by Jennifer Squires Biller
It’s here! As promised, I finally finished transcribing the recent Veronica Mars online press conference interviews with creator Rob Thomas and actor Jason Dohring (Logan Echolls.) I know, they built Rome in a shorter time than it took me to get this done. But it’s good stuff, people, well worth the wait.
For those of you too lazy to read all the way through the transcript, here are some highlights: Rob’s favorite episode from season one is “A Trip to the Dentist.” He hopes to put bloopers from season one and season two on the season two DVD set. Duncan did find out that Logan had drugged him at Shelly’s party, but it just didn’t air on screen. And next season - praying that we get one - may have several mysteries, instead of one long story arc.
(A special thanks to siklilgrl at http://siklilgrl.livejournal.com/ for the screen caps and pieces of the transcript that I didn’t get, due to having to turn down my computer’s volume, when I was asking questions to Rob and Jason. I apologize to any bloggers out there whose names are not spelled correctly. I don’t have close captioning. So, if you find a mistake, please e-mail me.)
Veronica Mars Online Press Conference Transcript - March 28, 2006
As luck would have it, I was the first caller. When I heard the male voice on the end of the phone, I was shocked to find out I was talking to that genius Rob Thomas, instead of the male operator I had been chatting with while waiting to be put in the queue to the press conference. After regaining my composure, I quickly switched into reporter mode and pulled out my question, inspired by my love of Vinnie VanLowe, Sheriff Lamb and Dick. Enjoy!
JENNIFER (from Tube Talk): My readers love the minor characters.(So do I.) They seem to have taken on a popularity all of their own. We love Vinnie, Dick, Beaver, Sheriff Lamb and even Kendall, who we’re supposed to hate. When you introduce minor characters, Rob, do you have long-term scenes and storylines in mind, or do you add scenes for those characters based on how well they mesh with other characters and the fans?
ROB: Excellent question. Occasionally there are characters who we’ve plotted out that are going to come on and have a four-episode storyline. Certainly, Troy Vandegraff in year one. We knew that he was going to be on for four episodes and his story ran its course, and then he was gone. But there are characters who pop. There are characters who come on who we think are a one-episode booking, who we just so love when we see them on the show that they just keep coming back time and time again. Certainly, last year we fell in love with Vinnie VanLowe who continues to come back and will appear several times this year. Mac, Tina Majorino, is a character who we fell in love with after she did the show. Even the tiny characters, you know Corny was supposed to have a three line role in the pilot that has grown into five or six times a year. Dick Casablancas, originally he was an actor that we cast out of San Diego and he had one word. In the first episode after the pilot this was his line, [Rob acts it out for us], “LOGAN!” And, [Rob smiles and shrugs] we thought, he just had such a great surfer-boy look that we had a punch line a few episodes later in which Mrs. Murphy said, “Veronica, what’s your position on this?” and, Dick kind of grins and shouts out, “ALL FOURS!” And, from that time on, we knew we needed to have him back. So, sometimes the intention is to have them in for a few episodes but, more often than not, they are just people who we fall in love with over the course of the show and decide we see more of. Thanks for your question.
ANNIE (from Random Acts of Television): Last episode we heard rumblings of Neptune being incorporated, does that mean we could possibly be saying goodbye to Sheriff Lamb?
ROB: Well, even if Neptune incorporated, the county would still have both a Sheriff’s department and a police department. So, if it incorporates, they will gain a mayor. They will gain a police department, but the county will still have a sheriff’s department so that would still exist. And you’re going to get the answer to that question about incorporation: it’s success or failure very shortly. The episodes—I have to admit — it all becomes one big storyline for me. So where one ends and one begins and where exactly— you know, we’re in the writers’ room— actually right now we’re talking season three in the writers’ room because we’ve written all the episodes, but it becomes a big jumble for me. You know we’ve got one episode we’re shooting, one episode we’re editing, one episode that we’re writing, one episode that we’re breaking, so I get a little fuzzy about what has actually aired. But I think you’re going to get the answer to the incorporation question very soon. Thank you.
SUNIL: Did you hear the sad news about Arrested Development?
ROB: Yeah, that is a complete drag about Arrested Development. That article though it actually bummed me out this morning.
SUNIL: But regarding Arrested Development, both shows take place in Balboa County so what would be your dream crossover?
ROB: Are you talking about bringing in members of that cast?
ROB: Well, next week’s episode features the two kids from Arrested Development, and they were awesome in their appearance on Veronica Mars. I’ve been talking up these next two episodes that are going to air, episodes 216 and 217, two of my favorites of the year, and I’ve sort of given them so much… [laughing a bit at himself] I’ve pumped them up [illustrates with hand gestures] so much to people that I wanted to make sure that I’m not crazy. My parents were in town this weekend for my daughter’s first birthday, and I showed them the two episodes and they concur. So my parents love them. Anybody from that cast from Arrested Development I would love. Every episode I watch, I pick a new favorite. I tend to always love Lucille. I always love Gob. I love Michael. They’re all great. George Michael. They’re all great. I know you had a question for Jason, so maybe they’ll let you hang out and I’ll go catch some other people and maybe come back to you when Jason gets back.
COMICE (from LiveJournal): I was actually very encouraged to hear you talking about Season 3 because I’d love there to be a season three and I know that—[interrupted by Rob’s chuckling]
ROB: Me too!
COMICE: Good. I know that people have concerns about CW and the combining of the two networks. Are you encouraged by moving to Tuesday and being slotted with Pepper Dennis?
