Phil Klemmer and John Enbom (Writers)

Pages: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and comments. (December 17, 2006)

Brunette unicorn stud: John Enbom, Blonde unicorn stud: Phil Klemmer

He's a television writer described as "brilliant"! He's a television writer described as "not as brilliant"! They fight crime! And...write for Veronica Mars. MI.net sat down with this daring duo a week after their episode "Wichita Linebacker" aired and picked their brains, individually and together. See if you can tell them apart!

MI.net: First question is, how did you get the nickname Klembom?

John: What was that? Diane, I imagine, just...because we'd actually known each other before working here, so we're like pals before hand, so I think Diane just started referring to us by the short name.

Phil: Yeah, and I guess during the first season we did do, like, three scripts in a row together. And it just became this, like, for efficiency's sake...Rob isn't the sort of overbearing boss that he likes to pretend he is, so a lot of times he screams things and shakes his fist. Just screaming Klembom and acting like somebody is going to get fired. It has a real ring to it, so I think that's kinda how it stuck.

MI.net: When did you guys meet?

Phil: We worked together years ago. Like ten almost...

John: Eight....

Phil: Ten years ago at this place called Propaganda. We sorta met there. Actually we lived in the same apartment building for a few years. And now we work here.

John: And we play tennis twice a week.

Phil: Well, we did before John injured himself. And now we play video games every single day.

John: [chuckles]

MI.net: What did John do to himself?

John: My knee blew up or something. It's horrible. I have to go see the doctor. It's really depressing.

Phil: Yeah.

MI.net: Aw, poor guy.

John: Screenwriting...it's surprisingly hard on your body.

Phil: [chuckles]

John: Just sitting in one place, sorta with your hand out in front of you, like a kangaroo. Typing for long stretches just kinda slowly destroys your body.

MI.net: Wow, sounds like such a great job.

Klembom: [chuckle]

MI.net: So how did you guys hook up with Rob?

Phil: Similar sort of nepotistical kind of a way. I actually met him through a friend of mine. Like the producer Dan Etheridge, he actually met Rob the first day he moved to L.A. from Texas. In circumstances that I don't think I'm allowed to discuss. So, they had known each other for a while. I knew...Dan is actually a college friend of mine, so I kinda just met Rob through him. And so I had known him for a while before the show went on. I mean I knew him from his Cupid days. And socially we all went sort of from that.

[Editor's note: Dude, Rob has voluntarily shared his Maui Wowie photo, his $4,000 shower photo, and his pink eye photo. How embarrassing can his meeting-Dan story be that he doesn't want it published?!]

MI.net: How did you get involved with the show? Was it like Rob says, "Oh, I have a show. Do you guys want to come?"

Phil: I was on from the beginning. I was gunning for this job from before there was a Veronica Mars, because I had given Rob a sample on his short-lived NFL show which didn't work out. Then I heard he got this show. And I was definitely gunning for it. And then John, we were gunning for John because he had done a freelance episode in the first part of season one, and we like having him around. And I really wanted a tennis partner under the same roof. I think Rob was pursuing John, and John was at the time deep into doing features so we weren't sure if he was going to make the television jump.

John: Mostly it was I got married, and my wife didn't want me sitting around the house.

MI.net: So good for the marriage.

John: She wanted me to be going to an office every day.

Phil: I think we both sort of like feeling we have real sort of jobs. It's fun to get into a car and come to an office and hang your coat up. Versus like just walking from the kitchen to your office and sitting there all day. Which was what I was also doing before this job as well. And this definitely suits me better being surrounded by people once in a while.

MI.net: Did you always want to be in TV writing? I think this is your first TV-writing job.

Phil: It is. I had come down here from college and just generically wanted to be in entertainment. I spent a number of years just working random entertainment jobs. John and I said we met when we were working at this place called Propaganda Films. We both sort of got started as readers. Like just doing script coverage, and being sort of faceless drones who decide what scripts get bought. Which is actually a good preparation for writing. But then I took a little detour after that and worked for a director for a few years. And after that experience I definitely wanted to get away from it. Get something where I wasn't being treated like a little Frenchman's little monkey bitch all day.

