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Shoshana Sachi Interview – Doom Patrol Producer/Writer

We sat down to talk with Doom Patrol’s producer and writer, Shoshana Sachi!

GC: It’s a tradition here at GateCrashers to start with a hard-hitting journalistic question. What’s your favourite sandwich?

Shoshana: Oh, shit! Don’t mean to get cancelled after the first question but, I’m not big into sandwiches. It’s mostly because I’m gluten intolerant, and it’s hard to find bread that doesn’t fucking suck when you’re gluten-free. I’m really more of a taco person.

Gabrielle: I don’t think I’ve ever seen a show as prideful of being LGBTQ+ as Doom Patrol. It frames the community and just existing as an LGBTQ+ person in a way that feels utterly unique to any other piece of media, I’d say. I know for a fact seeing that abundant representation has helped countless persons who watch the show. Was it always planned to be that way, or is it something that developed along the way? And how does it feel for you to be able to be a part of it and see the reception from fans?

Shoshana: I don’t think Jeremy or the rest of us planned it necessarily. When I read the pilot and got to know Jeremy’s plan for the show, it became apparent that he wanted to tell human stories, and part of that is the LGBTQ+ experience… especially through the lens of Larry Trainor’s life. Our writing team is incredibly diverse, and a lot of our own lives (past and present) spills into the show. We’ve all loved, lost, struggled… I personally have struggled to really put a label on who I am romantically/sexually, I’ve always believed sexuality and romance to be on a spectrum. It’s good to be part of a time now where definitions don’t really matter.

I’m excited to be a part of it, of course. My dream was always to be part of a project that was overall affective to people. I’m glad we have a show that makes people feel heard and seen– that feels truthful to the experience of being human. I’m always grateful and inspired to hear from fans who have felt moved by Doom Patrol and our characters. We have a great community. I hope they realize how brave they are, and how special.

Gabrielle: It’s no surprise to anyone saying that Doom Patrol is a weird show. The source material it’s based on is already bizarre, coming from the minds of writers like Grant Morrison. But a lot of that weirdness is, in fact, original to the show. Things you and the rest of the wonderful writers created. What is your favorite bizarre addition you have come up with?

Shoshana: Wow, yes! We’re a weird bunch. For me, personally, it would have to be Ezekiel. I just started writing the character, expecting it to be thrown out, but Jeremy really responded to him, and who could’ve known he would become such a pivotal piece of season one. I’m proud of the character, as silly as it may seem because Ezekiel also signifies me stepping out of my comfort zone as a baby TV writer and being confident enough to follow through on pitching this insane concept… even though I was a little scared.

Gabrielle: This new season has a lot of new and exciting DC characters; The Brain, Monsieur Mallah, Madame Rouge, etc. Which character from the DC universe would you want to see in future seasons of the show? A lot of fans want to see Ryan Potter reprise his role as Beast Boy in the show, bringing back the mother and son relationship they have in the comics; what do you think about that?

Shosana: Speaking as a fan of Doom Patrol comics, I would love to see Coagula realized on screen. I’m not sure where or when, but it would be cool to see her. That being said, there are so many wonderful characters left to discover and adapt. I would love to see any one of them come to life on our show. In terms of Beast Boy, I’m honestly not sure. I think he’s a little busy on Titans! If we ever had the opportunity to have him on the show, I’m sure it would be fun… but it’s not really up to us. 

Gabrielle: We have seen the premiere and some of the subsequent episodes already, and it was a quite wonderful and heart-aching experience. Considering you couldn’t make the final episode as planned for season two, how was building a premiere that had to set things up for the rest of the season while dealing with the unfinished plots from the previous season?

Shoshana: I personally think it worked out well. The cliffhanger we were left with in season 2 was powerful and exciting– it left all of us wanting more. We knew we had a lot to pay off in the first episode of season 3. We couldn’t leave that all up in the air, so we did end up using a lot of what we had for that final episode to tie up loose ends. Of course, we had to make sure we platformed season 3 in an exciting way, so that was part of the challenge of crafting the premiere episode. I hope audiences will like what we came up with.

Gabrielle: Something I’ve noticed is that there seems to be a deep love for the series running through everyone involved in it. The same level of love, care, and thought that is put into the writing can be found in the cinematography, score, acting, editing, costume, and set design, etc. What do you think it is about the show that sparks all that passion and effort into people? What is it for you?

