First off, thanks so much to everyone who commented and checked in yesterday. It's a pleasure doing this blog for you. And now I know your average shoe size is 8. Here is one of your favorite features: Friday Questions.
Wayne starts us off:
Ken, if you had wanted to, could you have written an Elvis movie?
I’d like to think that I could meet the lofty standards of HARUM SCAREM so yes.
I’ve told this story before but it’s worth repeating:
Edward Anhalt was one of the great screenwriters of all-time. A multi-Oscar winner he amassed a tremendous body of impressive work.
So in the same year Mr. Edward Anhalt wrote BECKET and GIRLS GIRLS GIRLS starring Elvis Presley and Stella Stevens.
If he could write BECKET I could write HARUM SCAREM.
From Joseph M.:
When sending out a spec script, is it sometimes a good idea to include a brief outline or one-page synopsis for the benefit of the reader, or does it just give them one more thing to read?
I don’t think it’s necessary. They generally won’t read it. The most important thing to do is hook the reader in the first page or two of your script – great joke, cool action, intriguing confrontation.
How much job security is there for a staff writer on a successful show? Are they pretty much guaranteed to keep working on the show as long as they want unless they screw up or are the producers constantly looking to replace some writers each year to keep things fresh?
If a writer is valuable and contributes and does not drive everyone else on staff completely batty then yes, there’s an excellent chance he can stay with a hit show for years. Good writers are hard to find.
When longtime writers leave successful series it’s usually their choice – bigger deal elsewhere, the chance for your own show, tired of writing the same thing, etc.
As shows continue they tend to add more writers to the staff. It's like a snowball going down a hill. So existing writers don’t necessarily have to leave for there to be an opening.
When CHEERS started the full-time staff was the Charles Brothers and me and my partner, David. That's it. By the eleventh season you needed to get to the room early to find a seat.
Charles Jurries is next:
What is one phrase/line/clam/sentence you cannot stand? For me it is "This is madness!" Most people do not say that, and in the heat of the moment would most likely say something that flows off the tongue a little more freely.
For me it’s “Did I say that out loud?” Sooo overused. And a close second is, “Hey, I’m in the room.”
I bet you kids have one or two that bother you as well.
And finally, Leemats has more staff related questions:
I'm well aware that it takes a week to make a standard sitcom episode - from table read to filming. Which means that if you're a member of the cast, you work 22 weeks a year on a network sitcom. My question is: how many weeks a year does the average network sitcom writer work? Not a writer/producer, but someone who's just a staff writer. And what do they do with the rest of the time? Do they find other ways to supplement their income, whether as a writer or in some other field? Or do they just enjoy much more vacation time than the average person?
If you’re on staff you generally work a couple of months of pre-production and then all through production counting the hiatus weeks. So 40 weeks, give or take ten. Once the show wraps production you’re pretty much done. The showrunners stick around for post production on the episodes still not finished – another three weeks or so.
What do writers do during their offtime? I’m sorry but I can’t keep track of all of them.
Some go on vacation, others write movies, or pilots. I announced baseball. One of the producers of MODERN FAMILY moves to Cleveland is and takes tickets at a movie theater boxoffice. That’s a true story.
What's your question? I invite you to leave it in the comments section. Thanks again. And if you haven't responded to yesterday's plea you're still welcome to.