Creator Vince Gilligan talks about his Emmy nomination and the process of creating storylines for Season 2.
Q: Congratulations on your Emmy nomination. Were you surprised to get nominated for directing as opposed to writing?
A: Well, I was just surprised to get one at all, and very honored to get one in the directing category. But I’m much newer at directing than I am at writing. I’m very proud of our show — it’s a very different television series, but on the other hand, it’s relatively new and we only have the seven episodes for people to see. A show like ours is a dangerous show to do, and there are a hundred ways it could fail.
Q: Now that the fear of failure has passed, have you been able to think about the bigger story for upcoming episodes?
A: I try to be a big picture thinker and think ahead, but I find it harder and harder to do that. We’re halfway through Season 2, deep in the forest without a compass or a road map, and I can’t see anything but the trees. So we just take it one day at a time. In the beginning my writers and I spent the first three weeks just sitting around and talking about the big picture. We came up with some very interesting ideas that we are incorporating into the season, but for now we really are just lost in that forest and striving in a purposeful direction.
Q: How did a foreshortened Season 1 affect your plan for Season 2?
A: That worked out in our favor; it’s nice to be able to see the silver lining on that gray cloud. Last season we shot all of our episodes before we ever went on the air, and when that happens you’re working in a vacuum in terms of viewer feedback. I wanted to make sure the show was interesting, though, so I was trying to err on the side of having too much plot. If we had gotten to do our last two episodes, we would have had to commit to some very major plot twists that we can now put off until the end of the second season…The strike was a terrible thing for many obvious reasons, but in this one case it kept us from going too far too soon.
Q: Will you be directing more episodes this season?
A: I’d sure like to. I love being on the set because our crew is a wonderful bunch of people, and it’s just fun joking around and hanging out — and we have great craft service. The craft service person is always coming around with really wonderful smoothies. You’re just sitting in your chair and someone comes up and hands you a delicious smoothie. It’s very pleasant and exciting, and hands down it beats sitting in a room beating your head against a desk trying to figure out what to write next. I’m hoping very much that I’ll get to direct the last episode of the season.