I loved the approach to the Vampires fascinatingly giving them a human face, but like I explained to your husband my favorite character still is Professor Murdoch played by David Mcilwraith, the mystery surrounding the Professor has really caught my attention and until now hasn't let me go.
He is a great character.
I consider it my good fortune that your husband answered my email or should I say it was more of an appeal especially when I found out that the show had been cancelled.
He was totally surprised with your contact and obvious in-depth passion for the show. When you create a show, sometimes it feels like you are the only one to have such passion. One does not always get feedback. It's always a wonderful moment when you connect with others who have found what you have created moves them or causes them to think about life in a new way-- as it does you
I had surfed the Internet to no avail no one could answer my questions no one was forth coming with any information on the show what soever. I even contacted YTV about 20 times and still haven't received any answers which is rather frustrating especially if you have some many questions you want answers to.
Many of the people who were there when that show was on have now moved on so there would not be too many people who could answer, even if they would.
I had even tried contacting the Moderator's of the fan site at the time even them I couldn't contact until about 3 months ago that is.So you can imagine your husband made my day when he answered a few of my questions,but that only got me started so I decided to build my own web site on and around the show.
Mark has been very impressed with your site. I have yet to go on-- but I will.
It did prove to be a daunting undertaking for me as I have never done anything like this before, but the more I learnt about the show the more riveted I became.
Amazing that you picked up all these skills!
And there were so many unexpected responses to my e-mails, really terrific people, and also a true reflection of the bitterness that the show didn't get a chance to shoot a second season this I can relate to fully.
You an most of the cast and crew as well...
And then I asked your husband if I could ask you some questions on the show and he forwarded your e-mail to me.So enough about me and here are the questions.
When you were aware that Mark Shekter was writing a Vampire story what was you reaction to this idea?
Mark and I first met when he was two weeks away from moving to Montreal to do the show. I was also moving to Montreal to do another production. So I'm not sure I had any thoughts about it one way or another as I had fallen in love with him and he with me. And, as we are both writers/producers/show creators, I'm not sure that what the show was about really registered with me one way or another. I'm not even sure we talked about it that much at that point. What you talk about are the daily issues surrounding the mounting and maintaining of this kind of a huge production. And for the first six months I had two productions as well. Shop-talk that has to do with production is what you share-- not the deeper concepts until you are actually sharing that process as well. It was not until about six months later, when he t hired me as Senior Story Editor that I became deeply acquainted with the show.
What was you impression of the underlying story in the show?
It was strong and original. It gave great latitude for exploration of limitless aspects of being alive-- or not dead. I loved the idea of being able to wrestle with the core questions of what it means to be human-- in all aspects-- how that can be explored differently with the imposed and exposed qualities of being 'other'... as in a vampire... which is really the darkness with which we all wrestle inherently.
Had you ever written a script for a horror show before Vampire High?
Never. Had not watched Buffy. Ever. Had not read any Vampire stories. But to be honest, Vanpires are well within one's own realm of psyche- if you are willing to look.I think that's why they hold such fascination for us.
Who approached you to write for the show?
Any show like VH has a team of writers and story editors. Mark needed a senior story editor for his writing team, so asked if I would take the job. The story team 'beats' out an outline for each writer and then gives notes on each draft that comes back in-- a writer does two drafts and a polish-- and at the end of the day the story editors do the final re-write, punching it up. Then by the time a script gets to the director, he may have other changes he wants. The story department does those as well. So if you figure 26 episodes, and each has a treatment, a scene-by-scene, two drafts and then re-writes, you can see that the story department keeps pretty busy.
Our story department, like most departments on a series, put in 18 hour days, getting all the scripts prepared and ready to shoot. When I came on, the show was five scripts down as the lead actress had informed Mark that she was leaving. That killed the five scripts already written so new ones had to be prepared for her exit-- we were running flat-out the final months of the shoot. I remember I brought a mat into the writer's room and periodically would just fall down and take a ten minute power nap so I could keep going. It was a great team.
Where did you learn to write scripts for TV shows?
By writing scripts. The best way to learn is to write.
How did you get the idea for "The Portrait'?
I'm not sure how the idea came up-- when you are writing, you throw around many ideas... that one obviously stuck as it was a perfect way to explore the idea of another person stealing the life-force of a lover.
Are you interested in the supernatural, and unexplained phenomena ?
Who isn't? I find it fascinating.
Was it difficult to write such a visual and visceral episode?
Not at all. I think we have all lived such experiences in relationships of all kinds where we were 'sucked dry'... when you get to write for Vampires, you get to make it very visceral, as you so well put it.
Did you have a favorite character in Vampire High to write for?
No. They are all challenging and rich.
Was it difficult to connect with the characters while writing?
No. It's funny, when you are a writer, these are not 'made-up' characters to you... they are real. They exist. for you as real as your own life friends and family. So writing for these characters is simply an exercise of exploring and pushing the boundaries of what you already know about them-- and what you will discover. It is a fascinating exploration and journey.
Were you present at the shooting of the episode that you had written?
No. We were by that time on to many more drafts of more scripts. Rarely is there time to even go on set. Now, my favorite situation is when I have written and am directing my own film or TV show. Then I get to take part in that magical (and sometimes painful when you see that what you wrote is not working) unfolding of each moment.
Do writers have any say during the shooting of the episode that they have worked on?
No. Series TV is a real pass-the-baton team effort. Your leg of the race is over once the baton leaves your hand. (It is your job as a writer to make sure the intent and tone and subjective inferences are all there in the script.) Unlike a feature film (or movie of the week) where it is more like a quilting bee-- everyone is gathered around the quilt, at the same time.
Which episode did you enjoy the most?
That is a tough question. Sometimes each show is like having many children... you like them all for different reasons... in each of them you see brilliance and in each you see weakness... some of which you are directly responsible for and some which is out of your hands.
Would you consider ever writing again for Vampire High if ever they did decide to shoot again?
Was there anything you would have changed in the script if you had the chance to?
Have not thought about it... but as each year passes you learn more about your craft so I'm sure if i sat down and looked at it with my sharp red pencil, I might have some places to make it better... or maybe not.
Did you keep the original first draft of the episode that you wrote, like Alex Epstein it was an eye opener reading that.
I don't know. I should go back and look.
I would like to thank you or should I say your husband for giving me the opportunity to ask you questions on the work you did with the show. It is unusual in that I hadn't expected to get this far already, and have to thank both you and your husband for the warm answers to my questions.
You are most welcome. Thank you for your unexpected and totally affirming responses to the show.