TIDRTY STORIES we can tell on the island, demonstrating our feeling that the potential is limitless.
And now, without further ado... Let's Get Lost.
A BRIEF Q & A
Hopefully the Pilot has done itsjob and successfully begged the answers to dozens of questions. No -we're not gonna tell where that polar bear came from, but we're all about answering the rest.
We can only assume the first question on everyone's mind is this -
OKAY - IT'SNEW AND EXCITING••• BUT WHAT'S THE FRANCHISE? IN OTHER WORDS,WHAT DOES AN EPISODE LOOK LIKE?
•True, LOST doesn't fit into any specific category of a franchise drama and this makes it tricky to see what the $ow IS. But when you take a step back and look at the big picture, it becomes clear that we employ MANY franchises:
IT'S A MEDICAL SHOW. If someone gets hmt and sick (a rather common occurrence here on the island), the life and death stakes play outjust like an episode of ER. And as demonstrated in the pilot, without the trappings of modern technology, practicing medicine becomes a lot more "hands on." How does Jack diagnose what may be a contagious illness that is spreading among the survivors -and once h. e does,how can he cure it?
IT'S A COP SHOW. If we do ourjob right, every episode starts with a central mystery. Whether it's something that's happening as a result of their new home (the group encounters a clearly man-made HATCH in the side of a mountain) or it's something more character related (one of the castaways is murdered) -the investigation and eventual resolution of that mystery becomes the story engine of that episode.
IT'S A LAWYER SHOW. Every episode provides material for explosive ethical arguments whether it be about the innocent or guilt of one of our characters accused of stealing food or about how to begin forming a new society (democracy might be the most civilized form of government to adapt, but is it the most efficient?). Not to mention, if one of our castaways is
·suspected of killing another, how do the others put them on trial... and if the accused is found guilty, how are they punished?
IT'S A CHARACTER DRAMA. Let's embrace the inherently "soapy" elements we have at our disposal and do a classier version of them. Romance. Comradery. Greed. Betrayal. Jealousy. All play out between our characters. Love triangles, alliances, social outcasts ... all the stories that populate a season of "The O.C."play out here on our island -albeit with much higher stakes.
The simple answer to the franchise question? Basically, we tell the same stories you see on any other television show, but in a strange new setting. It's all the things you DON'T see on "Survivor": Murder. A blood transfusion. A love affair. A trial. All playing out far from civilization ...
IS LOST A GENRE SHOW?
We'd prefer to brand it as an "Adventure Show."
Our mandate is to give LOST the same treatment as a Michael Crichton novel. Every time we . introduce an element of the fantastic, we approach it from a real place. lf we do it right, the "paranormal" will always be coupled with a logical explanation to remind the audience that this is the real world.
The moment our characters stop being amazed by amazing things,the show becomes inaccessible
. to a broader audience. As "Close Encounters" treated alien visitation in a rea1·and grounded way (real-life characters in a constant state of wonder as to what was happening around them), we hope to have the same respect for the seemingly supernatural on "Lost." ·
More importantly, there will be entire episodes that are grounded entirely in reality and have no
·elements of the fantastic·whatsoever. The island itself is a strange and mysterious place, but it also poses the same threats as any normal island. Not to mention the almost limitless permutations of character conflict that can drive an episode over a single issue (i.e. electing a leader).
If we do ourjobs right, we can walk that fine line and never be branded as "Sci-Fi."
THE BIG QUESTION -IS IT SELF-CONTAINED OR SERIALIZED?
Yes -the mysteries surrounding the island may serve an ongoing (and easy to follow) mythology - but every episode has a beginning, middle and end. More importantly, the beginning of the next episode presents an entirely new dilemna to be resolved that requires NO knowledge of the episode(s) that preceded it (except for the rare two-parter).
Yes -character arcs (romances, alliances, grudges) carry over the scope of a season, but the plots will not. Viewers will be able to drop in at any time and be able to follow exactly what's going on in a story context.
This is not lip service -we are absolutely committed to this conceit. LOST can and will be just as accessible on a weekly basis as a traditionally "procedural" drama.
WHAT'S THE SHAPE OF THE FIRST SEASON?
