30 Minutes with Carlton Cuse & Damon Lindelof of Lost Page 3
Do you guys enjoy hearing other people's commentaries? Anything you specifically look or listen for from them? CARLTON: We just make sure they're not badmouthing us. [more chuckles] I'm joking. We just scan them the way one used to scan material in the old Soviet Union.
It's fun to hear the perspectives of other writers. Actually, what's most interesting to us is hearing what the actors have to say, because we're in L.A. and they're in Hawaii, and we don't spend a lot of time over there. Unfortunately, that's one of the consequences of us being in two different spots. We don't have as much interaction with the actors about the material as you might think. So to watch and listen to an actor's commentary on an episode sometimes gives us more insight as to how they're approaching the material as well as helps us gauge what their reaction is to any given material.
DAMON: What's also fun about the actors' commentaries is you get a sense of where and when they were shooting, which, as Carlton had mentioned, we often don't know. Jorge [Garcia, who plays Hurley] might say, "Oh yeah, it was pouring on this day, and I had to do 14 takes of this scene." We don't know any of that, because the first time we get the film is in the editing room. We'll be having conversations with Hawaii where they might say, "Hey, we had some bad weather today," but their entire day is summed up in that statement. So actors' commentaries are like intel from the field getting back to HQ, and that's always interesting for us to hear.
Would knowing what the particular conditions of a shoot or location are influence how you might write an upcoming episode? CARLTON: I think that sometimes when you hear about how challenging something is to do productionwise, it makes you think a little bit before you type, "Jack and Kate scramble up the muddy embankment in the driving rain." I mean, we still do it, but you have a greater appreciation of what the actors actually have to accomplish in order to execute that scene.
DAMON: Now we do it and we go, "Oh, Foxy [Matthew Fox] is gonna love us for this one." [all laugh]
We talked a little bit about the podcasts. Speaking of the iPod in general, Lost is a big hit on iTunes. What's your take on watching the show on an iPod as opposed to on TV or DVD? CARLTON: Any opportunity that the audience has to stay engaged in the show is good for us. The traditional issue with a serialized show has been that you had one chance to watch it on the network, and if you missed it, that was it. Now, basically, iTunes provides a way for the audience to get caught up if they miss a few episodes, or they get to watch the show whenever they wanna watch it.
But I have to say, the DVDs are really addictive. Something we kept hearing about after the Season 1 DVDs came out was that once you started watching the episodes, you got hooked, and then you found yourself watching all 25 hours straight through. For us, it's really exciting that that experience is available for the fans - to watch our whole story in bigger chunks, or in one giant viewing, in super-high quality. And actually, we mix the show thinking more about the DVD than the broadcast.