The 10 Craziest Things We Saw in Bates Motel’s Fourth Season :: TV :: Lists :: Bates Motel :: Paste
Was it tough to take what we knew of Norman Bates and invent this whole The writing about just the crazy, dark but beautiful relationship. Norman Bates is a fictional character created by American author Robert Bloch as the main The novel also suggests that their relationship may have been incestuous. After Norman's father .. His line "A boy's best friend is his mother" also ranks as number 56 on the institute's list of the greatest movie quotes. In It was a great opportunity to have a window on Norma's and Norman's relationship through this third party who was another family member.
We bring different things to the table. If you think about combining Lost with Friday Night Lights [the NBC series on which Ehrin was a writer and producer], there are two different qualities to those shows. But in this case, like chocolate and peanut butter, they go together really well. There are two levels of collaboration. There are seven people in there including us.
Kerry and I will toss around ideas privately between each other. A lot of this is really intuitive. The difference is the humor, and we really work on it.
Vera and Freddie are very funny. So we are taking advantage of the prodigious talents of our performers.
And also in general, Kerry and I have a very fond, funny relationship, and the way we like to joke around with each other ends up getting reflected in the way we write the show.
Why did you decide not to end the season with a cliffhanger that would keep viewers guessing? Kerry and I co-wrote that episode.Norma and Norman Share A Bed For Warmth - Bates Motel
For us, the decision was that to end it on a cliffhanger would be really frustrating for the audience. I think I learned my lesson about cliffhangers after the first season of Lost when I wrote a final episode of the first season with Damon Lindelof in which we ended with our characters peering down into a hatch.
People were very angry about having to wait many months to find out what was in the hatch. The end of the season was the revelation that Norman was in a mental place where he was able to have an image of his mother convince him of his innocence.
That distortion of truth in his brain represents a significant step on his journey to become the guy that we know from the movie Psycho. It felt like taking that leap was what was going to make for a really great season-ender. How far in advance do you plan out the plot for Bates Motel? We have a general architecture of how we see the series playing out over the next three seasons.
I would say that we know in a general way. We do have certain landmarks, and we know we want to try to get to these landmarks at certain times.
Bates Motel Exclusive: Inside Norman's Journey — From Beginning To End
But nothing is super-fixed in stone. And then turn them into a story on white boards or on cards, and then into an outline, and then into a script. And then have them go through revision.
Then that is turned into an outline by a writer. We give notes on the outline [and] that outline is often rewritten. Then the outline is turned into a script.
We give the writer notes on a script, and then often a second round of notes, and then after that we may do some rewriting on the script ourselves to get it to a place where we feel it needs to be.
Bates Motel Exclusive: Inside Norman's Journey — From Beginning To End, Feature | Movies - Empire
The physical aspects of production sometimes require changes. You need to create an environment where no one gets criticized for a bad idea, where no one is judged for his or her pitches. The worst possible thing is to have people censor their ideas. Certainly on Lost, some of the craziest ideas ended up being some of the best parts of the show.
A good lunch is also important. What have you learned the hard way about scriptwriting? But fortunately I was good enough to get those jobs and get some on-the-job training.
What have you learned over time about crafting character? My instincts initially as a writer were to willfully impose plot upon characters. In the early part of my career, I was more focused on thinking that you could succeed with great narrative. But narrative is highly overrated. For me, the journey of my own writing career has been to increasingly see that character is what matters in writing and that it is the most important thing to attend to.
Have you developed any personal writing rituals? To be successful as a professional writer, you need to be able to do your craft anywhere, anytime. Some writers feel like they have to have everything in alignment. People were peering down, trying to see what he was actually writing.
Not treating the actual process preciously removes some of the inhibitions that people put in their path. Those inhibitions become excuses to not write. Rowling [author of the Harry Potter novels] talks a lot about the life she had and the difficult conditions under which she wrote one of the greatest series of novels, certainly maybe the most successful series of novels, of our time.
So circumstances, getting everything right, having everything perfect, are vastly over-rated for success as a writer. You look for different voices that will work in harmony with each other.
Each writer flavors the show in a different way and has certain strengths. As a showrunner, your job is to maximize those resources. So different writers get hired for different reasons. Was it tough to take what we knew of Norman Bates and invent this whole back story that in certain ways would dovetail with what had been established?
Honestly, that was not the hard part to me, because I kind of live in that world of characters and psychology and what makes people tick. It was like a great algebra equation! It was more like, what psychology and what combination of psychologies between him and his mother, combined with experiences in his life, gets you the sum of Norman Bates from Psycho? It was really more fun, I would say, than hard.
I think the hard part of the show has always been that it's about two people, and to get fifty episodes out of a show about two people, you have to have story engines. Creating the story engines that were the crime stories was the more challenging part. The writing about just the crazy, dark but beautiful relationship between these two people was always honey to me. That was the great, easy, luscious part of it. As you were developing the show, how much attention did you pay to the films?
Who he was as a person. That he was so likable, he wanted to please, that he was incredibly lonely. When you watch that movie, I have an instinct, I want to save him, and those were the things that I just carried in my heart and my brain then, when turning to creating the world with Carlton, to infuse those things into the world we were creating.
Did you ever see the sequel films? You know, I tried watching the sequels right after I had agreed to do the show, and I had, honestly, a cold sweat panic watching them, because I was not into them. Truthfully, this was a scary job to take on, because there are so many ways it could be horrible!
There are so many ways you could do it badly, or wrong, or it could be cheesy. It could be redundant. It could be trying to be the movie. Really, it was a scary thing to take on, and both Carlton and I felt that way, but at the end of the day, having the opportunity to use Psycho as a Trojan Horse, and tell the story about this codependent love relationship was too seductive to me.
How significant in the course of the series was casting Vera Farmiga and Freddie Highmore? They are the show! This would not be the same show, in any way, shape, or form, without Vera and Freddie.
For one thing, just remarkable ability — amazing, amazing actors. Combine that with the fact they just had fucking chemistry. They completely informed it, and then, also starting to understand how funny they both are. There was definitely some black humor in the pilot, but we all mined the humor in the show, because it delighted us so much. It really became very collaborative, because we knew what they were capable of doing, and we could put it into the scripts. How would you chart the show season to season in terms of its evolution?
I think we had the first three scripts, and they green-lit off of that. We had mapped out where we were ending six, and it was like a season finale. Then they wanted ten! That was a challenge, but it was also interesting.
I personally feel like, in those four episodes, the show kind of found what it was long-term. Six, to me, feel a little more like a miniseries, and then the show really got grounded in those last four. You know, the first season is about introduction, and setting up, and meeting these people, and starting to care for them, realizing how fucked up they are, realizing the odds against them, but really kind of being in love with them by the end of the season, and realizing what they were up against.
Season Two was very much about this idea of Norma almost getting what she wanted, and what she has wanted her whole life was just normalcy.
To fit in somewhere, to be part of something. That was really the arc of that season, was her kind of fitting in for the first time in her life, and then, at the same time, this rumbling underneath of the murder of Blair Watson, and was that connected to her son? Could she push that down?
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Just trying to get away from it, and ultimately not being able to, and ultimately killing Bradley, which was a horrible thing, given that she was someone who meant a lot to him, not knowing that he killed her, but that was like sort of a baptism into real darkness, I think, for the show. As I said, the codependent thing is … The reason it has such a power is that you emotionally feel like you are going to die without that person. It was a huge sacrifice for her to be able to put him in this mental institution.