Thursday, September 22, 2011

TV Fact Checker: A look at the job of Parks & Recreation's writer's assistant and script coordinator

Wired has a great article about Parks & Recreation's writer's assistant/script coordinator Greg Levine, who also happens to be a regular reader of this blog.  It's worth a read, not only for it's look at a day in the life of a writer's assistant, but also for yet another "how I got the job" story.

How did you come to be the research guy on Parks and Rec?

“When the writer’s strike happened, I wound up in casting…. When it ended I was still there and this company happened to be casting The Office, so I got to know the people there. They said, ‘Hey we’re going to do a new show, do you want to come on board as a writer’s assistant?’… Very early on there were only a few of us on the show. It was just Greg Daniels, Mike Schur, the line producer and myself, really. 

"Mike and Greg would constantly work on stories for the pilot and they would come to me and say, ‘We need to know every step it takes to build a park.’ So, we knew we were going to set the show in Indiana, so I called a few parks-and-rec departments in Indiana and tried to talk to people who were willing to chat. And after talking to several people, I was able to pull together the 30-step process it takes to build a park.” 

What’s your typical day like?

"Myself and the other writer’s assistant are in the writer’s room taking notes, keeping a running log of every joke or story idea pitched in the room. And then at the end of every day we keep them organized by story, so if we want to jump back to Story X we can jump back and I have those notes ready for them. That’s one component. 

"Another is that as script coordinator, we publish every script. We keep a running, fully formatted, production-ready script. The research flows in and out of both of those. Sometimes I’m proofreading a script and catch something. I remember the first time DMV came up. I said, ‘I don’t think DMV is universal across all 50 states.’ So we checked and sure enough it’s BMV in Indiana.”

Check out the rest of the article at

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