Author Topic: Robert Gregory Browne Interview  (Read 9511 times)

Stacey Cochran

  • Administrator
  • Newbie
  • *****
  • Posts: 15
    • View Profile
    • Stacey's Website
Robert Gregory Browne Interview
« on: June 29, 2014, 03:50:44 pm »
Interview with Robert Gregory Browne

HOW TO PUBLISH A BOOK: Well, so first let's start with your new company Braun Haus Media. What are you looking for from writers? And why did you decide to start it?

ROBERT GREGORY BROWNE: I started it in order to publish my own books. It's that simple. At first it was just a publishing name for Amazon and others to list. I felt and still do that it's much better to have a "publisher" listed. But since I was publishing my own books I thought, why not expand a little, make it a formal publishing company. So I'm working on setting up an LLC and have a couple of projects lined up for late this year and hopefully early next and after that we'll see what happens. If things work out well, I'll expand further and open the house up to submissions, offering authors a MUCH better royalty structure than they're likely to get with the big boys. But we aren't there yet.

HOW TO PUBLISH A BOOK: A lot of traditional publishing folks (in the press at least) keep arguing that eBook publishing is destroying publishing. Clearly you disagree and see the new publishing frontier as an opportunity like none other in recent history. Is it possible that both sides are right in this argument? What do you think of how the New York Times pitches Amazon as the evil villain and traditional publishing as the hero? See for example Hachette Chief Leads Book Publishers in Amazon Fight 

Is the New York Times piece objective journalism?

ROBERT GREGORY BROWNE: First, how could anything that opens up opportunities to people like me (meaning authors, who, you know, actually create the product) destroy publishing? And how can a technology that embraces a generation raised on computers and offers a convenient - and pleasing - way to deliver content be BAD for publishing?

And let's face it, publishers are making a LOT of money from ebooks, so what's the complaint?

When someone in traditional publishing says that ebooks are bad for publishing, what they're really saying is: our way of doing things is headed down the drain and the more this new technology makes us irrelevant, the less chance we have of making a living. There is a long history of creatives being dependent on middlemen to get their work to the public and those days are disappearing and so, eventually, will most of the middlemen. It's just the way of things.

But that doesn't mean that publishing is being destroyed. I'll still be publishing. And so will many many others. And there will always be authors who don't want to do it all, so they'll come to guys like me who will be offering them a great royalty. And big publishing will likely always have the blockbuster writers - unless they all get wise and realize they can make even more money by directly selling their books. But I don't think that's likely to happen anytime soon.

The bottom line is that ebooks are simply a new way of delivering content. That's all. Publishing will be fine.

As for Amazon, the company that stirs things up is always cast as the villain. And the New York Times is establishment publishing. So, of course, they'll demonize Amazon. It's all pretty ridiculous, but people go crazy when their livelihoods are threatened. Can you really blame them?

HOW TO PUBLISH A BOOK: CBS Television and Sony Entertainment produced a television pilot of your novel Kiss Her Goodbye. How did this pilot come about and what was the experience like seeing your novel translated into a pilot?

ROBERT GREGORY BROWNE: Here's how it happened. Producer Carl Beverly (Justified, Elementary) was in a bookstore and happened across an anthology I was in called KILLER YEAR, which was edited by Lee Child. Carl read my short story, liked it, and decided to read one of my books. He choose Kiss Her Goodbye, loved it and contacted my agent to see if the rights were available. He also wanted the rights to the short story, BOTTOM DEAL, which I now publish under my Braun Haus imprint, but it had already been snatched up at the time by another producer.

Having learned my chops in Hollywood, I didn't think much of all this. I knew that very few options turn into anything concrete, but I wasn't about to turn down a little extra cash and there was always slim chance it might really happen. Flash forward a couple months and Carl contacts us to say that CBS loved their pitch and wants a script. One of the producers involved was director Michael Dinner (Justified, Sons of Anarchy, etc., etc.), who decided he'd write it. And he did a hell of a job. He stayed pretty faithful to the book - even used a lot of the dialogue I'd written - and I was pleasantly surprised to find that I loved it. And so did CBS who immediately green lit a pilot episode.

My involvement in the project consisted of receiving an email or phone call now and again, and during filming they invited me out to Chicago to watch. The set was at a lighthouse off the lake, which is where the climax of the story takes place. And I have to tell you, when I saw Dylan Walsh and Michael Rappaport running up a hill toward that lighthouse with a squad of uniformed cops, tears came to my eyes. It's as if every dream I'd ever had about writing had come to fruition at that moment.

I sometimes forget that. I'm living my dream.

HOW TO PUBLISH A BOOK: Your screenplay Low Tide was selected as a winner for the Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting Competition in the early 1990s. How did winning this competition prepare you for writing for television? How did you get your foot in the door writing for TV? How important were your collaborations with Larry Brody, and how did you both meet?

ROBERT GREGORY GROWNE: Well, I never really had my foot in the door. Maybe a toe. Brody and I wrote animated action shows like Spider-Man Unlimited for Marvel and Diabolik for Saban, but animation wasn't really considered mainstream television.

Brody, of course, is a television veteran who has been the showrunner or written for just about every action or detective show you can think of from the seventies and eighties and early nineties and I learned a lot from him in terms of pacing and structure. But the best part was the drive to lunch once a week and talks of showbiz and politics and observations about the absurdities of life.

We met when I found out he was the head writer for a new animated show for Fox Kids and I sent him an email telling him about my work and asking if I could send him a script. He said yes, then later called me up and asked me to work with him as a staff writer. And we pretty much hit it off instantly.

I'm not sure if winning the Nicholl really prepared me for writing for television. It's geared toward feature writing and was a wonderful experience, especially since it led to the sale of Low Tide at Showtime and got me into the business. But the preparation for television had more to do with the ten or twelve unproduced screenplays I wrote before Brody and I started working together. But, again, we were writing animation, and that was a whole different animal. Fortunately, Brody was very patient with me while I learned.
« Last Edit: June 29, 2014, 04:01:05 pm by Stacey Cochran »