Saturday, October 06, 2007

You can download my teleseminar... and other fun stuff

For those of you unable to participate in my Teleseminar last week, good news. I had it recorded and am making it available to download, free. To get this mp3 of my 75 minute chat about the state of TV comedy just click here and follow the easy instructions. Hopefully there's some helpful stuff in there you can use. Thanks.

A topic I didn't get into but one I discuss at length in my Sitcom Room seminar is room chemistry.

Here are some of the obvious annoying things staff writers do that drive me nuts. And every staff has them.

There’s “Captain Grammar” – he’s the guy who never contributes jokes or story fixes, just corrects grammar. And thinks he’s saving the show. If you can be replaced by a Microsoft Word tool you should not be on staff.

There’s the “PA Killer”. This guy terrorizes production assistants by sending them out for food sixteen times a day. And usually with specific requests. No eighteen year old blond Reese Witherspoon lookalike wants to go to Roscoe’s Chicken & Waffles at 1 AM to pick up a snack.

Every staff has that one infuriating person who always wants to go back four pages. You’re now on page 24, he wants to return to page 19.

“Mr. Back in a second” is in and out of the room fifty times a day for phone calls. The entire state of Rhode Island doesn’t get as many calls in one day as this guy. And when he returns you have to spend five minutes getting him up to speed. If he is also the “Can we go back to Page 17?” guy you fire him after thirteen weeks even if he’s funnier than Mel Brooks and Larry Gelbart combined.

Of course there’s the person who never shuts the fuck up. Even if they pitch something good you don’t hear it because it’s lodged in the middle of a story about her friend who has Pink Eye and her upcoming trip to Japan.

Bi-polar people just seem to gravitate naturally to comedy writing rooms. The more depressed or angry the better.

Finally, there’s “Dr. No”, the guy who hates everything but never has any suggestions or alternatives. This person is either found dead in the parking lot or becomes the President of a network.

Fortunately, I have none of these bad traits, and I’m sure you don’t either. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got a phone call.

11 comments :

RAC said...

Ken,
First of all, thank you for the download -- I had technical difficulties and you're a real lifesaver (the good cherry flavor, not the bogus lemon kind.)
Second, I realize you only provided it so that I wouldn't show up on your porch with a bottle of Ripple and twenty questions about sitcom writing -- well played, sir!

RAC said...

Oh, and Roscoe's closes at midnight, unless you're writing into the wee hours on a Friday or Saturday night, then they're open until 2am or 4am, as I remember...

Ger Apeldoorn said...

We once had a borderline autist (he introduced himself from a written biography on his portable computer), who could read other peoples (read: my writing partner and co-headwriter's) signals to stop talking when he was done. When he didn't understand something he'd bore you to death with questions about it. He was a good writer, though. So we kept him and learned to say: 'shut up now', which he didn't seem to mind.

And he reminded me of my son, who has a similar condition.

l.a. guy said...

For some reason I read this as:
"If you can be replaced by a Microsoft Word you're a tool, you should not be on staff."

I thought for a second you may have been spending too much time perusing Urban Dictionary. I guess not.

Off topic but... So far my picks for the play-offs are eerily prescient-- looks I'll get 3 out of 4 wrong. (Presuming the Indians and Red Sox close it out) So much for my plans to become a professional gambler.

If I hadn't mentioned it before, and for the record, I hate David Ortiz and Manny 'Just being Manny' Ramirez.

Thank god I've still got USC and UCLA to root for...

/Angels Fan

Bitter Animator said...

Bi-polar, eh? I reckon I could add that to my list of conditions. Maybe I have a career in comedy after all. Everything both angers and depresses me in equal measures.

Thanks for the download.

Hennell said...

Ken thanks for offering this download, I was unable to do the seminar's, this is brilliant.

One slight point is that the download e-mail came through to my spam folder, so anyone else who thought it wasn't working, check that.

Thanks again.

Sam C said...

Can we go back 3 paragraphs? It's bipolar, not bi-polar.

David said...

Forget three paragraphs, can we go back three posts? You ended the "Questions I didn't get to" title with a preposition.

Book of Don said...

as a Canadian writer there is a category of pain-in-the-ass I would really, really REALLY like to submit,

that being the....

"WHEN I WAS IN L.A WE DID IT LIKE THIS..."

...this is someone guaranteed to get high-sticked, speared, and butt-ended (so to speak) during the late night hockey game.

Anonymous said...

Ken,
you're forgetting about the guy who turns in an awful draft, it goes through a page-one rewrite, only on show night to take FULL CREDIT for EVERY WORD to anyone who will listen.

Ken Levine said...

Don't know why I'm getting spam comments suddenly but as a result I'm shutting down comments for this post only. Sorry for any inconvenience to legit people who want to comment.

Ken