Interview with Nick Antosca

Interview with Nick Antosca

Suzanne Dottino

Suzanne Dottino: What are you working on now?

Nick Antosca: Right now I'm writing a new TV pilot, mainly.  I also just finished up 10 weeks writing on a show called The Player with Wesley Snipes that will soon be on NBC.  

S.D. If you could change one thing about T.V. what would it be?

N.A. The lighting.  85% of the lighting on TV shows is awful.  It looks like the inside of a Walmart.  Part of the problem is that it's just shot so fast there isn't a lot of time to do meticulous lighting.  On Hannibal we had a great DP and it looked beautiful.

S.D. Can you tell me a story from your past about why you became a writer? 

N.A. I'm not sure why I became a writer, but when I was four years old I would draw dinosaurs fighting skeletons and then draw blank speech bubbles and dictate the dialogue to my dad.

S.D. What kind of Television excites you? 

N.A. Like pornography I know it when I see it.  I like TV that makes me set aside my day-to-day responsibilities and cancel plans because I can't stop binge watching it.

S.D. Who are or were your literary heroes? 

N.A. Nabokov, James Salter, Patricia Highsmith, Stephen King, Shirley Jackson. Etc.

S.D. What do you look for in collaborators? (actors, writers, directors) 

N.A. The desire and willingness to collaborate, I guess?  Not everyone is good at it. Most people who work steadily are. And also of course incredible talent, vision, good taste.

S.D. How has your novel writing influenced your T.V writing or vice versa. 

N.A. I think my novel writing made me more attuned toward mood and atmosphere, and gave me a head start in terms of crafting those things and communicating very specifically what the scene should be. And TV has taught me a tremendous amount about storytelling.  You don't have to use every paintbrush every time, but I realize now that when I was exclusively writing fiction, I had absolutely no idea how to tell a story, no skills at all. I had only an instinctive sense how to escalate stakes and how to use surprise and reversals and all these basic, very basic tools of storytelling. 

S.D. How did you come to start writing for T.V? 

N.A. I wrote a sample TV pilot with my best friend Ned Vizzini who was my writing partner.  Then we moved to LA and spent a year trying to get interviews on shows, and finally we got hired.  But one crucial thing is that we were able to get agents easily because of Ned's success as a novelist. That's one of the biggest hurdles for writer just starting out.

S.D. What advice do you have for aspiring writers?

N.A. For TV writers? Write a great pilot. Maybe write several great pilots. Read other TV scripts and figure what works and what doesn't. Then call everyone you know and look through every Facebook profile you can and try and find someone who is an agent or knows one, and will refer you.