Friday, July 19, 2019

Friday Questions

Time for sunscreen and Friday Questions.

Bears, Beets, and Battlstar Galactica start us off.

This Friday Question is inspired by my recent YouTube viewing of successful and failed auditions for roles in The Office (US). 

I was amazed to see how, right from the audition, right from word one, Rainn Wilson had the whole character of Dwight Schrute down. Meanwhile, I've seen audition tapes of other actors who ultimately got the role and they didn't even seem like necessarily great actors in the audition, though they ultimately won the role and went on to be great in it. 

How do you know when an auditioning actor is right for the role? Is it all gut feeling, or are there boxes you check? 

There’s no checklist. It’s all subjective. You’re looking for certain qualities, you’re looking for something a little fresh, you’re trying to keep in mind the entire ensemble and how this actor will fit in, you’re looking for someone funny (if it’s a comedy), and yet all of that is thrown out the window if an actor comes in and does something completely different and unexpected and you say, “That’s the guy!”

There are times you know instantly if someone is right. Other times you’re not sure and need the actor to come back several times. Maybe he has certain qualities you like but needs adjustments to really hit the mark. Like I said, it’s really a big crap shoot.

And sometimes we make mistakes, which is why casting is so crucial — because everything else you can fix. You can rewrite scripts or digitally improve camera angles, but if the actor isn’t right you’re screwed.

Mike Doran wonders:

Lately, I'm hearing this old phrase more and more - and never correctly:

"If you think that things are as bad as they can get - then you've got another THINK coming!"

NOT "another thing coming".
"Another think coming."

Think first as a verb, then as a noun.
Because that's the only way it makes sense.

It's been driving me nuts for years.
Just had to say so.

Well, Mike, I hate to tell you, but I’ve always heard the expression as “Another THINK coming.” Grammatically it might be wrong, and I don’t know the derivation, but that’s the way people say it.

The expression that drives me insane is when a baseball player leaps in the air to try to catch a ball, most announcers will say he “Left his feet.” He didn’t leave his feet. He left the ground.

This is why I need to be the Commissioner of Baseball so I can correct egregious wrongs like that.

From PodFan:

Who are the people you thank at the end of the podcast each week and what are you thanking them for? The mysterious Adam and Susie Meister-Butler and so forth.

My podcast is on the Wave Podcast Network. That’s Adam & Susie Meister’s company, and I couldn’t be in better hands.

Howard Hoffman provided the opening theme and did all the graphics for me.

Jon Wolfert is the president of JAM Creative Productions. He graciously made my singing jingles.

And Bruce & Jason Miller chipped in my bumper music.

Yes, it takes a village. I happen to have a great village.

Chris asks:

How about a Friday question about Friday Questions? Have you ever considered recording Friday Questions as a weekly “bonus mini episode” for your wildly entertaining podcast “Hollywood and Levine”? I think for some questions hearing the answer from you directly could provide additional insight.

I’ve answered a few from time to time, but that’s a good suggestion. I don't want to do bonus episodes per se, but will consider devoting an entire episode to FQ's.  

Now if I could just get Alex Trebek to ask the questions.


Jim S said...


Friday question that I don't think you've been asked. It's a bit . . . delicate.

But the question is money. I noticed that the Charles Brothers haven't done any other shows after Cheers. It is my understanding that they made a fortune, which is only right, but does having enough money for the rest of one's life kill a writer/producer's hunger? Make them happy to get out of the rat race?

I've seen other producers like Chuck Lorre and Steve Levitan, go from one successful show to another.

So how does money act as a motivator or disincentive?

Rinaldo said...

I had to read MIke's question a couple of times to be sure, but I think you're agreeing with him. I agree too. "Another THINK coming" is the only way it works, and there's no problem with it grammatically either.

Picking up on the first question (the importance of casting), would you be willing to give any examples of past series that were, in your view, harmed by a bad piece of casting? It doesn't jump out at me often, but I can think of one or two.

McAlvie said...

Interesting about casting. I always assumed they were just going for a look, but I guess it makes sense that there has to be more involved. I've marveled at actors who can inhabit characters so different from themselves, especially if they are playing an unlikeable person.

