24 July 2007

Sitcom Room Recap

I'm conscious again! I'm conscious again!

Here's a rough pass at my Sitcom Room timeline:

  • 2pm - arrive PHX for 3:45 Southwest flight
  • 5:10 - board the 4:45 Southwest flight they put us on after ours was mysteriously canceled
  • 6:15-ish - land LAX, get shuttle to Hilton, check-in
  • 7:30-ish - take taxi to Santa Monica. The wife came along, figuring she'd lay by the pool and read, or go shopping, or just relax. She didn't count on cold and foggy weather or her damaged eardrum taking a beating on the plane. Regardless, anyone who truly knows my wife knows there was only one thing she really wanted out of this trip - dinner at Bubba Gump's. I know. She doesn't have what one might call a refined palate.
  • 'Round midnight - turn off laptop and go to sleep
  • 6am-ish - head down to the hotel gym for a workout. No weights, just an hour on an elliptical. Sounds crazy, sure. Wait until tomorrow.
  • 8-ish - breakfast in the Cafe. One egg white omelet, an order of toast, a diet coke, coffee, and oj, for the low-low price of, well more than my first car.
  • 8:45 - into Century A&B to sign in, grab my nametag, and pick a seat. I went for the back row until I was shamed into the front. Ken doesn't spit when he talks, so it worked out very well.
  • 9am - Here it is in Ken's words from his blog: "Saturday did begin at 9 with me telling them everything I knew about comedy and writing and life. Then we broke for coffee at 10."
  • Noon - lunch in the Cafe. All of us. I believe Heaven's Gate cost less than our combined bill.
  • 1-ish - the original scene. I don't know what IT is, but Kerrilee Kaski sure has IT. (Actually, I know what IT is, but I can't spell it.)
  • 1:15-1:45 - Actor, network, and studio notes. Taking these and incorporating them into the scene-as-written would be only a little tougher than hammering out a workable solution to the Two-State plan.
  • 2pm-4:20am Sunday - Off to our writers' rooms. I can't be very specific about the timeline in the room because it pretty much stood still. I haven't laughed that hard since that one time on America's Funniest Home Videos when the guy got hit in the balls.
  • 4:45am - Lights out for sleepy time. Jesse's crashed on the living room couch and the wife tells me if I get arrested for kidnapping, she knows nothing about it.
  • 6:40am - phone rings. Dan O'Day calling to tell me that he and Ken never got the email with our scene. I boot up the laptop as I incoherently babble to Dan. Finally, I mail the scene off to the two of them. Dan tells me he's got it and I collapse to the floor to blog. I know. It's a sickness. Ken emails a short while later to confirm that he also got the files, and I get dressed to workout again. See, now that might be a sickness.
  • 7:30-8:10 - I believe I listen to the Rocky theme song twice during my short workout, and Eye of the Tiger once. That's all that's keeping me awake.
  • 8:30 - to the cafe to scarf some eggs and juice. I was there for just ten minutes, but the first five were for the credit check.
  • 8:45 - Hallway outside the meeting rooms where we're milling about. I hear my team's leader, Lizbeth, say "Star Ledger" as she's walking toward someone I don't recognize at first...then I realize it's Alan Sepinwall, who's dropped in to watch the morning's activities. I go meet my favorite TV critic.
  • 9am - The actors start kicking the ass out of the scenes. Ours will be last, as they're being performed in the order of completion. Speed, I suppose, is something our team needs a bit more of.
  • Noon-ish - lunch with my team. I had a bowl of ramen that cost more than my flight to LA, but it was good. No banana sauce though. I had to settle for Tabasco.
  • 1-ish - back to our writers' room (the smell of bad chinese food will forever permeate that conference room at the Hilton) to polish our scene. Our biggest problem was a lack of smooth transitions from one mood to another, so we tried to work that out. Ken came in and gave us a great bit to use, though it did mean the death of the Iguana 2000.
  • 3pm - the panel discussion. Holy crap. Giants. We're not worthy. I'm very embarrassed that I have to take a quick break from the proceedings to run to the restroom. My father was right: make sure you go before we leave.
  • 5pm - Quick video interviews, we say our goodbyes, and head to the bar. Finally, like real writers we drink! (Really nothing like real writers. We're too tired. One drinkypoo and some food is all.)
This was a fantastic weekend, and worth every penny I spent. Two meeting rooms, two conference rooms, and two suites set Ken and Dan back quite a bit. Add on the actors and the Chinese food (it's expensive to find food that bad) and this was a steal for the price. And immense fun.

My team completely rocked. Funny, smart, clever writers all of them. We were locked in a room for just under 15 hours and had a ton of fun. I'd be locked in a room with Lizbeth, Dan, John, and Jesse anytime.

Thank you Ken, for a great, and memorable weekend.