Whoosh! Issue 63 - December 2001

INTERVIEW WITH MISSY GOOD

Page 2

FILMING IN NEW ZEALAND

ALEXANDER:
[60] Okay. Now you're going down to New Zealand to meet these people who you've been watching on TV, and writing intimate scenes about for all those years. What goes through your head?

GOOD:
[61] It was a little intimidating. It was really funny, because I was supposed to go down for LEGACY (117/605), and I called Rob and said, "Um, do you think it would be okay if I stopped by the set for a couple of days to see LEGACY be filmed?" I figured this is a once in a lifetime chance, I'm never going to do this again, and two days later Rob calls and says, "Well, Missy, you'd be welcome anytime on set. Anytime you want to come down here, you're welcome to come down here, but we're about to give you another script assignment [COMING HOME (113/601)], so we're kind of hoping you'll stay in Miami and work on it." And that's how I found out I was doing a second script for XENA. [62] So, when I finally went to New Zealand for COMING HOME (113/601), it didn't hit me until the minute I left. Actually, I was just about to leave Miami and I'm like, "Oh my god. In thirteen hours, I'm gonna be in New Zealand and I'm going to be talking to these people. What the hell am I going to say to them?" You know, because it's such a weird thing to have happen.

ALEXANDER:
[63] Did you feel like an outsider going into it?

GOOD:
[64] I did. I felt very, very uncomfortable for the first five and a half minutes or so. But, Kym Taborn [Kym is the editor-in-chief of Whoosh] gave me some very good advice before I left. She said, "You know what, by the time you get there, you're gonna be so brain dead it's not going to be as impacting." And that's basically what happened. Fortunately, instead of being taken directly to the set when I got there, I was taken to the production offices, and I got to meet Rob and he gave me a tour of the production facilities. We went all around the studios and he was introducing me to all the production people. So, that was a really good thing, because it gave me a chance to calm down. Then Rob and Chloe Smith, who's a wonderful person, took me out to the set. I think Rob wanted to make sure I wasn't going to keel over, you know. But they took me out to the set and we had lunch on set with Lucy, Renee, and little baby Julius who is adorable. (pause) It was interesting. I thought I was going to be a lot more totally whacked out than I was.

[Missy's phone rings again. Friend, Jen is unable to find her. Missy gives directions, and Jen emerges from the convention center in a matching Hawaiian shirt. Hmm. Must be a Southern Florida thing.]

GOOD:
[65] I think it was a lot less impact than I thought it would be because Lucy and Renee are very gracious, very natural, very open and honest people and they were delightful to talk to. Everybody in New Zealand was pretty much like that. They were very unpretentious. They were hard working. I felt very comfortable the minute I got on set.



SHEENA

ALEXANDER:
[66] Have you been to the SHEENA set yet? [Missy wrote the script for the SHEENA episode FERAL KING, scheduled to air sometime this Fall, and she says more SHEENA writing may be in her future if the show is picked up for the second half of the season].

GOOD:
[67] No. Not yet.

ALEXANDER:
[68] Are you anticipating it being different here?

GOOD:
[69] I really don't think so, because Steve Sears is who he is, and because he's just a very real kind of person and I've heard some very good things about the people who work with him.

ALEXANDER:
[70] Comparing writing for the two series, which did you enjoy more?

GOOD:
[71] For pure writing enjoyment, I think I enjoyed writing SHEENA better because it was much easier. Steve's characters are very clearly defined, and he pitched me a very, very solid story, and it was a very easy story for me to put on paper. XENA is harder because the characters are so much more layered. There's so much behind both characters that when you're writing them, there's so much to take into account, at least when I write them. Writing them and integrating my vision of them with RenPics' and Rob's vision of them is always a very tough procedure, because when you've written six thousand pages about something, you have a definite opinion on what they would say and how they would do it. So, I had to learn, because they're not my characters, to let go of that and say, "Okay, they're putting them in this situation, how can I put them in this situation, which I never would have done, and still make that adhere to how I see the characters?" [72] It was much tougher to write the XENA scripts. Also much more rewarding.



WRITING FOR XENA

[Missy has written or co-written three XENA episodes. LEGACY (117/605) and COMING HOME (113/601) aired early in Season Six. LAST CHANCE, the now infamous Sappho episode was co-written with Rob Tapert. It featured a disco soundtrack, but Studios USA could not get the rights to the music, and, much to the dismay of subtexters everywhere, it was shelved. A consortium of Missy fans recently bought the script for more than $20,000 at an auction benefiting the American Cancer Society.]

ALEXANDER:
[73] How was it to actually see your words being spoken by Lucy and Renee? When you're writing your stories do you picture them in your head actually going through the motions?

