From the very start there was something about The X-Files that I understood on a deep level. It was exactly the kind of show that I would have watched and loved as a kid, and I had an intuitive sense of the characters and the storytelling.
And I had the enormous good fortune of having Chris Carter as my boss. He insisted that everyone give the show their very best, and would tolerate no less. It wasn’t easy – 12-hour days were routine, often working six or seven days a week – but I thrived on the challenge.
There were so many parts of the job I loved, but I learned the most from being in the editing room – where I saw how all the story pieces really fit together – and had the most fun in the writers room, where infinite possibilities spread before us.
We were blessed with a brilliant crew, first in Vancouver, then in Los Angeles. Most of all we were gifted with an incredible cast, led by David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson, whose chemistry was nothing short of magic.
Out of sheer naivete, the first episode I wrote featured an utterly unaffordable set piece – Mulder escaping from a submarine that had broken through Arctic Ice. Implausible as it seemed, the episode not only got made – as a two-parter, no less – it set a pattern for the series going forward. Ambitious two-part episodes became an expected part of our lineup, and I became associated with what would later be called the show’s “mythology.”
To this day, some critics think that’s all I did on The X-Files. That’s understandable - the writing on The X-Files was deeply collaborative, and we rarely sought credit for the work we did. (As an inside joke, Vince Gilligan, John Shiban and I began referencing a character known as John Gillnitz on episodes where we jointly did uncredited rewrites.)
But I was deeply involved in every aspect of the show, and in both the mythology and so-called "monster-of-the-week" episodes. I loved both in equal measure.
The X-Files was my first job in Hollywood. To say that I was green when I started would be an understatement. I was still figuring out what it meant to be a writer, and utterly ignorant of the sometimes challenging politics of television. But, after three years I graduated from staff writer to executive producer.
That’s because Chris and I shared a strong creative bond, and I worked hard to live up to the responsibility he gave me. Anyone would be lucky to have even one experience like this one in their career, and I count myself incredibly fortunate that The X-Files started mine.