美剧大佬Showrunners The Art of Running a TV Show
‘Showrunners’ is the first ever feature length documentary film to explore the fascinating world of US television showrunners and the creative forces aligned around them. These people are responsible for creating, writing and overseeing every element of production on one of the United State’s biggest exports – television drama and comedy series.The film intends to show audiences the huge amount of work that goes into making sure their favorite TV series airs on time as well as the many challenges that showrunners have to overcome to make sure a new series makes it onto the schedules at all! 更多介绍…
1、The showrunner of a series is responsible
2、for the creative direction of the show,
3、keeping scripts and episodes coming in on time,
4、dealing with notes,
5、trying to keep the whole damn thing afloat.
6、Being a showrunner is utterly consuming.
7、You’re editing and writing
8、and doing a hundred different things at once.
9、It’s draining, it’s awful – I miss it terribly.
10、Showrunner is a fairly new term of art.
11、In the former days, it was the head writer,
12、the executive producer.
13、But as the shows have become much more cinematic
14、in their scope and intention,
15、the job has become much more complicated.
16、And yet, we’re expected to deliver a show every seven days.
17、Showrunning is incredibly brutally hard,
18、and you can’t really lean on anyone,
19、because part of the job
20、is being the broad shoulders of the show.
21、This is a crazy, crazy, fucking job.
22、It’s a really cool one, but it doesn’t make any sense.
23、It’s like a controlled plane crash every week.
24、It’s a billion decisions a day.
25、You’re the guy that has to decide what we’re going to do.
26、They only bring you questions.
27、When you’re a showrunner,
28、you’re getting squished by the network and the studio.
29、You’re feeling pressure from the crew on up.
30、People look at you and you think, “Oh, you’re the boss,
31、you have nothing to worry about. ”
32、You’re worrying about all of it.
33、Part of the job of the showrunner
34、is to set the tone for what you’re doing.
35、Many a time, I’ve been standing on a set
36、where we’re at some crisis, and it’s like,
37、”Okay, we gotta do this and this and this. ”
38、And people are like this, and I’ll say, “But…
39、”we’re not curing cancer here, guys.
40、This is a TV show. ”
41、It is, at the same time, the best and the worst job.
42、You can’t imagine quitting, and at the same time,
43、it’s a job that’s exhausting to the core of your being.
44、And I always say it gives you the thing
45、of walking around and saying, “I have such a bad back
46、from unloading all this gold bullion. ”
47、Most show aren’t smash hits.
48、84% of new shows in America fail.
49、So, you know, hopefully, you beat the odds
50、because if you stay in the race long enough, you’re gonna win.
51、And it’s just a question of how you can stay in the race.
52、The showrunner is the life blood of a television show.
53、It’s a collaborative art form.
54、But you still need that one central voice through which
55、all the marvelous creative contributions are processed.
56、The age of writers and showrunners
57、being anonymous is… is over.
58、My day has the same shape.
59、There’s a certain rhythm to it that can change day to day.
60、If I have writing to do, I come in extremely early.
62、Because around about 9:00 or 9:30,
63、I’m going to be talking to people more than I’m writing.
64、Oh, that weighs a ton.
65、You always have, say, six episodes
66、at some station in the process,
67、so you’ve got one that you’re finishing the final mix on
68、and going to lock and hopefully put on the air,
69、and then you’ve got people pitching story ideas,
70、so you’ve got something to tend to on each one of those things.
71、One of the downsides of being a showrunner is that
72、if you’re doing it correctly, everyone that you’ve come
73、into contact with – actors, the other writers,
74、the other producers, the network, the studio…
75、You know that things are going well on your show,
76、if everybody’s just a little annoyed with you.
77、Showrunning, I think, is like painting a painting
78、while writing a novel, while doing your taxes.
79、It’s very, very, you know, right brain, left brain, boom.
80、House of Lies came from a book by Martin Kihn
81、about management consulting and what a scam it is.
82、It felt very relevant to me.
83、Well, when you get to the point of making a show,
84、it’s pretty sexy in its own way.
85、I get to make a half-hour pilot.
86、If, god willing, the… the show gets picked up,
87、I don’t know exactly how I’ll work it.
88、I wanna write as much as I can of it.
89、The showrunning part, the administrative part,
90、it’s really, uh, not for me, in a way.
91、As somebody who’s a writer as much as anything,
92、that’s the reasons they let me do any of the stuff
93、that I do, is that I can write okay.
94、When I moved to New York, trying to write plays,
95、Joanne Woodward and Paul Newman saw my first play
96、called Diary from Avenue B.
97、Joanne found something in it that she liked.
98、They were just dead set against any of their proteges
99、going to Hollywood, moving to L.A., writing for film,
100、acting in films, um, doing television especially.
101、They were absolutely against it – of course, all of us have.
102、Part of what the showrunner has to do
103、is head in four different places at the same time.
104、You’re in a constant situation of feeling
105、like you’re doing, uh, not a good enough job.
106、The idea for Men of a Certain Age came from
107、when Ray Romano and I were both between projects.
108、And he, uh, he was kind of still in the wake
109、of Everybody Loves Raymond, trying to figure out
110、what he was supposed to do next.
111、And as we started conversing, it was all existential
112、mid-life crisis stuff that we were both going through.
113、The more we talked, the more stories we had
114、and the more it felt like, well, this is what we should
115、be writing about because a lot of people can relate
116、to this. And it worked out very well.
117、We were extremely happy
118、with all of our episodes in the first season.
119、We felt like, you know what, we did a good show
120、so let’s just get it out there and see if people like it.
121、And people liked it.
122、We feel the same way about this season.
123、This season, people are still trying to find it.
124、If you have to remember only one thing, it’s four words.
125、Quality scripts on time.
126、If you don’t have quality scripts,
127、then what’s the point of doing any of this?
128、But if quality scripts don’t come on time,
129、you’re gonna be off the air.
130、If your script is late, it’s not enough
131、to simply say, well, it’s good.
132、I don’t care if it’s the fourth day of prep.
133、You got 180 people that are trying to do their job,
134、and you’ve just made their job so much more difficult.
135、You’ve made your budget soar and when push comes to shove,
136、all things being equal, when the network and the studio
137、look at the hot costs and look at what the show has done,
138、they’ll say, either we wanna be
139、in business with that person again or we don’t.
140、Nothing will get you out of it quicker than arrogance,
141、ignorance and being, uh, over budget and behind schedule.
142、You know, studios tend not to like that.
143、I think there is a renaissance going on in TV.
144、I think it’s a combination of so much of feature writing
145、has gone downhill,
146、and the middle class of feature writing has disappeared.
147、So, I think a lot of people who really felt frustrated,
148、come to TV and go, “Oh, my god, who gave us all this freedom?”
149、It might be less money but, wow, I have stories I wanna tell.
150、I’m gonna tell them.
151、As difficult and as time consuming and as stressful
152、as it can be, I mean, creatively to be able to, you know,
153、tell these stories and uh, have the control over it that I do,
154、uh, is, is such a rare thing.
155、You know, there are a lot of people who are great writers
156、who really don’t necessarily enjoy the process.
157、And I really do. I love the first draft
158、as much as I love the rewrites.
159、The idea of really having those characters
160、come alive in my head
161、and hearing the words is just… it’s, it’s the rush for me.
162、Your ambition every time you’re making an episode
163、is for it to be the best episode that you’ve ever made.
164、But the reality of the situation is,
165、we’re writing a script every ten days.
166、And, you know, we began to realize like, every episode
167、is not gonna be a home run.
168、And we started looking at the seasons as a whole,
169、as opposed to a sort of episode by episode analysis.
170、But at the end of the day, the legacy of the show is gonna be,
171、there’s six seasons up on a shelf
172、and you can watch ’em one after the other.
173、So the bad episodes are gonna come out in the wash,
174、and the good episodes are also gonna come out in the wash.
175、All that’s gonna matter is, you know,
176、what are the peaks and valleys of the storytelling as a whole?
177、Writing 22 episodes of a television show
178、is a heavy endeavor, and anybody who can do it
179、on their own, more power to them.
180、But we’re not really interested in doing it on our own.
181、We’re interested in having a family of writers
182、who are all contributing to make the show something
183、that collectively, we’re all proud of.
184、And hopefully, by the time it gets on air,
185、everybody feels that part of them is in that episode.
186、Part of them is in it. Yeah, we don’t really care-
187、I mean, there’s a lot of showrunners that are
188、very concerned because their name’s on every script
189、and while it’s our responsibility to come up
190、with the stories, you know, um, on a consistency
191、and a through line of where we’re going,
192、you know, it’s not important for us
193、to have our names on the scripts so much.
194、It’s kind of more important that people recognize,
195、”Okay, those guys are the ones behind the shows. ”
196、John, why don’t you just head for…
197、Can you get as far as the end of act two?
198、Yeah, I can.
199、Can you get as far as the end of act three?
200、I can get to the middle of act three.
201、I wanted to just hear act four.
203、We’re really gonna come back to the new season,
204、picking up where everyone’s story was.
205、In other words, we’re gonna find Brennan-
206、This is full of spoilers; I’m a little hesitant to speak.
207、Don’t hesitate. Go ahead. Don’t worry about the spoilers.
208、This is gonna come out after we…
209、It’s a rich stew of spoilers.
210、So, uh, Brennan is on the run still
211、with her daughter Christine.
212、Um, booth doesn’t know where Brennan is.
213、He is looking for her. So we’re gonna pick up on…
214、99% of the audience, they don’t know my name.
215、They don’t know that people write it, even.
216、I mean, my father was on set once and, um…
217、My dad has watched TV since they made TV – he loves it.
218、First time he saw my name on TV, he had a little weep.
219、And he’s a logger. He’s not a weepy guy.
220、He was standing watching Emily say one of her, you know,
221、scientific things about the bones, something I’d written.
222、And he turned to me and said,
223、”Wow, how does she come up with that stuff?”
