As promised, here’s an extra day of Friday Questions. Keep ‘em coming.
Marianne has been patiently waiting. She’s up first.
I was just wondering why it wasn't until the later seasons that Cheers decided to film teasers in front of the actual bar in Boston? Also, were those scenes filmed in one hit or did the actors regularly go to and from Boston?
A large factor was the budget. Once the series got into the later years and Paramount knew it would go into syndication and become a cash cow there was more money to spend.
When CHEERS hit 200 episodes we all went to Boston to celebrate. There was a big parade. It was like following around the Beatles. But since we had the whole cast it seemed very convenient to shoot those teasers. Yes, we shot them all in a couple of days. Even got then-governor Michael Dukakis to do one. We were hoping to spin him off into his own series but it never came about.
Have you ever worked on a show that didn't have a writer's room? If you did, how did you find the system to be?
Personally, no. I was asked once to take over as showrunner for a sitcom where the staff was sent off to their own offices to write jokes for the rewrite and the showrunner would then select the ones he wanted. We said we couldn’t work that way and declined the offer.
You can buy it here.
At the end of the day, it’s whatever works. Oh wait, I shouldn’t use that expression. WHATEVER WORKS was the name of that horrible Woody Allen movie starring Larry David. Sorry for bringing it up, Larry.
You said that directing with Jamie Widdoes crew was like driving a Porsche. Why? Obviously technical skill is important for any crewmember, but what are some of the intangibles that make a good crew? When you are the show runner, what do you look for when hiring your dream crew?
You look for crewmembers who take pride in what they do and excel at their craft. Ideally, you want crewmembers who offer more than just what is asked. There may be a tough shot to get. The cameraman has only a few seconds to get into position. Some will say it’s too tough and others will say, “I’ll get there. Don’t worry.” Those are the guys you want.
But the key is this: you need to recognize and appreciate their contributions. Treat them with the respect they richly deserve. I know this sounds like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how many directors and producers just treat these people like cattle.
I do everything but wash their cars. I love these guys and gals.
And finally, Maria wonders:
Have you ever thought about doing one of those interviews for the Archive of American Television? You seem to have so many interesting stories and insights - it would be fabulous to see you interviewed!
I would LOVE to do one of those. No one has asked me to. And I think it’s a little tacky to call them and say, “Hey, what about me?” But if anyone on the committee is reading this, I’m available. I’m just sitting here in make up.
More Friday Questions tomorrow (it being Friday and all).