ROB: Yes. Yeah, it’s a tentative yes. We’ll see. You know, I ‘m a bit nervous about all of our fans finding us on the new night but, let’s face it, Lost and Veronica Mars have a very similar fan base. You know, people who are into long-arc mysteries and both fans of our show and fans of Lost can be very fanatic about the show – in a great way. I have a feeling there is a lot of overlap, and I know when Lost has aired repeat episodes, we have done so much better. I mean SO much better when Lost is in repeats. So, hopefully on a Tuesday night, when we’re not competing with them, we’ll show an uptick as well. Our numbers as of late haven’t been stellar, so I’m sorta of the school of “couldn’t hurt” or “shouldn’t hurt.” [laughs] Thanks for the call.
KATHIE (from Give Me My Remote): I actually had a question about your online audience. I know many of us were lucky enough to participate in the bloggers press day out in San Diego, which was fantastic. Thank you so much. And, obviously this online press conference, so I was just kind of wondering if you’d talk a little bit about why you feel so strongly about connecting with bloggers and other web sites that talk about Veronica Mars?
ROB: Sure. You know, I have to be honest, this has been something that’s— [stumbles over what he wants to say for a second] How do I want to put it? It’s more about the audience that’s discovered the show, and we realize who those people are. I wish that I could say that I was so prophetic that I thought, “Oh we’re going to have this great online following and this real web-based fan support.” But I didn’t, it was something sort of over the course of the first season of the show we came to understand that we had, and once we understood it, we wanted to make sure that we played to the people who seemed to be our strongest fan base. Pretty early on in season one – CBS and UPN are sister companies and we were hearing these amazing statistics, for having as low ratings as we sometimes do, our number of Internet hits on the CBS and UPN sites were at the top of the list. So, it’s a weird place that we’re in where our Nielsen ratings aren’t great, but our online stuff – the number of web sites and the number of hits on the UPN website – we do very well in that so, the other thing I need to be honest about, I sort of keep my head down and stay focused on the content of the show. And there are very talented people at both UPN and Warner Brother, the marketing and promotions people, who say, “Rob, you need to be here, then” and I go because I trust them. And, honestly, if I were having to figure out how to advertise the show or market the show I don’t think that I’d be good at it, or that it would be the best use of my time. Thanks, I’m going to go back up to Line 1.
MAGNOLIA (from Talk of Life): The fans really enjoyed the episode commentary you did for the pilot that you had downloadable from your website. Do you have any plans to do anymore of those commentaries for the season one episodes and can we expect some of that for the season two DVD?
ROB: I have no plans for that, and it has nothing to do with a lack of desire to do it. It’s sort of— it’s finding time between doing the show and having a one-year-old at home that makes it a little difficult for me. Again, nothing has really been decided about the season-two DVD, as far as release dates and what we’re going to put on it. I do think we’re going to get more deleted scenes, and I think we’re going to put bloopers from both season one and season two. Whether or not we’re going to have time to do audio commentary – and, if we can do it, I absolutely want to do it and get in there and do it right – if not, I can almost promise that I’ll get at least one episode of commentary that I’ll post on my website. One way or the other, there will be more creator commentary, whether that will be in the official box set of season two or just me posting online I’m not quite sure. I sort of doubt that I’ll get to another season one episode and I’m not sure which one I would do. (Pauses to think.) Maybe have Diane do “A Trip to the Dentist” because it’s probably my favorite episode from season one. Alright, thanks for the call.
SCOTT (from Scooter McGavin’s 9th Green): Hey, Rob. I’m another – I don’t want to be cliché – but I’m another one of the bloggers who was there. I would like to thank you also. My question is I kind of get this sense, maybe, that the overlying major themes of this season – who killed Felix and who caused the bus crash – might be related. Am I totally going off [Rob starts laughing] in the wrong place on that one or…
ROB: Fantastic. You know, I wouldn’t tell you if you were right. That’s information I want to keep close to the vest right now. I mean there are some characters who have some overlap in there. Whether we have the same cause at the end of the day or the same villain at the end of the day, I’ll let you find out. The thing about season one, and I feel really strongly about this in season two, it feels like we spend the first half of the season making the story get bigger, introducing more characters, more plot lines, some of them are red herrings, some of them are very specific, very real, clues. Then, we spend the last half of the season sort of narrowing the focus. And I thought last year our final five or six episodes were really strong because I think our fan base is very much following the year-long mystery, and I feel confident this year, going into our last five or six, that it gets real meaty on both of those storylines. And I will say this, they don’t resolve at the same time; those two storylines don’t resolve at the same time, which is a bit of a clue but not a complete clue. Alright, thanks.
RAE (from Ramblings of a TV Whore): I’m actually glad I followed Scott because it’s a kind of a follow up sort of. Now that we’re going into the home stretch – and I know that you really like some of the episodes that are coming – can you give us an idea of what to expect from the last six episodes and then the finale? Surprises around every corner? [Rob nodding along] Tears, laughter, all of the above?
ROB: Umm, yeah, you know, hopefully. The challenge for us is to not deliver the same thing as the finale for season two as we did for season one, to have a different feel and yet still have some… [trails off] I think in the finale, to have some real action, and action isn’t something that we typically do a lot of on the show, it’s Veronica solves problems sort of using her wit. We’re blowing up the bank on this season finale. I’m so excited about it. It’s in. It’s done. I think the cast is excited about it. We’re excited about it. It’s a big, BIG episode spanning continents and the US. It’s a—there’s a lot of geography to the season finale that I like and everybody has something to do. Some things that I can say that you will see over the next few episodes which I… you know, I always think it’s not spoil—I’m not spoiling anything if it’s something that will be on a previously on or a recap or whatever. In other words, if I don’t mind you knowing it, this is not the huge reveal, but we are going to have some of those iconic end-of-high-school moments. We’re going to have a version of prom. We’re going to have a graduation. We’re actually having a BIG graduation scene that I’m really excited about, and then the mysteries have a real momentum of their own. Really, I’m pretty jazzed about the end of the season. Thanks.
