Thursday, December 22, 2011

Hayden Black: Writer/Co-Star/Executive Producer "Goodnight Burbank"

Hailing from Manchester, England, Hayden moved to the US in ’97 because he wanted to better understand the culture that produced 5 different home shopping networks. Hayden once sang with early ‘90’s new wave band The The The – but they only lasted long enough to put out one single, the ill-fated “I’d Love It If You Acknowledged I Exist.” Shoving all those dreams into a bottle and burying it somewhere in the garden, Hayden eventually carved out a career in radio shipping news and has used that talent to catapult him to success here in Los Angeles. Watch Goodnight Burbank at and follow him on twitter at @HaydenBlack or don't - he really doesn't mind.

What is the current project your working on?

I'm writing season two of Goodnight Burbank. Lots of silly stuff in this one; Gordon gets a paraplegic girlfriend who's more active than he is and Whitney gets married to..well, I don't want to give anything away. Oh, and Holly has her baby.

If you could father any "Goodnight Burbank" cast members baby. Who would it be and why?

I would father Cameron Bender's baby as the resulting offspring would be so handsome it would destroy people who gaze at it with its good looks. A weapon of mass-destruction to be used for good.

How do you measure success?

There's so many levels to it. I think for the New Media clique, a good measure is this: if you're not following someone on Facebook and Twitter and you STILL hear about them, then they're doing pretty damn good.

How do you handle rejection?

I eat my feelings. Then cry for dessert.

Did you always want to be work in the entertainment industry?

The first thing I can remember wanting to be was an actor. Or was it Dr. Who. I think it was Dr. Who. So there you go, I initially wanted to work in a space/time machine and fight Daleks.

What inspired you to create "Goodnight Burbank"?

Seeing how powerful the news can be and how it shapes our fears and opinions. I wanted to burst that bubble to show how human and idiotic (read: as normal as you or me) these people are.

What is the best thing about creating a webseries?

Total creative control.

What is the worst thing about creating one?

Total creative control. Oh, and having to worry about shit like craft services.

What is the estimated number of projects you have worked on?

Goodnight Burbank, Abigail's Teen Diary, The Occulterers and a pilot for The Cabonauts. So that's 8. I wish I was better at math.

Have you ever milked a goat?

I haven't, but I've finger-banged one and it produced something that looked like milk.

Who is your favorite filmmaker?

I think Edgar Wright is a genius. Very smart guy. And funny.

How has your life changed since you created "Goodnight Burbank"?

Laura Silverman takes my calls. Not all of them though, which is how I stay grounded.

What is one piece of advice you can give to someone who also wants to become a writer?

Write till you're bleeding then keep writing. Re-writing should be your best friend.

What do you like to do besides working on "Goodnight Burbank"?

Taking walks with my dog. Admiring internet porn.

Have you had any other jobs before you decided create your webseries?

I used to work as a promo writer/producer for the networks. Stuck in a windowless edit bay trying to make other people's shitty shows look good. I hear Hitler considered using them in his camps but decided against it as even he had standards.

What are some of your favorite American films? Foreign films? Television shows?

I've never been a huge movie fan per se - I enjoy them but I rarely watch them more than once. TV shows on the other hand I love and re-watch. US ones include 30 Rock, Daily Show, Modern Family and my current absolute favorite American Horror Story. Recent UK ones I've loved include Black Mirror, Fresh Meat and Life is Too Short.

Why is "Doctor Who" so awesome?

That's like asking why chocolate milk is so great. It just is.

Have you met any of the "Doctor Who" cast or crew?

I have! Little known fact: when I was still in high school, John Nathan Turner, the producer of Dr Who in the 80s, encouraged me to become a writer after reading some sketches I'd written. In fact he asked if I wanted to write a Dr Who! Sadly it was cancelled before I could. This was in 89.  I've since met Matt Smith and Karen Gillan who are both lovely people.

How would you describe your film education?

Watching films then wondering how they did it.

How would you describe the film "scene" where you live?

I live in Los Angeles which doesn't have a film or TV scene. At least, I haven't found it yet.

How has social media changed the film industry?

It's opened up the doors to distribution so now anyone who wants to be brilliant can be without waiting for anyone else's permission.

What's your opinion on crowdfunding?

I think it's great! Haven't used it yet but I think it's a great idea.

How does independent film differ from the mainstream?

Well generally it means there's been less people changing it and it also means less money.

You could go back in time and see any film being made. Which film would it be and why?

I'll pick a TV show instead and go with Fawlty Towers. But that includes watching John and Connie write.

What's your favorite quote and why?

"There's a million reasons to say no to something but only one reason to say yes - and that's that you can't think of a million reasons to say no." I love that quote because 1) it's so true and 2) because it's mine.

What is your opinion on movie remakes and sequels?

Do what you want. I don't have to watch it if I don't want to.

What is your opinion on book to movie adaptions?

The 11th Commandment states "Thy Shalt Always Produce A Moving Picture of this Granite Hieroglyphic" so I guess they're just following biblical law.

Is there anything else you would like to add?

Yes! I'd like to add Mark Cuban's bank account to my own.