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Erik Bork is best known for his work as a writer-producer on the HBO miniseries Band of Brothers and From the Earth to the Moon, for which he won two Emmy and two Golden Globe Awards. He’s sold multiple original pitches, and written pilots and features for many of the major studios and production companies. He teaches at UCLA Extension and National University’s MFA Program, and has been called one of the “Top 10 Most Influential Screenwriting Bloggers.”
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SUCCESS STORY PODCAST
Stories worth telling.
On the Success Story podcast, Scott has candid interviews with execs, celebrities, notable figures and politicians. All who have achieved success through both wins and losses, to learn more about their life, their ideas and insights.
He sits down with leaders and mentors and unpacks their story to help pass those lessons onto others through both experiences and tactical strategy for business professionals, entrepreneurs and everyone in between.
Machine Generated Transcript
screenwriting, writers, writing, people, screenwriter, script, write, big, produced, elements, story, assistant, book, means, industry, episode, movie theater, audience, movie, film
Erik Bork, Scott D Clary
Scott D Clary 00:06
Welcome to the success story podcast. I’m your host, Scott Clary. On this podcast I have candid interviews with execs, celebrities, politicians and other notable figures, all who have achieved success through both wins and losses. To learn more about their life, their ideas and their insights, I sit down with leaders and mentors and unpack their story to help pass those lessons on to others through both experiences and tactical strategy for business professionals, entrepreneurs and everyone in between, without further ado, another episode of the success story podcast. Before we start today’s episode, a quick note from our sponsor, and throughout a fully comprehensive equity management platform. This is what they do business owners, are you looking to raise capital and unlock shareholder liquidity? Before hiring expensive consultants or brokers? You need to know about enthroned private businesses use enthroned to unlock liquidity without bloating costs. With enthroned equity Management Suite you’ll be able to create liquidity, engage with shareholders and control your company’s Destiny all in one secure platform. Get your free guide to liquidity go to enthrone.com/liquidity That’s enthrone.com/liquidity Alright, thanks again for joining me today I am sitting down with Eric Bork. Now Eric is a screenwriter best known for his work on the HBO miniseries Band of Brothers and from the Earth to the Moon. Eric has won two Emmys and two Golden Globes. As part of the production team. He’s also sold series pitches and written pilots at NBC and Fox worked on the writing staff for two Primetime dramas, and written feature screenplays on assignment for companies like universal HBO, TNT, and Playtone. He teaches screenwriting for UCLA National University and the writer store. He offers some consulting and education as well as he has released a book the idea, the seven elements of a viable story for screen stage and fiction, which was released in 2018. I’m very excited. Thank you so much for sitting down. Eric. I’m excited to unpack your story understand more about you what you’ve done, screenwriting, storytelling, all that stuff.
Erik Bork 02:17
Totally. My pleasure. Thanks so much for having me, Scott.
Scott D Clary 02:19
Now, it’s my pleasure. I’m so you know, this is about you. So tell me, how do you how do you get into screenwriting? Like walk me through from wherever you started your career? And what were your passions that led you here?
