Here are more Friday questions answered.
Being in both writing and sports, do you know why sports has rarely translated into a successfully popular TV show?
TV tends to shy away from sports-themed shows because they can be way expensive. At some point you need to see the games and that requires crowds, a lot of production, and MONEY. There have been some attempts but they tend to be too costly to justify their ratings. The worse ever was a sitcom on CBS adapted from the Jim Bouton book BALL FOUR. They did it as a multi-camera taped show all set in the locker room. You never saw them play. It was insane… but cheap.
FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS proves you can make a great sports-themed show. I just wish more people watched it. And there have been others. THE WHITE SHADOW for one. I'm sure you can come up with two or three more.
M. Shawn wonders:
What exactly is the job of a Television Producer? I know what a Director & Writer does, but I'm ignorant to what a Producer does?
Unlike in features this is a hazy area. In features a producer puts together the whole package – finds or develops the material, champions the project until the studio greenlights it, hires the director, and cast, manages the budget, and in some cases raises the financing. In television the show runner acts as the overseer of the production and in most cases he is a writer.
But then there are the non-writing producers (or “pods”). Here’s where it gets real murky. These are generally former network or studio executives who are given sweet production deals. And studios are now forcing writer/producers to attach themselves to these pods because the studio is paying for these pods. So in many cases these “producers” merely add another level of interference and take part of your profits for the privilege. There’s nothing they do that the writer/producer couldn’t do without them, and has been doing without them very successfully for fifty years. Executive Producer: Tony Soprano.
And finally, from YEKIMI:
What teacher did you "love" the most...someone in grade school? high school? college? or someone in the industry who may have "taught" you some things you would have never learned anywhere else?
The best teacher I ever had was a high school history teacher named David Solkovits. He made the subject come alive and kindled an interest in history I have to this day.
Along the way I have been incredibly fortunate to learn the craft of comedy writing from Larry Gelbart (pictured), James L. Brooks, the Charles Brothers, Tom Patchett & Jay Tarses, Gene Reynolds, and Jerry Belson. My directing gurus were James Burrows and David Lee.
There’s not a single English teacher I can point to in high school or college who really made a positive impact. But there was a radio newsman named Bruce Anson who taught me more about writing than anyone else. Here’s the post I once did about him.
What are you pondering these days?