Staff Writer: Angelina Burnett
I love my job. I get paid to tell stories. Beat that. But when asked to write a post about what I “do” as a writer, well, I was concerned. See, what I do isn’t really that interesting. I sit in a room for hours on end, alone or with my writer brethren, bashing my forehead into a wall. Eventually, I look down and the blood that ‘s gushed from my head wound has formed words on a page and those words happen to tell a story. Except imagine all that with out any of the entertaining violence and blood. Right? Not so compelling. And despite the fact that I’m greeted most mornings with a “Hey, Liz Lemon,” from our illustrious assistant prop master, Dr. Booty, I lack the comic chops that would allow me to take an otherwise mundane workday and turn it into an entertaining circus. So, you know, apologies to you, dear reader.
Besides, the awesome part of being a TV writer comes when you hand the script over to the crew so they can turn the words you wrote into people and rooms and rain and what not. Every show is different and writers have various levels of involvement in the production process but I’m lucky enough to be on a show where I’m able to participate.
Each episode’s prep lasts seven days and runs thusly: everyone gets together to talk generally, everyone breaks off individually with the director then everyone gets back together again to make sure we’re still on the same page. While the meetings each week are pretty standard -- wardrobe, art department, location scouts, transpo, -- occasionally the script calls for specialty meetings. Say, pre records for Lola and Bernie in “Does Everybody Have a Drink” or dance rehearsals for “Cinderella.” The writer’s role in this is to answer any questions that come up, offer her opinion on creative choices and brainstorm ways to adjust the script to make it more production friendly with out losing the original intent. It’s incredibly collaborative and can be a lot of fun.
I can’t say enough about the fantastic crew on The Cleaner. Not only is everyone incredibly dedicated to their craft but they’re good people – kind and fun and supportive. Though the crew keeps far different hours from us writers, I’m always excited to get out of bed long before my usual alarm to head to set and watch them take some ink I put on a page and make it 3D. (Ok, I’m lying about the excited part. I loathe getting up early for call but it’s always worth it when I get there.)