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Love You to Death: Season 4

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Love You to Death: Season 4 is the fourth book of the Love You to Death series, the unofficial companion to The Vampire Diaries.

The fan-favourite Love You to Death series returns with an essential guide to the fourth season of The CW’s hit show The Vampire Diaries. The season four companion delves headlong into the twists and turns of each episode, exploring the layers of rich history, supernatural mythology, historical and pop culture references, and the complexities and motivations of the show’s memorable cast of characters. Add expanded chapters on the making of the show, the people who bring the world of Mystic Falls to life, and the intensely loyal audience that keeps it thriving, and you have a guide as compelling and addictive as the show itself.

Previous volumes of Love You to Death have featured exclusive interviews with executive producer Julie Plec, series directors and editors, guest-star actors, and fandom leaders.

The Cast

Episode Guide: Season

Excerpt from Love You to Death: Season 4

Every Episode Is Huge. The Making of The Vampire Diaries

While every 42-minute episode of The Vampire Diaries may seem to be an effortless whiplash of cliffhangers and epic moments viewers have come to expect, what plays out with such breathtaking speed and tension onscreen takes weeks and months of careful crafting from a huge number of people. We asked writer and co-executive producer Caroline Dries, season four writer and coproducer Jose Molina, producer and director Pascal Verschooris, cinematographer Dave Perkal, editor Tyler Cook, composer Michael Suby, and show co-creator and executive producer Julie Plec to walk us through the process of creating an episode of TVD, from the initial breaking of story to the airing of the completed episode. What follows here is a unique peek at the nuts and bolts of the show’s creation and an introduction to the passionate people behind the curtain.

What is your background and how did you come to work on The Vampire Diaries?

Tyler Cook (Editor) Like most people who go into filmmaking, I got into it to be a director. I wanted to be the next Spielberg or George Lucas, and then in film school, when I learned about foreign cinema, I wanted to be the next Ingmar Bergman or Jean-Luc Godard. But when I started making my own movies in film school, I realized that I was only ever directing so I could get into the editing room and play around with the footage. I just loved tinkering with the movie and I saw the whole process of editing as this very big and exciting puzzle. After making that realization, I started taking a lot of editing-based internships. I worked on a couple of low-budget independent movies as an intern and then as an assistant editor. I worked really hard and met a lot of great people that way. And the movies I worked on did really well. They played at Sundance and all the major festivals around the country and won a lot of awards along the way. When I graduated college, I called up one of the editors that I had worked for just to tell him I would be moving out to L.A. and wanted to grab coffee, and he offered me a job over the phone. I was extremely lucky in that regard. So I moved out and started working on that feature and from that job I was able to get into the [Motion Picture] Editors Guild, and then I transitioned into television, working on 90210, followed by Eastbound and Down for a short time, and finally ended up at The Vampire Diaries.

Dave Perkal (Director of Photography) I went to school for [cinematography] — undergrad at San Diego State University Film and Television and then graduate at American Film Institute for cinematography. Then after I finished school I started working in entry-level positions in the industry and worked my way up. I was a film loader, 2nd assistant camera, 1st AC, operator, and gaffer.

Pascal Verschooris (Producer and Director) I started in radio. One day, a production team walked into Radio Monte Carlo, where I was working, and used our studio for a Coca-Cola commercial. I was mesmerized. I can’t really explain what it was: the buzz, the pace, the people. It all seemed so different. I moved to Paris a little later and eventually got a job for a TV show called The Hitchhiker. This took me to Vancouver, Canada, for a French-Canadian coproduction called Bordertown. The series was about a small town [straddling] the U.S./Canada border; the heroes, a Mountie and a U.S. Marshall. That was great fun. I eventually moved my way to production manager, but in 2002 I was forced to decide between TV and feature film. In Vancouver, these are very different worlds. I like watching big movies, but I also always feel you can tell the story better in TV. You get to know the characters, you can expand on the stories, their background. So I chose TV and instead of doing a huge feature, I picked a Showtime series, Dead Like Me. This was the real beginning of producing for me.

Michael Suby (Composer) I was in a band when I was 19, and one of the guys I lived next to, I used to teach him how to play guitar. We became good friends. He was at USC film school, and he ended up writing and directing The Butterfly Effect. He essentially asked me to do his first independent movie, to which I said no, because I didn’t know what I was doing. So he forced me to do it, which was great, [because] I went to music school, moved out here, and he had just sold the movie and that was my first project. And it filtered down from there, because they did Kyle XY several years later and Julie Plec was hired on. I think at that point she was head of television at BenderSpink, and she was brought on just as a coproducer originally. Then those guys left the show and Julie took over Kyle XY, and then she left that show and went to Warner Bros. with Vampire Diaries and Kevin [Williamson]. So she brought me over, and that’s how I got on the show.

