Saturday, November 24, 2012

My 7th anniversary

Monday marks the 7th anniversary of this blog. Who can even remember 2005? It was an experiment – stretching exercises for a writer. I thought it would be nice break from writing scripts. No format. No notes. Writing actual prose. The whole notion seemed so liberating.

Only two hitches. What the hell do I write about? And how the hell do I get anybody to read it?

A blogger friend suggested that I post something new every day. That's how you build an audience. When people log onto you and see the same post they read a week ago they stop coming back. That made sense. At least to start.

But it made the first hitch an even bigger hurdle. Not only do I have nothing to write about; I have to write about it every day?  Yikes!  I’ll be honest, I thought this experiment would last six months. I’d get tired of it, I’d have exhausted every topic I know, or after half a year I’d have twelve readers.

And now, seven years, 3,076 posts, and 10,800,000 page views later here I somehow still am.

This was my first post:

For everyone who has said to me "you should start a blog" here it is. Now what?

So until I figure that out, I thought I'd post the kind of stuff I have been writing -- namely humorous travelogues and award show reviews that up until now have only gone to those unfortunate souls in my address book. As I learn how this works and come up with original thoughts I shall add to it. Or take requests. Or go on to podcasting.

Interests will include pop culture, show business, baseball, radio, the 60's, the theatre, baby boomers, bragging about my kids, hawking my various projects, and general bitching.

I’ll be honest again – to this day the toughest part is coming up with topics. Once I get a topic I’m usually off to the races. But there are plenty of days I’m just praying for Roseanne to do something stupid or a new idiotic reality show to premiere. I live for Anime conventions, pornstar karaoke, Michael Bay movies, Katherine Heigl interviews, Gwyneth Paltrow cleansing diets, and the Golden Globes.

All in all, it’s been well worth the effort. I’ve been very lucky in this industry and have had some remarkable mentors. I’m glad for the opportunity to pay it forward. I’ve met many wonderful new people through this blog… including YOU. And yes, I’ve sold a bunch of books through this site  (if you are grateful for this site and want to support it, that's how you do it.  Order yours now.), and have sold out six Sitcom Room seminars.

Anyway, thanks for seven great years.  Onwards and sideways.  I won’t say I couldn’t have done without you because that’s not true. But I will say I wouldn’t have done it without you.

43 comments:

Wendy M. Grossman said...

I'll lead off with saying how much I appreciate being able to wander over here every afternoon (UK time) and find something new, entertaining, and enlightening (about the innards of the TV writing process).

OK, I skip all the baseball posts.

Thanks!

wg

PBurns said...

You are awesome. I read your blog in my feeder, which is often read on Kindle or Iphone, making it hard to comment (big fingers, little keys), but since I am on a real computer this morning, and you are 7-years old today, I would just like to say you are awesome. Thanks for all the laughs, the insight, the serious criticism, and the stories.

LouOCNY said...

No - thank YOU Ken, for the little bits of laughter, wisdom, and just plain craziness each day. You literally almost never know what you will get logging on here, and the surprise and delight of each day's entry is never tiring!

John Leader Alfenito said...

Congratulations on your 7th anniversary, Ken.
Making snarky comments on Facebook every day is a lot easier than writing an award-winning blog...which is why I would never attempt blogging.
I read you every day.

404 said...

Happy anniversary, Ken. I second what has already been said: Thank YOU. Without a doubt, your blog is one of the things I look forward to each and every day. Thank you for the laughs, for the insights into the TV/Movie biz, for the stories, and for everything else. on top of it. Thank you!

Emily said...

Proud to say I've been here from Day One, and every day since. Speaking for the rest of the gang, we truly appreciate everything you do!

Johnny Walker said...

Happy anniversary! (For Monday.)

Rick Wiedmayer said...

Congratulations on 7 years. I just started reading this blog (say thank you to Mark Evanier when you next see him) and I am having a good time reading this blog. I do appreciate the old posts being available. Any word on whether you got the Mariners radio gig?

Mike Barer said...

Congratulations on your "blogaversary" Ken!

Michael said...

Every day, I have a set list of websites I check, mostly for news. But this is the only non-news blog I check, and for good reason: it's wonderful. Even if Claire Danes came in ahead of The Vin in the list of things you are thankful for.

Scott Carpenter said...

