Dan Harmon responds to being “fired” from “Community”

May 19th, 2012 by

From Dan Harmon’s tumblr page:

HEY, DID I MISS ANYTHING?

Kids:

A few hours ago, I landed in Los Angeles, turned on my phone, and confirmed what you already know.  Sony Pictures Television is replacing me as showrunner on Community, with two seasoned fellows that I’m sure are quite nice – actually, I have it on good authority they’re quite nice, because they once created a show and cast my good friend Jeff Davis on it, so how bad can they be.

Why’d Sony want me gone?  I can’t answer that because I’ve been in as much contact with them as you have.  They literally haven’t called me since the season four pickup, so their reasons for replacing me are clearly none of my business.  Community is their property, I only own ten percent of it, and I kind of don’t want to hear what their complaints are because I’m sure it would hurt my feelings even more now that I’d be listening for free.

I do want to correct a couple points of spin, now that I’m free to do so:

The important one is this quote from Bob Greenblatt in which he says he’s sure I’m going to be involved somehow, something like that.  That’s a misquote.  I think he meant to say he’s sure cookies are yummy, because he’s never called me once in the entire duration of his employment at NBC.  He didn’t call me to say he was starting to work there, he didn’t call me to say I was no longer working there and he definitely didn’t call to ask if I was going to be involved.  I’m not saying it’s wrong for him to have bigger fish to fry, I’m just saying, NBC is not a credible source of All News Dan Harmon.

You may have read that I am technically “signed on,” by default, to be an executive consulting something or other – which is a relatively standard protective clause for a creator in my position.  Guys like me can’t actually just be shot and left in a ditch by Skynet, we’re still allowed to have a title on the things we create and “help out,” like, I guess sharpening pencils and stuff.

However, if I actually chose to go to the office, I wouldn’t have any power there.  Nobody would have to do anything I said, ever.  I would be “offering” thoughts on other people’s scripts, not allowed to rewrite them, not allowed to ask anyone else to rewrite them, not allowed to say whether a single joke was funny or go near the edit bay, etc.  It’s….not really the way the previous episodes got done.  I was what you might call a….hands on producer.  Are my….periods giving this enough….pointedness?  I’m not saying you can’t make a good version of Community without me, but I am definitely saying that you can’t make my version of it unless I have the option of saying “it has to be like this or I quit” roughly 8 times a day.

The same contract also gives me the same salary and title if I spend all day masturbating and playing Prototype 2.  And before you ask yourself what you would do in my situation: buy Prototype 2.  It’s fucking great.

Because Prototype 2 is great, and because nobody called me, and then started hiring people to run the show, I had my assistant start packing up my office days ago.  I’m sorry.  I’m not saying seasons 1, 2 and 3 were my definition of perfect television, I’m just saying that whatever they’re going to do for season 4, they’re aiming to do without my help.  So do not believe anyone that tells you on Monday that I quit or diminished my role so I could spend more time with my loved ones, or that I negotiated and we couldn’t come to an agreement, etc.  It couldn’t be less true because, just to make this clear, literally nobody called me.  Also don’t believe anyone that says I have sex with animals.  And if there’s a photo of me doing it with an animal – I’m not saying one exists, I’m just saying, if one surfaces – it’s a fake.  Look at the shadow.  Why would it be in front of the giraffe if the sun is behind the jeep?

Where was I?  Oh yeah.  I’m not running Community for season 4.  They replaced me.  Them’s the facts.

When I was a kid, sometimes I’d run home to Mommy with a bloody nose and say, “Mom, my friends beat me up,” and my Mom would say “well then they’re not worth having as friends, are they?”  At the time, I figured she was just trying to put a postive spin on having birthed an unpopular pussy.  But this is, after all, the same lady that bought me my first typewriter.  Then later, a Commodore 64.  And later, a 300 baud modem for it.  Through which I met new friends that did like me much, much more.

I’m 39, now.  The friends my Mom warned me about are bigger now, and older, bloodying my nose with old world numbers, and old world tactics, like, oh, I don’t know, sending out press releases to TV Guide at 7pm on a Friday.

But my Commodore 64 is mobile now, like yours, and the modems are invisible, and the internet is the air all around us.  And the good friends, the real friends, are finding each other, and connecting with each other, and my Mom is turning out to be more right than ever.

Ah, shit, I still haven’t called my fucking Mom.

Mom, Happy Mother’s Day.  I got fired.

Yes, Mom.  AGAIN.

I’ll offer some thoughts in my next post.

UPDATE: “Community” cast members respond to Harmon’s firing. All support Harmon… except the notable silence from Chevy Chase, so I guess we’re just left with this.

