TGIFriday Questions (and the second Natalie photo of the week):
David P is up first.
Have you ever considered posting pictures of Bebe Neuwirth on occasion instead of (or in addition to) pictures of Natalie Wood?
From Steve B:
Ken, I was wondering about your process for writing your DVD spec. How long total did it take to write, and how much time did you devote to breaking the story and writing the actual script? Plus, when was the last previous TV spec script you wrote, and how did it feel to be writing another one?
It’s hard to say because I worked on it while writing other things (like this blog). But it probably took four or five days of breaking the story, another day to write the outline, four or five days to write the draft, a couple of days to let it sit, then another day to polish. And I’m sure if I didn’t play Tetris I could have shaved at least two days off the process.
I actually write a lot on spec – mostly plays these days. But the last time I wrote a spec episode for an existing show I believe Chester A. Arthur was president.
Dan Ball asks:
Have you ever done below-the-writer's-line work on a show where you were actually pushing buttons, adjusting dimmers, editing a sequence (film or video, linear or non-linear editing), adjusting a fresnel light, creating a graphic, or white-balancing a camera? Don't you step on union toes doing that? I just didn't know if you ever found yourself learning or having to do those things or if you'd be shot dead for it by the unions.
Unions do take a somewhat dim view of that. So no, I’ve never adjusted a light or got an actress into her wardrobe. The truth is, all of these crew members do a much better job at any of these tasks than I ever could. I’m forever amazed at how remarkable these dedicated men and women are. Plus, I need to call in a guy at home to change a lightbulb.
But there have been a few instances where I have dabbled in areas below-the-line. As a showrunner, I involve myself heavily in editing, but only to sit with the editor and give notes. I never touch a button.
There was an episode of ALMOST PERFECT where we needed an offstage couple to loudly make love. The couple we used on the stage weren’t very good so in post fellow showrunner Robin Schiff and I did the scene. We were quite good if I say so myself.
I enjoy watching Jack Webb's 60s Dragnet TV series. Having read a book about Jack & all of his productions I see that he insisted that a teleprompter be used on his Dragnet show.
Did you ever resort to utilizing a teleprompter on any show you worked on? Do shows today utilize teleprompters at all? What are your thoughts on using them?
For a scripted show I wouldn’t allow it for one second. Actors need to be in the moment and need to relate to each other. They also need sufficient rehearsal time to find the best performance. You can’t do any of that with teleprompters.
Do any current scripted shows employ teleprompters? I honestly don’t know but would be surprised if one does.
You’ll notice that he and Harry Morgan wore the exact same suits every single episode? That way he was able to shoot stock footage of them going in and out of the police station and other buildings only once. He could use the same footage every week.
The irony is that Harry Morgan could read a page of dialogue once and have it memorized. If there was any actor who never needed a teleprompter it was Harry.
Unknown has a question following my post on Bob Crane.
Living in the Midwest, I didn't know Mr. Crane did radio, and how good he was. Who do you like now? I know everything is corporate now, but anyone up and coming?
What’s your Friday Question?