Friday, June 17, 2011

What's All The Foz About? - Part 1

Foz and some "Heroes" folks!
You might know him as @theMightyFoz on Twitter. But do you know what makes @theMightyFoz, Foz?

During the days of "Heroes", Foz McDermott was one of the crew members. He was an assistant to the producers, was coordinating producer and was also producer for the "Heroes Unmasked" shorts. In addition, Foz produced the webisodes for "Slow Burn" which was released online during the series' final season.

Foz reveals that he is "a huge Kevin smith, Marty Scorsese, and lunchmeat enthusiast". And he is constantly harassed by his fat orange Tabby called Iggy. Apparently, his other two cats cross eyed Minka and "class-A, bitch" Roxie treat him a little better.

So what has Foz been up to ever since "Heroes" was cancelled last year?

Well, for one thing, he still has his beard (which actually disappeared for a brief scary moment). ;) But I managed to get some updates from the man.

Here's Part 1 of the interview:


Q1: For those who are not yet familiar with you, let us know how you got into showbiz/ production work.
Foz: I will be doing a "Heroes" retrospective within the next few days, so more light will be on the "Heroes" beginnings, but as for me getting into the business out here in LA, I was a reporter and an analyst for the NFL after years of radio/TV broadcasting in various cities like Philadelphia, Atlantic City, New York, Boston, etc.

While in Boston, my contract ran out, so I decided it was time to go for broke and try my hand at serialized television and film, I took a job out here in LA with FOXSports as a reporter/analyst, which I then breached my contract within 2 weeks. After I quit FOXSports, I took a (very poorly paying) job as an assistant writer at "Smallville", which is a story in itself.

Q2. What other work were you involved in before "Heroes" and were any of these memorable (good or bad way.. any anecdotes to share)?

Foz: "Heroes" was my 2nd official Television show, after my stint with “Smallville”. Before that, I was in the broadcast Radio/Television business. I started in radio when I was 16, interning, learning, and overcoming my crippling stage fright.

I also worked as a writer/Talent developer for the WWF, where there are plenty of stories and anecdotes to share. Unfortunately, none of which might be appropriate for this blog.

Being in broadcasting was interesting to say the least. I got to travel and meet many characters including some of idols/ heroes like Frank Sinatra, Billy Joel, Bon Jovi.

One of my most memorable encounters was a chance to interview my football God and hero, Reggie White. I saw that he was at an event in Carolina when I was there covering a Panthers game. Reggie was no longer playing at the time any more. But I made up some reason why I had to interview him because I wanted to meet him. The guy was simply awesome. That was December 20th 2004. Reggie died on the 26th, the day after my birthday.

Q3: Where did you get your nickname "Foz" from?
Foz: When I was a younger lad, my head was shaved or cut low because I had a thick mess of hair. When it grew, it took on an awfully fuzzy look. Someone in my life said that I looked like a "Fuzzy bear... a little Fuzzy bear, ... ha! a Fozzie Bear." That was when the nickname began. Now, I can’t even remember being called anything but Foz.

(@syzzlyn: You guys do know Foz's actual name is Stephen right? :) )

Q4: When did you acquire the love for comics? 
Foz: I started collecting comics when I was 8 years old. I was at summer camp at the local YMCA when we took a "field trip" to a local comic shop. I picked up some random books with a cool looking character on the front, which ended up being Wolverine. That started my love affair with the X-Men.

I read EVERYTHING about, from, and involving the X-Men. This was way before there were any cartoons, movies, etc... I  read other stuff, but my heart is with the X-Men.

I am currently very selective in what I collect.

(@syzzlyn: Foz sure has quite a collection on X-men comics. Go tweet him to find out which ones he has!)

Q5: What was the most challenging part in writing the "Heroes" graphic novels?
Foz: I loved writing the "Heroes" graphic novels. The hardest parts about writing them were twofold: One - trying to get the continuity correct with the actual show. We were writing the graphic novels sometimes 2 months in advance, and we had to keep in mind what was going to happen say 4-6 episodes ahead of ourselves, and then when things were changed for on-air, that could either change what you written / drawn already or completely destroy, or make whole ideas/characters completely non-existent.

Two - the show was so big, and we all had other jobs in its production. The comics were supposed to be an added "fun" thing, but everyone working there took their job and the show seriously, so it became a real undertaking. It was still fun even after having to deal with agents, studio/network issues, 16 hour shooting days, insomnia, meetings, script revisions, and a host of a million other issues that would pop up hour to hour.

Pic taken by Milo of a very tired Foz!
Q6: What were the most difficult parts of working on the Heroes set?
Foz: The most difficult was the sheer man hours we spent on the job. 

When "Heroes" got so popular, a lot of the time we would be shooting two or 3 episodes at a time so my days were at minimum 15 hours, sometimes 17-18 hours. Needless to say, it was exhausting. Some of the seasons were long as well, most shows would do 19-22 episodes a season, we did 22-25. The length of time it took to shoot season 3 for example was 13 months. Because the seasons were long the hiatus break was always shortened, so recharging the batteries was a challenge.

I had some of the best times of my life on that show, but I wanted to give an example of how hard we all worked and how proud we all were to be there to work for Tim Kring.

Q7: And the best parts of working on "Heroes"?
Foz: The best part for me was the people. The crew was my family for almost 5 years. I learned a lot. My time on "Heroes" lead to some great things for me, but what I cherish the most are the relationships I made there.

I got one of my best friends Jim Martin a gig there and look what he accomplished, it makes me so proud that I had a hand in that. I made great friends like David H. Lawrence XVII who makes me spell out that whole name every time I mention him. Erin Fitzgerald – I shared a smelly office with her for most of my time there and she is now one of my closest friends and one hell of a chick. I got to work again with one of my nerd idols Jeph Loeb, and one of my very favorite Television writers of all time in Bryan Fuller.

I become very close with my cast whom I still talk to a lot and meet whenever possible. There are people I talk to almost every day like Harrison Wilcox and people that I communicate via text sporadically - like the lovely and talented Brea Grant - whom when we talk, it feels like we were back on set or dashing off for astro burger.

The relationships I built on that show, will be with me until I am no longer and the lessons I learned will shape the rest of my life.


Foz has a Tumblr that he posts quite regularly in. You can also follow him on Twitter!

Do return to this blog again for part 2 of the interview with Foz, where we learn some things about stargates and pizzas.

Photo Credits: First pic from Foz. Second pic of Foz by Milo Ventimiglia. (Source: Foz's Twitpic)

No comments:

Post a Comment