Co-writers and producers of the ABC show “Lost” regaled a crowd of more than 100 students with stories about starting out in the television industry along with a few hints about the end of the series at a lecture Wednesday night.
Hillel invited University of Wisconsin alumni Eddy Kitsis and Adam Horowitz, both of whom are 1993 UW graduates, to reflect on their careers and six seasons of “Lost.” The pair met in an Intro to Film class at the university, began working on the first season of Lost in 2004 and have been there ever since, Horowitz said.
He added when the show began, the writers intended for it to be a six-season show, ending in May 2010. It has been a challenge for the writers to keep secret the highly anticipated ending, as they knew how they wanted the show to end early in the process.
“We’ve had a lot of the ending planned since the beginning,” Kitsis said. “It’s hard because what we’re working on and what airs are at two completely different points in the show. We don’t remember what’s currently airing so if you get us in the right moment we could slip up.”
He added the series finale, set to air May 23, is currently being filmed.
Kitsis said starting out in the television industry is comparable to starting out in any other job as far as “paying your dues.” There are many different levels that must be achieved and it takes a long time and a lot of work to get to the top.
“When we were just starting out in the industry we worked 14-hour days at our day jobs and wrote at night because we liked it,” Kitsis said. “No one’s going to hire you right away as a director because you produced a student film at Vilas.”
Kitsis said every year the writers try to make the show as fresh and as fun as possible. Although “Lost” had a relatively set plan from the beginning, he said it is also important to allow some room for creative freedom along the way.
During the presentation, Andrew Dolan, a 5th year student at UW, said he enjoyed listening to Horowitz and Kitsis give detailed, comedic responses to the questions that were asked without giving away any secrets.
“They were very good at giving in-depth responses without spoiling the show,” Dolan said. “It’s just such a creative and different show having such recent success, it was interesting to hear about how they made it from college to writing scripts.”
Andrea Walk, a graduate student at UW, has been watching the show since the first episode and has been anxiously awaiting the series finale in hopes of “finding closure” to the show.
“The fact that they have known the ending since the very beginning must mean that it’s got to be something big,” she said.
Horowitz and Kitsis have also been working on writing the screenplay for the upcoming movie “TRON Legacy,” a sequel to the original 1982 film, set to premier on December 17.
They have been working on TRON for three years, Horowitz said.
“I love both writing for the show and for movies,” He said. “When writing for a movie there are so many more special effects and incredible resources, but we’ve been at ‘Lost’ for so long that everyone there is like family.”