We believe that one of the things that makes LOST compelling is that we experience every day with our survivors. Without fencing ourselves in With a restrictive time format like the one ''24" employs, eacli episode will take place over the course of one to two days. The following episode picks up right where we left off (not necessarily in cliff-hanger fashion -we could begin the next morning) so we get to see the virtually real-time struggle of survival.
What makes this new brand of storytelling so excitfug is that the desert island concept seems so conducive to it. Nothing on the island is easy -every task an almost Herculean struggle.
Audiences won't tune in to find that our characters have built an elaborate tree house -we'll watch them build it.
We feel that by compacting time, the drama is significantly heightened and audiences will feel the experience is more authentic. .When all is said and done, the first season roughly covers our survivors' FIRST FORTY DAYS ON THE ISLAND.
RIGHT. SO WHAT IS THIS ISLAND EXACTLY?
The answer to precisely that question is the core of LOSrs "mythology." Unlike the X-FILES, however, this mythology is compartmentalized as opposed to inter-connected. Inother words, the history of our island spans centuries - Every time a new person (or people) arrives on its shore, a new story begins.
This opens the door for almost limitless possibilities. Inone story, our group finds what seems tobe a NAZI BUNKER. Inother stories, we might chance upon evidence that hints at a history that is considerably more ANCIENT. It's also worth mentioning that the island is BIG -as we never see it from above, it's true size remains a continuing mystery.
Most prevalent however is the island's more contemporary history - a series of discoveries which seem to suggest this place was occupied by a CORPORATE TIIlNK TANKI MILITARY CONTRACTOR which built vast underground complexes for cutting edge experiments - complexes we will not only discover and ultimately INHABIT, but also reveal the SOURCE of the mysterious French transmission from the Pilot.
The beauty of this long and storied past is that one thing has nothing to do with the other -there is no "illtimate Mystery" which requires solving. We are well of aware of the lesson learned on ALIAS by dedicating so much of the storytelling to Rambaldi-centric mythology and have no intention of becoming mired in it, further demonstrating our mission statement to tell self contained stories on a weekly basis.
WHAT ABOUT THAT "MONSTER?" HOW THE HELL DO YOU SUSTAIN THAT OVER A HUNDRED EPISODES?
The short answer-is we don't.
We want to dispel the inevitable "Jurassic Park" COlllparisons as soon as possible. This is not the "run away from the obscenely huge and obscenely hungry creature" show.
True to our commitment to provide rational, real-world explanations for the seemingly bizarre, our castaways will make a series of discoveries in the first few episodes that indicate the "moiister" may indeed have man-made origins which offers a variety of possible explanations illuminating its tn!e nature. Perhaps the result of the experiments performed by the island's past inhabitants or simply a small part within an elaborate security S)'Stem designed to protect yet undiscovered facilities, the beast is almost as scary when it's NOT there.
As the series progresses, the group begins to figure out the ''rules"of the monster -locations and times of day that are "safe"... but-the reemergence of this creature (which may be more machine that animal) is an ever-present threat.
As established in the Pilot's ending, the much realer threat that begins to emerge is married to the realization that there may be other intelligent people on this island - people who are not necessarily happy to be sharing their stomping ground.
SO WHAT ABOUT THE THE OTHER CRASH SURVIVORS? ARE THEY JUST HANGING AROUND .AIJL THE TIME?
Of the 47 survivors referenced in the Pilot, we only meet fourteen. The other thirty-three ... well, we'll certainly begin to wonder who they are and what they're up to after a while.
And.that' s why they're all disappearing.
It's our intent that by the third episode (fourth at the latest), the unspeaking masses will officially vanish under extremely mysterious circumstances. Of course, the sudden and unexpected reduction of their numbers puts even more strain on those left behind -not to mention an ongoing fear that they may be next...
Of course, any of these "33"could turn up later in the series with partial recollections of where they've been...
But that's another story.
TV SHOWS NEED HOME SETS -SO••••?
We all realize that attempting to shoot a weekly TV series with no interiors would be...
challenging. So how do we create standing sets for a show that takes place on a tropical island?
The first three episodes (or perhaps as few as two) focus on a growing concern amongst our
castaways -rescue isn't coming. The food on the plane is gone. There's no fresh water. So... The mission is clear -Despite the inherent dangers of the jungle,they have to RELOCATE.
Our idea is to build ajungle inside a soundstage. And in this patch ofjungle, our characters will
begin to build their own "mini" sets. Call it a primitive "Melrose Place."
