Happy Flag Day. Many years ago on this date I joined the Army Reserves. Amazingly, the country still exists. Fly Old Glory and leave your Friday Questions in the comments section. Thanks. Here are today’s:
Dan Ball asks:
How easily can a TV writer go back and forth between sitcoms and dramas?
It’s never easy because writers get pigeonholed. Even if you’re established you might have to write a spec if you want to pursue a different genre. Matt Weiner was a very successful comedy writer. When I worked with him on BECKER he wrote this spec drama he called MAD MEN. His agent didn’t know what to do with it.
Several established writers have bounced back and forth between comedy and drama. Off the top of my head – Jane Espenson, Phoef Sutton, Steven Nathan, Janet Leahy, Mike Saltzman, Alan Ball, Amy Sherman, and Karen Hall. I’m sure there are many others.
But if you’re a new writer trying to break in, I strongly suggest you pick one genre and commit to it. Agents and producers are wary of writers who dabble. Agents like to sell you as either a comedy or drama guy. That's your brand. Covering your bases doesn’t work in this case.
Sean Christie wonders:
In your illustrious career as a writer, have you ever come across and befriended a successful Canadian writer who got work (an agent and staffed on a show) and a work permit (visa)?
Just wondering, because that's been my situation this past year in L.A. on a student visa.
Earl Pomerantz, Lorne Michaels, Andrew Nicholls & Darrell Vickers, Rosie Shuster, Graham Yost, and about a hundred more. If those hosers can do it, so can you.
What do you think of Quentin Tarantino's statement that directors over 60 years old are no longer any good?
There are too many examples of great movies made by directors over 60 to even take his statement seriously. And wait’ll he turns 60. Somehow I don’t see him retiring to Virginia and becoming a country squire.
Have you ever submitted a piece to NPR? With your radio, baseball and show business experience, I would think you would be able to become a contributor. Also, they would plug your book as part of the introduction. More sales! ;-)
Rob Long’s Martini Shots on KCRW. Rob is a top comedy writer (I worked with him on CHEERS and the highlight of his career – BIG WAVE DAVE’S) and he files a weekly commentary on show business that is razor sharp and hilariously true. Check him out. But only AFTER you buy my book.
bla wraps it up:
Watching Cheers for the first time ever (i'm a 35 year old French woman), I can't gather why Cheers did not ever air in France except on a channel nobody ever got. We have the Nanny, the Cosby Show, Something so Right, Friends.... but never had Seinfeld or Cheers. What was that about ? Do you know how are show sold in other countries?
And after we saved their sorry ass in the war!
American series have sales representatives who strike syndication deals with foreign countries’ networks. Why CHEERS and SEINFELD didn’t sell in France I don’t really know. Maybe they were too expensive. Maybe they did air initially and weren’t well-received. That’s always possible. One country’s MASH is another country’s AfterMASH.
If I’m not mistaken (and I could easily be), I think Paramount/Viacom operated a satellite channel in Europe. Since CHEERS was a Paramount property, perhaps the studio decided not to syndicate it in France but air it on their own satellite instead. But again, I’m only speculating.
Or France just getting back at us for Justin Bieber.
Fly your flag proudly today. Have a great weekend.