Are you a big fan of "Blades of Glory"? If so, don't miss out on this podcast episode featuring Dave Krinsky, "Blades of Glory" writer.
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Dave Krinsky (00:00):
It's so funny in animation because we would do like a big, you know, Hank football. We'd do a big football episode with a lot of people in the crowd, and James would be like, okay, this is really streaming the animators. We can't do another big one next week. So next week we'd go, look, this is a very simple episode. It mostly takes place in the house. It's a very personal story between Hank and Bobby. He's like, Ooh, that's gonna strain the animators. It's gonna require a lot of acting <laugh>. Yeah. I'm like, ok. So wait, we can't do anything.
Michael Jamin (00:25):
You're listening to Screenwriters Need to Hear This with Michael, Janet.
Michael Jamin (00:33):
Hey everyone. Welcome back to Screenwriters. Need to hear this, the podcast. I got another amazing guest today. I'm here with my many, he's been my next guest, has been my boss on many occasions. He's been my friend on one occasion, <laugh>. And he's <laugh>. Here he is. Boy, this guy's got good credits. So this is Dave Krinsky and he's a feature writer, show creator. He ran King of the Hill for, what was it, eight years? Eight seasons we
Dave Krinsky (00:59):
Ran. Yeah, I think maybe seven. I can never quite keep track.
Michael Jamin (01:02):
Felt like eight. Right? He was a show runner, king of Hill for, for many seasons, but a writer on, I think you wrote on every single season, didn't you?
Dave Krinsky (01:08):
Yeah, we came in right after the first season had just aired. Right. So they were still rewriting and posting season one and starting writing season two,
Michael Jamin (01:18):
Jump and right in. And then also, we're gonna talk about everything, but I wanna give you a proper introduction. We wrote, co-wrote with his partner, blades of Glory. They ran a, a show called Lopez, which i, I worked on for a little bit. CRO created Silicon Valley. I've heard of that show. Also the Good Family that was a b c animated show ran Bebes and Butthead for a while executive produced movie called Extract. What, what else, what else did you, you did a lot of stuff, man,
Dave Krinsky (01:46):
Lady Glory. Did you mention that? Wait,
Michael Jamin (01:48):
I thought I said that. Didn't I not say
Dave Krinsky (01:49):
That? Yeah, you did. I tuned you out, Don Point. I've learned to tune you out early, so
Michael Jamin (01:53):
<Laugh>, but man, oh man, I wa how, but you also said, when we were chatting before we started recording, that you did a lot of movie rewr. I didn't even know you guys did other movie rewrites.
Dave Krinsky (02:03):
Yeah. So when we first came out, this was back, you know, like nineties. You really had to decide where you were. A movie writer, a TV writer. The agents didn't even talk to each other. So we had come out with some movie scripts. We just thought that was sort of the easiest way to break in. Right. And we had ended up selling a couple, we sold one to Warner Brothers. It was they bought it for Chevy Chase. And yeah. Then we got fired
Michael Jamin (02:26):
And they didn't make up obviously cause
Dave Krinsky (02:28):
They, they didn't make it. We got fired and they hired someone else to rewrite. And our agent goes, that's great news. And I'm like, how's that? Great news? They go, it's not dead. If they're hiring someone else to rewrite it. And it was kind of an a-list writer, then that means it's still alive. But it ended up not getting made, although it's sort of, Ben made a few times because it was a very broad idea about a guy who, you know how we only use 10% of our brain's potential, right. While these scientists developed this serum that unlocked the other 90% instead of being injected in a, you know, good upstanding citizen like Michael Jamin. And it gets in, injected in this doofus Chevy Chase who basically becomes this like throbbing organi organism. He's got 10 times the site and after the hearing 10 times the athletic ability. So he is trying to like, make money and become famous with it.
Michael Jamin (03:09):
But So he was attached before there was a director or No.
Dave Krinsky (03:12):
So there was never even a director manager. He was attached, like Chevy Chase had a deal at Warner Brothers and Warner was looking for movies for him. So this, and then those days they were buying spec scripts left and right. Right. So they bought that from us and we spent like a long time rewriting it.
Michael Jamin (03:26):
So he was giving you the notes on what he wanted?
Dave Krinsky (03:29):
No, we never even met with him. I think, you know, I don't even know if you ever heard of it, to be honest, it really wasn't those days, Uhhuh <affirmative>, if you wanted a Chevy reputation movie, you bought 10 or 12 scripts and you developed until you found one that you wanted to do and brought to him.
Michael Jamin (03:41):
So you were dealing with his development people.
Dave Krinsky (03:43):
We were just dealing with Warner Brothers, Warner Brothers, and the producer. So the way it worked back then, and maybe they still did now, but the spec script market isn't really strong anymore. You would go to your agent with a spec and they'd go, okay, we're gonna send it to X producer who has a deal at Paramount and y producer who has a good relationship with Warner Brothers. And we're gonna, they're gonna go to the studios all on the same weekend and let 'em know. They have to decide. And then hopefully you get at least two offers so that you're playing 'em against each other. And that particular, we only got one from Warner Brothers, so the producer on the project we never even met until Warner Brothers had bought it. So then the producer, and it's a weird deal because we actually had a better relationship with the execs at Warner Brothers than we did with the producer. Like, we like their nodes better. So it's a weird political dynamic that you had to deal with. But we ended up selling a couple of projects that way that didn't get made. But ultimately when Blades of Gloria got made, then it was a ton of rewrite work.
Michael Jamin (04:42):
And then, but this was, this was during King of the Hill.
