‘Sopranos’ writers provide insight into popular HBO drama

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April 24, 2008

11:26 PM

Students gained insight into the making of “The Sopranos” Monday when two of the show’s writers, Robin Green and Mitchell Burgess, gave a lecture in Washington Hall on their roles in the creation of the show.

For years the critically acclaimed HBO drama, which aired its final episode last summer, gave viewers insight into the life of fictional mafia boss Tony Soprano.

The pouring rain may have kept attendance low, but it did not keep the most loyal of fans from attending, including those looking to have their ‘Sopranos’ DVD sets signed by the writers.

“It was interesting to get an insider’s look at the production of such an amazing show,” Eric Horgan ’11 said.

Green and Burgess discussed their path to fame and Emmys. Both began with humble jobs early in their careers. Green worked as a waitress and Burgess worked in a meat packing facility. It was not until later in life that this married couple became involved in show business.

Before working on ‘Sopranos,’ they penned “Northern Exposure,” an early ’90s Emmy-winning CBS series. When asked what they attributed their success to, the writers said that, just as in all successful television shows, success relies on a quality script.

While students were intrigued by the writers’ roots, many were more interested in the pair’s role in the show’s creation. Green and Burgess first spoke of how they began with picking a general plot progression for an entire season. They then explained the process of writing each episode’s script, each one taking at least two weeks. Clips from the show were accompanied by comments on the couple’s role in writing the scenes.

A question-and-answer session concluded the talk. Some students hoped to gain insight into questions left unanswered by the show’s finale and the writers’ motives in certain scenes. Although Green and Burgess talked with the audience for some time, not all questions were answered.

“I was disappointed that I didn’t get to ask my question, but I still enjoyed this. It was a lot of fun,” Alex Guiliano ’11 said.

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