Veronica Mars
The Second Rob Thomas Interview

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"The Word 'Coma' Bugs The Hell Out Of Me"
So after the end of the first mini-arc this season, I got in touch with Rob Thomas and asked him if he'd like to do an updated interview. He gave me a total of over two hours. Hey, it's not like he's busy, right? Let's get to it. (Hardcore spoilerphobes are warned that there's enough upcoming stuff in here that they might want to steer clear.) Couch Baron: A lot has changed since we talked last. Not just with the show -- congratulations on your marriage and your lovely daughter. Rob Thomas: Thank you. CB: So, let's go back. You wrapped up Season 1 in pretty amazing style. You were getting great reviews, you were biting your nails, and you got renewed. I assume you had already started planning for Season 2 at that point, but once you actually got the news, what did you do? RT: I thought I called you! [Both laugh.] CB: True. But what did you have in mind for Season 2 at that time, and how did you go about executing it? RT: We knew about the bus crash, the busload of dead kids, and the fact that Beaver did it by the end of Season 1. But we didn't do much breaking [planning the plot points] of Season 2 between the two seasons. We did a bunch of that this past season because I knew I was going to be vacationing until mid-June; typically, the writers start back [at] the beginning of June. We sort of stayed two weeks longer and came back two weeks later. I actually came back with a couple of episodes written -- we had broken the first two already, so we were significantly ahead of the game. In fact, we were ahead most of the year until I left to direct. That slows everything down. CB: You're mentioning a little of the television process here. I think it would clear up a lot of misconceptions, and would also just generally be very informative, if you were to tell us, from start to finish, what happens to get an episode of your show on the air. RT: Typically, before we enter any of our big mysteries, we break the real stuff -- we break what really happened. You know, with the Beaver case, we had to plan what really happened and set that in stone, so none of the misleads and red herrings would interfere with that or make the big mystery not work. Then we map out the big clues -- we plan how Veronica is going to solve the case, and how she's going to get those big clues. Once we have those, we start with the Mystery Of The Week. We generally start with the A story, break that, writers pitch ideas for that, and we settle on one -- and it's a bitch. Breaking the mystery -- we've been on [Episode] 3-17 now for four days in the room and don't have the A story broken. Typically, we can finish breaking an entire episode in a week, but this is going a little more slowly, which is strange, because it's one of the smallest mysteries we've ever done. We're having a tough time with it. So we start with the act-outs -- if, in the middle of the fourth act, Veronica's going to reveal whodunit, what are the big moments? Typically, we end the cold open either with Veronica getting hired or with the mystery becoming apparent, and then it's what are the big discoveries. We put those at the end of acts, and I would say that 80% of our act-outs are on the Mystery Of The Week. Then we just go beat by beat -- how do we get from Point A to Point B. If we're going to act out with a certain reveal, what are the clues Veronica needs? In the room right now, we've been discussing how a hotel robe went from one bag to another, I swear to God, for two days. Because you have to have both plausibility and entertainment -- frequently, there could be an easy answer, but it would bore the hell out of whoever's watching, so you have to come up with the clever thing, the clever twist. I've said it before, but if I could have all the time in the world in which we think of a new way for Veronica to get someone's cell phone -- because we don't want to do it the same way every time, we want to think of something new, something that's fun to watch. "Fun to watch" is something of a watchword around here, because real private detectiving is talking on the phone and plugging away on the computer.

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Veronica Mars

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