Erik Bork 02:32
Yeah, well, different people start different ways. But the path I ended up taking was kind of a tried and true path. You know, I grew up in Ohio and I became interested in writing and the arts as I entered college and and thought about, you know, music or fiction writing or moviemaking, you know, circling those different creative professions just because in high school I became obsessed with, with the with the arts, and, you know, creative artists I admired in those various fields. You know, certain movies, filmmakers, and especially inspired me the movie The Movie World, The World According to Garp with Robin Williams, which came out when I was in high school was a particular inspiration. For some reason to me. Partly, it’s about a writer, and it’s about writing, but something about the the storytelling of that spoke to me and made me think about writing in a different way, as opposed to just being a consumer of stories. I started thinking about, you know, wanting to want to express myself in that way. So I end up going to film school, my undergraduate degree was in film production in my home state. And after school, I decided to move out to LA which is typically the thing you do if you want to pursue screenwriting even today, the internet has made the world smaller, but most people that succeed in this field do end up making the move to LA usually in their 20s Right out of college kind of thing. And a very helpful thing to do, which I did is to seek employment within the industry. Very often, you know, the classic mailroom at William Morris kind of thing you know, as an assistant, as a gofer as a you know, as a either a on set production assistant or an in the office secretarial assistant type of entry level position. So, and to just do that as your day job while you’re working on your bigger dream, whether that’s writing, directing, producing acting, instead, well, acting is harder because actors need to be free during the day for rehearsal. So they have waiting tables, I’m sorry for auditions. So they often end up waiting tables at night and not working in an industry job but writers who can write at any time, morning, evening weekends, whatever you know, often are best suited to get more of like an office job in the business. So that was my intent when I moved to LA and I I immediately applied for The temp agencies that serve as the studios and the other big entertainment companies like the agencies and and started temping at Fox Studios in the kind of corporate office tower next to their studio in the international home video department, so very, very corporate, non creative environment, but, but I was at a studio and I had a paying job, and I was able to pay my rent from that. And that was my starting point. And I always was planning to try to make it as a screenwriter with the kind of naive, I guess, idealistic hope that I might break through not quite aware of just how competitive it is, which is often a good thing when you’re starting out so you don’t get too intimidated by that. So you know, it was it began a lifestyle of working nine to five and then writing an hour a day kind of thing. And I was writing feature screenplays to feature films screenplays, I’d written one or two in college, and maybe one or two cents. And, you know, they would take me like six months to a year to finish and they weren’t very good. But, you know, you learn your craft, and you join writers groups, and you try to get feedback and but mostly, I was just working my job and sort of sort of sponging what it was like, in the film and TV industry on that assistant level, because temping soon turned into turned into more long term assignments, I got to work as a writer’s assistant on a TV show. picket fences show that David Kelly created, which won the Emmy, its first two years for Best Drama was on the first season. writer’s assistant is like really a plum job for an aspiring TV writer, especially because you’re working around the writing staff for them. And you know, they get to know you, and you may have a shot at writing something for the show. If you do it long enough, I was only there for one season. So that didn’t happen. But I did get a lot of exposure to, you know, professional writing from that one season, and started to realize TV writing might be of interest. And so I started writing half hour comedy, spec scripts, as they call them, for existing hit shows like Frasier. I took a show, I took a class at UCLA extensions writers program, which is a great program, which I’ve since taught for, as you mentioned, where you can just take one off classes, I took a class in sitcom writing, which I’d never tried before. And I started writing this Frazier script and eventually gave the script to a writer friend who had also worked on picket fences as an assistant. And this is where the networking of being in that business at a low level is, is helpful. One of the reasons it’s helpful. She had just signed with an agent, she was also an aspiring writer. And she showed that script her agent, the agent liked it enough to want to read something else. So I sent her my latest feature script that no one would was interested in. But she liked it enough to sign me and start working with me. And so she started giving me feedback on my stuff. While on the Frazier script, she wasn’t ready to send it out. But she liked it enough to sign me with it. So she gave me all this notes and feedback and had me rewrite it and eventually liked it enough to kind of try to send it out to her contact, she was a very junior level new agent at a small agency. But it was great for me because she was very hands on, which is what I really needed somebody give me feedback, who was invested in what I was trying to do. And, you know, liking what I was trying to do with those things are key. And so she immediately said, Write your next one, and then your next one. So of course of a year or two, I cranked out a Mad About You and a friend script between the first and second season of friends, say these three sitcom scripts that she was, you know, helping me with and then trying to sort of Hawk in the industry to the eventual goal being to get a job on a sitcom as a junior, you know, lowest level staff writer. That was what I was hoping for. And thinking was my best shot at that point. It might be a show I didn’t like it might be a show that got canceled in its first season, which they usually do. But it would be a job as a writer, and that would be the start hopefully, if something things.
Scott D Clary 09:14
My goodness. Yeah.