Dave Krinsky (04:45):
Bla Glory was during King of the Hill. I mean, we were doing our movie stuff before King of the Hill started. And, and we started looking around, you know, we sold stuff, but we weren't, we were, John and I were still sharing an apartment in Burbank and I was driving a car with no air conditioning. And I looked over at some of my buddies like Bill Martin, who was like buying a house and buying a nice car. And those guys were all on tv. And John and I were like, well, maybe we should, I mean, we always wanted to do tv but our agents just you, no, you're movie writers. So we ended up writing some TV specs scripts and then ended up getting a job in tv. But, so we were writing specs scripts, we were get assignments occasionally, or we would pitch on something, but it wasn't until Bla Glory that really was like, oh, okay, now we're getting a ton of movie rewrite.
Michael Jamin (05:29):
And then how did you know Bill Martin? Would you go to, did you go to college with him?
Dave Krinsky (05:31):
Yeah, we went to college together. So it was weird. It was like, it was me, John Bill, Peyton Reid, who directed all the Aunt Man movies. This guy John Schultz, who directed like Mike. And it was like we all kind of moved out here at the same time to try to pursue the business.
Michael Jamin (05:46):
Wow. I didn't even know that. And then, well, so was your, when did you decide that you wanted to be a writer? Like in high school or something?
Dave Krinsky (05:53):
Pretty much, I mean, I, I, this is make me sound really cool but I loved reading as a kid. I loved, you know, books. And I just loved when a story really impacted me and made me think. I was like, wow, that's a cool sort of power to have over people, to influence 'em that way. So since the time I was like 12, 13, I thought about it. And then in high school we had to write a short story for an English class. And I wrote this kind of science fiction funny story, and the teacher, you know, wrote a plus, what are you gonna do with this gift? And I was like, oh, I guess it actually could be a job. Right. So,
Michael Jamin (06:24):
But you think that it could be a job? Like I didn't, that didn't occur to me until I was older that you could make money in tv.
Dave Krinsky (06:29):
<Laugh>. Well, you know what I was thinking I'd be a book writer and so I went to Carolina cause I knew they had a strong English department. I took all the creative writing classes there. And since I didn't wanna really do anything else, I took whatever course I find. So screenwriting was one. Playwriting was one. And after I met John Alsk and my partner and, and David Palmer, who I worked with out here a bit.
Michael Jamin (06:50):
Wow. You were serious about it. Did you have to apply to those programs?
Dave Krinsky (06:53):
You know? Yeah, no, I mean, I, I was in the, I got accepted to the honors program, which was what I had applied for. And because of that I got to get into some of the writing classes I wouldn't have had access to anyway.
Michael Jamin (07:05):
So this is all or nothing for you? I mean, you, I mean, there was no plan B
Dave Krinsky (07:09):
Well I, you know, my mom was always like, Ryan, you go to law school, you have something to fall back on. But I knew if I something to fall back and I'd probably fall back on it, you know? And, and it took us a while to get su you know, really established with Point. I could get rid of that crappy car with the o ac ac in the apartment with the oac. But if I had had the ability or the degree to do anything else, I probably would've bailed on the writing dream earlier.
Michael Jamin (07:32):
Right. Wow. And then, and then, so eventually you just had to move into tv and then how, I know, how did you get your first gig?
Dave Krinsky (07:40):
So we decided to move tv. We wrote a couple of spec scripts and I think it was Bill Martin who said, oh, you should meet Carolyn Strauss over at hbo o And Carolyn of course was, you know, at the vanguard of starting H B O when it was, yeah.
Michael Jamin (07:54):
Wait, he's setting up meetings for you? Like, he's like your agent now, bill? No,
Dave Krinsky (07:57):
It really was one of those things where it was like, we're like, Hey, we wanna get into TV doing, he goes, oh, well you should meet Ke Strauss. We like Hershey's really cool. And I think he might have told her, oh, you should meet these guys. Okay. And so we had a general with her and which was a good lesson. It was like, you know, I think we always had something to pitch. We always knew a general, everybody, you know, wants something. I can't remember if we pitched anything too specifically or not. Cuz in movies you always want to pitch an idea. Sometimes in TV it really is just a general Yeah. To see what you know. But, you know, it was a great meeting and nothing came of it. And then like nine months later we got a call from her and she goes, look, we're doing a show.
The showrunner really wants movie guys doesn't want like, just TV sitcom guys. Wow. And I thought of you guys, you, you look, look at the pilot, they shot a pilot and they sent the pilot over. It was a black and white period single camera show. David Ledon was the executive producer. Adam Resnick was the showrunner, the creator. And it was awesome. It was like the Cohen Brothers really dark funny. And we were like, yeah. So she set up a call with us. We talked to Adam for like an hour and a half, mostly about Goodfellas and the Godfather and just movies. And then they called us up, <inaudible> goes, look, will you the show's in New York, will you move there? And we're like, yeah, we'll move there. She goes, okay, three or four days, can you move? And we're like, yeah, what do we don't have? I don't even think we had a plant in our place, you know, our fresh food. So we moved to
Michael Jamin (09:18):
New York. And you got outta your rent You? Or do you
Dave Krinsky (09:20):
Remember? We sublet Cause it was a, I think it was a 10 episode order that became an eight episode order, which is now, you know, the norm. But then was like, okay, so we're only gonna be there probably nine months of production. So we figured why give up our place.
Michael Jamin (09:34):
Do you think if it wasn't a good show, you would've taken, if it was a bad show, you would've taken the author?
Dave Krinsky (09:40):
Oh, that's a good question. You know, probably not, you know, before this happened, we were in the movie biz. We, we had a meeting with Polly Shore, right. And Polly was manager was in the meeting and his manager was a gentleman named Michael Rotenberg, who is now my manager. And, and Michael and and Sea have, you know, all
Michael Jamin (09:59):
Times he's our dealt with
Dave Krinsky (10:00):
Them. He was an executor on King of the Hill. So this was before King of the Hill even. And we pitched Polly the new line, wanted to do a movie where Pauly basically, they sound of mu they wanted him to be a nanny. And we pitched like Sound of Music with Polly going around Europe and Polly was as insulting and, and, and just not a good collaborate. He was just say, Hey, who are these greasy weasels? And you know, he just goes, no, just turn the camera on and I'll be funny. And we're like, okay. But John I think had like $93 in this bank account and I might have had a little bit more. And they offered it to us and we were like, this could be our career right. Path that we don't want to be on. And we turned it down. So I think if it was a crappy show, we probably would've turned it down too.