ERICA (from LiveJournal): I didn’t really have a question but my friend wanted me to ask a question. She wanted to know about – at the end of last season did Duncan ever find out that Logan had drugged him the night of Shelly’s party?
ROB: Uh, yes. Yes. [thinking] Actually, as I’m thinking about that question, I guess we never did answer that on the show. I was thinking because Veronica figured it out that Duncan knew as well but I guess we never did answer that. To answer your question, in my mind, that eventually got hammered out. Umm, that scene never played. It’s a good question, and I kind of thought we did play it, but I’m realizing we didn’t. Sort of like Weevil’s pen, something we forgot to get around to. I’m sorry we didn’t actually answer that on the show but now, here, you bloggers have it before anyone else. Eventually, Duncan found out. There were a number of tough days, I think, in the summer between Logan and Duncan so I don’t think they did a lot of chatting. Thanks for the question.
ROB: Before I move on, I want to say that I apologize (a) that I’m unshaven today and (b) that I’m dressed for a typical day in the office. But I will—here’s a little bit of a spoiler. Dick Casablancas will be wearing this t-shirt in an upcoming episode. This is the Neptune Fish House and wardrobe was kind enough to give me this to wear. Not terribly important but it’s behind the scenes stuff.
KRISTIN (from LiveJournal): Ok, next we have Kristin from LiveJournal. Kristin, are you there? Well, there’s a bunch of us that are online all the time discussing and dissecting all your episodes and everything and it’s been observed that the show’s scripts typically use a title that tightens the whole script together with themes and all. I’m wondering is it a huge process involved in picking just the right episode title? [Rob chuckling] What kind of criteria do you use or is it a conscious decision to find an episode title that pulls the whole script together? If you want to use an example of one episode…
ROB: Sure. It’s honestly, generally it is the title that makes us all laugh in the room, and we usually have the title before we start writing. Usually, the title comes to us when we’re breaking an episode. When television writers talk about breaking an episode – we’ll have the big idea for an episode, we’ll know this is our mystery of the week, this is what’s going to happen in our mystery-of-the-week story, and then this will be the plot development that we have on the bus-crash-story and then generally there’s some other, you know, it could be Jackie/Wallace love life or Dick harassing Beaver or some other bit of story that we have. And we have those big ideas. And when we talk about breaking a story, it means taking the big idea for the story and dividing it into scenes and you sort of put up on a board your cold open, your first act, second act, third act, fourth act and you break it down to what scenes happen in which act. It’s like putting together a puzzle. It’s the hardest thing we do I think on Veronica Mars, is break episodes and try to make that mystery work in the way we want it to. This is a very long-winded answer, but I’m trying to get around to your question. The breaking process usually takes us about a week, and that’s with all the writers in the room throwing out ideas. The breaking, for any of us, is the hardest part but some time over the course of that week breaking an episode the title just announces itself to us. Somebody gets an idea, there’s a turn of phrase and it makes us all laugh and that’s what we pick. We actually—it’s an interesting question that you ask this particular week, because I think this week may be my favorite episodic title we’ve ever had. The title for next week’s episode is “The Rapes of Graff” which, if it doesn’t make sense now it’ll make sense when you see the episode.
J-UNIT (from Tvgasm.com): The readers of my blog actually begged me to start writing about it, about Veronica Mars, so I caught on to it second season. I got so excited about it and didn’t actually get to see the first season until a marathon viewing session with the DVDs over Thanksgiving break. Anyway, I want to say that I think you guys do one of the best jobs out there in terms of writing for the young high school type of crowd, whether it be the mix of Hollywood, music, pro athletes, and I think Neptune High is one of the unique sort of scenes in terms of locations out there for television. My question actually is – I know as we’re talking about season three and the new network and everything – I know a lot of the main characters should be graduating [Rob nodding along] and I know that those sort of questions are a long way off but are you starting to think about how you’re going to go from Veronica Mars to quote another bad television show, Veronica Mars: The College Years? If you know what I mean?
ROB: [laughing] It’s a concern, BUT we’re definitely taking Veronica to college next year. That’s going to happen, we’re going to see graduation in the final episode this year, and I think a reason that a lot of teen shows that go to college struggle when they make that move is that they’ve been in high school for four years that the show is actually in its creative decline. There aren’t a lot of shows that stay great for five seasons. Whereas I think, for most shows, season two and season three are its best years. So, I’m really hoping that we’re making that shift to a college environment when we’re still sort of at our creative peak. The other thing about our show moving to college is that I think so many teen shows are coming of age stories that require a high school setting. It’s about the teen years and forming into the human beings that we’re going to become, whereas we have this noir mystery show. We’re not as locked into the personal growth of the high-school years, that’s not our bread and butter on this show. So, I’m hopeful that we can stay creatively fresh. I think college is going to give Veronica a lot more interesting cases. I think there are stories that felt too big for her at high school that I think will feel right in her college years. And another thing… one of the things we really struggle with on a weekly basis, sort of the toughest line we walk is what can Keith know about Veronica’s detectiving – you know, at what point does Keith become a bad father for not taking her out of this lifestyle. So, I think moving her to college, you know, she’s an adult even though I—[he stops himself and explains] Yeah, I almost spoiled some stuff that I didn’t want to spoil. [laughing a bit at himself now] I think that it’ll actually help us. We won’t have to walk quite as fine a line with Veronica in her college years as we have in her high school years. Thanks so much for the question.
