Friday, September 09, 2005

Do Producers Read Message Boards? - Aaron Sorkin Did

From an interview with the "O.C." writer:

"I don't know how much networks read the boards. They have their own opinions. I do think TV critics have gotten increasingly lazy and will read message boards instead of having their own opinions. But I can tell you, not only did I used to read them, I used to read them ALL THE TIME. When Aaron Sorkin was on "The West Wing," I guess he got busted for reading the boards and responding. And then he did an episode about it. But I heard it was embarrassing for him, so that's incentive enough to lay off the ole message boards.

Anyway, one of the challenging things about doing a TV show is that everyone has an opinion. And no opinion is the same. Literally, all the things you named that you weren't happy with, a hundred other people would cite as their favorites and vice versa. It can get to be confusing and make it difficult to hold onto your original vision. During the first season I discovered these evil Web sites, and got hooked on them. And I started to fall prey to wanting to please everybody all the time. But you can't. And I may have made some changes to the show, thinking it was going to please people. But then everyone who was complaining got upset that we were changing the show.

That's when I realized something: people just like to complain. But part of the pleasure of watching a show for these message-board people is to bitch. And that what's important and what drew me, and the other writers and producers of the show, to "The OC" in the first place. And to hold onto that. And that when the show premiered, we had a whole bunch of episodes in the can that had never been subject to message board review. And that was how it needed to be.

So, I've been hooked, bottomed out, rehabbed, and I'm clean and focused. No message boards for Season 3 ... unless they have really nice things to say. I think part of the fun for some people is the stuff they hate, as well as the stuff they love. Which is cool with me, as long as they're watching."

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