By Jamie Ruby
Last Thursday's episode of Burn Notice
caused quite the uproar among fans. The episode had a lot going on: by the end of the episode, the problem with Anson Fullerton (Jere Burns) was over, but at a price. The mystery person who killed Anson took Michael (Jeffrey Donovan)'s brother Nate (Seth Peterson) with him.
This turn of events is big for the series, and now that the people responsible for burning Michael have been taken care of, the series will see a shift in the story, which will continue to become more serialized and less "case of the week."
Last week the creator and executive producer of Burn Notice
, Matt Nix, talked to the digital media about the decision to kill Nate and other changes coming this season.
USA Conference CallBurn Notice
July 27, 2012
3:00 pm CT QUESTION:
First thing first, let’s just get into the shocker at the end of the episode. When was it for you that you made the decision that in order for Michael to move forward we had to see Nate ultimately die? MATT NIX:
I hadn’t thought of it quite that way but the - there’s sort of a story version of answering that question and then a more behind-the-scenes version of that. In the sense that one of the things I really wanted to do this season is - we’re in our sixth season and I just really wanted to shake up the show and do some really new stuff. So part of that was putting the people that burned Michael to bed.
Anson is the last of them and he’s gone and so then the question becomes what is something that keeps that sense of Michael’s mission, a propulsive sense for Michael, something that’s personal to him? And in thinking about what to do with this season that was part of it, this idea that over the course of these five seasons or 5-1/2 season, Michael has grown closer to his family. He’s developed friends. All of these things that he didn’t have at the beginning of the series, he now has.
And that means good things for him as a human being in some ways, but it also means that there’s a lot more that can be taken away. And so, in taking that away, it launches him with a new personal mission that lead to all sorts of complications going forward, vis-a-vis the intelligence community as he’s trying to figure out what happened with his brother.
So it was a combination of a lot of different things, and then also just the desire to do something that wasn’t - we [had] fallen into a bit of a pattern of the big things happen in episode one and then the half season finale, and then in the second half season premiere and then in the second half of the season finale. And doing something really big and exciting in the middle of the season, in the middle of by far our most serialized season ever, was also a priority. Just shaking up the show, shaking up Michael as a character, shaking up the show, all of it. QUESTION:
Yes, and you just touched on this but, for you as a show runner, how refreshing is it now to be able to use a little bit more of a serialized approach versus what we’ve seen the past few seasons? And it’s not just for your show, but it seems that all of USA right now seems to be undergoing a little bit of a transformation and giving us some more long-form stories versus some of what we’ve seen in the past. MATT NIX:
It’s great. Yes, I love this kind of storytelling. And it was a discussion with USA and they were down with it for reasons, for network priority reasons. But for us, one of the things we said was that if you just look at what are people’s favorite episodes of Burn Notice
over the years. They tend to be the most serialized episodes. They’re the first couple of the year and the last couple of the year and people don’t seem to be - and actually, people do watch those episodes in reruns. The fact that there’s a little bit of a previous (unintelligible) doesn’t really seem to bother people. So although going all the way back to when Victor died, that was a very serialized pair of episodes at the end and our fans really seemed to respond to that.
So this season in shaking up the show, one of the things we did was we haven’t really had a traditional client all season. We’ve had (Barry)’s from last night’s episode was - is a client of sorts but his problem was really A) he’s part of the team and B) his problem was generated by the team. It’s not like he had a problem in the abstract and he just needed our help with it. When I say “our” I mean “the” team.