Erik Bork 09:17
So things took an unexpected turn, which was in my day job where I had been temping and working as a writer’s assistant on that show, picket fences and then tamping again, which meant the human resources department at FOC would assign you to anywhere and everywhere at their studio as you know, short term temp assignments. They assigned me eventually to Tom Hanks, his production company. Tom Hanks had just left his production company. Well his production company had just left the Disney Studios where they’d had like a two year deal or something and signed a new deal at Fox you know, big stars like him. The studios will offer a development deal, which basically means you have a production company quote unquote, with offices that they pay for and staff that they pay for. And money, with the hope that you’ll bring ideas of things you want to produce and really star in would be their real help. If it’s a Tom Hanks production deal to them first because they sort of own the first right a refusal to any project you bring forth. And so he had one of those deals like most of the big actors do. And all he had at his company at that point was his his longtime assistant, who was the person that went with him when he traveled on location and just took care of everything. You know, his travel is everything. And so I was brought in as attempt to help her get their offices set up at Fox, because I knew the fox lot by the end the lot, the studio lot, and, and she was new to it. So eventually, that turned into a full time kind of second assistant position. One in which Tom, I got to know Tom as my boss, and he knew I was an aspiring writer, but I knew well enough to not try to push that on him, or to try to get his help with that. My job was to answer the phone and do all the basic assistant work. So I so I was in that job for a couple of years, when I got to the point where I had this agent, and I’d written the sitcom scripts, the friends and the Mad About You and everything. And his assistant eventually offered, suggested that Tom should read one of those scripts, which I would never ask, but okay, so So Tom Hanks read one or two of those scripts, and pronounce me talented. He basically told me that my talents were being wasted and stuff like that, and I’m gonna be a big TV writer someday, etc, which was awesome. And, and then a few months later, as I recall, offered me this life changing promotion, which was, instead of being one of his assistants, I would be more like what we would usually call like a junior development executive in the business, although we weren’t calling it that, where I would have my own assistant. And I would be helping him to develop projects he wanted to produce, most specifically, the project that became from the Earth to the Moon, a 12 hour miniseries, about the Apollo program, dramatizing and recreating the entire program, the way the movie Apollo 13. had done with that one mission, Tom was a lifelong fanatic about the space program. And he had just done Apollo 13. So he pitched this idea to HBO, that he would executive produce first thing he’d ever really produced this big miniseries, and they said, Yes, so he wanted me to help him. kind of figure out the miniseries initially help write a kind of outline or treatment or Bible document for what the miniseries would be. We had the rights to a book, a recent great book called A Man Man on the Moon by Andy chicken. And so from that book, I worked with him to kind of sort of figure out like three or four page treatment for each episode, which eventually he liked, he gave it HBO, they liked it. And that became the blueprint from which we look to find writers to write the individual scripts. Eventually, I was asked, again, somebody else not me asked on my behalf. Maybe I should write one the scripts. And so that became my first professional writing gig that I got to write one of the scripts for this mini series that I was also helping to produce on a very junior apprentice level. By the time it was all said and done three years later, I’d written one and rewritten other writers we’d hired on couple of others, like done a lot of writing on various episodes, and got a co producing credit, as basically part of the creative team from the beginning all the way to the end. Which meant when it won the Emmy, as you said, I got an Emmy because there were like, 10 of us with producer titles and you all get one on one time.
Scott D Clary 13:55
No, but still, don’t don’t don’t discount on me. I don’t I just sidebar before I want to keep going. Yeah, I just want to clear something up. So I understand. Yeah, um, because there are people that aren’t as involved, obviously, in the screenwriting portion of a business listening to this. So when you when you take on a project like this, why do you get all these other writers to to work on it? Is it just too much for one person? Like I feel like yeah, how do you how do you eliminate disjointedness of a piece, when you have all these?
Erik Bork 14:25
Well, you have somebody at the top who’s overseeing it all and making sure that it is cohesive creatively. And if that means having another writer come in and rewrite, which I became one of the one of the couple of writers that was doing that Tom did some of that himself as well. You know, rewrite scripts to make them all more cohesive, we create creatively. You know, you normally have one or two people at the top who are supervising and possibly rewriting and reshaping the scripts or hiring somebody else to rewrite until you’re happy with them. But yeah, it’s a big thing to write everything yourself. I mean, like Julian Fellowes with Downton Abbey did it. He wrote every episode, David Kelly was notorious for writing almost every episode back in the picket fences and then like, element below in the practice days, but for most writers and most productions, you know, you want a staff of people and, you know, somebody to top overseeing but not doing it all themselves.
