December 16, 1997


Hi there, I'm back. Miss me? Yeah, right. More than a month of silence here and how many of you write to inquire after my existence? Just three of you. Way to make a guy feel wanted... So here's a big "hooraw!" to Diane, Danielle, and Amanda, and a big "plbbbllblbbttttt!!!" to the rest of you insensitive mooks.

I'm happy (thrilled, in fact) to report that I've "finn"ished writing the Finnish sitcom pilot. When I initially agreed to do it I figured it to be pretty easy. Wrong. I've been hammering away at that stupid thing, off and on, for months now. It was a sweet moment when I finally got to type "END OF SHOW" a few days ago.

I dumped my original idea after writing about 25 pages and deciding it was too problematic, then came up with another idea that I still think is pretty damned good and I may write it for myself someday, but the producer didn't like it. Then I got bogged down. Hard. Couldn't come up with anything; Golden Girls was inspired compared to what my fevered brain was churning out. I finally got unbogged when the producer pointed out that I didn't have to come up with something new and different by American standards because Finland basically doesn't have ANY sitcoms of their own and therefore virtually anything I came up with would be new and different there. Basically, he gave me free reign to write crap.

Well, with this E-ticket to hackdom in hand, I re-attacked the project with renewed vigor. My inner critic would be bound and gagged, beaten senseless, stuffed into a soundproof lead-lined closet and the door welded shut. I could then hold my nose and write cornball, just so I could crank out the pages and be done with it. Simple. Utterly lacking in self-respect, but simple.

Wrong. Inner Critic, that fucker, turned out to be Houdini.

I think he snuck out while I reread the 25 pages I'd dumped and realized they weren't so bad after all, could be salvaged with proper care, and the insurmountable problems weren't so insurmountable. I didn't notice him at first, perched on my shoulder and whispering in my ear as I tried to throw quality to the wind, pestering me into finding a better way to attack each scene, each character, each line. I finally realized he was out when I found myself caring about what I wrote and trying to make it good, rather than good enough. That little bastard cost me a couple of extra weeks of effort.

In the end, though, I suppose he helped me out. The producer likes what I gave him. He's having the script translated and read by some other people (typical producer: can't form an opinion until other people have), but says "I think we have something here." He's optimistic about it, which means, Lord help me, that I might end up writing more of these scripts. If so, I'll be getting paid, I'll be able to tell my friends I'm "Huge in Helsinki," I'll have a show on the air and I guess that technically I'll be a showrunner, but damn it, it won't be an American show.

Don't think my Inner Critic isn't having a field day with that...


Overheard at the mall today: "Have you ever seen The Mary Tyler Moore Show?"

The end is near, kids...





Copyright © 1997
Chuck Atkins