Friday Questions

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  • Friday Questions

    Your mid-September Friday Questions.

    Ted starts us off.


    Hey Ken, I think you might have discussed this before, but what's it like directing child actors? Do you have to make sure they don't have that annoyingly "cutesy" acting style that used to be common on TV shows? And do you find that most comedy writers are good at writing for kids, or are they too often tempted to make them sound like wisecracking junior adults?
    Chris wonders:


    Watching old sitcoms I notice that sometimes they'll use a humorous "smash cut," like switching suddenly to a new scene to contradict what a character just said, etc. The thing that surprises me is that the studio audience seems to laugh at these... But how on earth could they see the smash cut to laugh at it? Surely it takes too much time to change scenes in the actual studio to keep that laugh. Same question for camera pullout reveal jokes. Jeff asks:

    Back in the day, network star(s) would often host these shows or appear in mini-skits to introduce new or returning programs. Were you or any of your colleagues ever involved in any of these (e.g. to write dialogue for an actor appearing in character as their sitcom alter ego)?

    No. To be honest, those big preview shows died out in the 70s or 80s. Their heyday was before my time.

    Oh, for the days when fall premiers were a big deal. For NBC WeekAnd finally, from PolyWogg:

    I was wondering about voice direction in TV scripts. For example, in Friends, Matt Perry's delivery of "Could it BE any more (blah)" only works with the right rhythm and direction in delivery. So my Q is if you have similar examples of phrases/lines that were delivered but only work through voice inflection, and how much it was in the script vs. the actor finding a way to say it?


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