A lot of making TV is lightening in a bottle.
Everyone starts out desperately trying to make a hit, but some people are just more mistake-prone than others. I happened to be fairly mistake-prone. Of the 40 shows I made, I’d say ten were hits, which is a pretty good average.
Having a support system is huge for writers. My parents were always encouraging and told me they were behind me, whether or not I made it in the business. My wife was always there for my successes and failures.
I believe in three-act structure. When I say that to novel people, or people in the world of books, they go, ‘Well, that’s a film thing.’ However, even a good joke has three acts.
I believed in the concept of over-performing. I believe anyone can achieve their goals in life if they over-perform, and that means you have to work ten times harder than anybody you see.
I can write a book in probably three months.
I finally get to the place where the book has matured in my mind and I can hardly wait to start writing it. Then I just sit down and I start. I hit the go button. I have an outline, which is 70 pages, but I don’t look at it. I never have to look at it.
I flunked three grades before I got out of high school.
I formed my own studio, carried my own deficits, owned one-hundred percent of my negatives, and made a lot of mistakes, but we ended up being the third largest TV studio in Hollywood.
I love ‘Dexter.’ The dark sense of humor is wonderful.
I never waited for my Irish Cream coffee to be the right temperature, with a storm happening outside and my fireplace crackling… I wrote every day, at home, in the office, whether I felt like it or not. I just did it.
I really hesitate to say that any of my shows influenced other writers.
I was born in L.A. County Hospital, but I grew up in Pasadena. I married my 8th grade sweetheart, Marcia.
I’m a very conservative businessman. I don’t work on credit. My father was the guy who taught me how to think straight, not to delude myself and think I was larger than I was.
I’m generally a very happy guy because I’m doing what I want. I’m willing to tell you that there are people who are much better than I am in writing. I don’t have to be the fastest gun in the West.
I’ve been very successful at selling my things, but I’ve also been getting up at 4 in the morning for 40 years.
My dad was an interior design and furniture person. I started working with him for four years before my first TV writing break.
My dad was my best friend. I worshipped him. All of my success in life really comes from him. He believed that you get nothing from negativity.
Once you put something like ‘The A-Team’ on the map, it does become part of the DNA of television. People grab little pieces of it. I certainly grabbed little pieces of other people’s shows when I was creating my shows.
So many people get involved with carrying grudges and having these moral battles with people, where they cast themselves as the righteous and the other guy is the dirtbag. They waste tons of energy on it, create all kinds of darkness around themselves and the other person. It gets you nothing.
The first act is the easiest to plot. The second act is always the hardest to plot. Generally a good, you know, sometimes the third act can be difficult because you can get into a rut in the third act – everybody runs to their Corvette, has a chase, and you catch the bad guy.