Happy Memorial Day. This is the time of the year when writing staffs go back to work. If you’re an aspiring TV scribe, I hope someday that’ll be you. Here’s what you can sort of expect…at least on the comedy side.
The first week will just be sharing vacation stories, home remodeling nightmares, and trashing reality shows. You’ll go out for long lunches, bitch about how much other writers make, compare Prius prices, recommend apps for your iPad and iPhone, and discuss the upcoming summer movie slate. My blog might come up. Half will like it, half will think it’s a piece of shit.
You’ll mosey back to the office, maybe talk in very general terms about the season ahead, some scattershot thoughts on characters and stories, then go home at 4.
Week two you’ll come in and the show runner will panic. He’ll realize you’re now hopelessly behind. From there you get to work, really delving into the characters, spitballing story areas, eventually breaking stories. You still go home at 4 but at least you’re getting something done.
Over the next few weeks the stories will be outlined, assigned, written, turned in, and rewritten by the staff. You start having lunch brought in, going home at 6…and then 7… and then 9. By the time you go into production in August you might have four scripts ready to go with a few others in the pipeline. And hopefully you’ll have seen every summer movie you wanted to see, made your vacation plans for next year, bought that Mac, remodeled that kitchen, fulfilled every dinner obligation, read all those books on your nightstand, caught up on my archives, and took pictures of sunsets so you’ll remember what they look like…because now the real fun begins.
The actors come in rested and the first day of production you’re ready to kill them. And so it begins.
Your first real break comes when you can say "Happy Thanksgiving".