By Shalini Dore
No secrets were spilled, but there was plenty for Losties to geek-out on during the WGA Foundation’s panel sesh with "Lost" scribes Thursday at the WGA Theater in Beverly Hills.
The “Inside the Writers Room With Lost” evening gave fans plenty to chew over as Damon Lindelof, Carlton Cuse, Liz Sarnoff, Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz talked about how they plot the ABC drama.
The process of writing each new season starts with a blue-sky meeting where scribes discuss what the season will accomplish. After that the writers break down the episodes and write them. Usually there are three storylines: on the island, off the island and one other.
What helps the writers? Rabid-fan discussions of reality shows like “Top Chef,” which Sarnoff took credit for introducing to the "Lost" writers room.
As much as fans obsess over every little nuance and suggestion about the larger "Lost" mystery, writers keep a laser-like focus on the people they've created.
“We spend all our time talking about character; the mythology is the frosting on the cake,” Cuse said.
Why do so many of the central characters have daddy issues? Lindelof said they had to be like dysfunctional orphans in order relate to one another other.
Cuse observed that viewers only see 10% of what is going on with the show at any given moment. Sometimes they put in little nuggets that they hope to get to in a later episode but for dramatic reasons they have to change plans. It was only at ABC's request that the whole concept of the Dharma Initiative was spelled out to viewers much earlier than the scribes initially planned.
Kitsis, who showed Ben-like tendencies in professing himself to be the brains of the whole operation, said he used to read the voluminous fan reaction and commentary on the Web after each episode on but had to stop for his own sanity. One ep that Kitsis co-wrote with Horowitz, season three's “Expose” was written for the fans in an effort to answer a bunch of FAQ.
“What was the reaction? They said ‘nothing happened this week,’” Kitsis recalled.
Still, at the reception after Lindelof admitted that Sawyer’s recent gem of a line about Richard Alpert being “Your friend with the eyeliner” was a wink at the message boards. And coming this week, Hurley and Faraday will discuss the finer points of time travel, which is definitely grabbing aud attention.
During the Q&A and the reception Cuse was bombarded with questions about time-traveling, including from one audience member who has to be called an “Other” as he asked if they threw in the time-travel angle just this season and why.
As for all those deaths, Cuse said for dramatic reasons they may kill off someone a little early. But he quickly added that "Lost" writers aren't the only homicidal maniacs working in primetime. Pointing to Fox’s “24," Cuse said: “They will kill characters at any time.”