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    From: STRACZYNSKI [Joe]
 Subject: Kim: this was probably the most...
      To: GENIE  
    Date: 12/28/1995 2:40:00 PM  

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Kim: this was probably the most logistically difficult, since I had so
many elements "in play" at any given moment, and so many threads to deal with,
even though there's really just the one overall storyline (it's hard to
explain, you'll just have to see it). Other things have been more difficult
for other reasons...either it was too emotionally close to me, or I've been
under a killer deadline, it varies.

Pat: you fall into the trap of accepted cliche re: committee writing.
That's the usual picture people have of TV writing, and frankly, in the case
of most dramatic TV, it ain't true. For starters, two of the shows you cite
are sitcoms; sitcoms work differently from dramatic series in that there's
often (though not always) a gang of gag writers who work in tandem to come up
with an episode, with someone transcribing the jokes, around a basic premise.
Other times you get a writing team, one knows structure, the other is funny;
ain't the same deal as dramatic writing.

I've been involved in a LOT of dramatic television, from MURDER SHE WROTE
to WALKER to TWILIGHT ZONE and JAKE, and it's just not done by committee.
When it comes to my scripts, as a staffer, I write them on my own, get my
notes from the exec producer, make the changes, and it goes into production.
In the case of a freelancer, the outline and script come in, the writer gets
notes from the story editor or producer, does the next draft, turns that in,
and someone on staff then takes the script and makes whatever final changes --
minor or major -- are required to make it producible or a better story.
Sometimes you don't touch it at *all* except to make production (set) changes;
sometimes it's more. But you've got just the original writer, and usually one
staffer doing cleanup. It ain't three, four or seven guys in a room throwing
around ideas. If a staffer does a huge rewrite, sometimes you'll put in for
shared credit. (The reason you see ten zillion writer credits in many ST
episodes is due to the gang rewriting/writing process.)

I'm not saying it doesn't happen at all in dramatic TV, because that
wouldn't be true...only that it's not the rule, and is much rarer than you
might think. Not one of the dramatic series I've been involved with has ever
worked that way.


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