Friday, June 30, 2006

Grab your parkas, it's July

Since the MASH frenzy continues, here’s another anecdote. It’s a re-post but for the many new readers I think it’s worth a summer re-run. Besides I have to read a lot of crap this weekend so I won’t sound too stupid co-hosting the Stephanie Miller Show this Monday & Tuesday.


When my partner, David and I were head writers a precedent had been established during table readings whereby after the cast read the script out loud we went page by page asking if anyone had a problem or issue. Often times these notes resulted in better shows. And we were a collaborative effort.


Sometimes someone in the cast would have a real ticky tack issue with some line. And not to be upstaged, another cast member would have a “problem”. Pretty soon, they all were having “problems”. Page after page after page. We loved and admired the cast and would always be accommodating but inside we were IRKED.

This happened a couple of times and finally we got smart. The next time it occurred we went back to the room, addressed all of their minor concerns, and then made one other little change of our own to the script. We made it a cold show.

The next day filming began at the Malibu ranch. Summer temperatures were routinely in the 90’s and 100’s. Now the cast was all in parkas standing over fire barrels delivering lines about how bitterly cold Korea was in the winter.

This happened maybe twice and we never got a ticky tack note again.

If only we could do that today with networks and studios.


Anonymous said...

How gorgeously Sadistic. So now, when I see a cold episode, should I assume that that was a pain-in-the-ass cold reading?

Callaghan said...

One of my favourite stories. A worthy re-post.

Tom Dougherty said...

Brilliant! That is one fantastic little anecdote. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Good for you. How funny. Just great.

I wish I could think of something similar when my clients start changing copy and layouts all willy-nilly. Everyone's always gotta get their thumbprint on it, whether it makes any kind of sense or not.