Its definitely "another think." Sorry Mike. "Another thing" makes no sense as there was no first "thing," so they wouldn't have another one coming. There was, however, a "think" and presumably an incorrect one. Thus they have another and more accurate "think," or second try, coming to them.

Phil said...

Have a look at this video :

A Frasier fan's tattoo.

Have you come across crazy fans of your show in real life ?

Brian said...

The trailer I spoke about yesterday :

What do think of 'high concept movies'?

Do you think that the two who started that trend Jerry Bruckheimer and Don Simpson are geniuses or just con men who made a quick buck 😉

I gather that, Don Simpson was one of the most hated persons of Hollywood. Have you met him?

PolyWogg said...

Not sure how this would work as a Friday question, or rather how you could candidly answer it as a Friday Answer, but it is really popular for lots of click-bait sites to say "(Actor X) may be really well known for X but wait til you see the shows they turned down...".

And then in interviews, the actor will actually SAY that they turned down a role, like say Sam on Cheers. Except they didn't turn it down or even pass...they were never offered it, it was simply that scripts went out to a bunch of people, lots of people were asked if they were interested, but it wasn't like they went through a casting, got all the way to the end, and they said, "You wanna?" and they said "Nah". Many times it never got past the stage of someone (likely a producer or agent) musing..."What about ?"

Do you ever see names of people talking about having passed on roles you were involved in casting and thought, "What are you talking about? We NEVER considered YOU." Do you ever out them or is that considered gauche...?


Joseph Scarbrough said...

The correct phrase is, "You've got another think coming," as opposed to "thing," which a lot of people assume to be what the correct phrase is; I only learned this a few years ago, and was just as dumbfounded as anyone about it.

Pat Reeder said...

I agree that "another think coming" is the only way it makes sense, since the phrase means that what you were originally thinking was incorrect, so you have to replace that thought with another thought (or "think.") At least, that's what I thing. But who am I to argue with Judas Priest?

Then again, I literally could care less.

Mike Bloodworth said...

Casting: Physical appearance is one of the things that bothers me the most. Few things take me out of a show quicker that someone who's supposed to be a teenager and they're clearly in their 30's. Another is families that bare no resemblance to one another. I've said this before, but I hate it when siblings look nothing alike. The only way you know they're related is because the show tells you they are. Many times I wouldn't even buy them as half-siblings.
That's why the casting of David Hyde Pierce as Niles Crane was so brilliant. Not only did he look a little like Frasier, but he also had similar mannerisms.
I'm real life, even when brothers and sisters don't look alike they have similar traits that tell you they're in the same family.

Sayings: Every time I hear this it's like fingernails on a chalkboard. "I could care less." The correct expression is, "I COULDN'T care less." As in I care so little that...
However, that's the nature of our language. It's fluid and subject to the whims of the masses.
One example of that is the saying, "You can't have your cake and eat it too." From what I understand the original phrase was just the opposite. i.e. "You can't eat your cake and have it too." That makes a lot more sense. But,
somewhere in the past the saying got turned around and through sheer repetition it became the norm.
As I've stated previously, I don't claim to be a grammarian, yet even with my questionable Los Angeles City School System education I can still spot errors that better educated people miss or ignore.
Speaking of better educated people, let's see E. Yarber connect the ancient Greeks with this thread.

I'm being facetious, of course. The Romans or Chaldeans will also suffice.

Glenn said...

If the expression begins with "If you think..." then it makes sense it would end with ..."another think coming."

Philip said...

From one point of view the term "left his feet" makes perfect sense, in that his feet are the structures holding him up – we use this same language for buildings on "footings" – and he leave this supports; he is no longer on his feet, but on nothing, as he's hurling through the air, the same way a ship can leave its moorings.

More specifically it could probably be called "hypallage" (sometimes called a transferred epithet) where the modifier is syntactically linked to an item other than the one that it modifies semantically. Things like "sleepless nights" (nights don't sleep, we do) or Shakespeares "His coward lips did from their color fly"

Now of course, the sun doesn't actually rise either :p

Jahn Ghalt said...

(Another thing coming has) been driving me nuts for years.

Aphorisms often get corrupted. But the "original", "correct", or standard, expression is often elusive.

"Another thing coming" is far more common in my experience - I never hear "think" in that construction. Top google match just now was the lyrics to a Judas Priest song.

