What in God’s name is a Fletch!
I will never be as cool as Megan Ganz. Writer. Comedian. Assassin capable of constructing weapons from a single sheet of paper.
Meeting Notes 6/21/11
She is a writer on the NBC sit-com COMMUNITY. One of several talented, mostly insane, writers and producers who have made Dan Harmon’s Community a reality. It is, in my opinion the best sit-com since ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT, another show you likely have never heard of. That’s because both shows are single camera sit-coms in a world where single camera sit-coms may be dying.
Meeting Notes: 6/28/11
There are single camera and multi-camera television shows. Lemme break that down for you in the I’mma-simple-dummy-from-Kentucky sort of way. Because, well, that’s what I am.
Meeting notes: 7/7/11
Multi-camera shows are the norm. Here’s why. They are easier. You are basically performing a play on a stage with several cameras shooting different angles at the same time. Not long ago there were live audiences. Great thing about a live audience with a sit-com is the immediate feedback. If a joke falls flat you have a dozen (in the old days, now you got 4) writer/producers rewriting the dead jokes. Of course, live audiences are more work so the norm now is to shoot it on a stage and PIPE in a laugh track. That means the actors perform the joke then later a sound mixer toggles a switch and the viewer HEARS prerecorded laughter. Hii-larious!
Meeting Notes: 7/8/11
Single camera shows, like COMMUNITY are hard. Because it’s like shooting a movie. They don’t have laugh tracks because those don’t tend to work unless you subconsciously KNOW the show is on a stage. If you are driving or on a bridge or in the ocean then a PIPED in laugh track sounds dumb. Thus the show has to be FUNNY on its own. You don’t have the cheat of someone telling you when to laugh.
Meeting notes: 7/13/11
Here’s an example of single camera shows thru the years: 30 Rock, Andy Griffith Show, Arli$$, Beverly Hillbillies, Brady Bunch, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Dream On, Drew Carey, Entourage, Freaks and Geeks, Get Smart, Gilligan’s Island, Gomer Pyle, Happy Days, Hogan’s Heroes, I Dream of Jeannie, Larry Sanders, Leave It to Beaver, Lizzie McGuire, M*A*S*H, Munsters, My Name is Earl, The Office, Scrubs, Ugly Betty, Weeds, Wonder Years, etc.
Those are all great shows because the single camera format obviously allows for some wonderful creativity.
Meeting Notes: 8/2/11
Multi-camer examples: Barney Miller, Different Strokes, Archie Bunker, Jeffersons, My Wife and kids, Two and a Half Men, Third Rock from the Sun, Big Bang Theory, Friends.
Those are all great shows too but do you see the difference? Singe cameras tend to move all over the place. Mulit-cams tend to stay in one, two or three locations. Look at Friends. Two apartments and a coffee shop. From a production standpoint much easier, much more time efficient and cheaper.
And I’m NOT suggesting multi-camera shows are easy. No shows are easy. BUT, multi-camera shows do have less challenges.
Meeting Notes: 8/4/11
And certainly the writing of mulit-cam isn’t easier than singel cam. Writing is tough. In some cases, single camera writing may be easier because you don’t have the same location constrictions.
But shooting in three constant locations is way easier than shooting in several locations that come specifically and uniquely out of the writing. And shooting with one camera requires you get both close ups and coverage separate which is time consuming. Multi-camera shows are designed to get both in one shot. See?
Meeting Notes: 8/12/11
Since multi-cam shows are shackled to their locations their creative freedom is also somewhat shackled. Single cam shows are more free because they can travel. Move. Fly. Look back up at the list of both. You can see the journey of the single camera shows.
Meeting Notes: 10/18/11
And on top of it, multi-cam shows tend to be cheaper because shooting in the same three locations is… well… cheaper and faster. Also faster because you have multiple cameras shooting at the same time. Less set ups.
Meeting Notes: 10/20/11
If you needed proof that COMMUNITY was something special then you should, by now have your proof. Just LOOK at Megan’s meeting notes!
Meeting Notes: 10/21/11
There was a time when shows were allowed time. Some just needed time to find an audience. Others needed time to grow. Watch early episodes of Seinfeld and compare them to later seasons. Different show. That’s because the show had to grow to find an audience. In fact, the show opened with very low ratings. Folks just didn’t understand a show about nothing.
