(3-2-16 presenter, writer for new ShowTime series Billions Wes Jones)
Wes Jones, one of the writers for ShowTimes new series Billions came into to speak with us, which I found to be a very interesting, educational and motivational class period. Regardless of the summary of how he explained to us how the show (cable shows) are put together on television, there were numerous things that I found significant and stood out to me. One thing was how during pre-production they got informants from the FBI, and billionaires to help them understand and put together a well-informed and accurate script. I appreciate shows that take the time to do thorough research to present proper information; it made me think of the CSI effect, meaning that many people who watch criminal shows believe that what takes place is exactly how a case would be handled in real life situations, when in actuality it takes much longer and the individuals often doing many things within the evidence department in reality would be left to other people who have specialized in what have you areas.
The use of social media is important and is revolutionizing the way we advertise shows and read information. (That social media is more important than regular/conventional advertising I believe what he said is true. Many people live tweet during shows plus many people don’t read magazine or papers that have many of the advertised shows etc. within them). That part (people live tweeting) about television today is something that I don’t like and takes away from just sitting and enjoying a show. That social media is more important than regular/conventional advertising I believe what he said is true. Many people live tweet during shows plus many people don’t read magazine or papers that have many of the advertised shows etc. within them.
What I took away from Mr. Jones and how his words resonated with me were a couple of things as well. Ideas don’t matter as much as YOU matter. Its about your ability to execute and idea! And that comes down to you. That’s an important thing to understand, because you can have a great idea but if you cant explain it with conviction, it’ll fall flat. It made me think of how horrible a lot of movies and TV shows are, and that they got made because they had a very charismatic individual pitching it, and probably money too.
Another thing I took note of, is when he was talking about characters that you develop as a writer and that knowing what’s going on in the world and how that would work in your story can be beneficial. Writing something based on a true story, or with known characters (figures in the public domain) is good because they get attention from the audience and readers because it resonates with them.
The character of “Bubba” from the Sookie Stackhouse series, which was the story for the HBO vampire drama True Blood, came to mind when he said that. In the series the writer gives subliminal hints to who this character was but never saying his name. The story is based in the south, there’s always rumors of dead celebrities seen in random bum hole type places you wouldn’t expect to see them in, his accent, Elvis movies playing on the screen and many other moments and characteristics they incorporated to give the readers a jolt of excitement. It did for me because my sister happened to read the book before me and made the connections. I didn’t, so when she asked me about Bubba and I was clueless she was shocked because I’m such an Elvis fan. It was so awesome when I finally got it and when he appeared in the other novels in the series. I really loved it because I have never read or seen anything that had done something like this before. It was very smart and I could see what Mr. Jones was expressing about characters that resonate and bring out a response in people because it adds an element into the story that can make it successful and unique separate from what has been done. Its too bad they didn’t put him in the show, although in the authors defense she couldn’t see how to incorporate the character without him coming of silly or tacky and would rather leave him out them ruin it. I respect her choice and the HBO executives for agreeing with that. Not everything that’s in the book needs to be on the screen and they were selective in some areas better than a few others that I’m not going to get into a lengthy discussion about, but its very interesting to talk about in my opinion. Anyway overall I’m glad Wes Jones was able to come in and speak to us because I took away some good tips that will help me with my writing. It was fun class for me at least.