Scott D Clary 15:24
It makes sense. Yeah, so that makes sense. Um, so after, after the me with and well deserved that that was that that was your first big break and you got an you got me out of it, that’s fine. A lot of bad.
Erik Bork 15:37
That’s the that’s the thing, you know, most that’s the fairy tale element of my story. Because most screenwriters, most of the work that they do, they don’t get paid to do like they write and hope someone will buy it. And then when, when they do get paid to write, most of times they get paid to write, the things don’t even get produced, because Hollywood will, you know, pay 10 writers to write things or buy, you know, scripts from 10 writers for every one that they actually make, right. And so not only did the first thing that I wrote professionally get produced, I was a producer on it, and had some like a bit of creative power overseeing other writers and to some extent and rewriting other writers and having a say in the total production, not the main say but a voice in the room with Tom and a couple of other key people. And then it won the Emmy and I got to win the win the win an Emmy as well. So yeah, it was a total fairy tale first experience, the first break into the business.
Scott D Clary 16:36
So where do you where do you go from there?
Erik Bork 16:38
Let’s straight straight down.
Scott D Clary 16:41
Yeah, it’s gonna say that, that’s a hard thing to reproduce.
Erik Bork 16:45
I mean, Band of Brothers was a very similar thing that happened a few years after that, where again, it was about a three year period where I was there from the beginning with other writers and other producers, but had an ongoing writing and producing role multiple episodes, seed in the room of voice and the creative, you know, discussions, the handful of people that were making the big decisions, Steven Spielberg was executive producing that with Tom, so I got to know him a little bit and various meetings and crave discussions and, and that also won the Emmys, Golden Globes, and I got to share that, again, I again, had a producing title a higher one this time and, and writing credit on some of the episodes. So then that project, I think, did even better than from near to the moon was even more well received. And then that enabled me to sort of try my hand in the larger industry, where, you know, with bigger agents who were bullish about sending me out and having me pitch my ideas for series and, you know, vie for positions on high level, you know, primetime shows, and, you know, get assignments, writing script, you know, feature scripts, and I still did some stuff with Tom’s company, and with some other people I’ve met on those mini series, you know, other projects, but but, you know, haven’t really topped since I worked on a lot of different things, but, but you know, 20 years later, that’s still the kind of towering thing on my resume, although I’ve been writing every day for those 20 years. And, you know, whether it was something that got produced or not, whether I sold it and got paid for it upfront, or after writing it or not, you know, the life of a screenwriter can be very circuitous and up and down, you’re hot, you’re cold, they love you, they hate you, you know, you’re, you’re, they want to buy everything, they don’t want to buy anything, you know, you try different genres, different media. So I’ve done a lot of different things. But yeah, that’s still my biggest credit. And, you know, these days, I’m writing, you know, I’ve kind of like decided I really wanted to write and direct movies, which I always wanted to do, but never really had done. So these days. I’m like writing, like, micro budget independent features with the goal of raising the money to direct one, which I have a couple that are close to that happening. Having done a short a couple years ago, a short film that I wrote and directed to film festivals and stuff. So I kind of had a very Hollywood career for a while. And lately, it’s more like trying the indie route, while also teaching and like you said, coaching writers writing a book about screenwriting. So that’s kind of been my evolution.
Scott D Clary 19:22
No, I appreciate I appreciate the, I guess, not only like this, the story that that you’ve lived and sort of has brought you to where you are today, but also like the understanding of not not luck, but just like the, I don’t know, the the craziness of what a career is a screenwriter seems to be. And I think that’s very different from a lot of traditional, traditional career paths. Because, you know, totally, you can hit it out of the park. And then And like you said, like, the next time you write something, it’s not the right flavor, you know, it’s not the right style. It’s not the right genre. So and it’s because to get to the point where you get to know is so much more work, that’s what that’s what blows my mind. It’s not a little bit of work, I’m sure there’s like, you don’t write the whole thing before you get a No, but I’m sure you write a majority of it. Like, it’s not like a pitch. It’s like hours of work.