Jose Molina (Writer and Coproducer) The Lady of the Lake, her arm clad in the purest shimmering samite, held aloft Excalibur from the bosom of the water, signifying by divine providence that I, Jose, should write for TV. That, and I was lucky enough to win the 1993 TV Academy Screenwriting internship, during which I met some great mentors like Michael Piller, Robert Hewitt Wolfe, and René Echevarria [all writers and producers on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine]. I would literally not be where I am if not for those gentlemen. I was a little late to the [TVD] party, but had been watching pretty religiously since season two. I was most impressed by how quickly and fearlessly the show burned through story. I loved the idea of writing at that breakneck pace — having major plot points every couple of episodes where more timid shows would hoard those ideas until the end of the season. I think TVD raised the bar for a lot of other TV shows in terms of pacing.

Caroline Dries (Writer and Co-Executive Producer) I was a fan of the pilot script during staffing season — believe it or not, it was the character of Aunt Jenna that really jumped off the page and made me think, dang, this show feels weirdly clever. But, as much as I loved it, I had already committed to working on another show, Melrose Place, so I just watched the first part of TVD season one as a fan. Then Melrose ended, and one afternoon I was home being unemployed, watching DVDs from my new Dawson’s Creek box set, when my agent called and asked if I wanted to meet with Kevin Williamson. I was like, “Uh, the guy who created Joey Potter? What do you think?” So I interviewed, got the job, came on for the episode “Let the Right One In” [1.17], and have been here ever since.

Tyler Cook (Editor) I came on toward the end of season one (“Let the Right One In”) as an assistant editor and I was only supposed to fill in until the end of the season. I even had another job already lined up, but I loved the tone and feel of the show and the story that Julie and Kevin were telling so much that I really wanted to be involved in helping bring the show to life in any way I could. So I quit my other job and came back to Vampire Diaries full time. From there I slowly worked my way up from being an assistant, which is more of a technical/administrative job directly under the editor, who makes sure that he/she has everything they need.

What is your job on the show?

Caroline Dries (Writer and Co-Executive Producer) I started as a writer/producer, but I didn’t do much producing because the show was managed so tightly by Kevin and Julie. As the seasons continued, and as Kevin and Julie got to know me more, and trust my instincts more, I took on more responsibility by producing my own episodes. I also got a chance to write more and spend more time with Kevin and Julie, because they liked my writing and mentored me. Now, going into season five, I’m co-running the show with Julie.

Pascal Verschooris (Producer and Director) My job is to serve the vision of the showrunner and protect the financial interests of the financier, which, in this case, is the studio [Warner Bros.]. I get a script every week and a half, and I have to figure out ways to make it for the right money, but I also have to make sure that the vision is protected so that the show looks good. For instance, sometimes directors and writers make demands that can be very costly or not doable in the allowed schedule, so I try to find solutions, alternatives, or — at times — ask for some cuts. (Writers don’t like cutting.) Because I have a bit of an artistic heart, I always get torn between art and money so I always try to make things work, otherwise I get heartbroken. Dave Perkal (Director of Photography) The cinematographer’s job is to visually tell the story through lighting, lensing, and camera movement. The idea is to support story and character without being self-indulgent or conspicuous, while also incorporating the director’s and showrunner’s vision for the episode. On The Vampire Diaries, this is a huge job because there are so many different looks to the show with flashbacks, the vampire world versus the Mystic Falls world, and the immense amount of special and visual effects. I have to coordinate with all the show’s departments like wardrobe, makeup and hair, stunts, production design, the art department, VFX and SFX [visual and special effects], postproduction, and locations.

Tyler Cook (Editor) My job on the show has grown quite considerably since I started in season one. I started as an assistant editor and was promoted to editor during season three. The best way I can describe the role of an editor is that of a sculptor. On a given episode an average of 30 hours of film is shot (sometimes as much as 50) and the editor has to shape that raw footage into a 42-minute show. I think the big misconception about editing is that all we have to do is cut out the bad pieces or that we just push buttons on a computer, which is the furthest thing from the truth. Editors have to be storytellers in the same way writers and directors are storytellers. We take the script that the writers wrote and the film the director shot and we are tasked to create the most compelling hour of television out of those two components.

