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Listen Now – Shadow & Act Black Screen/TV Writers Roundtable

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by Tambay A. Obenson
February 27, 2014 2:28 PM
4 Comments
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I often receive emails from long-time readers, asking if/when the Shadow & Act Livecast/Podcast will return. It's been a couple of years since the last episode was taped. In short, we had to push it aside in what was supposed to be a temporary hiatus, which then became an extended hiatus, and then an indefinite hiatus. 

But it's something that I plan to reboot soon, and your emails are certainly encouraging. 

In anticipation of that return, I'll be revisiting some of our greatest podcast hits over the years, as I'm sure the majority of you who read the site today, aren't even aware that there was once an S&A podcast, given how much the site's readership has grown since it was created in 2009. And while the site was launched in 2009, I had been podcasting for at least a year or two before that, when I was running my own personal blog called The Obenson Report. In fact, I interviewed Sergio waaaaay back then, before he and I started writing here on S&A. 

So the podcasts I'm going to be revisiting are a few years old. However, I'm selecting those that were not only the most popular, but are also still very relevant today, I think, like this first one - a screenwriters roundtable, recorded in 2009, almost 5 years ago, featuring writers who were working in the industry at the time, and are still very much doing so. Some of their names have, in fact, come up on this site in the last few months, because they've set up new projects at various networks. And when you see the names, I'm sure you'll recognize them.

The one-hour discussion included the following guests:

  • Courtney Lilly. At the time of the podcast, in 2009, his resumé included writing for Chris Rock’s Everybody Hates ChrisArrested Development, and was working on what was then the upcoming Family Guy spin-off, which we all now know as The Cleveland Show. Since the podcast, Courtney has added Guys with Kids and My Boys to his resume, while still writing for The Cleveland Show.
  • Kriss Turner. Kriss wrote the screenplay for Something New, the 2006 feature film which starred Sanaa Lathan. She also previously wrote for The Bernie mac ShowLiving Single, and, at the time of the podcast, was working on Sherri Shepherd’s sitcom for Lifetime, titled Sherri. Since the podcast, Kriss has written for and exec produced The First Family.
  • Kenya Barris. At the time of the podcast, Kenya’s writing credits included Soul Food (the TV series), Girlfriends, and The Game, and America’s Next Top Model. Since the podcast, he's added Are We There Yet? (the TV series) to his resume, while still writing for The Game. And most recently, as in this year, ABC ordered a pilot, called Black-ish (working title), created and written by Barris, based on his own real life, with Tracee Ellis RossAnthony Anderson and Laurence Fishburne starring.
  • And lastly, Bashir Salahuddin who, at the time of the podcast, was writing for the Late Night with Jimmy Fallon show, and previously for David Alan Grier’s Chocolate News on Comedy Central. And since the podcast, also happening this year, HBO ordered a pilot of a half-hour comedy from Salahuddin and writing/producing partner Diallo Riddle, which will star both gentlemen as two young reporters, trying to make it big in Atlanta. The potentially new HBO series will be executive produced by Lorne Michaels, along with Riddle and Salahuddin, with Dave Flebotte serving as showrunner.


So, those were the guests for what I thought was an insightful hour-long conversation with these writers who are on the "front lines" and had experience and wisdom to share, which I think still very much applies to writers (specifically writers of color) today.

So, set aside about an hour, and listen to the entire conversation below. You can also download it to play on you mobile device. You can download it from the source or look for it on iTunes. Just search for Shadow And Act.

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4 Comments

  • CareyCarey | March 2, 2014 9:08 PMReply

    Black-ish!!!??? Yep, there it was, I believe -- by listening to this podcast -- we've just witnessed one of the first episodes of ABC's ordered pilot, called Black-ish, created and written by Kenya Barris, based on his own real life.

    Yes sir, I don't know about y'all but I saw the makings of an interesting sit-com - right in that podcast. Off the top, all the writers spoke of their existence as the "token" or only black face in the crowd. They also spoke of their excitement of seeing another black face on the floor. And I heard the inside jokes and their individual frustrations. Yep, I saw and heard "black-ish" in this podcast.

    Man, what would I give to be a part of the writing team of "Black-ish". Hell, I'd work for free.

    Btw, Kerry was the star of this podcast. I can even see her character in the series "Black-ish". She's outspoken, concise, highly opinionated and quite witty. But that's just a small glimpses of how I'd write her character. For laughs and giggles I might even write her character as someone who loves being the "only", and thus, when that position is threatened by a "new" black face she'll do whatever it take to continue being the most important and/or only black face in the room.

    Now, this podcast would probably rate a B if one is interested in "the business" end of the movie/tv industry, but for those who only watch films for their entertainment value and the conversations they ensue, this podcast could probably... well... be fairly boring. Kriss's strong presence kept it alive but...

    And Tambay, long introductions are not needed. A 10 minute intro is too long. Sound-checks before going on air could also help the production.

  • . | March 2, 2014 10:33 PM

    Dangit, meant "Kriss Turner", she was the star of this podcast, not "Kerry".

  • Dankwa Brooks | 'Nother Brother Entertainment | March 1, 2014 12:27 AMReply

    This podcast WAS GREAT! Before I studied film as part of my undergrad I studied screenwriting at Morgan State University (patterned through a partnership with Warner Brothers Television) and what they were speaking was a lot of what we learned how a "Writer's room in Hollywood" was--especially being diverse. So much so I put it on my production company blog to benefit other screenwriters.

    Great info!

  • . | February 28, 2014 11:15 PMReply

    .

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