Michael Jamin (10:45):
Right. Wow. You turned it down. Cuz I, you know, now you, I think now you take anything you forget
Dave Krinsky (10:50):
<Laugh>. Yeah, well certainly
Michael Jamin (10:51):
It's not you, but one, one does. Right.
Dave Krinsky (10:53):
And it's not a bad, it's not bad advice. You gotta get in the game, you know? So we had already been in the game just enough that it wasn't like we were completely unknown. We had anything produced, so we certainly weren't a hot commodity. Right. But we really felt like, oh, this could just pigeonhole us. And it was interesting because our agent was like, okay, if you don't wanna do it, fine, but we don't really want to be rude and turn it down, so we're gonna ask for way more money than they'll ever pay you. Right. So they went and asked for like $400,000 and they were furious anyway. They're like, who the hell do you think you are asking anymore? It's just like, sorry, we just don't wanna do it. So. Right.
Michael Jamin (11:31):
How funny, did you, were you, when you first got on King of the, or I guess not, well I guess, you know, on Resnick's show, were you, did you, did you find it over? You were in over your head? I mean, that's how I felt when we started.
Dave Krinsky (11:42):
Oh yeah. Because I was always that one of those writers, and I'm sure there's plenty like that. I'm like, I don't even in college where you had to like, give your scr your scripts or your stories to people to read. I'm like, I don't wanna do this. You know? Cause I just didn't have the confidence or faith in myself. So we got to New York and we were working at a Letterman's theater. And Adam's great. I mean, he is the nicest guy. He's a super small staff. There's this John and I, this other team and this guy Vince Calandra. Right. And I just remember like sitting in the writer's room, not saying a word because I was like, I don't wanna say the wrong thing and look like an idiot. And, and in all honesty, when I got to King of the Hill, I looked around, I was like, I recognize names from seeing him on The Simpsons and you know, my judge of course. And I was inhibited there too. And I barely pitched, I think for the first couple of months I was there.
Michael Jamin (12:30):
Really. And then what was the moment when you felt like you could, you could test the waters?
Dave Krinsky (12:36):
Well, what happened was, I was just hanging out enough, like, so in the lunchroom, you know, I got to be friendly with people and people go out for a drink and then it suddenly was a social thing. And I was comfortable in that and I could start being funny that way. So by the time I got back to the room after a couple of months, it was kind of like, oh, I was just bull bullshitting with my friends, you know? And it was much easier to pitch because Right. It felt safer,
Michael Jamin (13:00):
Felt sa because I even remember on Kingley we had some interns, people would sit in <laugh> pitching and I'm like, how did they get over their fear of pitching when they haven't been hired as a writer? <Laugh>.
Dave Krinsky (13:10):
Yeah. I mean, and it, it's a good question for young writers and, and I'm teaching a class down at Chapman now and, and I'm like, it's a tricky situation when you're a new writer, you want to talk cuz you want to prove you're mm-hmm. <Affirmative> worthy. But if you talk too much or talk poorly Yeah. It doesn't do you any good. And it really, in my opinion, when as a showrunner, I would rather you be quiet and sort of take it all in and pitch very occasionally, then feel like you've gotta pitch stuff that ends up derailing the room.
Michael Jamin (13:40):
You know, I, I totally agree with you. The one thing I've said, cause I think a new, let's say there's 10 writers in a room, and a staff writer often thinks, well I better speak a 10th of the time because I'm, there's 10 people here, but they're not getting paid a 10th. They're not getting paid as much as the co-executive producer. They don't have to contribute as much. You know?
Dave Krinsky (13:56):
Yeah. And it's not expected. Like, I've seen plenty of horrible showrunners who are punitive and, you know, they don't make it easy for a staff writer and they're happy to fire a staff writer every season and try someone else. But John, I have always been like, look, we're gonna bring you on board. We're gonna be patient with you. You know, it's like, it's not an easy position to be in. And, and when you're a showrunner, all you want is someone to make your life easier. And if a staff writer makes your life easier one time in a season, it's almost like, okay, you know what? I got something outta you. Great. What
Michael Jamin (14:27):
About that leap from, cuz I was there for that. You were, I guess it was season 60 started running it, is that right?
Dave Krinsky (14:35):
Yeah, six seven was our first official year running here. Billy,
Michael Jamin (14:38):
What was it like for you making the le because you know, everyone, you always think, I could do this job, I could do the job better than my boss. And then you become the boss and you're like, wait a minute, this is hard.
Dave Krinsky (14:47):
Yeah. Well I remember when on that Resnik show, there was a consultant there, and he told us, he goes, the punishment for writing well is producing. And it's like, you know, you work your way up and you become a producer and suddenly Yeah. You're managing people, you're dealing with all the politics, the budget. And I think the, the biggest thing that happened to me was we were working, and I can't remember if you were in the room or not. Do you remember Collier's episode about that Michael Keaton did? What The Pig the Pigs are? Yeah.