Michael Suby (Composer) Pretty simple: I write all the background instrumental music — which is not very simple on this show. It’s a lot of music, a lot of music. A lot of complex characters; huge emotional arcs on the show, and they’re more than on most television shows because the nature of the vampire [means] everything is magnified. So the love is intense love, the sadness is overwhelming, and whatever emotion these guys are feeling it’s magnified by a tremendous amount. My job is to help navigate all the emotional arcs, and help make the action exciting and scary. So I write music day and night.

Tyler Cook (Editor) The role of the editor has also considerably expanded over the years. It used to be that the editor was just required to cut the picture. But now, we have to deliver something that could air, so that means we are now responsible for adding all of the music, whether that be score or songs, as well as doing the sound design and even some rudimentary VFX. [1]

Julie Plec’s Epic To-Do List
The showrunner details her duties for each episode, from inception to air date.

Oh boy, you asked for it. Here it goes:

  1. Stare at blank whiteboard in writers’ room in a dull panic. Blank boards are terrifying.
  2. “Bluesky” the episode with the writers, which means asking and answering the following questions:
    1. Where did we leave our characters in the last episode? Where do we want them to get to by the end of this one?
    2. Where are we in our mythology? What’s the big move we want to make in this episode to push it forward?
    3. What are the “holy shit” moments we want to try to hit?
    4. What are the romantic “wows” we want to try to hit?
    5. What’s Elena Gilbert’s freaking drive? (Meaning, as the “heroine” of the show, in every episode she needs to have a want that drives her actions.This is often the hardest part of breaking the story, as writers ironically instinctively prefer passive/reactive characters who observe, reflect, and emote, as opposed to having to constantly move the plot forward.)
    6. What event or “big idea” can bring everyone in the episode together? The power is in the ensemble — how do we get our ensemble interacting together as one?
    7. What “kind” of TVD episode will this be? A hostage crisis? A romantic event where things go perilously awry? Elena in jeopardy? Magic-driven? Flashback? The gang has a mission? etc.
  3. Take all of the above and “break” the story. Lay out plot moves and story beats in a six-act structure. Find good act outs.
  4. Once you have a handle on the basic story, write a “story area,” an approximately two-page document that puts it in pitch form for studio/ network notes.
  5. After receiving approval from studio/network, internally “scroutline” the episode. (A script outline using Final Draft with temp dialogue and temp scene descriptions so we don’t forget what we talked about.)
  6. Write episode.
    1. Rewrite episode.
    2. Re-break the story and rewrite yet again.
  7. Deliver the script for studio/network notes.
  8. Rewrite based on studio/network notes. Deliver script to production.
  9. Day 1 of prep: Concept meeting. Talk through script scene by scene with all department heads (stunts, props, costumes, special effects, visual effects, etc).
  10. Throughout prep: Sign off on location photos, wardrobe photos, stunt rehearsal videos, set photos, etc. Watch casting sessions, choose guest actors.
  11. Also throughout prep: Fight with production. The script’s too long, it’s unproduceable, it’s too expensive, blah blah blah.The most annoying part of the process for all involved.
  12. Listen in on cast read-through. Make final tweaks to script based on production needs, schedule needs, and actor thoughts.
  13. Last two days of prep:
    1. Production meeting (same as concept meeting only with everyone giving answers instead of asking questions).
    2. Tone meeting. A twoto three-hour phone call or meeting with director and writer to go through every moment in the script, discuss important character moments, intentions, visual requests, etc. Basically, the writer’s chance to have an open dialogue with the director about every single thing on the page.
  14. Shoot. Anywhere from eight to 10 days, often 12–15 hours a day. The writer on set needs to be there to defend the script and make sure nothing gets missed.
  15. Watch dailies, the videos you get every day of the previous day’s work.
  16. Approximately 10 days after the episode wraps, receive first cut from the editors.
  17. Have a private meltdown over how much you hate the episode.
  18. Give notes on the edit, wait for re-edit, give more notes, etc., etc., until we’re happy (and we can proudly say that 99.9 percent of the time we always end up happy).
  19. Deliver cut to studio/network for notes.
  20. Music and sound spotting. Once the episode is complete, we screen it with the editor, composer, sound designer, sound editor, and music supervisor and call out places that will need ADR (dialogue replacement), different music cues, sound effects, etc.
  21. Sign off on visual effects and color-timing (the process of color correcting the footage so it looks as lush and beautiful as it can).
  22. Attend final mix playback, which is a week after the sound spotting, where we get to watch the episode and give notes on music and sound levels, sound effects, the new ADR that’s been dropped in, etc.
  23. Air date. Read both loving and hateful feedback on Twitter. Swear to quit Twitter forever.