This new "camp"will become our home set. A set where we can regulate time of day, weather conditions, etc. This is where our thirteen characters live, eat, sleep -it is their base of operations. It is their Precinct House. Their ER. Their Law Firm.
And as we mentioned earlier, Ifand when these sets grow visually tirCsome, some or all of the castaways may relocate to the vast UNDERGROUND COMPLEX they unci>ver, although this might not happen until well into the second season.
The goal for LOST is this -structure each story so that half of the episode plays out at HOME (the camp) and the other half plays. out AWAY.(anywhere else.on the island). "Home" stories will·traditionally be more character-driven and survival-based while the "Awily'' stories will obviously have more action/adventure elements.
HOW DO YOU SERVICE THIRTEEN SERIES REGULARS EVERY WEEK?
It's all about balance.
Without question, The Pilot platforms Jack and Kate as the leads of the show. The series will certainly keep these two dynamic characters at the front and center of every episode. This leaves eleven characters. Of course, all can't share equal screen time, but over the course of the first six episodes, each and every one needs to have the spotlight on them so we (and the audience) can begin to flag who "pops."
The operating thesis is this:
Design stories which FEATIJRE just three or four of the castaways (excluding Jack and Kate) every week. Instead of trying to cram the other eleven into every episode in a meanirigful way, put the castaways who are not in the spotlight in roles that SERVICE tlie.ones who are. The following week, pick four more, rinse and repeat.
This guarantees that we can stick to an A,B,C story format and that the episode will always be
accessible to fresh eyes. Most importantly, by valuing quality over quantity, we always leave our
·audie11ce wanting more.
Additionally, LOST will rely heavily on VIGNETIING. Short scenes which service the overall and ongoing arcs of island urvival.;. in other words, the "business" of a scene while characters are talking to each other. If Sayid decides to build a raft (a project which will cover the span of several episodes) we can watch this process unfold even a8 he deals with "the crisis of the week.;,
Something else worth mentioning -- The beauty of having such a large (and capable) cast is that with thirteen characters, there are 78 different combinations of scenes between just two PeQJ>le. We could go through two seasons and never come close to exploring all of them.
ARE THERE GOING TO BE GUEST STARS?
Despite our initial reluctance to introduce any characters beyond our core cast, we have come to
realize that in order to tell compelling stories, we need them (on occasion) to come from the .· - -- ··-- outside.
But let us be clear -it will be rare.
This is not "Gilligan's Island" where every week introduces a hapless Russian Cosmonaut or Broadway Theater Producer who just happens to have washed up on the same shore. "New" characters on LOST will almost always come from within -that is to say, they are already on the · island.
We just haven't discovered them yet.
SERIOUSLY THOUGH, WHAT' S UP WimTHAT POLAR BEAR?
We're not telling. Sorry.
Tue first words etched on the blank white board in the Writer's Room were these - "CHARACTER FIRST."
At the end of the day, LOST will sink or swim purely on the merit of its characters... and taking a page from the successful playbook of Reality Television, we've stocked our island witli the ingredients for limitless conflict. No conflict, no draila.
We can't be the "Adventure Hour" every week -in fact, many of our stories will feature the simple human drama of being forced into survival dynamics with complete strangers.
We've worked out fairly detailed biographies for each character that inhabits our island, so here's a
. thumbnail sketch of each one to present an idea of not only who they are, but where they're going.
Brave, sharp-witted, powerful and vulnerable, Jack finds himself cast in the role of hero whether he likes it or not... and he's more inclined to go with
"not." Despite having shared a story centering on his time as a spinal
surgeon and having clearly demonstrated his abilitie8 as a doctor, much of Jack'spast is shrouded in mystery. Simply put, it's not something he likes to talk about -but if he did, it would certainly explain his tattoos. Jack's reason for being in Australia is something he doesn't like to talk about either, but we come to learn he was heading back to the States for the· funeral of someone who has long defined his path.· As the series unfolds, our stories continue to find Jack as the one the other castaways call upon to
·· iiiiike the life and ·death decisions they are unwilling to make for themselves.