GOOD:
[74] I do. That's what I do. I picture the scenes and then I just record what I'm seeing. Which is why I write the way I do, why everything is visual, and you get smells and you get touches and the scent of green grass and all the rest of that stuff, because it's like a moving picture to me. Seeing LEGACY (117/605) in its almost completed state in New Zealand with Rob Tapert standing over my shoulder was probably one of the most surreal experiences I'd ever had.

ALEXANDER:
[75] Exciting?

GOOD:
[76] Incredible. It turned out far better than I had ever hoped, and it matched what I saw when I wrote the script almost perfectly. COMING HOME (113/601), actually the first and second acts which was stuff they left in that was pretty much all mine, did too. It was very, very close to pinning exactly how I'd pictured the scenes when I wrote them. It was very cool.



A TYPICAL GOOD DAY

ALEXANDER:
[77] Now a couple of more "personal" Missy fan questions.

GOOD:
(smiling) Sure.

ALEXANDER:
[78] How do you get done in a day everything you do? I've seen this question on a bunch of the message boards. What is a typical day for you, and do you ever sleep?

GOOD:
[79] Typical day for me: I usually get up at 6:30am. Gabrielle (remember Missy's dog?) wakes me up because she has to go out. Then, generally speaking, I usually catch up on mail.

ALEXANDER:
[80] How many messages a day?

GOOD:
[81] Between five and six hundred, (and you thought YOUR mailbox was full!) depending on how busy MerwolfPack is. That's the main list that I have to keep track of because it's my list. That plus personal mails. I get between a 150-250 personal e-mails a day regarding the stories and other things, and I'm on a couple of other lists. There's a lot of mail to keep up with. Then my work schedule is: I work from ten to six, which means I actually leave the house at 9am and I usually leave work around 8pm.

ALEXANDER:
[82] So, from 6:30am to 9am you're taking care of Gabrielle, primping for work and just keeping up with your mail.

GOOD:
[83] Basically it's taking care of my mail. Not much primping. I generally just take a shower and blow-dry my hair out the window. Jen is a primpy person. (Missy takes a moment to smirk at her buddy who's sitting on a nearby wall with some fans). Jen can spend six or seven hours ironing her t-shirts. (Jen pretends to be indignant and Missy says, "I love you too.") (laughing) Mostly the non e-mail stuff is things like taking out the garbage, and I have to make sure the dog gets to go out, and I make coffee and make sure my mom's stuff is done. You know, the stuff you have to do as a normal human being. I get home from work, usually between 8:30 and 9 o'clock at night because of the traffic. Then I take care of things I have to do, get some dinner, whatever it is. Then, around 10pm, I sit down and start writing. Usually I'll write between ten and twelve, which is why you generally will see updates posted around midnight.

ALEXANDER:
[84] So you get somewhere around six and a half hours of sleep a night?

GOOD:
[85] Yeah, roughly.

ALEXANDER:
[86] That's assuming you go to sleep at twelve.

GOOD:
[87] It depends. Sometimes if it's a part that I'm really into, I'll just keep writing and stay up. That's when you'll start to see updates posted at one or one forty-five.

ALEXANDER:
[88] Does that wear on you at all? It sounds like you work an awful lot.

GOOD:
[89] I've been doing it for four years now.

ALEXANDER:
[90] And there's no burnout factor?

GOOD:
[91] I've been writing nonstop, at least a section a day for four years. But, you know what, that's really the key. You have to do that to be consistent. Then instead of becoming like a chore, it's an absolute relaxation for me, because it's like visiting with friends. It's like, what's going on with Xena and Gabrielle today?



WRITER'S BLOCK & WRITING CLASSES & ROLE MODELING

ALEXANDER:
[92] Writers block. Have you ever had that problem?

GOOD:
[93] Not yet. What I do when I'm at a point in the story where I'm not really sure where I'm going to go, again, that's where the flashbacks come in. I'll take them into a flashback, or I'll take them into a little side trip. Then I'll see where I want the story to go.

ALEXANDER:
[94] Have you taken any writing classes? Is anybody in your family the literary type? Did they encourage you to read as a child?

GOOD:
[95] I'm a voracious reader. I read, when I was growing up, I can't think of how many hundreds of pages. I was at the library every fifteen minutes. I had probably checked out the entire science fiction section of our local library by the time that I was twelve. So yeah, reading was big for me.

ALEXANDER:
[96] I've heard you say about TV script writing, that people shouldn't do it the way you did it. But you're the inspiration for many people who think the same thing could happen to them.