That’s what we go through for each episode, and we do it 22–23 times a year. At any given point, there is at least one episode in the “blank board” stage, an episode in the writing stage, prep stage, shoot stage, and post stage. So take the above list and imagine doing it again and again and again, like poor Sisyphus trying to push that freakin’ rock up the mountain. And that’s our job in a nutshell. God help us all. [1]

Mapping the Season

Caroline Dries (Writer and Co-Executive Producer) We meet for five weeks after each season ends and before the next season actually starts to map out the [coming] season. So, while my other writer friends are on hiatus and Instagramming pictures of their daytime cocktails, I’m eating ice from my Starbucks coffee in our windowless writers’ room. As much as I huff and puff about it, it’s incredibly helpful. Our seasons are long — season four was 23 episodes. That’s an insane amount of story to brainstorm. We break down the season into four chapters to a) make things sane and manageable and b) give us mini-arcs within the overall spine of the season. In theory, these mini-arcs build on each other and push us to the end with a bang.

Jose Molina (Writer and Coproducer) The senior writers gathered to start discussing season four while season three was wrapping up. We spent weeks brainstorming the broad strokes of the year — a luxury I’ve never even heard of other shows having — and cracked the spine of the whole year in that short a time. [The entire season] was all planned out before we gathered the entire staff in June. Unheard of.

Pascal Verschooris (Producer and Director) The writers meet at the end of the previous season and discuss the direction to go for the next season. They hopefully take a short break and gather again very early on for the new season. I get an idea of what [that narrative direction] will be. It does evolve, so I also have to use my instincts as to whether to invest in sets, locations, etc.

Dave Perkal (Director of Photography) I [have] meetings about where the show’s story would go for the entire season. These are just beats about the trajectory of the season’s arcs but it gives you a sense about what will happen over the course of the year. I use this information to assemble a team and we make adjustments to make the production more efficient while maintaining The Vampire Diaries look.

From the Writers’ Room to the Screen

Caroline Dries (Writer and Co-Executive Producer) Picture a group of the bestlooking people you know, sounding like the most charming people you know. And then think of the opposite. You’ve got a writers’ room. So there’s the writers’ room, and then there’s the actual process of writing — they’re two totally separate things. In the room, usually Julie or I will be in charge of discussion and coaxing ideas from the genius staff. Then together we’ll all organize the ideas and then shape them into a story. There’s a lot of banging heads against walls and crossing out ideas, and feeling lost, but we ultimately get it to a good spot. That takes about a week.

Jose Molina (Writer and Coproducer) The biggest novelty for me [coming to TVD after writing for other series] was how monstrously collaborative the writing had to be, simply because every story affects every other story. There’s no such thing as a standalone TVD episode; writing any series is a team effort, but this one required that the entire staff have a certain level of telepathy with each other.

Caroline Dries (Writer and Co-Executive Producer) Then we go off to write the script alone. Here we’re free to get lost in the characters and be writers who get to arrange words in clever ways. That takes about a week. Then we all read it and realize it’s all wrong and take what nuggets we like from the story, and build on it, and reshape things, and de-complicate it and rewrite everything. That takes about three or four days. It’s a hellish process (unless you compare it to a real-person job, in which case, it’s a dream) because sometimes you feel like you’re living with an episode forever. But it’s actually very rewarding once the script is delivered to the studio and network because you know it’s pretty much the best it can be.

Jose Molina (Writer and Coproducer) There are three basic stages to writing/ producing a TVD episode: breaking down the story from a concept to a six-act structure, outlining/scripting that idea, and supervising set to make sure everyone is on the same page about the story. Each stage is pretty timeconsuming, so we all tend to be far more involved in our own episodes than in everyone else’s. That said, we all pitch in as much as we can, and it’s not rare for non-credited writers to write scenes in someone else’s script or have a huge influence on their stories.

