Hey, Reddit! This is Marc Bernardin, professional nerd. I write TV shows like Castle Rock and Alphas, I write comic books like Genius and The Highwaymen, and I cohost the Fatman on Batman podcast with Kevin Smith. I know a little about a lot and a lot about a little — ask me anything your geeky heart desires.

EDIT: I have to sign-off now, but thanks for all your great questions!

Check out Fatman on Batman: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL_ZrazoFMI6d75xUVakLO79umIslJH8VM

For more on Genius: https://imagecomics.com/comics/series/genius-cartel

Proof: https://twitter.com/marcbernardin/status/913078094163873794

Comments: 77 • Responses: 29  • Date: 

coryrenton5 karma

how much uninterrupted writing would you estimate it takes to get to a finished draft of a show script vs the actual time it takes?

Marc_Bernardin10 karma

Depends on whether you're working from an outline and how good it is. If there's an outline that you can road-map from, it's possible to write a 50-page script for a TV show in 3 days. I know this because that's how long I had to write my episode of Alphas. Now, if I'm writing a TV pilot from scratch -- with nothing but an idea -- that's probably a three-month process. Give or take depending on the quantites of beer and BBQ available.

coryrenton4 karma

There's lots of examples of great scripts around, but what's the best outline example/format you've ever seen? Is there a standard outline format that writers prefer?

Marc_Bernardin5 karma

Not really. It's unique to every writer, since most of the time the outline is an internal document that no one but you will ever see... So whatever you need to get you through the writing process.

vonralls3 karma

Hey, Marc!! Thanks for doing this. You see Blade Runner yet? Is it awesome?

Marc_Bernardin3 karma

NOT YET! And it's driving me nuts. And I probably won't get to see it until after it opens. But I have faith in director Denis Villeneuve and writer Michael Green -- big fans of both of those dudes.

itstaffetadarling3 karma

What was your experience like getting into the Castle Rock writers room? Did you have spec pilot(s) or a spec script of another show? Once you started, how was your experience in the room: working with others, breaking story, etc.?

Marc_Bernardin6 karma

I have heard it said before by a lot of people -- the time it stuck with me was when Mark Waid said it -- that breaking into TV (or comics) is like breaking out of prison: No two people do it the same way, and they seal up the hole after.

For me, the process began with lots of work. Lots of writing. I'd written 7 spec pilots before my most recent one and I think each one is a little better than the last. And I have a select group of friends that serve as my First Readers -- people I trust to give me real feedback. One of them was already in the Castle Rock room and put my name forward. Much of Hollywood is about personal relationships...that's just the way it is, for better and for worse.

And I think I thrive in a writers' room. I love to collaborate, so it's second nature for me -- especially after long years as a journalist. I live to make stories better.

itstaffetadarling1 karma

With all those personal spec pilots under your belt, are you or have you considered trying to pitch and develop those to series? I know you've mentioned having the goal in mind to direct, are you determined to be exclusively looking towards film, tv, miniseries? It seems like so many avenues are opening up with all this need for content.

Marc_Bernardin2 karma

Well, part of the work when you write a pilot is to imagine what the rest of the show would be. You do all of that work anyway. So, yeah -- some of them would be terrific as full-on TV shows...now I just need to convince someone to give me $40 million to make it!!

JJGrigas2 karma

Hey, Marc! Genius: Cartel is mid-way through - I'm guessing that it's mainly been written for a while. Have you and Adam made any adjustments or story changes as events unfold in our country/culture these past couple of months?

Marc_Bernardin3 karma

Thanks! Well, it's hard to be reactive in comics, as the time between writing, drawing, and publication is so long. But there is a bit towards the end -- which will lead directly into the subject of the third miniseries -- that was inspired directly by current events.

xxjeranxx2 karma

Hey Marc! Huge fan of yours since your initial appearance on FMOB and look forward to hearing your guys analysis of the current trending comic book news.

My question lies in the podcast/YouTube shows format- why have you guys switched from the hour/two hour long episodes you guys used to do to the fifteen/twenty minutes segments you do every couple of days? I keep getting hope that you guys are going to bring it back- the two recent live show episodes were amazing and really harken back to the old days of the podcast.

Second question- if Marvel/DC and Netflix give you a blank slate to create a TV show about any of their characters, who do you make the show about and why?

Thanks for taking time to read these questions and answer them!

Marc_Bernardin3 karma

Much appreciated!

I think the prevailing logic for Youtube consumption is that shorter is better -- that THIS audience prefers content in 30 minute chunks, with the occasional exception. So when we shifted to video, we adapted to the format.

BUT, as you mentioned, the live show at the Scum and Villainy Cantina topped out a 180 minutes. And the viewership was as strong on that as on the shorter eps. So I think, going forward, we'll stretch it out a bit -- especially the Cantina shows look like they're gonna be a regular affair.

coryrenton2 karma

What's the biggest quality difference between script and final product you've seen (terrible script/great movie and/or great script/terrible movie)?

