Veronica Mars
The Second Rob Thomas Interview

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"The Word 'Coma' Bugs The Hell Out Of Me"
CB: I've heard that, should you come back for a fourth season, you're considering going to the stand-alone episodes permanently. RT: It really is, for the network and for us, a trial balloon. It's going to be dictated by ratings and response. I mean, I'll write the show either way. We just want to survive and get to make more. So if the fans respond to this...the thing we always have to remember is that the posters on Television Without Pity are not the majority of our audience. They're the great part of our audience -- I mean, they may represent 5% of our audience, but we spend 30% of our time thinking about them. But -- and I'm now just talking about television in general, most people aren't hardcore -- they watch, they flip channels and find what's on, and if it's appealing to them, they stay and watch it. And we see that our numbers are going up, or they chart out better than they have in the past in terms of retention or growth, and if the diehards don't revolt, then I think there would be a chance that we would go to all stand-alones. And when I say all stand-alones, it's not like the Veronica Mars universe begins and ends with each episode. All the interpersonal storylines would continue, there would be bits and pieces of things that carry over from episode to episode, but it wouldn't arc out over either a ten-episode mystery or a twenty-two episode mystery. We would try to say, okay, if you come to Veronica Mars, you get the whole show -- if you're a random viewer, you don't have to have watched the previous six episodes -- you can tune in this week and know what's going on. Like Rockford Files or something, you know? CB: What bothers me about stand-alones on other shows is that they can be formulaic in what seems like a very lazy way. RT: Right, and the show will never be just about the mystery we solve this week. That will never happen. I'm as or more interested in Veronica's personal growth and social journey than I am in who stole the suitcase this week. CB: Yeah. Okay -- we've talked about your writing and showrunning roles, but you've also put on the director's hat a couple of times now. How does directing enhance the storytelling you want to do as a writer, and what do you do personally, as a director, to improve the audience's experience? Also, what have you learned about directing? RT: You know, I've learned some things that I would have predicted going in. The nice thing when I direct and I go into the editing room afterward is that there aren't moments or performance that I'm missing. If the director's directing and I'm not on set, I can't say, "Okay, let's get one more take, I need this line to be delivered dry." When I get back to the editing room, I have all the performances I want. But certainly, I'll watch Michael Fields or Harry Winer, I'll watch the way they make shots, and the way the camera moves and the reveals and the way people land on marks, and I'll think, "Oh shit, Rob! You don't think like that." So I sort of tell myself, "Well, Cameron Crowe doesn't either, but he hires people who do." And...there are a lot of upsides to my directing. I get to hang out with the crew for two or three weeks, which is a really good thing because I'm so disconnected from them otherwise -- I'm down there a few days a season. I get to relearn everybody's names, and I like getting to know them better, and I think they like having a face to put to me -- that part of it's valuable to me. It's interesting -- this particular time...I don't know whether I would say I preferred "Donut Run" or "Spit And Eggs" -- I don't know which one I would say is the better episode, but I think I directed the first one better, in the sense...I'm proud of directorial moments in that one. We had a series of things that took my attention away from the prep of "Spit And Eggs" -- scripts coming in, cuts coming in, crisis crisis crisis, and I feel like my shotmaking was better the first time out.

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Veronica Mars

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