X-Files mythology, TenThirteen Interviews Database, and more

Posts Tagged ‘millennium’

Wired: Frank Black is Back – A Literary Return for Millennium

Frank Black is Back – A Literary Return for Millennium
Sophie Brown

[Original here]

Nearly every geek on the planet is at least aware of Chris Carter’s international hit show The X-Files which dominated popular culture in the mid 90s, but perhaps fewer are aware of the show’s two spin-off shows: The Lone Gunmen and Millennium. Whilst TLG was a true spin-off that expanded the world of existing characters, Millennium was a show in its own right that just happened to co-exist in the same universe that Mulder and Scully inhabited. Although it never gained the popularity of its predecessor, Millennium became a cult hit with fans and critics alike and ran for three seasons. Now Fourth Horseman Press has released a book, Back to Frank Black, exploring the series with the collaboration of many people involved with the show.

Millennium followed Frank Black (Lance Henriksen), a retired FBI forensic profiler with an uncanny gift — the ability to see into the minds of serial killers. The show takes places in the run up to the year 2000 and began with Frank working for the Millennium Group whose agenda was gradually explored as the show progressed. Season one mostly focused on Black using his gift to track down serial killers and murderers, the general tone of the show being much darker than The X-Files, in fact it was occasionally referred to as “The X-Files for adults”. As the show progressed, the sinister intentions of the Millennium Group were gradually revealed and the show’s mythology grew as the forces Frank faced became even darker and his personal life was shattered. The final season saw Frank return to work with the FBI and gain a new partner, Emma Hollis (Klea Scott) as the Group’s power grew ever stronger. Sadly for fans, Millennium never received a true finale of its own; instead Frank was brought in for a single episode of The X-Files (cunningly titled “Millennium”) during which Mulder and Scully helped him tie up the events of his own show and provide some resolution.

This new book aims to offer fans a complete look at the show with an enormous amount of new material (over 500 pages) including entries from Lance Henriksen himself along with creator Chris Carter and co-executive producer Frank Spotnitz. Also included are a number of essays by both people involved in the show and authors with in-depth knowledge, including Brittany Tiplady, who played Frank’s daughter Jordan, and Joseph Maddrey, co-author of Lance Henriksen’s autobiography Not Bad For a Human. The book is edited by Adam Chamberlain and Brian A. Dixon, both publishers for Fourth Horseman Press and consultants to the Back to Frank Black campaign which is pushing for Frank Black’s return to our screens in some form. The book itself will not be sold for profit; all proceeds from sales will instead be donated to Lance Henriksen’s chosen charity, Children of The Night.

I was able to talk to Adam about the book and the campaign for Frank’s return last month. Here’s what he had to say:


Millennium Series Premiere Promotional Poster © Fox via Fourth Horseman Press

Millennium Series Premiere Promotional Poster © Fox via Fourth Horseman Press

How did you first discover Millennium?
I was already a huge fan of The X-Files from the start, and so had the same sense of eager anticipation when Millennium first aired in the UK, and took to the series from its very first episode. It was not always a simple task to follow its original run in the UK as it was poorly treated in the schedules — I believe I saw most of season one either on ITV or via the VHS releases, season two on Sky One, and then had to wait for the DVD box set to see the bulk of season three! The dark tone and subject matter both appealed to me and I already had huge respect for Chris Carter’s work, so it was an easy sell, and I wasn’t disappointed.

There are a lot of crime shows out there and a lot of shows about the supernatural, what makes Millennium stand out to you?
Millennium is utterly unique in the crime genre, particularly in the way it incorporates interpretations and explorations of evil into its evolving mythology. No series before or since has really dared to explore the nature of human evil in such depth or breadth. And Frank Black is a unique protagonist: a man of deeply-rooted principles and unparalleled insight who endures the weight of the world on behalf of us all. Add to that the considerable combined talents of its writers, producers, cast and crew all enriching the tapestry of the series, and it really is a perfect storm.

Where did the idea for the Back to Frank Black book begin?
The idea to put out a book was first floated to Brian A. Dixon and I by James McLean and Troy Foreman — who run the Back to Frank Black campaign — just over year ago. We had already worked with them on a few projects for the campaign by this point, Fourth Horseman Press was well-established by Brian, and through it we both had some considerable experience in editing and publishing, so it was a good fit.

Can you tell us about the most difficult obstacle you overcame in creating the book?
Time. We were obviously eager to make the book as comprehensive and of the highest quality as possible, but at the same time the Back to Frank Black campaign has a certain momentum, of which this book forms a part, so inevitably it was a balancing act between the two. It has taken us a year to put the book together from start to finish and we are very happy with the results, but in all honesty we couldn’t have produced it any quicker!

