As promised, here is a bonus Friday Question Day.
MrTact starts us off:
Have you seen the premier of "Awake"? I thought it was a brilliant concept (not to mention well-written and performed), but I question whether it has any legs. It seems more like a feature concept to me, and I'm keen to see how they manage to sustain it for any length of time.
I enjoyed it but wondered the same thing. How do you sustain this? And what happens when he takes naps? In case not everybody knows the premise – a detective is involved in a car crash with his wife and son. Now he lives two realities – one where the wife survived and one where the son lived. He goes to sleep in one and wakes up in the other. So let’s say he’s with his wife and wants to return to his son’s reality – he just watches THE ENGLISH PATIENT. How long can they keep doing that?
My other fear is that this concept is waaaaaay too complicated for your average viewer. I mean, face it, a lot of these people have trouble keeping up with the Kardashians. And judging by AWAKE’S ratings the second week this is a valid concern. It dropped 30% from its premiere. Still, it did better than its predecessor in that time slot and it is NBC so as long as more people watched it than the Korean channel they might just stick with it. Hope so. I'm enjoying it.
Tomas Street wonders:
When writing a pilot / spec script, should one be spending time describing the main characters? Is it ok to just say SAM enters and goes behind the bar. OR...SAM, a late thirties good looking fading athletic type in relaxed clothes, enters and heads behind the bar.
The latter. Describe him briefly in your stage direction. A lot of people like to add a page with all the character descriptions right after the title page, but it’s been my experience that no one reads it. Work it into the body of the show.
The cast and crew of Cougar Town did their own 'grassroots' promotional campaign while the show was on extended hiatus. They hosted viewing parties, went out and met the fans, and most of the cast joined Twitter. If you had a show on the air now, would you make full use of social media to raise your show's profile, as opposed to relying purely on network support? Do you think more low-rated shows should be doing what Cougar Town did to make a dent?
I should just SAY I have a show on the air so I'll get a lot more Twitter followers.
Chris wants to know:
Why is it that even on horrible shows, the audience still laughs at the jokes? Shouldn't the fact that you're making a bunch of diverse people in the audience laugh be a good sign?
What you’re often hearing is a laugh track. Plus, warm-up guys practically beg audiences to laugh. People feel somewhat obligated. And it depends on the audience. Sometimes you just get a good one and they laugh at everything, and other times you’d think members of a cemetery filled the bleachers. I’m working on a post now on why audiences don’t laugh at filmings. That should be ready for tomorrow.
You mentioned recently that is might be a good idea to keep a sleeping bag in your office in order to be prepared for late writing sessions.
Just curious, have you ever actually slept at work and gone right back to work the next morning?
Yes. Once had a rewrite end at 6:30 and had to be on the stage for the start of rehearsal at 10. Ahhhhh. Memories.
Tim Simmons wraps it up.
Ken, I'm confused as I've read so many different ways to sell a pilot. Some say to pitch an agent, some say to an established producer and other to a network. which would you suggest?
Look, let’s be realistic. The chances of you actually SELLING a pilot if you’re not an established writer are the same as you being abducted by aliens – so 20:1 at best. The real value in pilots for people trying to break in is that they serve as great writing samples. Yes, you could try to sell your idea to an established producer or studio but that usually means they’ll just pay you off and you go away. Fine if the project dies, but if it becomes FRIENDS then everyone makes billions but you.
When it comes to pilots, concentrate on writing a spec. Plus, the more you have down on paper the harder it is for anyone else to steal your idea.
I see college courses in pitching pilots. Why? Who are you going to pitch them to? Devote your energies to the script itself.
What’s your question???