Taylor Sheridan is a truly unique television writer in that he doesn’t exactly write television. “I don’t know how to make a TV show,” Sheridan told Deadline recently. “I don’t have any idea and don’t really care to learn. I don’t do pattern budgeting, or write act breaks into things.”
For most TV shows, writing is a collaborative effort. Not for Sheridan, who writes everything himself. “I write 10-hour movies, and go shoot them,” he said. “I don’t have a writers room, I’ve written them all myself.”
The result is an immersive experience with one singular vision. The show can go wherever Taylor Sheridan wants it to go, because he’s the one in control of the story. In effect, it’s like writing a novel; a solitary experience, but the writer has control over everything.
Sheridan figures his structures are a little hard to understand. He told Deadline, “Maybe this is coming from a bit of a place of ignorance because I’ve never been in a writers room, but there are certain tropes and structures that TV shows have relied on for a really, really long time. Certain buttons and A stories and B stories that you can drop them into any show, I don’t do that.”
Sheridan’s work is unique in that he doesn’t rely on those tropes and tactics to write good television. He continued, “So, for someone who’s an experienced staff writer to come along and attempt to figure out this bizarre stream-of-consciousness writing I do, it doesn’t make a lot of sense to them. I don’t do outlines. I’ve just sat down and written all the episodes before we started filming. That way everybody knows what we’re doing, all the way through.”
Why Taylor Sheridan Told Sam Elliot ‘You’ll Hate Me’
When asked by the Hollywood Reporter what filming the show was like, Elliot responded, “It’s been wonderful and grueling at the same time. [Showrunner] Taylor [Sheridan] told me, ‘You’ll hate me at the end of this thing.’ There is no chance that is ever going to happen. But it’s a tough shoot. We shot in Fort West for almost two months in 106-degree temperatures. Montana was the complete opposite. Bitterly cold and freezing.”
Elliot had high praise for Taylor Sheridan, saying, “Taylor is a brilliant writer. He is a genius. It is really inspiring on a lot of levels.” Sam Elliot has been in the business for years and years, so when he says you’re a brilliant writer, you know he means it. And on a western, no less.