Michael got him in trouble and now Sam’s got to get him out of trouble. That’s a very different orientation for us than, “I am a resident of Miami and someone in my family has been kidnapped.” And I think we were sick of that, we wanted to do something new. So this season is really about focusing on the team and making sure that everything that they’re doing is really focused on the characters, focused on what it means to them, very personal. And it fits well with this serialized form of storytelling. QUESTION:
I’m upset with you right now. MATT NIX:
Oh, you are? Oh, I’m sorry. QUESTION:
Seth Peterson is such a great guy. Why did it have to be Nate, you know? MATT NIX:
When I started on the show, six seasons ago, one of the things that I talked about with my wife actually, because we had always watched shows together and she made the point about The Sopranos,
that part of what made it compelling to watch was the sense that things could happen on the show that really mattered to you, and that things could actually change.
And as part of that conversation she basically said if you ever kill a character off and then say we didn’t mean it, he’s not really dead, you don’t get to sleep in our bed anymore. And so, partially just as a storytelling priority and partially to save my marriage- not save my marriage, partially to preserve my marriage - I realized if we’re going to take this kind of storytelling seriously then we have to do things with real consequences.
And so that was why, for me in looking at it, if we wanted to do something big on the show it couldn’t be, “Hey remember Michael’s old neighbor, Sugar the drug dealer who lived downstairs? He’s dead now. Isn’t that crazy?” QUESTION:
Yes, I get it. What is this going to do going forward with Michael’s relationship with Madeline? MATT NIX:
Woo hoo, a lot. Yes, another thing in terms of this whole story turn is that we all on the show - all of the writers really, and the actors too - wanted to do something that had emotional consequences that continued. Because even when you’re on a show that - when we have to do very self-contained episodes people have to forgive each other really quickly and be done with stuff.
So in relatively short order, like a couple episodes. And we’ve had some of that with Michael and Fiona’s relationship and things like that. But this has a far greater impact than anything we’ve ever done, from an emotional perspective. There’s a really sea change and then talking to Sharon…we had really long conversations and important conversations about how she felt this impacted her character and how that carries forward and that kind of thing.
So she’s in this very difficult position of blaming Michael for putting his brother in harm’s way but also realizing that her remaining son is still in danger and in a difficult situation and his situation only gets more difficult over the course of the season. And so to what extent can she forgive, to what extent was she responsible? All of those questions come up over the course of the season. And not just in one episode, it really carries forward.
It’s a little bit similar to putting Fiona in jail. We were like, “Okay, if we’re going to put Fiona in jail, she’s got to be there for a while.” And similarly, if we’re going to play the card of Michael’s brother dying, then it’s got to have real impacts for everybody. QUESTION:
I’m a big fan, so I forgive you. MATT NIX:
Oh, well thank you. And the other thing I will say about the great gayness of Seth is that he is a great guy. And part of the thing for all of us in this was wanting - he comes on the show for a couple episodes or an episode here or there and then really giving him an arc and giving him some real stuff to do and in a way he’s never been more important to the series. And so that was a nice thing, I think, for him and for us. SCIFI VISION:
You mentioned how Fi stayed in jail for a while and it wasn’t over right away. Is the fact that she’d been away and Michael rescued her and that she didn’t listen to him and turned herself in, is that going to have a lasting effect on the relationship? And can you talk a bit about that? MATT NIX:
Well, one thing is the reunion that they imagined is - I think that her being in prison allowed Michael to acknowledge, in a way it brought them closer. You know, like, he’s, like, her - the fact that she makes this sacrifice to save his soul at the end of season five, and then the lengths that goes to save - to get her out of prison. In a way, they’re as close as they’ve ever been when she’s getting out of prison.
And I think this magical moment that they both anticipated of coming together and the fact that that coincides with Michael finally resolving, finally wrapping up the last guy associated with his being burned, and in that same moment having that torn away by Nate’s death, it does have a really lasting effect.
And in a general sense, the big thing at the end of last season was Fiona basically saying you don’t - Michael is really dedicated to his quest, getting done the thing that he needs to get done. But that can be costly and if he’s giving up all of his principles for the sake of doing what he needs - what he wants to do, or to take care of the people he loves, is that acceptable and her answer was no.
