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The Genesis of Lost

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A transcript is a retrospective written record of dialogue, and like a script (a prospective record) may include other scene information such as props or actions. In the case of a transcript of a film or television episode, ideally it is a verbatim record. Because closed-captioning is usually written separately, its text may have errors and does not necessarily reflect the true Canonical transcript.


Transcripts for Lost episodes up to and including "Enter 77" are based on the transcriptions by Lost-TV member Spooky with aid of DVR, and at times, closed captions for clarification. She and Lost-TV have generously granted us permission to share/host these transcripts at Lostpedia. Later transcripts were created by the Lostpedia community, unless stated otherwise below.

Disclaimer: This transcript is intended for educational and promotional purposes only, and may not be reproduced commercially without permission from ABC. The description contained herein represents viewers' secondhand experience of ABC's Lost.


PandoraX is responsible for this transcription. The following is a special featurette seen on Disc 7 of the Lost: The Complete First Season DVD box set. It is called the "The Genesis of Lost", and discusses the conception and collaborative creation of the show in 2004.


Lloyd Braun: We decided to have a retreat at California Adventure, where we invited all of the creative executives at ABC, and part of the responsibilities of coming to this was that everybody had to pitch three ideas for a show. I pitch it... Silence! Not a word.

Heather Kadin [Former VP of Drama, ABC]: Lloyd stepped up and said, "I want to do Castaway, The Series." And all of us assumed, I think that Lloyd meant, "I want to do a series about a guy and a volleyball."

Lloyd Braun: Thom Sherman [His picture is shown], who ran drama for me, comes over and goes, "You know, Lloyd. I kind of like that idea you pitched." I said, "Thom, here's the good news. You run drama, I run the whole thing, we'll do it!"

Thom Sherman [President, Bad Robot]: I had developed Lost with another writer at ABC, and we weren't real pleased with the script so much. [Prelim script shown that says 'THE CIRCLE "Pilot" Written by']

Lloyd Braun: Two weeks pass, I get the write-up, I look at the re-write, it's worse, it's an unmitigated disaster.

Thom Sherman: And anytime, we had an idea at ABC that we were having troubles with, the first name that would always pop up in our heads was, "What would J.J. do with it?"

Stephen McPherson [President, ABC]: Lloyd called me up and said we should go to J.J. because J.J. was in the studio at the time, and I thought, it was a long shot because he had a lot of other stuff on his plate at that point.

J.J. Abrams: I was a few days away from finishing a pilot I was writing. [Beach still with the words, "Plane crashes into the ocean and several survivors wash ashore on a desert island."] Lloyd said they'd been trying to do a show about people who survived a plane crash. And I said, "Lloyd, what's the story?" Y'know, a plane crashes as a series?

Thom Sherman: J.J.'s initial reaction was, y'know, "I'm in the middle of Alias, and I've got this pilot that I'm getting ready to turn into you, and um, I'm not sure I can see what you guys are excited about."

Jesse Alexander: And in the initial pilot script, the time period, in the pilot alone, went over like six weeks or something. So, kind of by the end of the pilot, they were already like coconut-bowling and living in hutches and that kind of thing. [Storyboards shown "Scene 77, Charlie sings."]

J.J. Abrams: I started thinking about what a story would be, that would be interesting to me about a plane crash, and the survivors of a plane crash. [Flash & Friends comic book shown, page with dome & then polar bear] Then I had this one idea, which was: What if the island wasn't just an island. [Scene of polar bear harassing Walt, and then scene where they are digging out the hatch door shown inter-cut] And what if... they found a hatch on the island. [Script flashes across screen, words about a hatch] And this weird little thing, for me was a nugget, was like, that could be kind of cool.

Thom Sherman: J.J. called us and said, "Unfortunately, I have some ideas." [Laughs, scenes flash of other blurry transcripts, appears to be something about the French Woman talking to Sayid, focusing in on the words "It killed them. It killed them all."] He started to talk about the idea of the island being a character unto itself. That just doing a show about a group of people on a deserted island wasn't necessarily something he was interested in, but if the island was a character, and it was some sort of mysterious place, he could be interested in that. And we said, "That sounds great." And he said, "But I can't take this on myself right now, I've got to finish my pilot, I gotta do this, I gotta do everything else, you gotta find me someone who can write this with me."

Heather Kadin: It's Friday night at like 6:30, to have a writer IN his office by Monday. It would have to be someone we've worked with, who we trust. It would have to be someone who I think personality-wise would J.J. is really going to respond to, and it would have to be someone who is close enough with one or all of us, that I can call them Friday night at 6:30 and basically say, "I'm sending you this script, and do you want to meet J.J. Abrams?"

Thom Sherman: Heather Kadin and I had developed this show with a writer Damon Lindelof that year. [Damon Lindelof's photo shown] The show was not going to go forward, but we really liked Damon, he's a great writer, and he just seemed to have the right energy for J.J.; they're similar type people.

Heather Kadin: I literally said to Damon, "I know you've been dying to meet with J.J. Abrams, and here's the situation: We have a show, we need someone to write it with him..."

Damon Lindelof: I was like, "Great. Absolutely. 100%."

Heather Kadin: Damon also read this other script, and had the exact same first reaction. "We need to have something..." ...Not knowing what J.J. opinion was. "You need to have external coming into the show."

Damon Lindelof: Over the course of that weekend, I started thinking, "How do you do a show, where, y'know, plane crashes on an island, and I started coming up with some ideas, about... they would be all about mystery. [Script flashes again, one describing Kate in handcuffs, one about Monster sounds.] A mystery of who the people were that were in the crash, and a mystery of what the island was that they crashed on [Focus on script of Charlie saying "Guys--where are we?"].

