RSS Feed

Comedy disaster planning

Posted on Thursday, March 12, 2009 in TV

busterThis is passed on from a friend of a friend who was at a TV comedy writing workshop in LA. It was taught by a 23-year veteran of network sitcoms. If the original author objects to this being on the website, drop me a line ( and I’ll remove it.  But I’m thinking, since I first read this, we’ve had the big crash and this advice resonates way beyond the writing rooms.

If comedies stop being produced in Hollywood, we’re on our own. We’re not going to be employed. That’s just the truth of it. Look at what Reality shows have done — half the writers in town said, ‘We’re outta here!’ and left the business.
Whoever stays in the business is going to have more than they can handle, so be prepared to be on your own in terms of water, food, shelter and medical attention for anywhere from one to five seasons.” He wasn’t being alarmist, just realistic.
Okay, so, some practical things to know:
Keep your car’s gas tank half full at all times. You never know when you might have to jam to a development meeting and you can’t count on having enough spare money to buy a gallon of gas. During the last writers’ strike, freeways became snarled with cars that had run out of gas.
Make it a habit to look around every time you enter your home and imagine how you’d get out in an emergency. People will rush to sell their homes at the same time, driving down prices. This is where the crush will occur. Look for alternate exits ahead of time.
Have enough prescription medication on hand to carry you through if pharmacies are closed, or be prepared to give up high-priced anti-depressants and switch to inexpensive fruity wine.
Don’t drink the water from your pool. It’ll give you diarrhea. You can make a 5-gallon jug of water drinkable by adding a teaspoon of chlorine. It’ll keep for up to five years, at which point we have predicted comedy should be coming back.
Or just drink the chlorine to end it all, washing it down with inexpensive fruity wine.
Don’t store spec scripts directly on concrete. It’ll degrade the brads, which you may later need to fashion a crude razor.
Eat food and drink water every six months, at the same time as you change agents. It’s good to have a camping stove in your preparedness kit, to cook up the crumbs agents toss your way. Plus, you can use it to immolate yourself, if necessary.
Make sure your kit contains lots of wet wipes, to erase fingerprints should you be driven to a life of crime.
After a couple days without water, when you’ve flushed your toilet for the last time, take out any remaining water, line the bowl with a trash bag, and jump in. Gross to think about; good to know.
Keep bottles of Clorox within reaching distance of bottles of amonia.
When combined, they can create a potentially fatal gas.
Make sure all pets are either microchipped or have collars with contact info, as you don’t want to lose them. You never know when a “loving pet” might have to become an “eating pet”.
After a dry spell of 5 seasons or more, the effectiveness of your existing spec scripts is questionable. Turn off your mind to protect any sense of humor that’s still in your head. Otherwise, a sense of hopelessness might come in and contaminate it.
Don’t use your cell phone when you curse out your agent. It might lose its electrical charge and he/she will miss a few choice expletives.
Keep a crowbar in your bedroom to make sure you can get out in the event that you are in deep debt and the sheriff is at the door. If you live above the first floor, keep a roll-up ladder as well.
Designate one out-of-state friend or relative as your main “crash person”. They can be the clearinghouse for people to find out if you’re okay. Give them a list of people you’d like them to call for you, so they can save on office supplies thanks to your new capacity as Staples Jr. Manager.
Don’t keep your car in the garage immediately after staffing season.
You will need to sell it, because you will be less stable, plus you will have nowhere to go.
When bludgeoning an agent with a blunt object, use anything that’s taller than it is wide. Anchor your victims to bookshelves, refrigerators, heavy furniture or gas appliances before dropping them into the sea.
If you’re at a big Agency like CAA or Endeavor during staffing season, set fire to the spec scripts on their shelving racks, even if you have to shove the contents onto the floor. It’ll keep you safe from too much competition and allow for the writers below you to collapse.

Bring on the comments

  1. Heather says:

    I really tend to go along with almost everything that has been
    posted throughout “Comedy disaster planning | THINKING WITHOUT A TRACE”.
    I am grateful for all the actual advice.Many thanks-Melvin

Leave a Reply