You have forewords from Chris Carter, Frank Spotnitz and Lance Henriksen — how did you go about approaching them and what were their responses to the project?
The groundwork here had really been laid down by Troy and James through the Back to Frank Black campaign. They had already established good relationships with Carter, Spotnitz, and especially Lance Henriksen, who has worked very closely with us all on the campaign for some time now. So really it is testament both to the rapport and respect between the campaign and each of them, as well as to the value they place on Millennium and their enduring interest in the series. When it came to inviting their contributions to the book, all we had to do was ask! Each of them continues to be very supportive of the campaign and the book, and to be extremely generous with their time.

The Cover of Back to Frank Black © Fourth Horseman Press

The Cover of Back to Frank Black © Fourth Horseman Press

Which parts of the book were you most excited about obtaining?
The forewords from Lance Henriksen and Frank Spotnitz, and Chris Carter’s introduction are clearly highlights; we are so pleased to have each of them set down in their own words the relevance of Millennium to them, both during the series’ run and now. Added to that, we were particularly pleased to be able to interview Robert McLachlan, the director of cinematography who worked on all three seasons and was so integral to the signature look and tone of the series. He is always in huge demand and invariably on one or other punishing filming schedule, but I managed to grab some time from him directly after one project finished and just before he flew out to Ireland to work on the next season of Game of Thrones. Also, with the book now finalized it is just immensely satisfying to view it in its entirety. We have a wide range of talented contributors, and probably the most satisfying thing of all is to be able to appreciate the sum total of the collaboration of everyone involved.

The cover was drawn by Matthew Ingles. How did he become attached to the project?
The cover artwork from Matthew Ingles really fell into our laps. Just as we were beginning to plan the book and before we had even announced it, Matthew posted the image to the campaign’s Facebook page, both Brian and myself saw it and, independently of one another, knew it would be perfect. As with everyone involved, he was very happy to contribute, and I think the fact he was moved to create the piece in the first place is just another example of how Millennium continues to be a source of inspiration to so many.

The book is a non-profit endeavor. Can you tell us about where the profits will go and how that was decided?
All proceeds from the book will be donated to Children of the Night, a registered US charity dedicated to rescuing children from prostitution. Lance has always been very specific about wanting to support charities that benefit children in some way; specifically this has included Children of the Night through Back to Frank Black. Previously, in 2010, the campaign auctioned off his personal collection of scripts from movies he has appeared in throughout his career, alongside a number of other items donated by cast and crew.

The Millennium Group Logo © Fox/Fourth Horseman Press

The Millennium Group Logo © Fox/Fourth Horseman Press

Was there anything you discovered in researching the book that you found particularly interesting or that surprised you?
There are two points that really struck me in this regard. The first came from researching and writing my own essay, which is about the manifestations of evil across the series. I had always maintained an interest in the subject matter — I was very much influenced to undertake a degree in psychology, including a year spent exclusively on criminology, as a direct result of Millennium — but in delving back into that darkness alongside revisiting many episodes in such detail, I deepened my respect for the series yet further and discovered fresh perspectives on its content. Secondly, and leading on from that, it is a surprise to us that there is something of a dearth of critical analysis of the series published to date. Millennium undoubtedly has an intelligence to it that cries out for in-depth study and interpretation, and yet it has been largely overlooked. It would be a mistake to view the series as merely a child of pre-millennial angst and therefore no longer relevant; if anything, it feels even more resonant in today’s violent and uncertain times. Even if we were to set aside the ambitions of the campaign for a moment, publishing this book feels to us like a long-deserved and worthy endeavor on behalf of everyone who had a hand in the series. It fills that void, and we hope it will therefore appeal to the series’ enduring legion of fans as well as to those previously unfamiliar with the series and exploring it for the first time.

Back to Frank Black is also the name for your campaign to bring back Millennium. Can you tell us more about the campaign?
The Back to Frank Black campaign was started four years ago by James McLean, and he was joined in the endeavor by Troy Foreman shortly thereafter. What sets it apart from other fan campaigns is not only in its global fanbase of support — its signature podcast earns downloads from some seventy-five countries — but moreover the level of involvement from those who worked on the series. Lance Henriksen continues to do a huge amount to support us, and a considerable number of the main cast and crew have offered interviews, donated items and offered their support in a host of other ways. That makes the campaign unique in fandom and, as much as anything else, their support and eagerness to return to Millennium is what continues to drive us in turn.

