Company with Shannen Doherty

As a writer, I’ve been lucky enough in my career to be able to almost always direct what I write.

From when I started writing theater in college, to Break a Leg, to everything in-between, I’ve almost always had full power over my scripts. It’s not because I have trouble relinquishing control — no that’s not true, I very much have trouble relinquishing control, but I don’t mind seeing what another director, another producer may do with my words.

This, by the way, is not recommended. As a writer, your job is to write and then let your baby out in the world so that others can help it grow, change, and hopefully become what you hoped it had the potential to become. Sometimes, it becomes a serial killer and you disown it. Sometimes, it becomes a beautiful ballerina (I don’t know why ballerina) and you are as proud as can be of it.

My point is, what I’m doing is wrong. But I’m going to do it anyway.

This is my overly long intro to an episode of a show I recently wrote. It was for Wilson Cleveland’s series that he was putting together called Series 7 — which, much like Neil Simon’s London Suite (a play and playwright that I love dearly), consists of several short stories that take place in the same hotel room.

Wilson asked me to write one for Shannen Doherty and himself — an opportunity I, of course, jumped at. What I came up with was “Company” — shown below — the story of a very lonely woman who, unable to cope, copes all over the concierge (which is less dirty than that sounded).

I had no part of the production — Mark Gantt directed it (and did a great job of it) and it was shot down in LA — I saw a cut of it when it was basically done and so, I literally had no part in it after I finished writing.

What do I think of it? I think it’s fantastic! It’s a bit sadder than I wrote it, it’s a bit more intense than I wrote it, but it’s interesting to hear my words come out of Shannen Doherty’s mouth. It was interesting to see an actress of her caliber take my words and change the cadence to match her own. I think she nails the monologues and I think that she nails the few joke lines as well. Wilson does a great job also — it was easier for to write for him, as I’ve done so before with Temp Life, but the man can deliver a joke, and that’s important in any script I write. Most importantly, he lets Shannon do what she does and reacts properly — all in all, they do really well together.

Anyway, my point is — to all you writers out there, you’re going to have bad experiences, I guarantee, but sometimes, just writing a world and then letting someone else put their hands all over it is the best way to learn about your own writing.

One question for people who watch it and who’ve watched other things I’ve written — does it still feel like something I wrote? Or is the style drastically different? I’m just curious.

Here’s the video!