224、And I thought, “That’s my dad. ”
225、That’s, nine- That’s the audience. Those people
226、who don’t know how the soup is made.
227、Um, and then there’s a small… uh, a very small, uh, portion
228、of the audience that thinks they know how the soup is made
229、and… give you advice on how much salt to put in.
230、And I think they should be ignored, because they’re not-
231、Not that they’re stupid or anything.
232、Some of them are stupid.
233、Some of them are very, very smart.
234、But they should be ignored
235、because they’re not your audience.
236、Once the whole story is written down,
237、we’ll talk about what the personal stories are.
238、Then we try and smoosh those together into an outline.
239、And generally, the writer – whoever the writer is –
240、will, uh, write the outline.
241、It’s breaking down each act into scenes,
242、and just giving you a short description
243、of what each scene is.
244、Just so you know what the end of the acts are
245、and what happens in each act.
246、It’s for the network and the studio to say, “Okay, let’s go. ”
247、And so that we’re all on more or less the same page.
248、And then it’s off to drafts we go,
249、and it just goes through the same, uh, process.
250、The truth is, there are a lot of people who can write
251、with a very distinctive voice
252、who would be absolute abject failures as showrunners,
253、because when you’re creating television,
254、you’re trying to create something unique and do it
255、for a certain amount of money
256、and within a certain period of time.
257、And when you throw in those two complicating factors,
258、you really separate the real showrunners
259、from the great writers.
260、The philosophy of my room for the writers has always been
261、fall in love with moments, not moves.
262、A move is, “Oh, my god, it was his evil twin. ”
263、Evil twin gives you nothing,
264、um, unless there is some extremely relatable thing
265、that everybody has gone through in regards to an evil twin
266、that you can mine, and that’s your moment.
267、Um, we will protect moments at all costs.
268、I will give up a good move in a heartbeat.
269、It’s very hard.
270、Most writers are taught, just keep it going
271、till you get to the end.
272、Whew, we got through another one.
273、And then shootout at the warehouse.
274、And, uh… And believe me, I’ve done my share
275、of shootouts at warehouses, I’m sorry to say.
276、Every show needs to have a separate intent.
277、What do we need to see, what is the big movie moment,
278、whether it’s emotional, whether it’s funny,
279、whether it’s action… What’s that thing
280、we’re leading up to that, that, you know,
281、that hits you in the heart?
282、The writers of my shows and staffs, they’re my families.
283、You want them to be partners and not just, uh, scribes.
284、Frankly, if you’re lucky, you get to, uh, take each step
285、along the way, and I did from assistant to staff writer.
286、And then you get a story editor.
287、And then executive story editor and co-producer
288、and supervising producer and co-EP and then, uh,
289、executive producer, and then showrunner if you get a show.
290、Uh, for me, every one of those steps, uh, is important.
291、You learn something new,
292、and the responsibilities get a little bit greater.
293、Dave Cobb, writer’s assistant.
294、Todd Helbing, story editor.
295、Aaron Helbing, story editor.
296、Misha Green, story editor.
297、Brent Fletcher, co-producer.
299、Jed Whedon, co-producer.
300、What I love about this room is that there’s no power plays.
301、There’s no- Nobody’s trying to get over anybody else.
302、I’ve been on shows where it’s very clear that there was.
303、I am the king, let’s not forget that.
304、But besides that, everybody’s equal.
305、Everybody- Me and the little king will broach no dissent.
306、When I graduated from UCLA, I thought,
307、okay, six months to a year, I’ll, you know,
308、get my career going and break in.
309、And during that time, I got a job
310、as a English as a second language teacher
311、at a Japanese school in Van Nuys.
312、But I thought, you know, six months to a year.
313、Six and a half years later, I could not get arrested.
314、Um, everything I tried, uh, nothing happened.
315、We’ll get, uh, the full outline by the 22nd out to everybody.
316、Um, notes or no notes,
317、I wanna send you out the script on the 23rd.
318、And then we are in the end game of the final episode.
319、I’m sure everything will be great.
320、They’ll love it.
321、I was 33 before I had my first professional writing job.
322、After four seasons on this teen sex comedy,
323、I was desperate to get into, like, mainstream network.
324、I took my favorite show on TV at the time,
325、Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and I wrote a spec.
326、That got into Joss Whedon’s people’s hands,
327、and I spent the next, I think, eight weeks chewing my nails.
328、And then I finally got a call
329、that Joss Whedon wants to see you.
330、That was when I felt like my career has really started.
331、During the dark days, the thought would pass my mind
332、about giving up, but honestly,
333、it was the only thing I felt really passionate about.
334、It was the only thing that I thought I could do really well.
335、Part of the main job description
336、in the writer’s room is,
337、you’re the guy that has to come in and shit on everybody,
338、which I actually hate doing…
339、But are very good at.
340、Uh, well, you know, I try,
341、I try to do it with a wink and a smile.
342、One of the things that I’ve seen go horribly awry
343、with other shows is to not make a decision.
344、Um, you need to make a decision. Whether it’s good,
345、whether it’s bad, whether everybody agrees with it.
346、You gotta make a decision.
347、There are two approaches
348、I think you have to be careful about when you do TV.
349、One is, to not know it all where your show is gonna go.
350、And then, I would say the other worrisome thing
351、is to really think you do know where your show is gonna go.
352、What I mean by that is, there are some shows where they go,
353、”We have a five-year plan.
354、We know exactly what’s gonna happen. ”
355、Well, I’m always suspicious of that,
356、because these ideas are really hard to come up with,
357、and if you come up with five seasons’ worth of ideas
358、in the last two months, then my guess is,
359、they aren’t the greatest ideas in the world,
360、because, I know the shows I’ve worked on,
361、it’s taken us a lot longer to work it out.
362、At the same time, if you don’t have any plan at all,
363、and you’ve got a pilot
364、that makes an entertaining hour of television
365、but you don’t really know where it leads
366、and where it goes to,
367、I think you’re gonna be in big trouble.
368、My job, when I’m producing a show that I haven’t created,
369、is to help the creator and the showrunners do their job.
370、But people like Jonah Nolan who created Person of Interest,
371、someone who had done such incredible work in film
372、and was just dying to tell the story as a TV series,
373、and along with Greg Plageman,
374、do an extraordinary job running that series.
375、My job is to really kind of support them in what they need.
376、So, rather than being someone who sort of calls them
377、and starts to mandate stuff out of the blue, you know,
378、I would much rather be someone who is there
379、when they need me to be there,
380、but not someone who is trying to impose ideas on them,
381、because really, it’s their show.
382、A showrunner friend of mine who asked me
383、when I was pitching the show in the first place,
384、he’s like, “Yeah, what’s episode six?”
385、That was the big question: like, do you have a franchise?
386、Is there an idea that’s durable with the show?
387、And I think you and I had to generate-
388、We were in New York… and the pilot was a fucking disaster.
389、I mean, front to back, across the board,
390、it was just, you know,
391、anything that could go wrong went wrong.
392、What did you guys come up with?
393、What are you, what are you…
394、The larger question of, are you gonna be able
395、to tell a story of the week and a bigger story.
396、For me, it was answered in episode seven.
397、I think that was the defining moment for us in the season.
398、We’re coming to it saying, we’re gonna get fucking bored
399、if it’s just gonna be this every week.
400、That’s not what we signed on for, that’s not what we wanted.
401、And the only way for people to really feel like the show
402、has any stakes is for our guys to lose,
403、for our guys to fuck it up.
404、…between a stand-alone…
405、There was some resistance to it, but there was no win
406、at the end of the show,
407、which is the network’s big thing. It’s like, well…
408、our guy lost. – It’s a known goal.
409、Yeah. But the twist was so great,
410、and that threw down the gauntlet
411、and said that’s the kind of show we’re gonna be.
412、And that was the closest we had to sort of a creative argument
413、with the network – not to talk out of school.
414、I think we were successful in the pilot
415、in making exactly what we wanted.
416、You know, we made a thing that’s really funny,
417、really wicked, really filthy,
418、and managed to take a good swing
419、at the financial services business while we did it,
420、which was really fun.
421、If I could keep that kind of balance going within the show
422、and not just go for the poo jokes every time –
423、although, love a good poo joke –
424、then we’ll have won.
425、We haven’t brought any scripts in yet.
426、We’re just bringing- We brought our first outline in yesterday,
427、which was Karen’s, which was amazing.
428、We’re working on episode seven so you wanna just keep, uh…
429、One has high hopes.
430、I wanna make a great piece of work.
431、Um, whether I can accomplish that, I have no idea.
432、Matt Carnahan has a great sense of language.
433、I like the combination of profane and soulfulness.
434、It had elements of satire about American business
435、that sort of felt like unique territory for comedy.
436、All of our shows run slightly differently.
437、Neil Jordan writes almost all the scripts of The Borgias.
438、Tom Kapinos writes all the scripts of Californication.
439、I think, in truth, House of Lies is still defining itself.
440、It’s run more traditionally
441、with a showrunner and a writing staff.
442、Yeah, job security is a punch line in our profession.
443、Our entire well-being is in jeopardy.
444、We don’t own the white boards.
445、You know, they can cart ’em off tomorrow.
446、I had no real career path planned out, I was just-
447、My career strategy was,
448、if you offered me a job, I would take it.
449、So you look at my resume, and it’s just all over the place.
450、I don’t think you could figure out what I was doing.
451、That was a really tough show for me.
452、That is not my world, not my milieu.
453、I wrote three of them, and I think, consistently,
454、they are like the lowest rated fan favorites in the series,
455、and I totally… you know, I cop to that freely. I just-
456、Yeah, I should not have been writing that show.
457、The main thing that David tried to impress upon us as writers
458、was to always be entertaining.
459、I actually have a sign in my own writer’s room
460、that just says, “be entertaining. ”
461、So, if you think about The Sopranos,
462、it was funny, it was violent, there was great music,
463、there was action, there was just a lot going on there.