GOOD:
[97] People shouldn't try to get into the television business the way I did, because it just doesn't happen that way. I mean, producers don't solicit people on the Internet to come write scripts for them. That's not how it's done. Maybe it WILL be how it's done in the future, you never know, but until then, I don't want somebody to take this unconventional way to do it and not look at the conventional way to do it. That is to go the route that every other writer in LA has to go -- and they have to go and submit spec scripts, and they have to join the union. [98] There's a process, and if you try to jump the process, I don't think the-powers-that-be anywhere else would appreciate that. They don't want people wildcatting, trying to send scripts and god knows what else. That's why I tell people, "Don't try to do it the way I did it." If it happens to you, cool, but don't expect it to, because it's like being struck by lightning.

[Note: Good has actually been struck by lightning twice. I'm not speaking figuratively here. I'm talking about the honest to god, high voltage bolts from the sky.]



TROPICAL STORM: The Television Project

ALEXANDER:
[99] "Tropical Storm". Where's the net series/TV series in the creative process right now?

GOOD:
[100] Right now they're developing it as a TV series and we've got scripts written for it. They're pitching it to Oxygen and a couple of other networks. And we have a development company that would really like to put a lot of money into developing it as a film, so it's being dual developed right now.

ALEXANDER:
[101] How about casting?

GOOD:
[102] I don't get involved in casting, because for me, there are only two people that I'd cast (grinning). So, I try to stay out of it. I'm like "Deb [Debby Van Poucke, owner and CEO of Ladyhawke Productions, which is developing the series] please cast somebody unknown, because I don't want to have to think about Angie Harmon or any of those other actresses that they list."

ALEXANDER:
[103] Do you know if anybody's been cast yet?

GOOD:
[104] They have not. They've approached Robert Trebor to be Allistaire, and he has agreed. I know Debby's had some conversations with other people, but I really try to stay out of that because I have DEFINITE ideas about the characters, and that doesn't help them. It really doesn't help to say, "But I really want to have so and so" if you can't get those people.

ALEXANDER:
[105] Do you think Lucy Lawless and Renee O'Connor would be interested?

GOOD:
[106] I don't know. It's not up to me to pitch it to them.

ALEXANDER:
[107] It would be ideal, though, wouldn't it?

GOOD:
[108] I'd absolutely love it, but it's not up to me. I'm not part of that part of the production. Would I like it if they at least sent them a script? Sure. If Rob asked me to send him one, in a heartbeat I would.

ALEXANDER:
[109] But you're not holding your breath for Lucy and Renee?

GOOD:
[110] No. No. But you never say never, and you never say anything is impossible.

ALEXANDER:
[111] Do you have any idea when the project may actually come to fruition, when we might see it?

GOOD:
[112] I think a lot of timelines were thrown off this year by the strike threats. So, there are a lot of people who are very hesitant to commit to anything. I know they're talking to a lot of potential financiers. It'll depend on when they get financing. And, in this business, you never know.



THE DATING LIFE

ALEXANDER:
[113] Several women have asked me to ask you if you're seeing anybody.

GOOD:
[114] No. Jen is my ex. She's also my best friend.

ALEXANDER:
[115] What is it about gay women always becoming best friends with their ex's?

GOOD:
[115] Well, actually, Jen was my best friend before we got together, and she just stayed my best friend all the way through it. So, it's just one of those things, but no, I'm not in a relationship right now.

ALEXANDER:
[116] So you're single?

GOOD:
[117] Yeah. (grinning)

ALEXANDER:
[118] And you have so much spare time on your hands right now that you're looking?

GOOD:
[119] Oh, absolutely. I've got all kinds of extra time, between like twelve and twelve fifteen every morning. (laughing) I'm running into the bars, just dashing in there… quick, quick, quick, let's go.

[Missy Good currently resides in Pembroke Pines, Florida, near Miami. She's the author of fourteen Xena Fan Fiction stories and four Ubers. You can find them all on Missy's web page (http://www.merwolf.com/). Potential soul mates can call her at (305) 975-… BUZZ! Is that the doorbell? Sorry, er_ gotta run. ;o)]



Biography

Lisa Alexander Lisa Alexander
Born March 27th 1969 in Reading, PA. 1986 grad Pennsylvania Broadcast Institute. Current job- Morning news anchor, KDKA News Radio, Pittsburgh PA (the world's first commercial radio station). Hobbies- Reading, writing, Hong Kong Action Films and British Comedy


Favorite episode: THE BITTER SUITE, MANY HAPPY RETURNS
Favorite line: "I handled you all wrong. I know that. She knew what you needed...unconditional, unselfish love, and I couldn't give that to you. But I appreciated you in ways she never could... Your rage. Your violence. Your beauty. When you sacrificed yourself for others, you were hers, but when you kicked *ss, you were mine. I love you, Xena." LOOKING DEATH IN THE EYE
First episode seen: THE QUEST
Least favorite episode: PURITY; BACK IN THE BOTTLE

 


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