Heather Kadin: We have this meeting Monday, and Damon comes to my office, and I bring him over.

Damon Lindelof: I was really nervous, and um, I came into a room, and J.J. was there, a couple of the other Alias writers were there.

Heather Kadin: He's wearing a Star Wars with like a button-down shirt open over it. And we're walking up, waiting outside of J.J.'s office is Jesse Alexander and Jeff Pinkner, and right away, J.J. sees Damon's t-shirt and says, "Hey man, cool t-shirt."

Jesse Alexander: He was wearing like a Star Wars "Bantha Tracks" t-shirt.

Bryan Burk: And we were like, "Hey, how are we not best friends already?"

J.J. Abrams: He had this, like, Star Wars, this kind of like, vintage, Star Wars t-shirt on, and he had glasses like I wear usually...

Damon Lindelof: J.J. started pitching at me some ideas that he had, and everything that he was saying was sort of all the stuff I'd been thinking of over the weekend. So I was thinking to myself, "As soon as I start opening my mouth, he's gonna think I'm the hugest sycophant like ever." Like, "Oh yeah, I though that too!" Like, "Oh yeah! That's a great idea! I was actually thinking the same thing."

J.J. Abrams: He was immediately like someone who y'know, I couldn't stand that I didn't already know. That I hadn't worked with before. I just loved him, immediately.

Thom Sherman: Apparently, it was just magic, immediately. They immediately got each other, they had similar ideas about the show...

Damon Lindelof: I was like, "Y'know, strangely enough, I also think that the show should sort of be like rooted in mystery, this island that they're on should be weird and scary..." [Focus on script words, "Trippy? Strange?"] I sort of pitched him this idea I had for what the beginning of the show could be.

Bryan Burk: Damon said, I'm thinking of starting the show with this guy named Jack. [Script focuses on the words "His name is JACK."] We'd wake up and be on this deserted beach. He'd have an Armani suit on. And be totally discombobulated, not really understand where he is, and he looks like he's in shambles. And he reaches in his pocket and pulls out a vodka bottle, one of those little ones.

[J.J. Abrams shown directing Matthew Fox in first scene.]

Damon Lindelof: J.J. directed and shot it almost exactly the way that I pictured it in my head, except when I originally pitched it to him, I had Jack waking up on the beach, waking up, seeing the dog, pulling out the bottle. But, the plane would have crashed in the middle of the jungle. And J.J. intelligently reversed that, so that Jack would wake up in the jungle and come to the beach, because he realized that if the show got picked up, the wreckage of the fuselage was going to be sort of a main set on the show, and that it would be more dynamic if we saw it on the beach.

J.J. Abrams: And it became really clear really quickly that we were going to accept this challenge.

Damon Lindelof: After the meeting, I went home, I was totally jazzed. I started writing some ideas down, I started sending J.J. emails, then the next day he was like, "Why don't you come by, again, and we'll start figuring out if we can make this into a pilot."

Bryan Burk: So we started talking about what the show was, and who these people were, and where they had landed, and what that thing was on the island. And the big picture of where we're going and at the end of an initial conversation, of like twenty or thirty minutes, we had discussed where the show goes for, I believe for the first five or six years. Like, we understood the big picture. And it was then that we realized, we know what this show is.

Damon Lindelof: ABC, meanwhile, was saying, "You need to be rolling film in like four or five weeks." We're like, "Well, we'd just met, like..." They said, "By the end of the week, see if you can come up with an outline for a new pilot." So, over the course of the next two or three days, I worked with Jesse Alexander and Jeff Pinkner..."

Jesse Alexander: Certainly, we always knew that a lot of drama would come from the interaction of the characters, but we really felt there needed to be that outside pressure that raised the stakes for everything. And the opportunity to tell a compelling mystery in a way that we had touched on in Alias, with building a mythology, and a serialized mystery, and we wanted to add those elements to Lost.

Jeff Pinkner: The exploration of this place was a mystery and adventure to itself. In that the island in itself, could be in a way, be a dramatic version of a video game. You could find the hatch, but it could take you several weeks before you had the proper tools to be able to open the hatch. [Trebuchet scene shown]

Damon Lindelof: I wrote a 23 page outline on Thursday. J.J. and I got together, worked on it a little bit more, and then on Friday, we gave it to ABC.

PilotOriginalTranscript
The original transcript outline that started it all.

Lloyd Braun: I get this thing in my hands, and I'm practically trembling as I read it. [Original "LOST" outline shown, says at the top, "ABC OUTLINE, JJ Abrams / Damon Lindelof, 1/16/04, 1. THE BEACH... A handsome man in his late thirties slowly opens his eyes. Blinks. Abruptly rolls over and COUGHS UP WATER. This is JACK. Our HERO."] It was a tour de force for me... because it was absolutely brilliant. And the fact that these guys had written this in five days was the most mind-blowing I had ever seen.

Thom Sherman: At ABC, we picked up the show off the outline.

Stephen McPherson: It's hard enough to get a script picked up, to get an outline picked up, was unheard of...

Damon Lindelof: On Saturday morning, I remember, I was in bed, around 8:30 AM, my phone rang, and J.J. had been sort of prank-calling me all week, so, and I said "Hello?" It's like, "Damon, Lloyd Braun." And I was like... Lloyd is the head of ABC. And I said [Rolls eyes] "Yeah. Hi, 'LLOYD'." Like, I was thinking I was totally, getting... and then there's a long pause on the other end of the line, "OK, well, anyway... we love the outline..." Y'know, "We're going to make the show." And I was like, "Wow." It's just an outline. There's no script, like, nothing... and basically, that was just the beginning of what eventually became Lost.

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