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When Everything Goes Right

By the time you read this, Love Death + Robots Vol. 3 will be live on Netflix, and those of you who subscribe to the streamer will be able to dig into its nine episodes and enjoy the varied and wildly contrasting stories, styles and aesthetics of each segment. One of those episodes is one I wrote, “Three Robots: Exit Strategies.” It’s a sequel to the “Three Robots” episode in the first season, which was written by Philip Gelatt from my original story. Philip wrote an excellent adaptation and set a high bar for me to meet with my own original script for the sequel. I hope I met it.

I don’t want to go too far into the weeds about the process of making this particular episode of LD+R, but there is one thing about it that I would like to have out there in the world. Which is: You know the writer horror stories that come out of Hollywood? Working on this episode with the teams at Blur Studios (which was the overall producer of the series) and Blow Studio (which handled the animation for the episode) and with Patrick Osborne (who directed it) was the opposite of that. From the moment we decided to do a sequel to the moment it was out in the world, the process of making it — my part of the process, at least — was pretty much a joy.

Mind you, “a joy” does not mean “a totally easy process where no one disagreed with my choices ever,” because, well, that’s not how it works, folks. My script was tweaked and worked on, and bits were added and taken out as we went along. “A joy” in this case means, “kept in the loop, always listened to, never disrespected, and always part of making the episode as excellent as possible.” For a writer, this is the way it should be.

As a result of the process being this way, I can unreservedly say that “Three Robots: Exit Strategies” is, from my point of view, an example of everything going right. When it’s on, there’s no point when I look at the screen that I have a less than happy thought about it. Is it perfect? Probably not, but if it’s not perfect, then that’s probably because of one of my choices. As far as I’m concerned everyone else involved did their job superbly.

This is a pretty great space to be in, with regard to something that’s going to be seen by millions of people around the world. Maybe it could have been made better but I don’t see how. I am as happy with this episode as I am with any creative work I’ve ever had a part in making. I love it. I hope you’ll like it, too.

— JS

By John Scalzi

I enjoy pie.

16 replies on “When Everything Goes Right”

I’m glad to hear it went so well. Whenever I hear a writer talk about working in Hollywood I think of the Charles Beaumont quote (which, until today, I thought was originally from Harlan Ellison):

Attaining success in Hollywood is like climbing a gigantic mountain of cow flop, in order to pluck one perfect rose from the summit. And you find when you’ve made that hideous climb … you’ve lost the sense of smell.

I too love it. I’ve sent the link to people who I think will also love it.
Automated Customer Service from season 2 is also stupendous.

Thank you for a glimpse behind the curtain. Love this series and the talent displayed from all the creators!

I’m planning to binge this tonight or tomorrow. Pop some popcorn, kick back and just enjoy. :-)

I enjoyed watching it, and after reading your post am again amazed that a team effort can indeed result in something that really works. What a concept! people can work together, get in sync, agree on what better is and make it happen. Thanks.

My beloved Scalzi, yes, the best filmmaking is a collaborative work, and being surrounded by amazing talented patient caring creative spirits, makes making Magic the most rewarding experience, when the vision of the writer (that’s us) finally appears in its completed form on the screen. I too, experience that joy, and know others who do as well. So happy for you, joining those ranks!

Much love, congratulations, and great success to your little Robots, with more to follow!!!

Hi, John…. Just came across your Post in my Email. Yes, I saw “Three Robots : Exit Strategies”. I liked it. Spot on and funny. Glad to hear you had great time making it. I was wondering wistfully whether there would be more of Love, Death & Robots, I’m happy its back and so looking forward to more. ( I just wish there was more Cowboy Bebop (live action) as well….) Anyway, have fun in Gaithersburg, MD.

I really enjoyed the new Three Robots story. (I kept thinking of Flight of the Conchords “Robots” song while we were watching it. “…the humans are dead…”)

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