Typically all awards chatter at this time of year is geared towards film, which makes a whole lot of sense as we are deep into pre-Oscars territory. Most TV related panels tend to occur at the Emmys business end (so any time from July-September usually), but the SAG-AFTRA Foundation got some of the WGA nominees together for a discussion that covers everything from casting, influences, whether binge watching impacts their storytelling choices to interacting with material written by critics and fans online.
Mixing comedy and drama writers with a whole variety of backgrounds makes this panel even more interesting and it features Sam Esmail (Mr Robot), Joe Weisberg (The Americans), Joel Fields (The Americans), Kim Caramele (Inside Amy Schumer), Adam Rapp (Flesh & Bone) and Dan Lyons (Silicon Valley).
Some of these writers are also the showrunners/creators (Esmail, Weisberg and Fields) so this means their input and day to day tasks also incorporate wider aspects of production. Or if you are Sam Esmail you’re directing all 10 episodes, plus writing which is probably why his current day starts at 6 and finishes at 2 the next morning. This sounds good for writing a character like Elliot, but dude will need a long holiday by the time season 2 is over. Writers’ rooms and process varies from show to show with the Mr Robot going all in on the telling each other to “go fuck yourself” in a totally constructive manner (of course), whereas Joe Weisberg and Joel Fields will take long walks to solve any writing issues they might be having.
Kim Caramele goes into some detail about the 12 Angry Men episode of Inside Amy Schumer, which has received all the critical adulation but was met with some resistance when they pitched the idea. The idea of responding to online chat/reviews also comes into play and Esmail admits he reads everything. Joel Fields discusses this idea of how you can’t set out to do something great/original with a spy show because there is so much that has come before it, but you can set out to do something exciting which they are certainly doing on The Americans. They also talk about whether people binge watching dictates storyline and it sounds like FX are really good bosses to have.
Watch the whole thing below.
For more SAG-AFTRA discussions (of which there are many to deep dive in to) head here.