Monday, May 29, 2006

200th post

It's hard to believe I have 200 opinions about anything but I see that I've reached that number. I figure every hundred posts or so I should take a moment to thank everyone for logging on. You're all enablers but I appreciate it. And the number of readers continues to grow which also is very gratifying (as well as mystifying).

Like I did with my 100th post, I invite you to do the writing today. Let me know where you're from, how you came upon this site, what you'd like to see in the blog, give me shit for doing AfterMASH, whatever.

It’ll be a busy summer. I’ll be in New York and Connecticut working on a musical I co-wrote that goes into production at the Goodspeed Theatre. (THE 60’s PROJECT – get your tickets now. You’ll pay for the whole seat but will only use the edge.) Still, I will try to maintain a new entry a day. Hopefully by 300 I won’t be so bereft of ideas I’ll be posting the many rejection letters I’ve received over the years.

Thanks again. Now it’s your turn.

Ken

56 comments:

Vince said...

Hi, Ken. Congrats on the 200th post. Personally, I think you should keep doing what you've been doing - including posting samples from your work. Great stuff.

MaryAn Batchellor said...

You have a lot of to say and the rest of us are grateful for it.

Hollywood blond said...

Ken, I remember hearing you as Beaver Cleaver. You're a blast from my past!

Love the writing samples with all the commentary. Congrats on your play and hitting #200.

Julie said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Beth Ciotta said...

I discovered your blog via Lee Goldberg’s blog. I’ve been hooked since. I’m thoroughly entertained by your posts no matter the topic. Anyone ever tell you you’re funny? ;) I’ve learned a lot as well. Thanks for being here, Ken. Keep ‘em coming. Best wishes with THE 60s PROJECT!

Paul Duca said...

Ken...you once winged half an entire weekend's airshifts (alongside Bobby Rich at KHTZ, summer of '79). I think you can come up with a few hundred words a day for at least another 100 days.

Bonnie said...

I come to you via Fun Joel's list of links. I think I got to him via John August. And I probably got to him by way of a friend who writes screenplays 3000 miles from Hollywood and always is good online fun. Bloglinking is sometimes a very good thing.

I'm a Hollywood-based SAG indie film casting director with only three (or so) years under my belt, after having worked as an actor since childhood. My survival job, when I first got to LA was interviewing casting directors for "Back Stage West," which is how I learned what I really wanted to do with my energy.

After interviewing over 200 casting directors, I wrote a book about them (and then three more books), and now my weekly column is for Showfax.com (still for actors, but not in interview form). I did the UCLA Extension Writers' Program but never liked any of my screenplay work. So, I'm taking on the 14-Day Screenplay Challenge coming up here soon and I'm a-skeert (but way excited).

So, I guess I'm a wannabe screenwriter and in a few weeks we'll know if I can say I've actually finished one of these damn things. If I haven't, I still like reading blogs from people in the industry, since I work with so many producers, writers, directors, and actors every day in casting. It's always good to get a different POV on the whole machine.

So... what do I want to see you write about?

What brings you joy, what makes you laugh, what gives you hope for the future of Hollywood, what you'd teach yourself if you could go back in time and have a powwow before you'd done your first big LA thing, and how much of your writing ever really ends up being accurately represented in any given finished project? How's that for a list?

You can call me Bonnie Longpost, by the way. ;)

Happy 200th and keep up the fun!

Mary Stella said...

Hi, Ken -- Congrats on 200 posts. Yep, blogging is addictive. Then, to make it worse, I have to recheck my own blog to see if other people comment.

Connecting in the blogosphere is like Six Degrees of Separation. I found your blog through the blog of my friend Beth Ciotta who found you through Lee Goldberg's blog, which she probably found through someone else's blog.

Whether stories from show writing, travelogs or sports stories, you're always entertaining. Like Beth, I've learned from you, too. In short, I don't care what you write, as long as you do.

Thanks for great reading!

shecanfilmit said...

