Transcript: Stuck in a Bad Rewrite
That's how Rob Long views the 146-day strike. Now it's time to write our way out
This is Rob Long with Martini Shot for The Ankler.
Once, early in my career, I was sitting the writers room during a particularly grueling rewrite, and we were all stuck on one joke.
It was the last line of a scene — what some people call a scene blow or a button or a scene out, depending, I guess, on when you joined the business and who you learned from — and we were stuck, all of us—and there were about nine of us in the room, maybe a dozen Emmys among us (not mine, of course) and several seriously rich guys (not me, of course) who had expensive cars and giant houses and second houses near some water somewhere precisely because they were able to come up with things like the last joke in a scene.
But at that moment, we all had nothing.
One veteran writer turned to another, who was staring into space. "What do you got?" he asked.
"Not a thought in my head." Was the reply. "Not even thinking about it. I was thinking about retiling my pool." And we all laughed.
And then, a few seconds later, that same writer pitched the winning joke. And we all went home.
What we needed, apparently, was a little mini vacation from all of that thinking. We were thinking about that one joke so hard that what we needed to do was think about something else, even if it was only for a minute or two.