Friday, July 1, 2011

Great Interview with Shonda Rhimes

Here are some excerpts from a recent interview Shonda Rhimes, creator & showrunner for Grey's Anatomy & Private Practice, did with New York Magazine:

Q: Have you ever made mistakes with your characters?

A: Do I regret any choices I've made with the characters? No, because I've made them and they're done. Do I feel like they've taught me things that will inform how I do things now and will perhaps allow me to do things differently in the future? Yes.

Q: So no regrets.

A: When I was making the pilot for Grey's, people were asking me a bunch of questions, and I was answering them all and the director turned to me and said, "You answer questions so quickly. You don't take any time to think about them, you don't obsess over the right or wrong answer, you just answer the question." I looked at him like he was sort of crazy, because it had never occurred to me. I realized I don't have time. There's not enough time; there's not enough hours in the day; there's too many things going on. Everyone needs an answer to a question, so you give an answer and make a decision and move on. A lot of that is how it works. I make hundreds of decisions a day about anything from casting to someone's shoes to what kind of flowers a character should have in their hair. You have to be decisive. You can't stand around and think of the perfect thing.

Q: So you're not a perfectionist?

A: I am a perfectionist, but I feel like part of being a perfectionist is realizing that you have to decide the decision you're going to make and that's the perfect decision and you move on. Otherwise, I would never get anything done all day.

Q: That's logically weird, right? Like by picking it, it became perfect ...

A:  It's completely weird, but it's the only way I can function with the number of problems that are going on.
Q:  Do you think that makes you less open to criticism? Do you take criticism well in general?

A: No, I am a giant baby about all of that stuff. I feel like there's criticism and then there's constructive discussion. I don't encounter a lot of constructive discussion, so that may be why I have that attitude toward criticism. I don't have a lot of time for it. I want to get home and live my life and I have scripts to write. Anybody who is creative doesn't want people standing around them saying they suck. Criticism is not fun for anyone.

Q:  Is there anyone you think gives good, constructive criticism?

A:  I think it can come from all kinds of places. Do I welcome it? Almost never. Do I listen to it when it's good? Yeah, I'll grumble and walk about and then I'll realize that was actually a really good idea.  I do try though, because pessimism is catching, but so is optimism, so why not just be optimistic?
The highlights & emphasis are my notes & things that rang true to me.

No comments: