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Hollywood Unscripted

Episode 17 - Kidding

Dave Holstein - Kidding

Dave Holstein, creator of Showtime series “Kidding” discuss everything BTS (Behind The Scenes), including the journey of the show, it’s incredible cast, and stories from set - including the unique way the script found its way into Jim Carrey's hands.

Dave Holstein, creator and showrunner of “Kidding” joins Scott Tallal to discuss this Showtime series.


Dave starts off by explaining how the world was looking for a Fred Rogers-style character who is innately good (1:05) and the differences between the various biographical projects and the inspiration for this fictional character (1:58). He explains his personal reasoning for giving his lead character, Jeff Pickles, so many dramatic hurdles (3:05).


Dave delves into how “Kidding” came about, starting with his job as a writer on “Weeds” (3:56). Searching for another satisfying project, he ended up writing something for himself (4:24) with Jim Carrey in mind (4:52). Dave describes the journey “Kidding” went on as it was developed, passed around town, green-lit, and paused (5:24) before finding a unique way to get the script into Jim Carrey’s orbit (8:04).


Now in season 2, Dave explains how the show has grown and found its footing (9:32). He reviews plot points and the magic in making them (11:12). Dave discusses how in season 2 the backstories of the characters are deepened (13:03) and dives into Catherine Keener’s role (14:32). He talks about the creative ways the writers found to  explore the themes of the season (15:07).


Dave gives a rundown of the writers room (17:45) and reveals their creative process (18:36). He describes the atmosphere on set (20:58) and explains a particularly interesting shoot day (22:57).

He admits that he prefers television as a writer’s medium (26:08) and revels in the creative opportunity he has found himself in (27:28).



Announcer: From Curtco Media, there's no place like Hollywood.


Scott Tallal: Welcome to Hollywood UNSCRIPTED. I'm your host, Scott Tallal of the Malibu Film Society.Joining us today, the producer and writer of Kidding, the Showtime series starring Jim Carrey, along with Catherine Keener, Frank Langella, Judy Greer, Justin Kirk, wonderful cast. Dave Holstein, thank you so much for joining us.


Dave Holstein: My pleasure.


Scott Tallal: Season one was honored by the Golden Globes in the musical comedy category for both best series and best actor for Jim Carrey. And it's coming on the heels of Morgan Neville's documentary on Fred Rogers and then Marielle Heller's great film starring Matthew Rhys and. 


Dave Holstein: Thomas Hanks.


Scott Tallal: Thomas Hanks, Yes, a little known actor there. But it seems like there's a zeitgeist about Fred Rogers and what he created and certainly Kidding plays off of that.


Dave Holstein: Yeah, I think there's a real societal demand for over kindness at the moment. The script that I wrote, I wrote maybe eight years ago or 10 years ago at this point, and people always ask, you know, why did it take so long? I think it was just kind of waiting for the world to need a story about somebody who is really, really, really good. I think given what's on television these days is a lot of the opposite. And I think that a lot of people in a lot of different places, documentaries and features, I think kind of all experience that same wellspring of we need somebody like Mr. Rogers again.


Scott Tallal: But in this case, it's just a start. It Mariel's movie. Tom Hanks portrayal shows that Fred Rogers was in reality a much more complicated human being. But in your show and I mean this in the best possible way, it's a demented take on the whole thing. It really takes it to the next level.


Dave Holstein: Yeah. Yeah. I think it's one thing to be inspired by Mr. Rogers and his legacy. It's another to sort of make that a starting point for a writer's challenge, which is take a character who is genuinely good and then see what it would take to destroy him. And out of that comes a lot of story. And, you know, I think when you write television versus, say, a movie, you can look at the Mr. Rogers movie as an example of this. When you know plot, at least for me, I write a movie. When I know character, I write a TV show because a character is going to have hopefully a lot of plots. And I think that one of the reasons why Mr. Rogers was the supporting character in that movie and not the lead is I don't know if there was enough conflict and enough story there to make him the most interesting character dramatically speaking. And I think that our approach was take that guy, but push it to the limit and try to generate as much story as you can about somebody who is really struggling with their own duality and struggling with the ability to be kind and honest and have those not conflict, the pressure of wanting two things at once that probably can't coexist.


