Helping you to get in the mood for yet another awards show, here’s another of my old war stories.
partner David and I were head writers of MASH. We had a very small
staff so quite a few scripts were assigned to freelance writers. Some,
like Everett Greenbaum & Jim Fritzell and Tom Reeder did terrific
work and most of their first drafts are what you see on the screen.
But others didn’t pan out as well. In those cases, David and I would
rewrite their scripts (often 100%). Since the plotting of MASH was
somewhat intricate, it was always easier for me and David to break the
story and write the outline ourselves. The freelancer would come in,
we would hand him the story and talk him through it.
Never did we
try to share credit. We figured that was part of our staff
responsibilities. Most shows operate that way, or at least they did.
we get a very disappointing draft and do a page-one rewrite. It’s
now award season. We get nominated for writing (not the Emmys). And
this freelancer gets nominated for that script.
And we lose.
Essentially we lost to ourselves. Ouch!!
So good luck to all the Oscar nominees. I hope you win, and if not, I hope you at least lose to someone else.
Check in tomorrow for my review of the Academy Awards -- that I wrote last week.