464、Something that you’d just always keep in mind, you know,
465、first and foremost, you’re putting on a television show.
466、No matter what else I do in my career,
467、that will be the experience that I compare everything else to.
468、I started dating this girl
469、who worked at Star Trek: The Next Generation.
470、And she said, uh, you know,
471、I could probably get you a tour of the sets.
472、Turns, in retrospect, that that was the key moment of my career,
473、because I just decided, what the hell,
474、I’m gonna write a spec script called “The Bonding. ”
475、There was this young man who was giving me the tour,
476、and I conned him into reading it,
477、and it turned out, he liked it.
478、And he was one of Gene Roddenberry’s assistants.
479、And he gave it to the late Michael Piller, who bought it.
480、And then I got this call one day, just saying,
481、”I need a staff writer. Can you start working tomorrow?”
482、And I said, “yes,” and showed up and…
483、I was there ten years.
484、When I started at Star Trek,
485、it really was the fulfillment of a lifelong dream.
486、I was a very serious Trekkie as a kid.
487、I loved the old show.
488、And then I killed Kirk.
489、I co-wrote Generations and killed my childhood hero.
490、I mean, I literally killed my childhood hero.
491、I wept when I wrote it.
492、It still moves me when I think about it.
493、I don’t know anyone else who has that experience.
494、I don’t know how to take it in and understand what it means
495、for my life, what it says about me, you know, what…
496、what insight it gives into my soul.
497、You know. It’s a… It’s a unique experience
498、that I don’t quite know what to do with.
499、I never thought I’d be writing television.
500、What I loved about journalism, what drew me to it
501、is eventually what repelled me from it.
502、What got to me about covering real events is,
503、that body on the floor doesn’t get back up.
504、And it got to be relentless
505、and… and really profoundly disturbing.
506、In October of 1977…
507、I was doing a third school shooting,
508、and I just had this moment where I walked away,
509、and I just thought, I can’t do this anymore.
510、You said that you cried about shooting Larry Flynt.
511、And that was the moment I thought,
512、well, then what the hell am I gonna do with my life?
513、But with that very first script,
514、it was like a whole new world opened up for me and I thought,
515、I get to fictionalize all these things that I’ve seen.
516、Reporting live from Los Angeles,
517、I’m Janet Tamaro for ABC News.
518、As a former standup comic, I think that comedy
519、is harder than drama – I’ll just say it.
520、You know, when you’re writing, it’s like eight hours
521、of being in a hole and then, oh, oh, oh, here we go, you know?
522、I mean, sometimes there’s days of,
523、oh, all right, great, you know?
524、But sometimes there’s days of, like,
525、I don’t know, man. I just don’t know.
526、Nothing is happening. You know? This is horrible.
527、And it seems to not matter
528、how often you can conquer a writing problem.
529、The next time there’s a writing problem,
530、that becomes the one that will kill you.
531、When you’re done with writing,
532、you have the “I’m awesome” feeling.
533、Look at what I did. Oh, my god.
534、Of course, I’ve had that
535、after writing, like, a one-line email, too.
536、”Wow, that was pithy. Whew, wow, nice work. ”
537、I think the challenge that comedy presents
538、that drama doesn’t
539、is moving people into ridiculous situations.
540、Our slang in the room is, you have to close
541、all the other doors so that the only door available
542、to this character is the door
543、that leads to the big block comedy scene you wanna do,
544、and that’s difficult.
545、The more episodes you write,
546、the more stories you’ve told and can’t tell again.
547、And that becomes harder with every episode.
548、It’s harder on the second episode than on the first,
549、harder on the third than the second.
550、But the storytelling within the episode doesn’t change.
551、You have to get to the point where the audience would say,
552、”You know what?
553、”If I were in that situation,
554、damn it, if I wouldn’t do the exact same thing. ”
555、The show was really born of the fact
556、that common heist shows, I felt,
557、weren’t doing what they were supposed to do,
558、which is to give you the magic trick.
559、They were being highly serialized.
560、Chris was talking about Rockford files. Yeah.
561、And where were the shows like Rockford Files
562、that was good, smart, crime drama
563、that you could watch with your dad?
564、Right, and it seemed like there were a lot of shows
565、about serial killers on the air.
566、Probably more serial killers have been captured
567、on network television than ever existed. – In one season.
568、In one season. Yeah, there is-
569、As far as America is concerned,
570、scraggly white loners are roaming the streets,
571、uh, dropping baroque clue paths
572、in the path of private investigators.
573、Talking to some of my friends
574、who write on more traditional procedurals,
575、once they have an arena where they’re gonna be –
576、it’s a murder at a circus,
577、it’s a, you know, murder at a microchip plant –
578、they’re in heaven. But it’s finding a new clue path
579、that they haven’t done before,
580、that’s what they spend the bulk of their time on.
581、And for us, the clue path is these… is the heist.
582、And the con. – Yeah. And the con.
583、I had lunch with an ex-FBI agent
584、and we were struggling with, uh,
585、what are we stealing this week?
586、This is sort of the endless struggle.
587、He said, um, “Uh, well, you know, you hear about
588、”calibration weights for centrifuges to make nuclear,
589、uh, to make nuclear weapons?”
590、And I was like, “I wanna kiss you on the mouth. ”
591、If you weren’t armed right now, I would kiss you on the mouth.
592、You’re telling me that a tiny weight this big
593、could calibrate a centrifuge to make nuclear weapons
594、for a rogue state and you have to steal this tiny item?
595、That’s the size of something you put in a belt pouch
596、on someone who is rappelling through a ceiling.
598、Somebody said, where did this come from?
599、Why did you wanna do this show?
600、I thought about, well, I didn’t wanna do an adaptation,
601、and it’s an adaptation.
602、I really didn’t wanna do a procedural, it’s a procedural.
603、I really didn’t wanna do a mystery, it’s a mystery.
604、I knew I wanted to do humor because I like to be funny.
605、I hope I am funny,
606、I hope I’m not the only one laughing at my jokes.
607、But I think what it was about for me on a deep level
608、and this is where… why writers pick stuff that,
609、that, that they respond to.
610、I had… My best friend of 16 years
611、had been killed in a, in a, in an accident.
612、If you don’t wanna go there…
613、You know, it’s funny, I don’t go there on the show, um…
614、But I do.
615、This relationship between these two women
616、who were really different was in some ways
617、my relationship with my best friend.
618、And you know, it’s… it’s horrendously awful that, um,
619、you know, my life, my personal tragedy became fuel
620、for this show, but I think that’s what happens to writers,
621、and I think that’s why nobody wants to be married
622、or related to a writer,
623、uh, even a television or film writer,
624、because your life does, in fact,
625、inform the kind of writing that you do.
626、This might be much debated in this documentary,
627、but I do think that good creative executives do make
628、an important creative contribution
629、to the successes of the show.
630、It’s not about telling somebody how to write it.
631、It’s about giving them good counsel.
632、I tend to work very directly. I have a lot of opinions
633、and feelings of what I think is… is interesting,
634、what I think is boring, what I think is, uh, fresh,
635、what I think has been done before, and I communicate it.
636、I’m very clear. It’s their show,
637、and I tend to win the budget wars,
638、they win the creative wars.
639、There’s no show that goes on our air where we don’t have
640、general consensus between the writer, showrunner,
641、the lead actors, and the network.
642、When there’s not consensus,
643、that’s when you make crappy television.
645、The thing we kind of beat into the young writers
646、when they start is, is this the hill you’re gonna die on?
647、Because this argument you have is the only one
648、you’re ever gonna have a shot at winning,
649、so make sure it’s the one, because after that, you know,
650、if you just start fighting ’em on every single thing,
651、you become the problem in the room.
652、And they write the checks and they pay the bills.
653、And by the way, sometimes there’s no way
654、to get out of it. Right.
655、And sometimes it is the hill you wanna die on.
656、I mean, if that’s really what the episode is about,
657、and to take the note
658、is gonna undermine everything, you know…
659、Don’t not have a hill.
660、Yeah, yeah, yeah, you wanna have a hill.
661、You wanna have some integrity,
662、but make sure it’s the hill, yeah.
663、Working on Dirt was all kinds of things.
664、It was a difficult experience.
665、It was an enlightening experience
666、because Courtney’s character
667、wasn’t even in the script when I wrote it.
668、The network really wanted a female-driven series
669、so I created this character for Courtney.
670、Um… So in a way, my initial, my original vision
671、was compromised from the time I said okay.
672、Something as simple as going, okay, I’ll do that.
673、And from there, it deteriorated.
674、It was challenging, and John Landgraf and I, the head of FX,
675、we went at it. We really struggled.
676、And it was… It was a really… It was ultimately
677、an incredibly difficult
678、and really rewarding creative process.
679、I feel like the pilot I got to make was amazingly cool.
680、The first season I got to make was really cool.
681、The second season, he just said this is what we’re gonna do.
682、And I felt like it wasn’t so good.
683、I’ve never seen the second season of Dirt,
684、uh, nor do I want to.
685、I’ve probably spoken out against the behavior
686、of the people at the top in the networks
687、two or three times in my career,
688、and now I find recently that I have a reputation.
689、I’ve gotten a little bit shirty and I’ve gotten insistent
690、and I’ve drawn the line.
691、But the moment you forget that the executive you can’t stand
692、might be the only person in the room who has the right idea
693、about how to fix something, you’re gonna lose.
694、I don’t think you need to treat anybody like your enemy
695、unless they are actively trying to destroy you,
696、which occasionally does happen.
697、There are those kind of people out there,
698、but there are not many.
699、I am and always have tried
700、to be a company man.
701、And yet, now I find that I’m this hot-headed maverick.
702、Which is amazing, because, you know,
703、I’m afraid of four-year-olds.
704、Good morning. Good morning.
705、The worst point for notes is before you’re on the air,
706、and everybody thinks they know
707、how the public is going to react to a show.
