At NYCC, Once Upon A Time Creators, Adam Horowitz and Edward Kitsis sat down to discuss how they are balancing writing for two shows airing on ABC at the same time and what it is like interacting with fans.
Q: How are you guys balancing working on two shows at the same time (i.e. Once Upon A Time and Once Upon A Time in Wonderland)?
Kitsis: It’s a challenge but it is one we are so grateful to have. The way we approach the challenge is that we have an amazing group of writers on both shows that will do so much of the heavy lifting and that is so invaluable.
Horowitz: As Adam said, we get all the credit, but we really have a great team. The show is a collaboration. It’s a collaboration everywhere between our actors and costumes.
Kitsis: At the end of the day, what you want is — you have ideas and other people get inspired by that so that you all start working towards this one thing. For us, its a dream because we get to spend our mornings in Wonderland and our afternoons in Neverland. We get to go home at midnight and say I can’t believe this is our job.
Q: Can you explain how Wonderland came about?
Horowitz: It was a combination of factors. The first season of Once we did an episode about the Mad Hatter and we went into Wonderland and that world was so exciting and rich and fun to explore. We started thinking about the character of Alice and there really wasn’t a place in Once for that character which was something we really wanted to explore. Then ABC came to us about doing another show.
Kitsis: We actually said, ABC wanted to do one after the second airing and we were like no. Then again later in the season and Adam and I were like no. Then we got this Alice arc and we couldn’t put it in the show because it would be overwhelming so we said we would love to do a short story. Could we just tell a beginning, middle, and an end. We were very inspired by what Ryan Murphy did on American Horror Story. This season is about this story and that is it. We went to them and said we have this great arc that we really want to do, but it doesn’t fit on our show and we want to really be able to just tell it in it’s form…and they were like great.
Q: A lot of actors feel pressure with the real-time interaction they receive on Twitter. The same is now going for directors, producers, and writers. Do you feel that pressure to respond to happy or unhappy fans?
Kitsis: Sometimes it’s really inspiring because you get instant feedback and other times its like if you were trying to write a book. If you were trying to write a book like The Hunger Games saying I read 15 pages, who wins? You are like hey let me get to the end.
Horowitz: It’s super cool in that, it’s like for the first time in the history of the medium you can get real time feedback from your viewers, which is great and awesome. It’s really humbling to feel that presences and love from the fans. At the same time, it’s you know, you just want to communicate that the things that you are asking about are generally the things that we want you to be asking about. This is something we are trying to do so you are curious and hopefully if you stick around your questions will be answered or your issues resolved.
Kitsis: We are very blessed because the fans that we do have are very dedicated. I was a deadhead, loved The Grateful Dead. When you are a deadhead it becomes less about the music and more about the community…what I love about the Once community is that they are doing these cool things on the Internet and they make their own posters and I am so inspired by that…what’s great about Twitter and the Internet is that you get inspired by the fans that you are trying to entertain.
Q: On Twitter, everyone was sending me questions about Emma and why you chose the last name of Swan? Any significance?
Kitsis: Yeah you know. It’s a Swan.
Horowitz: It’s a very symbolic and fairy tale name and it just felt right for her and for the journey we are creating for Emma.
Kitsis: She is somebody that has had a very tough time and so her journey is to become a Swan.
Q: How do you decide which characters to inject in the story?
Kitsis: Trial and error. Certain characters fit better in the show then others.
Horowitz: We have our kind of core characters, that are the regulars on the show and it’s all about servicing that story. We are trying to tell a large scale story…all of these characters who are regulars and then we find characters along the way that fit in like Captain Hook that became a very integral part of the story. So it’s all about seeing what fits into the story.
Watch Adam Horowitz and Edward Kitsis creation, Once Upon A Time, on ABC Sundays at 8pm EST.
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