More questions and answers…

Tyler Fotenos writes: I was wondering what was the process in writing the story for [the Dark Knight trilogy], and how was it decided which Batman comic books were used as inspiration. I was also wondering what was it like to work with Christopher Nolan and an amazing cast and crew? The last thing i was wondering is how do you feel about your role in the trilogy now that the last movie has been released and the trilogy is finsihed? Thanks for your time and thank you for reading this.

DSG: Hey, Tyler. The writing for the films followed a similar path. It started with Chris and I meeting at his office — for a couple of months. As the story started to emerge, we would put the basic plot-points on cards, then pin those to a series of cork boards. This is a very “old-school” approach. There are programs that do this now, but we preferred actually writing out the beats and manipulating the cards. Once we were satisfied with a basic story, I would then turn those cards into a treatment — around 25 to 30 pages long. In the case of Batman Begins, I then wrote the first couple drafts of the script, then handed it over to Chris. In the case of the Dark Knight and Dark Knight Rises, the treatment/story was handed over to Jonah Nolan, who did the first few drafts, and then it was handed over to Chris. Because I have a comicbook geek background, I would generally sift through hundreds of comicbooks, then hand over a stack of critical stories to Chris for his perusal. Jonah handed some over as well. Sometimes, we would also ask Paul Levitz (the former publisher of DC Comics) if he had any suggestions for critical material. As for working with Chris — it’s an incredibly demanding, but satisfying experience. I’ve learned a lot from him. No details, no matter how small, escapes his attention. And he always puts the integrity of the story first. I’m proud of my part in the trilogy. It was definitely a once in a lifetime experience (except, now, with Man of Steel — it’s become twice in a lifetime.)

Roy Weisfeld writes: hi David, millions of people want a second series to flash forward why don’t you make another one?:

DSG: Sadly, Roy, this isn’t my call. The people at ABC are in charge of that one. I would love to revisit that world. I had a lot of stories in mind that never got to be completed. But I think the likelihood of that happening is pretty slim.

Brett writes: Hi David, Was curious to know how far you have helped develop the story ‘Call of Duty: Black Ops 2’. Looking forward to the story even more now knowing you’re back. What is the process like helping develop a story for a game like that?

DSG: Hey, Brett. I was much more involved in Black Ops 2 than the first one. In that game, I came on about halfway through the development. So while my contributions were significant, they weren’t as broad-reaching as the sequel. With Black Ops 2, Dave Anthony (the game director) and I built the world from the ground up. We collaborated not just on the story, but the various levels — where the skirmishes would take place, what was happening, even some of the game play itself. Developing a game is different than a movie or TV show because the storytelling is nonlinear. There are multiple outcomes to the new game, so we had to come up with not just multiple endings, but alternate scenarios for which characters would survive and which ones wouldn’t. It was like writing a “story tree” — we had to come up with flow-charts and things like that, in order to keep track of all the narratives.

Jake writes: David, Thoughts on all the Justice League film news? New Batman debuting in the JL film? MoS sequel, which you wrote as a stand alone film where Superman is the ONLY superhero (like Batman in BB, TDK, TDKR), coming after a JL film that uses your Superman in name and actor? Yikes. What’s WB thinking? Best, Jake

DSG: Jake, sadly, I can’t comment on any of that just yet. Be patient. Man of Steel is still 6 months away!

Armen Mansouri writes: Hello, I just finished reading Heaven’s Shadow and Heaven’s War. I am an avid book reader and there are a few series of books that grabs my attention and yours is one of them. Since finishing Heaven’s War, I have been searching the internet for any tid bit of info into the series and its characters. Just wanted to say I enjoyed the two books so much that I have re-read them. Looking foward to Heaven’s Fall.

DSG: Thanks, Armen. We’re in the midst of writing the third book (Heaven’s Fall) right now. Hopefully, we will be able to bring the story into a proper landing next year. Look for more revelations about Keanu and the Reivers there…

Jason Joseph writes: Hello Mr. Goyer, one simple question, is 100 Bullets still happening?

DSG: Right now, 100 Bullets is… in development at Showtime. I ended up co-writing the script with Davey Holmes. Showtime is very happy with it and we’re waiting to see if they order it this development cycle.

Chad Paquin writes: It’s been about 8 years since blade trinity. In the second disc for the movie when you interview yourself you asked if you were thinking about a blade 4 or a niggtstalker movie. Is there a chance for one of theses possibility’s to happen in the near future??

DSG: The film rights for Blade and all the other supporting characters have reverted back from New Line to Marvel. It’s not impossible, but I think a Nightstalkers spin-off is a long, long, long way off.

Barron Christopher writes: It was announced last year that you were working on the script for Godzilla. Since then we haven’t heard about what all you worked on with the movie. As a life long Godzilla fan I have been very curious to know what all you did with the project. Could you tell me what part you had in working on the script? Did you just write out the story or were you able to write out a full script? I understand you probably can’t say much since this seems to be a very secretive project but any information you could share with me would be fantastic! I absolutely loved your work on the Batman films and I am very glad you had a part in working on Godzilla!

