Thanks to DarkUFO reader JohnConstant69 for the write-up of last nights events.
For those that like spoilers, we have posted a spoiler summary and extended sneak peek here.
It kicked so much massive ass!
It was like a 90 min class on screenwriting. I would highly recommend it to anyone who’s teaching scriptwriting to a high-school level class, as long as the student can get into LOST.
Jorge Garcia and Michael Emerson made a surprise appearance, which was actually touching.
Damon really played the funny man and Carlton the straight guy.
The interviewer was very intelligent and asked some great questions.
They showed classic clips to which Darlton commented on:
Jack and Locke arguing over “faith vs. science” and Locke asking Jack to push the button inside the Swan Hatch. They pointed out that it wasn’t so much that Locke didn’t have faith, he said he didn’t want to do it alone, and needed Jack, referencing the famous “live together, die alone” speech. They mentioned that the scene in the submarine is where they came full circle on Jack’s transformation because he was now the man of faith trying to get Sawyer to NOT do something, (fiddle with the bomb) and Sawyer was playing the role of the empiricist this time.
Desmond finally reaching Penny on the phone in the Constant, Sayid in the background. Talked about how ridiculous it was that his mind time traveled to 1997 to ensure Penny would call him in 2004, Faraday’s rat maze, etc. And how it was the hardest and longest episode for them to break. They wanted to reveal time travel in a personal way that involved endearing characters and lots of emotion. That’s why Desmond remarks to Faraday’s mathematical explanation of a Constant: “can it be a person?”
The Dharma scene where Hurley debates time travel rules with Miles, and finally stumps him. They anticipated the audience having the same sort of questions that Hurley did, and the scene pretty much already took place within the writer’s room.
Some *really* good questions from the audience: “why must there be a human presence on the island?” which they said they’ve never been asked before but couldn’t answer. One guy asked a question which seemed to startle Darlton, especially Damon, and they basically said “We don’t want to spoil the ending to the show” as their answer, which made me think the guy was *extremely* close in his guessing the global reveal. I’ll give you a hint: he asked if there was an allusion in people doubting the button-pushing in the hatch as a critical necessity, and the critical necessity of protecting the lightcave. There was a lot more to it, but that’s all I’m giving. Sorry.
“I know this is very brief, but honestly the entire thing flew by in a little over 90+ mins, and I’m still soaking it all in. A couple other memorable details to try to do it justice:
A lady from the audience said the show pretty much restored her faith in God and got her much closer in faith and relationships (wow)
Damon and Carlton spoke a LOT on the struggle of faith, reason, religion, empiricism, etc. Damon summarized the show in this way “you have the Bible, it tells you, you do this and this, or there are consequences” and at the end of the day, you have to choose to have faith in that book, or not. So it really isn’t about that book, it’s about whether or not you decide to trust it. That’s our show. And it’s not just the Bible, it’s basically all the religious texts”.
One guy asked Damon and Carlton for a job, Michael Emerson kindly got up and received his resume
A really good question asked from the audience: “if MIB knew he couldn’t kill a candidate, why was he trying to do so by dragging Locke underground in season 1?” to which Damon replied: “ahh yes, but was he trying to kill him? You have to remember that Locke had just seen “the face of the island, and it was beautiful” and he was planning on going and giving a big speech to the castaways to give them hope and courage. MIB didn’t like this and was preventing him from doing so.”
Damon used the analogy of the “Johnny Explainer” (aka Exposition-Guy) character that is normally used as a cheap plot device to cover complex backstory and narrative (Dharma guy comes wandering out of the jungle to tell the 815ers about his time in the Dharma Initiative), as a springboard to say “as writers, we divided up Johnny Explainer’s dialogue amongst our characters. We’d put his word in Ben’s mouth, in John Locke’s mouth, Jacob’s mouth, and you always had to wonder if they were telling the truth, or not. Every time someone in the show gave an explanation, we wanted there to be an element of doubt.” After all this Damon said something to the effect of “but Johnny Explainer is no longer giving you the fruit from the tree”. He used a lot of interesting metaphors, some I understood, some I didn’t.
