True Blood Producer Gregg Fienberg Discusses True Blood’s Success

October 21, 2010 by  

Gregg Fienberg Talks True Blood

Gregg Fienberg has had a very successful career in the television industry, including 25+ years of work total on shows that include Twin Peaks, Big Love, John From Cincinnati, Deadwood, and of course True Blood. He spoke with BU.edu about the success of True Blood.

Gregg says that one of the reasons for True Blood’s massive success is Alan Ball because he’s so creative. Alan has lots of fun with the show, as do the many script writers. Another reason is the sex and violence in the show mixed with the intense emotions that the characters feel. Overall, though, Gregg believes the popularity is because of how fun True Blood is. The show keeps audiences engaged in what’s going on in the lives of the characters.

An episode of True Blood from season 2 was chosen to air at a Boston University College of Communication event tonight for very specific reasons. The episode, New World in My View, was the tenth episode from season 2, and it was a turning point in the story. Gregg says,

The first drafts of the script had a multitude of problematic production and creative issues (which is not unusual for scripts that come later in the season). Alan and I spent a lot of time together figuring out solutions, and the final draft was much different than the original. The final cut also reflects further changes we came up with after the episode was shot. On top of all that, the script was written by writers new to the show, we had a director who hadn’t done an episode of the show before, and we had a new cameraman. It was a unique episode, to say the least.

The interview continued, focusing on Gregg’s past in television and film, as well as how he got his start and his prior work with HBO. While discussing how he broke into the film industry, Gregg said he started out by helping his friends make student films at the American Film Institute. From there, he took a job as a production assistant on a Roger Corman film. (A friend hired him.) Once Gregg has his foot in the door, he kept taking jobs until he rose through the ranks his current position as a producer.

Gregg has worked with HBO quite a bit, and it’s been a great fit for him. Due to HBO’s support of their showrunners (and their ability to let the showrunners work without too much interference), creativity abounds and high quality shows and other original features are produced. As a producer, Gregg helps HBO to “set up shows in a way that allows for that freedom within the financial constraints that all businesses must have.”

HBO produces both television and movies, and Gregg has had experience with both. He quickly explained the differences between the two:

Film is for a day, TV is for a lifetime. What I mean by that is film is a unique, one-off production, a slice of time in which you tell a story. A series is like having a baby: it’s born and you nurture it and hope it lives a good, long life. The storytelling is open-ended (usually). They are completely different from both storytelling and production points of view.

The interview closed with Gregg discussing things he’s learned from his years being involved with the film industry. While work is important, Gregg has also realized that the most important aspects of filmmaking are to choose projects wisely and always make time for family, since family is more important than any project.

On October 21, Gregg Fienberg will be participating in the BU Cinematheque series, a College of Communication program at Boston University that screens and discusses the work of accomplished filmmakers. The event is open to the community and is free to the public. The discussion will take place at 7 pm in COM room 101.

SOURCE: BU.edu — True Blood Producer Shares Secrets of Show’s Success

(Image Credit: BU.edu)

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  • lizzie1701

    “A New World in my View” is one of my favourite episodes! Who cold forget gorgeous Bill, in his fly buttoned jeans, boots, lovely hair and leather jacket walking across that bridge with that fantastic music being played in the background!! YUM! The Queen’s day room? Bill in board shorts and sunnies?? His gorgeous hairy man chest? Telling QSA he only feeds of Sookie then realising his mistake?? Playing scrabble??? Tiring of QSA and getting up to go? Great episode! Even thoughthis ep had a lot of firsts, it turned out well!

    I also love Twin Peaks and like Big love. I like this guy!

    Thanks Isis!

    • ~ Caitlin

      Hi Lizzie,

      I also, really like that scene when Bill walked across the bridge. The music was excellent and had that New Orleans feel to it. However, there was not enough Eric in that episode for me but I loved the beginning of New World in My View. It was nice to get back to Bon Temps though and have the characters come back together.