Michael Jamin (15:15):
I was there for probably, we probably got there for the animatic part of it. So we were didn't great it
Dave Krinsky (15:20):
Okay. So it was a really weird story and Collier's a great writer, but this was one that was trouble from the get go just because it was so bizarre. Yes. And and I remember we were working super late trying to get to it and, and I think Richard Chappelle was running the, the show at that point. And he and Greg were developing a show and they left the room and everybody left the room. There was like four of us in there, and I think Greg or Rich Dave, you get on the computer and I and King of the Hill, the room, it wasn't like a conference room, it was like a big, almost like living room with a Yeah. Scattered room. One person sat there, it kind of ran the room. We didn't have the screen showing the script, which I never liked anyway. And I was like, I don't think I can run a room. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>. And I got up there and I was just like, you know, I just did what I had to do. And I remember we, you know, spent a few hours, it was late night and we kind of like gave the script rich and Greg, and they came and got, this is great, this is working. And it was like, oh gee, so I guess I can do it. Right.
Dave Krinsky (16:15):
So when we took over the show, yeah. I mean it definitely was like, you, so many things were harder than you would think, but some were easier too. I remember the other showrunners before we run the show would come back from pitching the story. So the network, and they go, well, we sold six outta seven of 'em. So, you know, it wasn't easy. And then when we started pitching to the network, you know, the show had been on for six, seven years. They were like, okay, good. It was like, oh, this isn't that hard. Right. The hard parts were, you know, managing the budget, managing people, managing writers, dealing with the network.
Michael Jamin (16:47):
How much budget were you dealing with? Like, what were you, how big was it? Like, were you what? No, I mean, like what, what exactly were you doing? You know? Oh, yeah, because I, I don't really touch the, when we were running stuff, we don't really touch the budgets, but
Dave Krinsky (16:58):
What do you, oh, so I mean, first it was the writer's budget, which every year was like, yeah, okay. Like, who can we afford to pay? But I mean, a lot of it, you'll remember our, our line producer McKinsey would walk in and be like, you know what? Last episode had a football crowd and this episode you want to do, you know, whatever a a crowd scene at the school, we can't afford that. The budget won't. Right. You know, so a lot of it was making creative decisions based on the limitations. Although it's so funny in animation because we would do like a big, you know, Hank football, we do a big football episode with a lot of people in the crowd and Jims like, okay, this is really streaming the animators. We can't do another big one next week. So next week we'd go, look, this is a very simple episode. It mostly takes place in the house. It's a very personal story between Hank and Bobby. And he's like, Ooh, that's gonna strain the animators. It's gonna require a lot of acting <laugh>. Yeah. Like, ok, so wait, we can't do anything
Michael Jamin (17:52):
<Laugh>. There's always a reason. That's right. There's always a reason why you're gonna ruin the show,
Dave Krinsky (17:57):
Michael Jamin (17:58):
Wow. That's so, and now and then so what ha, so then after King of the Hill, which you guys did for many years, then it went down and they then went down for, I was probably a couple years it went down. Right.
Dave Krinsky (18:10):
I don't remember if it was a couple years because Yeah. So the show did not get picked up. Right. And then they moved John and I and Clarissa assistant onto the lot, into this crummy little office to finish posting the shows. Right. And so we were there posting the shows and we never left. I mean, by the time we, we, it's not like we were like home and done before we left there. They, they picked the show up again for another run.
Michael Jamin (18:38):
What was the thinking behind canceling and then picking it up again? Like why?
Dave Krinsky (18:42):
From what I hear Uhhuh, it's so, you know, Fox Network ran the show. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>, 20th Century Fox was the studio who owned the show. Right. And apparently the, the heads of the studio got big bonuses when they got new shows on the air that were successful. So they weren't making a ton of money.
Michael Jamin (19:05):
Dave Krinsky (19:06):
Personally. And the other thing, apparently they owned and operated cuz everything was syndicated. You know, in those days the package was so high for them to pay. As the show got on that they were like, wow, we gotta renegotiate this deal. So when everybody started renegotiating, it seemed like, okay, let's not do it. And then ultimately, I bet it was Aria Emmanuel fought for, cuz he was always fighting for it. But, or maybe it was Rotenberg, but yes, that's whatever they just decided. Okay. They made a deal and picked us back up again.
Michael Jamin (19:34):
And at that point it was, it was a lot of new writers, well most of the writers had moved on, but you were still on the show. So the cause you kind of restarted the staff was almost, as I remember it was almost almost brand new. There was only a couple pre previous writers, like Christie Stratton was there,
Dave Krinsky (19:51):
I think Christie was there, kit was there, kit Balls, Garland
Michael Jamin (19:54):
Garland was there. Sure. Okay.
Dave Krinsky (19:56):
Yeah. So there was definitely a core group. I remember like, I can't remember Tony and Becky came on. Right. I don't remember if that was before that or not. So I think enough people, it might have been like, nowadays there's not really a staffing season, but I think it might have been during a non-st staffing season that enough people hadn't landed somewhere that we could get, get him back.
Michael Jamin (20:15):
Right, right. And then after that, you guys did The Good Family?
Dave Krinsky (20:20):
Yeah. So that was another, you know, people wanted an animated show from us. We had, you know, we'd gotten very close to Mike on King of the Hill. So started working together a lot with him. And we had this, this show The Good Family about a very you know, PC family, sort of the opposite of Hank Hill. And I just remember, you know, everybody was like, okay, take it to Fox and it'll run for forever. And it was just like, we just wanted to do things differently. And m r c and Independent, you know, studio had came out, came after us pretty hard and said, no, we want to do this deal. We can finance it and, and you can have a better upside and more freedom and Okay. So we decided to do it and we pitched it around and a B C just made such a hard press for it.
Michael Jamin (21:03):
Dave Krinsky (21:03):
Wow. And yeah. And it turns out they weren't the best partners simply because they didn't have any animation on. Right. They put us on with a really bad animated show, like after Wipe Out or something. It was just like not a good fit. Right. So, but it ends up, you know, the bottom fell outta the industry right after that cuz Rotenberg would call us up and goes, you know, your numbers would be a top 10 show like within two years. Right. We would've been like, fine. But at that moment just wasn't good enough numbers.