Merriam-Webster has a "usage note" titled:

Having a Think About "Another Think/Thing Coming"
'Thing' wins the popularity contest.

Which then goes on to say that in Britain "think" as a noun predates that use in America and both predate "another thing coming".

They call the corruption of "think" to "thing" an "eggcorn" - which itself is a new term to me.

NPR has a transcript titled:

Strange News
Another Think Coming? Scrutinizing An Oft-Misused Phrase

It's preface states:

When President Obama addressed the country on New Year's Eve in the middle of negotiations over the "fiscal cliff," he warned Republicans that any government spending cuts would have to be accompanied by tax increases. If they thought otherwise, the president said, "then they've got another thing coming." According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the phrase was originally "to have another think coming."

Another one is "to home in" to/on ______ - as a homing pigeon will do. I have heard it's eggcorn as: "to HONE in".

Yet another eggcorn IME is the corruption of "I/he/she/ could not care less" as "I COULD care less".

NPR lists 100 eggcorns here:

Most (over 80%) really clanged in my ear - they "sound ignorant". This morning I was "hoist by my own petard" in that my usage of "another thing" clangs in Ken's.

VincentS said...

I wish you WERE commissioner of baseball, Ken, because I assume you would ban analytics and front offices texting managers during games!

E. Yarber said...

My work has been more about considering writers than actors, though I've sat in on auditions at times. I have to say that in both cases the winning try indeed comes when you find yourself throwing all your expectations out the window and seeing that they're bringing something to the job that is uniquely their own.

To borrow from another answer today, it really DOES take a village and ideally everyone on board is a creative collaborator in tune with the project as a whole.

By contrast, writers who sit around arbitrarily griping that "It's not my vision," without going into any further detail when presented with new possibilities during production generally turn out to have only a fuzzy idea what their spectacular vision actually is and seem mainly insecure about letting the rest of the group usurp their "authority" to improve the work.

Cowboy Surfer said...

I like Season 3 of STRANGER THINKS way more than ABC's A MILLION LITTLE THINKS...

Astroboy said...

Speaking of sayings....if someone says "it is what it is" to me one more time I'm going to smack them in the face, just sayin'! (Ah Hell, I just had to smack my own face, because I feel the same way about 'just sayin'). What's interesting to me is just how prevalent the response "Wait...what?" has become in the scripts of TV shows and movies. I've gotten to where I can pretty accurately predict when it is going to be said based on how a scene is written.

Douglas Trapasso said...

I think if ''another think'' was the common phrase, Judas Priest's career momentum may have been cut in half.

Mike Barer said...

My question is, without the FCC and Standards and Practices, how different would your TV network writing be as far as swearing, etc.? I've always felt that there was not enough swearing on network TV and too much on cable and in the movies.

Peter Aparicio said...

I can't stand the Raid tagline "Kills Bugs Dead" - as opposed to what, killing them alive?

Jim Briggs said...

I'm 66+ years old and I have never heard "another think coming" said by anyone in any setting.

John Trumbull said...

I've got a Friday question for you. You'd said before that the writers and producers of M*A*S*H did a lot of research into the Korean War for the show, including interviewing people who'd served in M*A*S*H units.

I was just reading the Wikipedia entry on Gene Coon (best known as a writer & showrunner for the original STAR TREK), and he wrote two novels dealing with the Korean War.

Meanwhile Back at the Front (New York: Crown, 1961. 309 pp.) A novel dealing with the improbable exploits of the Public Information Section of the 1st Marine Division during the Korean War.

The Short End of the Stick (published 1964). A novel dealing with the lives and problems of American troops stationed along the DMZ in Korea after the war ended. It includes how they got along with and were treated by the native Koreans, focusing on sex and cultural clashes. It is also one of the earliest publications to discuss the drug problems of the bored occupation troops and how commanders dealt with them.

Did either of these books ever come up in your M*A*S*H research? And if so, did you use anything from them in the show?

Dave Creek said...

My pet peeve is the phrase saying you shouldn't "yell fire in a crowded theater."

Shouldn't it be "falsely" yell fire? If there is one, you SHOULD yell that. And if there really is a fire, what difference does it make if the theater is crowded or not?

Frank Beans said...

