Chat Transcript – Jose Molina Feb 10 Special Guest chat
with Castle Writer/Producer Jose Molina
Feb 10, 2010

Castle writer Jose Molina was a special guest in the chat room on Tuesday 10th February after the episode he wrote "Suicide Squeeze" aired on Monday. We broke previous records with a total of 91 chatters (accordign to logs) visiting during Jose's session. The formal Q&A session lasted almost an hour and Jose answered questions that had been submitted in advance. After the formal session was over Jose stayed for a further 40 minutes for an informal chat where chat room visitors were able to ask further questions and chat with Jose in an relaxed manner.

Our thanks to Jose from and all those present for being so generous with his time and for being so open in answering fans' questions.

[Jose Molina] hello, Castle nerds!
Greetings from all the chatters snipped
[Moderator] ok, now that everyone's had a chance to say hi, are you ready for some questions Jose?
[Jose Molina] ready, freddy
[Moderator] Ok first question!
QUESTION: [kitten] Was the order for the two additional episodes an unexpected request from the network. Is it considered a vote of confidence in the series that they want to air two more episodes? Does such a request bode well for a 3rd season renewal in the near future?
[Jose Molina] the order wasn't a huge surprise -- we'd been hearing rumblings about it for a while, but were anxiously awaiting confirmation
[Jose Molina] I think it's a huge vote of confidence
[Jose Molina] it seems like they're really behind the show
[Jose Molina] and I would say it (and our solid ratings) bode well for S3
[Jose Molina] especially considering how often they've been rerunning the show and how well the show's been doing in repeats
[Jose Molina] I won't jinx the show by saying anything...
[Jose Molina] but I'm cautiously optimistic
QUESTION: [PeTJa] If it was up to you, how many seasons would (realistically speaking) Castle have?
[Jose Molina] 5-6, maybe? maybe 7?  I think eventually we have to evolve c/b to another stage in their relationship
[Jose Molina] and when they get too serious, the cop work I think has to come to an end
[Jose Molina] since the cop work is really just foreplay
[Jose Molina] if they were married doing cop work the show would turn into hart to hart!
QUESTION: [Janet M]  Of the Castle episodes left in season 2, how many are you writing?
[Jose Molina] I think I'm done for S2. there's a lot of work to be done, but my responsibilities from here on out (in all likelihood) will be to help the other writers break/craft their eps
[Jose Molina] I'd love to do 1 more, but I don't think it's likely
QUESTION: [sschenec] Would you ever consider directing as well?
[Jose Molina] I'd love to direct, but I still have a lot to learn before I can make that happen
[Jose Molina] working with Rob Bowman on 207 was incredibly educational
[Jose Molina] I learned a lot of how a good director works
[Jose Molina] but also learned how much I DON'T yet know
[Jose Molina] someday, I hope, but not Terribly soon
QUESTION: [m_hanh] How many takes did you have to do for that catch scene at the precinct, where Beckett snags the ball?
[Jose Molina] not as many as you'd think. she was pretty good.
[Jose Molina] the shot that's in the show was probably take 2 or 3
[Jose Molina] ironically, stana kept dropping the ball when we were doing the close-ups
[Jose Molina] at which point, of course, it didn't matter if she caught it or not, since the ball was off camera
[Jose Molina] and yet she blew a couple of takes because she wanted to catch the o.c. ball!!! [Admin Note: o.c = Off Camera]
[Jose Molina] it was pretty funny
QUESTION: [Tal] How did you come up with the idea for the B Story in last night's episode (the mind reading scenes)
[Jose Molina] it was Andrew's idea -- he wanted to do something thematic w/ the "missing parent" idea that drives the A story [Admin Note: Andrew = Andrew W. Marlowe, Castle's Creator & Exec Producer]
[Jose Molina] so he decided to pull "Castle's missing dad" out of moratorium
[Jose Molina] I was happy to be the beneficiary of that
[Jose Molina] especially b/c I got to write the final scene w/ Alexis
[Jose Molina] which is one of my favorite scenes in the ep
QUESTION: [sschenec] I noticed you listed also as Producer, I think last nights episode had the best guest stars in terms of performance yet. As writer and Exec Prod, did you have anything to do with the casting?