And going forward, that central issue becomes a greater and greater issue over the course of the season as Michael is now trying to deal with his brother’s death and his dealing with that and his investigation into that and his thirst for vengeance and all of those things. It pushes Michael really to the brink in a lot of ways - personally, morally. All of those things come into play and so I guess it’s a question that she imagined was resolved only gets more central and worse, and the answers get more challenging and more challenging as the season goes on.
So there’s a big impact and her yearning for the resolution to all of this and the possibility that they might be able to be together in a less complicated way is snatched away at exactly the point where she imaged it could’ve been hers. So that’s a big part of it. SCIFI VISION:
And are we going to have more of MI6 coming to bother her again or is that done with? MATT NIX:
As part of her deal in getting out of prison, she has to have some association with the CIA. Protects her to some extent going forward but that entity doesn’t go away. So it’s not a huge part of the season, but it’s not as if she’s best friends with British intelligence at this point. QUESTION:
Does Nate’s death signal a darker turn in the show? MATT NIX:
Well, I guess I’d say yes and no. We actually have some really fun episode coming up with some real humor.
And so it’s not that going forward everybody mopes around a lot. At the same time, I think that over the course of all of our seasons, the serialized storytelling is always more serious and emotionally impactful than the self-contained aspects of the show. And so in the early seasons, the client of week tended to be pretty light and/or lighter, and then the serialized stuff tended to be more serious and a little darker. And now this serialized stuff is coming to the fore.
I wouldn’t say - it’s not like I woke up in the morning and was like okay, Burn,
now this is going dark. But to the extent that emotional consequences continue, it’s unavoidable. Like if you have an ongoing storyline called, “Madeline Does Not Forgive Michael for the Death of Her Son,” that’s not really a laugh riot of a storyline.
It’s important to preserve the fun of the show and so it’s not like that just gets abandoned or anything. But I think the maturing of the show has been in a direction of more characters with ongoing emotional lives and things that tend toward the darker. QUESTION:
And will Michael ever have complete resolution to being burned or will it always be? It seems like we’re going to get it and then something else happens. MATT NIX:
Well, the short answer is yes. I mean, Anson is the last guy. He is the last guy.
That does not mean that there are not complications vis-à-vis the intelligence world.
And it’s funny, actually. Sometimes people will say, “Oh, it’s a guy behind a guy,” in previous [seasons]. To which my response has always been, well, conspiracies involve multiple people. It’s not literally there’s one person behind another person. But if you look at any conspiracy in history, it’s not just a single person acting alone.
So the idea that he was burned by an organization, well, there are multiple people in that organization. It’s not that everybody’s not the head, they have different jobs. But that organization has been wrapped up, they are done there. But there are other complications, as you might imagine, you just wrap up one of these big conspiracies and it’s not like you didn’t know anybody, it’s not like they weren’t doing anything else. QUESTION:
Well, he didn’t shoot himself. MATT NIX:
Yes, exactly, he didn’t shoot himself. Yes, exactly. But I can actually - I will say this, it’s not as if Anson’s secret boss did it. Because I’m sick of that. So, it doesn’t... QUESTION:
I was going to ask how patient do you think your audience is, so I’m glad to hear that you’re tired of it too. MATT NIX:
Yes, things get real complicated vis-à-vis - let’s just say Michael isn’t going to hold back in trying to figure out who killed his brother.
And Michael off the chain isn’t necessarily playing by CIA rules, isn’t necessarily the asset they want. And he has friends in the CIA and he has [detractors] in the CIA, and so there’s a whole world of compilations ahead for him that don’t have to do with the people that burned him.
And ultimately I can tease this - he finds himself rather worse off than he was vis-à-vis the intelligence community by the end of the season. QUESTION:
I was going to ask you whether Fiona’s cellmate, now that we know she’s going to get out of prison early, we’re going to see her in future episodes? MATT NIX:
Not Fiona’s cellmate, but did you see the woman that helped her? Ayn, yes. Yes, you do see Ayn again, yes. It’s been really fun this season because, again, in being able to do this, I feel like this season’s suddenly, like a door has been unlocked and we get to run outside and play.
