30 minutes | Aug 28, 2021

Inside the Gray Area: "Pattern Language: An Iris for Emily"

Our showrunner Edward Champion discusses Part 3 of "Pattern Language." Subjects discussed include WandaVision, the careful balance between realism and pastiche, the Faulkner short story as a starting point, Love and Rockets, why the memory of an inspiration is often better than closely examining the source text, designing the 1970s announcer voice, using 1970s television effects to create a sound design, being careful with laugh tracks, why Carol Jacobanis is an extraordinary actor, the advantages of recording with Belgys and Carol together in the same room, an abandoned first season script set within a talk show, Eric Bogosian's Talk Radio, avoiding rehashes while writing, inverting the Neil LaBute/David Mamet formula for women, the strange Italian references throughout The Gray Area, Heath Martin, Louis CK's apology, creating walla sounds for the journalists, how Carol struck the perfect balance between realism and stylized voices, the need to know where a story is heading within five minutes, story beats, the candid dialogue, growing up in a prudish household, both-siderism vs. all sides in journalism, statements on the public record, bullies and therapy, young people who talk down at older people, the impossible behavioral ideal in the digital age, Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment, the fajita demon origin story, why Pompano made an appearance here is an NYC restaurant, fish metaphors, The Shawshank Redemption, meeting Frank Darabont as a young man, behavioral patterns and therapy, paying respectful homage to Richard Russo, the great versatility of Monica Ammerman, how a recording accident created an opportunity for greater authenticity, the Chico State backstory, how his California origins influenced the script, fluid sexuality, ghost writing, why alcoholics keep cropping up in The Gray Area, annoying the audience, animal sounds, Catholicism, why the ukulele was used in a music cue, Jeff Russo's Fargo cue, Tarantino and surf music, balancing demons and humans, Evita and fascism, Argentine history, the disadvantages of being a horror movie fan while doing sound design, beta listener feedback, arriving at natural storytelling beats, the importance of the cart sound effect, electromatter sound design, learning the keyboard and composing primitive music, the high price of music clearance, barking dogs and the "black dog" of depression, being careful with storytelling explanations, wordplay as a source of creative inspiration, double-tracking to get vocal effects, creating ethereal sounds from homegrown recording, how using a keyboard altered the sound design, the responsibility of following up on storytelling points, a minor story problem in "An Iris for Emily," Johnny as Ed's dark half, and overly dramatic performance vs. melodrama. (Running time: 30 minutes, 27 seconds.)
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