Friday, November 11, 2011
CM_SetReport Chat Transcript for Virgil Williams 11-11-11
VW: Hello all, excited to be here!!!!!! This is Virgil, writer of ep. 707... Q's??
1000profilers: What made you think up this week's case?
VW: It was all about Frankenstein...so I basically stole it from Mary Shelly - did I spell that right? Shelley?
Kitten0409: Hi Virgil! About last night episode. People that has suffered one, and lived to tell the tale, have been saying it was a very accurate despiction of those situations. Do you have live experience with them? And was the title, There's is No Place Like Home, a reference to The Wizard of Oz? Kansas + tornadoes + the title itself... :D
VW: 1) Yes, the title (as well as many other references) were a nod to the great OZ and... 2) I grew up in Chicago, many tornado and thunderstorm warnings where the sky turned green...but never any 1st hand experience with a twister - thank goodness
flymypretties: Are there any guides provided to help the writers? A cheat sheet of commonly used terminology, or something listing established facts about each character?
VW: Yes, we get a lotta help. There is actually a guide the writer's room came up with last year. There are also our former FBI profiler advisors, who are invaluable, but basically when I got hired...I had a CM marathon...and then another one... and then antother...we're in season 7
SergioCushion: I really liked that you included the moment with Rossi and Garcia at the begining of the episode, it's a character relationship that we don't get to see a lot of in the show. What made you decide to include that part in the episode?
VW: I spent 4 seasons on the show "ER" where we did a lot of character stuff - those kinds of scenes ALWAYS make shows better.
Frivolouswhim: Virgil, the ep you wrote is my favorite so far this season. How did JJ's storyline about Henry getting sick come about?
VW: Clearly you have impeccable taste. I have 2 kids and raising little ones is a universal issue a lot of people can relate to. What does a working mom do when she has to fly off and go catch crazy killers?
angry_emily: Who wrote the little star poem?
VW: I wrote it. We couldn't clear any of the classic kids books. So I thought of my kids and out it came.
Rensomnia: How do you writers manage to make so many of the UnSubs both horrifying AND kind of pitiful at the same time? Brilliant!
VW: Good question. It's always a bit more interesting when you find yourself feeling pity for this CARAZY person. Sometimes we try to write to that. Sometimes we just want a bad guy doing bad things...depends.
angry_emily: How much more post-production goes into an episode with so many special effects?
VW: A lot
soundofmescreaming: Do you write how every interaction among the characters have to be or do they improvise some of them?
VW: They improv a lot - we collaborate on that when we're shooting but the actors have a very personal relationship with those characters and their instincts are usually right...usually
lcm18: Have you already started working on your next episode? Can you tell us something about it?
VW: Yes, people will die ;) and its a hate crime....ooooohhhh
Jasper: What do you think are the challenges of writing for the 7th season of a show?
VW: The biggest challenge is the 100+ other episodes - we've done everything - so how do we keep it fresh? Hard to do in season 7
thecriminalprofiler: In one word, how would you describe writing for Criminal Minds?
FunSub: Last nights episode was one of the best episodes so far this season! What is your next epsiode, and which character will it focus on?
VW: Morgan...and thank you...again someone with impeccable taste
flymypretties: What's your writing process like? Do you have any rituals or habits?
VW: To gory to reveal...but yes
soundofmescreaming: Is it hard to write a background story of the unsubs?
VW: Yes, because sometimes they take up a lot of script space, so you have to be efficient...oh and interesting...and good too...a lot to ask
ChocolateDivine: Found it hilarious that normally unflappable Rossi was having a hard time flying through turbulence. What inspired you to peg him for it?
VW: Because it's funniest with him since he's unflappable
angry_emily: There's a belief that art imitates life... Is television trying to tell us that RVs are generally bad news?
VW: I would stay away from anything bigger than a pick up truck
flymypretties: How does the environment on the set compare to your time at ER?
VW: It’s great here. It was great there too. Just different. But in all honesty this is one of the best groups I've ever worked with.
angry_emily: I noticed that Rossi tells JJ to control Reid on the plane. Is JJ the team mother, even though she no longer presents the cases?
VW: No that was just for the humor of the moment - it was funnier with him begging her instead of telling Reid to shut it
Frivolouswhim: Can you please get Shemar (at least half) naked in your next Morgan centric ep? As a late Christmas present to the fandom? :) :)
VW: Stay tuned...and Merry X-mas (but it may be more of a Valentine's gift)
BubblegumFox: What led you to start writing for television?
VW: When I was a kid I was an actor. So I got bit by the bug at around 8 years old. By the time I got to college it was California or bust. I was broke as a joke...but writing was free. So I wrote. I've always written. But screenwriting really kinda found me. I had a passion for comics, movies, Tv, books my whole life, just something inside me. When I got a job as a PA on "Lois & Clark" I really got turned on to TV
kat: What's the biggest challenge writing a script for this show--balancing the case with the personal, making the dialogue sharp, or keeping the suspense level high?
