How do you know when a story’s finished, when to walk away? You mentioned many times that Classic Alice was ‘done’ and I was just wondering … how do you know?
I think this is one of the trickiest things a TV writer has to learn. TV rewards (still, somehow, despite it being a radically different landscape) longevity. Make it to 100 episodes, enjoy syndication residuals. Make it to season 6, you’ve been employed for 6 whole years. Make it to, make it to, make it to!
But that’s now how stories work usually. There is a beginning, a middle, and an end. It has to end. With TV, endings have traditionally come when something isn’t getting the ratings a network wants. And to be entirely honest with you, that was a part of the decision to end Classic Alice. The second release saw a pretty significant downturn in viewership. Some of that was absolutely YouTube’s fault. But some of it was our narrative shift. We went darker. We took risks. I think we swung harder and it just didn’t connect with our audience. That kind of thing doesn’t bother me– I’d rather a show try something bold and stumble than pander. But at end of the day, without the big view count of the previous year it was hard to justify continuing.
That said, if there WAS more story to tell, I’m sure we would’ve figured it out. There just wasn’t. Alice and Andrew grew up. They each realized that their actions hurt the other person. They brokered a peace as individuals which, maybe, could lead to something as a pair. What more is there to tell in a love story? I guess we could argue that there was nothing more to tell in the love story after they got together in season 1, but I’ve always hated stories that end there AND I really wanted to subvert the romantic comedy genre.
The Long Dig is a little heartbreaking. That story is absolutely not done. There’s so much room to spin around and create in that world (I guess to answer your question: I ask myself, IS THERE MORE IN THIS WORLD) but the reality is: we don’t have the audience and we don’t have the funding. It’s a much more expensive show to produce — one 15 minute episode was about 25,000 dollars — and even if we shot things together, making a 10 episode season would probably kick us around $100,000-$200,000. At least. So that becomes a function of money.
There seem to be two prongs here: is there money for it? is there interest? and is there more to do in this world with these people? do I want to say anything further through these voices? The first two are pragmatic, the second are creative.