Thursday, May 21, 2009

"True, Whether You Like It Or Not"

Writers hate to believe this. But when something rings true, whether you like to believe it or not, it’s undeniable.

I’m working on Major Dad. Unlike other series I’d been involved in creating, this one looks like it’s going to run. I’m curious as to why that is. Which shows you the magical nature of success. If they’re honest about it, even those responsible are not fully certain as to how they pulled it off.

I put everything I had into Major Dad. Talent, time, enthusiasm and effort. But I do that with all my shows. I wondered, “What did I inadvertently do differently this time?” I really wanted to know. So I could do it on purpose the next time.

It turns out, it has nothing to do with that. Since, I’ve got a note to someday write a post on, “What Makes A Hit”, I’m reluctant to blow those dazzling insights right now. I’ll just make this one point, and then skedaddle.

Feeling uncharacteristically confident, I ventured musing about Major Dad’s success in front the show’s star, Gerald McRaney.

“Why do you think we’re doing so well?” I inquired. I wasn’t fishing for a compliment. I really wanted his opinion.

McRaney’s answer was simple and shatteringly on the money:

“They like the guy,” he replied.

A lesson in humility.

No matter how brilliant your script, no matter how skillfully you assemble the elements, if it’s a TV series, no matter how favorable the time period, it’s going no place

If they don’t like the guy.
"He's doing shticklach. He's out of town."


Joe said...

That's probably wiser than even you think it is.

Should be the mantra for every TV writer.

A. Buck short said...

Thank God you’re in Toronto, and quite possibly not expecting much but schticklach from us commenter’s either. I think I gave myself a verbal hernia with all the free association yesterday.

Have a good time. Toronto is nice. Sure it’s no Indiana, but we’re sure you’ll find at least something to do. So now you’re asking yourself, how does he know about Indiana? We’ll I Googled “doing schticklach” to see what the hell a “schticklach” was; and guess what? The first two references that popped up on the search page were YOU Earl.

1. Earl Pomerantz: Just Thinking...If they don't like the guy. --------------------------------- "He's doing shticklach. He's out of town." Posted by Earl Pomerantz at 4:00 AM 0 comments ... - Similar pages

2. Earl Pomerantz: Just Thinking...: "Headin' To The Woods" Shticklach – small pieces – to tide you over and keep you around. ... When I come back, I'll be doing more Story of a Writer posts. ... - 87k - Cached - Similar pages

Adding: Did you mean doing shocklach?That means of the top 10 sights people were going to for their schticklach, yours came in 1 and 2 as most popular. That’s like the Yiddish perfecta. (Or would that be perfechta?) And now I also know what Shocklach is -- a village in England. But what do you want to bet they pronounce it Shock-LATCH?? Go ahead, place a bet; you’ve already won the perfechta.
But the best part is, it led me to your “Headin’ to the Woods” post of last Aug. 29, which was before I discovered you – and I recommend that highly to all, even though it’s considerably more filling than schticklach it “warns” will follow.

With regard to the wealth of Michiana information that contained (is stuff about Michiana called Michiana-ana?) and the tibit on “Indian Country,” I thought you might be pleased to learn that a neighborhood about a half mile away from us here in Dallas honestly boasts the street names: Arapaho, Rd., Cherokee Dr., Cheyenne Dr., Chippewa Dr., Comanche Dr., Chickasaw Dr., Seminole Dr., Pawnee Dr., Ottawa Dr., Osage Dr., Pueblo Dr., and Mohawk Trail. What do the residents call their neighborhood? The Reservation. Working for a Native American film company, I am always amused to know there is actually a section called N. Cheyenne Dr., because I’d like to think the developer actually had been aware that of all the Indians with naming rights, there really are tribes called Northern and Southern Cheyenne. Have a good time.