And I have to credit David Jacobs with the opportunities he gave me. He was totally into sharing the creation of characters. David put together a show that told the story of people over many years' time and that was greatly enjoyable. Though nowadays that is frowned upon.
I try to watch only real things, which basically amounts to C-Span for me. I like real people in real situations. I learn from that.
I would fix other people's lines if they asked me on occasion. The hard part of writing is the architecture of it, getting the story and structuring it. Not the tweaking of lines.
The business is built on slowing or even stopping the aging process.
What I would have liked to do on that show was play a secretary of state who has huge personal business interests throughout the world. That, to me, seems to be more in synch with reality.
The same issue is happening on a show like Everybody Loves Raymond now, which is in its eighth year and struggling to come up with good stories. It'll be interesting to see how they do. The bottom line is, it starts with the writers and ends with the writers.
Writers are not always right however, but then again, I've been on shows where the actors have complete control and change everything and it's terrible.
At one time, whenever the hell it was, they wanted a character to come in and stir up the pot. They brought me in for 8-10 episodes and said we'll try it for that.
I'm trying to find a character that's my age and I can sustain week after week. I'd like to do a series.
If you watch Cheers, in 12 years they didn't age a day.
David was the kind of guy who was totally supportive of the actors and instructed the writing staff to trust the actor's instincts, since after all, it's the actors playing the character.
When you go to a movie, it's about what's not being said. I tried to bring that to Greg Sumner. It was always about what's not being said.
Clint Eastwood is aging beautifully. But someone like Burt Reynolds and others are practically destroying their faces in the amount of work they have.
I didn't care about that because I'm not a diplomatic person to begin with. I just went along with things and did what I wanted to do because I knew they had to shoot their 12 pages a day. And when they realized that I didn't alter the text they really didn't mind what I did.
The West Wing seems to be feeding the myth about how presidential politics are.