Listen: CulturePop No. 23 - 'Breaking Bad' writer/director George Mastras
Melinda and I were thrilled to get a chance to talk to "Breaking Bad" writer/director George Mastras this week. We love the show (Mastras is Emmy nominated for the season five episode "Dead Freight," which he wrote and directed), but we'd be eager to talk to this guy anyway -- he's a former lawyer, criminal investigator, novelist, world traveler and grade A storyteller. Whether or not you watch "Breaking Bad," you owe it to yourself to hear what Mastras has to say about the creative process, why he's not rooting for Walter White anymore, and one of the scariest travel encounters we've ever heard. Tune in. You won't regret it. [SPOILER ALERT: If you're very behind and haven't gotten as far as season 5, episode 5 of "Breaking Bad," you may want to save this podcast (and read no further) until you watch it.].
2:40 Our special guest talks about what it's like to write and direct an episode, and how Vince Gilligan gave him a chance to direct.
4:10 Mastras talks about the decision to have a kid be shot on screen, and why that was pivotal for Walter White.
6:25 He reveals that the kid wasn't always a kid, at least in his initial draft.
11:20 Mastras talks about the delicate art of making sure the show is gritty but not so much so no one can stand to watch.
13:15 He talks about why he's not rooting for Walter White anymore.
15:05 We get the whole Mastras backstory, including his rough first job and how he ended up in law handling the bad behavior of celebrities.
19:45 He talks about his decision to leave law and backpack around the world for two years.
22:25 He talks about how his book, "Fidali's Way," came to be.
27:20 Hear about the worst first day of work ever, when Mastras had to stop a suicide in progress.
28:45 You WILL want to hear this story. That is all.
32:20 Mastras talks about how he responds to all those "what's going to happen?" questions about "Breaking Bad."
33:05 He reveals which characters he'll miss the most, as both a writer and a viewer.
35:30 We're really excited about his next project, and you will be, too.
39:10 Melinda lobbies to be thanked in his speech if he wins the Emmy.
Thanks for listening!