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Stitchers Chat with writer and producer, Lynne E. Litt

 

Lynne E. Litt is an American television writer and producer. She has written episodes of Stitchers, Law & Order, In Plain Sight, Lost, The Practice, Crossing Jordan, and Drop Dead Diva. She has also served as a producer for Stitchers, Drop Dead Diva, Lost, In Plain Sight, Crossing Jordan, and The Practice. In 2006, as part of the writing staff for Lost, Litt won the Writers Guild of America Award for Best Dramatic Series. Read our interview with Lynne below.

 

What attracted you to Stitchers?

“The pilot script was terrific and the concept was really unique. For me, it would give me the chance to do a great procedural, but with an emphasis on character, and humor, and a really cool sci-fi mythology. So, it sort of wraps up a lot of the experience that I have as a writer. That’s what appealed to me as the concept.

Then I met Jeff Schechter, who is remarkable. Just a great guy…a real visionary. We talked in-depth about his plans for the show and it was…as you’re seeing it play out, you haven’t seen it all yet, but where the show is going is super cool and intense and where the characters are going is unbelievably fantastic. So, I was like that’s it. This is where I want to be.”

How different is this show from others you’ve worked on?

“Some of them were much more procedural. Like Law & Order, it was the crime, and the twist and the red herring. That’s kind of how the show differs, because we have the crime and the procedural, but the skeleton of the show, the bones are to lay the rest of this great character stuff on. Other shows that I’ve been on have done that.

So it’s similar in that way as far as structuring a story, because it’s really about how are the characters going to deal with the case of the week. Another similarity, for instance with Lost, is that we have to think through the arc, mythology wise. You know, for the season and the series, where is the show going? And it’s similar in a sci-fi vein. On the other shows, it was more character arc for the season.”

Was this your first time hearing about temporal dysplasia?

“Yeah. You know temporal dysplasia doesn’t really exist. Did you know that?”

No. That’s my first time hearing about it.

“Yeah. There is a website that’s up for temporal dysplasia. But this is just somebody who has no time perception and that’s kind of a condition that Jeff fabricated. And he fabricated it because it makes Kirsten the perfect stitcher. Since everything is familiar and she’s not as frightened or freaked out, although she’s starting to get that way.

I did like how temporal dysplasia in the pilot and the series, makes her strong, and she’s unfiltered. And I love that in a woman, you know to see a strong woman speaking her mind without worrying about the repercussions, for the most part.”

So, it actually helped to write for her character?

“It’s great to write for her character, because she can, as a woman, and there are other women on staff, we can get in touch with our inner sort of, kick ass woman. We can be strong and straightforward and opinionated and it’s really fun. I think it’s important too. Kind of like, In Plain Sight, the lead character Mary, was very much like that, she’d say it like she saw it, and it was awesome. I think a lot of girls and women can relate to that.”

The show is getting a lot of buzz about characters being shipped together. Are you shipping any characters?

“I wanna see Camsten [Cameron & Kirsten]. I love Camus [Camille & Linus]. I think they are fabulous. Do I want to see them get together? Yes. When? I don’t know. But yeah that would be awesome. I don’t know when that’s gonna happen. Or, I can’t say when that’s gonna happen. I also like Detective Fisher. He’s kind of awesome. So I’m like, maybe we can mix it up a little, but that’s all top-secret. You have to tune in.”

You spoke earlier about Kirsten being a strong character, and I’m remembering from the pilot Kirsten saying that she knows what grief feels like and what love feels like and she’s not a fan. Are those residual emotions helping Kirsten to open up?

“They definitely do. She’s learning emotions by stitching into the minds and emotions of other people. Each episode touches on what can affect the different emotions. For instance trust, in “Stitcher in the Rye,” love in…I can’t remember the name of it. I think it was the third episode. And as we go further into the season, you’re going to really see her emotions.

She’s learning them, and she’s feeling them, and its an incredible ride to take with her. I love the line when she said, “I felt love, I felt grief, I’m not a fan.” Because it’s hard to feel that. It’s scary, especially with someone who hasn’t felt it in a while. As the episodes continue, you’ll see her dealing with it and struggle  with dealing with it.

It’s sort of a joy to see how she’s first connecting with Camille, Linus, Cameron, Detective Fisher, and even Maggie. Relationships really start forming because she’s learning about emotions and feeling them.”

You wrote the episode “Stitcher in the Rye,” how influenced is your writing by what you read?

“I think reading great writing makes me want to be a better writer. Sometimes when I’m stuck writing a script, I’ll either watch something great on TV, or a movie that I know has phenomenal written characters, or I’ll read a portion of a good book. It just invigorates you. So you go, ‘OK’, now I’m feeling inspired and I can go back and write. So I guess it’s inspiration from great writing.”