[Jose Molina] yes, the producers and the directors attend the auditions and put their heads together re: who we want to cast
[Jose Molina] sometimes we disagree and have to come to some sort of consensus, but on this ep we were all 100% in sync
[Jose Molina] from ray wise to vanessa martinez to chandra west and on down the cast list, we all looked at each other and went "yep"
[Jose Molina] Ray didn't audition, but when his name came up we all went "yep"
QUESTION: [Kath] Are  there intentional similarities between "Castle" and "Remington Steele" (the shows, not the characters…though that too would be an interesting study in comparison!), or if he or the other show-runners might be subconsciously yet creatively influence by the 80s classic or if perhaps I have just fashioned the importance of these similarities in my head!
[Jose Molina] I don't think we've often talked about Remington Steele
[Jose Molina] a lot of us on the writing staff are children of the 80s, so it's in there somewhere, but we're not consciously trying to imitate it
QUESTION: [DJ] What's great about Castle is that it can switch in tone depending on the episode and even the scene, yet it all still feels like Castle. Who decides what kind of overall tone each episode takes? Are you forced to write a heavy episode just because the ones before it are more light-hearted, just to get a balance?
[Jose Molina] sometimes you do get assigned to do something that's specific tonally because of what has come before it
[Jose Molina] for instance, we knew Sucker Punch would be dark, so we needed two light, romantic episodes in front and in back of it
[Jose Molina] and we were going off book for 11, 12, 13, 14, so 15 needed to be more in the "classic Castle" mode
[Jose Molina] the ultimate decision maker is Andrew, but sometimes we pitch him something off-tone that he really likes and he'll decide to do it next
[Jose Molina] both my episodes were influenced to some degree by what came before and after
[Jose Molina] but that happens a lot when you're on a staff
[Jose Molina] sometimes that's a bonus and sometimes it's not
QUESTION: [The Gunshark] I think one of the missed opportunities for the show is the chance to introduce an arch-nemesis. Was there any consideration to keep Rathbourne alive or to create a multi-episode arc for a new villain?
[Jose Molina] keep in mind that Rathborne was only the trigger man
[Jose Molina] the Big Bad is still out there
[Jose Molina] we've talked a lot about the shape of the Beckett arc
[Jose Molina] and we agree that the show can't become serialized -- that's not what people want to see week in/week out
[Jose Molina] Beckett's mom can become a spectre that lingers over the show and makes it too dark
[Jose Molina] so we felt it was important to do a story where we could make significant progress -- both from an emotional and plot standpoint -- and then cut off its legs at the end
[Jose Molina] but there's a lot more to the Johanna story
[Jose Molina] we haven't seen the last of it by a long shot
QUESTION: [Marbs84]  I think that it's nice that Alexis feels comfortable coming to Beckett for an advice. Will we see that relationship develop more this season and carry on over to the next season?
[Jose Molina] it's definitely something we talk about and enjoy. We'll probably see a little more in S2 -- if we don't, then (assuming there is a S3) we'll no doubt see it in S3
[Jose Molina] there's no current b-story between Alexis/Beckett
[Jose Molina] but that doesn't mean there won't be one in the final 4
[Jose Molina] we'll see
QUESTION: [Marbs84]  Will we see Beckett's old flame FBI Agent Will Sorenson again?
[Jose Molina] not anytime soon. bailey (who plays sorenson) is on another show, so we're not allowed to use him.
[Jose Molina] we had a GREAT story for him, but we had to shelve it when he got the other gig
QUESTION: [MorrisGrad09]  First of all, Jose, this is SO awesome that you take the time to do this. I love the show, and I just have to pass along the fact to that my fiance and his unit in Kuwait loves the show too (they've been watching Season 1). So, without further ado, my question  - If money and time and space were not an issue, what would be the next project you'd like to work on? (Which is hopefully years and years and years down the road after Castle is over with, of course.)
