Sunday, February 19, 2006

Pro-File: Paul Guyot


Paul Guyot is an award winning television writer, though his awards
have all been plaques as opposed to statuettes. He has written for
such shows as Snoops, LEVEL 9 (created by Michael Connelly), Judging
Amy, and that mother of all crime shows: Felicity. Over the past
three years he has written and produced pilots for 20th Century Fox,
Showtime, TNT, and Warner Brothers. Not one has made it to series.
Currently he has deals with Sony Pictures, and Dean Devlin's Electric
Entertainment, to write and produce more unairable pilots.

On the prose front, Paul's first short story "The Closers" was
published last year in Carroll & Graf's GREATEST HITS anthology,
edited by Robert Randisi. Paul is contributing stories to another two
anthologies for 2006, as well as co-editing (with David J.
Montgomery) THE TICKING CLOCK - an anthology of time. His novel
remains untouched, sitting on his computer in a file labeled "The

He used to have a blog.

Pro-File: Paul Guyot

1.What is your current novel?

Being a TV scribe, my current novel is nothing. I did a pilot last year for TNT that I just found out is not going to make it to series. Which isn't a bad thing because I had been extensively rewritten - something novelists never have to worry about.

2.Your current project?

Currently, I'm working on a new pilot as part of a deal I signed with Sony Pictures. It's a character-driven (as opposed to plot-driven) cop show, centering on an organized crime task force. I'm also finishing up a short story for a Carroll & Graf anthology, and David J. Montgomery and I are still peddling our "Time" anthology idea around town. Ed,
This just in - you can add this to my #2 answer re: current project: I'm also writing a feature film for Stephen J. Cannell,
which all takes place in one location. The story, not the writing of it.

3.Greatest pleasure as a writer?

I often hear writers say their greatest joy is connecting with readers (or viewers in my vocation). But being the egomaniac I am, I write for myself. Always have. Well, except at the beginning of my career - when I wrote to make the kids in my 5th grade class laugh. My greatest pleasure is simply doing it. I hate hearing writers talk about how horrible the job is, how painful, how they wish they could do something else. If they really wanted to, they would. We write because we absolutely love doing it. We can go inside our imaginations and not just play, but create, invent. And sometimes we even have the chance of saying something that might be important to others, or touch them, or move them. Getting paid to play like this makes us the luckiest people on the planet.

4. Greatest displeasure as a writer?

For me personally, it is the fact the my job - television writing - is governed by people who are not creative, not artists in any sense. They are bankers, basically, and it often causes the writer to be forced to, not only do much more work than is necessary, but compromise themselves creatively. It can be very frustrating.

5. Advice to the publishing world?

I would tell them to let go of the thinking that only the High Concept-Blockbuster mentality will sell books. It doesn't work for Hollywood, why does the publishing world think it would work for them? I hope publishers would be smart enough to see that - Hollywood's own invention does not work. Yes, there are always exceptions to everything, but generally and overall, the blockbuster mentality has cost Hollywood more money than it's made them. And publishers who complain about the costs need to realize that the answer isn't publishing fewer books, or spending less money, or whatever. It's about publishing better writers. Better writing. Do that and everything else will take care of itself.

6. Which writers would you like to see in print again?

As Max said, W.R. Burnett was a master. And though most of his books are still in print, we need more Gar Anthony Haywood. Despite the awards and accolades this guy has, he is still one of the most under-appreciated and underrated crime writers over the last twenty-five years.

7. Do you remember selling your first novel?

I remember getting my very first paying writing gig. I had to go into the writers' offices of SNOOPS - a David E. Kelley show about female private eyes. I pitched episode ideas to the writing staff - the entire staff, staring at me, unemotional - and then I left. After a two-hour meeting, everyone stood up and said good-bye. I asked when they might make a decision. the executive producer looked at me and said, "You got the job. This was your first story meeting." As much as I fought them off, tears welled up in my eyes. It had been such a long, dark journey for me - becoming a writer. One of the writers laughed and said, "Look! He's crying!"

I learned there's no crying in television.



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