Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Tagged under: , , , , , , , , , , ,

ANTHONY Q. FARRELL ON WRITING FOR NBC’S THE OFFICE, PITCHING JOKES TO STEVE CARELL, AND WHAT IT TAKES TO SUCCEED AS A TV COMEDY WRITER (MF GALAXY 097)




Anthony Q. Farrell is an amazing cat. He’s from Toronto, went to actual comedy school, and ended up writing for one of the most influential US comedy series ever, The Office on NBC, which is also one of my favourite shows.

He wrote two of its most enduring  episodes: “Casual Friday,” in which Dunder Miflin former district manager Michael Scott returns to his old job with also former-ex-employees Pam Beesley and Ryan Howard, and the emotional “Employee Transfer,” in which Michael Scott breaks up with Holly Flax, the love of his life, during a road trip to her new home.

Farrell also served as the Canadian culture consultant on “Business Trip,” in which Michael Scott, Andy Bernard, and Oscar Martinez go to Winnipeg.
In addition to having written for two years on The Office including the Office short films “Taste the Ice Cream” and “Money Trouble,” Farrell wrote for The Thundermans, Originals, In Gayle We Trust, and was the series creator of Dwelling and The Secret Life of Boys. He also wrote and was executive story editor for the CBC sitcom hit Little Mosque on the Prairie.

Did I mention that Farrell is an African-Canadian? And given that there aren’t many African-Canadian writers who’ve hit it big in Hollywood, as soon as I knew Farrell existed, I was determined to hear what he had to say.

In today’s episode, Farrell speaks with me about his career in comedy television, including:

  • The impact that Office showrunner and executive producer Greg Daniels had on him as a writer and later as a showrunner
  • The artistic and collegial environment for writers and actors on the show and what made it so effective
  • What is was like working with series stars such as Rainn Wilson who played Dwight Shrute and Mindy Kaling who played Kelly Kapoor, and what it was like to pitch a joke to Steve Carell
  • What it feels like to write fat jokes about actors you’ll be seeing every day at work, and why some actors stop getting comedic moments in their scripts
  • And which Office actors were most like their characters.

Farrell spoke with me by Skype on June 10, 2016.

We begin with Farrell discussing how attending comedy school gave him the training and the contacts he needed to build an outstanding career.

Anthony Q. Farrell on IMDB

SUBSCRIBE FOR FREE ON iTUNES
SUBSCRIBE FOR FREE ON STITCHER
SUPPORT MF GALAXY ON PATREON




The following material is exclusive to the patrons-only extended edition of MF GALAXY. You’ll hear  Anthony Q. Farrell  discuss:


  • How he wrote the emotional episode “Employee Transfer” about Michael Scott losing Holly Flax
  • How writers need to work with others to thrive professionally and emotionally
  • To what extent Hollywood still ghettoises Latina and Latino, and African-American and African-Canadian writers.

Monday, November 07, 2016

Tagged under: , , , , ,

BRANDON EASTON ON WRITING FOR TV’S AGENT CARTER AND THE ART, ECONOMICS + POLITICS OF WRITERS ROOMS (MF GALAXY 096)


MAINTAINING INTEGRITY IN TV WRITING WHILE BEING A TEAM PLAYER, THE ROLES OF SHOW RUNNER AND STAFF WRITER, THE IMPORTANCE OF CHEMISTRY, HOW TO BREAK A SCRIPT, WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU GO OVER BUDGET


Brandon Easton is a super-accomplished creator. In addition to having made the must-see documentary Brave New Souls about African-American writers and artists in science fiction and fantasy novels, comics, and movies, he’s also a:
  • Freelance Writer at Marvel Entertainment
  • Writer of M.A.S.K. at IDW Publishing
  • Freelance Writer at IDW Publishing
  • Volunteer Solar System Ambassador at Jet Propulsion Laboratory
  • Writer at Unified Pictures
  • Writer at Lion Forge Comics
  • Former Program Writer at Disney/ABC Television Group
  • Former Staff Writer at Marvel Entertainment
Easton has received the 2015 Disney-ABC Writing Program, a 2014 nomination for the Eisner Comic Industry Award for Best Single Issue or One Shot, and four Glyph Awards. He was also a semi-finalist for the 2013 Hollywood Black Film Festival's Project Stargazer, which was a collaboration with NASA to find and develop science-fiction writers of color.
Easton spoke with me on June 27, 2016 by Skype, about:
  • How the Disney ABC Writing Programme works
  • Pro writing for the market with big money at stake
  • The pressure of writers rooms and how they made him smarter
  • How showrunners choose their writers
  • How to break an episode
  • The art and science of bottle shows
  • The penalties for going over budget
While I mention that we’ll be talking about writing for Marvel, that’ll be coming in a future episode of MF GALAXY, so keep subscribing.

LISTEN/DOWNLOAD

Buy Brandon Easton’s Brave New Souls documentary on African-American science fiction and fantasy film makers, authors, and comic creators. It’s a great doc and it’s only 8 bucks.