[Jose Molina] aww -- thanks!
[Jose Molina] if I could pick anything, I'd be writing the script to "The Hobbit!"
[Jose Molina] I also heard they're making an "Alien" prequel -- I'd pay to be involved in writing that!
[Jose Molina] realistically, I have a few things I'll work on when time permits
[Jose Molina] a feature and a comic book are at the top of my list
[Jose Molina] I have the stories in my head, I just need the time to write them!
QUESTION: [enigmaticnotion]  Who is the favorite character you have ever written for?
[Jose Molina] duh, Richard Castle
[Jose Molina]
[Jose Molina] and jayne
[Jose Molina] I loved jayne
QUESTION: [Kcat]  When you tweet, I can't help but sometimes think that you remind me of Captain Mal. How much of you is Mal?
[Jose Molina] also mulder -- although those scripts never got produced
[Jose Molina] you'll see when the Firefly story comes out that I like to dwell inside Mal's head
[Jose Molina] mostly because I really relate to the guy on a lot of levels
[Jose Molina] he hates bullshit, but he's often dragged through it and he deals with it with humor and exasperation at the same time
[Jose Molina] I wish I could say you see ME in MAL instead of the other way around, but I just hit it off with that guy (who was created in full by Joss)
QUESTION: [Nomi-Nu] Who is the person who has influenced you the most - either professionally or personally?
[Jose Molina] Stephen King is a  huge influence, creatively
[Jose Molina] both professionally and personally, the late Michael Piller made a HUGE difference in my life
[Jose Molina] I can safely say (no exaggeration) that w/o Michael I would not be here
[Jose Molina] he was an awesome person, an incredible teacher who loved giving young people opportunities and helped them find their voice
[Jose Molina] taken too soon at age 57
QUESTION: [sheryllnkansas]  Is there something/anything you would never write about?
[Jose Molina] sheryll, for what reason?
[Jose Molina] for moral/ethical reasons?
[Jose Molina] the only thing I can think of is I'd never write about anything I find boring
[sheryllnkansas] I don't know.. sounded like at good question at the time.. ask one of my other ones.. please Admin.. *goes and hides*
[Jose Molina] lol
[Jose Molina] I wouldn't shy away from anything for fear of "what will people think?"
[Jose Molina] for instance, I was writing a feature once, and I described it to my brother as "it makes Seven look like Winnie the Pooh"
[Jose Molina] for comical reasons...
[Jose Molina] I did write the line "smells like crotch"... so I'm not shy on that front, either!
[Jose Molina] the short answer is no, I guess.  if I can find an interesting way of writing about it, I probably would.
QUESTION: [cko] Can you be honest with us, and tell us which of the Castle characters is your favorite, and why?
[Jose Molina] Castle is my favorite
[Jose Molina] he's intelligent, and a smartass, and funny and insightful and a great dad and a great friend
[Jose Molina] and there's the matter of that Nathan guy delivering your lines. who WOULDN'T want to write that guy?!
[Jose Molina] I don't write much about the suave Castle cause I don't know squat about that
[Jose Molina] lol
QUESTION: [Danielle] What's your daily schedule usually like in the business? Are you constantly busy?
[Jose Molina] yes
[Jose Molina] the show takes up 95% of your workday
[Jose Molina] and often a good chunk of your personal life
[Jose Molina] we arrive in the morning and, if we're not writing, we join the room [Admin Note: see below for explanation of 'the room"]
[Jose Molina] we work together in the room until lunch
[Jose Molina] if we're slammed we'll have lunch brought in, otherwise we'll take a break for lunch
[Jose Molina] then we come back and jump back in the room till it's time to go home
[Jose Molina] it's pretty intensive
[Jose Molina] and when you're writing/prepping/in production... forget it
[Jose Molina] say goodbye to your life
[Jose Molina] we all have very understanding spouses/partners
[Jose Molina] who know that when you're "up" you check your life at the door
[Jose Molina] production is the most taxing (usually)
[Jose Molina] you start at 7 a.m. on monday and wrap at 3-5 a.m. that friday night/sat morning
QUESTION: Jose - would you mind explaining "the room" for us?
