It’s Friday Question Day (a feature you guys still seem to like). I'll try to sneak in a few extra question days in the next few weeks.
Has a crew member ever suggesting a plot is horrible?
No, but they never had to. They had the actors for that.
We had a writers assistant who we dearly loved named Lana. The way David and I wrote was that we dictated the script to Lana. There were times we’d pitch something and she’d say, “No. Really.” Other times she’d respond to one of our hilarious jokes by saying, “Okay, now come up with something we can use.” She was always right, damn her!
When you write a blog post, do you consider how many comments you might get on it? And have you ever been really surprised one way or the other?
Unless I specifically ask for comments (like I did Wednesday), I never handicap how many comments I may get. Some posts naturally invite a lot of participation while others don’t. More important is what the comments are. I’m lucky in that I receive a lot of really interesting, insightful, and funny observations from my readers. I’d rather get three of those than a hundred from idiots.
What surprises me sometimes though is that a thread will develop from an innocuous frothy little post that results in an angry political or theological argument. And then commenters will attack each other and it gets ugly. Guys, this is a humor blog!
GC from France has a first-year CHEERS question:
My favorite sitcom episode is "Diane's perfect date" written by the Maestro (David Lloyd), and you produced it. Is there something, anything, that you can share with us about writing this episode?
This was the first script I worked on with David Lloyd. The process was we’d bring the writer in and together (me, my partner David, and the Charles Brothers) would work out the story. Along the way we pitched lots of joke suggestions. The writer would furiously scribble down all the notes (pages and pages of them), go home, try to make sense of them all, and come back in a few days with a written outline.
David Lloyd never took notes. Not one. He just sat back, relaxed, and participated in the spitballing. As he left I thought, “We’ll be lucky to get back 15% of what was pitched.”
Three days later the outline arrived and unbelievably, it was all there. Every bit of it. How he retained hours of haphazard story and joke pitches is beyond me. And he did this every time.
Most of what you saw on the screen for that episode came straight from David’s draft. I did make one contribution though. Calling the murderer/date Andy Andy was my idea. Thank you. Thank you for the applause.
According to several articles I read Louis C.K. is getting paid very little for producing "Louie" on FX. In exchange he seems to enjoy a lot more creative control than other showrunners.
Do you think that we will see similar deals in the near future?
No. Networks like to be in charge. In special cases they will relinquish this control, but the results better be there – either in numbers or critical acclaim or both.
And finally, from ScottyB:
I cringe whenever childbirth comes up in a sitcom. (Woman screams incessantly, blames husband, begs for drugs too late, etc. etc.) It's been beaten to death a zillion times, yet, you'd figure *someone* in all these years would have a different take on it. SO -- if you were a screenwriter right now or a script consultant, how would you tackle this one?
I did tackle that exact problem along with my partner, David Isaacs. And I think we came up with a novel take. This was from an episode of our 1993 series BIG WAVE DAVE’S. You can check it out here.
What's your question?