Hollywood production came to a halt in March amid the rapidly escalating coronavirus pandemic. Gradually, the industry returned to production with big adjustments, including virtual writing rooms and tabletop readings and strict COVID security protocols on set. It wasn’t easy, prolific creator / showrunner Mike Schur told Rob Lowe of the actor. Literally Podcast.
“It’s really hard; we’ve done it on a few shows that I’m working on,” said Schur, NBC co-creator / executive producer. Brooklyn nine-nine and coming from Peacock Rutherford Falls and executive producer of the upcoming Netflix animated series Q-Force. “Nothing replaces the fact that everyone is in a room and talking. First of all, if there are more than six people on the Zoom call, half of them are just looking at their phones, but also the whole creative process is, you are trapped in a room and there makes sense, to get out of this room at the end of the day, we have to come up with some good ideas. It gives it that kind of boost and urgency that when you’re sitting at home, everyone in a little box on a computer screen, it’s not the same.
Schur, creator of NBC The right place and co-creator of Parks and recreation, fears that the current changes related to Covid in the company are not sustainable.
“Among the other things that concern us – the big things, the things that really matter – when I think about what we do for a living in the future, I start to worry only about the future. entertainment because I don’t know what it looks like. like, ”he said. “It’s hard to imagine being in a writer’s room, it’s hard to imagine being on a set, how do you shoot a scene with 200 extras, how are you on the spot in someone’s house, who, in a good way, will let us in their house to shoot a scene. It seems so crazy to imagine going back to the old ways we used to do this. We’ll find something because we still do it. Hollywood has a knack for doing this. ingenuity, and there’s a long way to go with the other bigger issues before we get to this, but I’m very nervous to figure out how it works once this is all done.
The production of television shows during the pandemic added hundreds of thousands of dollars to the cost of each episode. This has compounded the woes of media companies affected by the shutdowns of movie theaters, theme parks, cruises and other businesses. Schur is concerned that the financial blow of the pandemic on media giants could impact production budgets in the future.
“The fear is that somehow the media companies that pay us are losing billions of dollars a month,” he said. “The shows we do are expensive, they’re not little DYI shows, they cost millions of dollars per episode. It’s hard to imagine how they’re paying for them on the other side of this. Are they going to cut all the staff in half, are they going to cut all the actors in half, will they say, sorry this is the cap on what anyone can be paid for, are they going to try to make film crews no assistants, will they try to apologize, instead of two gaffers, you get one. Somehow every aspect of the business itself and also how the creative side is going to be different in one way or another, and I don’t know how that comes about. I think we’re a long way from anything that looks like normalcy, but even when we get there, I’m not sure how you explain all the things that you need to account for.
During the lengthy conversation, Lowe and Schur discuss how the television industry has adjusted after 9/11 by sharing their experiences of how the shows they were working on at the time, West wing and Saturday Night Live, respectively, reacted to the tragedy.
“The truth is, for normalcy to return, everything has to come back, everything we had before that must come back. And one of those things is we have to remake movies and TV shows, even if they stink, ”Schur said.
“It’s our stupid role in all of this. “
The interview includes a number of anecdotes from Parks and recreation, which Lowe co-starred.
Schur revealed how he and his co-creator Greg Daniels received a 13-episode order for the show, with the pilot episode airing after the Super Bowl, paired with Office. But they wanted SNLAmy Poehler for the lead role, and she was about to give birth around the time the pilot was due to turn. In order to have him for the show, Schur and Daniels, who worked together on Office, voluntarily reduced the order from 13 to 6 episodes for a premiere three months later.
“We kept thinking that making her post-Super Bowl debut is a short-term solution, bringing Amy Poehler on the show is the long-term solution,” Schur said.
For more behind-the-scenes stories on SNL and Parks and recreation, you can listen to the interview here.