"What do I like about writing? It's brutal when you're writing! It's just disappointment after disappointment in yourself for the scene not being good enough. But man, when it finally works there's nothing better."
About This Interview
In his three-and-a-half-hour Archive interview, John Wells talks about his early years, including his time as a roadie and later as a stage manager. He recalls being called in by Steven Bochco who gave him encouragement and helped him get hired to write for the short-lived series Shell Game. He describes being a writer and producer on the critically acclaimed series China Beach, where he incorporated real-life stories from Vietnam veterans into the show. He outlines writing and producing ER over its fifteen-year run, including dealing with medical issues and terminology, several major cast changes, and the challenge of keeping the show fresh over a long run. Wells speaks of writing and producing the series The West Wing along with show creator Aaron Sorkin, and details several aspects of the show including Sorkin's difficulties with the network, taking over for Sorkin after he left the show, and dealing with the death of cast member John Spencer. He talks about executive producing Third Watch, Southland, and his then-current series Shameless. He concludes by talking about his writing process, career highlights, and where he sees himself in the then-future. Adrienne Faillace conducted the interview in a joint venture with the Writers Guild Foundation on December 11, 2015 in Beverly Hills, CA.