Shoshana: Absolutely. I have to say this; my favorite part of being on Doom Patrol is being on set. Everyone is so positive, collaborative, and excited to be a part of the process. The amount of detail and meticulous thought that goes into every little piece of the show; from lights to props, to set construction, to stunts, to makeup and costuming, etc, all of it is so incredibly well researched, pondered upon, and executed. I’m blown away every time– it truly is a collaborative show in every sense of the word; everyone puts their body, soul, mind, blood-sweat-and-tears into it. I can’t speak to why every individual feels passionate about the show or their part in it, but I’d like to think it’s because they see themselves in the show, and that the material makes them feel inspired enough to want to share pieces of themselves into whatever part they play in the writer’s room, on set, in the editing rooms, etc. We’re truly so lucky to have the team we have. In terms of my experience, as a writer, I want to be able to create meaningful characters, spaces, and scenes. I think it’s just important to convey truthful human experiences no matter how insane or wild the context. Jeremy created a safe and fertile place to exercise that, and that’s what makes me passionate about the show. 

Jordan: Last time I talked to you, I asked if there were any characters or stories you thought were unadaptable. Now we’re a lot deeper into this show, so now I have a different question. Which characters, concepts, or stories are you surprised you got away with?

Shoshana: What did I say then? I can’t remember. I don’t think there’s a lot off the table for us to try our hand at adapting. Obviously, as with all adaptations, things have to shift and change to fit the format and the tone of the show. I’m yet to come across anything that is totally out of the question unless it happens to be something that is no longer socially relevant or politically correct.

Jordan: Do you worry that you’re ever going to get to a point where audiences will think it’s a bit too weird? Are there ideas that were just a bit too far or that you had to reel back?

Shoshana: I’m constantly wondering if things are too weird– more importantly, I worry if these things distract from the heart of the show, the themes, and commentary we’re exploring, etc. So far, the audience seems to be happy to dive into whatever weirdness we present, though, so that’s been great. I mean, people went with man-eating butts! As long as we keep grounding it with our characters, I think it will always work.

Jordan: I think this season so far has been the best yet. In particular, what struck me was how it seems so effortless for you writers to write these characters now. Do you think that the writer’s room has almost started to merge with your characters?

Shoshana: Wow, thank you! That’s great to hear, and I hope the general public will enjoy it just as much as you did. I’m not sure if I would say it’s effortless– we know our characters reasonably well now, but that doesn’t mean it’s any easier. There are always new depths to mine and new levels to explore. As I said before, I think we have a diverse writers room with people who come from all walks of life, backgrounds, etc, and as writers, we always draw from a lot of our own experiences in order to make these characters feel as alive as we are.

Jordan: What’s the process like in the writer’s room? Where do you even begin with these crazy episodes? Do you start with an idea of where to take the characters, a story, or character you want to adapt?

Shoshana: That’s a pretty huge question, but the abridged answer is that we start with where we want to see our characters go in a season– what is the new conflict and arc that they have to journey through? We always start with that root; a character’s truth, and we go from there. We brainstorm about what we want to see in the current season (Whether that’s crazy characters, situations, jokes, etc), and if it works alongside what we’re hoping to achieve at the character level, then that’s where the magic happens.

Jordan: Of course, your comic influences are obvious, but what kinds of other media are you guys pulling from?

Shoshana: Putting the writer’s room or the writer’s experience to the side for a moment, aren’t we all just media sponges? Whether we are conscious of it or not, I think we all are inspired, changed, moved in some way by songs we’ve heard, movies we’ve seen, tv shows we’ve binged, books we’ve read… memes we’ve glanced at. I always want to learn, grow and become better. If I see, read, or hear something that moves me, I think of how I can affect people the same way that piece of media did for me. I may not have any specific titles to pin-point, so I guess I’ll say “everything”. To try and be more specific, I’ve always had a love for horror, and I think a lot of that passion for the dark and scary has worked its way into some of my episodes… maybe episode 5 in season 1 specifically. I also love scenes on shows that are just characters talking, so I’m always trying to accomplish good, intimate dialogue scenes that still feel dynamic without being action-orientated. 

Jordan: I’m still waiting on that Ezekiel the Cockroach spinoff! What is taking so damn long?

Shoshana: Ha! I can’t get DC to return my calls on this one. Maybe someday.

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