Scott Tallal: Do you enjoy torturing characters to the extent that you have tortured this man?


Dave Holstein: I think, you know, this was also coming from, you have to understand, a writer trying to break out and be heard and listened to. And I had probably sold a dozen pitches and scripts throughout my career. But you still need one that makes a lot of noise that gets read and gets paid attention to. And I think that in order for me to achieve that, I really did have to throw everything at this guy. It's hard because, you know, he's divorced. He lost his kid. He's got all these horrible things happening to him. And I think I felt as a writer that I needed to go as far as I possibly could so that no one could ignore the drama he was in.


Scott Tallal: Talk to us about how the series came together. You wrote the original story eight years ago. The first script.


Dave Holstein: Yeah.


Scott Tallal: And? 


Dave Holstein: I'll give you the the abridged version that leaves out wanting to quit and start a bagel company. But my grad school was working on Jenji Kohan's Weeds and I wrote in that show for seven years of its eight year run. And I learned a lot. And it was at a time when dramedy wasn't even a thing yet. But I think Jenji was sort of pioneering it because she came from comedy. So she started there. And when Weeds ended, I didn't find anything else in the landscape that let me use that same palette. And I played a little bit in network comedy and I just couldn't find that satisfaction of writing comedy that had something to say. And I wrote the pilot just out of sheer. let's see if I can write something that no one will ever make, but would just be for me. And if I could write anything, this is the thing I would write. You know, it has all the colors that I would want to paint with. It has comedy and drama and some poetry and some magical realism and some songs. And let's just write that and see where it goes. And I had watched The Truman Show and I couldn't get dramatic Jim Carrey out of my head because he's so good. So I wrote it with him in mind. And I even in the script wrote the first line of the pilot was Jeff Pickles, comma, think Jim Carrey and fondly remember The Truman Show. And, you know, I wrote a half hour. That pilot I wrote is not very far from what aired. Everyone thought it was too dark and that Jim would never do television, please take his name out of the script, it's just going to hamper you. And you know, I got a lot of people who were afraid of reading something new. It was totally out there. And I had worked with a producer who was now working for Jason Bateman and Jason read the script after about probably a year and a half of having it out there. And Jason was like, I love this. I want to act in it and I want to direct it. And I thought it was that simple and that I'd be on television. And we took it out as a show. And we got a lot of resistance because people didn't understand the show. They really didn't get what it was from the pilot. And the rejections were for lots of reasons, which don't make a ton of sense. But, you know, in the end, it's hard to have vision. I think it's hard to see where you're going to go with something. And so I sat down and wrote a bible that explained where this thing was going to go and what we were trying to do with it. It wasn't just about a really sad thing and that there was actually a goal and there was a goal to sort of arc somebody from a really low point to I guess the best way to put it is like in Breaking Bad. The fun of watching Breaking Bad is you get to see him break badder. And I wanted to write a character where he was kind and the world around him was cruel. And what we were hoping for was that he would stay good in a cruel world. He would fight off the bad. And that by the end of the show, you have someone, akin to Mr. Rogers, who needs to exist. So you're rooting for him to keep what makes him special and keep that glow.


Scott Tallal: But the journey along the way, he's also finding those dark places in himself. 


Dave Holstein: And acknowledging that we are a combination of good and evil and yin and yang. And there's a whole episode called The Cookie, which is all about duality of man. And that's a comedy. But in the development stage of this thing, Jason and I took it out. I got a lot of no's. I wrote a bible, brought it to Showtime. Showtime said, I've read the bible. I get it. I'm turning my no from a yes. And they had passed on it. And then we gave them the bible, went in, talked him about it. And we got the show straight to series with Jason Bateman as Jeff Pickles. And this was five years ago, six years ago. And three days later, Jason called me and said, hey, I love this show. But there's another show I have to go do now called Ozark. And so then he left the project and I had a show, but I had no actor. And Showtime was so hellbent on getting Jim. And I knew Jim would never do television. I just knew that was like never going happen. So I.  