Then came the WGA “threat” of strike. The industry changed due to a little show called Survivor. Reality TV took hold with a vengeance. It was Script vs. Reality. Suddenly you had multi-cam and single-cam shows competing against shows with NO WRITERS (or at least no guilded writers). No longer could the Networks give a show time to find its audience nor time to “grow”. If you didn’t have the ratings after a couple episodes, you were gone.
Meeting Notes: 10/26/11
Add to that the influx of cable channels which brought new pros and cons. HBO, TNT, FX. While the networks were busy whooring reality, the cable guys were creating pretty solid scripted television. This meant the ratings pool was suddenly spread out. Rather than NBC, CBS, ABC and Fox owning the airways, they had to share and in some cases, get their asses handed to them.
On the pro list, this meant a show with lower ratings could hang on a bit longer. You’d think that was great but with so many new outlets (competition), it was that much harder to find an audience.
A roller coaster. Ratings that would get you cancelled just five years ago were suddenly considered strong ratings.
Meeting Notes: 10/27/11
NBC pulled COMMUNITY mid-season.
Meeting Notes: 11/9/11
If you haven’t seen it. Grab the first season on DVD.
Meeting Notes: 11/11/11
Because COMMUNITY will be back. And when it returns we need you to be ready. All you gotta do is watch season one and you’ll know.
Meeting Notes: 11/16/11
Community is a smart show. Community is a funny show. And it achieves this without you being told when and where to laugh. Single camera shows think outside the box. I love the box, but what a creatively vast and wonderful world lives beyond it.
As the meeting notes should reveal.
Meeting Notes: 12/6/11
I want a Megan Ganz Meeting Notes Coffee Table Book.
Because that would be…
So I watched a movie last night but I made the mistake of announcing my intention to Twitter. Stupid stoopid dummkopf that I am.
It’s not that Twitter responded by announcing, “Darth is Luke’s daddy!” Or “Bruce is a ghost!” It was more subtle. Several commented that said movie was either good, bad or meh. But most commented on how emotional it was. “You’re gonna cry and cry and cry.” “Be prepared to cry.” “Keep a box of Kleenex near.”
Is this a bad thing? You’d think no but I’m about to argue a big honking YES it’s BAD.
I actually love emotional (tear-jerker) movies. I write horror most of the time so watching an emotional movie is simply glorious. Old Yeller. The Champ. Heck, during a fancy WGA screening of Return of the King I made one of them loud sucking in of air wimpering noises as I struggled not to weep. Earlier last night I teared up several times while watching Harry Potter 7.5. Damn that Severus, the bravest man I’ve ever known.
But tonight, while watching unnamed movie in question. Nothing. Did I feel an emotional surge or two? Sure. But my expectation had been highjacked. I was EXPECTING tears. And as a result my internal defenses were up. I did not hit the floor because I knew the punch was coming. In fact, I didn’t even get hit. Just sort of dodged in anticipation.
And that pisses me off.
Therefore, Twitter. You sir, are a dickhead.
Not only had I not asked for opinions, it occurred to me, every single early comment was by someone who had seen an early screening. You know, watching a movie early is not a life accomplishment giving you the right to blather on about your opinion.
If you wanna poop your opinion to the internet, great. Go for it. Start a blog. All the kids are doing it. A blog will make you important. You’re reading a blog now. See how very very important I am because of it? Then go on Twitter and say, I just saw Star Wars and here’s what I thought.
But there are things you should not do:
1. Please don’t mini-review on Twitter.
2. If I say I’m going to watch Star Wars, that does NOT mean, “Hey Twitter, what did you think of Star Wars?”
3. Please don’t live tweet your movie and or TV watching experience.
Of course there are no rules and I’m certainly not the boss of you. But I am the boss of me and here’s what may happen. If you break 1 or 3, then it’ll likely get you unfollowed. You break 2, it’ll likely get you blocked.