Marc_Bernardin5 karma

Hard to say, but I'll give you this instead: Michael Mann once directed a TV movie called LA Takedown. It's not good. It's really not good. But he loved the script so much that he remade it himself. The remake is Heat. Which is amazing. And there's a clip you can find on YouTube of the famous diner scene done with the cast of the TV movie and then with De Niro and Pacino reading the EXACT SAME LINES.

What a difference execution makes.

almostsomething2 karma

Hey Marc! Big fan of FMoBM, and a bigger fan of your move/tv/comics analysis. It's really interesting to hear your thoughts and feelings regarding story, structure, acting, etc.
2 part question: Of all the superhero movies in the pipeline (both already made/coming out soon, and scheduled for release but unmade/unwritten currently), which are you most excited for? Which are you least excited for/proceeding with the most caution towards?

Marc_Bernardin5 karma

I am the most excited for Black Panther. Ryan Coogler is getting to create an entirely new world, one we've never seen before on screen. Ever. And, yeah, James Gunn got to do it with Guardians, but we've seen space opera and we've seen sci-fi comedy. Same with Thor -- high fantasy with monsters and muscley dudes. But BP can be that rare thing: the new.

And I'm VERY curious about what Justice League looks like -- a lot of work has been done to that movie. A lot.

SillyFlyGuy2 karma

It seems like late last year some of your relationships got a little.. strained. Care to elaborate a little bit on this, or is it still too soon?

Marc_Bernardin5 karma

I am not entirely sure to what you're referring. BUT, all things ebb and flow -- nothing changes and nothing remains the same. People come into your life and then do shit that guarantees they'll go out of your life.

But all's good!

iamonelegend2 karma

My first name is very close to your last name (I'm gonna guess you're Haitian or French). Did you get any grief about it as a kid?

Marc_Bernardin2 karma

Nah...I knew dudes who had it way worse with names like Etienne...

murdockmanila2 karma

Hi marc! What do you think of the latest MCU tv offerings namely Defenders and Inhumans?

Marc_Bernardin2 karma

The live-from-the-Cantina episode of Fatman on Batman gets into my and Kev's feelings about The Defenders -- and I lay into The Inhumans a bit, too.

coryrenton1 karma

What do you expect the ratio of time an artist spends on a page vs a what a writer spends on the same page? Which artists do you think could get that ratio down as low as possible?

Marc_Bernardin4 karma

If a comic writer is committed and burdened with glorious purpose, she or he can finish a 22-page comics script in a day. At least the first draft of it. It's not possible for a comics artist to do that. Nor should it be. Two vastly different disciplines, which require different things from its disciples. The thing is, a writer gets to rewrite the script even after the artist is done. You likely won't see the evidence of that speed in the words. But you will in the art. Artists should work to get as fast as they can without sacrificing quality. And once they get there, get to work.

It should take as long as it should take. No more, no less.

coryrenton1 karma

many artists are often criticized for not being able to meet deadlines, but which artist do you feel is most underrated in terms of being able to deliver quality work on time?

Marc_Bernardin3 karma

honestly, that sorta thing is like disasters on the evening news: You rarely hear about the good ones, but word of the bad ones spreads like wildfire. The artists who just get the work done are out there, quietly getting the work done...

I will say that the artist on Genius: Cartel, Rosi Kampe, did great work and did it fast.

Oddsodz1 karma

Hello Marc. Just wondering if you have ever read any of "Terry Pratchett's" Discworld books. And if so, What was your favorite?

Keep up the good work.


Marc_Bernardin3 karma

Never have. But there's a TON of shit I've never read. I need a good long shipwreck on a tropical island to catch up...

jmac461 karma

From watching FMoB, you seem like a big fan of kung-fu movies/tv shows. Would you ever write one yourself?

Marc_Bernardin4 karma

Man, I would give my eyeteeth to get to write some martial arts... I grew up watching those Shaw Bros movies on WPIX in NYC. I wanted to be a Shaolin monk! Least I could do is exorcise those demons onscreen!

TheClayrooAtWork1 karma

Netflix is investing $500M in Canadian content over the next 5 years.

I have a great idea for a show Canadians would love, but no idea how to go about getting it noticed.

How would I go about getting a pitch meeting, and what would I need to go in with to prove it's legit? (ex: 3 full teleplays etc)

Marc_Bernardin2 karma

I have no idea how the Canadian business works, but all I do know is that it all starts with the word on the page. Write it, make it as good as you can make it. Until you've done that, there's no point in even worrying about the steps that come after...

nerdfoot91 karma

Hi Marc! Thanks for doing this, huge fan. Two questions- What release, now through end of year, are you most looking forward to? Have you seen the Annihilation trailer? If so, thoughts? Thanks Marc!

Marc_Bernardin3 karma

Can't wait for Ragnarok, Orient Express, Molly's Game and The Last Jedi...

almostsomething1 karma

You've spoken about properties you'd like to work on in regards to tv and movies, but what about comics? Is there a character you'd like to take a crack at for say, anywhere between a 3-12 issue mini-series?

Marc_Bernardin2 karma

I really want to finish the story I set out to tell with Virgil Hawkins in Static Shock...which got cut short when they canceled the book. I fell in love with writing that character really fast. And then it went away...

