Jane Espenson

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Jane Espenson
MCM Once Upon A Time Panel DSC 3132 (8980685674).jpg
Born (1964-07-14) July 14, 1964 (age 49)
Ames, Iowa, U.S.[1]
Nationality American
Occupation Television producer, television writer
Years active 1994–present
Website
http://www.janeespenson.com/

Jane Espenson (born July 14, 1964) is an American television writer and producer.

She has worked on both situation comedies and serial dramas. She had a five-year stint as a writer and producer on Buffy the Vampire Slayer and shared a Hugo Award for her writing on the episode "Conversations with Dead People". Between 2009-2010 she served on Caprica, as co-executive and executive producer for the television series. In 2010 she wrote an episode of HBO's Game of Thrones, and joined the writing staff for season four of the British television program Torchwood, which aired on BBC One in the United Kingdom and Starz in the United States during mid-2011. She is currently working as a consulting producer and writer on ABC's 2011 series Once Upon a Time, and has co-written and produced her first independent original web series with co-creator Brad Bell, entitled Husbands.

Early life[edit]

Espenson grew up in Ames, Iowa and graduated from Ames High School.[2] As a teenager, Espenson found out that M*A*S*H accepted spec scripts without promise of payment or future work. Though she wasn't an established writer at the time, she planned to write her first episode. She recalls, "It was a disaster. I never sent it. I didn't know the correct format. I didn't know the address of where to send it, and then I thought, they can't really hire me until I finish junior high anyway."[1] While Espenson was studying computer science and linguistics as a graduate student at University of California, Berkeley, she submitted several spec scripts for Star Trek: The Next Generation as part of a script submission program open to amateur writers; Espenson has referred to the program as the "last open door of show business."[2]

Career[edit]

Her next break was in 1992 with a spot in the Disney Writing Fellowship,[1] which led to work on a number of sitcoms, including ABC's comedy Dinosaurs and Touchstone Television's short-lived Monty. In 1997 she joined the staff of Ellen as a writer and producer.[1]

Buffy the Vampire Slayer[edit]

After a year, Espenson decided to switch from comedic to dramatic writing and applied for a position at Buffy the Vampire Slayer.[3]

In 1998, Espenson joined Mutant Enemy Productions as executive story editor for the third season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Espenson wrote or co-wrote twenty-three episodes, starting with "Band Candy" and ending with Buffy's penultimate episode, "End of Days." After her role as an Executive Story Editor, she was promoted to a Co-Producer in season four. In the fifth season she was promoted again to a producer. She took up the role of supervising producer in the sixth season and was promoted once more to a co-executive producer in the final season.

She wrote episodes both humorous (e.g. "Triangle" and "Intervention") and serious (such as "After Life"). Espenson and Drew Goddard co-wrote the seventh-season episode "Conversations with Dead People," for which they won the Hugo Award for Best Short Dramatic Presentation in 2003.[4]

In addition, Espenson is credited as the writer or co-writer of the following Buffy episodes:

Episode number Title Credit Original air date
3.06 "Band Candy" Writer November 10, 1998
3.11 "Gingerbread" Teleplay (story by Espenson & Thania St. John) January 12, 1999
3.18 "Earshot" Writer September 21, 1999
4.03 "The Harsh Light of Day" Writer October 19, 1999
4.08 "Pangs" Writer November 23, 1999
4.11 "Doomed" Writer (with David Fury & Marti Noxon) January 18, 2000
4.12 "A New Man" Writer January 25, 2000
4.17 "Superstar" Writer April 4, 2000
5.03 "The Replacement" Writer October 10, 2000
5.11 "Triangle" Writer January 9, 2001
5.12 "Checkpoint" Writer (with Douglas Petrie) January 23, 2001
5.15 "I Was Made to Love You" Writer February 20, 2001
5.18 "Intervention" Writer April 24, 2001
6.03 "After Life" Writer October 9, 2001
6.04 "Flooded" Writer (with Douglas Petrie) October 16, 2001
6.05 "Life Serial" Writer (with David Fury) October 23, 2001
6.12 "Doublemeat Palace" Writer January 29, 2002
7.03 "Same Time, Same Place" Writer October 8, 2002
7.07 "Conversations with Dead People" Writer (with Drew Goddard) November 12, 2002
7.08 "Sleeper" Writer (with David Fury) November 19, 2002
7.14 "First Date" Writer February 11, 2003
7.16 "Storyteller" Writer February 25, 2003
7.21 "End of Days" Writer (with Douglas Petrie) May 13, 2003

She also co-/wrote several comic book stories for Tales of the Slayers, Tales of the Vampires and Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season Eight, the one-shots Jonathan and Reunion and the limited series Haunted.

