Here are some Friday Questions. Do you have one? Please leave it in the comments section. Thanks.
Kev starts us off:
What do you think of Gotham Writer's Workshops and other workshops like that? Worth that money?
It depends on who’s teaching them and how much they charge. Check the instructor’s credits. Remembering that just because a guy has six Emmys doesn’t necessarily mean he’s a good teacher, but if an instructor’s last credit was PETTICOAT JUNCTION or his best credit is ASK HARRIET you might want to see who else is on the faculty. And if the workshop wants hundreds of dollars, that’s a red flag too.
But if the price is reasonable and the instructor appears to know what he’s doing, then sure, go for it. If nothing else, you'll get more practice, meet other young writers who are trying to break in, you might get a partner out of it, or at least a support group. Although I would worry about taking a sitcom course from the Gotham City Workshop. You look to your left and there is a student in white clown make up.
Have you ever missed a deadline because you just couldn't get the episode to gel no matter what you tried?
I'm getting cold chills just thinking about it. Yes, it has happened. But only after all night rewrite sessions still produce nothing. There are several options:
Send a partial script down to the stage with instructions that the rest will follow, and you keep working on it.
Shut down the show for a day. Studios hate this of course, but usually we make the day up by shooting the next show on a four-day schedule instead of five.
A third option is to just scrap the script, and insert next week’s script, assuming it’s in decent shape, and there is not a big swing set that needs to be constructed.
One of the reasons why we always produced our multi-camera shows on a Wednesday-Tuesday schedule instead of Monday-Friday is that if the script was really in trouble we had two weekend fail-safe days to fix it. Also, if we had to push shooting the show back from Tuesday to Wednesday we still had the crew. The camera crews generally work two shows – one that films on Tuesday night and the other that films on Friday night. They need two days for each show – one for camera blocking and the other for the actual filming. If you have to push back a Friday shoot night you’re screwed because the crew works Monday on their other show. The only day of the week that the crews don’t normally work is Wednesday.
The truth is throughout the course of a season there will always be at least one script that is just snake-bitten. Hopefully, it is only one or two. And part of your job as a showrunner is to manage these crises. If it becomes a habit, if scripts are routinely arriving late to the stage, or you have to shut down repeatedly chances are you’ll be replaced.
But most of the time you are able to cobble together something that’s at least acceptable. It may not be your best show of the season but no stunt involving a shark is required.
Sean in NoCal wonders:
In your career as a baseball broadcaster, have you ever gotten fairly close to a player only to see him traded? I know as a fan, having a favorite player trades mid-season just kinda sucks.
That happens frequently. Usually it’s bittersweet because you know the player is going off to a better situation, but of course, you’ll miss him.
After I did a year in Baltimore I latched on with Seattle. Later that next year I was calling a Mariners-Orioles game from Camden Yards. It was late in the season and by then I’d become good friends with most of the Mariners.
Suddenly a bench-clearing brawl erupted, and this was a hairy one. I’m describing it all on the radio and thinking, “Ohmygod, I’m friends with all of these people. They’re slugging each other and honestly, I don’t know who to root for.” That was bizarre.
One thing I should point out – when I say “friends” that’s not “close friends.” You don’t want to get too close because then it’s hard to be objective on the air. I’ve actually become better friends with a number of players once they retired.
Christodoulos has a question related to my book (which is crying to be read by you):
Which movies of the era would go well with it? Which movies do you feel capture the experience of everyday life in the 60's?