Friday Questions coming attacha!
Zhou gets us started.
Was it the thought process to make Frasier so much like the notable and famous American film star Bette Davis?
No. That’s frankly the first time I’ve ever heard that one. People have compared Kelsey’s portrayal of Frasier to Jack Benny and Jackie Gleason but never Bette Davis.
If you’re not familiar with Bette Davis, she was a wonderful actress in the ‘30s – ‘60s. And very acerbic. For a classic Bette Davis performance (and one of the great comedic screenplays of all-time) rent ALL ABOUT EVE.
Should my sitcom ‘cover page’ contain the episode title, or will the word ‘pilot’ in parenthesis, underneath the ‘title’ suffice?
The word ‘pilot’ will suffice. Good luck.
Kev has a question based on the post about the speech that launched our career.
When you're micro-editing something like this monologue, how much attention do you pay on things like cadence, or words getting repeated? Personally, it always sounds weird to me when two consecutive sentences end with the same word (unless done purposely), so I was wondering if there's anything you look for specifically in terms of how the actual speech "sounds to the ear"... if that makes sense.
Cadence and flow and word variety are EXTREMELY important. I will usually read my scripts out loud before turning them in, just to hear the rhythm.
Not using the same word in two sentences is almost a cardinal rule. Especially in dialogue .
We all fall into comfortable patterns and at times I have to force myself to re-think a speech or paragraph. I’d like to say it gets easier and almost automatic but it doesn’t.
Jeff Badge asks:
I watched TALES FROM THE SCRIPT on NetFlix instant watch over the weekend. At one point, someone says that the shooting script of AMADEUS was the 46th revision. Antoine Fisher states he had well over one hundred drafts of his own biopic. What version of VOLUNTEERS was accepted to be shot? (I acknowledge how different this is than the version which went to editing.)
This is a typical story. We did two drafts of VOLUNTEERS then decided to change the tone, redevelop it, and do almost a page-one rewrite. There were two or three polishes of that draft.
Then a director was brought on board. He took our script and did a rewrite himself (which was mediocre at best). He left the project, a new director was brought on board who hired yet another writer to do a big rewrite. This writer’s draft was so horrendous the studio fired him, the director, and then put the film into turnaround.
The third director, Nick Meyer, was hired, and to his credit, he kept us on the project. We did another polish to satisfy his notes. Then when the film was cast we did a polish to better fit the characters to the actors who would play them. So I had lost count of the number of drafts by the time it actually went into production. And that was just the beginning.
Once principle photography began in Mexico we stayed back in Los Angeles and fed new scenes or adjusted scenes to the set on a daily basis. This went on for several months. So to answer your question, I can’t tell you how many drafts we did but probably in the twenties. And hey, we were lucky. Not many original writers are re-hired. Although several of the scenes don’t play as we envisioned, I do have to say that 90% of that shooting script was our work.
I'm in the UK and love comedy (live or on TV) and the one thing that annoys me is trying to follow a US show that is broadcast here. Due to pirating episodes are now shown a few weeks or less after the initial broadcast in the states. This means we now have the annoying 'mid-season' breaks or even Would you prefer the UK way of shorter seasons that have a smaller writer team (in some cases 1 person) that are normally all recorded before transmission (and as such all episodes are shown) or the US longer season and the worries that come with that?
Obviously there are pros and cons to both but would like to know your opinion.
The only con is that you don’t make as much money. But creatively, I would MUCH rather work on a short-ordered series. And my partner agrees. We would love to do a show where we could write all of the episodes ourselves beforehand. Shows done like that have a much stronger voice and clearer vision.
But like I said, financially you take a big hit, and on American television it’s very difficult to hook an audience when you only have a few episodes.
Still, if David and I do another series I imagine it will be in that format. And just think, doing six episodes a season – in only 17 years we’ll have enough shows for syndication!
What’s your question? Leave it in the comments section. Thanks!