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PopEntertainment.com > Feature Interviews - Literature > Feature Interviews - Screenwriters > Feature Interviews A to E > Caprice Crane (2009 Interview)

 

Caprice Crane


Keeping It in the Family


By Ronald Sklar

 
Copyright ©2009 PopEntertainment.com.  All rights reserved.  Posted: October 7, 2009.

Time to check in with one of our favorite gals, author/screenwriter/Tweeter Caprice Crane. She is a busy one this year, premiering her third novel, writing the reboot of both 90210 and Melrose Place on the CW, and churning out the screenplays. 

Since the last time we hooked up, she has developed a fervid little cult of personality for her Twitter and Facebook posts. Her observational humor is becoming quite the daily dose for thousands of new fans. (example: In Dayton, Ohio, a child bit a teacher on the arm and had to be pried off by the Principal. Way to go, Twilight!) 

Here, we catch up with Caprice and learn about her new novel, Family Affair (Bantam/Random House). We also share her experiences writing for television. We check in on Mom (actress Tina Louise), remember Dad (vanguard entrepreneur Les Crane) and celebrate her smart, handsome dog, Max, who is returning to writing an advice column on Capriceís website. You heard me.

So spill about the new book!

It's called Family Affair and it's a romantic comedy about a girl married to her high-school sweetheart. The couple have been together through high school and college, and when we meet them they've been married now for six years - as you can imagine she's extremely close with his family. So when he starts getting the urge to sow his wild oats, (they've never really been with anybody else) he files for divorce, and she files a counter-suit for joint-custody of her in-laws.

Is this idea based on a real-life situation?

Not exactly, but I'm really close with my high-school boyfriend's family. In fact, they were at my LA book reading last week. He was there, his parents, his cousin! I'm still very tight with these people so you could say it was a hypothetical exploration of what could have happened if we had stayed together.

What's it like to do a book reading?

It really depends on the city and the attendance and my nerves and how much coffee I've had that day. First of all, I'm grateful for anyone who shows up. I've lucked out. I have had really supportive friends and fans. Interestingly enough, there were a lot of people there who were fans of my Twitter, who have never even read my books yet.

This is your third book, after Stupid and Contagious and Forget About It.  Whatís it like to write a third novel?  Does writing get any easier? 

It never gets easier. I feel like it gets harder and harder because you donít want to disappoint people who loved your first book or your second book. And you always want to one-up yourself. [My novels] are all different little animals, with their own struggles. They are all so different. With my first book, I wrote from the perspective of two characters, the male and the female. Family Affair tells the story from the perspective of five different people. 

Do you enjoy writing or are you happy when you are finished writing? 

It depends on the project. I always enjoy being finished because there is a sense of accomplishment. The writing can be challenging and maddening. But if Iím really loving it, if I feel good about it, if Iím in that creative mode where I just canít sleep because Iím so excited about what Iím writing and I want to keep going, then there is nothing better than that. Thatís not often, but when that happens, there is nothing better. 

How does writing for television [Melrose Place and 90210 on the CW] differ from writing a novel? 

The two are so, so different. When writing for television, you have to please a lot of people. You are not writing for yourself. You are not writing for your fans. You are writing under strict guidelines. And you are getting a lot of notes from the studio and the network. Granted, they're smart people who more often than not make the shows better, but it's a completely different process. With a novel it's unequivocally your own. That said, I reserve the right to ask a studio exec to read the first draft of my next novel and give me notes on it.

Youíre so funny, so seemingly effortless in your writing. Does working with a team and getting notes affect your natural writing ability?

Thank you! And it absolutely does. I'm not allowed to be as funny as I'd like to be. Through each note process, the jokes tend to get stripped away a little bit, and that's not the fault of the jokes or of the network. Okay, maybe it's the fault of the jokes. But it's really about the tone of the show. The truth is, [Melrose Place] is a drama, but I will always try to inject a little comedy. With 90210, it was a little lighter; there is a little more fun to be had with characters who are in high school. With this new Melrose, so far there has been a murder mystery and a lot of scandal. They were originally touting the show as the most scandalous address in Hollywood. There is not too much room for comedy in that. And that is hard for me, because comedy is my strong suit but I'm learning the ways of dramatic programming and building new writing muscles on these shows.

How does it feel to watch an episode you have written? 