John: [chuckles]

Phil: So, yeah, I was very happy to get a writing job.

MI.net: So John got the job because his wife wanted him out of the house and you just wanted to stop being a monkey bitch?

Phil: Pretty much. You could just write that.

Phil: And there was a wife issue too. I was having, well, my wife was having a baby. So I didn't feel like I would be a father unless I went to work in the morning. So it was perfect timing for me as well.

[Editor's note: Behind every great man writer is a woman wife who just wants to get him out of the *bleeping* house.]

MI.net: So John wasn't on staff first season?

Phil: He was, starting in the back nine.

John: Yeah. Like halfway through. I did one freelance after I had just worked on one really rotten feature project that I was just fed up with that whole situation. And then Rob asked me if I wanted to do a freelance, which I did. I had just gotten married at that time, and my wife actually did not live at that time in L.A., so she had just moved down to L.A., and we were setting up house, and she was like, "You're around too much." So when they had an opening, Rob was like, "You should really come and just write for the show." I was living in Starbucks.

Phil: [laughs]

John: So yeah, it was a great because it's a fantastic office. It's a great show to work on and everything.

MI.net: So how come John got a shout-out in the pilot?

John: I think that goes back to having known Rob. I was actually kinda surprised myself because I didn't know he had put it in there. So when I saw the pilot, I did my little double take. He didn't tell me he did that. Although it led to all sorts of confusion because now there is a character in Veronica Mars named John Enbom. I didn't think he expected that I would be writing on the show at the same time. Everyone's curious to know what John Enbom is doing after...because I guess he did graduate.

Phil: We all graduated.

MI.net: All the names were mentioned at the graduation.

John: There was one script in the first season where the character John Enbom was written into the script.

Phil: Oh, really?

John: Yeah, Rob took him out. I think he was throwing up into a potted plant. Rob found that too, like, metaphysically troubling or whatever. Took out the whole character, which really kind of bummed me out.

[Editor's note: Too meta for VM? I didn't know that was possible. See: Cupid cultural reference.]

MI.net: Aww. Because you want to be a throw-up kid.

Phil: I put a friend of mine in a script. A guy who I went to high school with, named John Enbom. And he's gone to do all kinds of incredible things. Like he got his aerospace engineering degree. He's designing all kinds of crazy shit for like Sandia Labs. He's a very accomplished guy, but he called me recently and said that he just did this sort of Googling your own name. We all do. And he was really sad to find that, like, the first four sort of mentions of Matt Barone aren't his Ph.D. thesis, or...

MI.net: Veronica Mars.

John: [laughs]

Phil: Yeah. His appearance on fan sites, including yours. And he's like, "You spend eight years trying to get your Ph.D., and, like, you drop my name in a script."

John: [laughs]

Phil: I think that's the power of television.

John: I did the same thing with my dad's partner, his medical partner — Dr. Tom Griffith. So he had the same problems.

Phil: Are you serious?

John: Yeah. That was like my dad's lovable partner.

Phil: Oh, man.

MI.net: So now if you look up Tom Griffith, you'll see a drug addict.

John: Yeah, but he would be looked at.

Phil: There's no such thing as bad publicity, I guess.

Phil: In this last script that John and I did, if you remember. I don't know if you look at your competition's site. But on Television Without Pity there was a big thread devoted to a kid who was asking about mercury poisoning. That was a shout-out to something that my dad is researching now and I'm trying to jump start a national campaign...

John: [laughs]

Phil: ...to figure out exactly how Jack London died. And maybe this is taking some of the fun out of it, but that's not meant to be a red herring.

Klembom: [laugh]

Phil: That is not going to be a clue that pays off in the mystery. Or it might.

MI.net: You never know.

Pages: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and comments. (December 17, 2006)


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