As the summer rolls on, so do Friday Questions.
Max gets us started.
Are there any actors you have worked with over the years and were absolutely blown away by their talent...but they never "made it"? Is that common, or do the truly exceptional actors generally rise to the top eventually?
I could give you names but you’ve never heard of them.
Timing and luck does play a big part in success. George Clooney, for example, knocked around doing pilot after pilot. He was lucky enough to get ER and it launched him into stardom. If someone else got that role, who knows?
Yes, there are performers who are just so spectacular that success is a given – singers like Barbra Streisand – but for the most part it’s a combination of talent and luck. You need that big break. Of course, should that big break come you need to deliver.
I realize that confidentiality agreements abound in celebrity world. How constrained are you from writing about stars and others that you have personally worked with on shows?
I’ve never been asked to sign a confidentiality agreement. I try to be candid in this blog when discussing industry people I’ve worked with, but if I say something unflattering about someone I either have the facts to back it up or state clearly that this is just my opinion. Bottom line: I’ve never viewed this blog as a forum for getting back at anyone. And I take much greater joy praising someone than knocking them.
I also feel it’s important to show discretion when dealing with celebrities’ private lives. So much misinformation gets spread and once it’s on the internet you can bet it winds up on Wikipedia or fifteen other websites.
I always honor anything said to me in confidence. Don’t come here expecting a scoop or anything particularly juicy.
Matt P wonders:
Ballpark -- how many pilots have you created but not had picked up? One a year or something like that?
Jesus, that would be over thirty pilots that got rejected. Happy to say, it's much less than that. Probably seven or eight. But we were paid for all of them so don't feel too sorry for us.
Pilots don’t get picked up for any number of reasons. Next Monday I do a post about infuriating rejections.
Bad casting choices can kill a pilot faster than anything else. And with networks now pretty much dictating casting, you’re somewhat at the mercy of someone else making the final selections that will determine your cast and your fate. (as opposed to cast your fate to the wind)
Other times pilots don’t get picked up because the network person buying the project is not in sync with his superior. So you do all the work, address all the notes, and then the person-in-charge says “I don’t want to do a show about such-and-such.” At which point you're dead.
But as the expression goes, “it’s the business we chose.”
How do you feel about watching a program with subtitles on? If you happened to watch a program with them on (maybe with somebody that needed them) would it detract from the dialog of the actors for you?
There are some shows where the actors mumble the dialog to the point where I have no idea what they’re saying. That’s right, Kiefer, I’m looking at you. I need the closed captions just to decipher English.
But otherwise, no. I do find them distracting.
And then you have that NBC summer show, WELCOME TO SWEDEN, that has subtitles right in the show. Personally, I find them annoying.
Ed from South Bend has a question about Brandon Tartikoff.
He is sainted in the industry by many creative. Yes, he stood for quality more than most, yet he also was given a longer leash than most (By Tinker??).
What say you? Any personal dealings you could recount?
I did an entire post about my relationship with Brandon. You can find it here.
What's your Friday Question?