How would you personally like to see the show brought back? A new season, a movie, a comic book series?
For me, the most viable and interesting ways would be a movie — either for the big or small screen — or as a mini-series through a cable network. Back to Frank Black campaigns specifically for a movie, and this would seem the most appealing and likely format, broadening the canvas from the confines of network television. Chris Carter has already hinted at ways in which he might achieve this in a movie, which he mentions in the book.

Do you have anything else you’d like to say?
After many months working on it behind closed doors, we are just really excited to have the book out there so that everyone can read it. Millennium has been a huge influence on both Brian and myself, creatively and in other ways, and in fact both our friendship and our creative partnership are very much founded in a mutual appreciation for the series. If there was ever any production we wanted to write about or for which we wished to compile and edit a book, Millennium is it. We very much hope the book will attract more and more interest such that it furthers the ambitions of the Back to Frank Black campaign, but it also stands on its own as a long overdue analysis of and testament to the truly unique, intelligent and remarkable body of work that is Millennium.

You can order your own copy of Back to Frank Black at Fourth Horseman Press, other retailers will be stocking the book shortly and a review will be here on GeekMom later this month.

Indiewire: Chris Carter Talks The Legacy of 'The X-Files,' Returning to TV and Why You Have to Read The Comments

Chris Carter Talks The Legacy of ‘The X-Files,’ Returning to TV and Why You Have to Read The Comments
Daniel Carlson

[Original article here]

Chris Carter is responsible for the nightmares of a generation.

As the creator of “The X-Files” and “Millennium,” he shepherded in a new wave of horror and suspense on television, and his legacy can be seen in the success of everything from “Fringe” to “The Walking Dead.” For his contributions to the medium, Carter received the Outstanding Television Writer award from the Austin Film Festival, where he appeared on several panels and presented a pair of episodes from his best-known series. Indiewire got a chance to sit down with him in Austin to talk about everything from the rise of cable to the future of content distribution.

Let’s start with why you chose to screen these specific episodes of “The X-Files” (“Clyde Bruckman’s Final Repose”) and “Millennium” (“Pilot”).

First of all, it’s nice to be here. I’ve never been to Austin, so this is a big thrill. It was an amazing honor today to be among my other honorees, Frank Darabont and Eric Roth. Amazing.

Frank Darabont, Eric Roth, Carter at AFF Jack Plunkett

The episodes I chose were for two reasons: I didn’t want to focus just on “The X-Files.” I thought that “Millennium” pilot stands the test of time. I think it’s a really good, scary episode of television, and I was very proud of it. I still am. It was very nice to see it again today myself.

The other episode I chose [“Final Repose”] was, for me, a high point during [the show’s early years], and I thought it was still one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen on television. It’s completely original; it was taking “The X-Files” and turning it on its head. The performances were wonderful, the direction was wonderful, the writing was wonderful. I thought it was just an excellent episode in every way.

“The X-Files,” in a lot of ways, paved the way for network genre shows, especially horror. I can’t imagine it was easy to get a show with so many straight-ahead scares off the ground in the early 1990s. Was that a fight with Fox? Was there ever any feedback from them about the content’s grimness?

The good thing and the bad thing about was that there was nothing scary on television then, so when I came in and said, “There’s nothing scary on television, and this is something that we should be doing,” they got that idea. But they didn’t get the idea of two FBI agents investigating the paranormal. That was weird to them, and they didn’t want to do it at first.

I had to pitch the idea twice to the network, and they finally bought it maybe just to make me go away. I was at 20th Century Fox Television, pitching it to 20th Century Fox network; it was kind of a no-brainer for them, because it’s one hand feeding the other. That was a fortunate thing in the beginning, not so much in the end.

Do you think any shows since then have been that scary?

It’s really hard to scare people on network television. You’ve got to be smart about it. You’ve got to parcel out the scares. I’ve seen a few really scary shows, episodes of them, but I have to say, I took a break from television after “The X-Files” was off and sort of didn’t pay much attention, but I’m back now.

What are you watching right now?

“Breaking Bad.” Love it. A little bit of everything: little bit of “Game of Thrones,” little bit of “Walking Dead.” I’m back into “The Wire.”

Has there ever been a show that’s made you say “I wish I’d been part of that”?

I admired shows like “Six Feet Under.” That was an amazing show. Never boring, always inventive, smart. Loved the characters. Completely original. Those are shows that I admire.

In terms of your writing process, how did you determine what works for you best?