708、Or if a show is doing kind of middling well,
709、which is what Bones did, by the way.
710、It did middling well, it was not a hit.
711、We were like a weed that you couldn’t kill,
712、and then we got a little love and did quite well.
713、The writers meeting is for the director to give notes
714、on the script, um, and say what works
715、or doesn’t work for him and her, so…
716、It’s important for me too,
717、because I can have ideas in prep,
718、but I need to know that these guys… that we’re all in sync
719、as we push forward, as we continue to prep, uh,
720、in terms of making the show that these guys envision,
721、that everybody wants to see at the end of the day.
722、Uh, the script is currently 60 pages?
723、- 52. – 52?
724、- 52 minutes. – 52 minutes.
725、Oh, is it ready?
726、I wouldn’t touch it. I wouldn’t go any shorter.
727、First of all, it’s not… so plot driven
728、that this, more than any we’ve had,
729、should not be trimmed that much.
730、I got two notes Friday from the network
731、which I thought were really… were good.
732、Um, and I don’t mean to sound surprised.
733、What takes a single episode of network television
734、so long to get produced is the meetings.
735、There’s lots of meetings.
736、The single dumbest note I’ve ever gotten was-
737、We were doing Everybody Hates Chris,
738、and we had an episode where Chris had gotten a fever
739、and a flu or something. It was at Christmas,
740、he was in the hospital, and he was hallucinating
741、that he was talking to a guy who was basically Santa Claus.
742、And the note came down from the network,
743、”Does Santa Claus have to be so old?”
744、One of the funnier notes I ever received
745、was right after CBS picked up Swingtown.
746、And I went to this meeting, and Les, Les Moonves, um –
747、god help me, uh, if he’s watching this –
748、Les Moonves tells me that he, you know, he loves the show.
749、And we got almost through the whole meeting.
750、He says, “I got one note. ” I said, “What?”
751、And he goes, “I don’t think the neighbors
752、should sleep together. ”
753、I said, “You don’t think the neighbors
754、should sleep together?”
755、And he said, “No. ”
756、”Well, it’s called Swingtown.
757、”It’s about swingers in the ’70s.
758、Like, what do you want them to do?”
759、He says, “Well, that’s why you’re the writer. ”
760、I can’t believe I’ll never work at CBS again.
761、You know, I have a very dark sensibility.
762、Like, what I find acceptable, 90% of the populous
763、does not find acceptable.
764、And I’ve had to learn that the hard way.
765、So I need somebody sometimes to say,
766、”Hey, dude, that’s too much.
767、”Like, that’s- That doesn’t- Not only doesn’t that
768、serve the story, but it’s just too out there,”
769、So I can take a step back and go… So it’s not a reaction
770、like, “Fuck you. That’s my vision. ”
771、It’s like I can then take a step back and go, all right,
772、well, yeah, maybe… maybe that is too much.
773、You know, maybe we don’t really need to see
774、the balls being hacked off the clown.
775、Perhaps we tell it on the face.
776、It was a huge disappointment that that pilot didn’t go.
777、And the script was very well received,
778、but the WB was very difficult.
779、There came this moment where they wanted
780、a different version of the script.
781、And they had brought in another writer over my objections,
782、which is… In retrospect,
783、I can’t even believe I allowed that to happen.
784、But at that point, I was very young, it was my first pilot.
785、And we were now about a week away from shooting.
786、And the script came in and I hated it. It was terrible.
787、And I just said, “I won’t shoot the script. ”
788、And so the network said, “Yes, you will. ”
789、And we had this big, ugly conference call about it.
790、And, uh, there was this moment on the call
791、where the network said, “Well, if that’s how you feel,
792、then maybe we should just say goodbye. ”
793、And I realized, well, this is it, this is the moment.
794、They’re gonna call your bluff on this.
795、And I said, “Then, okay, let’s do that. ”
796、And then they said, “fine,” and they hung up.
797、And then, hundreds of phone calls,
798、like everyone’s calling each other.
799、”I can’t believe he said that! He’s not really serious!”
800、Everyone was really, really upset, but I really was serious.
801、I wasn’t gonna shoot that script.
802、And, uh, the whole thing fell apart,
803、and it cost a couple million dollars and, uh,
804、it was a disaster at the time.
805、It was a huge disappointment to me,
806、’cause I was very attached to those books,
807、and I thought that we were gonna do justice by these books.
808、And my agent at the time, whether he believed it or not,
809、said, “No, no. This, you know… Believe me, people like it
810、”when you say no, and you’ll get a reputation
811、as someone who has integrity and, dah-dah-dah. ”
812、I chose at the time to believe that.
813、We always wanted to reward the viewers
814、who watched week to week, but not punish ones
815、who were coming new to the show.
816、That kind of self-contained story of the week
817、just so happens to line up really, really nicely
818、with the kinds of procedural-based episodic crime shows
819、that CBS knows how to make really well,
820、and then beyond that, the story that we wanted to tell
821、is this larger novel-like story that’s similar
822、to the shows that are flourishing right now on cable.
823、And I think the network knows that, you know,
824、the audience’s tastes are changing.
825、If you liken the procedural –
826、which we’ve never thought of as a four-letter word,
827、we’ve always kind of embraced them.
828、I grew up watching Magnum, P.I. and Miami Vice
829、and Hill Street Blues and all these amazing shows.
830、But, the shows that are flourishing right now
831、are these serialized novel-like shows on cable.
832、But, broadcast was always capable of doing both.
833、So, it’s a different way of doing it.
834、You still have a massive, massive audience,
835、far bigger, uh, than cable, watching broadcast television.
836、We regularly have 14-15 million people
837、watching our show, which dwarfs
838、any of the audiences of these cable shows.
839、There’s that Tom and Jerry cartoon effect,
840、where it’s like if Tom gets blown up by dynamite
841、and then you fade to black, and then you come up,
842、and then he’s just chasing Jerry again,
843、it’s not as interesting to me as Tom
844、gets blown up by dynamite and now in the next scene
845、he’s in the hospital rehabilitating,
846、trying to figure out where he went wrong.
847、Um, so, you know, I do feel like
848、life is serialized, life is not a procedural,
849、and therefore, that’s the kind of storytelling
850、that I like to watch, and it’s the kind of storytelling
851、that I like to write.
852、That being said, I think that, um,
853、it’s unfair to categorize shows as procedural
854、or serialized, or one working better than the other.
855、I think that that’s what networks like to do.
856、But, at the end of the day, if you put something cool
857、in front of them, they don’t care
858、whether it’s a serialized or a procedural
859、or a marriage of both, you know?
860、I think there are shows like The Good Wife now
861、that are procedural shows, but are actually
862、stealth serialized shows, and that’s why
863、they’re getting nominated for Emmys.
864、We would agree that it’s a bit of a…
865、a wolf in sheep’s clothing.
866、There are certain elements that we have to satisfy
867、to be on CBS, to be show that has
868、a story that we tell within the episode, has cases.
869、And so, it’s partly that,
870、and partly characters that weave through it.
871、We don’t do a lot of just character scenes
872、or just personal scenes,
873、that the personal tends to come on the procedural plot.
874、We do 23 episodes a year.
875、These other shows do 13 a year.
876、I wouldn’t call it bitterness on our part
877、that we have towards cable. Cable is very much
878、”the grass is greener on that side. ”
879、I hope I’m at HBO for my entire career.
880、Um, I mean, it’s just been the best place
881、I’ve ever worked, for so many different reasons.
882、Creatively, it’s great.
883、I mean, I could theoretically work at a network.
884、I would never say never, but I know…
885、I know what that means.
886、That’s one of the great things about working
887、for HBO: they let you do your job.
888、And you know, it’s not to say there aren’t conversations.
889、There are, but they’re never mandates,
890、and they’re never… They’re never notes
891、that are born of cowardice, where they’re afraid
892、to alienate people or offend people, or you know…
893、Because they’re not trying to sell
894、commercial airtime or product.
895、So, it’s based on, “Just do the best show you can do. ”
896、We have an incredible amount of freedom on premium cable.
897、So, going back to network television would be difficult
898、on a creative level.
899、The tradeoff, of course, is the amount of money
900、that you can make on 22 episodes of a show
901、in network is phenomenally large.
902、Uh, much larger than I make on this show.
903、But, I do have that… that taste of that freedom.
904、As much freedom as you do have in cable
905、compared to network, you know, the network is…
906、You know, they were up my ass
907、during the pilot process, you know,
908、and really, you know, micromanaging
909、pretty much every detail.
910、Because that’s… That’s the time
911、that they feel like they have the most input, you know?
912、And, and, and not that it… Not that it fucked me up
913、or strayed- or made me stray off my vision.
914、But, they’re very engaged and very hands on.
915、Um, but the good thing is that once the show
916、gets established and… and you earn their trust,
917、that they honor that.
918、It’s not like groundhog day every season,
919、like you gotta prove yourself again.
920、I personally don’t see as big a difference
921、between network and cable as other people have.
922、And I also think some of these cable channels
923、have kind of perpetuated this myth that artists
924、have complete freedom at these networks.
925、And yet, I’ve talked to people and heard about
926、notes calls at these networks.
927、So, I’m not sure that’s exactly it.
928、I think it’s a case by case situation.
929、Does the network trust you to do the job?
930、If they do you’re gonna get a lot of freedom.
931、If they sense a void in leadership,
932、they’re gonna rush in to fill it,
933、no matter what network it’s at.
935、Uh, we’re gonna have a set of, uh…
936、There’s gonna be a quartet playing.
937、Piano, cello, violin, viola.
938、Once we get the okay to book them,
939、then I’ll get sizes to you.
940、’Cause we’ll have the stand-ins.
941、I think between casting the next episode,
942、being on set for the episode you’re shooting,
943、being in the writer’s room
944、dealing with budgets and everything,
945、I would say that showrunning is as much
946、a feat of choreography as it is of anything else.
