His thesis is about Motion Graphics and during its work Virgil interviewed two guys we know very well: Frank Spotnitz and Mark Snow.
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I can't overstate how important "The X-Files" was to my development as a writer. I worked as a news reporter for the wire services and various magazines, then studied screenwriting at the American Film Institute in Los Angeles. "The X-Files" was my first professional job in Hollywood. I think I had good storytelling instincts, and a strong sense of what I liked and didn't like, but I had an awful lot to learn in terms of craft. Fortunately, Chris Carter is an amazing craftsman, and I learned an enormous amount about interior scene writing and storytelling economy from him.
Some Italian critics believe that TV shows have the power to exercise influences on TV viewers’ thoughts, even if they are considered harmful; there are some articulated shows, like "The X Files", that lead people to intelligent attitudes and opinions. Do you think "The X Files" is for everyone?
I wish it was, but I don't think "The X-Files" is for everyone. You have to be interested in these kinds of stories and this type of subject matter. I don't think "The X-Files" tells people what to think, however. I don't really think any good entertainment does. Propaganda is about pushing a particular line of thought or opinion; for me, the best entertainment keeps you interested and then gives you something to think about. It's left up to you, the viewer, to come to your own conclusions.
Some narrations obliged screenwriters to elaborate the stories many times to be understandable, particularly in sub-plotted episodes where the viewer is compelled to get information deliberately hidden; how do you go into these kind of choises? Which is your own method during the draft of a script?
In the case of "The X-Files," we were always looking to make the viewer think: How much do we need to say? To show? How long can we wait before answering certain questions that we've raised? We were trying to engage the viewer in the show, raising provocative questions, both in the mythology episodes and the stand-alones. Sometimes we wouldn't realize until after we'd written and shot an episode that certain pieces of information weren't necessary, or were better off delayed, and in those cases we would make the change in the editing process.
Television images can’t stimulate viewers’ imagination as the reading of a book does, in its textual form, but it’s also true that we partially solved this problem with modern technologies. How hard it was for you to write imaginary stories remaining in the feasible limits?
I think the secret of "The X-Files'" success was that it made the outlandish seem plausible. The believer-skeptic dynamic made it necessary for Mulder to overcome Scully's doubts each week -- to show her how what they were seeing could be possible, or deny conventional explanation. In the process, it made each story more believable to the audience, and therefore scarier. From a production standpoint, there are many things we wanted to show or do that simply wouldn't be possible budget-wise. As is so often the case, though, those limitations forced us to become more creative. It's true that what you can't see is scarier than what you can.
Talking about the x files opening credits, they were realized leaving absolute freedom to the designers or Chris Carter suggested scrupulous guide lines? I mean, they had their own script?
I wasn't on the show when the original opening credits were designed, but my understanding is that they went through a lot of last-minute changes that somehow ended up being just perfect. In the last few years of the show, Chris made the decision to finally change the credits, both because David was on and off the series, new characters were being introduced, and, by Season 9, it felt like the images could benefit from some refreshing.
It is always the video that comes first. It is the inspiration for the music. Writing music for TV and film, is a very distinct art form, that cannot be easily taught. I feel the composer must have a deeply honest emotional reaction to the film, be it a fast chase scene or a heart braking sad or romantic moment. I think you will agree that some of worlds best film composers, have written some of the most beautiful and thrilling music, from John Williams, Hans Zimmer and the great Italian master, Ennio Morricone. But to answer your question, the video is the "master" and the music is the "slave". It is very rare that the music is written before the video, but sometimes happens as in "The Shining", when the director, S. Kubrick, used modern classical music as the score for the movie. I remember Frank saying to me once, that he thought my best scores were written for the best shows, showing you how much its the picture that drives the music.
What are your musical influences for the production of your works?
For the X-Files, I was heavily influenced by modern classical music, composers such as Bartok, Stravinsky, Ravel, Prokofiev, Xenakis, Stockhausen et c., and the film music of Jerry Goldsmith and Ennio Morricone. Chris Carter and Frank, were always encouraging me to be different, and let me be as creative as I wanted, and I took full advantage of that.
What are inputs required by the production to create a soundtrack?
You must have a collaborative personality to be a successful film composer. The producers and directors have a hard time of telling you what they want since music is such an "abstract", you must be able to interpret there desires, at least 90% of the time. Some directors could want no melody and all synth pads, while others are the exact opposite. Minimal verses elaborate, fast V. slow and so on. The successful composer must have many different musical identities in his or her arsenal.
Do you think the audio remix's aesthetics is also used in television for the re-mix videa? Or maybe they are two unique and distinct things?
There were many re-mix versions of the X-Files theme. Sometimes there were only "beats" added to the theme and other times, like the end credit version of "I Want To Believe", they could be intense elaborate versions taking elements of the theme and doing variations on it. Most re-mix's were quite one-dimensional, while there were others, from a piano solo, to an accapella chorus, that almost created something new.