It’s pretty much a regular workday, 9 to 5. That works for me. I’ve worked, believe me, from 4 o’clock in the morning until 10 o’clock at night when we were in production, so I’ve done those kinds of hours. I try to sort of have a regular life now, but I’m not in production, so it’s a luxury to have a regular life. When you do have to feed an ongoing production, you have a finite amount of time in which to do the best work possible, so you have to work really around the clock.

Speaking of productions, could you talk a bit more about the status of the project you’re writing for Showtime?

[smiling] The status is, right now, that they like it.

Any descriptions or ideas you can discuss?

I’m sort of superstitious.

You had a show, “Unique,” that didn’t go. This Showtime project is a different one?

Yeah, this is a different project.

What was the fallout with “Unique”?

There’s no fallout. It’s just a show that we tried to set up in a certain way, and we didn’t set it up, and then we took a step back, and so that’s where we are on that right now.

What’s changed in the industry and writing/production process since you launched “The X-Files”?

There are more and different places to pitch and to develop, and I think you’re looking at the obvious eclipse of broadcast television by cable in terms of content. Things that you can’t do on broadcast now that you can do on cable, which is making it feel like a superior product.

It’s not more popular, but you’re watching viewership go up on cable so that now cable is actually starting to give broadcast a run for its money. Look at “Sons of Anarchy,” look at the way “Hatfields & McCoys” performed. There are lots of instances of cable shows … what else did I see the other day that premiered to huge numbers? [We both drew blanks, but Carter was likely thinking of “American Horror Story: Asylum,” which drew 3.85 million viewers on FX.] You’re looking at a change, and that’s an exciting thing, but what it says to me is there are also opportunities to do inventive things on broadcast television and still get a large audience.

Was that what inspired you to write a cable show?

I love the idea — as do a lot of people who have done broadcast shows, where you’re doing 22 episodes a season — of doing six, eight, or 10-13 [episodes]. That is very appealing to me, and it actually allows you to attract a different kind of actor because they aren’t doing it 10 months a year, they’re doing it three months a year. That’s a benefit, too.

I want to circle back to “The X-Files,” based on some comments you made earlier today about how the show evolved to encompass procedural, horror, comedy, etc. Was there a type of episode that was the most rewarding to do?

Some of the big mythology episodes, where we did big production stuff — exploded trains. I mentioned an episode [“End Game”] at one of the panels where we trucked in tons of snow and created the polar ice cap with the conning tower. There were things we did just because we didn’t know we couldn’t. Those were really exciting times.

Then there were episodes like the black-and-white episode [“The Post-Modern Prometheus”] which were taking a whole other direction. Production design had to be switched up because you design differently for black-and-white. We filmed in black-and-white. We didn’t film in color like a lot of people do and change it. So we took some technical risks.

One of the episodes I’m most proud of in terms of taking a risk would be the episode called “Triangle,” which took place on the Queen Mary. 24 edits in the hour of television, so big, long takes. We would do one take before lunch. You just don’t do that in television production.

That was the one with two long shots down a hallway that crossed each other, right?

Yes, that’s right. There were big tricks in it, and it took some inventiveness.

You mentioned alternate routes of pitching and distribution. Would you ever consider online fundraising like Kickstarter or online distribution like Netflix?

It’s funny, I just gave somebody some money through Kickstarter to work on a documentary — I think it’s a really interesting way to do things. Right now, I have what I would call more conventional avenues open to me, so that’s the way I think I would prefer to work right now. But I actually like the idea of choosing these alternative methods, and people coming up with new ways to distribute content, and people taking control of their projects. I think that will be a future of sorts.

Would online distribution be a possibility for “Fencewalker,” your film in progress?

Possibly. I’ve sort of put that away right now, and I’m gonna come back to it.

Do you think you’ll revisit that in the near future?

I’m not sure.

I wasn’t actually sure of the status: if it had finished shooting, etc.

It had been filmed and was in the editorial process, and I decided I wanted to rethink some things about it.

There’s a big focus here at the Austin Film Festival about writers, pitching, getting projects off the ground, and so on. What’s the best or worst piece of advice you’ve ever gotten as a writer?

It’s funny, no matter how much advice you get, the truth is that it’s kind of like “Throw Momma From the Train,” you know, “A writer writes always.” You must persevere. That’s the only way to find the gold.

You spoke at the panel about your relationship with the fan community, and how you read a fan letter in the first season of “X-Files” that influenced your approach to the show and steered you toward stories involving the relationship between the main characters. I can’t imagine what it would be like to mount a show like that today in the age of blogs, and comments, and recaps. Is that something that’s on your mind as you prepare the Showtime project?

