Matthew Gatland

Winter thoughts - 5 of 6

January 23, 2021

Tonight I wanted to learn about creative collaboration and how to do it better. I thought about writers’ rooms - they do this all the time, right? Brainstorming, stitching ideas together, cutting the bad stuff. How does a writers room work? Let’s find out.

I watched a YouTube show called Reboot Rewind where four men come up with ideas to reboot famous movies. It’s not a real writers’ room but it must be similar: they have ideas and they disagree and fight and those fights usually lead to everyone saying what they really think and then making it work. I watched one actual episode and one ‘rewind’ episode where they reflected on their process.

One of the creators described the moment he realised he had to let go of the Star Wars story he wanted to tell in order to make the best possible story with this group of people. I like that. They also talked about how it takes more energy to “yes, and” than it takes to shoot down an idea. Interesting.

I saw a few minutes of a documentary about South Park that showed a writers’ room. It seems like their process has people rant about things that are bothering them, and then these rants are exaggerated and turned into storylines. This feels very specific to South Park’s style - I don’t think you can build game features around “Isn’t it weird that nobody reads the iTunes terms of service?”

There was a good line on editing and how it’s about replacing “this and this and this” with “this therefore this but this”, so you end up with a series of connected ideas.

From all the videos I watched, I haven’t made any huge revelations but I do feel like this is useful. I want to see more footage of people doing creative work together.