September 13, 2013

Gilligan @ SCA

Breaking Bad Showrunner Visits the School of Cinematic Arts

When Writer/Producer Vince Gilligan visited the School of Cinematic Arts on September 10th, the conversation focused on his journey as a writer, his time on the X-Files and the similarities between modern television and the studio system in the 1930s. Gilligan also discussed the topic that has been leading watercooler conversations for weeks now: How and why his hit show Breaking Bad will end in three episodes. Gilligan told the capacity crowd that he felt fans and critics were reading too much into his motives regarding the demise or survival of lead character Walter White.

Vince Gilligan, Professor Howard Rodman and Chair of the Writing
for Screen & Television Division Jack Epps, Jr.

“I don’t have anything to say about politics. People think that, [whether or not] Walt gets gets caught or not is saying something about America or the healthy care system or whatever. I’m not saying a damn thing about America,” said Gilligan. “My responsibility is to write about this one guy and to come up with a satisfying and proper conclusion. Satisfaction is a better emotion than happy or sad.”

Gilligan is the show’s executive producer, which will air its final episode on September 29th  on AMC. The show has won seven Emmys and has been nominated forty two times. Before his time on Breaking Bad, Gilligan worked as a writer on another iconic television series, The X-Files  and wrote the films Hancock, and the cult classic Wilder Napalm.

Gilligan told the students that The X-Files was the most formative experience of his career. “I was so satisfied working on the X Files. It went for nine years. 200 plus episodes and I was there for a little over seven years,” Gilligan said. “I had such a good time. It was the film school that I got paid to attend. I got to learn. I had someone holding a gun to my head that I needed to make me write which was priceless.”

Gilligan’s Q and A was hosted as part of the Writing Presents speaker series and was moderated by SCA Professor Howard Rodman in SCA 108, the Ray Stark Theatre.