One of the most interesting directors and producers working is J.J. Abrams. He's had his hands in major franchises, TV series, and helped form an entire generation's love of movies and TV. 

Aside from his visual talents, Abrams likes to get in deep with the writing and plotting, always knowing where things are going, even if they take a few unexpected turns along the way. 

Recently, Collider talked with Abrams about why planning is so important when it comes to projects.

He told them, “I’ve been involved in a number of projects that have been—in most cases, series—that have ideas that begin the thing where you feel like you know where it’s gonna go, and sometimes it’s an actor who comes in, other times it’s a relationship that as-written doesn’t quite work, and things that you think are gonna just be so well-received just crash and burn and other things that you think like, ‘Oh that’s a small moment’ or ‘That’s a one-episode character’ suddenly become a hugely important part of the story. I feel like what I’ve learned as a lesson a few times now, and it’s something that especially in this pandemic year working with writers [has become clear], the lesson is that you have to plan things as best you can, and you always need to be able to respond to the unexpected. And the unexpected can come in all sorts of forms, and I do think that there’s nothing more important than knowing where you’re going.”

Abrams is responsible for two of my favorite TV shows, LOST and Alias, which both took some flak for later seasons and their lack of planning, but ultimately paid off their biggest questions and characters in ways network TV had never seen. 

Of course, Abrams also worked on the new Star Wars trilogy. One of the major slights against the new Star Wars trilogy is that most believe they were put together without a plan. Though there were individual efforts that were fun, they never felt like a cohesive project that was developed knowing where things would be planted and paid off. 

Abrams admits projects like that happen all the time. 

He expanded on the idea, saying, “There are projects that I’ve worked on where we had some ideas but we hadn’t worked through them enough, sometimes we had some ideas but then we weren’t allowed to do them the way we wanted to. I’ve had all sorts of situations where you plan things in a certain way and you suddenly find yourself doing something that’s 180 degrees different, and then sometimes it works really well and you feel like, ‘Wow that really came together,’ and other times you think, ‘Oh my God I can’t believe this is where we are,’ and sometimes when it’s not working out it’s because it’s what you planned, and other times when it’s not working out it’s because you didn’t [have a plan].”

That's sort of the problem in Hollywood. People either lay out a plan and don't know how to deviate, or they approach something without a plan and then get upset when no one can figure out how things link together.

Of course, I'm here wondering if he's subtly talking about Star Wars, but the fact that he's so open about making plans and the way Hollywood has become a little spontaneous is fun and informative. 

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