Michael Jamin (21:30):
And then, and then came, then they brought back Beavis and Butthead, which you guys ran, which was so interesting cuz that was a whole different experience that, that was all freelance. That's why you guys called us, Hey, you wanna write a briefs and Butthead? We're like, yeah, we'll do that.
Dave Krinsky (21:43):
Yeah. I mean, who wouldn't wanna have an opportunity do that? Right. Yeah. So Mike, they've always begging Mike to bring it back and he was always like, yeah, the situation has to be right. And he just felt like the timing was right. And he had some stories he wanted to tell and he loves doing them. I mean Yeah. You know, as he always said, king of the Hill requires a ton of effort for a little bit of output. Bvis requires a little bit of input for a ton of output. You know, people just love it and it's funny. Yeah. so yeah, so I mean, the budgets weren't super high and we couldn't license music anymore. I mean, and when Mike originally did it, it was all music videos because M T V owned all those videos. Right. But the world had changed so suddenly we were doing Jersey Shore and, and a lot of other like, reality shows. Cause that was the only sort of material we could get mm-hmm. <Affirmative>.
Michael Jamin (22:29):
Yeah. But we, that's, we did like, because I remember we brought, you guys brought us in, there's a, there was a woman, a couple women in Detroit, it was so cold in the deed, had a song so cold in the deed. Cold
Dave Krinsky (22:40):
In the de Yeah.
Michael Jamin (22:41):
And I don't remember how it happened, but I, I think I commented on on her, maybe on her YouTube channel or something. I go, this is a great song. And she went with nuts. She's like, oh, thank you so much, <laugh>. She's, so, yeah,
Dave Krinsky (22:53):
It was a weird sort of viral head, I think almost before things really went viral. And it was just like a homemade video about, you know, living in Detroit and
Michael Jamin (23:01):
And how did you find all that stuff?
Dave Krinsky (23:03):
Mike had found it and just thought it was really funny and really interesting. And so
Michael Jamin (23:06):
He was just surfing the internet looking for like, real cheap stuff that he could get.
Dave Krinsky (23:11):
I don't even think it was like with an eye toward Bes, but he also was in this little network of like, Knoxville and Spike Jones. They all like send each other stuff. So I don't know where he got it from, but I think he just saw it. And, and, and you know what, I, I don't know, he's never said, but that might have been. But just to bring Bes back <laugh> where he is just like, oh my God, they'd have so much fun with this.
Michael Jamin (23:30):
Hey, it's Michael Jamin. If you like my videos and you want me to email them to you for free, join my watch list. Every Friday I send out my top three videos. These are for writers, actors, creative types. You can unsubscribe whenever you want. I'm not gonna spam you and it's absolutely free. Just go to michaeljamin.com/watchlist
Michael Jamin (23:54):
And then okay. So then what, what came after that?
Dave Krinsky (23:58):
So yeah, blades of Glory was in the middle of the King of the Hill era. Right. and then I guess Silicon Valley really would be the, the next big thing that,
Michael Jamin (24:10):
And Okay. How did you guys come up with that idea? Which is a pretty big hit.
Dave Krinsky (24:15):
Yeah. So that was an interesting confluence of events where Mike had been in talks with H B O, they really wanted to do something with him. And Scott Rudin wanted to do something in sort of the gaming space. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>. So they were sort of circling around this tech world. And Mike's like, I'm not a gamer. I don't know that well, but Mike was an engineer, you know, electrical engineer, so he knew, you know that world well. Yeah. but John was reading the, the Steve Jobs book by Walter Isaacson and saw this quote in the book where it's like Bill Gates was making fun of Steve Jobs goes, he can't even code.
Michael Jamin (24:48):
Dave Krinsky (24:49):
So John had this idea. He goes, well that's a really funny world. And his, his brother was an electric engineer, so he knew that world as well. And you know, so we pitched an idea to Mike doing something that Mike goes, well, I would love to do that. So then when we pitched it to H B O, they were like, yeah, this sounds great.
Michael Jamin (25:04):
Sorry. Right. So you wrote the pilot shot it and you were, and then like what people don't understand is like the process for shooting a pilot or, you know, like it's a big deal. It's like a lot of work. It's like even casting is a lot of work.
Dave Krinsky (25:18):
Yeah. And it, it was a lot of work and, and you know, there's a lot of round, I mean, after to, you know, really it was pretty high on it even after our first draft. It felt like it was gonna move in the right direction. And I do remember them calling him saying, okay, we wanna shoot a pilot mm-hmm. <Affirmative>. and we had just done a show for Nat Geo before this where the budgets, the budgets were, you know, very low. I can't remember what they were, but, so HBO calls saying, you know, look, the pilot's gotta, the budget's gotta have like a four or five in front of it and we're like 400, 500 grands <laugh> ton, but we can probably do it. It was like, no, no, no. Four or 5 million, million
<laugh>. And they, they actually forced us to go up to Silicon Valley to shoot for a few days, bring the whole company up and we're like, there's nothing up there. We can shoot this in la. You know, and we ended up shooting like on the side of a freeway and we had a couple establishing shots of Google and Facebook and Right. And stuff. But, you know, HBO does things and they want it to be authentic so you know, all the credit in the world to them. Right. and then, yeah. Then when we did an edit, it was interesting cuz the pilot to Silicon Valley has a very big subplot of these two women in LA who are tired of the LA scene and they go up to Silicon Valley cuz the guys are rich and nice and and nerdy. And they meet our heroes in the first episode. And h HP was like, yeah, you know, we don't want this storyline. We don't think we need it. So those poor actresses got cut out
Michael Jamin (26:37):
Dave Krinsky (26:37):
<Affirmative> and yeah. Crushing. Crushing. Yeah. It's gotta be, gotta be tough to see a show be that and you're,
Michael Jamin (26:44):
And you were cut out of it. Yeah. Yeah. What now when you, I know you, you teach at Chapman, it's so interesting cuz some people are like, is film school worth it? It's like, it depends on who you get as your teacher. Like, honestly, it's like it, you know and I'm sure they're very lucky to have you. What do you, you know, what is it, what's it like with these kids? You know, what are you teaching them? What are, where are they coming from, I guess?
