The writing process behind Robot Chicken is one made up of bewilderment, mystique and a little bit of self-loathing. Matthew Beans is our RC writer on the ground and he wants to give you a look inside the top three “Writer’s Room No-No’s.”
The way Robot Chicken is written is based on a pitch cycle process. Each writer comes up with sketch ideas, and the writers (or, voters) vote on the pitch and/or give notes. Here are a few techniques to avoid getting eaten alive.
Learn To Gauge The Bad Moods of Other Writers (Voters)
(Even If It Appears That They Are Always in a Bad Mood)
Unfortunately, this one is near possible to avoid. But as a writer, you know it’s a bad sign when one of the voters looks tired or annoyed from the moment the voting meeting begins. When this happens, prepare to get nothing in.
Re-Pitching Is A Sensitive Subject, And So Are Our Butts
Re-pitching happens when the voters give you notes on a sketch and ask you to submit again on another day. Its just part of the job, and sometimes it works out fine. But the more times your idea is considered, the further away you get from the fresh, funny impact your pitch had when the voters initially read it. My rule-of-thumb is to wait a couple days before any re-pitch, to give them time to be caught off guard by the idea. The times I ignore my own advice today, it almost always bites me in the butt… the most sensitive part of the butt, too.
Pump The Brakes, It’s Not Brain Surgery
–Always remember that you’re not performing brain surgery here. No one will die if your pitches are rejected…over and over and over. So take your lumps and get back in there. You will feel that twinge to push back and snap at the voters for comments you find unhelpful or beside the point, but keep it in your holster, cowboy. They ALWAYS have more ammo than you. You can’t win. To this day, I have never seen a sketch get approved because someone threw a tantrum. Never. Well once, but I have sworn not to talk about it.
All right, that’s all for now. Currently, I’m sitting on a pitch idea that is going to be re-submitted for its third time. Yikes! I’m nervous. Wish me luck.