L.A. Day 2 – Chris Fedak and Matt Barber

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!

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Gray Jones

Graham “Gray” Jones is a TV editor / writer located in Toronto, Canada. He hosts the TV Writer Podcast, partner of Script Magazine.

22 thoughts on “L.A. Day 2 – Chris Fedak and Matt Barber”

  1. Very Cool Gray. Awesome how the Chuck peeps are treating you!

    Chris is real forum hound it seems. Good to know. Look forward to your further reports!

    Good Luck!

    Lou

  2. It’s a dream trip for sure – a lot of us are living through you vicariously!

    Don’t waste a minute, say yes to everything. 😉

  3. just to echo the others, this is great stuff! indeed, it makes sense that the show has so much heart, given the kindness the cast/crew have shown you. thanks for sharing your adventures with us! looking forward to hearing more! 🙂

  4. Way to go Gray! You are one lucky guy, but aren’t you bursting at the seams to let all those scoops on season three out? I’m here if you need me, man!

  5. @Agent52 —

    Actually, I’m not the type to read the last page of a book before I start. Even when we read spoilers on the podcast, I try to let them go in one ear and out the other without stopping.

    Also, I have to abide by a non-disclosure agreement in order to arrange these visits.

    That said, the cast may let things out in my taped interviews — they will probably just be teases, but I’m sure there will be juicy fodder for speculation.

    Thanks for reading…

    – G

  6. Somehow it surprises me not at all that both Chris Fedak and Matt Barber were welcoming, generous, and genuinely interested in you. That show seems like it’s populated with people who truly love their jobs and care more about the quality of their work, and their families and their friends, than whatever perks their jobs might bring them. They might work in Hollywood, but no one on that show *acts* very Hollywood. 🙂

    I hope the rest of your trip is fantastic! I’m waving hello from down here in San Diego.

  7. way to go Gray! I can’t wait to hear more about this trip. It sounds like a dream of yours is coming true.
    Best wishes.

  8. Graham, this is just so fabulous! Dreams and visions and hopes all culminating into one fantastic acheivement! THIS IS AL SO GREAT! I am super happy for you and proud of you! You stuck to it and gave it your all! I eagerly look forward to where this road leads 🙂 All my well wishes will continually be behind you 🙂

    Tracy

  9. Hey, Hey,

    Graham, just stopped by to check out your blog. This must be your vacation of the decade.

    Go super tourist crazy and take lots of pictures…

    Although I am not as big of a fan as you are, Chuck is one of the better shows on TV.

  10. Gray, it is great to know that all of the Chuck people are good people as well. I can hardly wait til your next podcast. Thanks from all of us Chuckaholics, to let us know our forum comments are not falling on deaf ears. Enjoy the warm weather as long as you can. 🙂

  11. You are truly lucky, Gray! Sounds like any Chuck fans’ dream and I expect you to take full advantage of it all and report back to us with as many tidbits as you’re aloud!

    But make sure Fedak knows not all us fans are crazy shippers 😉

  12. Gray, I’m glad you are having fun! I would have volunteered to be your personal baggage handler to tag along! LOL! Looking forward to your reports! Amy

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