Considerably more complicated than we originally ·gave her credit for, Kate is a runner who has nowhere to run. Raised as a military brat with a
single father bouncing from base to base, the cumulative effect of never putting roots down later led to a series of busted relationships with men . Kate baS what might be commonly referred to as "commitment issues." And that brings us to the traumatic events that made her a fugitive, where the solitude and constant suspicion of life on the run merged with her self
reliance and practicality to harden her beyond anything she ever imagined.
. Her crime itself remains a mystery, a fact made even more intriguing by her refusal to apologize for it. An independent spirit who has problems with authority now finds herself free for the first time in years... but only as free as the island's coastline. Now forced to face her fears, the island reveals the emotion Kate tries so hard to hide and forces her to drop the walls she has built around herself. Even more interesting, she may finally be falling in love with a man she cannot escape.
A caring soul wrapped inside a self-deprecating yet wildly amusing wit, Charlie is an addict on a collision course with mandatory REHAB. Completely unable to accept the fact that he is a bas-been, Charlie continues to live in the shadow of Drive Shaft. More than a band, but a surrogate family (albeit a dysfunctional one),the last year bas been
·particularly bard on him as the band unraveled due to the ridiculous behavior and raging egos of its singer and lead guitarist, a feud Charlie found himself constantly trying to diffuse. But now the dieam is over. Trapped on the island, Charlie faces not only the specter of violent drug
withdrawal, but also the possibility of resuming his role as the consummate sideman - maybe someday becoming a trusted aide to Jack and finding in the castaways the family he once thought he had found in his band.
A handsome, roguish con man who goes by a variety of assumed names (including the one he's currently using), Sawyer finds himself stranded on the island with nothing more than a suicide note in his pocket. What was once a death wish bas now trnnslated into reckless abandon. -He is a man who doesn't care anymore, and thus, the perfect ANTIHERO.
He is an anti-social animal forced to be social, a combination that is as dangerous to be in as it is fun to watch. Here on the island, Sawyer is able to put his charm and quick wits to worlc, forming a one-man BLACK MARKET with goods he filches from the plane. He will do his
bC tO istfurmiiii att&Chillents, but the right woman might just reveal
a softer side. Then again...probably not.
Boone grew up in a world of wealth and privilege provided by a vast commercial empire run by his mother, "The Martha Stewart of the
Wedding Industry." Fatherless from a very young age, Boone quickly assumed the role of family patriarch. Inone fellswoop, he became the heir apparent and self-appointed guardian of his sister. But Boone bas a darlc secret -one even Shannon doesn't know. Diagnosed with schizophrenia during adolescence, he bas since managed his illness with ongoing therapy and a cocktail of anti-psychotic medications - medications he stopped taking roughly a month before the crash.
Ongoing survival crises find Boone at odds with his slipping sanity, leading to an inevitable breaking point which will not only put him at odds with the others, but make him an outright DANGER.
While we may perceive her to be little more than a rich bitch, Shannon is considerably more "complicated. " After too many drunken nights and wrecked sports cus, her wealthy (and incredibly distant) mother finally cancelled Shannon's credit cards. Resourceful in her own way, Shannon solved her problem by seducing a wealthy man three times her age and cbnvinced him to tlilce her to his home on Australia's Gold Coast -a relationship which ended in disaster (as they all do with Shannon) and the arrival of overprotective Boone to bring her back to captivity. Smart, manipulatiVe, and extremely capable of being ruthless in artier to get what she wants, Shannon will be a constant catalyst for conflict in her new surroundings, .. until she begins to fall for the one
man on the island even less inclined to play nice than she is -Sawyer.
' - .· .• ,..,
Intelligent, charismatic, driven and considerably more lucid than the Pilot gives him credit for - All these characteristics only begin to describe the enigma that is Locke. Once a faceless, unhappy office worker, Locke'sonly solace came from amassing knowledge of survival techniques, playing board ganies and fighting paintball battles... all traits which made him "quirky"in civilization, but now allow him to shine on the island. For the first time inhis life,people look to Locke as a LEADER ...and he likes it. The plane crash is the best thing that ever
happened to Locke- in·manyways he views it as A SIGN.- He has found his purpose... and that's not all. The others don't know what it is yet, but Locke has a PLAN.
