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Chat Transcript: Jay Cappe, freelance script writer
Host: AOL moderated chat
Date: May 17, 1998 from 9-10 pm CST

The following "log" of the chat was done via copy/paste from the screen and does not include the lively conversation going on in the background with the many of us who were attending the moderated chat.


From the AOL Moderated Chat with writer Jay Cappe on May 17th, 1998 from 9-10 pm CST

JayCappe:       (listening intently)
DWIOPrecpt:     relax Jay..we don't bite...much.....at first....
JayCappe:       Ah... figured we'd get to this...
JayCappe:       Most of my ideas for the show are given to me by Trilogy...
JayCappe:       Though in a very rough "concept."
JayCappe:       "Ghost in the Road," for example, was very easy...
JayCappe:       It was a vanishing hitchhiker story.  That's I'll they gave me.
JayCappe:       "Black Widow" was a different beast...
JayCappe:       All I got from them on "Black Widow" was: "Nick has a nervous breakdown."
JayCappe:       Oh, okay...
JayCappe:       So I thought about what would give Nick a nervous breakdown and thought
                about Julia...
JayCappe:       I wrote a story about a demon trying to "turn" Nick to the dark side, 
                using a vision of Julia   to do it...
JayCappe:       And they didn't like that one...
JayCappe:       So I started "spitballing" with Mark Stern, president of Trilogy...
JayCappe:       We do that a lot when he has the time -- he's terrific, but very busy.
JayCappe:       So we started talking about shapeshifters and monsters and vampires and...
DWIOPrecpt:     Spitballing???
JayCappe:       Spitballing:  Throwing ideas back and forth.
JayCappe:       And I think Mark threw out the idea of a Succubus -- 
JayCappe:       --a sex vampire.
JayCappe:       I, of course, instantly blurted out "works for  me!"
DWIOPrecpt:     LOL!!!
JayCappe:       "Black Widow" is significant in it's content for me...
JayCappe:       Though I've written sex scenes before, it's the  first time anybody has
                filmed one so,
 um, intense before.
JayCappe:       Thank you, Showtime.
JayCappe:       And, actually, it was the shape-shifting  qualities of the villain that
                made the intense
 sex scenes possible.
JayCappe:       You're not going to find many good actresses that are willing to be so explicit.
JayCappe:       Since she looks different each time, you can get a more willing female thespian 
                to play the part.
JayCappe:       /g
Timelordz:      Wow..Jay!
DWIOPrecpt:     I liked the humerous scenes in Black widow.. "nymphomaniac from ****
JayCappe:       To whom?  Me?
JayCappe:       Oh...
JayCappe:       Well, the offeres won't come from Sci-Fi channel.  They'll come from Trilogy.
JayCappe:       They and MGM are the production entity.  Sci-Fi channel will be like Showtime. 
                They will give notes on...
JayCappe:       ...scripts, but won't be directly involved in the hiring of writers.
JayCappe:       And so far I haven't gotten a call from Trilogy about season 4.  I'm a freelancer...
                I really do wait by...
JayCappe:       ...the phone.
JayCappe:       /ga (means "Go Ahead")
JayCappe:       (and, no, no more nude scenes!)
DWIOPrecpt:     bummer Jay!  LOL
JayCappe:       I think my favorites are "Black Widow" and      "Mind's Eye."
JayCappe:       Though "Ghost in the Road" turned out nicely, too.
JayCappe:       And "Transference" has some genuinely frightening moments...
JayCappe:       Overall, my work on the show has been some of the most satisfying I've done in TV.
JayCappe:       /ga
DWIOPrecpt:     you are doing a sequil to "Minds Eye" yes?
JayCappe:       Yes, I turned it in a few months ago and they've shot it.  I have no idea how it
                turned out.
DWIOPrecpt:     can't wait for it!
JayCappe:       You have to understand, I'm not a PtL "insider." 
                I sometimes see the results of my work the same time you do!
JayCappe:       /ga
JayCappe:       I havn't heard ANYTHING
JayCappe:       about season 4.
JayCappe:       Trilogy is awfully busy..
JayCappe:       Every time I write a Poltergeist, I figure it's the last one... 
                then I get another phone call out of the blue.
JayCappe:       /ga
DWIOPrecpt:     You finlly found ut they killed Frank...how did you create him?
JayCappe:       Yes, poor Frank.  You folks let me know about that!
JayCappe:       I haven't watched any season 3 yet.  I have them all stacked up on tape and am still
JayCappe:       planning a big viewing orgy.
