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“You don’t ice a cake before you’ve made the cake”

Ex-Community and now Modern Family writer Megan Ganz, fifty minutes into her interview with Writers Bloc podcast host J.R. Havlan, shares a technique for getting through first drafts:

(On Community) we did this thing (we called) ‘spit drafting’, which was basically (that) you’re writing a script, you have the outline, you know what’s supposed to happen in the scene, but you’re having a hard time actually writing out those scenes, you’re having a hard time getting the jokes…

So instead of writing dialogue, you type it out and say… ‘I am in a fight with you right now’… ‘I have a response to you fighting’… ‘Well, I think you’re a jerk because you wanted to eat a pastrami sandwich and I didn’t.’ You’re getting the shape of the scene and you’d write it about to the length of how much that scene would take up in your script.

Sounds like a fun way of breaking through first draft paralysis. Also, Ganz admits that the Community writers used to swear in their spit drafts ‘like crazy’, which sounds fun too.

“Gay for Gosling”

Pete Holmes in his podcast You Made It Weird has as intrusive a laugh as Ricky Gervais, but that ain’t necessarily a bad thing. Episode 35 with Larry Miller is the first episode I’ve heard, but I expect I’ll be downloading more.

Razzledazzle vs. Kramer Vs. Kramer

Those emotional hygienists are back with a new episode — their first in over a year. I think the more relaxed schedule suits them.

Martin wants, Douglas wants, Carolyn wants, Arthur wants, Nancy wants

A new series of the BBC Radio 4 sitcom Cabin Pressure began earlier this month, and in his blog post introducing the first episode, writer John Finnemore shares a page from his notebook, offering a fascinating glimpse into the process of constructing a half-hour comedy. I especially like the emphasis on what each of the main characters wants, the ‘value at stake’ and the ‘question’ of the episode.

Incidentally, John Finnemore was a guest last year on an episode of the Rum Doings podcast, which features an agreeably geeky and rambling discussion between Finnemore and hosts John Walker and Nick Mailer on the subject (mainly) of British sitcoms.

A Monday morning sea shanty

I was walking down my street this morning when I heard a tune both mournful and carnivalesque.

Around the corner walked a crusty, withered old rake playing some sort of sea shanty on a mouth organ. He wore a dark navy overcoat and tugged upon his grubby sailor’s cap as we bade each other good morning.

I thought how splendid it was that he was providing his own entertainment. I thought, “Wow, that’s so much better than carrying an iPod around”.

Then I thought, “Wait a minute, you can’t listen to a podcast commentary of last night’s episode of Doctor Who on a mouth organ.”