TV writers mingle in Shanghai

Hollywood creative execs share work experience

SHANGHAI -- Writers and directors from "Ugly Betty," "Lost," and "Friends," shared their creative experiences with more than 150 of their Chinese counterparts at the 14th Shanghai Television Festival on Friday.

"Ugly Betty" writer/executive producer Silvio Horta and co-executive producer Henry Alonso Mayers opened the China-U.S. TV & Film Forum with a discussion of character creation and story structure.

To illustrate the editing process, they also screened initial editor's cuts, then director's cuts, then final aired versions.

Writer/executive producer Carlton Cuse attributed the success of "Lost" to early low expectations that allowed his team to risk writing complex stories that included unsympathetic characters in an unusually large cast.

"Friends" director Roger Christiansen told the audience that teamwork choosing actors that fully embody the characters they play, was more important to creating a hit series than star power