Veronica Mars
The Second Rob Thomas Interview

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"The Word 'Coma' Bugs The Hell Out Of Me"
CB: You mentioned network notes. Is that mostly Standards and Practices stuff? RT: No, in fact, Standards and Practices has been much easier. With the network switch, we moved out from under the CBS umbrella, and now we have the Standards and Practices people that used to be with The WB, and it's been easier with them. Clearly, there's always a little debate, but it felt like, last year, I was on the phone all the time arguing. It feels like now they're tougher on things like product placement and clearance issues and things that I don't really have to deal with, and less about content. It's been really great for me this year. CB: I know last time we talked, you said you sometimes found it frustrating that the network wouldn't always let you leave enough to the audience -- like they'd sometimes make you throw in a explanatory voice-over. Do you get that less with the new network? RT: Yeah. Yeah. The network notes in the old regime were more micro, whereas in the new regime they're more macro. It continues to be a good process with the new network -- they were a little tougher at the beginning, with both sides getting used to each other, but...if every creative experience I had with a network were this good, I'd be a very happy man. CB: As much as you delegate various responsibilities, as the showrunner, ultimate responsibility for getting the show on the air is yours. What sort of fires do you have to put out, and what's the biggest crisis you've had to face? RT: Well...you know, most of the fires are financial fires. It's a pretty continuous onslaught -- turning in a script that we're proud of and then finding out that we don't have enough money to shoot it. A lot of putting out fires is rewriting, and I've thankfully got really good people around me, and whatever happens -- whether it's cast members needing time off, or problems with the crew -- basically, I'm shielded from most of that. We've tried to structure things pretty well so I only have to deal with creative aspects of the show -- the scripts, the cuts, the casting. Fortunately, [executive producers] Danielle Stokdyk and Jen Gwartz take a huge load off here as far as promotions and marketing and dealing with the network about anything non-creative, even though they're both very creative producers and give feedback for all the scripts. But they take a lot of the things that I hate about the job off my plate. And [supervising producer] Dan Etheridge, who's down in San Diego, is just a fantastic right-hand man for me, because we're good friends and share similar tastes, and he's on the set all the time. I wish I could clone him, because he has to split his time between the director who's prepping and the director who's shooting. I can always tell -- if I see something in dailies I don't like, it probably means that Dan was with the prepping director at that moment.

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Veronica Mars

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