Hi, Ken -- I've been reading for years and enjoy your writing, even on those days when it's just obvious you have no topic and are phoning it in.

But on a more serious and drastically sobering note, there has been a sudden, disturbing change in the past few days -- I've noticed your RSS feed has changed to partial text! I've always appreciated that your feed is full text, and hope this was inadvertent change that you'll be willing to change back...

However, again -- thanks for all the entertainment and insight over the years.

Eric J said...

I'm a relative newcomer, but I've read back to Day 1. I look forward to it every day. I've even suggested it to friends in the TV industry (not writing or intentional comedy)as an idea for them to pursue from their own spot in TV history.

Ken Levine said...

Thanks so much for all the nice comments.

Scott,

The RSS feed has been modified on purpose for certain reasons. All it takes is a click on the link to take you right to the blog.

Thanks again.

Ken

Phillip B said...

Have read that there are now more than 200 million dead blogs floating out there in the internet, and that the average number entries on those blogs is 3. These were people who thought they had something more to say...

There was actually a fellow who collected the best of the dead blogs. But fittingly enough, his last entry was in 2006 -

http://thebestdeadblogs.blogspot.com/

Thanks, Ken, for being part of my day - every day!

Ane said...

There's a debate going on in Norway now about the drama department in the state channel NRK. They've been making their own drama shows for many decades and have always been told it's not good enough, not at the same level as danish, british or american tv-fiction. Now the managers say they want to give more power to the writers, let them have the final word rather than letting the directors control everything. Quote: "We want to make the productions more author-controlled. We believe this will provide even higher quality of TV series,says drama chief of the NRK, Hans Rossiné."

The directors replied that this is a ridiculous idea, and that only those who have made feature films know how to make a good tv-series.Quote:"One can interpret this as a sign that the NRK is tired of directors that demand things, they want more power, so they take it from the directors, says Imtiaz Rolfsen, who had a conflicting relationship with NRK when he directed the series "Taxi" - precisely because he demanded things during production."

Now some writers have written a reply saying that the film directors have big egos, and that making tv-drama and making a film are two very different things, and that even if you've made a film that was a big success in the box office that doesn't mean you'll know how to make tv-drama. (Also, norwegian film directors rarely make successful films, anyway...). They claim that a writer will be able to keep up with the fast pace of making tv better than someone who is used to making a 90 minute movie every 3 years, and they hope to have showrunners in norwegian tv, like they have in other parts of the world. Quote: "Many of us ended up in the television industry precisely to avoid these egomaniacs, expecting chairs with their name on the back, and a total submission from their staff."

My own translations, all quotes are from the norwegian newpaper Dagbladet, at db.no
Any thoughts?

alopecia said...

Congratulations on seven years, and thanks. I tell people they should read your blog even if they don't care about show business and hate baseball.

Here's to your next seven years of smart, funny and wise observations on the human condition. Cheers.

Norah said...

Thanks for 7 years of interesting, funny blogging!

cadavra said...

Haven't been here since Day 1, but every day since I did start. Always look forward to your wit and wisdom, and will continue to do so.

And honestly--if you want to skip a day because you're coming up blank, go ahead. We won't hold it against you!

Ane said...

And I forgot to say, congrats on the 7 years!

Mac said...

Thank you for seven years of great reading - always interesting, sometimes fascinating (inside the TV comedy world), sometimes baffling (baseball), but always funny. So don't stop. It's a crazy world (as Roseanne will tell you), and we need asshats to make sense of it all.

VSaia said...

Thank YOU, Ken. I know, 2005 was so...seven years ago! This blog has been so great as, among other things a behind-the-scenes look at some of my favorite sitcoms. Hopefully, one day you'll be able to explore you true feelings re: WHITNEY.

Pamela Jaye said...

just a bit ago, read 25 best blogs (of several years ago) visited one. it said it had moved to a real domain. went there, found a parking lot full of "articles" on Supplements. At least if you abandon a blogger blog your stuff (and thereby your good reputation) remains. Been here off and on since Sepinwall shared If Sorkin wrote baseball (or whatever) didn't enjoy, prob cause I'm not into baseball but came back anyway -- your travelogs were funny. Bought your first book. Now wishing I'd bought second instead. Looks interesting but needed new hard drive and cellphone from 2003 died (Jack Benny would love me).

