Sunday, November 04, 2007

Sitcom Room 2

It's picture day. No time to write. Must grab my protest sign and re-enact the final scene from ON THE WATERFRONT.

Thanks to everyone who participated in this weekend's Sitcom Room 2 seminar. The scenes you guys wrote were great. Might as well join on us the picket line. You'll be in the guild soon enough.

Here are a few photos of the event:

Me, lecturing. I think this is the part where I told them I invented situation comedy.

Here are the Sitcommunists, captured in the one minute they enjoyed my lecture.

The actors who performed their scenes much better than they performed mine. Kimberly Wallis, Jeremy Licht, and Andy Goldberg. Kimberly was just on CSI: NEW YORK last week but you might not recognize her without a syringe sticking out of her neck.

The students were broken into four writing room teams. Here's one team getting studio "notes". See how thrilled they are. The note they've just been given is "Is there any way to write-in Renee Taylor?"

One of the groups hard at work. Could just as easily be a scene from Prison Break.

The seminar concluded with a panel of highly-respected-now-striking writers. Pictured: Fred Rubin, Marley Sims, Phoef Sutton, and me. Missing from the picture is my partner, David Isaacs. He's determined to be the "Maris" of my blog.

Again, thanks to all! For a first-person account of what the weekend was really like, participant Kari Geltmeyer files this in her blog.

Now I must put on my Norma Rae costume and storm the Fox lot.

24 comments :

Rory L. Aronsky said...

Yeah, go strike Ken. You could probably use whatever fresh air is left in L.A. ;)

Seriously though, good luck. Something's gotta give in all of this, hopefully in favor of the WGA.

Anonymous said...

Wasn't Jeremy Licht one of the original "Partridge Family" kids?

The Minstrel Boy said...

best wishes from a union drudge musician. we need your fine talents as writers for the real purpose of TV. a vehicle to deliver my jingles.

hang tough. best of luck.
i ain't working 'till ya'll start working.

Hennell said...

Just read the first person account of the weekend, its sounds brilliant, I wish I could go.

I'd be interested to hear the reasons behind your choices of recommended sitcom viewing though. Seems an odd mix.

zadig said...

I was entertained by the writing in today's post.

You are so busted.

Anonymous said...

"Now I must put on my Norma Rae costume and storm the Fox lot."

Is that so it'll look like there are women comedy writers? : O

Good luck Ken!

VP81955 said...

Ken, good luck in the struggle against those capitalist running dogs. (Just trying to get in the right frame of mind...)

Anonymous said...

via HuffingtonPost:

"In a show of solidarity with his fellow scribes, the Daily Show host has told his writing staff that he will cover all their salaries for the next two weeks, according to a well-placed source. He has also vowed to do the same for writers on The Colbert Report. A Comedy Central spokesman referred my inquiry about this to Stewart's personal publicist, who has yet to respond.

Stewart's intention, says the source, is to ensure his writers will face no financial hardship should the strike, which kicked off at 3 a.m. local time, conclude within that timeframe."

Anonymous said...

Mr. Levine, I have an idea of a possible bargaining chip for the WGA please contact me at starkour@gmail.com for more info

Steve said...

Uh, wasn't the final scene of On the Waterfront where the individual worker broke the power of the corrupt union? Doesn't seem like quite the apt comparison, unless your feelings on the strike are quite different from what I thought.

Anonymous said...

u r 1 sexay beast <3 <3 <3

Paul Duca said...

So...Phoef Sutton is a man?

Anonymous said...

@ 6:54 am:
No, that was Jeremy Gelbwacks. He's an IT guy now.

daisy said...

Mr. Swift: Actually, Mr. Levine didn't fail to mention his nomination. Surprising that a regular reader of his blog wouldn't know that.

Oh, wait -- unless you're not a regular reader of his blog and instead are using someone else's blog to shamelessly promote yourself.

Ken Levine said...

Rarely do I delete comments but someone was using this blog to campaign for himself for best weblog blog. I wish him well but campaign on his own blog.

IM Anonymous said...

If I have to write in Renee Taylor do I have to include Joseph Bologna too?

Diogo said...

Hi, Ken

How did the first day of strike go? any juicy news regarding another sitdown?

Ken Levine said...

My next post will be my report from the first day of picketing.

R.A. Porter said...

Ken, did you decide that bringing Sam Simon back in for SR-2 was too much for the attendees with the strike about to be called?

I know I still wake up in a cold sweat hearing his voice tolling the sitcom's death knell.

Or maybe that's just residual effects of that Chinese "food" you and Dan brought us.

Jon Swift said...

It's possible that I missed it, Daisy, but I don't recall Mr. Levine mentioning his nomination for a Weblog Award. I remember him mentioning the Blogger's Choice Award but not the Weblog Award. Perhaps that is what you're thinking of.

Kari said...

Thanks for everything, Ken, and thanks to Dan, too. Well worth the price of admission and travel expenses -- it was an informal, challenging, practical exercise I found extremely valuable. I think it's the kind of experience that will either convince you to jump in or to seek another creative track -- maybe I'm just suggestible, but I'm jumping in. I'm not sure what more I can say that I haven't blogged already, but I would definitely recommend it to other writers...then warn them not to eat that hotel food.

Adrastos said...

OMG, Ken, are you wearing a Cosby sweater? Is this what labor strife does to one? Tell me it ain't so.

Anonymous said...

^ Don't pick on Beaver Cleaver. Everybody has to grow up sometimes. : )

Scott Clevenger said...

I just wanted to add my thanks to Ken and Dan. The whole 33 hour ordeal ran so smoothly from start to finish that in retrospect it all seems like one very funny, mostly painless, and extremely educational fever dream.

As one of my teammates, the unflappable and indefatigable Laurie put it, "Books and seminars are fine, but there's no substitute for a good practicum." Ken and Dan have created a model that seems to perfectly simulate the experience of working in a writing room, and if that's your ambition, you couldn't ask for better preparation. From the network and studio notes, to the bad takeout, to the long hours, to the Red Vines and Diet Coke, to the frequently erased and re-erased outline on the whiteboard, to the occasional curveball, all the way up to the run-through (many thanks to the actors, who really gave their all) and the critique afterwards, this was a sitcom writer's work week in concentrate. If, going in, you weren't sure you wanted to follow this path, by the end you clearly knew the stakes, and were armed with a wealth of useful experience, helpful tips, and amusing anecdotes. But Ken's seemingly inexhaustible supply of Cosby sweaters will haunt your soul.

And heartfelt thanks to the other members of my team: Laurie, Brian, Andrew, and Jordan: I've never spent a funnier and more enjoyable 18 hours trapped in a poorly ventilated room filled with the scent of slowly rotting Chinese food and the sound of cargo jets landing just across the street. And on top of that, we got a pretty good scene out of it.

Definitely worth the time, money, effort, stress-positions, and sleep-deprivation.