Scott Tallal:  Cause he hadn't done it since In Living Color. 


Dave Holstein: 20 years. And I think in his mind, it was where movie stars went to die, even though this was the same year Julia Roberts was doing Homecoming, you know, and I think he mentally wasn't quite there yet with it. And so I  went after every actor in the book and had a list from Showtime. Like, if you can get this actor, you can have a TV show. And I went after everybody and they all said no, because it was kind of written with Jim in mind. So like Alec Baldwin can't play that part, but I wanted a show so I did whatever they told me to do. And at some point they told me that Showtime was going to greenlight this series, called I'm Dying Up Here, written by Dave Flebotte, a terrific writer. And Jim was gonna produce it. And I was told to read that script because there are some similarities in the pilot. I was supposed to read it for reasons that did not involve me working on the show. But I read it and I realized that one of the producers on that was Jim's producer. And if I applied to staff on the show, his producing partner would have to read Kidding. And so I just kind of did it. I was like, actually, I'd like to work on this show. Can I apply? And I did. And I got the job. And I was the number two writer on that show,. 


Scott Tallal: Which was very dark.


Dave Holstein: Oh, super dark. But also about comedy and. 


Scott Tallal: Stand up comedians. 


Dave Holstein: And stand up comedians and. 


Scott Tallal: Dying on stage.


Dave Holstein: Dying on stage, literally and figuratively sometimes. And that's how Jim and I finally were in the same room together. And Jim had read the script and he loved it. It was a great day. He pulled me out of a writer's room and said, I've been waiting to read some like this for a long time. And I thought again, that was it. I have a TV show and I was wrong because Jim had a lot of hesitancy about doing television. And so it took another year and a half from that point of convincing him via getting Michel Gondry on board that he would be in the hands of people who were making a movie.


Scott Tallal: Well, Michel had worked with him on Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, won the Oscar for best original screenplay, directed it. So that seems like a real key.


Dave Holstein: Yeah. That gave Jim the confidence to jump into television. And that was about three years ago.


Scott Tallal: So season one, you had Michel Gondry. Season two is taking a completely different direction.


Dave Holstein: Well, I wouldn't say it's completely different. I think we're building on season one. I think that Season 2 is the love letter in response to Season 1, when a season of television gets picked up with as many boldface names as Kkidding was, not just Jim and Michel, but Frank Langella and Catherine Keener. And there's a lot of cooks in the kitchen and in television at the end of the day, it really does come down to the guy writing 300 pages. You know, it comes down to the showrunner to make the show and Season One gets off to a good start. I see some imperfections that fixed themselves as the season goes on. And when Season 2 came along, I knew what to tighten, what to focus on, to let the show play to its strengths more. I think what our show does really strongly is emotion and magical realism that comes out of emotion. And so I wanted to tailor a season that was a little more hopeful and a little tighter in regards to the storytelling. I think that Season One, I took an approach that a show might have an A plot, a B plot and a C plot, and the shows that had one strong A plot to me were the strongest episodes. And so in season two, I tried to really focus in on letting Jeff's drive really dictate everything and not stray from it as much.


Scott Tallal: You end Season 1, Fred Rogers runs down his wife's boyfriend.


Dave Holstein: Yeah, yeah,. 


Scott Tallal: But that sets up season two and the most amazing anaesthesia dream I've ever seen. After we watched it at home, we finished the episode. We went back, turned on the subtitles because we didn't want to miss a word of dialogue in that scene. It was so wonderful.


I appreciate that, there's a couple of episodes this season that really lean into the magic. And those, I think are our strongest episodes. Jeff hits Peter with his car at he end of Season 1 and atones for it by giving Peter a portion of his liver that will save his life. So again, that balance of like I killed a guy, but I saved him, or I tried to kill a guy, but I also saved his life. Kind of evens everything out, weirdly. But in the surgery, when the liver is being put into Peter's body, the dream that Jeff is having, Peter parachutes into it because now, they're sort of sharing the same liver. And as we know, we all dream from our liver. 