It's great. It's great to see it come to life and be a part of every step. Being a part of the process is invaluable because you know how you envisioned it when you wrote it, so it's great to be there to help facilitate it. That way what's on the page and what's in your head will actually translate to what people are seeing on the screen. If a line isn't working or if somebody is stumbling on something, you can be there to change it. Our writers room is on the same location as our set and I've been lucky, because on both shows, I've gotten to be on set during the filming of all my episodes. Both shows have had such tremendous people. Cast and crew. And these casts? Forget that they are great actors - they're also all such sweethearts. Really fun, down-to-earth people.

You are bi-coastal, living both in LA and New York. Do you have a preference? 

Iím a back-and-forth girl. I was born and raised [in LA], so itís definitely not a shock when I come here, but moving here there were changes. I needed a car again. And the lifestyle is very different. You obviously donít get to walk everywhere. There is not as much human interaction. I love both cities for such different reasons. I really canít imagine not spending time in both places. Iím a city girl. I love cities. I love London too. 

Howís mom [actress Tina Louise, who has starred in films like Godís Little Acre and the original Stepford Wives, and is beloved for her role as Ginger Grant on Gilliganís Island.]? 

My mom is fantastic. She's so great, so adorable, so supportive. And we're obviously so close. She misses me, and if there is one thing I don't like about living [in LA], it's not being so close to my mom. Some people think this is insane, but when I'm in New York, my apartment is literally one block away from my mom's apartment. And I love it. I could even live in the same building as her, but probably not the same floor. I love having her that close. I do miss her and I know she misses me and I hate that she misses me, when I'm not living in the same city as her.

Weíre so sorry to hear about your dadís passing last year [entrepreneur/broadcaster Les Crane, who pioneered everything from talk shows to software].  

Thank you. He was amazing. He was a fighter pilot. He was a radio DJ. He was a TV talk show host [the classic Les Crane Show in the mid-sixties, with guests like Bob Dylan and Malcolm X]. He won a Grammy. He started an internet company. He was all over the map. And everything he did, he succeeded in.

He was a real Renaissance Man.

He was, but he was also on the cutting edge. He was always the first one to do something new. He was right on the edge, finding the next thing, before anyone else did. He was so smart and so funny and he died too young.

How is [your dog] Max?

Max is so handsome. His advice column is back, on my website. He's so good. He's such a joy. Well... when he's not getting into trouble. Earlier this year, he ate raisins [very dangerous for a dog]. Last Christmas, he ate chocolate [also dangerous for dogs]. He's just a naughty boy. He's a boy. I had a girl dog for a long time and she never got into any trouble. And this little man gets into so much trouble. I really do believe there is a gender difference between boy and girl dogs

You are growing quite a legion of fans with your posts on Facebook and Twitter. Whatís your take on that? Do you find yourself addicted to it?

I wouldn't say that it's an obsession or a compulsion for me. Frankly, I'm over Facebook and have been for a while. I'll post on there every so often because I know not everyone is on Twitter, but I post far more frequently on Twitter. I initially started doing it because I thought it would be another good way to reach fans and let people see my sense of humor and maybe extend my audience. And it has done that. There can be a little bit of pressure to do it when you're busy. But I get direct messages and emails from many people I don't know, saying things like, "your [tweet] was the only thing that made me laugh today." Or "my mom is going through chemo and I read your Twitter to her today and we laughed." That's all I ever want to do. Starting when I was a little girl, I used to make my mom laugh when she had bad days. That feeling of getting that reaction from someone, to get someone to smile and make them feel good. To take their mind of their troubles and make them laugh... there is nothing more rewarding than that.

To get your fill of Caprice Crane Ė if thatís possible Ė go to capricecrane.com.

CLICK HERE TO SEE WHAT CAPRICE CRANE HAD TO SAY TO US IN 2006.

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Photo Credits:
#1 © 2009. Courtesy of Caprice Crane.  All rights reserved.
#2 © 2009. Courtesy of Caprice Crane.  All rights reserved.
#3 © 2009. Courtesy of Caprice Crane.  All rights reserved. 
#4 © 2009. Courtesy of Caprice Crane.  All rights reserved.

Copyright ©2009 PopEntertainment.com.  All rights reserved.  Posted: October 7, 2009.

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Copyright ©2009 PopEntertainment.com.  All rights reserved.  Posted: October 7, 2009.