MASARATH (from LiveJournal): The blog that I’m apart of is actually a community on LiveJournal. It’s called Veronica Mars Campaigns, and I run it with three other girls. And we just decided to get together one day and try to work our hardest to make sure the show gets a third season. I was wondering what’s your opinion of the whole fervor of the fandom and how it’s affected the show? How much affect it has on the show in the future?
ROB: Well, you know, I don’t think the show would exist without the fervor of our fans. It is what keeps us on the air. Our Neilsen numbers barely justify us coming back. What I think makes the network happy about the show, what makes them proud of us, is the—is how ardent our fans are, how supportive they are. I think they know that if somehow we could get television’s ratings based on passion rather than actual eyeballs on screen, we’d be doing much better. It is the passion of the fans and the very supportive press that has kept us on for these couple years and I’m very optimistic about us having a season three. Honestly, I would be surprised – certainly Dawn Ostroff and Les Moonves have spoken very glowingly about the show and their plans to keep it on next year though nothing is official yet. So, I would be surprised if we didn’t come back. I think they are going to give us a great time slot next year and I think next year we’re going to need to put up numbers or risk not being around for a season four but I’m really optimistic about the possibility of season three. Thanks!
DEBRA (from Mars Investigations.net): What I wanted to ask you about is the mysteries. To what extent is what you want to do with the season’s main story, which is going to be a mystery, compromised by the need to dish out the clues and diversions over the course of 22 weeks or 22 episodes?
ROB: Well, it’s…um, well, there are pros and cons to it. The con, and I think you were alluding to it, is that you’ve got this set timeframe, and it’s not always best for story momentum. You know, you’d like the story to be told in exactly how long you want to tell it, whether that’s fourteen episodes or seventeen episodes or nineteen episodes or twenty-two episodes. With twenty-two – knowing that we’re doing twenty-two – it forces a certain pacing that’s not always the best pacing. Certainly I think, in season two, one of the things we could have done better is Veronica’s involvement in the bus crash case sort of lost some steam sort of in the middle of the season/early middle part of the season – although I think we’ve picked up the pace on that. It does hurt us at times but the flip side of that is that I think our audience knows that we’re going somewhere with it. We’re not going to endlessly tease them with this mystery. I’ve said it before, I was a huge fan of Twin Peaks when I was 23/24-years-old, and that was on the air, and I gathered with my buddies to watch it each week, and at a certain point it dawned on us that that show doesn’t know where it’s going. It’s been a fantastic ride, but there’s no great resolution in store for us. They’re just going to get a little more weird and a little more surreal. And, so, one of the goals with Veronica Mars is to say “We are going to complete this mystery. You are going to get an answer,” and we’re going to try to put the clues in the show that allow you to make an educated hypothesis on who you think did it and, hopefully, either you’ll be pleased that you got it right, or pleased that we tricked you in that sort of cool way that mysteries do attempt to trick us that there was the one twist you didn’t expect. So, it does create some pacing issues for us but, at the end of the day, I think it’s a good system. But you bring up something that we’re debating right now in the writers’ room as we talk about season three, and I’ll let all you bloggers in on this and it can be sort of a test balloon. One of the things we’ve talked about internally with our own writing staff, and we’ve had some conversations with our studio and network as well is— Would it be interesting to try a year in which, rather than one big season arcing mystery that we possibly we do three mysteries? You know, seven episodes, seven episodes, and eight episodes – does that equal twenty-two? Yes! – and actually do three big mysteries. That way—I mean one of the things that we feel is happening is that fans who hear the buzz or whose friends are into the show are leery of joining in halfway through the season, because they don’t know the mystery and they feel like they can’t catch up or they won’t understand enough. So, one of the ideas instead of having two concurrent long-arc mysteries, like we do with dead Felix and the bus crash this year or Veronica’s rape and who killed Lilly Kane last year, where we ran two concurrent mysteries over the course of the season, what if we divided it up and went seven, seven, eight. Roughly, I wouldn’t pick a number and hold us to it, but roughly three smaller mysteries. We’re talking about that in the writers’ room. Nothing has been decided but it’s one of those thoughts, one of the things we need to think about to sort of welcome new fans in because we certainly need more fans. Alright, thank you.
DAN (from duckyxdale.com): Hey, Rob. I, too, was at the bloggers press day and just wanted to thank you again for that and also was wondering if you were worried about the CW scrutinizing your content more closely next season because the UPN seems to be a little lenient about what they let past, and it’ll be a real shame to lose things like the “shocker” or lines about tossed salad?
ROB: [laughing] You’ve raised such an interesting point. I actually – CBS/UPN Standards and Practices are easily considered the toughest of the big networks here in Los Angeles. I think they caught a lot of heat over the Janet Jackson thing and then a Cold Case lawsuit. I think they’ve had a tough year and because of that, the things that you all don’t know, is that I do battle every single episode with Standards and Practices. And I say battle as though they are the enemy; they’re not. They’re fine people and they’re doing their job, but we argue over lines in the show every single week. On a typical episode, two or three of my favorite lines get cut by Standards and Practices. I wish we could just do a whole episode full of those. It’s tricky, and yeah, they’ve let some things slide that I’ve been surprised about but they’ve also caught a number of lines that I’m really surprised about, that I didn’t think were as risqué as perhaps they did. I’ve not been told whether we will fall under the heading of CBS Standards and Practices, as we are now, next year or if they will put us under the auspices of an entirely separate, new unit at the CW. But I don’t expect, one of the things I don’t expect is it getting tighter next year. I don’t see a scenario in which that would happen. Thanks.
