Added on Might 23, 2019
Bob’s Burgers , Lizzie Molyneux , Wendy Molyneux
So far as animated family exhibits go, Bob’s Burgers has been a staple hit for FOX Networks. Now getting into its tenth season, with no signs of slowing down, writing sisters Wendy Molyneux and Lizzie Molyneux-Logelin sat down with Artistic Screenwriting Magazine to debate what goes into creating a long-running hit TV show.
Wendy and Lizzie had been writing for 3 or for years focusing on function screenplays. Years of toiling bore the screenwriters little fruit, in order that they turned their pens (or keyboards) and wrote a spec live-action TV pilot. “It got to Jim [Dauterive] and Loren [Bouchard] [the show’s creators] somehow. It’s all a bit murky. They called us in for a presentation and we thought ‘there is no way we’re gonna get this job,’” recalled Wendy. Fate disrupted their writing aspirations they usually each obtained staffed on Bob’s Burgers in 2001.
“We had an interview with Jim and Loren on a Thursday and we started the following Monday,” recalled Lizzie. “It was a whirlwind. We went from not having a job and doubting if we were ready to work in TV… if it was the direction we wanted to go. In three days we were on Bob’s Burgers and been part of the staff writing staff ever since. Everything aligned. We got this amazing opportunity and haven’t looked back ever since. It’s been like a family for the past ten years.”
Every week before their assembly, the TV writers have been handed over for a gig on a Pauly Shore reality present. They are nonetheless unsure what landed them the gig on Bob’s Burgers. “We hope that some of it was that we were nice people to work with,” surmised Lizzie. Jim and Loren put collectively a writing employees that was non-competitive and gave a considerable amount of artistic management and possession to each author.
“They’ve already read your spec script, so they like your writing. When you go in for an interview, they’re looking for a reason to hire you more in because of your personality,” added Wendy.
Despite most of their previous screenplays being stay motion, the TV writers have all the time had an interest in animation. “It wasn’t as if we had to work in animation. We just wanted to work in TV comedy,” clarifies Lizzie. And Bob’s Burgers was the right car for them.
Making Bob’s Burgers Distinctive
All good TV comedies are based mostly on conflict. “The mom and dad [Bob & Linda Belcher] can’t really not like each other like in other shows. The dad’s not a big baby and the mom’s not a scold. They’re a team,” stated Wendy.
“They have conflict, but they’re not fueled by conflict. They’re very well-bonded. They play the game together rather than against each other. We’re exploiting good feelings between the family members for comedic effect.”
The unified family dynamic is essential to the show’s creators Jim Dauterive and Loren Bouchard which makes Bob’s Burgers and the best way it portrays familial battle unique.
They draw inspiration for storylines from their very own experiences. There’s a vital amount of overlap between the Belcher and Molyneux families in line with Wendy. “Hand and glove. We grew up in a large family so there were always kid shenanigans.”
“There was a lot of freedom. In a family of five children, we had to amuse ourselves and did our own thing, We have a lot of this in common with the Belcher kids” asserted Lizzie.
Since every episode takes several months to supply, they be sure that they don’t monitor well-liked tradition too intently. “The jokes can’t be too specific or time-sensitive or else they will fall flat when the episode airs. Bob’s Burgers lives in a timeless world,” quipped Wendy.
Inside the TV Writers’ Room
The standalone episode format of Bob’s Burgers signifies that breaking stories isn’t as vital an element as in serialized TV exhibits. “We make sure enough episodes focus on each character, but there is no macro season plan in terms of where the season begins and ends,” stated Wendy. “It’s a little more spontaneous and it grows organically.”
“Many TV writers’ rooms have a round table and are very focused. We are the polar opposite of that,” quips Wendy. “We have a big room full of couches. People come and go as they please. Jim and Loren tasks each staff writer to ‘produce’ their own episodes. Each writer breaks, writes, and rewrites their episode, with input from the other writers. We’d follow it through all the animation steps from thematic, animatic, color, mix to air. You had a say in how your final episode looked.”
