I’m doing Friday Questions on Thursday this week only. But tomorrow is 9-11 and I always repost my piece on David & Lynn Angell on that date. Friday Questions return to Friday next week.
Wendy M. Grossman asks:
Do you find it easier to track character and plot details and remain consistent over a long period of time now that we have computer databases and easier means of updating documents like the show's bible?
Yes, it’s much easier to monitor continuity IF….
the producers and writers bother to check. But honestly, most of the time they don’t. And things do occasionally fall between the cracks so the writers will give a character a sister when he once had a brother, etc.
When I was on CHEERS and FRASIER it wasn’t enough that we had once done a similar story. We tried to make sure that no other show had done that story. If we were going down a road and someone in the room said MURPHY BROWN did something similar we threw the story out. So we were trying to monitor everybody. There were times we were more successful than others.
Why is stupid funny? I know that in many commercials it's just bad writers taking the easy way out, but what about with Extras (an amazing show) with the girl friend who was just painfully stupid. Or the roommate in Notting Hill. There have been characters who weren't very smart but they had redeeming qualities (Don Knotts on Andy Griffith, Coach on Cheers but maybe they were just naive and unworldly rather than not very smart), but I just don't get these. Especially the commercials when I wonder if they think their aim is only to sell to idiots.
So, is stupid funny or not? Isn't it a difficult knife edge to walk along to do it right?
As I’ve said in the past, dumb characters also allow us to provide exposition for the dumb audience members out there. When the smart character explains to the dummy what’s going on, he’s actually explaining it to equally clueless segment of the audience.
When shooting a multi-cam show, how often would you go on location?
Depends on the show, the budget, and most importantly – how large the soundstage is. Generally, though, you try to avoid it. Going out is expensive, time consuming, and the studio audience always feels a little cheated.
But I’ve shot outside many times for multi-cam shows. I’ve probably filmed scenes on the Paramount New York street at least a half dozen times. In one case there was a traffic jam with snow.
I’ve filmed out at Griffith Park. One of my actors wrenched his back and had to be taken to the hospital on a stretcher. That was take one.
I’ve filmed on the 20th backlot, the Radford backlot, but the most fun was a big crowd scene for an episode of DHARMA & GREG. We shot at Ghiradelli Square in San Francisco. I had about 100 extras, scaffolding, cameras in sniper positions, and a million guys on walkie-talkies named “Dave.” I really felt like David Lean that night.
DrBOP is next:
Absolutely stoopid question, but do you always wear a suit on the day of a shoot?
On a multi-camera show in front of an audience, yes, I always wear a suit when I direct. Even if I’m not directing, If I’m on the floor at all, as either a producer or writer I wear a suit.
Why? It’s just a sign of respect for the audience. And I liken it to basketball head coaches. They always dress nice for games. I just think it’s a classy thing to do.
What’s your Friday Question? Just leave it in the comments section. Thanks.