REED (from The Attractive Nuisance) Hi, Rob, I was another one of the bloggers at the press event. Thank you again, so much, for having me. I have a question that some of my readers and I were discussing re-watching our season one DVDs. In “Leave it to Beaver”, the season finale, Veronica brings up with Duncan the fact that Logan had been abused by his father and Duncan sort of makes a face and we can’t really tell what his expression is and we all wondered if Duncan and Lilly knew that Logan had been abused by his father.
ROB: No, is the answer to that question. Particularly with Lilly. Lilly, who is a character I adore and love in the show, and yes she is a promiscuous teen, and she has questionable decision-making sometimes. And, let’s face it, she got around a little bit. All that said, I have enough faith in Lilly that, if she knew that Aaron Echolls was abusing Logan, there’s no way that relationship would have happened. And I’ll take this – I’ll interrupt just a moment to say that Jason Dohring has arrived, Jason’s in the building, five minutes [pats chair next to him] and he’s in this chair for those of you who are waiting for Jason questions. [goes back to question] And, I think at that moment when Veronica told Duncan about Aaron abusing Logan, I don’t think—I think Duncan was around Logan enough to not be surprised by that answer though I don’t think he had had it spelled out quite as clearly as Veronica did in that moment – I think Duncan had suspicions. Lilly, I don’t think, had any at all. Thanks.
LAURA (from Rack of Lamb at LiveJournal): Yeah, it’s a LiveJournal community devoted to Michael Muhney and Sheriff Lamb. [Rob starts laughing and slaps his knee.]
ROB: (laughing and interrupts) Rack of Lamb. I love that. Excellent.
LAURA (continues): I promise it won’t be a question about seeing Lamb shirtless. [Rob laughs] I know you’ve been bombarded with those. It’s a question about the character actually. I know how you came up with the name for Don Lamb because I heard you talk about that in Austin, but I was wondering how you initially envisioned Lamb’s character, and if the development of his character has progressed as you expected. And if the introduction of his back-story was something you had planned, or was it born out of the quality of Michael’s acting or necessity of storyline or something else entirely?
ROB: Umm, sure. Michael has done just a fantastic job with the role. I think it took him a while to dial it in – I don’t mean that in any negative way. I think last season, especially for the first two-thirds of the year, he was figuring out who the character was and how he wanted him played. You know, it’s finding that—he’s certainly an oily guy without a doubt. He’s an oily, vain, very-proud-of-himself guy, but we didn’t want to see him just as a bully. We wanted to see a little bit of humor there. We wanted him to, even though Veronica tends to get the best of Lamb, we wanted to see him be able to – not be a doofus with her, but have the occasional cutting line – to not always give her the scene. Michael has done a fantastic job this year. When we send out a scene and I know I’m getting dailies back, I just expect it to be good, to be funny. I think he’s gotten funnier and funnier over time. We certainly have had the confidence now to play a lot of comedy between Lamb and Keith, Lamb and Veronica. We’ve got a scene, coming up in this next episode, with Lamb and Keith and Cliff that I think is awfully funny as well. Did I get all those questions, it was sort of a three-part question and I’m not sure I answered all of it?
LAURA: Yeah, pretty much, I just wanted to know if it had gone in the direction you had hoped it would go – his character.ROB: Yeah, yeah. One of the other things and this is an aside, the one issue that I had with Michael, sort of from the beginning, and there’s nothing he could do about it. Actually, I thought Michael was early thirties when I hired him and he’s actually late twenties. A couple of times, he just appeared too young to me. Like too young to be sheriff, and he had a haircut thing at one point. All my issues have been, “Michael please look mid-thirties” and he’s not mid-thirties and that’s tough. Actually, I’ve grown to sort of love that he’s not too-much older than our “teen” characters on the show. [While he’s answering, Jason sits down in the chair next to him.]
JASON DOHRING HAS JUST ENTERED THE PRESS CONFERENCE!
ROB: Ah, ladies and gentlemen… [starts to point towards Jason]
JASON: [interrupts] Who’re you talking to, Rob?
ROB: [laughs] I’m talking to the cameras. [points them out] I’m talking to the cameras. Umm, you see the light [pointing] is… we just follow the light.
JASON: Ahh, beautiful.
ROB: See, you’re a big TV star, you probably know these things.
JASON: I don’t do three cameras. (Rob chuckles.)
ROB: Ah, ladies and gentlemen… [starts to point towards Jason]
JASON: [interrupts] Who’re you talking to, Rob?
ROB: [laughs] I’m talking to the cameras. [points them out] I’m talking to the cameras. Umm, you see the light [pointing] is… we just follow the light.
JASON: Ahh, beautiful.
ROB: See, you’re a big TV star, you probably know these things.
JASON: I don’t do three cameras.[Rob chuckles.]
COMICE (from LiveJournal): Hey, Jason, how are you?
JASON: Good, how are you, Comice?
COMICE: Very well, thanks. And, Rob, this is my second question, so I’m going to be brief. I just want to make one comment. You said earlier in the press conference that you didn’t think that you knew how to market the show but I think that’s not exactly true. I think your ideas for season three sound awesome to me as a fan, as a fan who’s trying to get other people to watch, and I think that this press conference proves that you have this virtual army of people [Rob chuckles] that are willing to help you market this program as much as possible. So, you know, we’ll do what we can to help you with this just let us know what you want us to do.
ROB: Sure, well it’s interesting. I’d love to hear feedback. I’d love to have a general impression from what I—and I do see a lot of stuff written in blogs. There’s a clipping service, and I get sent a ton of stuff internally. You all are Veronica Mars bloggers and you think about the show a lot. I’d love to hear what your impressions are, pro and con, about sort of rearranging how we do the mystery in season three and try to bring in more fans that way. This is something Jason hasn’t heard…[To Jason] It’s one of the things I was telling the bloggers, is that next year rather than having a twenty-two episode mystery possibly—and sort of having two mysteries going over twenty-two like we did with dead Felix and the bus crash—have three successive mysteries sort of taking place over seven episodes, seven episodes, eight episodes. As a means of inviting more people to the show so they don’t feel like they’ve missed three or four episodes that they can’t catch up. It’s what we’re talking about in the writers’ room. [hits Jason lightly on the leg] What do you think?