A romantic forced into the guise of a soldier, Sayid was drafted into the Iraqi Republican Guardjust shy of his twentieth birthday. Unable to stomach the moral ambiguity of his duties, Sayid deserted during the first Gulf War and defected to Australia The most difficult part of Sayid's relocation has been hiS thirteen-year separation from the love of his life, Talia. Although they have corresponded by letter, the prospect of seeing each other did not seem possible until Talia's family fled to
Los Angeles after_ Iraq'srecent "liberation." The sad irony - Sayid was on his way to ask for her hand in marriage when the plane went down.
On the island, Sayid'stechnological skills combined with his desire to - seek and present the truth will put him in an invaluable (and sometimes precarious) position. Of all the castaways, his desire to_ get off the island is the strongest because it is driven by the noblest cause -LOVE.
The daughter of a wealthy South Korean auto parts magnate, Stm went to
college and fell in love with free-spirited fellow student Jin. After their marriage, Jin changed, eventually becoming harsh and distant as he relegated Stm to give up her own aspirations in favor of a more traditional life (in other words. a glorified servant). This forced Stm to devise an
"exit strategy"- For the past two years she has secretly been
LEARNING ENGLISH. Planning to ditch Tm in Los Angeles to stay
with a cousin, Sun's skills with Eastem Medicine may just be her ticket to a new life. The plane crash has shattered Sun'splan, but not her resolve.
Now freed of the cu1tural and fammal chains which have kept her
passive, Sun's evolution as an independent woman has officially begun•..
Jin was born into an impoverished family in a fishing village in Southern Korea. After meeting Sun, the spirited daughter of the most powerful
auto magnate in the country, Jin fell deeply in love. Unfortunately, due to a fieice class S}'Stem, Sun's father refused to give his permission for the two to marry...unless of course Jin was willing to play ball. The result
was a Faustian deal -Jin promising to keep Sun squarely within the strict confines of Korean society in exchange for a high-paying,high-ranking job. While the agreement afforded Jin VIP treatment, it left Sun betrayed. Jin is preoccupied by what he considers a far greater betrayal: his wife's INABILITY TO CONCEIVE. On the island, his own inability to communicate with the others is balanced by his knowledge of the ocean· and his knack fur capturing marine life fur fuod... but when he realizes he must now rely on his wife, he must choose between attempting to regain her love or fall prey to the dangerous allure of the island's darlt influence.
Hurley was born into a vast Puerto Rican family, instilling him with two great survival skills: a deep, abiding love of food and an amiable ability to wrest peace from the thorniest of family feuds. Unable to attend college (he is not what some may call ''book smartj, Hurley parlayed his skills into a career in asset recovery -A REPO MAN able to talk anyone
out of anything. Hurley's talent landed him in Sydney where hours before getting on the Oceanic flight, he talked a former millionaire into tmning over his yacht On the island, Hurley will be the one who responds to all of the strangeness with the bewilderment of an average Joe -He is the everyman, not to mention the primary source of our COMIC RELIEF.
When wild-child Claire found herself in a family way, her immediate
instinct to get rid of the baby was overcome by an even greater instinct to make a si7.eable chUnk of cash. Talcing advantage of the massive marlcet fur newborn babies inthe States, Claire reached out to a Beverly Hills adoption agency and instantly found a couple willing to pay forty thousand dollars for her unborn child. Denying herself any emotional conneetion for fear of building a bond she has bro,ken in advance, the last thing Claire wants to be is a mother. Now, she is forced to confront that inevitability as the baby inside her creates a unique connection to the island's MYSTERIES (illustrated by tetrifying nightmares)- a connection she is too frightened to share with the others.
Michael has always known he was an artist, but his course changed drastically when a casual relationship in his twenties resulted in a pregnancy. Determined that his child wouldn't grow up fatherless, Michael married his girlfriend, droppedout of Art School and took a "real"job. But six months after his son was born, his wife abruptly left him and took the baby with her. Although this was the perfect time for Michael to get back to his dream, the secmity provided by a regular paycheck kept him in the corporate world. Now, ten years later, his
world is rocked again as he gains y of Walt, a son he barely knows. Here on the island, Michael muSt not only learn to be a father, but get back in touch with his inner creative soul in order to emerge in a new
role as the group's most capable BUILDER.
WALTWalt has had a nomadic existence most of his life, traveling the world with his mother on business trips. Deprived of the ability to establish roots or friends, he consequently relates to adults better than his peers.
. Now stranded on the island with a father he doesn't really know -and