Remember when you said you might post about the "Why are there so few women in Hwood" topic? I'm still waiting....

Mostly, I've really enjoyed your blog. Especially the travel reports.

Christina

Will Teullive said...

I think I stumbled onto your blog via the TV Squad blog. When I first read the title ‘By Ken Levine’, I thought you were partially stepping out of the closet and weren’t the best speller. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

I was pleasantly surprised to read you are a comedy writer and since I don’t know the url for the Farrelly Brothers blog I’ve been checking in here ever since. Having recently been subjected to ‘The Ringer’ their blog is no longer on my ‘to do’ list.

We have much in common since we both work in television, you writing and re-writing for MASH, Cheers, Wings, et.al. And me installing and replacing picture tubes and fly back transformers on many Sonys, RCA, Sanyos, et al.

There is only a select few of us who are fortunate enough to work in television, we should be thankful.

Anyhew, Congratulations! Wait a minute..the ‘90s just called they want ‘ANYHEW’ back. Hold on..2000 just called they want ‘JUST CALLED’ back.

What I’m trying to write is:

Congratulations your 200th post, it always worth the trip, and keep the laughs coming ;-)

Joshua James said...

Happy anniversery, dude!

Joshua James, playwright in New York City and aspiring television writer, as you know -

Love to buy you a cup of coffee sometime whenever you're in the city - just let me know -

Congrats!

Anonymous said...

Congtats Ken

I'm a journalist, columnist, screenwriter and wannabe comedy writer from vancouver, Canada who just sold a pilot to the History Channel.
Your latest Allow yourself three hours before your flight caused me to blow coffee up my nose.
I'm in the presence of a master and I feel like a grasshopper.

Celeste Purdy said...

I came upon your blog via Paul Guyot's blog when he was still blogging. I love anything you have to share regarding writing for tv. I've enjoyed it all really. I never comment but I read your blog every day as well as Lee Goldberg's.

koutsi said...

swimming coach from finland, i´m not working in showbiz but i enjoy good writing in tv shows, when i occasionally see one...

can´t remember how i got here, but been reading long time...

D.T. Pennington said...

You're my hero.

I came upon you by accident. I googled something like "screenwriting for retards", because I was looking to start up, and a a few link-clicks later, I endedup here. Now, I can't get enough.

I'd love to work with you someday.

Ok, I'm done being a giddy fan now.

Omar said...

Hi Ken! I'm a long time reader, but first time comment poster.

I found your blog through Lee Goldberg's a while back. I don't remember exactly when, but I'm sure it was before your 100th post.

I've read you constantly since then for a very simple reason: every post meant to be funny really is, and the few that aren't are usually pretty interesting too.

I don't know how international your popularity is, but you do get readers from non-english speaking countries. I'm mexican and live in Mexico (and, I might add, find the Internet extremely useful).

Keep up the good work. Especially your TV work, but the blog too, if you have the time!

VP19 said...

Congrats on the milestone, Ken. Your next assignment: Come up with a sitcom vehicle for Laura Prepon, then forward it to her agent.

supercublogger said...

Hi.

I found your blog from a link on the WABC Rewound site. Someone posted your blog. I clicked the link. Here I am.

Rumor has it that I am an actor, filmmaker, and teacher in Tokyo, Japan. An American who grew up in New Jersey, I listened to WABC (i refuse to say religiously, since everybody says that.) a lot.

Recently, on my own humble blog, a poster, inspired by a real life experience I was lucky to enjoy mentioned some TV shows we both liked. And that made me write, in no particular order, the shows I grew up with which came immediately to mind.

Along the same lines, I'd like to hear what shows made an impact on you. From my list, you can see I did not confine myself to critic's choice shows, but, rather, anything that I loved watching, and which, during my growing years, made an impact on me, even if that impact was a break-away chair of obviousness smashed over the back of subtlety.