JASON: Well, funny that you ask. No. I was just wondering if it was going to be—are you setting up any of those for the second season? How many of those three or four or whatever
ROB: Oh, you mean for the third season?
JASON: Yeah, sorry, in the second season is what I meant. Because we know that—I just read the final script that you wrote. It’s pretty good.
JASON: Yeah, it’s alright.
ROB: So, you think it’s okay?
JASON: It’s AMAZING, man. [Rob laughs] No, it’s really amazing. So, how many of those—obviously there’s the one at the end, you know what I mean?
ROB: Right, which they haven’t seen yet. They see 17 next week. Yeah, that would be the first mystery of next year.
JASON: Very good.
ROB: Ok, we’re talking around you. I think for most of you, particularly you – our bloggers out there – when you see the next episode, 16, I think you’ll have a good idea of where we’re launching season three. I think you’ll, you’ll be wise enough to see where we’re heading.
SUNIL: Did you like the CD?
JASON: Uh, which—which one? [looks to Rob for help]
ROB: [Sunil started to explain but so did Rob so it’s hard to hear him.] This is from Polter-Cow from Austin.
JASON: [still confused] Which… OH. I’m trying to think exactly which CD… I’ve gotten—
SUNIL: It would be the one with all the profanity in it.
JASON: Oh, yeah, exactly! [looks at Rob] Yeah, that was wonderful. It’s very like me. And, uh, yeah… [Rob’s laughing now so Jason turns to him] It was funny, did you hear about that?
JASON: Can I say…
ROB: I don’t think you can say the profanity.
JASON: Yeah, ok, good. It was just, you know, the main word over and over in every other song or any song that had it. So, quite a compilation. Yeah, I appreciate it actually.
ROB: And, Sunil, I loved my compilation as well.
SUNIL: Good. Now I have a question. Jason, what’s always fascinated me about your performance is the physicality of your acting. To me it seems like you have complete control over every muscle in your body and you can basically get anything—your finger, your cheek, your toes—to convey whatever emotion that you want. [Rob laughs silently.)
JASON: Oh, thank you.
SUNIL: I was wondering—yeah, you’re welcome—I was wondering whether it was something you learned or whether it was something you picked up on or were just born brilliant and, also, whether it’s something you do for all your roles or very Logan-specific?
JASON: I think it’s pretty much Logan-specific. I mean, there’s other things that I’ve used that in but I think, you know, when we were first doing the pilot when—he’s very loose. I’ve always been told whenever you play kind of harsh emotions to not ridge up because then it’s like… I don’t know, it’s harder for the audience to follow it. So, if you relax with all that stuff it looks a little bit better or looser, and I guess I do that and keep it really loose while still being nasty, and I think it kind of adds a beauty, kind of, to it that is easier, as an audience member, to watch. And I think just the looseness and the way that he uses and the way that he uses his arms and stuff like that just comes from a looseness like those kind of guys that are cool, because he just kind of moves cool—like Kyle Gallner on our show, he’s just got a really loose, floppy quality and I kind of like that or actors that do that.
ROB: So, there you go, loose, floppy quality.
JASON: That’s not what I said. [Rob laughs.]
WAIYIN (from Mars Investigations.net): Yep. Quick question. Ok, we got Profit and EZ Streets on DVD, any chance of Cupid?
ROB: Interesting question because I actually had a meeting over at Columbia-TriStar yesterday and brought it up and they actually showed very little interest in putting Cupid on DVD. I mean, I harangued them. I said I would give them my next show, if they would just put Cupid on DVD and they seemed unmoved by my impassioned plea. So, I’m sorry to report that it didn’t go well at all, actually, in trying to ratch that up. That said, I was talking to their head of development, who isn’t really their head of DVD sales, but they didn’t seem particularly moved in the room. Although they said very nice things about the show, but it wasn’t like they were scrambling to get their orders in for DVDs. So, that’s the unfortunate news.
SCOTT (from Scooter McGavin’s 9th Green): Yeah, hey I’ve got a question for Jason this time. I’m just wondering, with Veronica Mars taping winding up, do you have any plans for the summer – like movies or anything lined up?
JASON: You know, I don’t know. I mean, there’s a lot of material that I’m kind of spoiled for from reading, I guess, Veronica Mars scripts and stuff. You know, there’s a lot of low-budget horror films and I don’t know that that’s something I want to do. I think I’m just looking for – I guess a more quality project or going to theater or doing something that’s kind of acting-specific, and I’m going to continue looking for something. I’ve only read one thing so far that I’m really kind of down to do and there still kind of pulling together financing for that.
KATHIE (from Give Me My Remote): Well, first of all Jason, I just wanted to say happy early birthday since it’s at the end of the week.
JASON: Ahh, thank you. [He looks at Rob and holds up two fingers.] Two days. 24. Man, that’s pretty old for a high school kid, isn’t it?
KATHIE: Oh, come on, I just turned thirty last week, it’s not that old.
JASON: Oh, ok, ok.
ROB: But you’re graduating. You’re 24 and you’re graduating.
JASON: Yeah, I think that’s so cool that we’re actually gonna go to college. I think that’s a unique drama for teenagers to actually go to college.