That episode really built the mystery of the show and a lot was revealed about the stitchers program. Are we going to see other stitchers possibly?

“I don’t know. I think you have to ask Jeff [Schechter] that question. I know that we’ve discussed stuff, but I don’t know where it’s gonna land. So, maybe not, but I don’t know. Honestly that’s a big fat IDK.”

A lot of this show is shrouded in mystery. How much do you guys have to know when writing this week’s or next week’s episode?

“We have to know a lot of it. We’re laying stuff in as we go. Once we get to the end of the season you’ll go back and go, “Oh my GOD, it was there.” It’s like we’re leaving breadcrumbs behind. So we kind of need to know a lot. And we do know a lot. But we can’t dump it all into one episode. We sort of, give it to you as appropriate, in each individual episode. It’s leading to episode ten, which is the last of the arc. Then we have a Halloween special, which has no breadcrumbs in it. It’s fabulous, fantastic, and just the scariest thing.

It’s directed by an amazing director, Steve Miner, who did one of the big scary movies. But we know a lot. We’re laying it in. There’s a lot more going on. Hopefully, we’ll get a second half of the first season or a second season, and we’ll get to peel it back and show more. There’s definitely more going on. We can’t give it to you all at once; we’re laying it in slowly. It’s supercool.

It’s like in Lost, it was being laid in very slowly, otherwise we have one episode with all the mythology and then we need to create a new mythology for the next episode. You want to see these characters react to the things that they’re finding out. Like Kirsten just found out that Ed did not kill himself. And that’s big, and that’s part of the bigger ‘what is going on, what is Stitchers really about?’”

Do you enjoy watching the show as a writer or do you nitpick about things you could have changed?

“I love watching the show. The actors are spectacular. The crew that puts it together, the directors, they’re phenomenal. All of the writers have input into each of the stories. I just love watching it, because I love the characters. Do I nitpick? Yeah. But it’s nothing that’s like, ‘Oh GOD I can’t watch anymore.’ It’s just like tiny little…it’s like, what’s that? That envelope doesn’t look very old, you know, which is silly. And the things I love, which is fun, you noticed the big to do about Cameron’s glasses.”

I noticed.

“That morning we were on set, and it’s so fun to see him [Kyle Harris] in those glasses when I watch, because he showed up in his glasses. And the director, Janice Cooke, and I saw him, and he was like, can I wear my glasses. Janice asked me to snap a picture. I took it and went to find Jeff.

I interrupted Jeff in a production meeting with like 30 people, and I just walked in. I said ‘sorry,’ and I would never ever do that, but we’re in a tight shooting schedule. I said Jeff, can Kyle wear his glasses? I showed him the picture and Jeff said yes.

That’s how it happened. It’s so exciting for me to see that the fans agreed, that he looked so gorgeous and so adorable. It happened because he showed up and didn’t have his contacts. That’s the fun nitpicking. It’s fun to see the show and remember those moments that were behind it.”

So you must be really enjoying the fan reactions?

“It’s fantastic! I’ve never been on a show where we’ve live tweeted and engaged as much with the fans. I have to say, being engaged with the fans and seeing the tweets, makes me realize that as a writer, we have a real responsibility.

I mean, I’ve always understood that we have a responsibility for what we put into the world, but we really have to remember that. Fans are super smart. We have a responsibility to give them something that’s great, and that’s smart, and honor them as fans.

It’s been absolutely life changing for me, as far as how I will approach writing this show and any show that goes forth. I’m really seeing how the fans that have been watching all these shows that I’ve been writing for all these years, and I’m really interacting with them and it has changed the way I will create a story for them, forever. I get the chills, and I get choked up just talking about it.”

I really enjoy seeing the random pop culture references mentioned on the show. I’m nerding out. What are you nerding out about?

“I definitely nerd out about TV. I’ll tell you what I nerd out about. It’s gonna sound super weird. I used to be a lawyer before I was a writer. And my first real job was Law & Order.”

That’s helpful.

“Very helpful. But I never did criminal law. So all of a sudden, I’m on Law & Order, and I’m researching all these crimes, and I’m talking to detectives, judges, prosecutors, you name it. We researched a lot. I nerded out about all things criminal justice. Actually, here’s a typical nerd. There was a crime scene in the building next to where I used to live. It was just some crime scene tape. I literally walked past the tape, went up to the CSI lady and said, quote: ‘what do we got?’ And she looked at me, she puts her hand up and said ‘ma’am, you need to step behind the tape.’ So I stepped behind that tape and then I leaned over and said, ‘what do we got?’ And she goes, just some stolen stereos, honestly. So that’s what I nerd out about. Oh, and aliens; Moon landings, UFO sightings, I love crime and aliens.”

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