So with regard to a lot of the storytelling, even the client storytelling, whereas once upon a time we had to think about it like, “Okay, how do we meet this person who’s unrelated to the team,” right? And there was that whole mode of storytelling. Now a lot of times it’s, “Okay, how are these people coming back, how is this person closely related to the team?” It’s kind of the opposite of what we used to do, and that’s been really fun. So yes, she does show up again, in a different capacity. QUESTION:
And is there anything else you can tell us about what might happen this season? MATT NIX:
Rebecca will be returning, who was in the finale - you know, who betrayed Michael in the finale and was working for Anson. She comes back in a new and unexpected capacity. And so yes, we’ve got that. Yes, there are all sorts of things I...it’s hard not to be spoiler-ish.
So I think that’s a big one and Michael’s mentor and ally at the CIA, Tom Card, is also going to - Michael has to lean on him in a way that he hasn’t leaned on him before and turn to him for help. So that’s a big part of the season going forward. So to what extent is he going to get help from Tom Card that the CIA might not be willing to give him is a big part of it as well. QUESTION:
How does Nate’s death affect Fiona’s relationship with Madeline? MATT NIX:
Oh, wow. I think the main impact there is between Madeline and Michael. I mean, it’s such a deep impact that it has - that’s the real focus for a little while. Part of it is actually that Madeline’s upset with everybody, as becomes clear over the course of the next episodes. It’s not just that she feels like Michael shouldn’t have put his brother in harm’s way, it’s also that whole team, they’re all trained. They were working with Michael so there’s plenty of blame to go around.
It’s not that she really takes Fiona to task specifically, but that comes into it. But moving forward, Madeline mourns the life she imagined Fiona and Michael could’ve had together in Miami with her. And so I think that Fiona becomes one of the things that draws Madeline back, that keeps Madeline from just writing it all off, writing her family off and really slipping into despair.
It’s not like Madeline is particularly close to Fiona in the upcoming episodes, because she’s mad at everybody. But ultimately one of the things that we’re exploring is the idea that this whole group has become a bit of a family now and this is a real challenge to that family. But it is a family nonetheless, everybody. So that’s part of it as well. QUESTION:
If Burn Notice
does get a seventh season would you definitely be looking for it to be the last? MATT NIX:
Looking for it would be a strong term. I think that one of the things for this season is the - it’s funny actually. If you’d asked me that last season, I would’ve said how many more of these can we do? But now, this season I think has breathed some new creative life into the show for all of us - for the actors, for the writers, for me. And so the fact that we’ve been able to do this new kind of storytelling that we haven’t done a lot of before has been really exciting.
I think that ultimately, with any of these kinds of shows, you do need to aim towards some sort of resolution. So I could definitely see a seventh season being the last season. But if the actors are willing and the network wants it and the studio wants it and everything, I could also imagine a circumstance. I wouldn’t guarantee it, but I could imagine a circumstance where we might say, ”Hey, there is some creative life here and there are things we want to do.”
But I guess I would ultimately make the decision on that basis. Is there cool stuff to say, because you occasionally see shows that somebody backs up a money truck and everybody takes the money and then they just phone in a last season, and I wouldn’t want to do that. QUESTION:
Are there any plans to bring back Tim Matheson’s Larry in any capacity?MATT NIX:
No, as I said before, I’m not really allowed to bring back dead characters or my wife kicks me out of the house. QUESTION:
He’s kind of infamous for that. MATT NIX:
Just so that everybody knows that we feel the same pain as our audience. I had a writer walk into my office the other day and say of an episode, “You know what this episode should’ve been. It should’ve been Brennen and he’s dead and I’m angry about that.”