KATHIE: [laughing] I actually had a question about the show moving to Tuesday night, I know you talked about it a little before, but one of the things you didn’t mention which is another show that happens to be on at 8 on a different network which is Gilmore Girls. So, essentially, we will have Gilmore Girls on the WB at 8 and Veronica Mars on UPN at 9 which is kind of Heaven for me. I was wondering if that was a strategic decision or if that was something that just happened, you know, maybe a little bit on purpose? Any comment?
ROB: You know it could absolutely be on purpose and all that. This was—moving us to Tuesday night was a network brass decision. No one’s calling me and asking me how I feel about it. They might call Joel Silver and ask him how he feels about it but no one’s calling me. Now, I think it’s great and there’s nothing I’d love more, next year, than a Gilmore Girls, with their 6 million fans, as our lead-in. It seems to make sense and Dawn Ostroff says that’s her dream scheduling night, and so hopefully nothing happens in the next few weeks that changes her mind about that. Yeah, everyone, watch Gilmore Girls, then Veronica Mars on Tuesday nights, and let’s hope that that’s our position for year three.
MAGNOLIA (from Talk of Life): Also, I was one of the people who went to the bloggers event and I wanted to thank you, Jason, for taking time to meet with us.
JASON: [nods at the camera] Not a problem, pleasure.
MAGNOLIA: We appreciated it. [he nods again] Has there ever been anything when you’ve read a script and you’ve seen what Logan is going to be doing or saying where you have second thoughts about it? And you think, wow, Logan really wouldn’t say this or do this. If so, what would that be? And, if not, what’s the most surprising thing that Logan has done.
JASON: Right, no, I understand.
ROB: [interrupts] It’s a funny question to ask in front me, isn’t it? (Laughing)
JASON: No, no, no, it’s actually good. I have a SWELL answer that you’ll really approve of… it goes a little something like this: Yeah, that does happen occasionally but what happens is I find that I need to make it work for me. Know what I mean? It’s always – I don’t think there’s anything that can’t be justified to make it fit in the way that Logan would say it. For instance, if there’s something very sarcastic or very honest and you play it sarcastic or something like that. There’s some way that it works in and there’s never really been a time when I’m like “he wouldn’t say that,” there’s a certain way that something actually has to be said so that it communicates within the character and—[to Rob] Can I ask the follow-up question? I forget what that was?
ROB: Yeah, yes, (to MAGNOLIA) you’re still on the line. What was the follow-up question?
MAGNOLIA: Well, I said if he hadn’t ever gone to you Rob to say I’m having trouble with Logan doing whatever, what’s been – when he gets a script – when he’s been the most surprised because Logan does some pretty bad things. Does he think that sometimes it goes a little far or thinks, gee, people aren’t going to like Logan?
JASON: I’ve thought that.
ROB: Yeah, and there are times… we met with a potential writer who is interested in staffing on Veronica Mars next year and one of the things that this writer told one of the producers of the show, that I found really interesting, and I don’t—blame her for this or hold this against her—I just found it interesting. She said, ever since Logan organized the bum fights, that she can’t like that character anymore. She never got past that. That was enlightening to me. Certainly I’m interested in keep Logan as a prickly character, as a character that you see a lot of good and occasional bad in him. Logan has had a tough, tough upbringing, and I think we’ve got a neat story that underlines that in the next couple of episodes that you’ll be seeing.
JASON: Yeah, [interrupts Rob going to the next caller], sorry, I was going to add…
ROB: No, go ahead.
JASON: …something to that. Oh. I was gonna add something.
ROB: No, you can, you can.
JASON: No, I forgot what it was… but it was something to the order of—it’s funny that bad stuff always happens to him and he wonders—or he does all this bad stuff and he wonders why bad stuff happens to him but I think he kind of causes that or leaves himself open to receiving the effect to what he’s been causing. It is funny and [he touches Rob lightly] maybe I’ll ask you a question. It has been funny to play the—because the Logan now, I don’t even want to do some of the things that he would have maybe done in the first part of the first season, just because now it’s more in the style of the leading man type of thing. And it’s like sometimes, I’ll get impulses to go up and chase other girls and stuff like that or follow behind them and kind of do something [Rob laughs] and it’s like, yno… Know what I mean? It’s funny; it’s evolved into something different.
ROB: Yeah, and I think that when Logan was organizing bum fights in year one. And that was a moment that we were really proud of, and I mean proud of in the sense that it seemed like the perfect level of bad for a screwed-up southern California boy, who had grown up with wealth and privilege, but in my mind could still be redeemed from it. But it was an unpleasant act by any stretch and yet, in that same episode, you go home and that scene still kills me. That scene of Harry Hamlin, that scene of you picking out the belt and delivering it to him and the door closing, it made it all worth it. It made me understand that character in a certain way but we’ll quit patting ourselves on the back.
JASON: [patting Rob’s leg] Yeah.
JENNIFER (from Tube Talk): Hi Jason. I recently interviewed Percy Daggs and he said he was looking forward to working with you in some upcoming scenes. (Jason says “Ahh.”) Can you tell us anything about that storyline with Wallace and Logan that won’t get you in trouble?
JASON: Hi! Yeah, totally, and [to Rob] jump in here for what I can’t say.
ROB: I don’t think you… I don’t see any trouble.
JASON: Should I tell them about the… the egg thing and all the… [trails off]
ROB: Yeah. Go ahead.
JASON: We have an egg drop competition at school and we get paired up alphabetically and it’s very funny, actually. I just came from a looping session from it and, ah, I don’t know… [is hesitant to tell more] to give it away or whatever. Dick and I have some good stuff, a little Brokeback type stuff. It’s quite funny, I look forward to it.