Battlestar Galactica and Caprica[edit]

Espenson joined the crew of Sci Fi's Battlestar Galactica (BSG) just after Battlestar Galactica: Razor, BSG's first television movie, was conceived.[5] As one of BSG's co-executive producers, she has worked on every fourth season episode starting with "He That Believeth in Me"; she was also the writer of "Escape Velocity" and "The Hub" and co-wrote The Face of the Enemy webisodes. Prior to joining the show's staff she wrote one third season episode and co-wrote another. In August 2008, the Los Angeles Times broke the news that Espenson is the writer behind BSG's second television movie, The Plan,[6] news confirmed in her writer's blog.[7] In January 2009 it was announced that she had joined the spin-off series Caprica as co-executive producer and would take on showrunner duties midway through the first season.[8] Espenson later gave up showrunning duties to focus more on writing.[9]

Torchwood[edit]

In August 2010 it was announced that Torchwood creator, lead writer and executive producer Russell T. Davies had hired Espenson to write for the show's fourth series, Torchwood: Miracle Day to be broadcast in 2011.[10] She later confirmed that she will be writing episodes 3, 5, 7 and co-writing episode 8 (with Ryan Scott)[11] and episode 10 (with Davies).[12] Prior to her involvement with Torchwood, Espenson had claimed to be a fan of the series, particularly the third series, "Children of Earth".[13] To tie in with the launch of Torchwood: Miracle Day, Espenson and Scott collaborated on the Starz produced 2011 Torchwood webseries entitled Torchwood: Web of Lies, which stars American actress Eliza Dushku.[14] Following the broadcast of each episode of "Miracle Day" on Starz, Espenson wrote a blog on AfterElton mixing her reaction to the episode with behind the scenes information on the devising process.[15]

Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) and Husbands[edit]

In January 2011, Entertainment Weekly announced that Espenson and fellow Buffy writer Drew Z. Greenberg would be writing a pilot for Syfy's version of Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased).[16] She told io9 that "The version we're proposing is quite different in tone and content from the original." She added "We took the basic premise of a Ghost Detective and his still-living partner and invented our own take on it."[17] In 2011 she also co-wrote and produced her first independent web series, entitled Husbands, which revolves around the life of two newly married gay men.[18] The series premiered Tuesday September 13, 2011.

Once Upon a Time[edit]

In May 2011, Espenson was brought on to the ABC fantasy series Once Upon a Time, as a writer and consulting producer.[19]

Other[edit]

Espenson has written episodes for several other television shows, including episode 4.17 ("Accession") of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, an episode ("Shindig") of Firefly, an episode ("The Gamble") of The O.C., and two fourth season episodes of Gilmore Girls. She has also worked on Angel, Tru Calling, The Inside, The Batman, Andy Barker, P.I., Jake in Progress, Dollhouse and is the co-creator of Warehouse 13.[20]

Espenson is the editor of Finding Serenity: Anti-Heroes, Lost Shepherds and Space Hookers in Joss Whedon's Firefly (BenBella Books, 2005, ISBN 1-933771-21-6), a collection of non-fiction essays on the short-lived television show Firefly.

Espenson has appeared as an "expert witness" in the Judge John Hodgman podcast episode "Science Friction".[21]

Linguistics studies[edit]

Espenson studied linguistics as an undergraduate and graduate at University of California, Berkeley.[2] She worked as a cognitive linguistics research assistant for George Lakoff,[22] who acknowledged her work on the metaphorical understanding of event structure in English and credited her with recognizing the existence of the phenomenon of location-object duality in metaphors pairs.[23] Lakoff also mentioned her year-long work on the "metaphorical structure of causation" in the acknowledgments section of Philosophy in the Flesh: The Embodied Mind and Its Challenge to Western Thought (1999, ISBN 0-465-05674-1).

