I have a real treat treat for you! Drew Z. Greenberg, one of Sci-Fi’s great TV writers is with us to answer some questions! You have seen Drew’s work on some geek greats like ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’, ‘Caprica’, ‘Firefly’, ‘Smallville’, ‘Star Wars: The Clone Wars’,currently ‘Warehouse 13’ and more! We were happy to discover Drew was very much like US, with a great sense of humor, and a true love for science fiction! So without further ado, Science Fiction.com is very proud to introduce, Drew!
SF: First of all, congratulations on all of your success!
Drew: Thank you! I assume you mean in the category of “White-Castle-hamburger-eating contests.” As you might imagine, I’m thrilled!
SF: I have been following your work since Joss Whedon’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer, “Smashed” is still a personal favorite of mine along with “The Killer in Me” and “Empty Places” with Nathan Fillion as Caleb was excellent!
You have had quite a career thus far, Writer, Producer, Story Editor and even an Actor. What is your background before all of this and what drove you into this career path?
Drew: As for me being an actor… I’m really not. I did a voice in a student film because I was helping out, and it gets listed on IMDB, but I assure you I am not an actor (as would be verified by anyone who’s had the misfortune of hearing me fill in for missing actors during our WAREHOUSE 13 table reads). This would be a good time for me to remind people how important it is not to believe everything you read on the internet. Heck, are you reading this interview on the internet? Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
So getting to my background Before All Of This: I planned to be a doctor. I took the natural next step of attending… law school. And in law school, I decided to be a writer. Once I got the jobs on QUEER AS FOLK and BUFFY, I’d bet my friends saw the pattern repeating and expected me to try out for circus clown. But being a writer has stuck so far, and I’m pleased it has.
I was driven to this career path by a burning desire not to study for my Civil Procedure final exam in law school. In order to avoid studying, I decided to spend my time writing a script, and I’d learned STAR TREK was the only show on the air that would let you submit a script without an agent. As it happened, I knew a thing or two about STAR TREK, and so I was successful at avoiding a lot of studying. Luckily, the script went over well and a new career path was forged, or I would really have been up a certain creek without a certain boating instrument.
SF: When the cameras are off, what do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
Drew: Wait, there are cameras on me? WHO’S FILMING THIS?
I assume you mean when I’m not working what do I like to do, and the answer is, in brief, “Be extremely lethargic.” I love TV, I love reading, I love reading about TV. Not a huge fan of watching TV about reading, but, then again, maybe I just haven’t yet seen the right episode of CHARLIE ROSE. I love spending time with my family when I can. Travel’s a passion when I can get away. Funny thing is, in my spare time, I love writing. Odd, right? Seeing as how that’s what I do with my non-spare time as well. But I really do love, love, LOVE writing, so it’s pleasing for me.
SF: We know you loved Buffy, do you miss writing for Joss Whedon’s creations like Buffy or Firefly?
Drew: BUFFY indeed holds a special place in my heart and always will – I was a fan before I ever worked there, and I remained a fan once I was hired. Working for Joss is a joy (I recommend it highly), and working with that group of writers on BUFFY was a special time for me. I’ve been lucky enough in my career to go on and work with other remarkable people on other remarkable projects, so I don’t have too much time to be nostalgic (which is good, because I get weepy when I get nostalgic). Plus, I’ve had the pleasure of getting to keep working with Joss on the BUFFY comics, so I still feel connected to him and my BUFFY family.
SF: Smallville was an incredible series lasting 10 seasons, how exactly did you come to write for The CW, and would you consider working with them again?
Drew: Interesting question, since I never actually wrote for The CW – I worked on SMALLVILLE so long ago, it was still The WB back then. So if you’re asking if I’d ever write for The WB again, I believe that ship has sailed, my friend. But it’s cool, because if I could work for any defunct network, I’d probably hold out for DuPont anyway. (Fingers crossed.)
SF: On the topic of Smallvile, will there be any spinoffs? Speculation has seen everything from Green Arrow, Justice League and even another version of Lois & Clark?
Drew: So is this a good time to point out once again that I worked on SMALLVILLE so long ago, an entire network has disappeared in the interim? Which leads me to believe there must be people more closely connected to the show who can answer this question with more knowledge than I can. But thank you for thinking of me! Heh.
SF: Aside from the O.C., and Inconceivable, you have been writer and supervising writer for 19 episodes of the Clone Wars. What was that like? Were you a Star Wars fan to begin with?
