Not to get lost in the excitement of the big NFL Pro Bowl Game this Sunday, here are this week’s Friday Questions.
vic-tori-a valdez is first up.
Have there ever been any actors that you specifically kept an eye on for future roles? For example, I recall reading (correct me if I'm wrong) that Ted Danson was remembered by James Burrow after auditioning for a pilot that never made it.
These are the actors who I kept an eye out for and was lucky enough to work actually work with. And in every case, they exceeded expectations even though expectations were super high.
Kurtwood Smith, Lisa Edelstein, James Tolkin. David Ogden Stiers.
From Kathleen Pal Andrade:
What if you're a new writer who wrote a great pilot (with a partner) and the production company you're working with is going to pair you with a showrunner. What does one look for in that meeting?
First of all, congratulations for being in that situation. The main thing to look for is a showrunner who won’t run with your idea and leave you in the dust. How collaborative is he? How arrogant? Do you get the sense he will defer to you and help you realize your vision? Or does he seem like someone who will steal the credit and charge forward, surrounding himself with his own people?
Is his office grandiose, filled with tributes to himself? That's usually a good clue.
These days you have the advantage of doing your homework on these potential showrunners. Check out their credits. Google them. Has he been fired off shows? Why? Has he been involved in a lot of arbitrations over credit? Are there blog entries by staffers saying how much they love him? If you Google his name and “mentor” does anything come up?
Ask about his process, his take on the show, how he sees your involvement. And then get it in writing.
I’ve known writers who have been in your situation who have been miserable and others who have blossomed as a result. Do your due diligence. And good luck.
This week's "New Girl" revealed that Coach's real name is Ernie, which I took as a nod to "Cheers." What's the best pop-culture homage your work has been on the receiving end of?
The Albuquerque Isotopes, the AAA minor league affiliate for the Los Angeles Dodgers was named after the Springfield Isotopes from the SIMPSONS episode that David and I wrote. We came up with the name of a baseball team. Other than an Emmy, I can’t think of a greater nod.
From Teresa Hutton:
I've been writing spec scripts for a while now but my script outlines feel somewhat amateurish in Microsoft Word.
My question is: Do you think you can share some advice on writing a solid outline or if possible an example of an outline you have written (preferably Cheers because it was one of the all-time greats)?
Last summer I unearthed an old CHEERS outline of ours and posted a few pages. You can find that post here.
Catching up on some TV show's DVDs and I notice on some that are some two-parters where part one may have director A & part two may have director Z. Why do some shows do this? It seems like you would want to have the continuity of the same director over both parts....at least in my opinion.
I assume you means one-hour dramas. Or even single-camera sitcoms. Directors are given several days of preparation for each episode. They can scout locations, plan their shots, coordinate stunts, etc.
But generally there’s no break between shooting the end of one episode and the beginning of the next. So if principle photography of part one ends on Tuesday, part two begins rolling on Wednesday. The director of part one has no time to prep for part two. That’s why two different directors are employed.
One other note: before each episode the director sits down with the showrunner for a “tone meeting.” The showrunner goes through the script scene by scene and explains exactly what he’s looking for. So the director of part two knows exactly what went before and what the showrunner is looking for in part two. So there is hopefully little difference in style, tone, and continuity despite two different directors.
What’s your question? I answer as many as I can. Thanks.