Ian Brennan has had one of the most shocking and hope-inspiring trajectories I have ever heard of. Today, he’s one of the creators of the massive hit show GLEE. But if you’d talked to him two or three years ago, he wouldn’t even have told you he was a writer. “Writing had been my hobby. I was an actor.” A theater
actor. He had been trying to write important plays. “But once you stop trying to write something ‘important,’ it frees you up to write what you really love.”
Then he wrote the script to GLEE, based on his fairly miserable experience as member of the Prospect High School show choir in Mount Prospect, Illinois. The draft he wrote wasn’t the peppy, arch, fluffy show that’s provoked a nationwide road show. It was a darker story, “more like JUNO or ELECTION.”
Fortunately, Mike Novick, a guy he knew at his gym, knew Ryan Murphy, one of the guys who’d created NIP/TUCK. (This is why you want to live in LA.) NIP/TUCK was just winding up its last season. Murphy was looking for a new show to do.
Murphy and his partner Brad Falchuck loved the script. Murphy had been in a glee club, too. More accurately, they loved their take on Brennan’s script. So they called him in and pitched him their
version of the show. It was a TV series, and it was much lighter.
“So I sat down and wrote the first draft of the pilot.”
The pilot was picked up amazingly fast. The only note from Fox was “I think you need a nemesis inside the school. I can’t believe we missed that. And Ryan just sat back and said, ‘Yeah, I think it’s a cheerleader named Sue Sylvester.’ And now I get to write her.”
“So we were like the dog that actually catches a car: what do I do now?”
“Not that I wasn’t working hard as an actor for 12 years in the theater, but then for this to randomly happen. It’s like you’re panning for gold and — hey, remember that lottery ticket you bought?”
In other words, campers: this is one of those crazy true stories that make people move to Hollyweird and hope they'll luck into a hit show of their own. because if you have something great, and you write from your heart, and people like you, and you hit some incredible luck
and sacrifice a virgin to Joss Whedon
, it can actually happen.
Labels: Banff, interviews