Drew: CLONE WARS was a fun, exhilarating, weird experience that I will never, ever be able to replicate in my entire career. Yes, I was a huge STAR WARS fan: sitting in the theater seeing the original STAR WARS was a defining experience for me. I was obsessed: had all the action figures, joined the fan club, had a subscription to BANTHA TRACKS, the official newsletter, slept on EMPIRE sheets till I was possibly too old to be sleeping on EMPIRE sheets. And then, suddenly, I found myself at Skywalker Ranch in meetings with George Lucas coming up with stories about Anakin and the Jedi. I was writing dialogue for Yoda and Obi-Wan. The word surreal isn’t significant enough to describe the experience.
As I understand it, I was brought in on Season 2 as part of George’s effort to expand the show’s emotional core, and, to that end, I think we were largely successful. We didn’t get to do everything I would have liked, but I got to sit in a room and break story with George every two weeks for a year and a half, and that was immensely gratifying. And I got to work with some remarkable people who made my time there a blast: Brian Larsen, this young, up-and-coming talent who served as our staff writer; Catherine Winder, a real visionary in the world of animation who was the show’s Executive Producer; and Dina Smith, the amazingly gifted producer who played such a vital part in crafting story during Season 2 and was most responsible for bringing me onto the show. Together, we all had a great time there doing good work, and I’m thrilled I got to work with them.
SF: As Supervising Producer on Caprica, how did you feel about the cancellation? Do you feel like it could have gone longer if the numbers allowed?
Drew: I came in to work on CAPRICA and write one episode during my first hiatus from WAREHOUSE 13, and my main motivation was to hang out with my friend Jane, who was running the show. However, running a close second, I was also a diehard BATTLESTAR GALACTICA fan, so I was delighted at the opportunity to be a part of a franchise I’d loved so much, and getting to work with Ron Moore, someone who’d been a hero of mine from way back in his STAR TREK days, was an opportunity I couldn’t resist. I’m so glad I got to participate in my own small way for the time I did. When the announcement about CAPRICA’s end was made, I’d already been called back to WAREHOUSE 13’s next season. But I still wish CAPRICA hadn’t been canceled. I definitely think there was a story to be told there and, as a fan, I would have loved to have seen what came next.
SF: Warehouse 13 has been touted as SyFy’s most successful series to date. You have been Supervising Producer, Co-Executive Producer and also written a few episodes. It looks to us like Warehouse 13 would be a blast to work with. Would there be any truth to that?
Drew: WAREHOUSE 13 is indeed a blast. It’s a fun show, a fun concept, a fun group of people telling fun stories. I often say the WAREHOUSE writing room comes as close as anything I’ve ever done to replicating the honest, unadulterated joy I got to experience in the BUFFY writing room. There’s a certain charming purity to both rooms I find endearing: a sincere, genuine desire to tell good stories, to work together as a team without ego and to spend as many hours as possible quoting STAR TREK: THE WRATH OF KHAN. These are not qualities that exist on every staff, but they are the ones that most make me feel at home. Mostly the part about WRATH OF KHAN.
SF: Of everything you have done to date, which are you the proudest of and which have you enjoyed the most?
Drew: I bake a pretty great homemade loaf of rosemary olive bread. I am proud of it, and I enjoy eating it. (This question was meant to include bread, right?)
For non-bread answers: I can almost always find something to make me proud in nearly everything I’ve written. A story, an idea, a beat… usually there’s something. I guess two that stand out in a major way, though, are “The Killer in Me” from BUFFY — I loved the dynamic between Willow and Kennedy, and I loved getting to write their date. And I’m very proud of an episode I did this year of WAREHOUSE 13 called “Trials.” I had a ball getting inside Myka’s head to see what it’s like to be her on a big day in her life. It was also a chance to explore a side of Pete we rarely see, to understand more about what drives Claudia, and to see Artie prove how much he cares about Claudia even if he doesn’t know how to show it. And, oh yeah, also Steve Jinks very quietly and casually came out. So yes, I’m proud of that episode.
SF: I know that Warehouse 13 is keeping you busy these days, but are there any other projects in the works and if so are you able to share with your fans?
Drew: There are other projects in the works, and I am looking forward to the day I can talk about them. One has already been announced: Jane Espenson and I are developing an update of the classic ghost series RANDALL AND HOPKIRK (DECEASED) for Syfy, and we’re having such fun working together. I hope to be able to talk about this project and some others in greater detail soon. Heck, I’m even afraid to talk about the ingredients in the rosemary olive bread just in case I’m supposed to be keeping those details under wraps, too.
SF: Well that wraps it up for us Drew, I can’t tell you what an honor it was for me to talk to you today! We will continue to watch your progress, and look forward to hearing from you again!
Drew: Thank you so much for giving me an opportunity to answer questions! I think this has been great practice for my upcoming JEOPARDY! audition. Except, aw nuts, I have to go back and rephrase everything in the form of a question…
We are very happy to have had our conversation with Drew, and if you love Drew as much as we do, drop him a line on Twitter at: @DrewZachary today, and let him know YOU love him too!