ROB: And, the teacher—it’s a rambunctious class and Logan is partnered with Dick for the egg-drop project. Once he does it alphabetically, it goes Echolls Fennel and so—an interesting footnote about this is that, when we were at the Austin event, somebody in the crowd said, “Will we ever get to see Logan and Wallace in a scene together?” And I swear, it wasn’t until that moment that I thought “Have they been in a scene together since Logan bashed out the headlights in the pilot?” I think they’ve crossed paths but I don’t know that you’ve ever delivered lines to each other? [looks at Jason on that]
JASON: Never delivered a line, and I don’t even think, really crossed paths except for in the pilot mostly, which was when he goes to sit at my table and I glare him down which I love. I just remember—I remember that. I love the pilot, man.
ROB: And, you know, I was really pleased how the– I always interchange… how the Jason/Percy story went, how the Jason/Logan, how the Jason—you know, the Wallace/Percy. It all runs together for me.
RAE (Ramblings of a TV Whore): This question is for Jason although, of course you’re welcome to answer Rob.
ROB: Thank you.
RAE: This is about Hannah – I guess we want to know how much did you know, personally, going into the story like what Logan’s intentions were? Did you know from the beginning what he intended to do, did you find out after each new episode?
JASON: Yeah. Umm, let’s see. I mean, it’s a good question. It was… I was trying… I wanted to play kind of ambiguous, where you couldn’t quite tell until he shows up at the doctor’s car and smiles or whatever, and I think he figured out somewhere in between those scenes with Hannah at the Carnival what her name was and then kind of got changed, but I played that there was definitely love for [pauses] – you know, a liking for her during those scenes. It wasn’t all covert and that’s where I think it kind of came to it in the middle of one of those scenes.
ROB: And this is a case where I can’t remember how many Hannah episodes we’ve aired now. Have we aired two or three Hannah episodes?
JASON: The one I think we’re airing is gonna be the last one… is that Michael Fields episode that’s airing?
ROB: [shaking a finger at Jason] Yes, but let’s not tell them it’s the last one.
ROB: Let’s let them wonder if it’s the last one. [Rob starts laughing.]
JASON: [playing it off] No, I meant the last one that Michael Fields is directing.
JASON: Oh, damn. [They both start laughing now.] I just covered… Next question!
ROB: Ok, well there you go. [Jason smacks himself in the face.]
DEBRA (from Mars Investigations.net): Rob and Jason, after nearly two years, you both know intimately the character of Logan. Are you at the point where you don’t need to sit down and talk about Logan from time to time or is that something that’s still necessary? And, just a quick follow-up, are there occasions where you disagree and, if so, what does it take to persuade Jason that he’s wrong.
JASON: Oh my God.
ROB: Well, you know, let me tell you… Jason knows his character. We honestly don’t have discussions about Logan. I have such supreme faith in his ability to deliver what we want. My conversations with Jason about the show tend to be this: “Uh, Jason, could you speak up a little bit more so we don’t have to loop all your lines?” Those are our conversations. For those of you who don’t know, the writing staff is in Los Angeles, and the show films down in San Diego, so there’s not a lot of face-to-face time. Jason has had some questions that he’s asked on the set when I’ve been there, and we’ve discussed certain scenes, when I’ve been there, but it’s generally not—and I’ve certainly—[to Jason] the other thing I’ve certainly done is told you where the character is going at times, but we haven’t had a moment of ‘how should I play this scene, really.’
JASON: Yeah, not particularly that. Umm… keep talkin’ Rob, while I think of something.
ROB: Oh, you know, the thing about—this show has been incredibly easy to work with, with our actors. My theory on how a character is played is—what I’m hoping is that when an actor has a question about would I do this in a scene or do I have to say this, this way—is, those are things I’m really happy to discuss, particularly with any of our series regulars. I don’t want a guest start to come in and say, ‘That’s not how I’d do it.’ That’s not going to get someone an invitation back but our actors, I have such faith in that certainly I’m amenable to talk about any sort of question or motivation… [to Jason] did you have anything to add?
JASON: Yeah, well, occasionally you’ll give me a note. I remember about that Trina scene where she’d try to bop my nose and I kept hitting it away [showing us what he means]. I think I would agree with you on that now because it definitely adds that’s sister and she kind of had the upper hand and I kept hitting her hand away which was written in the script. Rob made it clear that it was written in the script [Rob laughing]. He said, ‘I don’t know if you’re pretending you’re Logan or…’ I don’t know, it’s so funny – acting – because you have to pretend that everything you do is totally right, and it’s the way it goes and if you’ve ever see any of the best actors, it’s just like that’s the way it is and there’s no other way to play it. I do that sometimes and leave out some of the things that he writes, and usually they are always right.
ROB: Just to add a little footnote about Jason because it’s one of my favorite things about Jason as an actor, particularly—it’s such a good quality for our show in particular. Jason takes—Jason throws away the funny, and I mean that in the best way. Jason never delivers a punch line as though it’s a punch line. He delivers some of the funniest lines in the show with such, sort of uh, disdain or intensity or just throws them away in a way that’s important to us. We want to write funny and quipy but this is a show with death and murder and rape and mass murder – this year – that we want the comedy to feel grounded, and Jason makes it very real and intense.
ROB: And, I believe I’m getting the wrap up sign. Thank you so much. I hope this was entertaining for you and please forgive us our unintentional, couple spoilers that we had in there.
JASON: [quietly and with a look of chagrin] Yeah, sorry.
ROB: And, if you post things, let me know what the Mars community out there thinks of the three-mystery idea. Thank you so much, we had a great time.
JASON: Thank you.
Tube talk girl can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wednesday, April 05, 2006
by Jennifer Squires Biller