Erik Bork 20:12
Right? Well, you know, even a pitch is hours of work. But yeah, a lot of times writers are writing a full script, and hoping that the full script will, and that’s many, many, many hours of work. So, you know, it’s maybe akin to like starting a small business, where there’s a whole lot of sweat equity, there’s a whole lot of unpaid hours of conceptualizing and working on something and reworking it, and then eventually, you know, presenting it to venture capital, and they may just say no, across the board, you know, it’s kind of similar that I suppose in a way, screenwriters, you know, tend to not be able to have a stable, long term predictable employment pattern, it’s a very insecure, it’s like being an actor, you’re just it’s job to job. And of course, we all know of actors who are always working like the biggest stars, the top of the industry. And there are writers like that, too. The vast majority of people that have Professional Screenwriting careers, don’t have a sustained decade plus, you know, constantly, you know, working for money and being paid and having a kind of like stable income. If there’s a saying you can make, you can’t make a living, but you can make a killing. At school, you know, it’s screenwriting. So you know, short term killing, and then not even a living, and then maybe appealing again, and sort of back and forth. So it’s, it’s definitely challenging in that way.
Scott D Clary 21:30
And Kai asked, what, what are the things that you have to be able to do to be a screenwriter, as opposed to somebody who writes a novel? It’s so simple for you, but I’m just asking you as a total layman, like what are the differences?
Erik Bork 21:49
Well, a novel, you know, is I mean, there’s a lot of things that are similar. But the differences are, a novel goes directly to readers, it’s a consumer product in and of itself, you still need the middle people to get it. They’re the agents, the editors, the publishers, but ultimately, what you create is what the consumer consumes directly your words on a page. Whereas a screenwriter is creating a blueprint for a film or TV show, where no one’s gonna really ever read your script, your script is the thing they’re going to make something from. And so you’re not communicating directly with the consumer, unless you are the one that then directs and makes the movie from a script, you are, you are putting in motion a kind of almost business plan, that if it’s successful, needs a lot of funding and a lot of other people to bring it to, to the consumer, like of small business world, whereas a book, anybody can write a book, self publish it, put it on the internet, give it away, whatever, without anybody in between, although you won’t get millions of paid customers if you don’t have a big publisher and all that. So you’re you understand that what you’re doing isn’t the finished thing. And unfortunately, for most screenwriters, you’re not treated with the respect of a novelist either, because you’re just the one writing up the plan, somebody else makes the product. And if you’re not involved in making the product, you are somewhat discardable and replaceable. So you kind of have to accept that. Unless you get to a point where you’re writing and directing if it’s in the movie business, or in the TV world, if you’re writing and creating a show where you’re the showrunner and the executive producer, and the boss of everybody, those are the places where a screenwriter can become sort of more empowered. But most screenwriters who are even working professionally, they’re answering the people above them who have the power to fire them and have them rewritten and, you know, just and change what they’ve written when they actually make it and so forth. So there’s that aspect. In terms of the work of it, screenwriting tends to have a more of a complicated, not complicated, a more of a structure to the form, that one has to learn an execute novels can sometimes be depending on the genre, a little more freeform a little by the seat of your pants, you know, writing without really knowing where it’s going. Whereas, whereas most screenwriters like relentlessly structure and plan and outline in advance, and don’t jump in, with both feet, if they’re if they’re smart until they have something that really is kind of like has a whole skeleton to it that feels like it’s going to work, secure building a building, as opposed to just sort of telling a story that can ramble wherever you want to go. Because the process of consuming film and TV is different from a novel in a lot of ways and grabbing an audience in that visual medium and the kinds of things that your characters are doing or saying or facing. You know, there’s certain kind of novels that are written very cinematically like say, The Da Vinci Code or something where the difference isn’t that great but more literary fiction, compared to what one has to do when they’re writing screenplays. For the most part, the difference is pretty great in that respect in terms of the pre planning and the kind of structural conventions that you need to abide by unless you’re doing something really already, which is probably going to have a very niche audience. But if you’re going more mainstream, there’s a lot of knowledge one has to one has to take on and Master I suppose there is a there is for novelist to I’m not saying it’s harder. It’s just it’s like maybe more restrictive, in a way.
Scott D Clary 25:35
Yeah, that no, that makes sense. And that, that brings me to the question that I really wanted to get into. So you wrote the novel, seven elements of a viable story for screen stage, your fiction.