Production credits[edit]

Television
Year Title Credited as Notes
Screenwriter Producer
1994 Monty Yes Episode written: "The Principal's Interest"
Dinosaurs Yes Episodes written:
"Driving Miss Ethyl"
"Variations on a Theme Park"
1995 Me and the Boys Yes Episode written: "The Age of Reason"
1996 Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Yes Episode written: "Accession"
Nowhere Man Yes Episode written: "Zero Minus Ten"
1996-1997 Something So Right Yes Episodes written:
"Something About Jack's Ex"
"Something About Thanksgiving"
"Something About a Silver Anniversary"
"Something About Secrets & Rules"
1997-1998 Ellen Yes Episodes written:
"Like a Virgin"
"Womyn Fest"
1998-2003 Buffy the Vampire Slayer Yes Yes 23 episodes written, 88 episodes produced
1999-2000 Angel Yes Episodes written:
"Rm w/a Vu"
"Guise Will Be Guise"
2002 Firefly Yes Episode written: "Shindig"
2003 The O.C. Yes Episode written: "The Gamble"
2003-2004 Gilmore Girls Yes Yes Episodes written:
"Chicken or Beef?"
"The Reigning Lorelai"
22 episodes as co-executive producer
2005 Tru Calling Yes Yes Episode written: "In the Dark"
6 episodes as co-executive producer
The Inside Yes Yes Episodes written:
"Skin and Bone"
"Gem"
"Aidan"
"Everything Nice"
13 episodes as co-executive producer
2005-2006 Jake in Progress Yes Yes Episode written: "The Two Jakes"
20 episodes as co-executive producer
2006-2009 Battlestar Galactica Yes Yes Episodes written:
"The Passage"
"Dirty Hands"
"Escape Velocity"
"The Hub"
"Deadlock"
20 episodes as co-executive producer
2007 Andy Barker, P.I. Yes Yes Episode written:
"Fairway, My Lovely"
3 episodes as consulting producer
The Batman Yes Episodes written:
"The Joining: Part 1"
"The Joining: Part 2"
Eureka Yes Episode written: "Family Reunion"
Battlestar Galactica: Razor Flashbacks Yes 7 episodes as co-executive producer
Battlestar Galactica: Razor Yes TV movie
2008-2009 Battlestar Galactica: The Face of the Enemy Yes Yes 10 episodes as writer and executive producer
2009 Dollhouse Yes Yes Episodes written:
"Haunted"
"Briar Rose"
8 episodes as consulting producer
Battlestar Galactica: The Plan Yes Yes TV movie
Warehouse 13 Yes Creator
Episode written: "Pilot"
2010 Caprica Yes Yes Episodes written:
"Gravedancing"
"Apotheosis"
17 episodes produced
2011 Game of Thrones Yes Episode written: "A Golden Crown"
Torchwood: Miracle Day Yes Yes Episodes written:
"Dead of Night"
"The Categories of Life"
"Immortal Sins"
"End of the Road"
"The Blood Line"
10 episodes as co-executive producer
2011–present Once Upon a Time Yes Yes 11 episodes written
41 episodes as consulting producer
2013 Once Upon a Time in Wonderland Yes 1 episode as consulting producer
Online media
Year Title Credited as Notes
Screenwriter Producer
2011 Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season Eight Yes Motion comic
Torchwood: Web of Lies Yes Episode written: "Missing Day: Part 1"
2011–present Husbands Yes Yes Co-creator, 20 episodes as writer and executive producer

Accolades[edit]

List of awards and award nominations
Year Award Award category Title of work Result
2003 Hugo Award Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form "Conversations with Dead People"
(Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode)
Won
2009 Streamy Awards Best Writing for a Dramatic Web Series Battlestar Galactica: The Face of the Enemy Won
Emmy Award Short-format Live-action Entertainment Program (shared with Ronald D. Moore, David Eick, and Harvey Frand) Battlestar Galactica: The Face of the Enemy Nominated
2012 Writers Guild of America Award Drama Series (shared with D. B. Weiss, George R. R. Martin, David Benioff and Bryan Cogman) Game of Thrones Nominated
New Series (shared with D. B. Weiss, Bryan Cogman, David Benioff and George R. R. Martin) Nominated
Indie Soap Awards Best Writing (Comedy) (shared with Brad Bell) Husbands Nominated
Hugo Award Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form (shared with David Benioff, D. B. Weiss, Bryan Cogman, George R. R. Martin, Tim Van Patten, Brian Kirk, Daniel Minahan and Alan Taylor) Game of Thrones, Season One Won
2013 International Academy of Web Television[24] Best Writing (Comedy) (shared with Brad Bell) Husbands Nominated
Indie Soap Awards[25] Won
2014 Writers Guild of America Awards[26] Short Form New Media – Original (shared with Brad Bell) Husbands episodes "I Do Over Part 1–2" Nominated
International Academy of Web Television[27] Best Writing (Comedy) (shared with Brad Bell) Husbands Won
Indie Series Awards[28] Nominated