You’re bombarded with, uh, “advice,” and with people wanting you to consider their ideas and their direction. Some of it filters through, and some of it doesn’t, so you filter a lot of it out. It comes to you in a variety of ways, and I still think I would pay attention [to it]. I’m sure every editorial writer in The New York Times reads the comments that come after, because they can be so — they are wildly varying in their meanness or sometimes insight. So you can’t disregard them. You must pay attention. It’s important. It’s a reality check of sorts. So it’s part of the process.

That seems like a tough balance to strike.

You could spend a lot of time just reading your reviews, basically. A lot of people don’t read their reviews, but I do. I read my reviews.

The A.V. Club: Philip Baker Hall

Philip Baker Hall on The Chicago 8, Seinfeld, and Paul Thomas Anderson
The A.V. Club
Will Harris

[Original article here] (Extract only)

Millennium (1997, 1998)—“Group Elder”
PBH: Yeah, well, that… I don’t know what they were doing with that. That was an odd series. Also shot up there in Canada. All I remember is being out there in the woods somewhere, and they’d take us to some remote location, put a dead chicken on the table or something, and somebody would sayin the script, I meanall these odd words, spirits would come in, and I was supposed to be the embodiment of the spirit… I mean, to tell you the truth, it was not a show that I watched, so I wasn’t into the mythology of it or the language of it. I guess it had its fans, but I did several episodes, and I couldn’t quite… I never quite knew where they were going with it. So I never understood the character. I was the physical embodiment of a spiritual presence, but was it a good presence or not? I don’t know. I never understood it. I get these amazing residuals from there every couple of months, though. 14 cents, 23 cents, one dollar and nine cents. And that’ll be for, like, 50 showings or something. [Laughs.] Very bizarre. Pretty weird.

Collider.com: Writer/Producer Frank Spotnitz Talks His Desire to Make a Third X-FILES Movie and the Possibility of a MILLENNIUM Movie


Writer/Producer Frank Spotnitz Talks His Desire to Make a Third X-FILES Movie and the Possibility of a MILLENNIUM Movie


Christina Radish

[Original article]

The X-Files writer/producer Frank Spotnitz has created the compelling eight-episode international espionage series Hunted for Cinemax, to premiere on October 26th.  The story follows Sam Hunter (Melissa George), a skilled operative for Byzantium, a secretive private firm involved in global intelligence and espionage, that may have personally been responsible for orchestrating an attempt on her life, leaving her with no idea who to trust.

While at the TCA Press Tour, Collider spoke to Frank Spotnitz for this exclusive interview.  We will run what he had to say about that series closer to its premiere, but we did want to share what his comments about whether he still wants to do a third The X-Filesmovie, why it would be a cultural crime not to finish the series, how it would need to happen pretty soon, and what he’s most happy about when he looks back at his work on the series and movies.  He also talked about what it might take for a Millennium movie to happen.  Check out what he had to say after the jump.

Collider: Do you feel like you’ve closed the book now on The X-Files, or is there still another chapter to tell there?  Do you still want to do a third movie?

FRANK SPOTNITZ:  I absolutely do!  I think everybody should write to 20th Century Fox.  I’ve been saying for years now that I feel it’s a cultural crime that they have not finished the series.  The second movie did not perform the way anybody wanted it to at the box office.  I’m proud of that movie, but it makes sense to me that it didn’t.  It was released at the height of summer, and it was a story-of-the-week.  That’s not what the movie-going audience wanted.  The movie-going audience wanted the aliens.  That’s what they know The X-Files for.  And that story is not done, and it should be finished.  I don’t think it’s too late, but I think it’s gonna be, pretty soon.  I’m still agitating with everyone I can grab to say, “Let’s make this movie while we still can!”

When you look back at the time you spent making the show and the movies, what are you happiest about, and are there things you still wish you could go back and change?

SPOTNITZ:  Oh, yeah, always!  Unfortunately, my personality is that way.  It’s true with Hunted, too.  I’m like, “Oh, that’s good, but this wasn’t good enough.”  I just look to what I consider failures.  Other people might be like, “Oh, that was great,” but I’ll be like, “No, to me, that was not.”  I’m sure with The X-Files, there are plenty of things that I wish had been better.  But, The X-Files was the central experience of my professional life.  It was my first job in television.  It taught me everything that I’ve taken with me since, and it was a huge success.  I just feel so blessed to have something like that in my life.  How many people get to be a part of something like that?  I really made a lot of close friendships, with Chris Carter and Vince Gilligan, and I’m still friends with a lot of the actors.  I still see Gillian [Anderson] and talk to David [Duchovny].  It’s a treasure and a blessing to have something like that. 

