As part of a series of “Cinematique” lectures sponsored by the Boston University College of Communication, Gregg Fienberg, the co-executive producer of the hit HBO series, “True Blood,” took some time to speak to a packed auditorium of BU students on the process of how an episode of the show progresses from its original development to broadcast; during a Q&A session he also gave advice to the future employees of the film and television industry.
Fienberg is a true veteran of film and television, served as creative producer for the hit television series, “Twin Peaks,” beginning in 1990 and lasting through 1991, and producer of the 1998 film Gods and Monsters, among others. The main difference between film and television, he says, is that “with movies, you have two hours to work with; you shoot, edit, then prep and you’re done. But with television you never know how long you’re gonna go. Sometimes you’re shooting, editing, and prepping all at the same time. It’s chaotic.”
According to Fienberg, in television series usually involves around 20-22 scripts per season. With “True Blood,” however, there are only twelve episodes per season, which puts a lot of pressure on the writers. “Every single script better be damn good,” says Fienberg. “It is very sophisticated writing, the tone is shifting all the time.” HBO is also different than other television networks because “the people who develop the script, buy the script, and put it on the air are all the same people. Usually it’s a bunch of different studios. This makes the whole process more cohesive; it really works well.”
“True Blood” is one of the top 5 of all shows — both cable and regular broadcast — for the 18- to 49-year-old demographic. Fienberg says it is all because “we’re able to get a little more real, a little more deep ; the audience doesn’t have to be spoon-fed.”
Fienberg became co-executive producer of “True Blood” during its second season in 2009. The series was created in 2008 by Alan Ball, who is also responsible for “Six Feet Under.” Says Fienberg of Ball: “Alan is an extremely free thinker and a ton of fun.” Fienberg will continue to work with the show through its fourth season, debuting in the summer of 2011.
Watch Fienberg’s live speech below:
★ “True Blood” stars come to The Estate in Boston.
★ Jerry Seinfeld appearing at the Wang Center for two shows on September 11.
★ Star of the Food Network, Bobby Flay, comes to Connecticut to judge a healthy grilling contest sponsored by Aetna insurance.
★ The Music Hall in Portsmouth, NH gives you highlights from the Telluride film festival (which was at one time held in Portsmouth).
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