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Kelly, Suzanne. "Jane Espenson: Writer, sci-fi thriller, one nerdy lady". CNN. Retrieved 28 January 2011. 
  2. ^ a b c Biography of Espenson from her website
  3. ^ Jane Espenson, an April 2007 episode (in MP3 format) of the USC School of Cinematic Arts podcast series
  4. ^ The Hugo Awards By Year from the Worldcon website
  5. ^ 05/29/2008: Link Letters, an entry from Esperson's writer's blog
  6. ^ Edward James Olmos will direct Cylon-centric special feature from the Show Tracker blog of the Los Angeles Times
  7. ^ 08/22/2008: Intestinal Fortitude, an entry from Esperson's writer's blog
  8. ^ Maureen Ryan (2009-01-23). "'Battlestar Galactica' veterans move on to 'Caprica'". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2009-01-23. 
  9. ^ Conversations with Ross: Featuring Jane Espenson http://www.rosscarey.com/2012/04/24/episode-63-featuring-jane-espenson/
  10. ^ Zaino, Nick (2010-08-06). "'Buffy', 'Breaking Bad' Writers Join 'Torchwood'". TV Squad. Retrieved 2010-08-06. 
  11. ^ Espenson, Jane. "I'm writing 3 5 7 and splitting the writing on 8.". Verified Twitter Account. Twitter. Retrieved 29 January 2011. 
  12. ^ "Jane Espenson on Twitter". April 19, 2011. 
  13. ^ Jensen, Michael (20 January 2011). ""Caprica"'s Jane Espenson: "It's Time For Sexuality to be Incidental"". AfterElton. Retrieved 13 September 2011. 
  14. ^ Jefferey, Morgan (3 June 2011). "Eliza Dushku confirmed for 'Torchwood' spinoff". Digital Spy. Retrieved 13 July 2011. 
  15. ^ Espenson, Jane (2011-07-11). "Exclusive! "Jane's Take" Episode One "Torchwood: Miracle Day"". After Elton. Retrieved 2011-07-11. 
  16. ^ Hibberd, James. "'Buffy' writers to pen Syfy's Brit hit". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 30 January 2011. 
  17. ^ Jane Anders, Charlie. "Jane Espenson tells io9 about bringing Britain's greatest ghost detective to America". io9. Retrieved 30 January 2011. 
  18. ^ "BIOS — Husbands". Retrieved 28 July 2011. 
  19. ^ Jane Espenson, Liz Tigelaar Join ABC's "Once Upon a Time". Accessed 16 February 2012.
  20. ^ 'Battlestar Galactica' countdown: Jane Espenson and the 'Buffy' connection LA Times, Jan 6 2009
  21. ^ Julia Smith (19 February 2014). "Judge John Hodgman Episode 148: Science Friction". Maximum Fun. Retrieved 2014-05-14. 
  22. ^ Master Metaphor List, compiled 1989-1991 by Lakoff, Espenson, and others, from a University of Illinois at Chicago website
  23. ^ The Contemporary Theory of Metaphor, published in Metaphor and Thought (1993, ISBN 0-521-40547-5)
  24. ^ "International Academy of Web Television Announces Nominees for the 2nd Annual IAWTV Awards". IAWTVAwards.org. Retrieved November 13, 2012. 
  25. ^ "WINNERS: 4th Annual Indie Soap Awards". WeLoveSoaps.net. Retrieved February 21, 2013. 
  26. ^ Nordyke, Kimberly (December 5, 2013). "Writers Guild Awards: 'Breaking Bad,' 'Orange is the New Black' Among TV Nominations". hollywoodreporter.com. Retrieved December 5, 2013. 
  27. ^ "IAWTV ANNOUNCES 2014 AWARDS NOMINATIONS". iawtv.org. December 13, 2013. Retrieved January 8, 2014. 
  28. ^ "5th Annual Indie Series Awards Nominees". indieseriesawards.com. Retrieved February 6, 2014. 

External links[edit]