As far as lists go, I never cared for 'em. But, I enjoyed making this one. I hope you can share your choices as well.

Here are the shows pretty much quoted from my blog:

"Let's see, if I could list the great shows of my (not forgotten) past, which to a program, inspired and enriched me, i'd have to say, in no order of importance whatsoever...

Twilight Zone
Barney Miller
M*A*S*H (honest!)
Doctor Who
Bugs Bunny and other Warner Bros Looney Tunes
Johnny Quest
Speed Racer
Sherlock Holmes (Jeremy Brett)
Hercule Poirot (older ones)
Outer Limits
Lost in Space
Mary Tyler Moore
Dick Van Dyke
Get Smart
Mannix (Shifrin score only. just kidding ;)
Man from U.N.C.L.E.
Star Trek (original series)
Hawaii Five-O
The Fugitive
The Invaders
White Shadow
Wonder Years (a biggie!)
Brady Bunch (yes, I admit it!)
Welcome Back Kotter (my parents hated this show)
Gilligan' Island (but not as much as this one)
Starsky and Hutch
The Rookies
Night Stalker
Police Story
The Magician
Incredible Hulk
My Favorite Martian
Courtship of Eddie's Father
(you can see the synaptic links firing off!)
Family Affair
Hardcastle and McCormick
Battlestar Gallactica
Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy
National Geographic Specials (before they went to video shooting)
Wide World of Sports (Jim Mckay and Howard Cosell years)
Schoolhouse Rock and all those other great educational shorts
Johnny Carson hosting Tonight Show
Bob Hope Specials
Andy Williams Specials
Dean Martin Show and Specials
Sonny and Cher Show
Hudson Brothers Show
Carol Burnett Show
Flip Wilson Show
Bill Cosby Show (original one, which premiered Fat Albert)
Ranken and Bass Christmas specials
Peanuts holiday specials
Laugh In
The Prisoner
Thunderbirds
UFO
Space 1999
-and so many great Masterpiece Theater mini-series, such as:
All Creatures Great and Small
Brideshead Revisited
Danger UXB
Piece of Cake
The Citadel
Traffik
Flame Trees of Thika
Jewel in the Crown
Tinker Tailor
Smiley's People

and so many more programs. Gosh, it's a wonder i got outside and climbed trees, skinned my knees, and rode my bicycle with my friends. Where'd i find the time?!
Ha! to be kid!

And no gore or sleaze in any of that viewing. Man did I have a great childhood!

All the best,
Robert
(Original post is "To Students with Love" on supercublog.blogspot.com)

Barry said...

I was happy to watch AfterMASH when it was on, as I became a big fan of the show in its later years and was sorry when it went off the air.

I'm sure you have your own memories of the show, and know much more of its shortcomings than any of us, but from what I remember of it (which isn't much after all this time, since I've never seen it rerun) I certainly enjoyed it for what it was. So thank you for it, from one fan at least.

andrew said...

HI THERE

THIS IS ANDREW, FROM SINGAPORE, AND THE ONLY REASON I AM WRITING IN CAPITALS IS SO YOU WON'T MISS THIS POST.

I came across your blog while surfing another blog on screenwriting. I was ecstatic to find that i had actually stumbled upon the writer of my favorite episodes of CHEERS, AND FRASIER AND MASH!

I work as a television writer in Singapore - a tiny dot of a country somewhere in Asia, and I learnt comedy writing by taping down and watching again and again episodes of mash and cheers.

Your work has inspired this writer from way across the other side of the world.

What I would love to read in your blog is your thoughts and opinions on comedy craft, and your recollections of your times working on mash and frasier and cheers.

i am partiuclarly curious as to how you and issac broke the story of Room Service in Frasier. And did you write together or write separate those lines in that long scene?

You said the frasier kind of comedy is dying - well, i am seriously keeping the flame burning in my part of the world.

keep on blogging, ken!

Constance Reader said...