Lance Henriksen recently talked about his desire to make a Millennium movie.  Is that something you’d like to go back and revisit?

SPOTNITZ:  I would!  It’s a harder case to make for Millennium because Millennium was one of those shows that was a critical darling, but never found the mass audience that it deserved.  But, I get asked about that.  There are amazing fans for both series.  The Millennium guys are publishing a book this summer.  They’re really clever about trying to make this happen.  If they knocked on my door and we could do it, I would absolutely do it, but it’s a tough sell.

News Archive: 2011

05.18.11 | The X-Files Volume One

It’s here! No, not I Want To Believe! It’s the long-awaited release of the 4-CD box set of Mark Snow’s music for The X-Files by La La Land Records — the “X-BOX“! We’ve been waiting for this set since 2008 (though frankly I’ve been waiting since 1996 and The Truth and the Light!), and this is big news! More big news is that there will be another volume expected for 2012!

Full coverage of the release can be found here: The X-Files Volume One

The Massive Music Compilation has gone through a major re-working and now has more music, audio and video links to samples, ratings of cues, and thoughts on what Volume Two might/should include!

Speaking of Volume Two, we fans have a chance to weigh in on what cues will be included in there! If you want to contribute to making up a list of fan-favourites for La La Land’s consideration, please send me your 6 cues (say 4 absolute must-haves + 2 personal favourites) that you are craving for for a CD-quality, no sound effects- or dialogue-burdened release!

There are many other exciting things going on in the XF universe right now:

– The most important is of course the release of the LAX-Files book by Erica Fraga, a fully fan-led effort that benefits from a commercial release! I just received my copy and will cover that one later.

– A book signing event of LAX-Files took place on May 7, 2011, at the American Film Institute, Los Angeles; were present Erica Fraga, both Morgan brothers (!), James Wong, Mitch Pileggi and Jeff Gulka, and apparently several other 1013 alumni in the audience (Robert Mendel, Julia Vera). Coverage on all your major US West Coast-based sites.

– Another (unofficial) book was published: We Want to Believe: Faith and Gospel in The X-Files by Amy M. Donaldson! Donaldson previously published an article entitled “The Last Temptation of Mulder: Reading The X-Files through the Christological Lens of Nikos Kazantzakis” in the 2007 collection of essays The X-Files and Literature: Unweaving the Story, Unraveling the Lie to Find the Truth. Kazantzakis being one of my favourite authors, I’m interested to read more about
her and her views on XF!

The Syndicate has launched and has already started recruiting members! Salome’s Musings of an X-Phile is the latest addition.

– Finally, as you can see right above, EatTheCorn has a Twitter account! Make sure to subscribe! It is updated much more frequently than the home page of EatTheCorn, which is updated only for special occasions. Twitter updates also include additions to the 1013 Interviews Database; since they are ordered chronologically by date of when they originally occurred, it’s not possible to track newly added interviews from the Database itself, so the best and only way to keep updated is via the Twitter account.

05.02.11 | The Syndicate

A joint vision from key X-Files fansites has resulted in the launch of “The Syndicate,” a networking page for all sites related to TenThirteen Productions. X-FilesLexicon, EatTheCorn and XFilesUniverse are the founding members of “The Syndicate” to help build, support and strengthen the fanbase of “The X-Files,” “MillenniuM,” and all TenThirteen-related projects. “The Syndicate” is a landing page that will allow anyone easy access to multiple websites.

This initiative is an interactive and proactive webring or platform targeting to create more cohesion among all efforts, on-line and off-line, that honor the work produced by TenThirteen Productions.

As explained by webmaster Matt Allair of X-Files Lexicon: “To the fans, I view ‘The Syndicate’ as one-stop shopping. If fans like what they see, bookmark it, keep visiting the Syndicate, and write to the webmasters of your favorite sites and encourage them to register… The fans will determine its success.

It’s been nearly 18 years,” further elaborates Kimon of EatTheCorn, “that The X-Files started broadcast and in that time fandom has grown, fragmented, and grown again many times over. It is time to think long-term and federate fandom presence in a spirit of cooperation. ‘The Syndicate’ plans to accompany this next evolution.”

The thing I find most exciting about ‘The Syndicate,’” says Maurisa of XFilesUniverse, “is the opportunity for all of our sites to work together to promote TenThirteen Productions. There are so many sites, and we all have our own strengths and our own promotions. But with ‘The Syndicate,’ our sites can endorse each other and raise awareness across the fanbase. After all, we all want to see growth in the fandom.”