You see, I don’t wanna know. I’ve not seen the Hobbit trailer. Nor the Dark Knight trailer. Why would I? I’m going to go see the movies. What possible purpose would I have in seeing the trailers? To make sure the filmmakers are doing it right? Like I have any influence either way. Plus, Nolan, Jackson and teams have a pretty good track record. So, would I watch the trailers to add my two cents to the blur of noise about it on the internet? No interest. No, the reason I watch a trailer is to decide if I wanna see a movie. For a movie like Hobbit or Dark Knight, I’m already decided. I’m going to go. Therefore I stay away from the trailer. Like staying away matters. Twitter tells me everything about each trailer without asking if I want to know. And it’s the same thing Twitter says about everything. Some think it’s good, some think it’s bad, some think it’s meh. Movies are subjective. The Trailers advertising them are subjective. No one wins the debate. The only thing the debate manages to do is spoil details for me. Thanks Twitter. You are a dickhead.
BUT that’s what we’re good at. Manufacturing opinion. While China leads the world in exporting goods and services, we are world leaders of opinion. Movies. TV. Goods. Services. Deaths. Ideas. Breasts. You name it, we’ll tell you what we think of it. We’ll even opinionate about opinons.
I’m intrigued when someone who judges movies for a living speaks about against award shows that judge movies for a living and then proceeds to put out a year’s top ten list. But, that pretty much sums up Twitter. Millions of tiny opinions that don’t care about any other opinion.
Of course, this is just my opinion.
Simon Barrett is a working Screenwriter. I could run through his filmography but I will not. You know how to Google. But I will say FRANKENFISH.
We’ve known each other for a few years. Used to meet at the MythHacks dinners. Basically the poor man’s writer version of the Masters of Horror. We’re not close. We’ve never worked together. Never shared warm showers or chocolate bars. He’s a smart ass and likely the hardest working screenwriter I know. If he isn’t writing he’s shooting. If he isn’t shooting he’s watching movies.
And tonight he’s Occupying Los Angeles.
I sort of glanced at Walking Dead tonight but what I really did was watch Simon Occupy. Following are the events via Twitter. Unlike Twitter, read top to bottom and ignore timestamps as I was grabbing screenshots sometimes out of order.
And remember, if you make less than 400 thousand dollars a year, then @simon_barrett is standing on a wall tonight. For you. Whether you are smart enough to understand why or not.
I still don’t understand why so many conservatives think the occupy movement is bad. I say this as a fella who’s conservative much of the time. I voted for Bush. Twice. I pay my taxes. That’s because I don’t make enough to hide my profits offshore. In fact, I pay more in taxes than alot of people make all year. Well… depending on how crappy the year is and these days… yeesh. But the point is…
Biggest trick filthy rich white people ever pulled was convincing broke people to starve and die for them.
My father-in-law had cancer. He was given the wrong dosage of chemo. He died. Three months after Izzie Rain was born. The bank foreclosed on their house. My mother-in-law came to live with us. In our two bedroom apartment. The bank that foreclosed showed a profit of over 800 million, paid no taxes and received billions in bailout money. That same year I paid 42 thousand in taxes.
Figures. I was hoping for an exciting 3rd act involving Barrett saving 99.5 percent of the world’s population with a half burnt candle, a half eaten donut and a light chasing dog… wait. This just in.
It’s barking up 4am. Barrett’s gone quiet. He’s likely saving his battery, or he’s asleep. Could be dead. Could be banging a hippie. It’s hard to know.
It’s 4:20am. Poured another long island. Yeah. I like to drink alone. Read the pages I wrote today. LOVE them. Which means they’ll never sell. Or will be force rewritten by jackoffs who don’t have a clue what they’re saying.
Too tired to look at porn. Again. Twitter’s gone silent.
4:31am. I’m fading. I’m old. I feel… thin. Sort of stretched, like… bread scraped over too much butter. I need a holiday. A very long holiday. And I don’t expect I shall return. Until like 10am.
4:45am. I have to pee.
I’m peeing. And I’m sitting down. Because I’ve come to the conclusion that as we near 5am of an allnighter we should all pee in the Queen’s proper. Meanwhile Amazon is telling me that The Devil’s Double blu is on sale. No thank you Lions Gate. I’d rather buy My Bloody Valentine part II on blu. Buttholes.
11 minutes until possible 5am eviction.
You should get your money out of the bigger banks. Look at local credit unions. Big banks don’t care about your community. Remember, it’s your money. Your community.
And nothing did.
Bill just sent me this link. When he won the MC asked him if he was going to drink beer from a skull to celebrate.
This was Saturday night and he’s clearly still giddy from the rush!