Happy Anniversary and thanks for the bids of the best two reps of Almost Perfect.

Pamela Jaye said...

vids of best two eps

Paul said...

It's very disappointing that you've changed your RSS feed to only include a snippet of your posts instead of the full post. Many of us like myself read on a mobile phone, which makes a newsreader a necessity. Having to load the entire Blogspot template with all their added background stuff takes forever.

Kirk said...

Congratulations on 7 years. Someone must have FIXED a mirror.

Mary Stella said...

My relationship with your blog has outlasted the last three I had with guys.

That's so sad.

On the other hand, your blog has made me laugh louder and more frequently than the last guy. So, it's a good thing that relationship didn't make it.

Thanks for seven years of great reading, Ken!

Sunshine Vitamin said...

Seven years is a lifetime in BLOG years.

Congrats!!!

RCP said...

Congratulations, Ken!

cadavra said...

And honestly--if you want to skip a day because you're coming up blank, go ahead. We won't hold it against you!

We won't?

Brian said...

CongratS!

Chris said...

Friday question: is it easier to write for a sketch show? I assume the networks can't really give you notes since you don't have any stable characters or stories.

Rob said...

Congratulations!

Brian Doan said...

Hi Ken,
Congratulations on seven great years, and thank you for all the wonderful posts! Thanks, too, for occasionally answering my questions with fascinating, informative answers, and for politely ignoring those occasional, self-righteous rants of disagreement I've left in your comments section (hides face). Hope you are doing well!

On a totally unrelated note, do you have any thoughts on Larry Hagman? As a star of both sitcoms and drama (even as he found a way to make his 'evil' character on the latter very, very funny), I wondered if his work had any impact on you, or if you ever got to meet him (I know you were working on M*A*S*H* for part of the time he was on CBS working at DALLAS). Thanks!

Brian Doan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Brian Doan said...

And in celebration of your anniversary, I also want to thank you for what is probably my favorite bit of sitcom dialogue ever (25+ years later, I still quote this all the time):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o4GtOdJtgL8

Cap'n Bob said...

Ken, yours is the first blog I read each day. Let's hope you don't get the seven year itch.

Christodoulos said...

7 years is an amazing lifetime for a blog, especially one with daily interesting, informative, funny posts. And personally I appreciate very much the lack of snark. Here's hoping for 7 more years and more books.

Happy anniversary, Ken!

Richard Y said...

THANK YOU!!!!!

Harkaway said...

Thanks for never disappointing with your blogs or your books. I look forward to reading each day's addition.

I will, however, echo the couple of people who note that the change in the RSS feed is unhelpful (although thanks for confirming that this was not an accident). Although I read your daily entry on my laptop, I also subscribe to it and the comments in the RSS reader. This has the advantage that any additional comment on any of your posts comes up automatically so I don't have to keep going through individual days to read them.

I use an RSS reader on a tablet and this means the print is the right size, which isn't always the case in the browser.

I mention these points in case they might not have seemed pertinent when you made the decision to change the settings.

MikeBo said...

My old KMPC buddy Roger Carroll asked me a couple of years ago if I ever worked with "that Sportswire Kid, Ken Levine. (He mispronounced the name and I didn't know that you pronounce it just the way my first real girlfriend, Joan Levine pronounced it - La Vine). Nevertheless, I looked you up on LARadio.com...found the blog and I have been a faithful follower ever since. I don't have any designs on being comedy writer, but I enjoy the insights you give us into that crazy part of the business. And I've come to think that you've moved past begin a sit-com writer and are now a genuine first class American humorist. Robert Benchley comes to mind. (Us old guys actually remember him). So, keep up the great work. I'll be a fan 'til I die. (Which would have been Friday if I had actually gone to the mall). Keep up the great work.

Roger Owen Green said...

So you did make it after all, to quote a TV theme song! Congrats!

Craig Edwards said...

Congratulations on 7 years - here's to 77 more! Thanks for all the entertaining and informative posts - and two very entertaining books!

Lisa Muldrin said...

7 years! That is awesome! :)

Thanks a lot Ken for all your funny thoughts and the wisdom too!

Best wishes for the next 7 years!
Lisa

Jeffro said...

Happy Anniversary! (à la Gioachino Rossini)

Who says you can't appreciate classical music... using classic cartoons?!