And we’ve done the same thing with Larry as well. For these characters, you got to have real consequences or it’s not as exciting. Larry had been one kind of mentor to Michael and now we’ve got the character of Tom Card, John McGinley’s character, and he was another kind of mentor to Michael. So that’s part of it as well. QUESTION:
You brought up about how you all put things together and that you’re not always happy with having to kill off somebody, and the plotting of it. How far in advance are you plotting this? MATT NIX:
Every season, at the beginning of the season we sit down and lay out an overall plot line for the season, and break that up into individual episodes. And then we have a general sense for where the show as a whole is going, but then all of those things are flexible. So, for example, sometimes we’ll find that there’s a particular aspect of the serialized storytelling that we can move up or that isn’t as interesting as we imagined it would be or that kind of thing.
So I’d say if you looked at our sketch that we had in January for this season, you would definitely recognize how things go. It wouldn’t be radically different but you’d see individual episode where we just found something more interesting or more fun. QUESTION:
Okay, because it’s interesting because you would think that this would be possibly a finale episode but it’s not. And there’s three more... MATT NIX:
Oh, actually that’s a funny one. I can tell you specifically about that. For a couple of reasons, some of them having to do just with how the network told us how the season would be split initially and then what we were thinking and then some of the moving around of the episodes you’ll see going forward in the show.
I think we figured out once that something like eight episodes this season had very originally been conceived as finales or premieres, and then in the moving around of it we realized what we originally imagined as a season finale in the middle of the season. So I’ll cop to yes, we absolutely thought about doing this episode as a season finale and then where it laid out it was coming earlier than that.
And then we moved it even earlier because another aspect of the show that I really wanted to shake up this year was, I think people settled into this groove of when does big stuff happen on Burn Notice
, episode one, episode 10, episode 11, episode 18. And so I really like the idea of basically saying to our audience, “No, pay attention in the middle of the season, big stuff.”
And without giving away specific episodes, there are multiple episodes, really big deal episodes buried at points in this season where you would never expect them. Like big turns there would normally have been that were actually originally planned as premieres or finales. QUESTION:
So this is one of those situations where you really need to pay attention to the entire season. MATT NIX:
Absolutely. Yes, absolutely, especially in the winter section of the - there are multiple episodes coming up that are huge turns and then in the back half of the season, it’s - a lot. The back half of the season just runs like a freight train, or a bullet train. It’s pretty intense and there are lots of turns. And by the end of this season, a lot of the things that people expect of Burn Notice
are completely turned on their heads. By the end of the season, it doesn’t even look the same. It’s a big, big difference.
And I don’t want to, for fans of the show it still has the same pleasures. I think people are going to be really into it. The people who have seen those episodes have been really excited. But we just decided we’re going to break all the rules this season and that’s what we’ve been doing.
I just feel like we owe our regular fans something new. I think we proved somewhere in there, okay we can do a client of the week story that has certain satisfactions and that’s fun but, we want to reach for something more. QUESTION:
Can you talk about how you originally came up with the concept for the series? MATT NIX:
Very originally. It sort of depends on what you mean by originally. But in a general way, I had always been interested in espionage since I was a little kid. I had some conversations with a guy named Michael Wilson, who’s a consulting producer on the show who worked in the field of private intelligence.
And I’d been interested in the intelligence world and that had rekindled an interest. But one of the things that I’ve always had a personal interest in is less the mechanics of it, less the mechanics of okay, how does the United States do counterintelligence vis-à-vis China or that kind of thing.
It’s not uninteresting to me, it’s just the thing that I was primarily interested in is what is the personal aspect of it. What kind of person becomes a spy, what super powers do they have? And I don’t mean cartoonish super powers, I mean how do they experience the world, where do they come from?