Tyler Cook (Editor) The show is a six-act structure. Act 1 consists of a teaser or cold open, which is meant to pique the audience’s interest and tee up the rest of the episode. From there Act 1 sets up the rest of the show (where the characters are in the overall story, resetting important information) and then ends on the new problem that the gang will have to deal with. Acts 2 and 3 usually involve figuring out the plan/arguing about the plan, and then acts 4 and 5 are about executing the plan (or failing to execute the plan, in some cases). Act 6 is about dealing with the aftermath and setting up the next episode. As far as act breaks are concerned, we always try to break each act at its most exciting place or the next turn in the story. We always try to leave at the highest note so people will stick through the commercial breaks and come back for more.

Pascal Verschooris (Producer and Director) [I become involved with an episode] as soon as we get the script. Often I try to get information prior, to find out if we need to build a set, a prosthetic, a prop, etc. Do we need to scout for a new location? Once we have the script then I work with the UPM [Trish Stanard, unit production manager] and the ADs [assistant directors] and we come up with a schedule. The schedule defines our episode. We usually need to make it work with nine days (eight, plus one second-unit day). I pass along information that I have, I help with the design of the sets, the logistics of the schedule, and also communicate with the writers about our production needs.

Dave Perkal (Director of Photography) I start to get involved as soon as a “beat sheet” or rough draft is released to production. My first move is to start a dialogue with our production designer, Garreth Stover, about what kind of sets he envisions and how we can work together to make them shootable. During the first few days of that prep, the director will usually start formulating an idea about where and how they would like to visually convey the episode’s story. My job is to help support their vision and elevate the material. I will then go with production to scout locations. Together with the production designer, 1st assistant director, and location department, we will formulate the best time of day and direction to shoot a particular location. The 1st assistant director and I will go over schedule plans and work out a shootable plan for the episode. We will have production meetings with all departments, from a concept meeting (a rough draft of our intentions) to a final production meeting (our final plan), to make sure that we are all coordinating with the same vision for the episode. During this prep time, I am in constant contact with my key departments, lighting, grip, and camera, so that the heads of these departments can be prepared when we start shooting.

Tyler Cook (Editor) I get involved with an episode usually the day before it starts shooting. The script is distributed to the entire cast/crew and there is a meeting to talk about the overall story direction of the script, what are the most important moments of the episode, and the best way to convey those through the direction, photography, and editing.

Pascal Verschooris (Producer and Director) This show is amazing because everyone listens to everyone, so it makes it easier to come up with solutions, alternative ways to make the show. It is not always the case on every series, so it is important to point this out. But I think on TVD we’ve developed a reciprocal trust between production and creatives, which helps the process tremendously and allows for us to make a better show.

Jose Molina (Writer and Coproducer) We sacrifice a basket of kittens to the Egyptian god Set before the start of every shoot.

Dave Perkal (Director of Photography) Once we start shooting we are simply executing our plan. While we are shooting the episode, I am also in contact with our post department to make sure we are getting everything we need. Once shooting is completed, the episode goes into editing.

Tyler Cook (Editor) We start getting in the footage the day after they begin shooting the episode and that’s when we start assembling the show. The episode shoots for eight days and once the shooting is done we have another week to finish putting it together. That’s the editor’s cut. Then the director will come in and spend some time with the episode for a few days, and give his/her notes on what we’ve done. That’s the director’s cut. And then from there it goes to Julie and the rest of the producers. They watch the show and start to figure out if the moments of the show are working as well as they can be and if the show is as exciting and interesting as it needs to be. Or if we’re running too long, she suggests places where we can lift out scenes or lines of dialogue to get us to time. It’s really during this time that Julie goes over the show in very fine detail to make sure it’s great. That process usually takes anywhere from one week to two, depending on the schedule and the strength of the episode. From there we show the episode to Warner Bros. and The CW and they weigh in with any final thoughts and we’re done picture editing the episode. That whole process usually takes a month. But the show’s not done. The composer starts to work on the episode along with the sound designer, and other elements such as color timing, VFX, and audio mixing take place.

Dave Perkal (Director of Photography) Once the cut is locked they send it back to me to supervise final color. Final color is like the Photoshop or printing portion of photography where we fine-tune the look of every frame of the show.

Michael Suby (Composer) I never read a script; I like to watch it when it’s completely finished. So I basically just get it and do it — right before the mix and right before it airs pretty much! It’s a very tight schedule. I just finished the season finale: I got it on Wednesday, I started Thursday, and they mixed it yesterday [Sunday] and they’re doing the playback today. So it’s three or four days. This show, that’s just the way it runs, it’s been normal for a long time on this show. I do other shows; Pretty Little Liars — that does not happen on that show. I can’t speak to other shows, but Kyle XY was not like that, I had about a week usually. They usually try to give you a week to 10 days because of the amount of work. So this one’s particularly tricky because it’s probably twice the amount of work in half the amount of time [laughs].

