Wednesday, October 25, 2006

GET MOVIE/TV EXPERIENCE: DON'T WORK ON SITUATION COMEDIES

I stumbled across this blurb at John August's website about how to get in the door as a screenwriter-- ie., work a good movie/TV related job during the day and then use the off hours to write. This is the advice he offered here. Smart advice about various assistant jobs and the various types of things available, like office PA work.

I have been looking into getting in with one of these TV/movie productions as one of these assistant types, as a way to see the entertainment side of TV. The reason I'd go that route is so I could try and leverage that experience into other positions in the TV industry. I would be interested in getting into independent production and go the Bill Kurtis route, this is what he does all the time and it works for him. He has all this stuff on A&E all the time, he can do whatever projects he wants! That is the life.

What I'd be most interested in doing is getting in with one of these crime-show productions, like the kind that you see on Court TV or A&E. Another thing I'd like to do is get in with one of these legal procedurals like what you usually see in prime time (Boston Legal, etc.), but the true-crime shows might be more up my alley. I've heard that Court TV is expanding, that's somewhere I'd want to get into.

I know, I know, I have ranted about all the crime coverage on the local news on TV and how I hate it, but that's different. That's no-effort journalism in my opinion, covering death and gore, when a lot of other more serious news is going on in your town which ought to get some coverage. The stuff I'm talking about is much more intelligent---- whodunnit stuff. You get to see the justice system and the evidence presented, so it can be pretty interesting. That's what fascinates me, not this lousy coverage of the usual hoodlums getting arrested on the evening news.

The other reason to go the crime-show route is because, well, comedy writing is in big trouble right now. People are saying that these sitcoms are dying out. I read this article in the press about how all the new sitcoms are bombing this year on TV and how nobody's watching situation comedy anymore. No wonder NBC is going to game shows at 8PM, all the new comedies are tanking. Noticed that The Class is struggling on CBS, and 'Til Death is having a hard time on FOX. Also noticed that NBC plans to move 30 Rock to Thursdays in an attempt to boster the comedy lineup on that particular night.

They were pointing to all the dramas and the reality/game show fare as reasons for the decline. The most popular answer from people, though, is this perception that "most of these sitcoms are crap". It's the post Seinfeld, post-F.R.I.E.N.D.S. funk. People think none of these latest shows live up to Will and Grace or Frasier, so they think all these sitcoms are total garbage and that the entire genre is finished. This perception of sitcoms-in-decline is so strong that it is overwhelming all these shows on TV and making it difficult for all comedies to make it. There's actually a number of good sitcoms out there, like The Office and My Name is Earl. I like some of the stuff CBS has going on Monday nights, so it's not all total crap. There are still more good sitcoms than there are good reality shows. But people still think all the sitcoms are crap.

They aren't, but perception is reality, and these sitcoms are in deep $#!& with TV execs because of their underperformance and crummy ratings.

Anyway, my advice for the day is, don't work on sitcoms, they're dying right now. Work on a crime show. Or go work as a P.A. on a game show, instead. Cheap is all the rage---- especially at NBC.

By the way, I really enjoyed The War at Home marathon tonight on FOX. I wonder what we will get if there's a rainout tomorrow- a BONES marathon? Family Guy? This is why we watch TV, folks.

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