Erik Bork 25:46
nonfiction book, not novel.
Scott D Clary 25:49
Oh, yeah, sorry. Exactly. Yes. Yeah. So what are what are the seven elements of a story? Yeah, a good story.
Erik Bork 26:01
So the book Yeah, the books called the idea. And then the subtitle is the seven. The seven elements.
Scott D Clary 26:06
By my god, I just butchered all three stages.
Erik Bork 26:09
Okay, so the idea, the idea is really based on my experience, both as a writer and as somebody coaching and teaching aspiring writers, that the big mistake people tend to make, as I alluded to earlier, was they jump into writing a script before they’ve really vetted the idea and the concept and the basic structure and approach of the story, which is where most of the big decisions that matter to its future success or failure lie. And if you have a professional, you know, agent or manager, as a writer, they will want to hear your ideas before you spend much time and they’ll knock, they’ll they’ll talk you out of most of them, because they understand that. But aspiring writers tend to not have anybody to do that, unless they have somebody like me that they find and hire to do it. And so they tend to just jump right in and start writing with an idea that if any professional heard it, they would have said, and here’s why. And so the book is presenting what those elements are, that you want your idea to really have. And I the seven elements are an acronym for the word problem. prb LM with because every story in my view is really about a problem, a problem that takes the whole story to solve, that you’re hoping the audience is emotionally invested in and wanting to see solve, and relating so much to the main character of that story that they almost become them emotionally. And they feel like it’s all happening to them. And they get caught up in the emotion of what’s going on. And, and there’s an exciting entertaining to watch process. Well, exciting, maybe maybe the wrong word, some genre, plus much excitement, entertaining in one way or another process by which the main characters trying to solve their problem. So within that sort of fundamental description of a good story, there’s a few of my seven elements kind of embedded there that the seven elements that that form the word problem are punishing, relatable, original, believable, life altering, entertaining, and meaningful. And so ideas or scripts that don’t work or don’t impress the right people, or don’t do well with an audience, if they happen to get in front of an audience usually have flaws at their basic concept level, in one are usually more than one of those seven categories. And so the book kind of spends a chapter on each one of those, and talks about what that really means and what the pitfalls are, and what the challenges of it are, and, and also how TV is a little bit different than film and how one has to execute within the series world versus the feature film world. I mean, it also applies to like it says, you know, stage green or fiction to stage or for commercial fiction as well. But since I’m mainly a screenwriter, my examples are mostly from the screenwriting world.
Scott D Clary 28:58
And I just want to because I was looking through, you know, some of the main concepts that you spoke about. And I was looking at it through some past interviews that you did just sort of prep for this. And one of the one of the interviews you did was sort of focused on what is that viable idea? You mentioned before, that some ideas are not viable, or some ideas will get shut down. So what does make a good idea to start with?
Erik Bork 29:21
Well, it’s, it’s, it’s those seven things with more explanation to what each of those are. So it’s an idea in which the problem at the center of the story is going to punish the main character who we’re going to be relating to emotionally. And it does it in a somewhat original way, where everything that happens feels believable, where the stakes of what the character is grappling with are life altering, meaning they’re big enough stakes that really matter to their life. So that’s why they’re so obsessed with and focused on solving the problem. The process of them addressing it needs to be entertaining, which means it means to bring the audience to emotional states that they consume that genre to access, whether it’s comedic emotions, whether it’s romance, whether it’s action, thrills, you know, etc. And then the last one meaningful just means, you know, ideally, there’s more being explored beyond the surface plot that has some resonance about the human condition, in general that the audience feels they connect with, and that stays with them in some way, which is maybe the most optional of the seven. If you really hit the other six, you might have a commercial success, that sort of forgettable, but fun to watch, like a Transformers or something. But for writers starting out trying to establish themselves, it helps if what you’re writing feels really meaningful as well, and the works that are lasting in our culture that people look back on and revere, you know, that stand the test of time tend to have that.
Scott D Clary 30:56
Have you seen, have you seen an evolution in the type of content that people seem to gravitate towards? And just where that question is coming from is I’m thinking of more people watching on other mediums like on on YouTube, on Netflix, it seems like people are looking towards other types of platforms and traditional film. So I’m wondering if the type of style and even the way things are produced and directed and written, is that changed? Or is that still the classics? Or, and what what rings true in terms of what is a piece that it is? Is like just a blockbuster film? I don’t know, just, is that has that always been the same? Or is it changing?
