The Creators of Syfy’s “The Magicians,” Sera Gamble and John McNamara visited the Los Angeles Campus of the New York Film Academy this past week to screen an early episode of their critically acclaimed hit show. Students from all departments were in attendance.
The duo gave a lot of advice about working in a writer’s room. For example, the team was asked if they had a favorite character. They said picking a favorite would be impossible but they knew for whom they could write the best dialogue.
Everyone in the writer’s room gravitates toward the character that best represents them. Though, McNamera said these feelings change from week to week. McNamera stated, “I think Sera really writes Quinten very well,” to which Sera responded, “You are Margot.”
Casting “The Magicians” ranges from quite easy to challenging according to the show’s creators. “Hale Appleman was the only Eliot. I’m positive Jason Ralph was the only Quinten,” said McNamera. But according to Gamble, there was some back and forth with the studio. “We did have a little song and dance. He came in right away. Jason was on ‘Quantico,’ which is the project we worked on right before this. We already knew him. Everyone thought that guy was amazing.” But they wanted to keep auditioning people just in case. Eventually, they realized they had the right guy all along.
One student asked about the process of adapting the book series “The Magicians” to TV. “The first thing you try to tease out is what is the conflict in the literary text. What if I took two characters in the book who’ve never met and I put them together? How does the conflict work now?” McNamera stated.
Gamble echoed that thought stating, “It’s a very instinctual process. Every adaptation is different. There are things about this book that really lend it to a visual medium. The way the author describes the arduousness of using fingers for magic, we were able to interpret that really well.”
The New York Film Academy would like to thank Ms. Gamble and Mr. McNamera for taking the time to speak with our students. You can watch “The Magicians” every Wednesday on Syfy.