The latest updates from the creators, cast, and crew of The Cape.
December 7, 2010 2:23 PM
It was over a month since I got the phone call from my agent that changed everything. From that moment on I was alight with excitement, apprehension, and curiosity. What was the writer's room going to be like? Who else was going to be in it? What, exactly, would we be doing in there?
I had never been in a writer's room. "Writers on the Verge" simulated the "room" environment to a degree; all of us helped each other's drafts by critiquing and solving story challenges as a group. The workings of a professional room--churning out stories under the guidance of a showrunner while answerable to a studio and network--remained a looming mystery.
I heard all kinds of stories, horrible stories about tyrannical showrunners who terrorized their staff, and inspiring stories about nurturing showrunners who empowered their writers. I heard about rooms where staff writers were to be seen and not heard, and rooms where if you don't speak up, you're out.
I had met both Tom Wheeler and John Wirth beforehand, and they both seemed very nice. They certainly did not seem the types who would purposefully make us miserable or intimidate me into a corner. But after only one meeting, what could I tell?
I had no idea what to expect. When I got the list of all the other writers I quickly looked each of them up. My throat went dry. Shows like Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, Battlestar Galactica, V, Carnivale and Jericho dotted the numerous credits of the room to be, along with movies like The Invisible, Percy Jackson and the Olympians...
"Yikes..." These were writers of shows and films that I loved. I was going to be placed amongst writers with serious credits in their wakes. What did I have to show for myself?
Finally the day arrived. I left my place early, not wanting to risk the possibility of being late on my first day. We had received a detailed document from John detailing a number of his pet peeves. In addition to outlining his distaste for spoken grammatical errors and cell phones in the room was his declaration that work commenced at 10, and "10 means 10, it doesn't mean 10:20 or 10:40 or 11:15; I will get irritated fast if you slide; arrive early, get your coffee; be ready."
Of course, that would be the day that Barham refused to move, the 101 merely inched along, and the parking space I was assigned was taken. "Crap, crap, crap!" It was 9:55, my plan for being early completely foiled. I zipped my way to the top of the garage, hoping to circle back around. Valet cars bumper to bumper, blocking my path. Foiled again! I grabbed the first spot I could find, hoping that Technicolor wouldn't tow me. I grabbed my bags and RAN.
I followed the instructions on where to walk: through the building, up the stairs. My eyes darted around for any sign of where to go next. "Cape...Cape?" Nothing. It was 10:05. I had already failed.
I finally got pointed in the right direction, and found the room. It seemed to be fully populated. Tom stood, "Keto..." Damn it. I thought. No sneaking in late for me.
He approached, and gave me a hug. A hug! Relief poured down my shoulders. I wasn't in trouble.
I quickly greeted the others in the room. They all had kind faces and firm handshakes (there are few things more disturbing to me than a weak handshake...). We went around the table. One by one, each writer gave their introductory speech. I was delighted to find that the other writers represented a variety of areas of expertise, their work and backgrounds as diverse as themselves. I did my best not to sound like a jittery, salivating fanpuppy as I expressed how excited and honored I was to even BE THERE. I think I failed at that one, too.
work was set in motion and ideas began to flow, I looked around the room
carefully. People. I told myself. They're just people, and this
is day one for all of us.