JayCappe:       Frank was pretty simple.  We needed a cop in "Transference" and
Mark said "ya know, we've always intended JayCappe: to have an ongoing policeman in the show, wanna do that here?" JayCappe: I said "sure" and that was that. JayCappe: /ga Timelordz: EVILVIP INQUIRES IF YOUR TYPING YOURSELF OF A SMALL DEMON ASSISTING YOU? ;) Timelordz: OF=OR JayCappe: (skimming the audience chat area and watching my friends being silly) JayCappe: If my five year old son can be considered a small demon, then yes. DWIOPrecpt: Vip! did you remember to feed Demon Speller before chat??? JayCappe: (hi back atcha all -- hi mom!) JayCappe: Feed demon speller? Huh? Timelordz: SIOCAINE ASKS - DOES THE SHOW KEEP A "BIBLE"? JayCappe: A bible, yes. JayCappe: Richard Lewis wrote it for season one and it's held up pretty nicely. JayCappe: Character sketches, concepts -- it had a whole glossary on paranormal terms. JayCappe: Things changed, though. JayCappe: There was going to be far more "gadgetry" in the show. They pulled that back. JayCappe: And, of course, a certain popular priest left... JayCappe: /ga DWIOPrecpt: And we want that priest back! JayCappe: Can't help you there. Timelordz: TIMBERFALLS ASKS HOW CLOSELY DOES THE SHOW FOLLOW YOUR WRITING? ARE THERE ANY "SURPRISES" YOU DONT KNOW ABOUT? JayCappe: Heh... yes, there are suprises. Mostly good. It's the nature of the freelance writing business... JayCappe: I turn in my script and a writing staff takes over and makes changes... JayCappe: Changes creatively and changes because of production. JayCappe: Like the end of "Mind's Eye" was changed around because it takes too much time to film eight people in a room. JayCappe: They had to send some people away. JayCappe: Also the finale in "Mind's" is very different. I didn't write a possession. JayCappe: But it's like a house of cards. They had to cut back on the number of people in the room, but that changed... JayCappe: ...the dynamic of the scene -- so they started over. JayCappe: "Man in the Mist" was almost completely changed from my draft. JayCappe: All the rest stay very close. Closer than any other show I've written for... including ones I've been on... JayCappe: ...on staff myself! JayCappe: /ga DWIOPrecpt: gee, aren't changes fun! LOL JayCappe: Screenwriting = changes. Timelordz: RDBERGE ASKS IF YOU KNOW IF THERE BE ANY MERCHANDISING FOR THE SHOW (BESIDES THE SOUNDTRACK?) JayCappe: Haven't heard about any merchandising. JayCappe: It's doesn't lend itself well to action figures! JayCappe: Though a little plastic Derek would be fun. Timelordz: LOL DWIOPrecpt: ROFL Jay! Timelordz: imagine the sales on the Priest :) JayCappe: Otherwise, I've barely seen any real media coverage of PtL, let alone merchandising. There's so much TV out JayCappe: ...there. DWIOPrecpt: hehe lots of them Paul!!! JayCappe: /ga JayCappe: Now if they had kept some of the gadgets in... Timelordz: GONZODUKE WANTS TO KNOW IF YOU FIND IT HARD "SHIFTING" GEARS TO WRITE FOR PTL Timelordz: ON EWWEK THEN HAVE TO WRITE AN EPISODE FOR SOLDIER OF FORTUNE? JayCappe: Gonzo Duke would know : ) JayCappe: Yes, I wrote one episode while on staff for SOF... JayCappe: (Duke worked with me on SOF) DWIOPrecpt: oh really?? JayCappe: I spent a couple of weeks trying to keep ghosts out of combat scenes... Timelordz: DWIOPrecpt: LOL JayCappe: And really big machine guns out of Rachel's hands... JayCappe: I can shift pretty easily. JayCappe: A lot of time it's a matter of being sick of one thing and looking forward to working on the other. JayCappe: /ga DWIOPrecpt: Rachel with an assault rifle...hmm..... Timelordz: Not uncommon ;) Timelordz: ERIN UTLEY ASKS ANY CHANCE OF DEREK TURNING EVIL AGAIN? JayCappe: Now, now... leave Rachel alone. JayCappe: If Trilogy wants him evil, I'll make him evil! JayCappe: At least this is a show properly motivates "evil" lead character stories. JayCappe: /ga DWIOPrecpt: a little posession is good for the soul! LOL Timelordz: RDBERGE WANTS TO KNOW HOW YOU GOT INTO SCREENWRITING? JayCappe: Ah, writing... JayCappe: I started playing with cameras when I was 9... JayCappe: Did a lot of stop motion animation because I was too shy to get actors... JayCappe: My parents supported me in anything I wanted to do... JayCappe: So I went to USC Cinema where I wanted to be... an editor. JayCappe: After SC I couldn't get an editing job if I went out and shot someone. JayCappe: I was living with a bunch of filmmaker friends who all got into writing. JayCappe: So I tried writing and got an agent right away. JayCappe: And my first job a year later JayCappe: That was in movies. Then I tried TV. I've been lucky to keep working... it's not easy. JayCappe: /ga DWIOPrecpt: seems