Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Sons and Daughters question

Russ asks:

Todd - what do you know about the new Lorne Michaels show Sons and Daughters? It's being heavily advertised as "unscripted." Do they really mean this?

Also, was that Adam West doing the voiceover for that taco commercial?

Sons and Daughters is from Lorne Michaels' production house, though he didn't create the show. It's also funny, funny, funny (no, I mean it). And it IS unscripted. My UNDERSTANDING (and I haven't talked to the creators about this) is that even the kids are improvising. I'm guessing that (like Curb Your Enthusiasm) the show's "writers" come up with a storyline for each episode, then let the actors come up with all of the dialogue. This is how the creators' previous show (Bravo's Significant Others) was done.

In case that didn't make sense. . .

The writers come up with a storyline for the episode (say, Grandma gets drunk and says racist things). Then they come up with a handful of scenes. When they go to shoot the scenes, they tell the actors what MUST happen in that scene so the actors can work it in (usually three or four things per scene. . .in this case, grandma has to drink, she has to tell her son he disappoints her, her son has to call her a nasty name and grandma has to say some racist things). Then the actors improvise dialogue for as long as it takes to get what is needed for the episode to work. The editors then trim out all of the fat in post-production, leaving the funniest bits in the finished episode.

It's a really interesting way to do a network sitcom (though, as remarked above, they aren't the first, and NBC's The Office also allows for improvisation, though they do have actual scripts), and I think it turned out well (the pilot at least).

As to your second question, I'm betting that WAS Adam West, who has gained some cachet as a voice-over artist recently. I've heard him in other commercials, and he has a recurring role on Family Guy.

1 comment:

Russ said...

Thanks; I figured if anybody would know about the show, you would - we were all wondering after seeing about 5 too many superbowl commercials for it!