“Having so much independence and personal responsibility for your episode ensures staff writers stay for the long haul. You can bring in people to punch up jokes or workshop additional material if you like. If you want to meditate on the couch about your next episode, that’s also fine. Some TV writers like to work alone and others like to work in a group.”
“Although it’s not regimented, tt’s not completely chaotic either. We have deadlines. There’s a day you turn in your outlines and a day you turn in your scripts,” declared Lizzie. “There are times when we all have to work as a group for rewrites, read-throughs, and production.”
There isn’t a set solution to generate or catalog story concepts for Bob’s Burgers. There could be an ‘event’ episode resembling Thanksgiving arising which puts other concepts on the backburner. “It’s pretty loose when we get started, and we’ll email each other back and forth until the idea is ready to be further developed,” stated Lizzie.
“Some episodes come together more easily and other episodes you struggle with,” stated Lizzie. That’s the nature of screenwriting.
Inspiration & Writing Course of
Story concepts can come from anyplace. “It often starts with a small nugget of an idea. Something we experienced with our family when we were growing up. Something we saw on the news. We’ll kick a couple of those ideas to Loren [Bouchard] to see if any spark his interest. From there we’ll get some other writers together to flesh them out,” stated Lizzie. “Other times we want to bring back certain characters that we like as a guest or explore certain character relationships that we haven’t explored before. It starts as something small and we build it to an entire episode.”
In the episode titled Just One Of Boyz 4 Now for Now (which garnered the writers a WGA award nomination in 2018 for animation) Louise has a boy crush. This was impressed by Lizzie’s love of the boy band Backstreet Boyz.
The movie Just One Of The Guys was the impetus for this episode. Lizzie explains they pitched the concept of Tina Belcher investigating what makes boys tick a number of seasons in a row, the place she went undercover as a boy to find ‘boydom.’ “We wanted to explore the idea that Tina has had so many crushes in a different way by falling in love with different boys throughout the day. It also let us write a bunch of boy band music.”
The Outdoors Rest room episode of Bob’s Burgers was inspired by Wendy’s nervousness goals the place she’s at a party and the only rest room is in the midst of the social gathering room. This later morphed in Gene Belcher finding a rest room in an unusual place and later befriending a talking rest room.
“Some ideas range from the deeply personal and meaningful, such as a boy crush, to the absurd, such as a talking toilet. Ideas cover the whole spectrum,” continued Wendy.
“There are some days we literally have no ideas. That’s when we surf the internet a lot. Celebrities are always up to something,” remarked Wendy.
Evolution Of The Writers
The writing pair have advanced in numerous methods in the course of the course of just about a decade working on Bob’s Burgers. “We are more confident of our joke and storytelling abilities over time. Before the show, we had never broken stories or been in a TV writers’ room before,” mused Wendy. “Even the simple things like finding the act breaks now feels quite easy to us. It was more of a struggle in the beginning. We’re more confident with what keeps people watching and how to create suspense. Our early episodes were rewritten a lot more.”
“You can’t be perfect at everything on day one. Lean into your peers to help you work on your weaknesses. Don’t deny yourself the opportunity of learning the skills you’re not so good at. Nobody expects you to be perfect on every aspect of the show.”
“Working with a group of people helps you overcome some of your insecurities,” mused Lizzie. “You don’t have the constant pressure to be the best in the room all the time. Some days you won’t be doing your best. You have more experienced writers around you that you’re constantly learning from. Be okay with not being one hundred percent all the time. A non-competitive environment allows every writer to shine because we all have the space to fail.”
Lizzie and Wendy share their easy thoughts to writers new to a TV writers’ room. Wendy advises, “be relaxed and be yourself. Wear comfortable clothing and don’t eat food you can spill over yourself.”
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