Membership in “The Syndicate” provides promotion for each website, complete with RSS feeds and links for each member site. In addition, special events for each site will be featured prominently. A forum for Syndicate members is provided to help member sites’ staff better communicate with each other and enable greater capability to work together to promote TenThirteen Productions projects, such as a third X-Files feature film or a new Frank Black movie.

Read our full Mission Statement that explains our vision and purpose!
Visit our Membership page to add your site to The Syndicate!

The Syndicate Members

The Junction: Truth, Trust and the Magic of Mulder & Scully: 13 Questions for X-Files Writer and Producer Frank Spotnitz

The Junction
Truth, Trust and the Magic of Mulder & Scully: 13 Questions for X-Files Writer and Producer Frank Spotnitz

[Original article here]

Hardly any other series left such a profound impression on the 90s like the sci-fi cult show The X-Files. Not only did it win an incredible amount of awards, attracted a huge fan following and led to two movies, but it also influenced the way stories are told on the small and the big screen. Even today many shows continue to cite The X-Files in one way or another: Be it LOST, Bones, House M.D. or Fringe – just take your pick. And if everything goes according to plan and the optimism of many fans, a third movie should hit screens next year – after all the complex mythology about aliens, invasion and conspiracies makes it a necessity. We got together with X-Files writer and producer Frank Spotnitz to talk about the impact of the show as well as about his experiences as a storyteller.

Drawings by Rose and Roxanne Goldfish from heART for Charity (http://heart.keyofx.org/)

Drawings by Rose and Roxanne Goldfish from heART for Charity (http://heart.keyofx.org/)

Source: Anastasia Hansen and heART

So what is it exactly that made and makes The X-Files such a hit? It is a mix of different aspects – the high quality of the scripts, directing and acting, the mix of creepy and funny stories, the challenging mythology, the unique score by Mark Snow, the atmospheric camera work and, of course, the main characters Mulder and Scully. Two smart characters with different belief systems and world views that were always treated as equals – and even led to a gender role switch to a certain degree: While Mulder is the more intuitive and open-minded character, Scully’s rationalism exhibits more supposedly male qualities. Not to mention the sizzling chemistry between the two: Hardly has unresolved sexual tension been more attractive. When the resolving part does finally take place, it happens off-screen.

Hence it should come as no surprise that The X-Files is still very much alive today. Especially the online community is very active and offers a diverse source of creativity. During the early 90s the show was actually even one of the first to play such an important role within the internet world. When you search for it today, you find a wide range of online forums, creative video editors, news networks, conventions and even charities.

TheJunction: How do you approach storytelling and writing a script?

Frank Spotnitz: When I’m looking for a story to tell, I look for something that I care about, both emotionally and intellectually. The emotional connection comes first. That’s the fuel that drives me through the process of devising the story. But at the same time, I’m thinking about what my story is saying, what questions it’s asking about life. And whether I feel I’m saying something true. That may seem surprising coming from someone who’s written so many stories in the supernatural genre. Ironically, I find it’s easier to identify interesting ideas in supernatural stories. If you’re going to depart from literal reality, then you have to think about why you’re doing that, and what rules govern the reality you’re creating. And in that process I invariably end up finding something I want to say about life.

My frame of mind each time out is that I’m going to try to write the best thing I’ve ever done. I tend to be very meticulous in the process of drafting a story. I typically spend weeks devising the story for an hour of television, thinking about each scene, how they end and begin, the journeys the characters take, what makes the story work. Then I sit down to write, and try to make my first draft as polished and well crafted as if it were my final draft. It never ends up being my final draft, of course — the cliché that most of writing is rewriting certainly holds true for me.  But the stronger the first draft, the stronger the platform upon which to build all my revisions.

Please tell us about your current projects.

I have many projects in development, most of which I can’t really talk about yet. The movie and television business is speculative, so you often have to cast a lot of lines before you get a network or a studio to bite. The project that’s occupying my every waking hour right now is tentatively titled Morton. It’s a spy thriller commissioned by the BBC and co-produced by Kudos Film and Television.

How did you find your way into storytelling and the film industry?

Circuitously. I wanted to be a writer, actor or director from a very young age, but I ended up getting sidetracked by journalism. My first quarter at UCLA, I had this amazing journalism professor, Jim Howard, and I just fell in love with the idea of being a reporter. I ended up writing for wire services for seven years — in Indiana, New York and Paris — before I realized I didn’t love it enough to stick with it. So I moved back to Los Angeles and studied screenwriting at the American Film Institute, where I was blessed with two more wonderful teachers, Beth Sullivan and Howard Dimsdale. The X-Files was, believe it or not, my first job in Hollywood.