Dave Krinsky (27:06):
Yeah, so the class is writing for adult animation. So, you know, half hour animation was like King of the Hill and, and, and things like that. But you know, as you well know, writing for animation is very similar to writing for anything. You know, it, it really is. You still need your three x structure and everything you can just go a little crazier with with things. And yeah, I asked them all, you know, beginning, because it, a lot of people still ask me, is it worth going to film school? Look, film school's expensive if you can afford it. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>, it's not a bad thing. And I think what these kids are getting, and I said kids, but a lot of 'em are in their twenties. I think one's in his thirties, Uhhuh, <affirmative>. They're writing constantly. Someone's making to, that's good.
They're in LA so they're exposed to people, you know, not Pam or something, but like me who have done it in the business. We're not just academics who have published books about things. You know, and, and you know, you know, Brian Behar is down there, there's a bunch of Jill Con, there's a bunch of people down there who are like, done stuff. And last week or the other day, Damon, the guy who did La La Land, I can never say his last name in Whiplash. Yeah. He was speaking tonight. Austin Butler's speaking. Like, they just have a ton of people coming through. So you have exposure to all these people who have done things. Yeah. You also have connections that, you know, if you don't go to film till you just have to move to LA and try to, you know, try to build yourself. So yeah. So I think it's a, it's a good thing if you can afford it. If you can't afford it, it is not, it is not worth stretching to do it because, you know, we moved to LA and we started networking and meeting people and kept writing and, you know, that's really how most people do it. Do
Michael Jamin (28:40):
You feel you have to beat misconceptions out of them? You know,
Dave Krinsky (28:45):
I think this is my first class and I'm teaching second year grad students. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>, so they're fairly savvy.
Michael Jamin (28:53):
Dave Krinsky (28:54):
I think they've been exposed to it enough that there's not a ton of misconceptions, but there are big gaps in their knowledge. Just, you know, as it would be with anybody who, who hasn't been in the business. So, look, I teach them things about structure. Things like things they've probably heard before, but in ways that, you know, I, here's mistakes I've made before. You know, having a scene have to carry double duty and a half hour show is really difficult cause you have to change gears within the middle of a scene. You know, keep it simple. So things like that, I should, but they definitely light up more to my more anecdotal stories. Like, what's it like to be in the room? What's it like to work for a showrunner who's, you know, marginalizing you. What I remember I talked to the other day, I go, yeah, so we have this if come deal. And I could say, I go, wait, do you guys know what NIF come deal is? And they're like, no. I was like, oh, okay. Well let me explain that. So Right.
Michael Jamin (29:45):
What do you tell 'em about the showrunners? Who, who, who marginalized you? What's your, what's your advice on that? I wanna hear it.
Dave Krinsky (29:51):
Yeah, <laugh> you know, it's just tough. I mean, I just keep stressing to them that most showrunners are under so much pressure and stress. All they want is someone to make their life easier. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>. So, you know, the better you can do that, you know, the better off you'll be. And sometimes it's uncomfortable, but you need, like you, well I guess you weren't there at the beginning, but the king of the hill, you know, Greg was running the show and he had so many things you were on, so he was barely in the room. Right. So you didn't really know what he wanted. You didn't know if your story was gonna work. So if you saw em in the break room or saw em in the hallway, you would be like, Hey Greg, this is what we're doing. You know, you try to get feedback from em.
So that's what I tell them. I go do get as much from the showrunner as you can. And some of them won't give you anything as they're not rooting for you to succeed, but get as much as you can from them when you can, because it doesn't do you any good to try to figure out what they're doing. I mean, you have to do that to some level. The more you know what they want. And that's why I tell these, you know, these kids are doing beat sheets and outlines. I'm like, be as specific as you can. Don't cheat yourself because I'm gonna read stuff you gloss over and go, oh, I guess they know what they're doing. Right. And then when you gimme a script and I'm like, wait, what if you had done that in your outline? I could have pointed it out at that stage.
Michael Jamin (31:06):
Right, exactly. And when you say, cause when you say you know, you just helped the showrunner out, like, to me, what I want as a showrunner, what I, I just want a draft that doesn't need a page one rewrite. That's how I feel. I mean, is that what you're talking about?
Dave Krinsky (31:20):
Pretty much, yeah. I mean, or look, if you're someone who can, who can, you know, have the joke or the story fix in the room that gets you all home sooner, then that's fine too. I mean, you know, I mean, at King of the Hill we had such a big staff, it's an animated show. There were people who turned in great drafts. There were people who weren't great draft fighters, where were great in the room. You know, so in those days you could build a big enough team that, you know, you could have a pinch hitter and a utility field or designated here. Now the staff are so small, you really do want someone, but you're right. I mean, to get that draft mm-hmm. <Affirmative> that needs a ton of work, you're like, okay, this sets us back so much on everything else now we can't, now I can't be in the editing room now. We can't push that next week's story forward. It's like, now we gotta dig in on this one.
Michael Jamin (32:03):
And, and what, what is, I mean that's exactly, yeah, that's exactly the panic that I, I I used to feel. But what did you, what is the advice, like, cause the industry's really changing so fast now. Like what is the advice you give these kids get out of film school in order to get into the business?