I love your blog, it starts my morning out laughing. I can't remember how I found it...I read so many blogs...

Amateur (read: unpaid) screenwriter in Austin, Texas with a blog of my own, mostly about internet technology stuff. I'm going to Boston in a couple of weeks for the closing ceremony at the Boston Int'l Film Fest because my script is a finalist; I'll be thinking of you during my tour of Fenway!

DrBear said...

Found this off a link by Jaime Weinman. I remember reading about your announcing misadventures and certainly recognize the name from TV credits, and I've enjoyed what I read (and I'm especially interested in the baseball as I used to cover a minor league team and even did public address announcing for them a few times). Keep it going.

zazupitts said...

It's fun to read the blog of someone I knew at school who's Hit the Bigtime right between the eyes!

Randy said...

Congrats on 200, Ken. I enjoy your ramblings, despite the fact that they regularly break through my sensory-overload induced haze and provoke meaningful thought!

I think of your posts as the long versions of the pithy, brief over-the-intro comments of Beaver Cleaver - great to hear then, more fun to read now as they don't require sitting through 3 minutes of Bo Donaldson and the Heywoods.

We share mutual friends (Howard Hoffman, etc.) who also learned about life from WB cartoons, Dan Ingram and "The Honeymooners".

My left turn from radio has taken me to announcing TV game shows with Bob Barker, Dick Clark, Chuck Woolery, etc., to audience warm-up, to now combining those dubious abilities daily on the stage of the Jubilee Showroom at Bally's in Las Vegas for "The Price Is Right - Live". Yes, a Vegas-glitzy stage adaptation of a TV game show! No, the models do NOT work topless.

Life is a crazy ride. Thanks for the daily insights!

Anonymous said...

because i have nothing better to do at my day job. fortunately, you're funny. thanks for sharing. from toronto.

Dave Williams said...

Ken...been awhile since we did lunch and I believe it's your turn to pay. So, I'm thinking Morton's.

Congratulations on the musical and deepest condolences for the development process ahead of you.

If you get a few minutes tell us about the unabashed ageism that keeps anybody over 40 from writing for TV.

Your sour grapes friend and fan,
Dave

Stephen Benson said...

conrats on your 200. i've been a regular since rogers referred from kung fu monkey. i'm still whoring jingles, proudly shameless. i love your travelogues the most. you nailed my beloved palm springs perfectly. now i can't drive I-10 without cracking up over the casino that was ethical enough to include "moron" in their name. keep it up. see you when you hit 300 and any other milestones. p.s. we're ok again after the four days of extreme bebe nostalgia you put me through with that lilith episode. i'm not over her by any measure, but that's on me.

Michael said...

I found you through David Anaxagora's site (http://www.bloglines.com/public/davidanaxagoras) and it's one I visit every day. Gratz on 200 posts.

AdicaRoy said...

I am a 24-year-old reality tv slave and sometimes script supervisor (when the films come to town) in Philadelphia. And, of course, an aspiring screenwriter, just like everyone else.

I found your site by linking through the scribosphere, probably from John August or Jane Espenson. You and Jane have the most consistently intelligent, funny, and inspiring blog posts on the interweb.

Thank you so very much!

misterorange said...

Hi Ken, I'm a mid-twenties network admin/game designer and I found your blog via TVSquad, I think. They linked to something you wrote, I browsed the archives, loved it all.

I really look forward to your posts. Keep em up! :)

Michael said...

I love this blog despite finding it late. (sigh) I wish I had been at sedar this year. Next year at Ken's!

Video Wombat said...

I discovered your blog via a write-up in TVSquad maybe a month or so ago. Since then, you've become part of my morning routine -- so to speak.

Congrats on your 200th. I look forward to many more.

Julie O. said...

Hey Ken~

I'm still here. Been busy as hell rewriting POOL BOY, a script I optioned in March that's scheduled to shoot in the fall.

Haven't missed any of the 200 and don't expect I'll miss any of the next 200, either.

blogwriter said...

