Q: Mr. Katims, I must say that your show is a metaphor for life-long lessons. I look to these characters and can see so many similarities to me and my family. Mae Whitman is my hero; I was just wanting to ask, what is your favorite character in the show, and why?
- Nick Pratt
The beauty of the show is that the cast is so good across the board that we can cut to any character and any story, and no matter how engaged I was in the scene I just saw, I'm equally engaged in the scene I'm watching. I think everyone has characters that they relate to or gravitate to, and that's natural and good. But I have to say, I can't pick a favorite because I truly think that as wonderful as each character is, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
Q: Mr. Katims, how does your prior experience translating a feature film to television in the fantastic and critically acclaimed "Friday Night Lights" inform your work on "Parenthood"?
- Janna Wong Healy
A lot. While they are very different on the surface, from a writing perspective the shows are both large ensemble dramas. We have the same process of breaking stories, and we work the same way in terms of trying to get the most possible out of our 42 minutes of screen time. Looking at production, we brought over a lot of the technique and ethos from the set of FNL. For instance, we shoot with three cameras, and we give the actors the freedom to overlap and even improve some of their dialogue to make the show feel as realistic as possible. The spontaneous, creative atmosphere on set reminds me very much of my time in Dillon.
Q: Was the dialogue written in a way that the actors all speak over one another and interrupt each other (the way we really speak) on purpose or is it something that comes about organically?
- Shannon Donnelly
It's something we did on "Friday Night Lights," and I liked how real it felt. When we went to series on "Parenthood," I encouraged our actors to really respond to each other as they would in life, and I encouraged our directors, director of photography, and sound department to work in a way that we could capture the actors honestly reacting to what's happening in the moment. I think this has a dramatic affect on the naturalism we can achieve in the show. We have an incredible cast and I believe this way of shooting really allows them to bring everything possible to these roles. They can be a little less concerned with some of the technical aspects of acting (which are still very important), and focus more on digging out as much as they can from the scenes.