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January 22, 2013 2PM EST

Q&A with Mike White

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  • Q

    Thank you Mike White for joining us today. What is your favorite part about playing Tyler?

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    A
    Mike White says:

    My favorite part about playing Tyler is just getting to be in the show. It's fun when you create a world to inhabit it and see the other characters from grounds eye view.

  • Q

    From a story-telling perspective, do you find film or television more compelling?

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    A
    Mike White says:

    Lately I find TV more compelling, I think your're allowed to deeper with the characters which allows you to tell richer stories.

  • Q

    What's your favorite thing about your line of work?

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    A
    Mike White says:

    My favorite thing is being able to follow my inspiration and the freedom of being a writer is hard to beat

  • Q

    Hi Mike. I think Tyler is the funniest and most observant character on the show. Are there traits Tyler has that you wish you did?

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    A
    Mike White says:

    I think I suffer from high expectations and Tyler is admirably at peace with his place in life.

  • Q

    How has the response to season 1 influenced your work on season 2, if at all?

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    A
    Mike White says:

    I think with Season 2 we wanted to build out the world a little more and have a little more plot while still retaining some of the character and emotion from the first season.

  • Q

    What's the biggest challenge of being a writer, director and actor on "Enlightened"?

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    A
    Mike White says:

    The biggest challenge is making sure the scripts are all finished before we start shooting. If they weren't I'd be wearing too many hats and drive the car off the cliff!

  • Q

    In the trailer for Season 2, my heart broke when I saw Tyler eating dinner alone. Will things look up for him this season?

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    A
    Mike White says:

    Yeah I think without spoiling too much, Tyler's loniliness is no longer, but because of that he has more to lose. You have to watch to see what happens next!

  • Q

    "The Key" opened with most of the cast's hairstyles being newer than the ones from the finale. How much time has passed between seasons?

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    A
    Mike White says:

    You are a keen observer because it's supposed to be the next day. If the hairstyles change it's because the actors get older and their hairstyles change during the break.

  • Q

    Are there any actors that you would like to see guest starring on Enlightened? I read Krysten Ritter would love to do the show.

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    A
    Mike White says:

    I love Krysten Ritter, there's so many people I'd love to work with because of the nature of cognetiva, most actors are too attractive for our show!

  • Q

    Are there plans for an episode to revolve around Sarah Burns' character, Krista? Would be interesting to see her perspective.

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    A
    Mike White says:

    I completely agree. I would love to see Amy through Krista's eyes. I think Sarah Burns is an incredible actress!

  • Q

    Hi Mike! You're writing all the episodes, do you have a particular writing technique? How do the episodes develop from a single idea?

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    A
    Mike White says:

    I kind of lay out what I want to accomplish for the entire season first and then within each episode, try to get at some overall theme or idea and just kind of build it from there.

  • Q

    Will we meet Amy's sister Bethany at any point? This season? Just rewatched season one and am even more in love this time around. Thank you all so much for the program!!! Warmth, T.

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    A
    Mike White says:

    Thank you for watching! No, Bethany doesn't show up this season. We were hoping for that but there's always another season maybe.

  • Q

    Does your experience with The Amazing Race influence your work today at all?

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    A
    Mike White says:

    Well there are a few cast members from The Amazing Race that make cameos on the show. The Amazing Race was so fun to do, I try to approximate that atmosphere on the show, making it as fun as possible to shoot.

  • Q

    Hi Mike White, what is your favorite documentary movie?

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    A
    Mike White says:

    My favorite documentary that I've seen recently is "The Gatekeepers." I think everyone in this world should be forced to watch that movie.

  • Q

    What is the biggest challenge of being Tyler?

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    A
    Mike White says:

    The hardest part of being Tyler is the challenge of just being in the show. Sometimes I'm directing and I need to be in the background of a shot as an actor and it's frustrating.

  • Q

    People have such varied, extreme reactions to Amy. What's it like to connect with Amy first as a writer an then as a character in your own world?

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    A
    Mike White says:

    I really identify with Amy. Even her annoying characteristics, I find it funny that certain people find her so irritating. I understand it, but I like Amy.

  • Q

    Please tell how us how you and Laura Dern met and how this idea came about?

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    A
    Mike White says:

    Laura and I were neighbors and friends. Both of us really wanted to work with HBO and overtime the idea developed and we were able to make it happen.

  • Q

    BTW, Loved Gentlemen Broncos! Do you have any experience working in a corporate office like you do in the show? If so, what was that like?

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    A
    Mike White says:

    I love Gentlemen Broncos too. As for working in an office like Cogentiva, I've had many soul crushing jobs in my early 20s.

  • Q

    who are your characters based on? I mean, besides everyone in L.A...

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    A
    Mike White says:

    I think the characters are more different sides of me sometimes. I can be strident like Amy, or passive live Tyler or obnoxious like Dougie. I feel like they're all different parts of my personality.

  • Q

    Are there plans to release Mark Motherbaugh's score on iTunes or somewhere else? It's so beautiful.

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    A
    Mike White says:

    Mark is a genius. Nothing would make me happier than to have his score released, talk to HBO!

  • Q

    Do you write the opening/closing monologues before or after finishing the rest of the episode?

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    A
    Mike White says:

    I always write everything in order. I'm very anal about that!

  • Q

    Have you had experience working in corporate America? You capture the dynamics so well, I'm wondering how you were able to accomplish that.

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    A
    Mike White says:

    I think living in our culture right now, there's a universal experience where we feel like we become what we do. Sometimes that's rewarding and sometimes that creates an existencial crisis.

  • Q

    How did you get your start as a writer/actor/director?

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    A
    Mike White says:

    I started as a writer, I started writing when I was little. The acting and directing was an outgrowth of my desire to tell stories.

  • Q

    How do you budget your time when you are wearing many different hats within this show?

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    A
    Mike White says:

    Once we're in production, it's like a rollercoaster and I'm strapped in. I just go wherever the ride takes me...but I need to have finished all the writing.

  • Q

    The desperation and awful work conditions of the basement team drove much of the 1st season will they cut a break this season?

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    A
    Mike White says:

    Yeah you'll have to see what happens. There's definitely a new horizon waiting for the people at Cogentiva.

  • Q

    Do you agree that the castles in our kingdom are inorganic and cannot be sustained? What do you think will replace it?

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    A
    Mike White says:

    There are definitely times that we can't sustain our consumer culture but I'm hoping we wake up in time to figure out how to be good stewards to our planet.

  • Q

    What about your work on Enlightened is similar to your past writing?

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    A
    Mike White says:

    I think that Enlightened deals with certain themes that show up in a lot of my work. Mostly trying to make your life meaningful and how difficult that can be.

  • Q

    What gives you the most satisfaction? Writing? Acting? or Producing?

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    A
    Mike White says:

    Writing for sure gives me the most satisfaction because that's really the content of the story and creating thr world is really a joyful experience for me.

  • Q

    That's all the time we have for today's Q&A with Mike White. Mike, is there anything else you'd like to say to your fans before we go?

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    A
    Mike White says:

    Thank you so much for watching the show, tell your friends. We need every eyeball!

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