Also, Julie Plec reveals the rain scene that got cut
Welcome to Julie’s Diary! Every week during the season, Vampire Diaries showrunner Julie Plec will add an entry to her diary. From answering burning questions to giving behind-the-scenes stories and more, this is a place for fans to hear directly from Plec about the episode they just watched.
Thanks for watching “I Went to the Woods,” written by Neil Reynolds and directed by, well … me.
Last year, I directed my very first episode, which was a definite thrill. When you write an episode, you have already kind of directed it in your brain, so your challenge is to figure out a way to put those words up on the screen as close as possible to how you saw it in your head. It’s hard work, but you enter the experience with an air of confidence that comes from knowing that YOU know how to tell the story better than anyone else. This year, it was my intention to share my brain with another person by co-writing the script with another writer. I felt like I’d be stretching my directorial muscle just a tiny bit more by having to bring scenes to life that hadn’t been born inside my own head. I thought I was taking a safe and enjoyable risk. Cut to the first draft of the script that Neil wrote based on the few days he and I had spent breaking the story together. I was so blown away by the work that he did that I told him I didn’t plan on rewriting it: I was going to direct the words from HIS brain and leave my writer-brain out of it.
And so began the challenge of bringing someone else’s words to life. A job, to be clear, that is what every other television director goes through on a weekly basis. Directors and writers usually have a very sketchy relationship. In film, the writer is lucky to be invited to the set. The director is the boss of the process, period. In television, the director has to listen to the writer even if said writer is 23 years old on the set of their first-ever produced script. It can get dicey, and I’ve been on the awkward side of it as a writer more times than I can count. I didn’t want to make it awkward for Neil. I made him be on set with me, insisting that he speak up if he thought I was missing something. Imagine having to creatively babysit your boss. I’m sure Neil could write a full blog entry just on that subject alone. But as a fellow writer, I had a terrible fear of letting him down when his intentions were so clear on the page. We made a good team.Tidbits from set: