Powered by Schneider's Bakery, Inc.

Saturday, January 31, 2015

#AskDanWarp: How long it takes to make an episode

@Real__Andrew asks: @DanWarp #AskDanWarp How long does it take to make an episode of a show?

DAN SCHNEIDER:  Interestingly, I get asked this question a lot.  I'll do my best to explain, but there’s no precise answer to this question, because some episodes are more complex than others.  But in general, here’s how it works…

Someone on the writing staff will pitch an idea for an episode (me or one of our other writers/producers).  Then, if we all like the idea, we decide, "Okay, we're doing it – this is going to be an episode."

Next, we’ll usually spend a few hours working on the broad beats – those are the main, basic things that will happen in the episode.  On average, it probably takes us around 3 hours to come up with the broad beats.

Once I approve the broad beats, the next step is for us to write the outline.  That means we flesh out (expand) the broad beats, coming up with a more detailed written plan for the episode, i.e. what the script will be.  On average, it takes us about half a day (around 5 hours) to write a full outline.  Some get done quicker -- some take longer.  It's just like writing a song.  Sometimes you write a song in 15 minutes.  Sometimes it takes weeks.  You can't put a clock on being creative.

Let's add up where we are so far:  The process to take an idea to broad beats, and then to an outline, usually takes a full day – sometimes 2.

Next, it takes us about 2 days to write the script – to get a first draft.  There have been times when we've written a whole script in one day.  But that's unusual and kind of stressful.  It's a more comfortable pace for us to take a day to write the first half, and then another day to write the second half.

Then it takes another day (maybe half a day) to finalize the script.   That means fixing any problems, making the jokes funnier, and cutting it down so it's the right length.

Next, the cast performs a “table read” of the script on a Monday morning, with writers and producers present.  Then we spend that whole week tweaking (perfecting) the script while the actors rehearse it on stage, where the sets are.  We film the show on Thursday and Friday.

Total days so far: 8

Once the episode has been filmed (once it's "in the can"), we take about 2 or 3 weeks to do post production on the episode.  During that time, we:
  • Edit the episode (put it all together)
  • Make tweaks to the edit
  • Add music and sound-effects
  • Add visual effects
  • Color correct the picture
  • Etc.
And once I approve everything – picture, sound, music, etc. – the episode is delivered to the network.

So, on average, it takes about 3 to 4 weeks to make an episode – from coming up with the idea, to delivering the final product.
Now you know. :)
Thanks for asking.  Keep watching!
Dan Schneider (aka @DanWarp)