How much was planned out? They had the end-game in mind during season 1. They know how they wanted it to end. Between the hiatus of season 1-2, they sat down and had time to write out the core mythology. But also, when each season started up in the writing bootcamp, they might change or modify or add things, knowing ultimately where they still had to go. The end-game has never changed in theme or purpose, but may have changed in small details and content.
Damon pointed out that the #1 and #2 questions most asked by fans is: 1) Was everything planned out? 2) how much input does the audience have on the show? Damon said you can’t have it both ways. Because if they planned EVERYTHING out and locked it away in some “LOST binder”, then obviously fans would not be allowed any input or effect on the show. An immediate response to the audience: people kept asking why Hurley wasn’t losing any weight… so they wrote in that he was stashing Dharma ranch dressing (and other things). An anticipated audience reaction dealt with pre-emptively: Nicki and Paulo.
Why Nicki and Paulo? Because in the third season they realized they were punting along and had to do something. Their rule was to introduce new characters at the beginning of each season, and as they saw they were introducing the Others characters at the cages (Juliet, etc.) they wanted to introduce new characters back at the beach camp. Thus, Nicki and Paulo. They admit it was a mistake and tried to be cruel in how they got rid of Nicki and Paulo to make the fans feel somewhat satisfied.
When Damon realized Walt was getting too tall (taller than Damon isn’t very tall, btw), they basically said “lets get Walt on that raft, pronto!” and remarked how you can notice during season 1’s arc that Walt’s voice cracks a bit ala Peter Brady on the Brady Bunch. They way they wrote this into the show was that Walt was so special that even he was freaking out the Others, and Ben wanted him off the island.
Personally, I’ve been getting a little disappointed and frustrated with the increasing criticisms and attacks on the show you can find on many popular blogs and news sites. I can tell you, honestly, that A LOT of things that Damon and Carlton explained about the writing process, about character motivations, about overarching themes they’ve built into the show, about mistakes they’ve made, etc. cleared up a TON of the negative things “fans” have been saying. I wish all those people were forced to attend and listen. It really would have put a lot of their skepticism, frustration, and doubt at ease.
Damon said “if you hated Expose, if you hated Across the Sea, please watch the finale, give it some time, and let’s see if you still hate those eps or think they were unnecessary in the grand scheme”. (Obviously he was talking more about Across the Sea than Expose)
Jorge listed Ben as his favorite character, Emerson listed Eko as his favorite character (they weren’t allowed to pick their own), and Damon and Carlton copped out not listing any-one character, but saying how if you ate your favorite food every single day, you’d be sick of it. But they were excited because they could write for different characters all the time and it never seemed to get stale for them. They said that Hurley was basically the personality of the writing team of Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz, and they would not have been able to write Hurley that way as a character. They said that the Desmond character/story was pretty much their writing territory.
After an audience member asked Darlton and Jorge if they were going to continue podcasting (Darlton: no, Jorge, maybe 1-2 after the finale), and Damon explained that they wouldn’t have too much more to talk about after the finale, Damon turned to Jorge and asked him “after reading the finale, being in the finale, do you have anything that needs explaining?” and Jorge sat for awhile, thought, shifted in his seat, and said “naw man, I don’t… cuz… I get it… I think I get it!” and smiled and everyone laughed.
They listed a good rule for Widmore (and others). “If a character tells you something, you can doubt it. Like Widmore. He suddenly has this change of heart and says Jacob visited him? Did Jacob really visit him? On the other hand, if you SEE something happening, then it’s true and real. We witnessed Jacob visiting Ilana at the hospital, her all bandaged up. But all we know is Widmore relayed a story. So it might be false. You have to remember to not listen to what characters on LOST say, but what they actually DO. Keep this in mind when wondering if what Widmore said was true.” It seemed like a good rule for all the characters on LOST, btw.
I really, really hope this ends up on the DVD set, because I can tell you, I’ve read the interviews, the magazines, watched the recap eps, listened to the podcasts, and I still feel like I really got to know Damon and Carlton a heck of a lot more after this than all those others. It was definitely worth the price of admission.
I’m not even gonna say “overall, it was great”. Because I was smiling and enjoying every minute of it. Since this is starting to sound like an AICN type review, I’ll leave it here.