Tyler Cook (Editor) Postproduction can seem very small but it’s actually quite large. At its most basic there are three teams of editors and assistant editors (six people total) that are in rotation editing episodes of the show. In our office there is also the post producer, post supervisor, post coordinator, and post PA and they are in charge of running the postproduction office and juggling all of the various aspects of the process from the way dailies are transferred to scheduling when all of the cuts have to be delivered. Outside of that there are all of the VFX artists, the sound designer, the music supervisor, the music editor, the composer, the colorists. And they all have their own teams, so it’s a big operation.

Michael Suby (Composer) I do the whole show by myself. No one helps me, I don’t want anybody to touch it. [laughs] That doesn’t happen a lot on television these days either; most guys have a team and that sort of thing. I just get up, have coffee, and write music. That’s it. I write on my computer, I have a microphone set up, I’ll play guitar, I’ll sample things . . . mostly it’s on the keyboard, on the guitar, or I’ll get some vocals and record some chants. For this show, I’ve spent a lot of time off-season creating new sounds, new palettes. It’s a heavy-lifting show.

Tyler Cook (Editor) I think the biggest challenge of editing Vampire Diaries is that every episode is huge. I’ve never seen a dull episode of the show, it doesn’t exist. There is just always something gigantic going on and we go through seasons worth of story in the span of five episodes! And that’s what makes the show great. But it takes a lot of work. The way I always put it is that normal TV shows operate on a 5–7 intensity for their normal episodes and then crank it up to 10 for their premiere and their finale. We operate on a 8–10 for every episode and then crank it up to 15 for the premiere and the finale. But that’s what makes it so successful and why it’s so rewarding to work on. It’s hard work but you get this incredibly exciting product at the end of it that you can be really proud of.

Jose Molina (Writer and Coproducer) One significant difference between TVD and many other shows I’ve worked on was the level of trust we had from the studio and the network. By virtue of being a big hit and a critical success, the show earned the right to take chances, and Warner Bros. and The CW were behind us 100 percent, no matter how crazy we got.

Caroline Dries (Writer and Co-Executive Producer) I am proud of every episode because so much work goes into it — not just from me, obviously, but from the director, actors, makeup folks, props, editors, sound guys, etc. So many decisions need to be made and everyone works toward the same goal. It’s unbelievable how much gets done in such a short period of time.

Pascal Verschooris (Producer and Director) Almost everyone on the show is an unsung hero. This show could not function without the dedication of many. Our prop master, Joe Connolly, is probably the best I ever worked with; our 2nd AD, Brandon Leonard, who has to produce a call sheet every day and make sure that everything comes together, is genius; Trish Stanard, our UPM, who calls herself a workhorse, is an inspiration to all; Garreth Stover, our production designer, always comes up with incredible ideas, amazing-looking sets, but he could not do it without Karen, our set decorator, or Jamie, our construction coordinator, who himself could not do it without Billy and Tommy, etc. We have amazing drivers, incredible craft service people who keep the spirit high . . . Just everyone is important, and if one falls through then it shows, but thankfully it rarely happens.

Caroline Dries (Writer and Co-Executive Producer) I could go on about things I’m proud of on this show, but I don’t want to sound arrogant. . . .[1]

Julie Plec on Finding Her Stride as Showrunner

Season one was brutal. Absolutely, hatefully brutal. We were never on schedule, always on the ugly side of a past deadline, struggling to figure out what the show was and how to actually write it.The voice didn’t come naturally, we had to find it.

Season two was almost as brutal, because we wanted it to be even better than season one.

The beginning of season three for me, specifically, was excruciating because Kevin was off on The Secret Circle and I didn’t want the show to suffer in his absence. I worked myself into a state of near insanity.

Once the middle of season three hit, however, things started to get easier. I tried to micromanage less, be less controlling, less insecure, and set out to do my best to give the other writer-producers more ownership over their material. The “team” really took shape and other writers came out of their shell and started to really blossom and find their own confidence and their own voice.

Season four was very functional and very enjoyable. My favorite season as far as the process goes. I loved watching Caroline Dries, specifically, come into her own as a soon-to-be showrunner. [1]

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