Variety Virtual TV Festival
When “The Chi” showrunner Justin Hillian hits a wall with writing, his standard solution is to go on a run with his wife. “Nine times out of 10, if there’s a story issue and we go for a run…
When “The Chi” showrunner Justin Hillian hits a wall with writing, his standard solution is to go on a run with his wife.
“Nine times out of 10, if there’s a story issue and we go for a run, we come back with a fix. It might not be the right fix eventually. But in the moment, we’re like, ‘We’ll figure this out,'” Hillian explained to co-editor in chief Cynthia Littleton.
The nugget of writing wisdom was part of Variety‘s A Night in the Writers’ Room Drama Panel, which also featured “Lovecraft Country” creator, writer and director Misha Green; “The Mosquito Coast” writer and showrunner Neil Cross; “P-Valley” showrunner Katori Hall; “The Handmaid’s Tale” creator Bruce Miller; “Snowfall” writer and executive producer Walter Mosley; “The Boys” writer and executive producer Rebecca Sonnenshine and “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier” executive producer and writer Malcolm Spellman.
The group of television’s top creators discussed the craft of storytelling and reflected on how the COVID-19 pandemic affected their writing processes. A number of panelists noted that while silent spaces were the preferred place of work, they learned to write in the middle of a full house.
“I did have to figure out how to write with a lot of YouTube in the background, screaming, a lot of temper tantrums, which actually probably has helped me kind of get to this moment where I’m like, ‘Okay, it’s time to go into the chaos of the second season,’ Hall said.
For Sonnenshine, finding a place to write alone is essential.
“I’m always saying the dialogue out loud. So that makes me very self conscious. I kind of have to shut myself in. Otherwise, I get embarrassed that I’m improving the dialogue with myself,” she said. “I’ve never been able to really write in coffee shops. I’ll start talking to myself and then people are staring at me and then I have to go.”
Watch the full conversation above.