It’s not every day a Hollywood producer leaves a comment on one of my posts, so I thought I’d share. David Feige, one of the creators of Raising the Bar, commented on my review of the show. David was a blogger before he was a producer, and I guess he hasn’t forgotten his roots. That’s pretty cool.
First of all, thanks for giving the show a chance. If you stick with it, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed, and I’ll look forward to your thoughts as the season progresses.
So, several things go into answering your questions: First, is the structure of pilots and their function in the larger television world and the production cycle. There’s a ton of heavy lifting to be done in a pilot. Since most of them are only seen by some test audiences and studio execs, they are really a showcase for the engine that’ll drive a series. What that implies is that the action in many pilots is quite overblown, that there’s more exposition than there might be in a subsequent episode when the characters are better developed. Because, there is a predisposition to play your strongest card in the pilot, it won’t surprise you to know that the general “innocent client screwed by an unresponsive bankrupt system” plays better than “”guilty client screwed by an unresponsive bankrupt system.” even though there is, at least arguably, more nuance in the latter position. Similarly, in terms of your concerns about the sex etc, in order to explore relationships, you need to establish them. Thus there is a ton of stuff packed into the pilot which serves the function of just winding the springs that will uncoil over the season. It’s perfectly reasonable to find the winding less enthralling than the unspooling.
That’s more or less what I thought, although David puts it better than I did. His point that the pilot episode is mostly a sales tool for industry insiders is well taken. And I like his watch winding analogy, although I don’t think the watch has to be wound up all the way in the first episode.
That said, I can only review what I’ve seen, and I didn’t love the pilot (although I later realized it had a more complex plot structure than I at first thought).
Finally, in terms of the dialogue: Just blame me. It was the first script I ever wrote, and Steven, though he spent ages trying to improve my writing and teach me the form, had the courage to let me keep flailing away at it. I’m no David Kelley. But I invite you to join me in climbing up the learning curve.
David, nobody’s David Kelley except David Kelley. His dialog often doesn’t sound anything like the way real people talk, but it’s so interesting that nobody cares.
I didn’t realize that David Feige wrote the dialogue himself. I didn’t think they’d let a guy with no experience write a script for a major television show. Good for him. For what it’s worth, the plot-carrying parts sounded fine. Strangely, it was just the meaningless pleasantries that sounded stiff.
In my previous post, I wrote, “We can’t tell if [David Feige] really means what he says about the show. He has to stand by it. In a sense, he’s in almost exactly the same situation defending the show as he would be defending a client.” David addressed that next:
In terms of the last thought: There is no way to convince you, so I’ll just say: Look at my life, my book etc. I’m a pretty candid guy. Watch the series. By the end, if you don’t think I have good cause to be proud of what we’ve accomplished, I’ll ask for no more courtesy and will surrender my feeling that at least right now, I deserve the benefit of the doubt.
My point was not to accuse David Feige of dishonesty, and I think he got that. Rather, I was pointing out that in both case he owes a very strong duty of loyalty, regardless of whether he actually feels it.
What I should also have said is that it’s a mistake to trust any artist’s opinion about his art. You can only trust the art itself.
And last but not least. If you think I’m commenting at length or responding in any real way to anyone outside the PD community, I’m not. I write here because I have always believed in the work, and I’ve done this show to do the best I can to portray a broken system, a heroic public defender and to show clients as they actually are–in all their very human glory. I believe we’ve succeeded at that. I hope, in time you’ll agree.
I hope so too. I tuned in to this show expecting a lot. I like the idea of it, and I hope it works out. Thank you for taking the time to respond.