In an 1997 interview with Adam Beechen for Written By, called “Michael Crichton: The Good Doctor”, Michael Crichton talks about his experiences with the launch of the television series ER including his involvement in the early episodes. In this excerpt Michael Crichton talks about the challenges the actors faced adapting their performances to fit the style of this groundbreaking television show:
“I had a lot of say about the actors’ performances in the pilot and early episodes, because there were several problems they had to overcome. The first was pace; everybody involved in TV had long since adopted a speed of moving and talking which was far slower than real life. It was an economic thing, really. Fewer script pages to shoot in an hour. But I wanted to see ER running at a fast than usual pace. The actors were very uncomfortable talking so fast, at first I was insisten on their being abel to rattle off the tech talk, which is even more difficult. And I was insistent that they have professional demeanors and not ‘relate’ to patients in the usual way.
For example, it was hard to get the actors to look at the injury site and not at the patients’ faces, when they were talking to them. But professional behavior is a lot of what give the show its realistic quality. And finally, I pushed hard to keep scenes from having a ‘button’ either in writing or in performance. Often, TV scenes end on a meaningful look or a dramatic pause. Actors get to expect that. I wanted the show to cut away before that happened. So … no dramatic meaningful look.”