John Rogers is spinning his new tv show LEVERAGE up to speed, and in doing so is giving us some insight into how an American tv show is written. John is my brother in arms and a good friend, but my admiration for his mind increases a hundredfold whenever he talks about what is to me an utterly arse-backwards and mind-extinguishing creative process:
This may sound awfully rigid, but what it is is freeing — having the process protecting us allows us to range far and wide on ideas. Everyone can pitch anything, and all changes are fair game if they fit the episode. Sometimes a great idea will totally derail you and send you back to the base pitch, but that just means we start the process over again, not that we’re cast into the psychological void. Often great ideas don’t fit but go on the wall to be pulled later. To invoke the greatest of traditional sitcom room aphorisms: "We use all the parts of the buffalo."
In my experience, TV is as what von Bismarck once said: "To retain respect for sausages and laws, one must not watch them in the making."