George R.R. Martin was recently honored with Hall of Achievement alumni award at Northwestern’s Medill School of Journalism where he also took part in a discussion and sympathized with “teenage assholes” like Lindsay Lohan and Justin Bieber.
“It’s made me have a certain sympathy for the teenage assholes that are running around out there, the Justin Biebers and the Lindsay Lohans — no wonder these people are crazy! If this stuff had happened to me — if I had written a novel when I was at Northwestern when I was 19 years old and it had sold billions of copies, I wouldn’t have been able to handle that at 19. I can barely handle it at 67. It’s surreal.”
Martin made these statements in relation to his struggles as a writer back in the 90s and admitted that he had to make changes to his career a few times. He discussed about a show called Doorways (a pilot was made in 1992) and how it turned out to be one of the biggest “crossroads” of his career.
“Doorways is interesting. That was one of the greatest crossroads of my career. After I had done The Twilight Zone and Beauty and the Beast, I had moved up the ranks in Hollywood, I had gone from a staff writer to a story editor to an executive story editor to a producer to a co-producer to a supervising producer, and the next step for me was to develop my own show. I wrote pilots for half a dozen shows, none of which ever got picked up, even as a pilot, except Doorways. And Doorways became a pilot for ABC, and at the time, it looked like we were going to get a slot on the schedule. They went so far as to order six backup scripts, and I hired six writers, and we spent half a year developing and polishing and getting ready to shoot the first six episodes when we got the green light. But we never did.
And then of course, like a year later, a show called Sliders came along, and had basically the same premise, but just done stupid. And that ran for a number of years. And at the time, it was one of the great disappointments of my life. I really thought, and I had good reason to think, that Doorways was going to go, that I was going to be a showrunner with my own series on the air, and had it been a hit, I would have been encouraged to do another show, and another show, and I might have been Dick Wolf or Steven Bochco or something at some point. When Doorways failed to go, and all the other shows I had been developing didn’t get to the pilot stage, people suddenly stopped returning my calls. You get a certain amount of strikes out there in Hollywood. You’re as successful as your last project, so that was kind of a bitter disappointment for me.”
He however treats the Doorways failure as a blessing in disguise and that the show would have been a big mess plagued by budget woes and poor special effects.
“I would have produced an ambitious but severely crippled television show that might not have been the show I really wanted it to be. And, failing that, I wrote this Game of Thrones thing, and that worked out pretty well.”
GRRM also spoke about how depressing his favorite Sci-Fi genre has become of late (dystopian setting). He noted a trend in the current books (like The Giver, Maze Runner and Hunger Games) of giving a feeling that we’re afraid of the future, comparing them to the Sci-Fi books in the 60s that gave hope of a better world with technological advancements and easier life.
“Where does science fiction go from now? Does it go into dystopias? Or is there a new way to constitute this stuff? I don’t know.”
Martin also revealed that GOT/ASOIAF will have “bittersweet” ending and also seemed less concerned about the show overtaking the books. You can read about it here.