Closing out April with more Friday Questions. By the way, this was Shirley Temple’s birthday. She was born a day before my mom. But as the years went passed it seems she was born several years and a day before my mom. How does that work?
VP81955 gets us started.
It appears the only genre "premium" or subscription channels such as Showtime, HBO. Hulu, Netflix or Amazon are loath to touch is the multi-camera, filmed-before-an-audience sitcom -- despite their continued popularity, particularly in syndication. Do you believe this is because:
* relatively few showrunners not named Chuck Lorre comfortable with the format?
* filming before an audience requires a weekly production schedule, thus limiting the possibility of "binge watching"? (It's not like a game show, where you can run a week-long strip of five eps.)
* they are more disposed to single-camera series, and don't consider multi-cams "hip"?
There are plenty of excellent showrunners who are familiar with the format but these networks are not seeking their services.
Production-wise, multi-cameras are easier and less expensive than single-camera shows. A lot of these streaming networks wait until a whole season is in the can so it makes no difference that they’re filmed on a weekly basis.
People binge-watch CHEERS. Why not ONE DAY AT A TIME?
And finally, yes, there is definitely the “hipness” factor of single-camera shows. They are less formulaic. But a good multi-camera show can rival a well-made one act play. Yes, a lot of current multi-cams are dumb, but they don’t have to be. CHEERS and FRASIER sure weren’t dumb. And neither was SEINFELD or FRIENDS. Or GOLDEN GIRLS for that matter. It’s the execution not the number of cameras.
And while we’re on the subject -- Donald Benson wonders:
On a show that's close to a stage play like "Frasier" or "Cheers", is there an impulse to cast even the small parts with "overqualified" actors as a sort of insurance?
You hire the best actor you can find. No one is “over-qualified.” I’ve seen big movie stars completely bomb on a multi-camera show. Likewise, I’ve seen Tony winners lay an egg in multi-camera.
The more qualified and professional the better, but it’s also exciting to discover raw talent. Each case is different.
I've been listing to (and enjoying) your podcast and have a quick question. How tightly scripted are your podcast comments? I'm sure that you are shooting for a specific run time for each segment so I would assume some level of scripting. Your commentary sounds almost ad libed.
With the exception of my Oscar review, everything is ad libbed. I make notes but otherwise just wing it. My goal is to sound conversational and communicate one-to-one to the listener and I can’t do that when I’m just reading something. That extemporaneous approach stems from all my years in talk radio. You can’t script a four-hour show or three hour baseball game. Thanks for listening. Please subscribe.
A production company in England is currently reading a pilot/TV bible I wrote. I've been tempted to write beyond the pilot episode (first season) but would that be silly? Any advice is appreciated.
At this point another episode would just be a sales tool and I don’t think that’s necessary. You could write episode two for the exercise or fun of it. But I would think a better use of your time would be to write another pilot. Double your chances of selling something. Good luck.
What’s your Friday Question… besides “Who is Shirley Temple?”