Toronto, Canada
25
came here through John August's site\ (not sure if directly or through someone linked on Augusts site)

Scott said...

Congratulations, Ken, on allowing us to enable you... that still sounds weird. Anywho, found your blog through Mark Evanier's and you guys have two of the three blogs I always visit each day (Scott Adams being the other). Keep up the good work, etc. etc. and I sort of enjoyed AfterMASH. I need help, I know.

Paul Parducci said...

Congratulations Ken!
You have one of the finest Blogs in Blogland(honest, smart and funny) and I always enjoy my visits.

Chris said...

Hey Ken,

Chris from The Big Woo. Found your blog when you sent a nice e-mail asking to be linked. I was in Baltimore then, but made the big move to L.A. Leaving the O's behind, much in the same way Angelos has while remaining in Charm City. Here's to 200 more.

Brent McKee said...

Let's see. I found your blog through Jaime Weinman...or maybe it was Mark Evanier. Love the insights from someone who actually works in the industry as a writer of comedy. Hmmm that might look good on a business card - Ken Levine, Writer of Comedy. Congratulations on 200 posts.

Seattle Craig said...

I've been following your career since your days with the Mariners, watching you on TV with the legend, Dave Niehaus-- and when I found out you wrote sitcoms, your stock soared. Baseball and sitcoms are two things that got me though high school in the mid 80’s. I’ve been a sports writer, radio personality, editor (kill me), game writer and now an aspiring screenwriter (I figure I'll be on to advice columnist by the time I'm 60). I found your blog via John August's site.

I feel truly blessed that you’ve chosen to do this. The blend of real world writing experience and comedy is a very welcomed part of my day. You have earned a very rare honor in my mind, joining Bill Simmons and Larry David as the only two other people that I actually utter “I wish I would have wrote that” when I’m reading. Compliments don’t get higher than that in my book. Keep it up.

Tiago said...

Film editor from Portugal. Wannabe writer. I can be sometimes found driving a little shoe through the streets of Lisbon.

Tod Hunter said...

Thanks for sharing your with with me. (Yeah, I know, not just me, the others can speak for themselves.)

You have made me laugh out loud, many times, most recently with the second act of "Room Service" and I certainly hope you got a cut of the $30 I gave Tower Video for the Frasier Season Five box.

I look forward to the next 200.

--t

Hollywood blond said...

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~"200"~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

And the Jimi Hendrix references are always choice! How do you want your cake?

stephen said...

Hey, I'm still waiting to read some Mary Tyler Moore horror stories!

thanx

stephen

Jaime said...

Congrats Ken on about 199 funny posts. Just teasing:) I have no idea how I started reading this blog but I love it. Please keep writing and I will keep reading. I will not drone on about who I am only to say that in midwest you're a breath of fresh air. Tjanks for the laughs. Jaime

Beth Ciotta said...

Chiming in a second time. More please on the topic Christine raised: "Why are there so few women in Hwood" topic?"

Also REALLY interested in Dave Williams request... "If you get a few minutes tell us about the unabashed ageism that keeps anybody over 40 from writing for TV." Oh, yes, PLEASE, bring that on, Ken.

Lastly, like a couple of other brave souls, I confess... I didn't mind AfterMASH so much. Perhaps I was that hungry for an extension of characters I loved so much?? That says a lot for original character development, no?

Geoff said...

Radio journalist from Regina, Canada
- Congratulations, Ken. Not sure how I found the blog, but I was well aware of your radio work via Reelradio, your baseball work from your book, and your TV work from that box in my living room.

So when are you and David gonna do another Simpsons episode? ;)

Pato said...

Hi! I'm from Buenos Aires, Argentina. I'm an aspiring screenwriter and I knew this blog from the John August's.
I really like your posts, so congratulations and wish you 200 more succesful posts! (at least!)

Dave said...

congrats!

Came to you via one of the more popular screenwriting blogs.