947、I have an amazing non-writing executive producer,
948、Jessika Borsiczky, to just understand
949、administrating people and budgets and hot costs
950、and all of that stuff
951、that I kind of glaze over at.
952、The skill sets to be a good writer
953、and to be a good manager are almost diametrically opposite.
954、I think writers tend to be skeptics, critics.
955、They’re fueled by anger, um, by a curiosity, by outrage.
956、Whereas when you’re managing, you have so many different
957、aspects of production to be concerned about.
958、The writers are your most immediate,
959、but then you’ve gotta deal with actors,
960、and you’ve gotta deal with your directors,
961、and you’ve gotta deal with everybody else.
962、Those skills are not innate.
963、Steadicam, in-camera freeze.
964、Yeah, we’ll get that either right before or right after
965、we get the walking in master.
966、When you spend a lot of time just trying to steer
967、your own boat as a writer, the idea now that
968、you have to be doing all of these other tasks,
969、is um… can be overwhelming.
970、A list of the ordered breakaways,
971、and see if we’re in the ballpark.
972、One or two…
973、Showrunning has this kind of glamorous patina to it.
974、You know, the guys who run Lost, and you know,
975、it sort of seems like one fabulous party
976、of, you know, being creative and fooling the public,
977、and being, you know, brilliant.
978、For me, a lot of it is the grind of selling the show,
979、pitching the show, getting the outline approved,
980、going to scripts, handing in a draft.
981、It’s just a fucking grind, is the truth.
982、Because we’re doing a period piece,
983、everything is exponentially more complicated
984、and time consuming.
985、Uh, every actor, every extra, needs a haircut.
986、Every set has to be dressed.
987、I mean, I’m talking about locations particularly.
988、If you’re doing a contemporary show,
989、you just pull up and shoot.
990、This, we pull up, it takes three days
991、to get a simple street scene ready.
992、Air conditioners, lights that aren’t correct, doorknobs.
993、I mean, every little thing has to be changed and fixed.
994、This is the scope of this thing.
995、Our network hour of television is 43 minutes long.
996、An episode of our show is typically between
997、55 and 60 minutes, so that’s days and days of extra work.
998、So, it all adds up to a much greater shooting schedule.
999、There are six typical days in the production
1000、of a four camera, half hour television comedy.
1001、Five of them are your five production days.
1002、And the sixth is a hiatus.
1003、We produce 24 episodes in the course of a season,
1004、and we do them in blocks.
1005、A block of three is three episodes on,
1006、and then a week down from production.
1007、During those down weeks, you catch up on scripts.
1008、You start writing scripts before the…
1009、before you start shooting. So, we start shooting in August
1010、because America needs new television in September.
1011、And in order to start shooting in August,
1012、the writers start working in June,
1013、and we wrap in April.
1014、And, um, I think that if you would bring in scientists
1015、to study this, they would discover
1016、that human beings have exactly enough energy
1017、to accomplish 90% of that schedule.
1018、And the last 10% of it is a Bataan Death March
1019、to the wrap party.
1020、Mirror my situation exactly. Right, right, right.
1021、I just mean, you are married with kids.
1022、There she is.
1024、That’s my wife telling me I have enough money.
1025、If this show goes down the tubes,
1026、you gotta make a living right away somewhere.
1027、That’s for you guys.
1028、’Cause I got a lot of money, so I don’t care.
1029、Well, while we’re on the subject, we might not be in
1030、this room for six, seven months from now.
1031、- Nine- Nine months. – Yeah.
1032、We’ve got to have a talk about that, but yeah.
1033、That is a…
1034、We met with a couple networks, and then TNT…
1035、When we met with Michael Wright
1036、and the way he took to it and the way he responded to it,
1037、we just felt, you know, this is a good fit, yeah.
1038、The main thing is they… they have their opinions
1039、and sometimes we disagree,
1040、but they don’t come down with an edict.
1041、The critics have been helpful, ’cause we got great reviews.
1042、Oh yeah. Season one.
1043、Then we got even better reviews this season.
1044、If that doesn’t happen, maybe they…
1045、- No, of course. – They stick their hand in there more, yeah.
1046、I can speak for him. I can say why
1047、he’s been in a hit show, and then another show.
1048、So, you’re assuming this show is a hit.
1049、There’s a number at which you survive,
1050、and there’s a number at which you don’t survive.
1051、Um, you get feedback, it’s called ratings.
1052、We respect that aspect of the business
1053、and we understand that the network has to maintain
1054、a certain number of eyeballs on their show
1055、or else you’re gone. We go to a bunch of people
1056、and ask them to give us a couple million bucks a week
1057、to tell our little pretend-y stories.
1058、That… The idea that they should do that
1059、with no strings attached is madness
1060、Right. You know?
1061、It’s other people’s money.
1062、There’s stockholders out there somewhere.
1063、I don’t know who would invest in television now,
1064、that’s a horrible idea.
1065、If you pay too much attention to the things
1066、that are completely out of your control,
1067、like when they’re airing you, when they’re preempting you.
1068、How many people watched that night,
1069、or whether or not it went up or down from last week.
1070、If you start doing that, then you start losing
1071、control of the things that are within your grasp.
1072、All I can do is tell a better story.
1073、Obviously, if there’s a clear drop-off,
1074、then you should look at that.
1075、But, I do read other people’s ratings.
1076、The thing that men do – women do this, too,
1077、but I don’t tend to do this – they focus on the number.
1078、”What’s the number gonna be, what’s the number?”
1079、And I poured myself into it, about it, midnight,
1080、the night that we aired, I couldn’t even watch it
1081、on broadcast television – I shouldn’t tell anybody that.
1082、I didn’t watch my own show air.
1083、I’ve been on so many failed, canceled shows.
1084、And I just thought, “Oh, god, please be good enough
1085、to stay on the air. ”
1086、I went to bed, and you know, six hours later,
1087、my husband is poking me and he has his computer with him,
1088、and he says, “I think you want to get out of bed. ”
1089、And I had, of course, slept through the early Nielsen
1090、and all the phone calls and the texting.
1091、And I said, “No, I don’t wanna know, I don’t wanna know,”
1092、which is very cowardly of me.
1093、And he said, “Yeah, I think you might wanna know
1094、you’re the most successful show on… in basic cable history. ”
1095、And I said, “Fuck you, that’s not funny!”
1096、Which is not nice of me to say to my husband.
1097、I really thought he was kidding.
1098、And I looked at it and I stared at it.
1099、And I’m not being humble here, I thought,
1100、”How is that possible? How is that possible?”
1101、You don’t go into a TV show expecting good hours.
1102、You go into a TV show expecting the worst.
1103、Somebody is always staying up.
1104、I think there are a lot of shows where everybody is always staying up.
1105、For the longest time – really until
1106、because of the family I couldn’t – I was, you know,
1107、first in and last out.
1108、And if you’re doing that, I think people
1109、are a little more forgiving.
1110、The first year of Buffy was like, uh, was like
1111、everybody was on ecstasy, everybody hated everybody,
1112、everybody loved everybody, and nobody wanted to go home.
1113、That was how I described it.
1114、And my wife just quietly said,
1115、”I think the crew wanted to go home. ”
1116、There’s a part of me that has a very, very fond
1117、sense of nostalgia for the show.
1118、But, the weight of… for those six years,
1119、it never left me.
1120、It was all that I thought about.
1121、When I woke up in the morning, I realized that I had been
1122、thinking about it through the night.
1123、I basically proposed marriage in May, right after the pilot
1124、was picked up, thinking that the show
1125、would probably be canceled after a few episodes.
1126、And then I got married three days after the season one finale.
1127、And then I had my son right around the time
1128、that Locke and Jack were going into the hatch.
1129、So, those are- The fact that I-
1130、The benchmarks of my life are measured by the show.
1131、Shouldn’t it be the other way around?
1132、I did Lost for six years and that was all I did.
1133、My friend, Heather, was an executive at ABC.
1134、And she called me on a Friday night,
1135、and she said, “Do you wanna meet with J.J. on Monday?”
1136、And I said, “yes,” and in saying yes to that question,
1137、I basically completely changed my destiny.
1138、And- And if I had said yes, and then Heather had said to me
1139、”Listen, this is gonna be the next six years of your life.
1140、”It is going to define you.
1141、”The word next to your name when you die
1142、”is going to be Lost. No matter what you do,
1143、”it’s going to say Lost writer, you know?
1144、Um, how do you feel about that?”
1145、I would have said, “Forget it, I’m not taking the meeting. ”
1146、The burnout rate for showrunners is 100%.
1147、100% of the people who do this
1148、stop by their mid to late 50s,
1149、whether in success or failure.
1150、So that’s the problem: it’s too good to quit,
1151、and it’s too hard to do.
1152、If you said to them, the only way
1153、that I’m gonna be able to produce the next episode
1154、is on a hospital gurney with an IV running into my line,
1155、they would say, “Great. What kind of gurney
1156、”do you like, ’cause here are three choices.
1157、And what would you like in the IV?”
1158、There’s so much literally to do every step of the way.
1159、If we didn’t have each other to do it,
1160、I think we’d go crazy.
1161、And there are showrunners – single showrunners –
1162、that run multiple shows, and I… I literally
1163、have no idea how that…
1164、I actually think that you can’t.
1165、I mean, you have to hand it off to someone…
1166、We’re having a little conversation about this,
1167、if you guys wanna leave for a minute.
1168、Yeah, because some people say they can run more than one show.
1169、I actually don’t think you can,
1170、without giving up on one of them.
1171、I mean, I’d love to know how they did it.
1172、The year I had three shows, um,
1173、I had a lot of focus.
1174、56 episodes, did them all.
1175、I don’t want to do that again.
1176、But, there was a grandeur to it,
1177、because it was the last year of Buffy,
1178、so I couldn’t drop the ball there.
1179、It was the first year of Firefly,
1180、so I couldn’t drop the ball there.
