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When the folks hosting the conference announced their theme as “Screen Narratives: Chaos and Order” the word ‘chaos’ immediately brought to mind writers rooms. I offered a quick history of writers rooms (the presentations are only 20 minutes long) and then quoted several current showrunners on how they compose their rooms and how they run them.
Friends provides an interesting case study because they were sued by the writer’s assistant who said that the room was unsafe to her. She didn’t like the kind of sexual conversation that went on. She did not win that lawsuit because it was understood that your presumption going into that job — a show about a bunch of single people in New York — is that we’re going to be discussing these things and you should be comfortable in that — or take a different job on a different show. so that was an interesting — how do we run a room? — Safe but open and I don’t that we’ve found a perfect answer to that yet. I think they got away with what they did because they were all new. It was their first show. Look at how young they were. This is them nowadays, right? So, it — they weren’t sure how to run things, right? They were working the best they could.
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