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LWelles2 karma

Hi Marc, I really appreciate so much of your story analysis on Fatman on Batman. It really helps me in analyzing what works and doesn't in films/tv and how I can apply it to my own work. You and Kevin have done DVD commentaries of flicks, would you consider doing any solo audio commentary of some movies you love?

Edit: If so, which movies would you have in mind?

Marc_Bernardin3 karma

Yeah, man...that would/could be fun. As for which movies...man, I think I'd really like to do one for Predator, a.k.a., The Manliest Movie Ever Made.

decks_out_4_kird_ape1 karma


I love FATMAN on BATMAN! Gotta say major props in the last few months to whoever got the audio sorted out! I'm sure holding mics is kindof a pain, but back in the day the ones on the stand were never picking up Kev and the lav mics never seemed to pick him up right either.

Do you and Kev have a Star Trek Discovery review in the works?

What did you think of the show? I feel like CBS spent SOOOOO much (of netflix's) money on this show that the only way it can fail is if nobody subscribes to their service. After marketing I'd be willing to bet they spend $250M.

I really REALLY like Sonequa Martin-Green in this role. Super complex character with a TON of directions it can go. What are your predictions on how they will get us to sympathize with her character going forward?

Marc_Bernardin3 karma

our Star Trek review should be going up in the next day or so...

Heatstroke4221 karma

Hey Marc, thanks for doing this! What would you say are your favorite comic books of all outside of anything you have worked on?

Marc_Bernardin3 karma

I was an X-Men fan from way back. Claremont's run was mother's milk for me -- the first books I truly collected. I love Warren Ellis' Stormwatch/Authority run. I love Neil Gaiman's Sandman. Y: The Last Man. Gotham Central. Agents of ATLAS.

irishking441 karma

Hey Marc! Bug fan! Which DCEU movie would you rewrite if given the chance and what would be the biggest change you'd make?

Marc_Bernardin7 karma

You mean, like one that exists already? There is such a great movie sitting in the middle of Suicide Squad. Just make the Joker the bad guy. Why he's off to the side of that movie, serving no real purpose, is beyond me. No magic, no swirling garbage, just a buncha villains tapped to kill the worst of them all. And then, of course, Harley betrays the Squad from the inside. All for puddin'.

ActionBenton1 karma

What did you think of the Red Dead Redemption 2 trailer released yesterday?

Marc_Bernardin2 karma

bowel-looseningly great!

DJ_tbg1 karma

Hey Marc, big fan! I'm the guy who tipped you off to that wicked Wu-Kanda shirt on Twitter a while back, it was rad to see you wearing it a couple times on FoB. If they gave you the option, what would you write for a third Kingsman movie (or the Statesman spinoff, if it strikes you)?

Marc_Bernardin4 karma

The first two movies were very much about Big Business as the threat -- Valentine's cell phone scheme and Poppy's legalizing drugs. It'd be nice to find someone for whom taking down Kingsman (and Statesman, for that matter) is personal. Someone who is literally gunning for them -- and that's their entire plot.

Bond has done that a couple of times, Skyfall being the most recent. But make it personal on both sides of the table. At least, that's where I'd start.

Cowboy_Jazzy1 karma

Hi Marc I hope you're having a good day. Just a simple question: what franchise/brand would you love to work on? (TV or movies)

Marc_Bernardin5 karma

I would love, LOVE to do a Lone Wolf & Cub TV series. The manga is, for my money, one of the finest examples of serial storytelling of the 20th century. So much material there. So much meat on incredibly strong bones.

itstaffetadarling1 karma

I know most artists dreams are to be able to do their original personal projects. But, with the surplus in reboots and sequels, what are some overlooked IP, movies, tv projects that given total control you'd love to take a stab at with your own personal take?

Marc_Bernardin2 karma

I still think that Strikeforce: Morituri, one of those late, lamented New Universe Marvel books from the 90s, has a lot of potential... Soldiers genetically engineered to be better-faster-stronger to fend off al alien threat, but in exchange for that new power, their lifespan is shortened to 1000 days. Good stuff...

Genesis2nd1 karma

What was the last movie that took you by surprise / exceeded expectations?

Marc_Bernardin4 karma

Get Out. I had no idea what to expect from that one and it was astonishingly good. And Hell or High Water. I wasn't familiar with the filmmakers and only really knew Chris Pine from Trek -- and he was a revelation.

cran_baisins1 karma

Hey Marc!

I'm a huge fan after getting to hear you on the FoB podcast :) If it were up to me you would be in the writers room to every show I watch! I have few fun questions if you happen to get to them

1) If you could lead the american adaptation on any foreign property what would it be?

2) if you could walk into any writers room tomorrow and become a part of the team where would you want to go?

Thank you so much I cant wait to have you drop more wisdom on us in future episodes, thanks for stopping by!

p.s. did your kiddo like Finding Dory anywhere near as much as Finding Nemo?? all the best to you and the family!

Marc_Bernardin4 karma

Muchas gracias!

I've already answered the first question earlier in the thread. But as to the second...the writers room I'd most like to join, I think, is Watchmen.

And she tolerates Finding Dory, but she doesn't love it.