After Thursday’s Friday questions, here are Friday’s Friday questions. These have to do the dynamics of my partnership with David Isaacs. Who knew? An actual “theme”.
Jonathan leads off:
Do you write with an actor's/character's voice in mind, or is that something that emerges in rehearsal/shooting and is more a product of the actor and director?
We generally do try to imagine a certain actor in a role even if we know we can’t get him. But that way we both hear the same voice in our heads. Example: Any woman’s part -- Eliza Dushku.
Often times though we won’t imagine an actor per se. We’ll imagine friends or just distinctive people we know. That’s sometimes better because we’ll also have mannerisms to draw from. Do whatever you can to make your characters more specific.
I can’t tell you how many times we’ve absolutely lifted character traits from somebody (sometimes not flattering) and they’ll see the show and say, “Y’know, I know people just like that.”
just some guy trying to write has just some question.
Can you talk more about the specifics of the business relationship between you and your writing partner? Stuff like, if you write and sell a script on your own, do you share in the profits with him?
We divide it this way: I make 80%, David makes 20% but David has to do all of the work.
Seriously, we split everything we do together right down the middle. Always. There are times when we have to cover for each other, if one of us is sick and there’s a deadline, that sort of thing. But we never adjust the ratio because one of us did more on a particular project.
As for our business relationship, our partnership is structured on a handshake.
Generally when we write a script we do it together in the same room. But early on in our career we would take one assignment a season and split it up. I would write one act on my own and David would write the other. We’d then assemble them and polish the script together. We did this exercise so each of us could feel comfortable writing on our own if we had to. We are a partnership out of choice, not dependency. And by the way, if you read the two acts we wrote separately, you'd never be able to tell who wrote which act. It's not like one of us is the structure guy and the other is the funny boots. Our styles and sensibilities are amazingly similar.
Regarding outside projects, we don’t try to bind ourselves in the partnership. We allow each other the freedom to explore other pursuits. For me it was directing and of course baseball announcing. For David it was mercenary work in the world’s hotspots. Here he is in his other life:
And finally, Joe Pontillo wonders:
Does David Isaacs have a blog? And if not, why don't we ever hear from him in guest posts on this blog?
He doesn’t have a blog. Or if he does he has really low traffic. From time to time I do ask David to contribute a piece.
At the moment David is teaching at USC and writing a book, which for reasons that seem unfathomable to me, he seems to feel take precedence.
What’s your question? Again, I’ll try to add some extra question days to catch up on them all. Gracious much.