Part six in my interview with Tom Fontana, creator or co-creator of OZ, THE JURY, TATTINGER'S, THE BEAT, and THE BEDFORD DIARIES...
CRAFTY TV: I notice your credits are all on TV. Do you ever get great feature film ideas? And if so what do you do with'em?
I don't really. I was a playwright before TV and not particularly good nor successful playwright. TV makes sense, I don't know why, for the talent that I have. I don't think to myself, what I really want to do is write features. I love working in TV. I love the scope of TV, and the ability to tell the kinds of stories we tell. A lot of the movies are made for 12 year olds. I don't know what I could contribute there.
Having said that I'm writing a novel for Harper Collins; and that is as intimidating a way to spend one's time as any writer can conceive of. I'm doing a BATMAN graphic novel, I find working on that fascinating. So it's not like I don't want to do other kinds of writing. But if I were going to write a movie, I'd write it for HBO.
CRAFTY TV: But would you do a movie for Martin Scorsese, if not for twelve year olds?
TF: I guess also being a writer/Executive Producer, I'm used to conceiving and casting and being on the set and doing the final edit. It would be hard for me to go from that to being the least important person on the set. Feature screenwriters don't get the respect they deserve.
CRAFTY TV: Do you spend a lot of time on the set? And when you're not there, do you send a writer to supervise the shooting?
TF: I spend as much time as possible on the set. I get up at 5:30 to write, and they usually start shooting at 7 or 7:30. So I tend to miss the early morning work. But I'm available, at least, by phone. If I'm not there, there's a writer/producer or staff writer on the set to make sure everyone's on the right track and to help solve any problems that may come up.