Well, we’ve come to the end of the Neil Simon Film Festival on TCM. Tonight’s my final night. Will you miss me?
But we begin with my all-time favorite Neil Simon film, HEARTBREAK KID. The fun and my schtick begins at 8 PM EST/5 PM PST.
Okay, now some Friday Questions.
Charles H. Bryan starts us off:
So how did you become aware of the TCM gig (or it of you)?
They approached me. I had done a tribute piece on Neil Simon and the folks at TCM were fans of the blog. (who knew???)
What this illustrates is – you never know. I always maintain that you make your own momentum. Doing this blog everyday I don’t know what opportunities (if any) it will bring. But it’s an active activity, a chance to practice and hone my craft, and I suspect I’ll have a better chance of good things happening if I’m productive as opposed to just sitting home waiting for the phone to ring (which, you know never does). Make the phone ring.
What’s the best spec pilot you read that networks turned down.
You can read it here. (Thanks to reader Calvin)
If someone came to you and offered you the Network Suit Job would you take it, or would you be afraid it would suck all the joy out of the business for you?
Would you WANT to be the guy who accepts/rejects shows?
I would not want a corporate job. That’s so not me. Wearing a suit, having to be in the office every morning, “reporting” to people, maneuvering office politics, following marching orders from on-high, and rejecting a lot of my friends would drive me up a wall.
And then there’s the frustration of getting scripts back that are disappointing. If I was a showrunner I could just rewrite them to my satisfaction. But I couldn’t do that in this case. All I could do is give notes and hope the writer rises to the occasion. And when ultimately the script goes up the food chain and is still disappointing, I’ll get blamed for it as much as the writer. Who needs that shit?
To be the guy who selects the shows that get on the air (and face it, those are the only decisions that really matter) I would have to be the network president. No one is going to give me that job off the street. So I would be reduced to standing back while others made the major decisions.
No thank you. I’d much rather be the guy creating and making shows then the one shaping them to fit someone else's agenda.
Now this may seem like I’m knocking network executives. I’m not. I’m pointing out that they have incredibly frustrating jobs, and their success hinges on other people and their ability to deliver the goods. They get beat up by their superiors, beat up by writers and agents and studio executives. They constantly walk a political tightrope. And they have to listen to a million inane unfunny obvious pitches. My heart goes out to them.
And finally: Julia Littleton wonders:
Do you ever find it useful as a writer to watch something really terrible to get a sense of perspective and revisit some of the don'ts of comedy writing?
No. It’s just painful. I don’t need to be reminded that there’s a lot of crap out there. I’d much rather spend my time seeking shows and artists I can admire.
I’m sure for a lot of writers there is a certain comfort in watching shit and knowing they’re better. But I would rather watch great material and push myself to be better.
What’s your Friday Question? And again, thanks for watching me on TCM this month.