February 13, 2008 Jill

Have I mentioned lately that I am not a reliable source? Or that I stand behind nothing I say?

A minor correction from House’s Pam Davis on the length of time House writers have to work on their scripts:

I can’t explain how the math works, but we don’t really get half a year to write our episodes…. the time-space continuum gets tricky here. Yes, we often only get two episodes per season, but somehow it doesn’t really translate into 25 weeks. I guess because there’s a week and a half of prep meetings, plus 8-11 days of shooting… then there’s finding and pitching new ideas — as our first pitches don’t always get greenlit. Then on top of all that, sometimes you work on a story for a month or so only to find that it doesn’t work…. Etc.

So, my mistake. They don’t have a full 25 weeks per script, but let’s just say their scripts get significantly more writer-mind-power than Canadian scripts get. Writing 13 in 8 or 9 months with four hands on deck is considerably more challenging. We have the same issues cutting into our prep and production time as House does: prep meetings, stories that don’t work and have to get tosses, time taken away from writing to cast, go to set, go to post, etc.

Then there are the TMN limited series of 6 or 8 or 10 episodes that are often all or almost all written by the creator. Tell me how one writer alone can handle that workload, maintain the vision and juggle the network’s input and still produce great scripts. It seems the wrong way to go about things to me.

One final note on Pam: this is her second year in the House story department and her third year writing scripts for the series.