You might recognize his name from “Mad Men” (2007), “Greek” (2009), “Haven” (2011), “Perception” (2012), and “Murder in the First”. (2014). Jonathan has also won “Writers Guild of America Award” and a “Primetime Emmy Award” for ‘Outstanding Drama Series’ for his work on “Mad Men”. Jonathan’s latest project is being the creator of the dramatic series “The Arrangement” on E!
Hi Jonathan. Thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule to do an interview with me today.
- You are an acclaimed writer, producer and TV show creator. What inspired you to get into show business? I got into writing fiction in high school when I discovered my teachers responded better to that than any of my more academic work. And watching TV shows like Hill Street Blues and LA Law made me think that writing the words for those actors to say would be a pretty cool job. Many years later, Steven Bochco would give me my first big break in the business, so it all came full circle. He passed away a couple of weeks ago, which was a tough loss for me and a lot of people whose lives and careers he touched.
- Do you like writing, producing or creating TV shows better? I like it all, but writing will always be my first love. Hearing characters’ voices, playing with words, visualizing shots — it’s a ridiculously creative process. I’m really grateful I get to do it for a living.
- Why did you decided to do “The Arrangement”? What made it appeal to you? It was a buzzy idea, and a world I was familiar with, which is always a plus. But more than anything else, The Arrangement was a chance to do a show that is, at it’s core, about a romantic relationship. On most shows, the relationship is a grace note within the larger plot of murder or political intrigue or alien invasion; in The Arrangement, the relationship IS the plot. I thought that was really cool, and offered the possibility of more space to really get into the nuances of love and intimacy.
- What was your favorite scene with the cast that you filmed to date? Impossible question, because there are many, and they’re all so different. Megan’s audition with Kyle in the pilot is one, because the whole believability of the relationship hinges on the two of them connecting — and Josh and Christine absolutely crushed it. I love every scene we shot in Venice, because… Venice! And there are a handful of scenes in the second half of season two that make the list. Unfortunately I can’t reveal what they are yet!
- Do you have a favorite actor that you find easier working with? They just have that finesse? My favorite actor is my ten year-old daughter Pearl. Nobody else is close. Someday I hope to work with her.
- What word or words would you use to describe on what is coming up in the next few episodes? Truth, lies, deception, beauty, hard choices… and some twists that will floor you. It’s The Arrangement!
- What motivates you every day? Aside from vanity and panic? My family, and the desire to connect with people through the work.
- I heard you were from New Jersey. We are neighbors. I’m from New York. How is it living in California? Do like the change? It’s funny, I lived in New York for ten years after college and was a complete snob about LA: It was shallow and uncreative, blah, blah, blah. Then I came out to visit friends, met my future wife, and did some of the best writing of my life. So I was wrong. I love it here now, though I always miss New York.
- Do you ever have any free time? What do you like to in your “downtime”? Read, exercise, play golf. My wife and I try to make sure we have a date each week, and I have two daughters who I love spending time with. Our favorite thing is to ride our bikes to this gourmet donut shop down the road a bit, stuff our faces, then slowly pedal home.
- Can you tell share with us any upcoming projects you are working on? I have a couple of things I’m not allowed to talk about yet. Hopefully soon!
Jonathan, thank you for taking time out of your schedule today. It is always a pleasure talking with you. Fans, need to follow you on twitter at @jsneaky8. Make sure to check out The Arrangement, every Sunday night at 9pm ET/PT on E!.