Scott Tallal: And it has so much of our vocabulary in it.


Dave Holstein: Yeah. Yeah. It's got so much of our vocabulary in it.You know, we got Mandy Moore


Scott Tallal: You have to watch the episode.


Dave Holstein: Yeah you have to watch the episode, please do. We got Mandy Moore who choreographed La La Land and my background is musical theater. So I brought in my partner in crime, Alan Schmuckler, who writes Broadway songs and we just went for it and did two really great musical numbers, one of which has Dick Van Dyke singing the part of a 400 foot Sasquatch puppet. You know, it's just another week on kidding, really.


Scott Tallal: You had done some shows as a writer, but your first producing and writing gig came on Weeds with Jenji Kohan. I guess that's where you met Justin Kirk.


Dave Holstein: Yeah.


Scott Tallal: You brought him to this show. Obviously, Weeds is about a suburban widow who can only support her family by getting into dealing marijuana here. A major component of Justin's character deals with marijuana. Is this guy ever going to get away from the evil weed?


Dave Holstein: Sometimes I just pretend they're same character. Justin is one of those actors who just shows up and delivers. We go way, way back. But yeah, I hope Weed's fans would appreciate that my full arc as a writer has gone from seven years of writing that weed is good. And then a scene where Justin Kirk gets hit by a car for lighting a joint. So full circle, guys.


Scott Tallal: One thing that does happen in season two is we're getting so much more the backstory.


Dave Holstein: Yeah. I mean, you know, in season one, our show is very dense. I always say we're the best hour on TV because we are the only half hour you have to watch twice. And the level of detail that the writers put into this show is so granular. And a lot of the stuff we bring up in Season Two in terms of fleshing out the backstory and who they were as kids and who the mom was and where the puppets came from. A lot of it is there. But in a way that I wanted to flesh out in Season Two to a point where nobody could miss it. It is subtle in season 1 and Season 2 I wanted to lean into where he came from, why he's like who he is and what the genesis of some of the things around him came from. I mean, our attention to detail is something I really appreciate from every department on the show. And if you look at his sort of iconic living room set of his show within a show, you might realize that when you go back to his living room in his childhood home, it's the same room. It's the same fireplace, the same couch, the same drapes. It's very close. Not that you have to understand that to get the show, but we wanted to really give ourselves the opportunity to unpack everything about this guy. It's like when youre dealing with a Mr. Rogers type, there is such a demand to understand how this person was made in terms of flashing back and things like that. I think you can get away with it on a show like ours because you do want to know how did this guy come to exist?


Scott Tallal: Well, it's more than getting away with it. It's such an important, critical part of the development of what you're saying.


Dave Holstein: Yeah.


Scott Tallal: I mean, one of the things that happens in the season is you see how Catherine Keener's character, she plays Jim's sister, how she started developing the puppets and became the puppet master, so to speak. Yeah. Even more so after she overtakes the company. But then you start seeing all of these weird sides of her.


Dave Holstein: Yeah, she's, there's no one like Catherine Keener. She's a wonderful actress. And I wanted to make sure in season two that we gave her character just a little more to do and a little more drive in her arc. And I just wanted to build around her dynamic with Jim, and I wanted to give her more scenes with Judy. I think that the two of them were great together. There are just so many great actors on this show that you want to pair them up in different ways to really get everything out of what you got. Her and Frank are really good together, her and Judy. She's a good team captain on our show.


Scott Tallal: Well beyond that, her divorce is turning out to make Marriage Story look like a love story.