like fate! glad you are writing, Jay! JayCappe: Yes... I wish you all ran movie studios... DWIOPrecpt: I'd hire ya if I was! JayCappe: Thank you. JayCappe: /ga DWIOPrecpt: First I'd hire a continuity editor for Trilogy..... Timelordz: WENDOXIA NEEDS TO KNOW...IF YOU COULD WRITE ANY PTL STORY - WHAT WOULD IT BE? JayCappe: Hmmm... any epsisode? Timelordz: YUP DWIOPrecpt: oh yeah, any! JayCappe: I suppose it would be an "end of the world" type show... like the pilot. JayCappe: A real "oh, man -- we're all toast" kind of thing. JayCappe: With a heck of a lot more action than normal. JayCappe: Wierd apocalyptic things happening in the sky. JayCappe: I'm into that. JayCappe: Tried to do some stuff like that... it never got past. JayCappe: /ga DWIOPrecpt: OOhhh...I want to see that!!! DWIOPrecpt: exactily...what fi they lost? DWIOPrecpt: if, oops JayCappe: I like high stakes. Timelordz: BOBEE WANTS TO KNOW...WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST BOOK AND WAS IT HARD GETTING IT NOTICED? JayCappe: My first script got noticed fast for some very odd reasons... JayCappe: I lived with a bunch of screenwriters and directors that all hanged out together. JayCappe: Some of them quite successful. JayCappe: So when someone heard that I was "one of those guys," everyone read my stuff and wanted to meet with me. JayCappe: This enthusiasm hasn't always stayed... the rest was up to me after getting noticed. JayCappe: /ga JayCappe: oh... DWIOPrecpt: Like who??? anyone we would know? JayCappe: wait JayCappe: My first script was a feature about backwards messages in rock and roll music turning teenagers into.... JayCappe: ...suicide assassins. It didn't sell, but it got me work. JayCappe: Yeah, you might know at least one of them... Shane Black. JayCappe: My friend Fred Dekker wrote and directed "The Monster Squad" and "Robocop 3" JayCappe: There are others you probably wouldn't have heard about. JayCappe: /ga DWIOPrecpt: cool1 it's nice to have friend in high places! Timelordz: MERANO ASKS..IN "TRANSFERENCE" WHY DID THEY CHANGE THE NAMES OF YOUR CHARACTERS? JayCappe: Hmmmm... changed names? How would he know? JayCappe: Usually names are changed just for legal reasons... someone real has the same name. JayCappe: That's all. JayCappe: /ga DWIOPrecpt: changed in the credits..I remember that! JayCappe: Oh, that's just a credit mess up, then. Oops. DWIOPrecpt: LOL JayCappe: It's some guy at a computer with a deadline... probably hadn't slept in a while. Timelordz: ERIN WANTS TO KNOW IF YOU HAVE EVER MET DEREK IN REAL LIFE AND IF SO- WHATS HE LIKE? JayCappe: I only met the cast ONCE. At the premiere of the pilot at the Director's Guild Theater. JayCappe: They had no idea who I was... but "Mist" and "Ghost" had already been shot, so at least I could tell them. JayCappe: I met Martin and Robbi. They were very nice -- but it was a big busy party. JayCappe: /ga/ DWIOPrecpt: LOL, the writers are so forgotten! JayCappe: yeah, well... what can you do? Timelordz: AND FOR THE FINAL QUESTION OF THIS EVENING :) DWIOPrecpt: Geez, so soon? Timelordz: ARE YOU WORKING ON ANY STORIES THAT YOU CAN TELL US ABOUT? JayCappe: I'm just about to finish a feature "spec" script. It's what writers do when they don't have a real job. JayCappe: I've written about 12 of them (including that "backwards music" one)... JayCappe: ... and have never sold one. JayCappe: I've gotten work off of them as examples of my writing... JayCappe: ...but no one's every bought one. DWIOPrecpt: awww... :-( JayCappe: It's always an inspiration to have a friend who's made $4 million on one script... so I keep trying. JayCappe: TV has been very good to me, so I'm not unhappy at all. JayCappe: So, we'll see... JayCappe: /ga Timelordz: Digital Worlds would like to thank Mr. Cappe for appearing this evening. All unasked questions will be Timelordz: forwared to him and he will attept to answer as many as he can :) JayCappe: I want to thank you all... I'd stay, but I have to put my boy to bed... JayCappe: AND... Timelordz: PTL on AOL - Keyword Digital Worlds ;) JayCappe: I'll poke my head into your chat room some time... JayCappe: But I'm usually not online unitl 11pm Pacifi Time! Timelordz: Thank you again Jay for appearing with us! DWIOPrecpt: Yhanks Jay and I'll see ya soon! JayCappe: Thank you for your enthusasim and support. Now let's all go watch the X-Files! DWIOPrecpt: X-files are already over here! LOL JayCappe: DON'T SAY ANYTHING! DWIOPrecpt: hehehehehehe Timelordz: I want to thank YOU - our fans to appearing this evening!' DWIOPrecpt: yes! it was nice of you all to join us! JayCappe: Goodnight everybody!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! DWIOPrecpt: night!!!