#writinglife: day in the life of a prime-time series writer (part four)

Page/Day Four….  

KW: 12:02PM - lunch is called for the production office/in studio crew. we usually take 20 to sit down and eat together as a story room. then back at it - after lunch will be notes on the new draft that’s in (I’m digging’ it!). More Prep (Pre-production) meetings on my ep shooting Thursday pend this aft. Let me get my tupperware organized and I’ll answer thots in the posts above…

Daniel Magnus (DM): Most interesting read on Facebook in recent memory. Rare behind the scenes, from writer’s P.O.V. Probably a dumb question but…Do writers go into OT? Thanks Karen.

WZ: Daniel, staff writers get paid a weekly salary. They don’t keep records of hours (i.e. no punching in and out) and don’t get overtime. Typically, when production is in full swing, you’re looking at 12-15 hour days, not counting writing at home after.

No overtime.

KW: Hi Jeff E. - fyi Wil Zmak is correct in most respects re your queries, esp as he worked this show last season - which was pretty different but what we’re on about here is similar (in fact am writing from ‘my’ office, which was ‘will’s’ last year. this season we do actually hang as a group all together all thru. we each have little offices hived off a big room w a lot of wipe boards, a remote-controlled fish, a TV for dailies (what we shoot each day) and to review and do notes on cuts, casting tapes etc. not tapes CDs/DVDs sorry. In this room there are four of us. We started together downtown in June. So six months in, we’re pretty hard-wired as a team and we work that way, to our show runner’s great example & credit each day.

KW: So no not in this season’s room is it ever terribly quiet. Wil’s room would have been different - each show, each year a room is as different as the writers’ and their experiences can be coming in, thru it and where ever we’re headed after. Our room is like the best lunch at high school car table you can get ;)

KW: Hi Daniel - writers don’t get OT, they just get really pale and mole-eyes - no matter what their colouring. we work until the work is done, because it’s tough for everybody else to do their jobs well until the script is what it needs to be for that to happen. I work 6 or seven days a week, and most nights after we go home we all then begin in earnest our writing due, individually. or the reading or the viewing or the revisions. which is why everybody else waiting to hear from me outside the show can get it over it now ;) I hope. Again changes every show but yes we et a flat rate to keep the wheels greased - whatever time that takes is what it takes, period. It’s a marathon not a punch your pay card kinda gig

KW: and thanks Daniel for the compliment, too kind.

KW: also re noise levels I get busted a lot for playing Zep or AC/DC or Jack White too loud. Everybody else has fancy noise blocker headphones but I’m cheap and need to air guitar to reach my ultimate out-put/day of half-baked crazy