Home Contact Biography Works Media News

Jane Recommends
Who Hates Whom / Bob Harris

Who Hates Whom: Well-Armed Fanatics, Intractable Conflicts, and Various Things Blowing Up A Woefully Incomplete Guide by Bob Harris

"The geopolitical equivalent of scorecards that get hawked at ball games. Only Bob could make a user’s guide to our increasingly hostile world this absorbing, this breezy, and—ultimately—this hopeful."
~ Ken Jennings, author of Brainiac


Jane in Print
Serenity Found: More Unauthorized Essays on Joss Whedon's Firefly Universe, edited by Jane Espenson

Flirting with Pride and Prejudice: Fresh Perspectives on the Original Chick-Lit Masterpiece, edited by Jennifer Crusie and including Jane Espenson's short story, "Georgiana"

Finding Serenity: Anti-Heroes, Lost Shepherds and Space Hookers in Joss Whedon's Firefly, edited by Jane Espenson and Glenn Yeffeth

Jane in DVD

Jane in DVD

Now Available:
+Battlestar Galactica Season 3
+Dinosaurs Seasons 3 & 4
+Gilmore Girls Season 4
+Buffy: The Chosen Collection
+Tru Calling
+Angel: Limited Edition Collectors Set

Jane in Progress


Home » Archives » May 2007 » Joke Hold
[Previous entry: "The Thing on Giles' Lapel"] [Next entry: "Pulling Up Stakes"]

05/30/2007: Joke Hold

Scott in Toronto wrote in a while back with some interesting questions. Apparently I let this letter sit a little longer than I should have, since one of Scott's questions asks if there's any point in writing an Andy Barker PI spec. At this point I'd have to say there is not.

Scott also asks a really interesting question about when you have to remove something from your spec. Here's the deal: he has a certain joke in his spec for "The Office." Recently, he saw a very similar joke actually used on the show. He wants to know if he has to change it.

Well, technically, probably not. He feels the joke is an important one that ties the story together, and I will point out that this certainly isn't as big a deal as seeing a whole plot duplicated.

But, I will ask, Scott, that you give serious thought to replacing it. The Office is a hugely popular show in these parts, and it's likely your reader will have seen the episode in question. And I bet you can find another joke that's just as good and that does the same job of tying the story together. Remember, there is always another joke. I've been amazed, over the years, at the stuff that can get pulled out of scripts without damaging them. And almost always, when a change is made, it turns out to be change for the better. This happens simply because you're being forced to really think hard about the story.

So give it a try. If you really can't beat the joke, then you can leave it in if you must, but if you can beat it, you get a better script, plus you won't be running any risk of a reader thinking you lifted the line.

(Scott also asks about spec-ing "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia". Well, a little checking does show that this FX comedy would seem to be eligible for the ABC/Disney Fellowship application. It's a more obscure show than many, so any writer will face that classic problem of weighing passion for a show against possibly dealing with a reader who has never seen it. You will have to flip that coin yourself, Scott.)

Lunch: an avocado and swiss cheese sandwich -- a very nice combination


Get Blog Updates Via Email

Enter your Email

Preview | Powered by FeedBlitz


Walt Disney Writing Fellowship Program
UC Berkeley
Jane recommends you also visit BobHarris.com



May 2007

Valid XHTML 1.0!

Powered By Greymatter
Greymatter Forums

Home | News | Works | Biography | Frequently Asked Questions

Site design Copyright © PM Carlson
This is a fan site owned and operated entirely by PM Carlson with the cooperation and assistance of Jane Espenson. This site is not affiliated in any way with Mutant Enemy, 20th Century Fox or ABC.