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Success in cartooning speaker: Tom Gammill
Tom Gammill is a comedy writer. He’s worked on Seinfeld, David Letterman, Saturday Night Live and currently a writer on The Simpsons.
- Tom Gammill reviews how he got into writing and attributes it to his early attempts to write comics
- “You need to be nice to everyone”
- Tom showed us his early cartoons from his days at Harvard.
- He got a job at Hallmark writing greeting cards
- Jim Downey (SNL) asked Tom to submit some of stuff SNL where he and writing partner Max Ross went on to work.
- TV is very collaborative. Tom and Max may write a story or pitch an episode, but 30 others will have worked on it before it is done.
- Tom reviewed some of the shows he’s worked on.
- Go find Frightened Family on Youtube. It was a skit created by Tom which had influences from Earnie Bushmiller’s Nancy
- Showed another skit called “Red Pepper”.
- A lot of personal stories made their way into Seinfeld episodes. Castanza’s fiancé died from licking envelopes. That was a family story from his grandmother (not that his grandma died from licking envelopes, but it was a story told by his grandmother).
- Advice: Think of how your parents screwed you up and use that as material
- Another show Gammill worked on: The Pitts
- Also worked on Larry Shandling show
- Fox and FX are looking for good animation, but they don’t want shows based on newspaper comic strips. They want edgy – think “Family Guy”
- Tom did a demo of an actual pitch for a TV show (only faster)
- If newspaper comics aren’t going anywhere – think of storyboarding. It’s a mix of art and writing. Many more jobs in storyboarding.
- Tom worked on a Bugs Bunny Looney Toons 50th anniversary. Showed a clip where Bill Murray goes off script.
- Worked with Chuck Jones, Friz Freling and Mel Blanc on that special.
- After the Looney Toons special he and Max were unemployed and spent a lot of time at a coffee shop. A lot of that material living in NY got into Seinfeld.
- The bit where the Jerry’s girlfriend’s uncle is a chef and wanted to prepare a special meal himself for the couple, but didn’t wash his hands after using the bathroom – that really happened to Tom.
- Showing a clip of a pilot he worked on after Seinfeld that didn’t get picked up.
- Larry David urged him to write a journal and use that material later. Tom uses The Doozies for that
- The Doozies is often where rejected Simpson ideas go
- Gammill: You don’t need newspapers or a studio anymore. Just a computer.
- The doozies is good for him. He doesn’t get paid well, but it generates ideas for material that might be used later.
- Question from audience: How do you handle rejection? Answer: You get used to it. A lot of things are cancelled for reasons way out of my control.