Former True Blood Writers Interviewed on the TV Writer’s Podcast

January 24, 2011 by  

Behind the Script

Elizabeth Finch and Kate BarnowElisabeth R. Finch and Kate Barnow served as a writer’s assistant and a script supervisor respectively during the past three seasons of True Blood. They were also given a chance to co-write three episodes of our favorite series, “The World in My View” (Season 2), “9 Crimes“, and “I Smell a Rat” (Season 3). The duo now writes for the ABC series, No Ordinary Family as full time staff writers. But how did they go from being a writer’s assistant and a script supervisor to writers? The host of TV Writer’s Podcast Gray Coleman recently interviewed them covering their respective backgrounds, how they broke into writing for television, and best of all gave us a small glimpse into how True Blood is written.

Both Elizabeth and Kate came into the television industry as writers, Kate having started as an assistant to the executive producers of Will and Grace and Elisabeth as the winner of a prestigious internship from the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. But as is the case in any career both women had to pay their dues which they were still doing when they arrived at True Blood. Elizabeth served as a writer’s assistant which consisted of things like making copies, making corrections, typing up scripts, answering phones and so forth. As a script supervisor, Kate was tasked with editing the many different revisions of each script that come out and ensuring that each draft had continuity. Neither job is the most glamorous. But they allowed the soon-to-be writing team to be in the all important writer’s room.

Inside the War Room

The script is the heart of any television show. In the case of True Blood, every script that is written serves as a cue for all of the major departments and people involved in the shoot. It gives the art department an idea of where a scene is set so that they can set the appropriate mood, the costume department a feel for what kind of mood a character may be in as caused by their environment which affects what they’ll wear, and of course, it gives the actors their lines and important information about each scene. Without the script there would be no show!

Inside of the writer’s room, ideas for scenes are pitched, stories are started, and the entire season is mapped out.  Being inside of the writer’s room is the place to be because in addition to knowing about what storylines are upcoming, you also become involved with the scripts like Elisabeth and Kate were which allows for learning quite a bit. After being on the show for awhile, the women were given the chance to write what is known as a spec script. A spec script is one that deals in the world of the show but has no relation to any of the storylines that are currently being done. Creator Alan Ball liked what he saw and allowed them to write the first of three episodes, “The World in My View”.

Writing for Another Supernatural Show

Kate and Elizabeth feel that writing for No Ordinary Family was a natural progression in their careers. They became staff writers prior to ABC’s super family show airing. But they did confess it is hard to write for a network show where there is no sex or swearing allowed compared to True Blood where almost anything goes.

Over all, this interview was very interesting to watch and listen to; especially to those who wonder how life as a television writer is and how you can get involved. We here at TBN wish Elisabeth Finch and Kate Barnow continued success on No Ordinary Family! The complete podcast is featured below. Sit back and enjoy the interview!

Source: Script Mag-“TV Writer’s Podcast 009: Elisabeth Finch and Kate Barnow from No Ordinary Family”
IMDB– “Elisabeth Finch”
IMDB– “Kate Barnow”

(Photo Credit: Script Mag)