01 Justified creator Graham Yost

LMU Monday Night Series: JUSTIFIED with Graham Yost

The first Monday Night Series at LMU SFTV was a big hit.

We were honored to have as our guest writer/producer Graham Yost, known for writing blockbuster films like Speed, Broken Arrow, and Hard Rain, and for the screenplays for Mission to Mars and The Last Castle. Most recently, however, he’s riding high as the creator/executive producer of FX’s megahit series Justified.

After we all had a chance to watch the pilot episode with Graham, we had a Q&A session, moderated by Professor Paul Chitlik. Graham shared with us information about Elmore Leonard — whose novels were the inspiration for Justified — and what was involved in bringing those stories to television.

Graham also discussed “male pattern badness” and the character conflict and confrontations in Justified.

I was excited about the opportunity to ask Graham about the shooting “death” in the pilot of Boyd Crowder, Justified’s charismatic antihero played masterfully by the gifted actor, Walton Goggins, who I was fortunate enough to meet last winter on the set of Life After Film School.

It certainly appeared to viewers as if Boyd had been gunned down in a climactic scene, but as it turned out, he “wasn’t quite dead yet.” That change — which has affected virtually every story line in the entire series since — was a direct result of test audience reaction to the demise of a character they had really come to care about and wanted to see more of.  And, as Graham told us, it’s “our job to give the audience what they want.” Then he promptly added, “… in a way they don’t expect.” Outstanding advice!

Having the chance to learn from such accomplished and brilliant industry professionals as Graham Yost is just one of the incredible experiences that LMU SFTV makes available to its film students. I’m so happy I’m one of them!

(Photos courtesy of  LMU SFTV)

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