Dave Krinsky (32:20):
Yeah. I te look, it's tough. You know, I always try not to be too negative about it because it's always been tough. It's just tough in a different way. Right. you know what I tell them is like, look, the movie business is extraordinarily difficult. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>. So if you want to be a movie writer, that's fine. But, you know, I urge them like, TV seems to be a cleaner path. Yeah. It used to be with movies, at least you could write a spec at some control where TV had to hope somebody hired you. So now, you know, I say, look, if you have a good movie idea, think about it as a series because, you know, a-list actors are all doing tv. You know, there's a, there's, and obviously TV is in a, isn't a great state right now with just the quality of it. Yeah. but yeah, I mean, you really do just have to, the basics are right, right, right. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative> and network, you gotta be in LA you gotta be hitting all the places because you never know. Look, that meeting with Carolyn Strauss, we had like, it was a good meeting. It wasn't like, ah, we've made it, we've met Carolyn Strauss and it wasn't until nine months later that something on the game of it. Right.
Michael Jamin (33:19):
Right. So it's really about getting in those circles.
Dave Krinsky (33:21):
Michael Jamin (33:22):
Yeah. I mean I, yeah, I remember people say that all times. Do I have to be in la? I'm like, you don't have to do anything you don't want, but you know, this is where the fish swim. You know?
Dave Krinsky (33:32):
Yeah. I mean the, the thing is, and I think you've probably said for, it's like the material doesn't really speak for itself. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>, like in movies, it used to like a good specs script would find, you know, a, a buyer mm-hmm. <Affirmative>, you know, now there's very few ideas that someone's gonna go, well, I don't care who this comes from, I want to do it. You know, and there's, there's very few scripts that are good enough that any anybody's gonna be like, I'm gonna put this on the air. It happens. They are out there. But the vast majority of the time it's, I've been hanging out, I've been going to, you know, upright citizens for grade. I've been going, oh, I've been helping out on a student film. Right. Hey, that kid I helped out is now on the desk at uta. Does UTA even exists anymore? I don't know. You know, my
Michael Jamin (34:15):
Agent? Yeah. I'm not sure.
Dave Krinsky (34:15):
Yeah. It's c aa and it's like, you know what, he wants to be an agent, so he's trying to hustle. So he's gonna hand the script over to, and suddenly you have a meeting, you know, with an agent, a real agent. So that's how it mo mostly happens. And you gotta be in LA for that.
Michael Jamin (34:30):
Yeah, exactly. That's how I feel.
Dave Krinsky (34:33):
Michael Jamin (34:34):
So what now I know you also, oh, I wanna mention your, your book. Is it you, you and John, your partner are of the, like, of all the writing teams I've known, even writers I've known, like you guys are the most entrepreneurial, it seems like you, like, you know, there nothing, there's a, there's a path to do it and then there's always like, well let's figure out how else we can do them. You know, you're always like the hustle doesn't end and it's create, it's always like creating opportunities for yourself.
Dave Krinsky (34:59):
Yeah, I mean certainly. And John's much, much better at that than, I mean he has a very entrepreneurial spirit and I enjoy it though. I like doing things differently. But he's very innovative in the way he thinks he's been in Europe for since, for Covid and for a lot of that. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative> just, you know, kicking the tires in the international market and making some headway there. But like, I remember like a couple of years ago we hooked up and were producing this writer who had done a academy award, docu a nominated documentary, and he had a half hour sitcom and he was he was crypt camp, so he was in a wheelchair and it was a character was about his story. And it was a really cool story. And Obama's company was attached to it. And it was like, this is a great, I mean it's a great script, great project, you know, and we go to Netflix a Zoom pitch and they literally were like this.
But as soon as the camera came on, you're like, okay, this isn't gonna be a sale. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>, I mean, we knew it from the get go. Good lesson is you still pitch your heart out cuz you don't wanna ever have to blame yourself. If they don't buy it, they don't buy it. But so was like, what, you know, it's a great pro. Everything was great about it, but you don't know what they want and you just have so little control. So as we say, like shopping around town with our briefcase full of wears like Willie Loman is just not an appealing thing. So, you know, John had met this, this Irish actor, a guy named Richie Stevens, and he was pitching a friend's story and you know, that story wasn't quite hooking John. And then Richie started telling him about his own life and he was a recovered alcoholic drug addict gangster.
Right. And he is like, oh, that's interesting me, I want you to meet Dave. So we all sat down together, I'm like, I just had a fascinating life, a fascinating story. Like that's a great story to tell. Right. And and it was John's idea too. He was like, rich, you did the 12 steps of, you know, recovery. And he goes, yeah. He goes, let's tell your story in 12 steps. And that lends itself to a very nice TV show. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>. But we were like, do we really want to go pitch a TV show? And so we said, you know what if we could write this as a book, cuz it lends itself to a book really. Well, 12 chapters. The 12 steps. Right. And I always wanted to write a book from the time I was 12, you know but then we'd have an IP and Hollywood loves an ip, you know, they love it If it's a,
Michael Jamin (37:12):
You still had to pitch it as a book. I mean you still have to pitch cuz you had to pitch it as a
Dave Krinsky (37:15):
Book. Yeah. It's not like that's an easy path either. Yeah. But look, we had been out here long enough, we knew, you know, Jake Steinfeld Body by Jake who had published several successful books. He goes, well let me introduce you to my book agent. She publishes a lot of nonfiction authors. We'd pitched to her, she said, okay, this is a good hook. I think I can sell it. She turned around and sold it to a publisher. So then, you know, then we wrote the book, which took a while, but it's like now we have a book, which is an ip, which we can set up and we have much more control over it. Yeah. And we're making very good headway and setting it up as a TV show now.
Michael Jamin (37:48):
Right. Cuz you're bringing, you're bringing more to the table, which is why I always say, what else can you bring to the table? Yeah, yeah, yeah. And I, yeah, and it's an interesting read. I Yeah. Read it. Wonderful. So yeah, I give give you guys a lot of credit, a lot of credit, a lot of hustle.
