The very first episode of a television show I ever wrote (that got made at least) was called “Career Day.” By the time the show’s creators and story editors and producers got through with the outline, the only words I still recognized of my work were “career” and “day.” The plot had changed so drastically that when I sat down to script it, I asked if I could change the title too, since it no longer had anything to do with high school career days. They turned me down. They said paperwork with the original title already existed, so we were locked in. Sure enough, episode nineteen of the first season of Student Bodies remains “Career Day” to this day.
Since then, I’ve found television titles to be less written in stone than I was first led to believe. In order to receive royalties for my episodes beyond the five-year buyout detailed in my contracts, I have to report the specifics to the Canadian Screenwriters Collection Society. Since getting heavily into animation writing a few years ago, I haven’t sent in a single form concerning those episodes yet. It’s not just laziness on my part. Increasingly, I’ve had to wait until my episodes air to confirm what they ended up being called. Sometimes it’s just a word or two that gets switched, sometimes the title is completely unfamiliar. To give one example, the episode “Ricky Who?” I mentioned in yesterday’s blog was “The Nobody” until I learned different searching through the official Ricky Sprocket website.
Lately, it’s even been the names of the shows themselves that get swapped out right under me. I’ve mentioned Kid vs. Kat once or twice now, but when I first started working on it, it was called Look What My Sister Dragged In. More recently, I got a memo about Racer Dogs telling me that the show was now to be known as Turbo Dogs. I guess some focus group somewhere concluded that Racer Dogs didn’t sound fast enough.
If you’re having a hard time keeping track of all the various names of shows and episodes I throw at you, just do what I do. Wait for a geek out there on the web to write an episode guide. There’s always some fan willing to keep track of it all for us.
Some of you have already noticed that my blog entries have increased dramatically of late. If you’re having trouble keeping track of that was well, scroll to the very bottom of this page. There you’ll find a new RSS feed option designed for people who are too lazy to go visit a web site regularly. I’m not exactly sure how it works, what you do with it, or how you go about getting it to do whatever it is it does. What can I say, I’m not twelve anymore. But I’m sure you crazy kids can figure it out, what with your hippy-hop music and your iPods and your internets, which, I’m told, is a series of tubes.
“Turbo Dogs” sounds like a nutritious microwavable snack!