[Jose Molina] sure
[Jose Molina] the room is "the writer's room"
[Jose Molina] it looks like a regular conference room except that most walls are covered with dry erase boards
[Jose Molina] the writers all sit around the table or pace the room and one or two people take point on the boards
[Jose Molina] each board is usually split into 6 acts
[Jose Molina] so we start talking about ideas or scenes or twists for the story
[Jose Molina] and we'll put them where we think they might go on a boar
[Jose Molina] *board
[Jose Molina] once we have a beginning, middle and end we start at act 1 and move linearly forward
QUESTION: [maryc]  If the stars aligned, and the people needed were all free to do it, what kind of episode would you write that would utilize the talents of ALL these guest stars: Jewel Staite, Gina Torres, Alan Tudyk, Morena Baccarin, Adam Baldwin, Sean Maher, Summer Glau and Ron Glass?
[Jose Molina] hmm...
[Jose Molina] well, I can only imagine I'd need a spaceship to accomodate all those folks!
[Jose Molina] it would be a disservice to the actors and the fans to cast all those guys at once
[Jose Molina] I'd love to use them one at a time and give them big juicy parts
QUESTION: [FictionAddiction] How much of what you write is changed, enhanced or cut by the rest of the writing team, and how much of a say do you have in the final edit? Do you have the power of veto over their changes?
[Jose Molina] the only person with final veto is Andrew
[Jose Molina] changes to script, edit, etc are mostly ONLY done by AWM [Admin Note: AWM= Andrew W. Marlowe]
[Jose Molina] sometimes the rest of the staff has to get involved, but that tends to be a function of time more than anything
[Jose Molina] this is a very solid staff, so we only have to jump into people's scripts when we've run out of time
[Jose Molina] but ultimately the script belongs to the writer and the creator, so you'll see some of Andrew's writing in a lot of shows along with the credited writer
[Jose Molina] same w/ the edit
[Jose Molina] we get involved, we ask for changes, fight for moments/jokes/etc
[Jose Molina] Rob B is very involved in this part [Admin Note: Rob B = Rob Bowman, Exec Producer]
[Jose Molina] and the final edit is up to Rob B and AWM
QUESTION: We'll have a couple more questions and after that if Jose is willing we'll open up for anyone to chime in
QUESTION: [Elizah] WriteRCastle has twittered several times in the past few days about Castle having a mysterious new neighbor with a dog. Is this something we are going to see on the show some time soon?
[Jose Molina] the dog will eat the Heat Wave sequel and he'll have to start over
[Jose Molina]
[Jose Molina] totally kidding, I have no idea
[Jose Molina] that Castle dude has a mind of his own
[Jose Molina] he's in NYC, we're in LA
[Jose Molina]
QUESTION: [ashley_slomo]   Who's idea was it to have so much "4th-wall breakage" when it comes to certain episodes (ie. Blue Pill website, songs on iTunes, Vampire Website etc), yours or someone else's? Will we be seeing more of that this season? It's totally awesome.
[Jose Molina] partly the staff, partly Andrew and Terri, partly ABC
[Jose Molina] Terri and I both wanted to really cross-mojonate our shows, so we were involved in the sites
[Jose Molina] we would love to do it more
[Jose Molina] get more interactive
[Jose Molina] but time is always short and ABC doesn't always have the time or resources that we need
[Jose Molina] I think we're probably done w/ those shenanigans for the season, but I really hope we see more of it if there's a season 3
QUESTION: [Nomi-Nu] It's Karaoke at your local - what song would you sing and why?
[Jose Molina] "Bullet with Butterfly Wings" by Smashing Pumpkins - it's incredibly cathartic
[Jose Molina] although I sometimes bust out Eminem's "Without Me"
[Jose Molina] just to piss off some of my friends who hate rap
[Jose Molina]
QUESTION: Thank you Jose for answering all those questions! And thanks to everyone who submitted questions too.