1181、And it was the fourth year of Angel where I thought
1182、everybody knows I’m gonna drop the ball here,
1183、so I can’t drop the ball here because that’s where
1184、they’ll be looking for it.
1185、And the emotion that we were going through on Firefly,
1186、which was terrible, but so bonding.
1187、There is an element of, once you get them all spinning
1188、they kind of balance a little bit.
1189、You can go from here to here to here a little bit.
1190、But, only for a certain amount of time,
1191、and then you die of extreme old age.
1192、Please tell me you got a warning.
1193、What is this? A documentary film?
1194、If a show is in its third year, it’s a hit.
1195、You can replace “behind the camera”,
1196、you cannot replace “in front of the camera. ”
1197、So, if there’s a huge fight, if you’re not getting along
1198、and it comes to who’s gonna stay,
1199、the actor will probably win.
1200、The Bochco quote I heard was “The first year,
1201、”they work for you, second year, you’re partners,
1202、and the third year, you work for them. ”
1203、This is dressed up. Monitored.
1204、This is such a good idea.
1205、Yeah, new shoe- Are those new shoes?
1206、Are those your… Look how new they are!
1208、You’re trying to look decent.
1209、Triple-tied, those are triple-tied.
1210、Uh-huh, you don’t even know what he usually looks like.
1211、Oh, okay, okay.
1212、When I’m dealing with my cast, the occasional hot tempers
1213、is impossible to avoid.
1214、If you’re lucky, the arguments that you have,
1215、it’s all based in character and story
1216、and trying to do the best show that you possibly can.
1217、I try to focus on what’s constructive,
1218、’cause generally, there’s a note to be had
1219、inside… inside a vicious throwdown argument.
1220、I really, you know, try to not bring poison onto my set.
1221、And if an actor has a reputation of being poison
1222、I don’t bring ’em on. I don’t care
1223、how fucking good his work is.
1224、I don’t want somebody undermining the energy
1225、that we have on the set that ultimately feeds
1226、the work and, and what the show is
1227、and how… and how people perceive the show.
1229、He threatened her in front of you?
1230、We were casting the Shield pilot.
1231、I was very proud of that script.
1232、And then actors started to come in and read for Vic Mackey.
1233、And all of a sudden, it didn’t sound so good,
1234、and I started to get really depressed about it.
1235、And I remember one day, I turned to Clark Johnson,
1236、our director, and I said, “Maybe the script
1237、isn’t as good as I think it is. ”
1238、And I remember the next day, Michael Chiklis came in,
1239、and he sat down, and he had about a six
1240、or eight minute audition
1241、that just from beginning to end, he was Vic Mackey.
1242、And he got up and he left the room,
1243、and I turned to Clark and I said “No, I’m a great writer. ”
1244、And it’s a- It’s a good example of, you know,
1245、when you feel so great when you find that actor
1246、that just embodies a role.
1248、Don’t have to be so mean, Booth!
1249、It’s their job to do what’s written for them.
1250、And of course, they’re invested in their characters
1251、in a way that we’re just not
1252、because they spend all their time with it,
1253、whereas we’re spending time with seven characters
1254、at a minimum.
1255、On big things, like whether or not the character
1256、should be in a relationship, well, we know where we’re going.
1257、Mm-hmm. And they don’t.
1258、They trust us. When they get a script,
1259、usually we’ll get a phone call
1260、of them saying, “Wow, this is wild.
1261、I mean, how am I supposed to do this?”
1262、You know, and you’re like, “Well, what do you think?”
1263、And then that’s when the conversation begins.
1264、Our lead actress, for example, she’s hit these challenges
1265、that even ourselves, we’re like,
1266、”Well, this is gonna take a long conversation. ”
1267、But, I mean, like nothing: “Okay, guys, that sounds great,”
1268、you know, “Let me take a crack at it. ”
1269、And you know, we’re just sitting here flabbergasted
1270、because… I would have asked some questions.
1271、In television, you’re gonna have a long relationship
1272、with the people that you’re in bed with.
1273、And those relationships need to function
1274、or you won’t have a show.
1275、In the past, I’ve either called or emailed a showrunner
1276、and gone, “Look, there’s something here
1277、”that I don’t necessarily agree with.
1278、”I’d love to talk to you about it.
1279、”Is it something we’ll just live with for this episode,
1280、”or is this something that we’ll have to live with
1281、in the future?”
1282、As an actor, you are the guardian of your character.
1283、So, you do have the authority to be able to say,
1284、”I don’t think my character would do that,”
1285、or “I would love it if my character did this. ”
1286、Um, you can say what you want.
1287、You are the guardian of your character.
1288、But, you know, the showrunner has… He’s the boss.
1289、He’s the boss man, and he has the ultimate say –
1290、or she – has the ultimate say
1291、to decide whether your character would do that,
1292、regardless of what the guardian thinks.
1293、There’s a tendency in network television
1294、because of the pressure and the time crunch that you’re under,
1295、is that no matter what scene comes through,
1296、they just want you to do it.
1297、Doesn’t matter if it’s good or bad, just do it.
1298、And I can’t work that way.
1299、So, it ended up that I would stop production
1300、for 30 minutes, sometimes five or ten,
1301、and we would sit down and we would basically rewrite
1302、the scene right there on the set.
1303、My relationship with Hank in the beginning
1304、was very, very rocky.
1305、He was 32 years old.
1306、He was a baby and he’d never done it before.
1307、Consequently, you know, he made all the mistakes
1308、that you make when you’re put under that kind of pressure.
1309、I know I drove him crazy, because I would get a script –
1310、and my people skills were not particularly good at the time –
1311、and I would walk in and I would go, “This is shit.
1312、This is- Why?! This doesn’t make any sense. ”
1313、But, to his credit, Hank wrote the best episodes
1314、of the entire series in his three years
1315、that he worked on the show.
1316、He came to me at one point and he said,
1317、”You know, I’m going to leave at the end of this season,
1318、and I’m going to do another show. ”
1319、He said, “Quite honestly, when I see your name
1320、come up in my phone, I get the hives. ”
1321、I loved him for his honesty.
1323、Every week, we waltz into companies
1324、just like this one and tell them how to fix their shit.
1325、Now, in the case of Galweather-Stearn
1326、it has come to my attention
1327、that there is a sexual harassment element.
1328、Sexual harassment? Do tell, Obi-Wan.
1331、How’s that sound, Jeannie?
1332、Let’s do this.
1333、Cut. Good. Good, good, good.
1334、One adjustment. Let’s go again.
1335、Which is, at the beginning…
1336、Matt is interesting
1337、because you don’t get a sense of who he is,
1338、because his work is pervy.
1339、He has a dark black soul.
1340、He has got mud running through his veins,
1341、and I don’t know where it comes from.
1342、Because then, when you interact with him,
1343、he’s so gentle and he’s so soft-spoken
1344、and he’s so kind, but I think he’s got
1345、a lot of dark stuff inside him
1346、that he gets out in his writing.
1347、I like coming up with an idea
1348、and then getting to direct that thing.
1349、Some people really don’t like that.
1350、I mean, Tom Kapinos, who does Californication,
1351、I talk to him, and he’s not
1352、that interested in the directing part.
1353、…does not work here, I will not accept it.
1354、Yeah, round fucking two! Please, go.
1355、I think one of things women have to do is step up and direct.
1356、And all male showrunners that I know of
1357、eventually direct their own episodes.
1358、And there are no questions asked.
1359、You know, that guy’s been writing, so of course
1360、he’s gonna direct the season opener.
1361、I have to step up and do that,
1362、because I don’t like it that there is more scrutiny.
1363、I think there is more scrutiny on women.
1364、I think it’s much harder for women in this business
1365、than it was in news.
1366、And I find myself doing that thing
1367、I think that is uniquely female, which is,
1368、”They all think I’m a bitch. They all hate me. ”
1369、Men don’t worry about that. I’ve worked for men,
1370、they don’t think- They don’t go home and be like stewing,
1371、”Oh god, they think I’m an asshole. ”
1373、The first people in – you know, if all the showrunners
1374、are white guys, if all the executives are white guys,
1375、and the first brigade of whoever the minority are,
1376、is the first group of women – of course Tina Fey is brilliant.
1377、’Cause she has to be.
1378、Of course Lena Dunham is brilliant.
1379、She has to be.
1380、Whatever people might think about me one way or the other,
1381、I’m good at this; I have to be.
1382、The only problem, if there is a, uh,
1383、gender or a racially-based component
1384、to who gets let in the room,
1385、it’s the decision maker believing somehow
1386、that because you’re a black guy
1387、you can’t work with Drew Carey,
1388、because he’s a white guy.
1389、Do I wanna get the black audience?
1390、Absolutely. But I’d just like a shot at the audience, too.
1391、I think attending Comic-Con is extremely important,
1392、especially for a genre show like Spartacus.
1393、The first time we came here, the response was fantastic,
1394、and it really helped launch the show.
1395、This is a little bit like a rock concert for a showrunner.
1396、Writers are out in the forefront now,
1397、just like actors and directors.
1398、People, more than ever, understand
1399、how shows are created.
1400、And you really need to not only promote your show,
1401、you need to represent your show.
1402、Showrunners were kind of invisible up until now,
1403、up until we branded ourselves.
1404、You know, the old adage is there’s only one thing worse
1405、than being talked about, and that’s not being talked about.
1406、And so, yes. Do I need a publicist? Yes.
1407、Do I need to Twitter? Yes. Do I need to brand myself? Yes.
1408、Do I need to be known as J.T. instead of Janet Tamaro?
1409、Yes, I probably do.
1410、I think that, given the online fandom community,
1411、that people now have a place to go to
1412、to, sort of, immerse themselves in the universe
1413、of a show that they really like.
1414、On a certain level, you kind of require
1415、the showrunner to be present in that venue in some fashion.
1416、Because the showrunner ultimately is the one
1417、who has the answers to the questions that people have.