VW: Yes. All of the above.
Frivolouswhim: Which part of writing do you enjoy the most? Collecting ideas, the writing process itself or seeing the ep done and ready to air? Or do you love it as a whole all the same?
VW: Good question - I actually hate the act of writing. But I LOVE having written. It's the finished product that makes the process totally worth while
flymypretties: What is the relationship between the writer and director during the process of filming an episode?
VW: Like 2 peas in a pod - if you're lucky - lotta collaboration
BubblegumFox: How long do you spend deciding on the baseline for a episode? Then how long on average do you spend actually writing the script for a episode?
VW: A couple/three days to break the story. A week to write the outline. 2 weeks to write the script.
angry_emily: What was cut from this episode?
VW: Not much was cut, not much at all
flymypretties: What's the name of the Garcia and Kevin-centric episode coming up?
VW: "Snake Eyes"
flymypretties: What can you tell us about "Self-Fulfilling Prophecy"?
VW: People die...and Strauss has a secret
FunSub: There hasn't been an unsub that tries to get close to the investigation in a while. Do you think there will be one this season? Will there ever be one that gets romantically involved with a member of the team just to get on the inside of the investigation? Particularly Reid? *Hint Hint* :P ::laugh
VW: Hmmmmmm....maybe. Stay tuned.
Carol: Hey Virgil. Loved the episode, congratulations. Can you give us any information about the 150th epi that is Emily-centric?
VW: It's shooting right now and was written by my esteemed colleague, Breen Frazier. A jet scene like none other. And people die.
BubblegumFox: Are there ever times you think it is too much writing for this type of show ::blink ?? and do find yourself double checking the front door to see if it is locked?
VW: Yes, it has changed my outlook a bit. Trust no one... and, yes, when I'm writing this show I have to take a lotta breaks just to get out of the Criminal Mind
ChocolateDivine: Is there any ep coming up where someone on the team gets beaten up or has his/her life in danger?
VW: Yes...stay tuned
angry_emily: are you determined to not give us any information
VW: Yes...and did I mention to stay tuned?
Rensomnia: You crack me up with your "And people die" bit...can you work your own sense of humor into scripts or are you fairly limited in where you can go with it?
VW: Yes, it's hard to get humor in since every ep has a crazy on the loose. Sometimes it gets awkward when you try to force the humor. But I feel like humor is essential. I always say "Never cut funny".
flymypretties: Anything you can tell us about "True Genius"? Is it going to be a more lighthearted episode, or angsty?
VW: It’s one of the smartest episodes of the year. And people will die. Oh and crime author, Patricia Cornwell, makes an appearance
disillusioned: please tell me there will be some morgan/prentiss stuff coming up
VW: Now that you mention it - M & P have some biz in my next episode
thecriminalprofiler: Whos idea was it to have AJ's son in real life to play Henry on the show?
VW: It just made sense, especially since he played her son before
thecriminalprofiler: What is your opinion on inter-team romances? A lot of the CM fandom want to see Hotch & Prentiss hook up!
VW: I support it - but the network...not so much. From my "ER" experience, we used to do that all the time. I've also been on other shows that did it. We even did it on "24". But it's not my show. I just run the plays the coaches tell me to run and try to write them so you guys have a great 42 minute experience on Wednesday nights.
Rensomnia: Do you have any ideas for guest stars you'd like to see brought in for an ep or two?
VW: We actually just cast an UnSub in 709 that I used in an ep of ER - Shawn Hatosy. He's also on "Southland". Great actor.
Frivolouswhim: Which of the characters would you take on as a room mate in real life? :D
VW: Prentiss - she's hot. But my wife would kill me. And then they would have to investigate my murder.
angry_emily: Gideon Prentiss and Morgan were both profiled in the past. Will any others be profiled this season?
VW: Hmmmmm - stay tuned
Frivolouswhim: Virgil, your middle name should be Tease. Or is it? :D
VW: No it's danger
ChocolateDivine: Would it be feasible to do a crossover episode with another crime drama series? Or even any other show?
VW: We're thinking about a "Grimm" cross over ;)
Kitten0409: Why the great CM tradition of concealing who the unsub is until the team discovers his/her identity seems to have been completely lost? We love NOT to know who the unsub is... :-(
VW: Every show evolves and changes. We may get back to some of that though.
BubblegumFox: Are there any places that you would like the show to go to? Like having an unsub in Hawaii so they all catch the jet there... and just forget about the unsub for once...
VW: Great idea, we'll call it Vacation Minds...spin off?.
FunSub: Do people die in the next episode? :PP haha
VW: No, not a one.
VW: You guys are awesome. Thanks for the ?'s and thanks for your time. STAY TUNED!