Saturday, April 23, 2011

Have Punch-Up Will Travel

Helped out on a pilot one night this week. Some quick observations.

It’s sure a lot more fun when the show is in good shape. This one was.

There’s nothing like being in a room with side-splittingly funny people. Until you reach midnight.

Food you would never touch you eat in rewrites. We had take out Chinese food at 6. So at 9 you can imagine how cold and congealed and generally just “leftover” it was. And yet, we all seemed to grab plates and nibbled on this remaining gunk as the night wore on.

Everyone now checks their iPhone every fifteen minutes.

The room is either too hot or too cold. It seems to go in half-hour increments.

You work with people you know and people you meet for the first time. It’s great fun to work with writers you’ve only heard about. Like discovering a terrific new comedian. And the best part is, new horror stories, different dish. It’s the blood we comedy vampires feast on.

They close a lot of the exit gates at Warner Brothers after midnight. You should have seen us. A convoy of cars driving all over the lot, in and out of streets, looking for the way out. Every time we turned left, there was the damn town square from LOIS & CLARK. I kept expecting to see some lost sad writer from MAVERICK whose been trying to find the open gate since 1957. Finally, we just followed some guy in a golf cart. We figured, if he’s here this late he must know where he’s going. And sure enough! After twenty minutes we finally escaped. I hope the MAVERICK guy gets out.

Best of luck to all the pilots. Especially this one.


Dave said...

Aww c''re not going to tell us which pilot to watch for?

John said...

I think Bugs used to tunnel out of the studio.

Tod Hunter said...

FWIW the "Blazing Saddles" gate is always open. I live around the corner from Warner Bros. and I have never seen it closed.

On the other hand, it's a maze in there and good luck finding it from the inside.


Verification word: inebac. n. Where the garage is.

lucifervandross said...

Friday question for next week:

Netflix added Cheers and I have been watching it (in lieu of researching and writing my own specs to try and get work) and on the episode 'Little Sister dont'cha" Rhea Perlman plays Carla, and Carla's younger sister Annette. She is credited in the closing credits for this role. My questions is, was she paid twice? Once for portraying Carla (and her normal "starring" credit) and then another time for the guest appearance? I know it's trivial and silly and from 30 years ago, but I was just wondering how that sort of thing works... actually let me tie it in to the "now" Would Alec Baldwin be getting paid multiple times for his multiple portrayals on this weeks 30 rock?

Carson said...

@Tod Hunter

The gate you're talking about is the main gate - Gate 2. And yes it's always open. As is Gate 7 on Forrest Lawn.

Once you are on the front lot, the place is a grid, like city blocks, it's easy to get out once you're off the backlot. On the back lot, just drive to the WBTV buildings (bldg 140, 136 134) and make a right. That road takes you all the way to Gate 7. You know you're on the right street when you pass The Grill and can see the bridge building on one side and the costume department/parking structure on the other.

Of all the lots I've worked on, WB remains my fav.

Anonymous said...

Welcome back to show business Ken.

Bob Claster said...

Okay, Ken...



(and... thank you!)

D. McEwan said...

"Every time we turned left, there was the damn town square from LOIS & CLARK."

I'm sure meant that damn town square from the movie of The Music Man, being the same square and all.

Once, after a Murphy Brown taping, some friends and I wandered happily all over that lot, hunting up all the River City sets still standing. Found out Marion Paroo lived two houses away from Mayor Shinn. (Actually, Lois & Clark was doing a night shoot on that damn town square that night. Saw Superman in his Super Suit.)

Oh, and I have a lovely photo of Dan Aykroyd and I standing by that damn town square during a night shoot of Spielberg's 1941. I left well after midnight that evening, through the "Blazing Saddles" gate.

"John said...
I think Bugs used to tunnel out of the studio."

Actually John, the famous Warner Brothers Cartoons were not made on the Burbank lot. They were made at the Fernwood animation studio at the back of the now-KTLA lot at Sunset & Van Ness. That is the studio where my first-ever TV script was shot, back in 1974.

VP81955 said...

How were Yakko, Wakko and Dot? Or were they still locked up in the water tower?

Carson said...

@ D. McEwan

The town square (known on the lot as Mid Western Street) was built for the film Saratoga Trunk in 1943. The street with the houses you speak of was originally built for Kings Row with Ronald Reagan in 1941, but most of the street burned down in the early 80's later and was rebuilt.

The two backlot sets I always loved to tool around in most were Laramie St., which by the 1990's was the only complete western set in Los Angeles (It was also built in the 1940s and was torn down to create a blah New England residential street), and The Jungle, which they started to put together in 1929 and has been everything from Sherwood Forrest to Walton's Mountain to Vietnam to Alien planets. Now it's only half the size it used to be, which makes me sad. Apparently yet another parking structure was more important. Now you can see The Jungle as the location of Merlotte's in Bonne Temp on TV in True Blood.

bevo said...

Friday question since you brought it up: How do you get these gigs? Did you someone? Why would a show runner bring you in? In other words, what problem do you solve that his or her writing staff cannot solve?

How do you get paid for such a gig? One time deal? Like a hundred books and a thank you? All the Chinese food you can eat?

John said...

@ D. McEwan

The cartoon studio actually made it to Burbank ... but not until 1957. J.L. finally ponied up the cash to build a new studio building for them, then shut the department six years later (though much of the staff ended up staying there for a couple more years, doing Pink Panther cartoons for United Artists).

Anonymous said...

Hmmm...I'm guessing the new Tim Allen or the Colin Cowherd projects. Colin is a sports guy after all!