Series Debut Tonight: “Awake” from creator Kyle Killen

March 1st, 2012 by

Another reminder that the new NBC 1-hour drama “Awake” debuts tonight at 10PM Eastern / Pacific. Here is a THR feature on series creator Kyle Killen. An excerpt:

Raised in a small town outside Dallas by a graphic artist mother and a stock broker-turned-photographer father, a young Killen fancied himself a movie junkie. He was as enthralled by such blockbusters as Back to the Future as he was by small-budget films like Before Sunrise. That his passion could double as a career only became apparent when Killen discovered USC’s film school. But after a series of Hollywood internships at such companies as Disney and Douglas Wick‘s Red Wagon — along with an overnight shift pulling newswire tape at a stock brokerage to pay the bills — Killen soured on Los Angeles and packed up his car.

“It was really hard to want to be a writer in Los Angeles, because every time you opened your laptop anywhere you were aware that every other laptop was potentially generating the world’s most brilliant screenplay,” he says. “You were face to face with your competition in a way that in Texas, or anywhere else, I was the only idiot writing a screenplay, so I just had to beat myself.”

On the advice of a professor, who told him, “Writing is like a heroin addiction — if you can quit, you totally should,” Killen tried to get out. He dabbled in everything from tech support to constructing prison laundry rooms, but with each new gig he’d find a way to write about it, a clear sign quitting wasn’t an option.

An early screenplay titled Taste of a Tuesday, about a severe sleepwalker who is anti-social by day and gifted by night, got him representation; trips to the major agencies disguised as a courier got the script read. (His reps at WME and Anonymous Content are still hopeful the film will get made. In addition to the buddy comedy Scenic Route, starring Josh Duhamel and Dan Fogler, other Killen films in the works include an untitled Daredevil reboot.) A well-received but ultimately passed-over TV pitch about a brilliant 16-year-old college student came next, but it was The Beaver script that in 2008 landed Killen on the industry’s coveted Black List, the annual collection of the best unproduced screenplays.

Here is an interview with Killen and “Awake” co-executive producer Howard Gordon (“24,” “Homeland”).

Here is the series trailer:

TheWrap calls “Awake” “the best new show of the season”.

“Awake”: Thursdays, 10PM on NBC.

You may follow Kyle on Twitter: @killen8.

“Awake”: Full pilot online for screening now!

February 19th, 2012 by

You can watch the entire pilot for the new NBC 1-hour drama “Awake” here.

Created by Kyle Killen, whose screenplay “The Beaver” topped the Black List in 2009.

IMDB site

Official NBC site

Series premise:

After a car accident takes the life of a family member, a police detective lives two alternating parallel lives, one with his wife and one with his son. Is one of his “realities” merely a dream?

Series debut: NBC, March 1 and airs Thursdays at 10PM.

I’ve read the pilot script and screened the pilot, both excellent. You should definitely check out the series.

“How I Got My Work Read At NBC & SyFy… Without An Agent”

February 14th, 2012 by

Hank Pena has been a GITS reader for a long time. So when he alerted me about a recent blog post — “How I Got My Work Read At NBC & SyFy… Without An Agent” — I knew his instincts were spot-on: This would be something we’d all like to read.

Let me begin by stating that everything in this posting is 100% true and works the way I understand it. I could be wrong. I may have just been really lucky…but I like to think my inner Ferris Bueller helped me out…

If you claim to be a creative person…you’d better prove it out of the gate. That’s why I have a literal message in a bottle on my entertainment center. It was returned to me by the legal department at Dreamworks…with a polite letter about “No unsolicited submissions.” Still, it made it to Stacey Snider’s office…so I was kinda proud.

No unsolicited submissions. Three words that have frustrated every screenwriter who has had the foolish notion to send anyone anything…ever.

Don’t get me wrong. I get it. Who needs to get sued every ten minutes? It’s easier to just deal with the folks already past the velvet rope.

The industry, including reps, want you to send in letters asking to have your work reviewed. It’s pretty much their version of giving you a fake phone number in a bar. Basically, you’re on the island of misfit toys with no Rudolph in sight. So…what to do?

Get creative! Let the dreamer in you roll out a plan so complex that your dastardly machinations can only be described years later with an Uncle Scar-worthy “Mu-hahahaha!”

And so we come to the point of this posting. My plan.

To read how Hank did it, go here.

Hank has the right attitude: At the point you have a script you truly believe to be ready to show buyers, you need to suck up your courage, and do what needs to be done. If this requires you getting outside your comfort zone, so be it. Hollywood is not for the meek.

As Hank puts it, “It’s sacrificing 500 men to take a hill that doesn’t have a name…”