And so in my very original conception of the show I thought, “Oh, okay, I guess I should do a spy show if I want to do that.” And then that evolved over the course of thinking about the show and developing the show into, “Well, what if I did a spy show about what showcased the personal skills of a spy and that took a spy out of the spy context?” So that rather than taking Michael Westen and showing how good he is at dealing with a Russian diplomat who may or may not be spying or the kinds of things people on spy shows. What if we can take those skills and apply them in a different context, in a way that would tell you more about who spies are as people and what they can do ? So it turned out to be a nice way to explore the things that I was most interested in.
And without getting into the murky world of what is essentially politics. I think anyone who watches the show can tell that’s not really the central dramatic question of Burn Notice. SCIFI VISION:
Right. Now you mentioned their super power skills. How do you guys come up with a lot of the - and I always think of MacGyver - the kind of things that they do. Are a lot of them really things you could do or are some of them just made up? I’ve always been curious. MATT NIX:
Oh, no everything - the standard we hold ourselves to is would this work - does this basically work, does this work? This isn’t quite the right word but, in theory. Here’s a great example. In the first season of the show, Lucy Lawless’s character, Evelyn, removes the trigger bar spring from Michael’s SIG Sauer and he discovers that and realizes oh, his gun is broken. And he has a - I think it’s a bobby pin, because of something that happened earlier in the episode. And so he repairs the trigger bar spring using this bobby pin.
So the standard we help ourselves to was we did it. If you can repair a trigger bar spring with a bobby pin, then we will do this gag. And the answer is yes, you can absolutely do it, our prop guy did it. It took our prop guy maybe two minutes and we let Michael do it in about 45 seconds, so did we fudge it a little; yes, we fudged it a little bit. But Michael’s a super spy, so he can do that. Similarly, in season two, he improvises an X-ray thing to X-ray something in the trunk of a car, and it would be an engineering task but everything in principle. Oh, we’ve checked it all out with engineers and scientists. Everything in principle works.
The television fudging we allow ourselves is the image of the X-ray is probably clearer than that image would actually be. But again, we allow ourselves, we’re not going to have Michael read a really fuzzy X-ray on screen, because it’s possible. We know basically it works and so we’ll fudge the thing. They did a Mythbusters
on a (unintelligible) thing and actually discovered precisely that. They were like, yes, this absolutely works in theory. It would be a lot harder than it looks on the show, but it works in theory. QUESTION:
You had me thinking about how you plot this out. Obviously, you probably have ideas about what’s going on for next season. And given that you have just changed how the ballgame is being played in this series, and actually, quite frankly, you’re right. Everybody was starting to lose the middle parts and just tune in for first two, the last two and could figure out how it was being modeled. And this one has been so very different that you - it’s become again the must see TV. So how much farther do you have to reach when it comes to plotting and writing to keep up the pace in terms of where your character’s going to go for the next season, which you’ve got to be thinking about? MATT NIX:
You got to go a lot deeper, there’s just no question. We actually had to revise how the show is written so that once upon a time an individual writer - basically means all the writers must be way more - well, without being too much - doing too much inside baseball about it. We had to change the way the show gets written from the way that very episodic shows get written to the way that very serialized shows get written.
So in a very standalone procedural show, you can break an episode and then send the writer off to do that episode and that writer can rejoin the room and get back into the show when they’re done with their episode. But in a very serialized show, everybody has to work together on everything and be talking back and forth and nobody can leave for very long. Because suddenly writers have to have lots more conversations about, okay, I need you to set this up in your episode so that I can pay it off in this episode. And no, your character can’t say that in that episode because in my episode, five episodes later, that character doesn’t have that skill, or that character doesn’t have that relationship or whatever it is.
So, we had to revise all of that. And absolutely in thinking forward to what will hopefully be on season seven, network willing, you have to be a little bit like a baseball player. You get a little superstitious, you don’t want to...get call (unintelligible)......by assuming anything.
