Appointment TV-viewing is supposed to be over, having given way to an era of 300 cables channels and an infinite selection of video content available on-demand.
And yet, last fall, 10.3 million people tuned in to AMC for the final episode of "Breaking Bad" – a show filmed on the tiny budget of $3.5 million per episode.
(Breaking Bad's budget was so tiny that one season, the producers ran out of money and had to film one episode all in one location. The episode, which is about the show's main character chasing a fly around his lab, is now a cult favorite.)
The person most responsible for this overwhelming success is a guy named Vince Gilligan, the show's producer and primary story-teller.
Until Breaking Bad, Gilligan was working his way through a nice, but unremarkable TV and movie writing and producing career. He was best known for writing some episodes of The X-Files.
For his success, Gilligan was named one of GQ's 2013 men of the year.
In an interview with the magazine, Gilligan gives the best and most honest description of what being a phenomenal success feels like.
This description comes in answer to the question: "I think everybody knew the ending would be a big deal, but it really turned into as big and feverish a phenomenon as I can remember. What happened?"
Have you ever been sitting at your desk and you crumple up a piece of paper and, without even looking, you just toss it over your shoulder and it goes straight into the wastebasket? You didn’t think about it. You didn’t stress about it. You just did it. And now that you’re thinking about it, you could never do it again in a million years, no matter how hard you tried. That’s what this was like. We worked our butts off, but everybody works their butts off in TV. We tried to make the best show it was humanly possible to make, but you know, the guys on According to Jim did the same thing. As to why this thing hit…I could make up some stream of nonsense, but honestly…I wish I could explain it, because then I might have a fighting chance on TV in the future. The truth is, I just have to be satisfied that it happened at all.
We spotted this quote on the blog of Google Ventures partner M.G. Siegler.
Siegler, who spent years trying to make it as a Hollywood script writer, writes a lot about movies and TV on his blog.
His reaction to Gilligan's quote: " Humble."
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