Variety Interviews HUMANITAS Trustee Howard Gordon
Howard Gordon has built a career producing suspenseful shows — “24,” “Homeland” and now “Legends.” Back in 1986, though, the biggest suspense was where his next paycheck would come from. He and writing partner Alex Gansa had moved to Los Angeles from the East Coast, and were shopping spec scripts. When they finally made a sale to the producers of “Wizard of Elm Street,” Gordon earned his first ink in Variety.
What do you remember about that mention?
It’s like losing your virginity. That was in the day when you could actually be a freelance writer. You’d schlep story ideas from show to show like Willy Loman. Alex and I went to those guys at the “Wizard of Elm Street” and pitched three ideas. The character carried around this huge carpet bag — I guess it was an early version of Kiefer’s man-purse on “24.” We went to a prop store and bought a carpet bag. We pulled a plastic horse out of it and put it on the table. But we sold the pitch!
What have you learned about how not to run a show?
I’ve learned that you can’t do everything. At some point, you have to trust other people. I probably held on too tightly in the early part of my career thinking I was the only one who could do anything. But I also learned you have to hire well. You can’t ever underestimate the importance of good luck in everything. Hiring the staff, hiring the cast, hiring the directors – you have to get lucky. You have to exercise judgment and it gets a little bit better.
Read more at Variety: http://variety.com/2014/tv/news/howard-gordons-first-mention-in-variety-1201277172/