Erik Bork 31:33
I think the classic elements that I talked about in the book are not really changing that much. I think there are surface changes that are a little more on a superficial level, but that those basic elements of what makes a compelling story aren’t really changing. I mean, the thing nowadays, with Netflix, and Amazon and Apple and all these different venues for one’s work, especially television work means that for professional writers, there are more places to sell your content and reach an audience and also more of an openness to different kinds of subject matter. And material, because it’s not just like three main networks, and they all have to reach 20 million viewers, or it’s a failure, you know, so. So that’s great, in a sense, that’s different kinds of stories can be told in terms of the subject matter. But I think those elements of story that my book talks about, still have to be there for things to be really successful, although there’s a greater range of subject matter that you can apply those story elements to. I mean, you know, obviously, there’s the binge watching phenomenon, the idea of serialized television that people don’t wait and watch one every week, but they watch them all at once. And that’s somewhat changes some of the storytelling elements on some series, the way episodes are structured, but that’s a fairly minor superficial change, in my view, compared to the larger concepts that I’m talking about. In my book, and, you know, I still think most people are consuming content that are like, half hour comedy episodes, one hour drama episodes, 90 minute plus feature film, you know, I mean, yeah, there’s Tik Tok, and there’s YouTube. And there’s, you know, shorter content, people watch on phones and so forth. But I think that’s a different experience than what one is typically looking for when they sit down to really consume a story. It’s more like you’re watching a comedy sketch, or you’re watching something that’s quick diversion, as opposed to okay, I’m relaxing in the evening on the couch. And I want to see something, I think, and or I’m going to a movie theater, I think, I think there you still have the same basic desires that audiences tend to have, maybe it will change more over time. But I don’t see a convincing argument that it that it already is.
Scott D Clary 33:54
And I think that, you know, when you speak with the elements of a story, I agree with you, what I what I’m curious about and what is up in the air, for me as a technology, or just like, what our how our natural habits of viewing things have changed, like our movie theaters ever going to be as prominent as they were six months ago? Or have people’s habits permanently changed and shifted to new or are we just gonna go back the way that we always saw movies, which means that if we are then that’s fine, but if we aren’t, then all those blockbusters are now going to be launching on other mediums and then people are going to be gravitating towards those Netflix’s and Disney’s and, and all those other ones. Just I was thinking about that. I’ve asked a couple people that are involved in the industry. So the basics of storytelling. I think you’re 100% Correct. But do you think that the traditional way of viewing and consuming is going to change?
Erik Bork 34:42
I mean, my personal opinion is that it may not change as much or as quickly as what you may be talking about. I mean, assuming that you know, we get past the Coronavirus, which I’m assuming we’re going to and sitting in a crowded and sitting in a crowded movie theater is no longer a healthy risk. And as you know, I believe there will still be the desire to go out and watch things with an audience of other human beings in a in a in a big room. I don’t think that’s good. I mean, people have been predicting demise of Motion Pictures since television started, you know, I mean, because everybody always is like, Oh, this new thing means the old thing is dying. And I think what history has shown us is more that there’s room for additional new things that have some impact on the old thing, but don’t completely kill it. At least in terms of this. Maybe they killed Betamax. And they killed, you know, the vinyl record or the cassette tape or something. That’s just a delivery system. But in the well, I guess you could say movies are also a delivery system. But somehow I don’t think that analogy, tracks there. I mean, certainly, it’s always evolving. I mean, it’s evolved to where, you know, like you said, blockbusters, and like Marvel movies and franchises have more and more dominated with the studio’s make, for economic reasons. There’s always that evolution of what they’re making and how many movies and what’s budgets and what genres. But the idea that you know, what movie theaters are dead now, and no one’s gonna ever go to movie theaters again, because everything’s gonna be at home or whatever, I don’t really buy that myself. But it’s really just a personal opinion. It’s not like I have such expert insight or knowledge.