DSG: I did a four-week rewrite on Godzilla. David Callaham’s original script was quite good. I only had a limited amount of time on the project, due to my Man of Steel commitments. I have a deep and abiding love for Godzilla. I grew up watching the Godzilla films on the 4 O’Clock movie after school…along with other classic Kaiju like Gamera, Rodan, and Ghidorah. Hell, I even loved The War of the Gargantuas and Ultraman. Gareth Edwards absolutely loves the character, so I think the film is in good hands. As for other monsters…to make a good Godzilla film, I think you need him to throw-down with someone in his weight-class, right?

Darius Morgan writes: I would just like to know how to get myself and my ideas out there

DSG: Darius, the best advice I can give is to keep writing and enter your scripts into any of the various screenwriting competitions. There are a lot out there and if you become a finalist in them, that process can open a lot of doors and lead to more access. I just judged some scripts in a recent competition held by the Writers Guild of America.

Jordan Means writes: This year, I must complete the Texas Performance Standards Project (TPSP) for Gifted and Talented Students. For this project, I am required to have a mentor from the community or field that relates to my student project…I am sending you this email because I would like you to be my mentor…If you have the time and are interested in helping me, I would really appreciate it.

DSG: Jordan, I am flattered, but sadly, I think my work load right now makes that pretty impractical. I tried it once before and was disappointed with the amount of time I could dedicate to it. Maybe in a few more years…

Bartosz Ilkowski writes: Hello, did ever cross your mind launching “crowdfunding” initiative to raise money for Flash Forward season 2?

DSG: See my previous response. Crowdfunding is a cool idea and resource — but we would have to raise tens of millions of dollars for something like that and I’m not sure we could pull that off!

Dan Geer writes: I just wanted to know where The Invisible Man remake stands as of right now. I read at Hero Complex that a lead man has not be found, and that this is what Universal needs to green-light the project.

DSG: Unfortunately, my version of the project is in limbo right now. My version was “period” and Universal, at the moment, has become a little gun-shy of period films.

Jeremy Gonzalez writes: Does David have a twitter?

DSG: Nope. I don’t Tweet. Been resisting. Maybe I will buckle under at some point… but not yet. Too much pressure, having to feed the beast on a daily/weekly basis.

Restaurant Review

Okay, I know, historically, I am, in no way, linked to food or restaurant culture — but I am a fan of excellent writing.  As a piece of snarky, comedic genius, Pete Wells’ “review” of Guy Fieri’s new restaurant ranks up there with the best of Oscar Wilde.  Consider this sample paragraph:

“Did panic grip your soul as you stared into the whirling hypno wheel of the menu, where adjectives and nouns spin in a crazy vortex? When you saw the burger described as “Guy’s Pat LaFrieda custom blend, all-natural Creekstone Farm Black Angus beef patty, LTOP (lettuce, tomato, onion + pickle), SMC (super-melty-cheese) and a slathering of Donkey Sauce on garlic-buttered brioche,” did your mind touch the void for a minute?”

This shit made me laugh.  And hard.

Da Vinci’s Demons wrap, the Black Ops II global launch (London), and flat whites…

On Friday, we wrapped production on Season 1 of Da Vinci’s Demons — a long, glorious slog.  (More on that, later.)  Since then, I’ve been in London, working on the grade of the first few episodes with our DOPs.  I had time to sneak in a dinner with Black Ops game director Dave Anthony and Michael Rooker…

…but last night I attended Treyarch’s launch for Black Ops II.

Things kicked off at the Bloomsbury Ballroom, where fans had been previewing the game all week.  There was a pop-up zombie diner with some seriously good burgers provided by MEATliquor (who says the Brits can’t do burgers?)  They had a war room set up for competitive gaming.  (Maybe it was just the frigid London weather — but, in stark contrast to Comicon, there was a surprising lack of b.o. at the venue.)

Amusingly, the bathroom signs were emblazoned with these his/her shooter placards (apologies for the lo-grade pics!)

Did a few interviews — one with David Jenkins, who asked some remarkably incisive questions, which you can read here…

Afterwards, we headed over to HMV, where a few hundred fans had been waiting in line for hours.  One guy, Taylor, had been camping out for 6 days.  (That’s him poking out to the left, in the plaid short-sleeved shirt, with the black knit cap).  I remember waiting in line 12 hours for the opening day of Empire Strikes Back — the world has changed.

More live game-playing occurred and then was interrupted by a zombie attack.  After that, it was a couple of hours of signings, including quite a few on zombie flesh.  Taylor was suitably first in line and a lovely chap.  From my informal poll, lots of people were planning on calling in sick this morning in order to play the game.

I staggered back to the hotel around 2 AM, hands cramped from endlessly clutching silver Sharpies, conveyed in a Black Ops people-mover…

This morning, more color-timing on Da Vinci, nursing a hang-over from last night’s zombie-themed drinks.  I think a flat white from the eponymous cafe in Soho is just what the doctored ordered.  Somebody in the US should start importing these New Zealand-originated drinks.  If you like coffee and haven’t had a flattie, you are seriously missing out.  Cappuccinos kind of suck in comparison…