How did you become involved in The X-Files?

Dumb luck.  I’d met Chris Carter in a book group while I was in film school. The book group ended, we didn’t really keep in touch, and he went on to create The X-Files. Toward the end of the first season, an old friend of mine who knew of my connection to Chris asked if I’d call on his behalf to see if he could pitch an episode. I felt somewhat uncomfortable doing it, but made the call anyway. Chris said he wouldn’t hear my friend’s pitch, but he’d hear my ideas, if I had any. Up to that point, I’d never thought of writing for television. I thought I was going to write movies. But I figured what the hell. So I came up with three story ideas, went in to pitch them, and Chris promptly shot them all down. I thought that was the end of it, but then a few weeks later, I got a call from Chris. He said two writers were leaving the show — I later found out this was Glen Morgan and Jim Wong — and asked if I’d like to come onboard as a staff writer. I couldn’t believe my good fortune. I still can’t.

What do you think was decisive for the major success of the show?

So, so many things. When you have a big success like The X-Files, you have to do everything right — and then get lucky. I think it started with an amazing pilot episode, and the inspired casting of David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson. From there, the competition between Chris, Jim & Glen and Howard Gordon & Alex Gansa made for a first season that just got better and better. And I would argue that competition to outdo ourselves continued until the very end. It’s incredible to look at the creative trajectory of the show, how restless our imaginations were, and how it just got more and more sophisticated.

How important is the relationship to the fans for you?

I think The X-Files was the first series to have a deep relationship with its fans via the Internet. While we were writing the show, I’d frequently check out the newsgroups, and then the message boards, to see how fans were responding to the stories. Especially with the mythology episodes, it was incredibly useful to see what ideas were landing and which weren’t. In one instance, a fan’s question about the aftermath of Melissa Scully’s death inspired a two-part episode (Piper Maru & Apocrypha). The interesting thing is that the fan base evolves. I suspect of the people who are talking about and following The X-Files online now weren’t online when the show was first broadcast.

What makes the relationship between Mulder and Scully so unique?

You can’t overstate the importance of David and Gillian’s performances, or their chemistry together. Beyond that, I think it’s enormously appealing that Mulder and Scully are two incredibly smart people with boundless respect for one another, despite their profoundly different points of view. During the course of the series, it was their work that brought them together, but also kept them apart.

Since you explore the profound connection between being an author and storytelling in the episode Milagro, how do you perceive the interrelation between an author and the story he/she is telling?

It’s a very interesting subject to me. One of the reasons Milagro is one of my favorite episodes is because it’s about the power of storytelling. The mythologist Joseph Campbell once said that people need stories to survive — not “want,” “like” or “desire,” but “need.” When I first heard that, I thought it was an overstatement, but I’ve come to believe it’s true. Stories help us make sense of the world in which we live. We connect to the emotional lives of fictional characters in a very intimate way that can be incredibly helpful to one’s life. That’s certainly true for me — stories and fictional characters helped me get through some difficult times as a kid, and they still help sustain me in many ways. I am aware when I’m writing that by asking myself what’s true, what I care about, I’m learning things about myself and about the world around me. But at some point, the story becomes its own thing. And then it’s there for other people to draw from, to find meaning.

Do you have any favorite episodes or ones you are particularly proud of? If so, why?

I love the fact that The X-Files was so many series in one. Just about anything Darin Morgan wrote. So many of Vince Gilligan’s episodes and the ones written by Morgan & Wong, And of course countless episodes written by Chris Carter. His craftsmanship and fierce dedication to excellence continues to inspire me.

Big Light, Frank Spotnitz’s production company

Big Light, Frank Spotnitz’s production company

Source: http://www.biglight.com/index.php?p=about

Are there any funny anecdotes you could share from the time the The X-Files was being filmed?

Only over a drink, and off the record.

While working on Millennium, how did you manage to keep a distance from the often dark nature of the show?

I didn’t! But it’s actually incredibly liberating writing about dark things — it helps you sort out your feelings about things that terrify you.

Do you have any advise for people striving to become filmmakers?

Don’t be afraid. If you love it, do it. But work hard. Allow yourself to be as good as you’re capable of being.

Is there anything you would like to tell those out there waiting for a third X-Files movie to be greenlit?

I still don’t have any news to share. But I won’t give up. And the fans shouldn’t, either.

Thank you for the interview! If you want to learn more about Frank Spotnitz and his production company Big Light, check out the homepage for the latest news. And until December 2012 comes around: Never give up on a miracle.