Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Wedding Crashers And Crickets...

Well, I've survived the first two days. Lived to tell about it. Haven't broached the blog yet. Waiting for the right time....but when the first order of business for the writing staff is to come up with a new and suitable season arc for one of the main characters because the network just decided to toss out the already approved one - me tapping the producers on the shoulder and asking if I can blog about the series just didn't seem like the right call...call me a wuss...

Not sure what I can or want to post yet (and I'm kinda brain dead) - so I'll try to toss out a couple of tips....

Series TV Tip #1 - when joining a series with writers that have worked together for years, its kind of like being seated in the one extra chair at a packed table at a wedding of someone you just met. Everyone else is related, by birth or marriage - and are presumably sitting together because they know each other and have a lot in common and a long history together to reference....and then there's you. I will tend to keep a low profile and do a lot of listening and digesting and reading the room while trying to keep up. Like Buddy Ackerman snapped at Guy in 'Swimming With Sharks': "Shut up, listen, and learn..."

Series TV Tip #2 - Once everyone in the writers room has relaxed and its time to get down to business, I like to use 'tv' as my way into the conversation....as my point of reference. Because I may not know you, or your show as well as you do, but I do know...television. Hopefully, we all do. I've been on shows with people where you've just had to say: "...you know, like that scene in Buffy...when Spike turns..." and someone finishes your sentence and another quotes a line of dialogue from the scene and everyone is nodding and knows exactly what you are talking about. Very cool. But if you're being too obscure or people are unfamiliar with the show you're referencing, I tend to go so far as to quickly act out scenes or sequences from the show/movie - portray it as best I can...jump up out of the chair and be the characters...show it...sell it. All the while relating it to the discussion and series on the table, of course. Sometimes it's 'crickets'...but a lot of the time it works.


I'm realizing now I may not be capable of the 'quick and dirty' post. Or at least the quick and dirty 'good' post. I like to think them through and rough them out and then revise and edit them...but for tonight, this is all I've got.

Cheers.

6 comments:

Good Dog said...

Ah, new-kid-at-school syndrome. And not starting at the beginning of the new term like everyone else. Being the new boy when alliances have already been made.

Something I was particularly well versed at by the time I ran screaming into the real world. And then repeated it all again working at numerous animation companies.

Finding the right balance so that you can make your presence felt without going over the top. Finding the common bond that lets you in. Making sure people aren't threatened by you. Working out which ones are decent and which are potential dicks. Figuring out the lie of the land.

God, it's fun!

Hope Day Three is going well.

Riddley Walker said...

Well, as long as you don't decide to go into physical re-enactments of anything from the Evil Dead movies, I reckon you'll be safe... ;-)

I think you can even get the "crickets" thing with people you've worked with for ages sometimes, so it's going to happen a little more with new acquaintances. Glad to know you're thrusting manfully onwards though.

Cheers cheers!

wcdixon said...

Man, better comments from the UK's than the post...I'll just be over here - listening and learning.

Portnoy said...

some one commented a few days ago advising you not to tell them about your blog. with that in mind i am coining the following phrase.

Blog, Don't Tell

Copyright today. Like the guy in the Defending Your Life who said he coined the phrase "Totally All Nude"

I don't know how you guys do it. That is, to gain a sort of communal sensibility of the room. I find it tough enough with just the director.

Schmucks with Underwoods said...

Well done on getting the TV gig! Is this in Canada or the US?

Mystery Man said...

I'd pay good money see you act out a scene. THAT would be a great video to post. Hehehe...

My personal rule joining a group like that would be a to be "slow to speak, quick to listen." My grandfather always told me that. I was a hell of a talker when I was a kid.

-MM