How does the award-winning writing of Schitt's Creek blend laughter and emotion?
After nearly sweeping the Emmys, Schitt's Creek finally got the recognition it deserves for its 6th and final season. One of the best things about this show is how it teaches heartwarming lessons through some of the funniest comedy.
All of that works its way out of the writer's room.
"Our show, at its core, is about the transformational effects of love and acceptance," Dan Levy said as he accepted the award for best comedy series. "That is something that we need more of now than we've ever needed before."
So, how does their room work and what were Dan Levy's experiences running the room? He was a first-time showrunner trying to find his way in the business. What are some lessons he can impart after the show's historic run?
I want to dig into a few interviews with Levy to pull out advice for our readers.
How the Emmy Winning 'Schitt's Creek' Writers Room Operates
Dan Levy was exited for the 6th season of the show. This was the first year he would be showrunning and not just serving as the head writer. He told Business Insider, "You have to create a space that feels safe enough for people to share their ideas."
That kind of comfort leads to the best ideas coming forward. So, how did he foster those intentions?
"I would approach every day with a goal while at the same time knowing that we can afford to go on tangents, and we can afford to have conversations."
The main idea was to spend the final season making sure the show felt grounded and as though each character had earned their arc over the course of the series. The way to do that was to make sure he had writers from many different backgrounds. And not just TV writing rooms, but essayists, playwrights, sketch comedy people, and even fiction writers.
They worked their ideas to the core and were not afraid to fail.
"It becomes a place that's almost like an open therapy session," Levy said. "When you're talking about relationships or a certain type of relationship, or a certain hiccup or hold up in a relationship, someone inevitably has a story that will relate to that. You share that story, and then inevitably someone else has another story and suddenly you've spent half an hour talking about your past relationships with a room full of people that you've only known for a little while."
When it came to feedback, they had some notes from CBC...but not many. They know that's unusual. "That's really rare and something that I knew was rare way back when," Levy said. "When you're afforded that level of freedom, for us it was about, 'OK, well, we can't f--- this up.' We have to do the best job we possibly can, while at the same time taking advantage of that freedom and being able to tell stories that represent all different types of people."
CBC had to be proud of the show, which marked the first time a Canadian television program has won an Emmy in the Outstanding Comedy or Drama series category, not to mention racking up the most Primetime Emmy Awards ever won for a Canadian series.
One of the reasons the show has been so successful is that it takes its time when it comes to the characters and their journeys. We saw people come out to parents, deal with new life circumstances, and find value in things other than their possessions.
Of course, all of this was done with some of the best punchlines.
"The intention of the show from the very beginning was always that love is so much more than anything you can buy," Levy said, adding that every moment since was about helping the characters discover that. "It was always about, 'How do we tell stories that bring out our characters? How do we tell stories that reveal something about our characters?' instead of, 'How do we put our characters in a quirky story that's going to be funny for a minute but ultimately not service the characters?'"
When you're writing from character, you usually can find your way through the plots. Even if you need to come up with 6 seasons full of them. For me, at its core, the show was just about people rediscovering they are human. And what that human empathy meant to the way they treated each other.
What were some of your favorite Schitt's Creek moments over the years?
Let me know in the comments.
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