1418、So, there’s probably a certain rise in celebrity
1419、that goes along with the showrunner.
1420、When I started out, the idea of an internet community
1421、was a very, very fresh idea.
1422、And the fact that I was able to wade into the middle of that,
1423、and so were my writers,
1424、and when I wanted to, my actors,
1425、that was a new phenomenon.
1426、And to be able to write and have people recognize you,
1427、and be able to speak to you about it,
1428、is more than a writer usually gets.
1429、I think the internet had to exist in order to sort of
1430、create the story of the showrunner.
1431、Can you imagine if David Lynch had an interest in
1432、and access to the internet when Twin Peaks came along?
1433、I think that David Lynch absolutely would have been
1434、communicating directly with his fans.
1435、People would have known much more.
1436、There would have been a greater sense of authorship there.
1437、The internet was sort of just becoming
1438、a thing when we were doing Felicity.
1439、You know, on specialty websites we would sort of see
1440、early stages of consensus
1441、of what people were thinking of episodes.
1442、And it really did become clear to me
1443、that this was… TV was becoming
1444、a little bit like theater,
1445、where you would perform something,
1446、and almost in real time, you’d be hearing
1447、the laughter or the applause,
1448、or the absolutely painful deafening silence.
1449、And what was kind of great was you could use that
1450、as one of your tools.
1451、I love Twitter. I feel like I was born to tweet.
1452、It’s a way for me to sort of let people know who I am.
1453、You can tell when the fans are tracking the story.
1454、You can tell when they’re confused.
1455、You don’t want confused fans.
1456、You can tell when they’re bored. You don’t want bored fans.
1457、So, it does give you a way to take the temperature.
1458、But, Twitter can be kind of dangerous.
1459、If the writers of Cheers had had Twitter,
1460、they would have been besieged by people going
1461、”Get Sam and Diane together. ”
1462、And you know, like, sometimes what the fans want
1463、is different than what they really want.
1464、Very rarely do I interact with the very negative criticism.
1465、But, sometimes there’s something so egregious
1466、that I just have to comment.
1467、And I’ve gotten into a dust-up, twice now
1468、that I can think of, where I found out later
1469、I was actually in a yelling match
1470、with like a 12-year-old.
1471、Some shows are much better suited to a digital presence,
1472、to a web presence, than others.
1473、Lost is probably the best example.
1474、Lost found itself riding this wave where suddenly
1475、they realized people wanted more information,
1476、and they were very savvy about it, and they began
1477、to create all sorts of branded merchandise,
1478、not just on the web – they also had a game and a book.
1479、But, at one point, Carlton Cuse said, “You know,
1480、”sometimes I don’t feel like a showrunner,
1481、I feel like a brand manager. ”
1482、There was this demand for us to constantly get out
1483、and explain things.
1484、And we felt like if we denied our audience,
1485、if we basically said, “Sorry, the show speaks for itself,
1486、and we’re not gonna talk about the show at all,”
1487、that actually would have hurt the show.
1488、And so, by making ourselves sort of available,
1489、ultimately sometimes to criticism as well as praise
1490、or questions or anything, we felt that
1491、that was in the best interest of the show.
1492、That evolved to, by the end of the first season of the show,
1493、Carlton and I were asked to do a special
1494、where we explained “Here are all the things
1495、that you need to know in order to enjoy the finale. ”
1496、So, suddenly, I’m just a writer
1497、who occasionally does interviews with the press.
1498、And then I turn on ABC, and there’s my ugly bald head,
1499、you know, trying to explain what the black rock is.
1500、And Carlton and I just turned to each other
1501、and said “How the hell did this happen?”
1502、We are at the forefront of a new era,
1503、and it is an era with some really distinct differences
1504、from the way TV has been done before.
1505、When we started Husbands, my first thought was,
1506、”Okay, we put this up on the web, we demonstrate
1507、there’s an audience for this, and then TV will want it. ”
1508、Now, I realize, like, no, why would we wanna go there,
1509、when we’ve demonstrated there’s an audience for it
1510、right where it is?
1511、Right now, what the internet
1512、is capable of providing is growing.
1513、What TV is capable of holding onto is shrinking.
1514、But, they haven’t met in the middle
1515、in any significant way.
1516、At some point, I think they will have to.
1517、I feel like what I do is secure
1518、in that I’m a writer, first and foremost.
1519、I’m gonna want to write something for somebody
1520、and someone’s gonna wanna make it.
1521、You know, and if I am writing for something
1522、that’s just on the internet, and we’re performing
1523、like just on something. com,
1524、if I’m happy doing it and I can feed my family,
1525、I’m happy doing that, too.
1526、We can do it in the way the consumer most wants it.
1527、Get it directly to them, they can help us fund it.
1528、There are a lot of people invested in a big TV show.
1529、Web show, you’re invested in it,
1530、which is fantastic.
1531、The profusion of platforms of channels of distribution,
1532、it’s all kind of exploding, and it used to be
1533、that you could understand I think the television universe
1534、as a solar system, and the sun was broadcast television –
1535、the three or four networks – and everything else
1536、was a satellite that traveled around the sun.
1537、And that clearly no longer is the model.
1538、The sun has exploded.
1539、And there are a lot of little solar systems being set up,
1540、and the idea that we’ll ever have a coherent whole
1541、like that again, I’m not sure we will.
1542、He’s up there right now. There he is.
1543、He’s up there in his private G6 and he’s coming here,
1544、to our tiny company up in his fat fucking belly.
1545、So, what we need to do, Douglas,
1546、is we need to get Adam.
1547、It’s a little bit heartbreaking being in the editing room,
1548、because there’s only so much you can make better.
1549、There are really so many things
1550、that you have to be on top of on the day that you’re shooting
1551、that you just, you know, pay for in the editing room.
1552、What did you think about the idea of breaking it up
1553、into two sections, one after 10
1554、and one after 13?
1555、’Cause I watched it last night like a, you know,
1556、like a third grader. No, it was totally…
1557、I was like, “Wow, that’s cool!”
1558、’Cause I’ve been writing so many episodes,
1559、I have not spent enough time in here.
1560、So now, I’m doing a lot of catching up.
1561、…just like this one, and tell them how to fix their shit.
1562、Well, this week it’s us. Right, Jeannie?
1563、Both The Chicago Code and Terriers being canceled
1564、were hard, in that I thought we’d made good shows.
1565、I get that if you make something that isn’t good,
1566、it’s… it’s gonna fail.
1567、The hard thing about Hollywood is that good things
1568、can fail, too.
1569、When The Shield was in the middle
1570、of all its critical acclaim, I knew that not everything
1571、would go that way.
1572、So, for me, I was like, “Okay, The Shield
1573、kind of gives me permission to fail at this point. ”
1574、And fail I did.
1576、You know, I made the shows I wanted to make.
1577、We had a horrible name for Terriers.
1578、We never could properly explain to an audience
1579、what that show was gonna be.
1580、Chicago Code certainly had its shot.
1581、Got a big premiere, the night after the Super Bowl.
1582、Got a lot of ads during the Super Bowl.
1583、I can’t say that anybody screwed us.
1584、Self-doubt creeps in, not about my ability
1585、to make what I think a good show is,
1586、but where are my tastes aligning up to America’s taste?
1587、I’ve learned the lesson as a showrunner
1588、that you can control the things you can control.
1589、And unfortunately, you can’t control
1590、300 million people and what dial,
1591、you know, what channel they turn the dial to every night.
1592、Any time you do anything and you put it out there
1593、and it fails, uh, it’s of course
1594、a depressing thing.
1595、Undercovers is an especially painful disappointment.
1596、I sort of did the show because I wanted to
1597、do what the studio that I work with wanted.
1598、They were looking for a show that was in that vein.
1599、And that’s not really a good reason to do it.
1600、Secondly, I remember being at the Emmys one year
1601、and just seeing an amazing array of white people.
1602、It was just really the whitest room I’d ever seen.
1603、And the idea of, well, if we’re gonna cast this show,
1604、maybe we should look for actors of color, like, why not?
1605、What kills me is, instead of it being a show
1606、that said “Look, you know,
1607、leads of color equals success,”
1608、it was yet another example of that not working.
1609、Some shows you do, it’s just a job.
1610、This is literally my life.
1611、It’s extremely personal.
1612、People seem to like it when they see it.
1613、So, it’s frustrating that you feel like
1614、if you could just get it in front of people,
1615、I know we did a good job, you know,
1616、you’re going to like it.
1617、That was the party store back there.
1618、And this is, uh, Andre Braugher’s
1619、character’s house, and Lisa Gay Hamilton,
1620、which I guess they still have most of the set dressing up.
1621、We wrapped the day after our show premiered.
1622、So, we had the premiere on December 6th,
1623、and I was driving to the set on December 7th
1624、feeling really great ’cause the premiere was really good.
1625、It’s gonna be the last day with the crew where we all
1626、get to have a good time and I was really hoping
1627、to get sent the ratings on my phone,
1628、and that I could go, “Oh, look, hey,
1629、we did great, everybody!”
1630、And, so we’re working for a few hours,
1631、and then the ratings came in.
1632、And I looked at my phone and said,
1633、”I’m never gonna see these people ever again. ”
1634、’Cause it was…
1635、It was not… not very good.
1636、Um, so then, I recovered.
1638、We’re not dead, by any stretch of the imagination.
1639、We’re probably going to be okay.
1640、But, it was… It was a bad number.
1641、It was a very bad number.
1642、And it… It feels bad, because you…
1643、everybody on the show worked so incredibly hard,
1644、and they’re helping you make the thing that you wanna make.
1645、And all you wanna do is give them good news.
1646、And so, you’re just… It was… a huge whole season of work
1647、coming down to one stupid email
1648、going, “well, sorry,” you know?
1649、I might love a show, and just want so badly
1650、to believe that it can make it.
