A pretty funny show, by the way. But turning to Friday Questions:
William C. Bonner has the ARCHER Q:
One of my favorite shows over the past couple of years has been Archer. I've described it to friends as a cross between Get Smart and South Park. It's seasons seem to be 10 episodes long.
For a season like this, is it most likely that all of the season will be written and sold, then the voices and animation done in one block, or is it likely to flow in a weekly timeframe similar to other longer running US series?
Can’t speak for ARCHER, but it varies. Most animated shows do prepare all the scripts and record all the actors first, then the animators go to work. That’s how THE SIMPSONS work. The problem there is that it’s hard to do anything really timely.
Becky has a question after reading my post on BENT:
Do shows have a choice which networks their pilot goes to? Can they opt out of certain networks seeing/bidding on it? And if said network wants to buy it, can they refuse, or would that make them complete idiots?
I wonder if Bent would've gotten a better shake on say, CBS, where the viewership is different?
If the writer is attached to a studio that means today he is attached to one of the networks. Usually they must bring their project to either that network exclusively or at least first.
If you’re not attached, you can go anywhere. Generally you pitch to all of them but first to the place you think is most compatible to your idea. If you sell it, you will almost surely do it through the studio owned by that network.
As for excluding networks, I know writers who hate certain networks and just won’t deal with them. This usually stems from a bad previous experience. In many cases, the feeling is mutual.
But certain ideas are better suited for specific networks. If you came up with the next GOLDEN GIRLS you’d probably be wise not selling it to Fox. Now they may buy it and say all the right things – “We’re looking to broaden our audience”, “We really want to be in business with you,” but at the end of the day, when they make their schedule they won’t pick up your show for the reasons you anticipated and they assured you didn’t matter.
More and more today there are bidding wars between networks for either specs or packages that generally include attached talent. You’re in the driver’s seat in those cases. You can choose the network that is most compatible, or gives you a commitment, or (based on their schedule) provides you the best chance at success.
I don’t know the history of BENT. They might have pitched it to other networks and were rejected.
When David Isaacs, Robin Schiff, and I were going to pitch ALMOST PERFECT, our first meeting was with ABC. They called and wanted to postpone it for three weeks. So we took it to CBS and sold it. Once the pilot aired I got a call from the President of ABC saying how much he loved the show but asked why we didn’t bring it to them first. I said, “We DID! Or at least tried to.”
From SitcomRoom attendee Wendy Grossman:
What’s with all the actors who get producer credits these days? Does it give them any extra control, money, job security, or responsibility?
And the truth is stars don’t need a producer credit to exert their creative influence.
Finally, from Michael:
With the large number of pilots being filmed this time of year, how difficult is it to get experienced technical crews to work on them? Related question - is the competition for crew jobs as tough as it is for actors and writers?
Maybe not as competitive but yes, good crew members are in high demand during pilot season. And good crews will work numerous pilots, depending on scheduling.
Lots of times directors will bring a lot of their crew people with them and as a showrunner I support this practice. Directors will be more comfortable surrounded by people they know and work well with.
I directed episodes of a show that Jamie Widdoes usually directed. He put together the crew, hand-picked from individuals he had worked with on previous shows. For me, it was like getting behind the wheel of a Porsche. Everyone was fantastic.
But since most pilots are done in the same window of time there is competition to hire the best crews, directors, and casting people. And it doesn’t stop there. Sound stages are at a premium. It’s like Filene’s basement except instead of throwing someone on the ground for a sweater you do it for stage with decent dressing rooms.
What's your question?