For everyone but staff writers the Memorial Day weekend is the beginning of summer. For staff writers, particularly those on comedies (there are still a few, right?), it heralds the end of summer. Usually, writing staffs go back to work right after the holiday.
If you’re on a long running show you can’t believe it’s the end of May already. Seems like only a minute ago you wrapped in March and had two and a half whole months ahead of you. Trust me, you’ll blink and be right back into production in August.
Pre production is very much like Spring Training. For the veterans it’s a leisurely time. Flexing muscles, mostly schoozing, slowly getting back into the groove. But for the new members of the staff (the rookies) it can be a maddening time as you try to fit in. And also a little intimidating. You so want to make a good impression, so want to contribute. Here are a few tips from a grizzled veteran:
Just relax. The only pressure on you is that which you put upon yourself. You’re not expected to carry the show. And most producers would prefer if you just hung back a little at first and observed. You wouldn’t have been hired if they didn’t think you had the chops. Start getting to know the rhythm of the room, the thought process, the way the staff attacks a story. I’m not saying if you have a great idea to not pitch it, but don’t feel obligated to knock everyone off their feet with your brilliance.
It’s a long season. You’ll have plenty of time to shine. For now, listen, learn, and laugh. There are worse ways of spending the summer.