Britta Lundin – Writer: Riverdale
When did you realize you wanted to work in television?
I’ve been obsessed with TV for a long time, but I didn’t think it was a viable industry to go into, so I studied more practical things in college. But I remember the moment — it was when I was reading an X-Files behind the scenes book, and looking at these big glossy photos, I just thought, “Well jeez, look at all these people behind the camera, if they can do it, why can’t I?” That was my first baby step into the arena of filmmaking. From there, I volunteered, then eventually worked on a bunch of indie movies and went to film school, and then wrote a ton of scripts before getting my first job.
What advice do you have for college students who are looking to pursue the television industry?
Find a writing practice that works for you and stick with it. It’s easier in college to write because you’re (probably) not working full time. But once you graduate, you’ll be working to pay your bills, and you have to find a way to fit writing into your schedule in a way so that you’re not brain dead when you sit down to write pages. For me, I was never a morning person, but when I started working full time, it was the only time I could write, so I started a schedule of waking up at 5:30 am, making coffee, and writing for two hours before getting ready for work. After a while, it just became normal. I still do that writing schedule today when I need to. It’s nice to know that no matter how hard a day you have, you can always know that at least you wrote a few pages that morning, so you always have that.
What was your first job in the industry? What did you learn from it?
I answered a Craigslist ad for a 2nd 2nd AD job on a zombie feature film shooting outside Seattle. I was right out of college and I was thrown into the deep end without knowing how to swim. I didn’t know anything when I started working on that film, but by the end of the four weeks, I knew the terminology, I knew all the different positions on the crew, and I had made a bunch of contacts in the Seattle film community. I worked on a series of indie films and commercials after that before deciding to go to film school. That was the job that cemented for me that I was in the right industry.
What is your writing process like?
I’m a big believer in outlining and letting the story cook in your head before you start writing. I hate the feeling of not knowing what a scene is going to be when I set out to write it, so I’ll do multiple drafts of outlines, in increasing detail, and have my friends look them over before I start writing actual script pages.
How has your time been so far working on Riverdale?
ALL CAPS AMAZING. This is my first TV writing job, and I feel so lucky that the room is so lovely and supportive. My first day in the room was absolutely terrifying because I was so nervous and I wanted to do a good job, but now that we’re a season into it, it’s so comfortable. I love the other writers, and I’m constantly inspired by how smart they are about writing and how good they are at their jobs. I’ve learned a lot in a year.
Riverdale has such a specific voice and tone, how did that come about in the writer’s room? Which character has been your favorite to write for?
Yeah, that definitely comes from Roberto (Aguirre – Sacasa). He has a really strong voice in how he writes these characters. The show is so very him. There’s a sort of out-of-time-ness to the show, where it’s definitely set in the modern world, but it also feels like an older time, and it has a specific look, with the old-fashioned diner, and the look of the high school, and the old cars on the street, and the way everything is cloaked in a thick fog. It’s a beautiful feeling to the show that we try to match in the scripts. There are a lot of pop-culture references in the show, and sometimes those are modern references (Making a Murderer, for instance) and sometimes they’re older references (In Cold Blood, or noir movies, or Twin Peaks). It’s hard to pick a favorite character to write for, but particularly Veronica is fun because when the story gets intense, and everyone’s dealing with problems, she often gets to be the one who cuts the tension with a joke or a funny reference. Also, because she’s the new kid at school, she can sometimes see the absurdity of this small town in a way the other kids don’t.
What shows made you fall in love with television? What shows are you currently loving?
In seventh grade, I fell in love hard with The X-Files, and that love has never left me. Some of the first TV writing I ever did was fanfiction I wrote in middle and high school of spec X-Files episodes. I’ve loved so many shows since then, but right now some of my favorites are The Americans (it’s one of the best portrayals of marriage I’ve ever seen on television, plus, y’know, spies), Supernatural (Once you watch 12 seasons of a show, you’re kind of in for life), and Transparent (it’s just so satisfying to watch just about every single character slowly discover their queer side one by one).