Wilcox On Landing 'Enterprise' JobBy Caillan
January 4, 2003 - 4:09 AM
See Also: 'Marauders' Episode Guide
Staff writer David Wilcox recently recounted how he came to join the Enterprise team, revealing pitching for the series was "daunting as hell."
Wilcox, who penned 'Marauders' earlier in the season, got his start in the business on First Wave. After the show ended executive producer Chris Brancato put in a good word for him with the Enterprise producers. "Chris's recommendation went a long way, I think," Wilcox told Rich Whiteside in Scr(i)pt Magazine. "I came in [last season] and pitched a bunch of stories, and I think they liked them, but they ultimately passed on them. But I guess I left some kind of [positive] impression."
Originally hired on First Wave as Brancato's assistant before working his way up to become a writer, Wilcox worked on penning some speculative scripts for Law and Order and Six Feet Under as writing samples. "I got the samples done, and then they called me back and said, 'Hey, we're still interested in you. You're probably starting to go out for meetings, but we're interested in you for the second season. Just sit tight.' "But I still didn't think I'd get the job. I mean, I worked very hard on the pitches: six ideas, my best six ideas out of 25 I came up with. So I picked the best six that I had and fleshed those out and wrote up [the ideas in] broad stroke, two pages each. But they were fairly worked out. They had a teaser and four acts, climax, everything. I came in and pitched those. It was a fairly long meeting. I'd like to think that the effort I put into the pitches left a strong, positive impression. And then a follow-up meeting that I had with them went well. My agent sent over material that I had written. And then they hired me."
As a member of the Enterprise writing staff, Wilcox now sits on the other side of the desk, taking pitches from aspiring Trek scribes, with whom he sympathises greatly. "That's something that everybody on staff does. They assign you pitches [to take]. [Writers] come in and pitch ideas, which, by the way, I think is incredibly daunting. As a personal experience, I thought it was daunting as hell. But then you are totally shooting in the dark. It's kind of difficult because there is like 650 hours of produced Star Trek. [Executive producers Brannon Braga and Rick Berman] have probably heard every idea you could possible come up with. So it's hard."
Wilcox said writing for the Trek franchise offers up constant challenges. "Star Trek is this huge franchise. [There is] a lot of history behind it so any ideas you come up with, any writing that goes on, there is this incredible process you have to go through to see if you're being redundant to the series or actually conflicting with certain tenants of the series. On First Wave, we didn’t have any of that. First Wave was much more of a blank state to build the show up from. On the other hand, on this show you can do so many different things: meet different aliens, go to different worlds, create so may different kinds of cirses. The budget is so much bigger. Technically speaking, there is so much more you can do on this show."
The full text of the interview, as well as an interview with story editor Andre Bormanis, can be found here at the Scr(i)pt Magazine web site. Excerpts from an interview with co-producers Mike Sussman and Phyllis Strong are available at StarTrek.com.