1651、But, the people with whom I work will correctly
1652、and usually gently, say to me,
1653、”Hey, look at this.
1654、No, we know you believe in it, but… ”
1655、And you know, that’s where this becomes a business,
1656、and the right business decision after that point,
1657、there’s a lot of money involved.
1658、Needless to say, “that didn’t work,” it hurts.
1659、And that’s the single worst phone call.
1660、And in this case, to have to call a showrunner
1661、with whom you’ve formed a relationship, and say,
1662、”Hey, road’s over. We tried.
1663、Yeah, we’re canceling it. ”
1664、It sucks, you know?
1665、Another round of applause for the cast and crew of Fringe.
1666、Yeah, when it’s over…
1667、I’ll… I’ll be sad.
1668、It’s gonna be very difficult.
1669、It’s like you’re giving away, you know, an appendage.
1670、Because it is a very good source
1671、of communication for me, you know?
1672、And um, I’m gonna miss him.
1673、So, I find myself, even right now, um,
1674、you know, rewriting scenes that are perfectly good.
1675、You know? Because- ‘Cause it’s not the same feeling.
1676、Like, in any other season, you’re like,
1677、”Oh! Okay, next!” you know? “Finished!”
1678、”Stamp!” you know, “Gone!” you know? And then you get
1679、to edit it and you see it and then it goes on the air.
1680、You’re kind of relieved, to be honest,
1681、that the next script has been finished,
1682、because you know it’s always creeping behind you going,
1683、”I’m gonna catch you, I’m gonna catch you. ”
1684、Um, there’s none of that this year, that’s all gone.
1685、And it’s all, um,
1686、”Oh, this is so terribly sad. ”
1687、We had this very profound moment of realization,
1688、which is: the same year that we were gonna do our end point
1689、was the year that the Sopranos finale aired.
1690、So, Carlton and I both watched the Sopranos finale
1691、and we were in New York at the time, and we had
1692、a speaking engagement the next morning.
1693、And, we just were completely blown away
1694、by how awesome the Sopranos finale was.
1695、And the next morning, we got up, we started talking about it,
1696、and then we went into this room with all these other people,
1697、and we were like, “Did you see the Sopranos finale
1698、last night?” And they were like,
1699、”Yeah, wasn’t it a cop-out?”
1700、And we looked at each other and said “we’re fucked. ”
1701、As far as getting back into TV,
1702、I feel like there’s a certain level of expectation
1703、that is definitely gonna be placed on whatever I do next.
1704、Whereas before, I think I would have been a little more
1705、foot-loose and fancy free and said,
1706、”oh, let’s try this out,” or “let’s try that out. ”
1707、Now, I’m like… I’m kind of, you know, holding myself
1708、to a very high standard for what is gonna be the idea
1709、that I kinda take and run with.
1710、Every project that suddenly we’re involved in,
1711、or that I say yes to,
1712、is potentially another, you know, hour I’m spending
1713、not with my family,
1714、you know, another half hour or whatever.
1715、But, there’s a wonderful thing about running a series.
1716、It’s an evolving, organic, living thing.
1717、Being a producer but not a showrunner,
1718、I can kind of from afar observe this thing,
1719、and at times, be grateful that I’m not having to do that.
1720、But, I would be lying to you if I didn’t say
1721、I miss that job, and being there and doing that.
1722、And so, one day, I would love
1723、to be able to do that again, if they’ll have me.
1724、The fun of television is that it works at such a pace
1725、that you write something on, you know, the first of the month
1726、and then it’s airing in a month.
1727、It’s very… You don’t really have-
1728、I mean, millions of people are seeing it.
1729、It’s that urgency that’s so exciting
1730、and, uh… and rare for anyone to be able to do.
1731、And so… Yeah, I do. I do love what I do.
1732、There’s times where I wish I could sleep a little more.
1733、It’s hard, you sacrifice a lot
1734、when you are in charge of so many things.
1735、And ultimately, I would love to be able to give away
1736、some of my responsibilities or share them a little bit
1737、better than I do already.
1738、And I think that for a lot of showrunners,
1739、right or wrong, the amount of control that you have
1740、in these situations is what makes things
1741、feel special to an audience.
1742、It used to be that you’d get the show
1743、up until you wanted to put a gun in your mouth,
1744、and then you would find these magical showrunners
1745、who would come in, who were kind of –
1746、we like to call them sort of like hospice workers –
1747、who kind of like feed the show
1748、and give it pain relieving medicine.
1749、”Oh, oh, oh, is that season seven?
1750、That is season seven, isn’t it? That’s right, yeah!”
1751、It’s palliative care for your show as it slowly…
1752、The life ebbs from it, and then it dies.
1753、And now, I think there’s a lot more
1755、You try to make them till you think
1756、maybe you can’t make any more good ones.
1757、Yeah. Or, you know, people stop watching.
1758、At one point early on in my career,
1759、I was worried that I had run out of ideas.
1760、You know, I thought, well, what if that’s it?
1761、What if the well is dry?
1762、Ten, eleven years later,
1763、I’m faced with the opposite problem,
1764、is I have so many projects up on my project board,
1765、that I look at them and realize I’m gonna go tits up
1766、before I get all this stuff out there.
1767、Then I started thinking, well, there’s nothing to say
1768、that I have to do all of this.
1769、I would love to follow the path of… of a J.J. Abrams.
1770、He’s someone that I definitely look up to,
1771、on not only a creative level, but on a business model.
1772、To get to a level where you can have
1773、multiple shows on television,
1774、where you can co-create shows with the writers
1775、you’ve worked with and love,
1776、and you can also have a feature career.
1777、I think that is… that is the ideal thing to shoot for.
1778、What, are these fans?
1779、It is an incredibly difficult business to break into,
1780、especially for people like me.
1781、I didn’t grow up in Hollywood.
1782、I grew up in a tiny little town in south Jersey.
1783、I could not have been further from the Hollywood dream.
1784、Uh, but I had always wanted to make that happen.
1785、And, you know, it’s kind of a…
1786、almost a 1940’s “gee whiz” kind of speech,
1787、but, you know, if you follow your dreams
1788、and you never give up, you will get what you want.
1789、It may not be how you expect it.
1790、It may not be in the timeframe you expect it.
1791、But, you will make it.
1792、When I was fresh out of college, I remember a job interview
1793、where somebody said “Where do you see yourself
1794、in five years?” and I thought,
1795、you know, I don’t know what I’m having for lunch.
1796、So, that’s not a question I’ll answer.
1797、Where do I see myself? Where do I see this series?
1798、I think that this is a series that has
1799、the ability to go for a long time.
1800、TNT is a great network to be on.
1801、And they’re not looking to knock you off the chess board.
1802、I’m very happy telling these stories right now.
1803、But, I think, if you said to me,
1804、”you’re gonna do this for the next eight years of your life,”
1805、I would think, “really?”
1806、And I should be going “Oh, yay!”
1807、That’s where I should be, and maybe after I’ve had
1808、some sleep and a vacation I’ll think,
1809、”Yeah, eight more years!”
1810、But, right now, I’m thinking, “No. Eight more years?
1811、Do you know how many that is?”
1812、When the show got canceled, um,
1813、there was a very protracted period afterwards
1814、where I both was happy
1815、to have another project to distract me
1816、and I was having a lot of trouble
1817、forgetting Men of a Certain Age.
1818、I was writing my pilot, and at the same time,
1819、I’m on the phone trying to see
1820、if Men of a Certain Age can go to another… another network.
1821、It’s like your girlfriend’s in a coma,
1822、but they’re going, “Hey, you wanna go on some dates?”
1823、And when you’re on the date, I guess at some point,
1824、you forget maybe for a few minutes,
1825、and then you come back home and go,
1826、”Oh, still in a coma.
1827、”It’d be nice if you got out of the coma
1828、so I don’t have to go on the dates. ”
1829、I don’t know why I just did that as Woody Allen.
1830、It was really- Please cut that, all of that.
1831、I went into my deal with 20th Century Fox.
1832、Then that started.
1833、So, that was the beginning of, “Okay, time to move on. ”
1834、Here’s what’s gonna happen.
1835、I’m old. I’m 53. No one will call me.
1836、No one will want me to be a showrunner.
1837、And then the question will be will I go write a book?
1838、Will I go work for one of the people
1839、who have come up past me?
1840、I don’t know the answer to any of those things,
1841、because right now, I cannot see past Christmas.
1842、But, you know, I’m supposed to be an English professor
1843、in Canada, and I’m already having more fun
1844、than… than I was supposed to.
1845、First of all, I want a show
1846、with an African-American lead to do well.
1847、Especially Don Cheadle, ’cause he…
1848、Nobody deserves it more than him.
1849、Then I’d like to keep making the show, ’cause it’s…
1850、I feel like it’s fun. And it’s good.
1851、And, you know, I hope people will watch it.
1853、Yeah, I’m nervous, for sure.
1855、I’m so excited to be showing you guys this show.
1856、I didn’t know that I wanted to make a show
1857、about management consultants. I didn’t-
1858、But, um, we’ve tried very hard to hide that fact
1859、in the marketing of it, and also hide the fact
1860、that it’s about rich assholes.
1861、No offense to anybody in the room.
1862、I’m embarrassed to say that I feel great about it.
1863、I usually want to pick things apart.
1864、But, I actually really feel good about it.
1865、The biggest challenge making the show
1866、is encountering myself every day
1867、and what I’m capable of,
1868、and kind of stretching the limits of what your talent is
1869、and what your experience is.
1870、And thankfully, I’ve done it a couple times,
1871、so I have- I’ve made a lot of big mistakes.
1872、And so, I can… I think I’ve learned a lot from those.
1873、This is a major time commitment.
1874、It’s been, you know, a big chunk of my life
1875、for the last year.
1876、But, I would happily do it again
1877、if I got the chance, for sure.
1878、It’s amazing to get to just do it right once, you know?
1879、It’s amazing, totally worth it.