Film Courage: What are 5 things a writer should know about the TV writing room?
Jeffrey Davis: You take 2 and a half and I’ll take 2 and a half [looking at Peter].
Peter Desberg: [Laughs]
Jeffrey Davis: Go ahead…want me to start?
Peter Desberg: Yeah. Go ahead.
Jeffrey Davis: Know that there is a 90 percent chance you are going to have to work your way into the room as script assistant, as a writer’s assistant. Those jobs are plentiful and great and you will get training. Know that it will take awhile.
Also know that when you are a baby writer…don’t talk, listen. No one likes someone who answers questions.
Know that people are good at one or two things, but no one is good at everything. I think I answered three, that leaves you two.
Peter Desberg: And don’t be the smartest person in the room. Ever, ever…
Jeffrey Davis: Never be the smartest person in the room.
Film Courage: Why?
Peter Desberg: Because everybody will hate you…
Jeffrey Davis: Especially the show runner.
Peter Desberg: And you won’t be the smartest person in the room and everyone will see that. And really, you cannot be full of yourself.
Jeffrey Davis: I’m not going to mention the show. I will mention that it was my friend Bob who was very close to as I said Chuck Lurie (who gave Chuck Lurie his break). And Chuck will call Bob every once in awhile even though Bob is semi-retired and say “I really need help” and it was a point a couple of years ago when he had five shows on the air. And he went on one of the shows and he pitched a joke and he said to Bob “Was that funny? When you were working on My Two Dads, was that funny back then? Or on Facts of Life?” And Chuck went to Bob and said “Look, I don’t need the money. I’m out of here.” And he left.
If you’re a show runner, the best show runner you can be is the kind of person who mentors other people. Who is secure enough (like Phil Rosenthal) to really care about getting the best out of people. That’s the best kind of leader….(Watch the video here on Youtube).
At the Writers’ Table with Hollywood’s Top Comedy Writers
by Authors Jeffrey Davis and Peter Desberg
CONNECT WITH JEFFREY DAVIS
CONNECT WITH PETER DESBERG