I could go home tomorrow, and call the trip a success!
First, Chris Fedak, co-creator and executive producer of Chuck, treated me to lunch at the Smoke House restaurant, close to gate 3 of the Warner Bros lot. I arrived early, and spent some time gawking at the WB lot, and taking photos like a proper tourist.
Then Chris arrived, and we spent almost an hour and a half together. In person, he is a totally down to earth, kind, modest, and unassuming person — the kind of guy you’d love to grab a beer with to shoot the breeze. We chatted about everything from our backgrounds, to how we got where we are today, to our favorite TV shows, to comic books, to recent projects, and of course to lots of stories about Chuck.
It was wonderful to hear how the Chuck story had its start — a spy action feature idea Chris had been toying with, melded with character ideas inspired by The Office and Alias… then shaped together with college mate Josh Schwartz into what became the Chuck pilot.
It was also inspiring to see his humility — how he cares deeply about what the fans think, and even likes to dig for the most provocative comments on the forums and message boards, so he can take responsibility for his mistakes and see how he can improve every aspect of the story.
It’s no wonder Chuck has been firing on all cylinders since its inception… we all know shows that started well out of the gate, and faltered in their second season. By what Chris told me about season 3 of Chuck, it looks like they are heading for a hat trick! (For non-hockey fans, that means three hits in a row).
I then drove around for a while, hitting a Radio Shack and Borders bookstore (love the free wi-fi), before heading to dinner with editor Matt Barber at the Arena Cafe.
I offered to buy my own dinner, but Matt wouldn’t hear of it. We sat down to a very tasty meal (I had a jerk chicken wrap), and Matt proved to be yet another “Hollywood good guy.” He shared very openly about his life, was genuinely interested in mine, and offered no end of help and suggestions for my career path and specifically my time in L.A.
Being kind, generous, down to earth, and genuinely interested in others must be a prerequisite for working on Chuck!
It looks like my tour of the WB lot will be tomorrow, and then I’ll be hanging out at composer Tim Jones’s house Saturday. Next week I will be attending a sound mix, having lunches with writer Phil Klemmer and director Norman Buckley, and visiting the Chuck set, where I’ll be taping interviews with some of the Chuck cast. I’m hoping I get a chance to talk with guest stars Brandon Routh and Kristin Kreuk. There’s too much other stuff to list — watch for my daily updates for the groovy details!