LB Dept: An Evening with D.C. Fontana

dorothy-fontana

by Larry Brody

One of my earliest TV writing gigs was on a very short-lived, early ’70s series called THE SIXTH SENSE, which had nothing to do with the much later – and better – film of the same name.

THE SIXTH SENSE was unusual for its time because not only was it science fiction – psychic powers and all that – but it also had two story editors running the writing. And two very distinguished story editors at that: Harlan Ellison, a science fiction legend, and Dorothy Fontana, AKA D.C. Fontana, the fabled story editor of the original STAR TREK series.

Harlan and Dorothy both left THE SIXTH SENSE while I was in the early stages of writing my script, but we remained friends for many, many years. Both of them were huge boosters of my career and my self-confidence as well, and depending on our fortunes and relative professional positions at the time, we would hire each other to write on various shows.

In the early 2000s, when TVWriter.Com, as this site was then known, started having annual “Brodystocks,” AKA TVWriter.Com Summer Intensive Workshops, Dorothy was one of the first writers to appear and impart her wisdom to the attendees. And if you’ve taken any of my classes or read any of my books she’s imparted it to you as well because my entire approach to storytelling came from her.

So it’s with an inordinate amount of pride that I’ve watched Dorothy’s stature within the Industry grow and grow, to the point where last month I was ready to shoot myself for not being able to attend the WGAW’s “An Evening with D.C. Fontana” celebration. Fortunately, I never got around to pulling the trigger because, possibly even more fortunately, all of us here on TVWriter™ can now see the highlights of that evening. Sit back and learn as Jane Espenson (no slouch herself) leads the celebration of “the impact and legacy of D.C.’s pioneering career and body of work.”

I love you, Dorothy. Thanks for giving me so much more than the fish:

About LB

Larry Brody has been profiled in such national magazines and websites as Esquire, Entertainment Weekly, Starlog, People, Electronic Media, IndieSlate, TechTV, io9, and of course TV Guide. A legendary figure in the television writing and production world, with a career going back to the late ’60s, Brody has written and produced literally thousands of hours of network and syndicated television. Brody has also been active in the TV animation world, writing, creating, consulting, and/or supervising the cult favorite STAR TREK animated TV series, the SILVER SURFER, SPAWN, SUPERMAN, SPIDERMAN, and SPIDER-MAN UNLIMITED animated series, and was showrunner of the French animated series, DIABOLIK, as well as part of the team that developed and wrote the live-action/cgi animation sci-fi series Ace Lightning for the BBC. Shows written or produced by Brody have won several awards including - yes, it's true - Emmys.