Dave Krinsky (38:03):
Well look, a lot of it comes from boredom. And, and in all honesty, there's certain things we can do because of our track record. So when I'm advising like younger writers, I'm like, well, this won't necessarily work for you. Right. But you really do. I mean, the business has become so consolidated. It's a, it's a weird, it's also a weird business where like almost the quality or success of the entertainment doesn't matter. I mean, Apple's trying to sell mm-hmm. <Affirmative>, you know, iPhones, Amazon's trying to sell everything else in the world so it doesn't have the same sort of metric as it used to when you were pitching a show. So it, it, it's difficult. But you know, like I met this young writer and she wrote a script that I really liked a lot mm-hmm. <Affirmative> and, you know, we tried to set it up around town and have a ton of luck.
And then we learned she has dual citizenship, I guess triple citizen from Belgium and from France mm-hmm. <Affirmative>. And it's like, oh, an American writer who's got, you know, some talent who can go over to the EU and tap into the money over there with their subsidies because she has a, is a huge thing. So now we're making headway on that. Right. So there's a lot of different angles that anybody's starting out might have access to that they can do instead of really just waiting for an agent or a writer or a studio to notice them.
Michael Jamin (39:14):
Right, right. Stop begging, stop begging, start making, making things happen yourself. Yeah. Yeah. I think so. Well tell, well tell us tell me what the name of that, that book so they can find it on Amazon.
Dave Krinsky (39:25):
It's called The Gangster's Guide to Sobriety.
Michael Jamin (39:27):
Yeah. He's a charming fella.
Dave Krinsky (39:29):
That guy. Yeah. You know, he's a real Irishman with the Irish accent and like, if you read the book, I mean, he did some horrible things and he's always like shocked that people are nice to him cuz of the horrible things he's done. But he's also a very gentle, sweet guy. He was just an, he was an addict and, and he made a lot of bad decisions from there, but
Michael Jamin (39:45):
Dave Krinsky (39:46):
But yeah, he is a good guy. He's
Michael Jamin (39:47):
A good story. Yeah. A lot of good stories. Dave Krinsky, I'd give you a hug if
Dave Krinsky (39:52):
You I want
Michael Jamin (39:53):
One <laugh>, if you weren't on Zoom. Thank you so much. Thank you. Is there anything, any other parting words that we can get from you or anything, any other wisdom? Is that, or we tap, tap you out?
Dave Krinsky (40:03):
I don't know about wisdom, but I know that you know, a lot of people are, are tuning into you and checking your stuff out. And I just remember at King of the Hill and we've worked together on a bunch of shows, like you were always the fastest guy in the room. I was always just so amazed and, and jokes never translate. And it was your joke, so you'll sound like an idiot. But I just still remember we're all sitting in the writer's room and someone comes in and says, oh, I was down in Century City and I saw that Bewitched movie with will Ferrell and a Nicole Kidman. Yeah. And they go, how was he goes, well, I didn't really get to see it all because there was a fire alarm in the fire department came, came in and you yell everybody out, there's a bomb on the screen.
Michael Jamin (40:38):
<Laugh>, I don't remember that at, I have no memory of that at all. <Laugh>. My other, my
Dave Krinsky (40:44):
Other favorite memory of King of the Hill was, you remember sitting in that back chair mm-hmm. <Affirmative> taking a hole.
Michael Jamin (40:50):
Yes. And I have, I found a picture of it that was, I'll explain for the, for the, for our viewers we had, right. So there was a while on King of the Hill when we were working like 20 hours a day <laugh>, and I felt like a hostage. And I had this one big chair that had big wooden legs on it. And I took like a thumb tack and I started digging a hole like the Shawshank Redemption. Redemption. Like I was digging a hole out of the <laugh>. And then, and it took, it took months to finally when I finally broke through, I put a picture of Rita Hayworth on it so you couldn't see him as digging <laugh>. And this is ballsy for a new guy. Cause I was like, you know, I was destroying furniture and I was telling everyone that I was not happy to be there 20 hours a day.
Dave Krinsky (41:33):
<Laugh>. Well, the thing we all, we all kind of bought into this fantasy that when you broke through we'd be free. Right. And it was so depressing when you broke through and we were like,
Michael Jamin (41:43):
Dave Krinsky (41:43):
Back to work.
Michael Jamin (41:45):
I, I remember Garland was particularly interested in it. She's like, well, you know, because she was like, what are you gonna get through? Oh, funny. That's so funny. I'm, I'm glad you reminded that cuz I forget everything. That's the va the advantage of working with people if they can remind me of these stories. I don't remember any of that. I don't remember that <laugh> that be which
Dave Krinsky (42:04):
<Laugh> Yeah. No, it was very funny. But no, I this was a pleasure and I I love what you're doing and I think, you know, you're giving information to people that's kind of hard to get anywhere else. You can learn craft, you can learn certain things, but you have so much input that's useful on a day-to-day level for aspiring writers. So good on you.
Michael Jamin (42:20):
Thank you so much Dave Krinsky, thank you again. And
Dave Krinsky (42:24):
Pleasure to see you
Michael Jamin (42:25):
Everyone. So yeah stay tuned. We had more episodes coming up next week. Thanks. And yeah, we have what else we got? We got a free webinar once a month. Sign up for that on my website, michaeljamin.com and my free newsletter. All good stuff. Go to michaeljamin.com and you can find it. Alright everyone, thank you so much.
Phil Hudson (42:44):
This has been an episode of Screenwriters. Need to Hear This with Michael Jamin and Phil Hudson. If you'd like to support this podcast, please consider subscribing, leaving your review and sharing this podcast with someone who needs to hear today's cycle. For free daily screenwriting tips, follow Michael on Instagram, Facebook and TikTok @MichaelJaminWriter. You can follow me on Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok at @PhilAHudson This episode was produced by Phil Hudson and edited by Dallas Crane. Until max time, keep writing.