Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Corsair Interview: Brad Roth and Mark Feldstein, Co Creators, Producers "The Writers Room"

Brad Roth and Mark Feldstein are co-creators of "The Writer's Room," a scripted 10-part, web satire using a single camera starring real-life comedy writers and former show runners. The 6-minute episodes give backstage glimpses of the daily vicissitudes of a fictional late night talk show hosted by Kevin Pollack. The show, interestingly enough, came from Stun Creative, a Los Angeles-based advertising agency and production company, where Roth and Feldstein are co-Presidents. Roth and Feldstein collaborated on the answers to questions this blog posed via email:

The Corsair: How did an advertising agency come to produce such
a show?

Brad Roth and Mark Feldstein: Having built our business as storytellers in the 30-second ad world, making a leap from 3 to 5 minutes wasn't a shock to the system. In fact, we had already produced several short films, so moving into longer form scripted content felt natural. Also since our ad / promo work has a comedic bent to it we knew our foray into this space would be a comedy.

The Corsair: How accurate is the portrayal of comedy writers?

Brad Roth and Mark Feldstein: Extremely accurate. Just ask our cast, who's made up of real life TV show writers and show runners from the likes of Seinfeld, Curb Your Enthusiasm and Everybody Loves Raymond. Many of the scripted storylines were inspired by their actual experiences.

The Corsair: Why are there so few African-American comedy
writers? Are we less late-night funny?

Brad Roth and Mark Feldstein: It's a great question. It has nothing to do with not being funny. Our best guess is that traditionally network execs have been white males and they have populated the shows with people who share their sensibility. Fortunately, we think that trend seems to be changing.

The Corsair: Does the idea of putting on a scripted comedy starring real-life comedy writers ever get too "Meta" for you? Does it ever feel as if you are trapped in an Alan Resnais movie?

Brad Roth and Mark Feldstein: What attracted us to the idea of documenting a fictional writers room is that the more absurd we made the story line, the more true to life it became. Ask anyone who's spent time in a real writers room and they'll tell you if you stuff enough neurotic and damaged personalities in a small room for endless hours it's going to turn into the Theater of the Absurd organically.

Check out a webisode here.

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