Friday, September 30, 2005

Honesty is So Under Rated

If you're one of those people that say you want honesty from your partner, but you really want them to blow sunshine up your butt - your butt that "of course doesn't look fat - it's perfect" - you wouldn't deal well with James. Once, when we were in the middle stages of dating, we got into an argument, and he started to fume. I asked what he was thinking about, and he responded, "I'm so angry... it makes me question if I still love you." To which my quick response was, "Oh shut up, you soooooo still love me!" At which he chuckled and said "You're right. You call me on my stupidity. It's why I love you. Hey, pass the ketchup."

My writing partner of seven years is no less direct. Take the email from him below regarding Act One of our pilot. I had revised four of his scenes, as well as added two of my own. I thought it was some of my better work. And mind you, I busted my chops in between James being gone for two weeks, sick kids, and fires threatening to burn down my neighborhood. He starts positive, but like the way I discipline Dominic ("I love you, baby boy, but you CANNOT stick your hand in the dish disposal. BAD BAD BAD") he is more than clear with his disappointment. He writes:

"Way to go!

But I would hold on before moving on with the next two scenes. I'm sorry, but your changes to my scenes have made this script seem completely about sex. I know that's our story line, but the sex jokes are relentless and monotonous and repetitive after a while.

Establishing character in the cold opening was good, but establishing characters not on screen makes it sound like pipe. I don't want Jimmy's wife being a slut in college. In fact, if he did hook up with his wife it's because she wasn't as easy as the other girls.

Crazy Eddie should be about sex sells and not about sex. His goal is to make money and he uses sex to do that. I did like the part about scoring but Jimmy's response, "I'm monogamous sounds written."

The houses don't share a cellar, they have two cellars facing each other.

I liked the belch stuff but you seem to be writing the George character as a guy who delivers a lot of good gags. Which is fine, if he's a funny person, but I thought he was more of a stiff nerd. A straight man in comedy parlance. Just want our characters to be consistant with their character.
I think we should schedule a time to meet and work on this together in a room with a computer. When's a good day for you?"

Was I disappointed he didn't think my stuff was the next "Everybody Loves Raymond?" Sure. But do I agree with him. Sure again. The only way we're going to have a hit show some day is to hit issues dead on, fix them, and keep going.

Comedy writing is so much like marriage. You need constant communication, never ending rewrites, and no matter how hard you try, there are days when you just can't hear the same boring story from your partner.

I just wish my life had an applause track for every time I did the laundry. Or an award once a year. "And the Emmy for being the most fertile myrtle on the block goes to... Andrea P!"

Yeah, that'd be fun.

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