Have enjoyed the thoughts, perspectives and advice about life, writing and baseball.

Thanks for sharing.

A. M. said...

Congrats from Berlin! How did I find your blog? I think via Lee Goldberg's. (BTW: do you know how many (screen)writing blogs are linking to yours, man? ;)

You know how much I enjoyed reading GINA. Any chance we'll get to see her on the big screen? Any GINA news? What do you see in store for romcoms with edgy women characters?

Oh yes, reading Room Service was like watching it again, so so funny! Made my day.

Anything related to screenwriting and the biz is of course much appreciated. I love reading you every morning and truly appreciate that you give us something every day. So thank you!

Anonymous said...

Ken, congrats on the 200th! I'm a huge fan of your blog, but unfortunately only a fairly recent fan with little to no time to get all the way through your archives.

Any and all info. about your experience writing with a partner would be greatly appreciated. I've recently started writing with one on some stuff and am having a ball. Want to know what I should expect.

Tom Quigley said...

Ken,

Congratulations! You're one of the few people I envy for the volume and quality of work you’ve done in sitcoms. I think I mentioned some of my background in responding to your 100th post, so I won't repeat the monotonous details of my dreary existence... All I can say is every day I read your blogs, my head is suddenly back at Stage 25, Paramount Studios...

Keep up the good work... (Oh, and I'm not going to give you hell for AFTER M*A*S*H -- however, if you were involved in any way with JOANIE LOVES CHACHI....)

andrew said...

HI KEN,

I just thought of some topics you might like to comment on. What do you think of Everybody Loves Raymond?

I came to watching this sitcom rather late. I thought it was a boring family comedy until i actually caught a couple of episodes adn was blown away. If you ask me, I think its a throwback to what made Cheers and frasier and mash and taxi so great and wonderful.

Everybody loves raymond is CLASSIC COMEDY written the old fashioned way - with simple premises which highlighted with precision what is human about ANY family. And its honest!

Too bad it ended. I loved it how they never tried to do anything cliff hangerish or attempted some gimmicks to win over audience. Every episodes was written as a stand alone. I think the pilot could easily have been one of hte episodes in the series.

Is it true that most high concept ideas for sitcoms generally end up dying after the first bright flash?

And the true classics are generally low concept or low key ideas. Like Everybody loves raymond is basically about a guy whose parents live across the street. And Cheers was basically about some quirky people in a bar.

Its all in the writing and acting.

Dave Olden said...

Congratulations on your first Bicentenniapostiversary.

Up the coast, here, not far from Fraser's home town... over in Victoria, BC.

I've been a daily visitor for months and you'll sometimes hear me going "hm" (admiration, or wisdom envy), and I can't say when it all started -- but i can assure you it was not -- in any way -- from googling your name.

I favor posts that open the door on the industry, but keep 'em all coming. Please.

Anonymous said...

Hey Ken,
Seattle native here who remembers you from the old broadcaster days. I remember hearing about how the Mariners color guy was writing for TV shows, and I recognized the name from Frasier, but I never put the two together.

I happened upon your site a few months back and like to check in to hear some of the fun stories you have from your days.

Keep it up!!!

Juancho said...

Ken, keep at it, I think you'll break through in Hollywood yet!

I kid. Cograts on the posts and thanks for all the tips.

redaly said...

i found you by clicking 'next blog', which has to my mind justified its existence! (certainly far more than the several sites that appear to be written primarily in question marks and the poorly spelled mortgage broker i landed on after you) I've enjoyed pretty much everything you've written (and i'm including tv here too), so i say don't let us tell you what to write--enjoy your freedom from notes, and talk about anything that interests you. i'm sure the way you tell it will make it interest us too!

oh, and i'm an archaeology grad student whose only writing is of the dry, dull and intensely footnoted variety. the closest connection i have to hollywood is the fact that, like jane espenson, i too was once a linguist but have come to my senses!