Jim Briggs: "I'm 66+ years old and I have never heard "another think coming" said by anyone in any setting."

A Friday question that dumbfounded me too. I'm younger, but it's only ever been "thing" to my ears.

This reminds me of how the expression "off the hook", which I only ever knew growing up as meaning "not in trouble anymore", started to mean "crazy" or "out of control" about a decade ago, apparently from the influence of hip-hop slang. And the meaning of "literally" seems to be up in the air: apparently it really originally meant what people who "misuse" the expression today think it means: "metaphorically", and the use of it to mean "in actual fact" is the newer coinage.

Crazy. Literally off the hook.

P.S.--I normally try not to overuse quotation marks or commas. I'm literally sorry about that.

Mibbitmaker said...

I always heard it as "another thing coming", as a very general term, where "think" is specific and "thing" is more general. More like "If you think you're going to get that behavior past me, you have another thing coming!", as in, "You think it's going to go that way, it's going to be completely different in a way you won't like!" Given the explanations for "think", which do make sense, it could be a case of either one being a proper option, if not originally.

Jahn Ghalt mentions how one's ears pick up phrases differently. I always heard "close enough", as in Klinger accepting the not-the-password from Col. Blake on M*A*S*H. But years ago, on the old newsgroup, it was stated that the actual phrase, used more than once, especially in the Gelbart era, was "close enough for jazz". Of course, the next time I saw that scene, it was the latter. My ears just didn't hear "jazz" for years. It makes sense because jazz is often improvisational. But I wasn't familiar with the phrase before.

Still wondering... is it really "laurel" or "yanni"....?

ScarletNumber said...

@Jim S

Don't forget that they received a credit in every episode of Frasier as the creators of the Frasier character. I would imagine a royalty was involved.

Maybe they had no more good ideas and wanted to leave on a high note. After all, at the time they could have gotten ANY show produced just by pitching it "From the creators of Cheers".


To me "another think coming" makes no sense.

therealshell said...

The 1953 movie BATTLE CIRCUS, starring Humphrey Bogart, takes place in a MASH unit.

Colin Stratton said...

Not necessarily a Friday question, but have you ever thought: "Wait a minute! This asshole is getting a $100,000 for acting out lines that I wrote! Why I aren't they paying me a $100,000? Motherfuckers!"

Mike Doran said...

It may be a matter of my advancing age (69 in September).
Maybe I'm not as clear a writer as I could be.
I believe I did say that " … another THINK coming …" is the CORRECT WAY to say that phrase.
Thanx to Rinaldo, and McAlvie, go back and read what I wrote again.

Maybe some other time, we can deal with temper.
Why do people say that an angry guy "has a temper", but when he gets angry, he "loses his temper"?
Logically, it should be either one or the other … no?

Cap'n Bob said...

Instead of saying "another think coming," just say "think again."

In the world of misused expressions, one of the worst and most misunderstood offenders is "The exception that proves the rule." No, it doesn't. This came about because the original word for prove meant test. The exception tests the rule, it doesn't prove/validate it.

Mark Moretti said...

“If you think it's going to rain today, you've got another THING coming."

The other THING is sunshine, hail, snow, etc. Perfectly fine. What you THINK is not what will happen, a different THING will happen.

I can understand the other point of view on this, but to say “another THING coming" doesn't make sense is extreme.

E. Yarber said...

Any news on the new Addams Family movie? I think they have another Thing coming.

Frank Beans said...

E. Yarber:

I think Itt may be too early to tell, maybe we'll know by Wednesday.

Chris said...

E. Yarber:

If the Addams Family movie doesn't pan out, there's always the Fantastic Four reboot.

E. Yarber said...

Hope Wednesday's news doesn't Fester, and perhaps James Arness could have played Ben Grimm, having previous experience in that sort of Thing.

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ScottyB said...

Y’know what else people get wrong besides the another think/thing? The correct phrase is “card SHARP,” not “card shark.” It bugs me to no end.

scottmc said...

Watching some Yankee and Met games after reading this post I heard 'left his feet' a few times. But since home runs are more plentiful now than solid fielding plays, the phrase that announcers use which drives me crazy is a variation of 'he hit it out of the ballpark.' They'll say that even if the ball just clears the fence, lands a few rows into the stands or hits the foul pole.