THEATRE thesis: In spite of my hopes and all that I’ve done, my greatest fear, has become my destiny. But even if it becomes law of the land and establishes a new world order, I am determined to….
A Very Special Note: Before I knew it was improvisation or even that the star of Quick Draw (a review) was also a co-creator, it was one of my favorite shows. So imagine, my big smile when I received word that TV Show Creator, Producer, Actor and in my opinion the undisputed king of the improv, Mr. John Lehr was set to appear in The Neighborhood in TAG VOL II Ed. VI THEATRE (big smile) imagine no more.
Big & Rich
w/ Wild West Show
TAG AN ANTHOLOGY VOL II
developed by Kendall F. Person
produced by The Neighborhood
ED. VI THEATRE
You Mean I’m In Charge?
by John Lehr
In 2006, my business partner Nancy Hower and I were lucky enough to sell our first TV pitch to Sony. Nancy and I had just wrapped a feature that Nancy wrote and directed called “Memron” which won the Slamdance film festival. I had previously sold a script to NBC and produced a pilot for Fox so we had just enough clout to pitch. We developed a hybrid improv/scripted show set in a grocery store called “10 Items or Less” and the Sony executives bought it in the room. And, because of our unique style, they agreed to let us write and produce the pilot. Once the pilot was produced we pitched the show to TBS and they agreed to buy the series. Since Nancy and I were the creators and producers of the pilot, Sony and TBS agreed that we should “showrun” the season.
The term showrunning gets bounced around in Hollywood a lot but basically it means you are responsible for delivering a season of shows on time and on budget. Nancy and I were thrust into this job and had to learn on the fly. We shot “10 Items” in a working grocery store that was open during filming and when our art department accidentally drilled into the refrigeration lines we were suddenly over budget without a paddle. We suddenly realized the if we didn’t know how to read and manipulate budgets our comedy on the screen would not be what we wanted. From then on we became the masters of finding fat in the Sony budgets.
I remember having an enlightened moment on the set when I realized I was responsible for a crew of 100 people and being so proud that our creativity and hard work helped employ all these people. I also realized that it was not my job to get these people to fit their talent into my concept. Rather, it was to bend my concept so that I could put each of them in the best position to do what they did best. This was a major change in the way I looked at TV production management and I have never looked back.
At our first production meeting, we always tell the cast and crew that we are making comedy — not curing cancer. The only real rule we have is that you can’t be a jerk. If you are an ass on the set, we will not have you back the next day. We’ve only had to enforce this once or twice over the years. During season three of “10 Items” an electrician went off on a make-up/hair person and we told the department head to let him go. He called the next day in tears apologizing — no one had ever called him out on his behavior before. We accepted the apology and hired him back. He became the best team member we had.
this is… The Neighborhood
Up Next: the postlude Ed. VII Tag You’re It.
THEATRE the entire anthology can be found here
the 2017 Season-ending Show as well as the conclusion of The Photograph have been rescheduled for a date tbd.
MUCH LOVE. MORE PEACE. MOST IMAGINATION.
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