Scott D Clary 36:19
As I asked you, well, you’re you do have expert insight you’re in the industry, or else I wouldn’t ask and I appreciate. I think he I think he nailed on a really touchy, you know, a couple of really good points on, on how that we always have room for more additional ways to consume in industry, if it’s not directly replacing. So I think that the meat, the movie theater, there’s still a social, social aspect to it, that can’t be replicated by sitting at home. Whereas a direct technology replacement, you know, watching movies at home, between renting them from blockbuster, or renting them from net renting them from Netflix, the there is no social aspect to sitting at writing a movie, it was a direct technology replacement.
Erik Bork 37:00
Not by it’s a good way to put it. Yeah, I agree with you. Yeah, yeah.
Scott D Clary 37:04
So that’s, that’s one thing that I think you know, you could have, you could have a really, a really social need to go and sit in a movie theater somewhere, and be around other people. And it’s an event and it’s, and it’s a night out. And it’s like a, it’s a different environment. But this is totally off of I apologize, I didn’t need to do this. But I just thought it was interesting, because I know that you know, you’re in that industry very much that, you know, you’re dealing with it every day like and that, that impacts, like, what you work on, and where your attention is and everything like that. So I was just curious what your thoughts were on it. What for yourself? I do, like I have some like rapid fire questions that I like to ask just to tee it up. And we went over a ton of stuff. But where do you want to take your career next? What’s you know, what’s your focus now?
Erik Bork 37:53
Well, it’s what I mentioned, as far as writing and directing. So you’re starting right now on the kind of indie low budget level, my focus right now is, is writing and directing, you know, independent films that are my own original ideas that I, you know, find the funding and see them through to completion creatively on my own. And you know, where that goes, I’m open to, but successfully doing that. And multiple projects like that is what I’m really excited about and focused on at the moment.
Scott D Clary 38:23
Sorry, good. And is there anything? You know, we just, we spoke about your career about storytelling, about the current state of film, and a whole bunch of things about, you know, screenwriting and just the nuances of your industry. Is there anything that we didn’t touch on that you thought would be relevant that, that I didn’t ask you that you wanted to bring up? Or do we do a good job? I think you did a good job. All right. Good luck, because I don’t know all the questions asked. So. Good, good. I’m glad. All right, um, I have some rapid fire just to ask to tee it up. I asked these to everyone. So what’s one life lesson that you would tell your younger self that would help you get to where you are?
Erik Bork 39:04
Your attitude and inner beliefs are more important than just your actions that you take.
Scott D Clary 39:12
That’s a good one. That’s a very, very good one. And then the follow up to that is what’s a resource that you go to to learn from it could be a podcast book, Audible, could be a person, just one resource for people to go check out?
Erik Bork 39:26
I mean, Wikipedia, I mean, I don’t have any like, you know, unique answer that only I know. I don’t think to that question. But I think Wikipedia is pretty amazing. I always donate whenever I get those. We need $3 today, because I use it so much. I mean, it’s a go to place even though I know that anything in there can be questioned, you know, and so forth. But I do think it’s a it’s an amazing, I like to not take for granted, things that we have that we do tend to take for granted. And Wikipedia is one of those things I think Pretty amazing.
Scott D Clary 40:00
Good, very good. And last, where do people go to find out more about you about the book?
Erik Bork 40:07
Yeah, I mean the books on Amazon. The idea but you know, my website is called Flying wrestler.com Also, if you just Google my name Eric with a K Bork vor K, you would find it and other things about me. I have a lot of stuff online, a lot of you know, interviews and various things. But yeah, the websites the main, the main clearing house for anyone’s interested in hearing more about any of this stuff.
Scott D Clary 40:31
That’s all for today. Thanks again for joining me on another episode of the success story podcast. You can download or stream this podcast wherever podcasts are available, including iTunes, Spotify, Google, Stitcher, I heart, radio, and many others. You can also watch his podcasts on YouTube. If you haven’t already. Please subscribe and share this podcast with your friends, family, coworkers and peers. Please leave us a rating on iTunes. It takes about 30 seconds as it allows other people to find our podcast and lets our amazing guests reach even more people with their message. And remember any rating is fine as long as it contains five stars. I’m Scott Clary from the success story podcast, signing off