discipline and personal financial issues; using a business manager

50:31 – Maintaining the freedom to choose projects; getting something out of every job

53:10 – Writing for a lead character; writing for an ensemble

56:37 – Creating a look for The Walking Dead separate from the comic book

58:24 – Advice for starting in film and television: have a point of view