But yes, you’re right. Again, it’s kind of like how a much more serialized show does it in the sense that we have to think about where - when we land, what are the storytelling possibilities moving out from there. And at the same time, this season has given me some more confidence vis-à-vis our ability to tell different kinds of stories. Because if you told me at the beginning - if you told me in season five, you know what, next season, you’re not going to have any traditional clients, at no point is some random person in Miami just going to walk up and say I need help with something, I probably would’ve said, “Well, that’s the show, how do we do that?” And the truth is, you just do it. You just get into it and figure out how to do it.
I will say one thing that has been a luxury is the fact that we haven’t done this for all of these seasons. To take a show I really like, Prison Break,
they entered into this super episodic high octane mode of storytelling from the very beginning. And it’s incredibly compelling and you’ve got to watch every episode, but it’s really hard to make it last for six seasons. Because, God, those people have been running for a long time.
And so the fact that we entered into that mode of storytelling more in season six means that we’ve just never eaten that lunch. There’s all sorts of stuff for us to do. So in some ways actually, things that we had always imagined doing, that I had always thought about doing, that I thought that weren’t possible, well, I can do that now.
So in a way, season seven is a little daunting because it isn’t something we’ve done before. But in a way, what I’d hope to do in a season seven is also what I’ve been thinking about for six years. QUESTION:
Wow. And that’s pretty amazing that you could actually finally get what you wanted initially. Get to that point where you’re able to tweak the show enough to really give it a whole new breath of fresh air. MATT NIX:
Yes, honestly, if you told me that we would be able to do this, I would’ve said it can’t happen. Because part of it is - and big ups to USA. It isn’t all the time that a network says, “Oh, you know that way we’ve been doing things that has been really successful for a long time? Well let’s just do the opposite.” And that’s what they did. And you can see it in their other shows as well. Everybody got let off the chain a little bit to do more serialized storytelling. And I think it’s been a good thing for all of their shows. SCIFI VISION:
Can you talk about any of the other guest stars that we’re going to have this season? MATT NIX:
Let’s see, well, Kenny Johnson will be appearing, from The Shield.
It sort of depends on what you consider the season, the overall season or the summer season. But Kenny Johnson appears in both. He has a great part that I won’t get into too much. We’ll see some more of Agent Pearce, so got her. Tom Card, again, McGinley’s character. I’m trying to think - we’ve got some great guest stars. Not much in the way of gigantic, event-y kinds of people but some really great actors.
Most of our big casting was in the (unintelligible) characters. So, McGinley would be a great example there.
And then in second half of the season we have some more characters like that but we can talk about that then. SCIFI VISION:
You write, you direct and you produce - and it looks like a lot of them you’ve written and directed on the same episode. Is it hard to do both? And do you prefer one over the other or is one harder than the other? MATT NIX:
I think they are two different things but I actually enjoy both. I’d say that directing, it’s the difference between creating the vision and executing it. And directing, the chance to work more intimately with actors is really fun and explore things.
One of the reasons I like to direct is it keeps me connected to the actually physical doing of the show. Burn Notice
is a very difficult show to make because we are packing a lot of plot and a lot action and a lot of story into our 42 minutes.
And we’ve had episodes where we were doing two major stunts a day. Stunts that a lot of other shows would do, they do one stunt in the entire episode. And that’s just stunts or effect. I mean, there are a lot of things. And so numbers of scenes, page count, all of that.
And so for me directing is partially remaining connected to the actual execution of what we’re promising in the writer’s room. But, yes, I really like both. I will say they don’t feel as different as you might think to me. Because ultimately, when I’m directing, in my head it feels a little bit like a rewrite, Like, oh, now I’m rewriting it with people and cameras.
And so I feel like I saw this episode before in my head a couple times. I saw it when I was outlining it and then I saw it when I was writing it and now I’m seeing it again. And as to episodes that I write and direct versus somebody else writes and directs, we’re all so involved in every episode it’s not like I sit down to read an episode where I don’t know what happens. If it’s not me writing, I was intimately involved with it regardless.