Dave Holstein: Yeah, I really like that both characters in this season, both Jeff and Deirdre, both Jim and Katherine's characters, are going through divorce in different ways, and it gave us a bit of a thematic backbone for season two. But, you know, we like to approach things in absurd ways. And one of the things that happens when Kathryn's character gets divorced because she created all the puppets, in the divorce, she loses the rights to half of them. And so Episode 5 became a really interesting challenge because in Episode 4, Jeff has to come to terms with signing his divorce papers. But he really wants to make some sort of ceremony out of it because he's a bleeding heart and Catherine loses half the puppets and the show's got to come back on the air. And so in the writers room, we decided it was not to do another episode of Let's follow them home and hear them talk about it. Let's see what that first episode back of the show would look like if in that episode you had to also say goodbye to half of the puppets in the show. What would Sesame Street do if they had to have Big Bird say goodbye to Snuffleupagus and also thematically link that to Jeff having to actually sign those papers and say goodbye to his marriage? And so we did a full episode of Puppet Time as a full episode of Kidding and did a full half hour that has four songs in it. It's essentially a musical with our puppets and it begins with an allegory about these puppets having to move and losing their homes in the fictional world of Pickle Barrel Falls where the show within a show takes place. And then it gradually, as the episode goes on, becomes clearly a more adult story about divorce. And one of our guest stars that episode is Ariana Grande, who comes in and lends her voice to two of those songs. And I'm really proud of the episode. I think we did something difficult, which is make a children's show watchable for adults for a half an hour and also bring in some adult themes. But I also watched it with my 2 year old on my lap during all the spotting sessions and all the sound sessions, and he watched the whole thing. I don't think he can understand all that, but it held his attention. And if I could hold a kid's attention and adult attention in an episode for half an hour, I think it'd be really cool magic trick to pull off.


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Scott Tallal: Talk to us about the writer's room.


Dave Holstein: We have a great group of writers. There's about eight of us. It's Roberto Benabib who was my boss on Weeds and has always been my partner in crime. We've worked on a bunch of shows together. The Brink, 68 Whiskey, shows that he created. And then we have Cody Heller, who is so funny and created a show called Dummy on Quibi. It's coming out. Jas Waters, who came off of This Is Us, Mike Vukadinovich whose a terrific screenwriter, is writing the sequel to Beetlejuice. We have Joey Mazzarino, who is the head writer of Sesame Street for many, many years and has, I think, 25 Emmys for puppeting Mary Monster. So obviously, he was an essential hire. And we've got Hilary Weisman Graham from Orange is the New Black and Dylan Tanous, our writer's assistant, who wrote Episode Nine with me this year. And I think that's it.


Scott Tallal: At the beginning of the season, you and the writers discuss what's going to happen and where we're going to take these characters this season. Talk to us about that process.


Dave Holstein: Well, I think, you know, the writers room process is something that is unique to television and really is about putting eight people in a room with different opinions and different backgrounds and having really creative and constructive arguments about these people we love who we've all fallen in love with. And what are we going to do to them? What are they going to learn and how are they going to do it? And Season 2 was united around the theme of Can you turn back time? And out of that came a lot of really smart pitches from the group about creative ways you could do that and involve magic and involve the wish fulfillment of a character who really does want to put his family back together, even though one is gone. And I think that we were able to do it in a way that you're fighting off the melancholy and embracing the hope that comes with that journey. And also, you have hilarious actors, so you're always as a writers room feeling. It's okay if on the wall it looks really sad or really dramatic because you're going to execute it in a way that balances that off with wit and grace. And Jim Carrey, one of the funniest men alive. But in terms of arcing out storylines. I mean, we just have a big room with a lot of whiteboards and we try to do the thing that scares us. That sounds the most challenging. And how do you do that in a half hour? We only have ten 1/2 hours of television and we're very ambitious. So it's a struggle.


Scott Tallal: Do you ever have occasions where you actually shoot stuff and it has to wind up on the cutting room floor?


Dave Holstein: Sure that happens all the time, especially in the comedy. You're always trying to tighten it down to a half hour or less just to keep it moving. But there were a couple of scenes. I think we cut out a story in the finale of season one of Maddy running away that just felt a little besides the point when we finally went in the editing room. Maddy is Catherine Keener's character's daughter.


Scott Tallal: In Season 2 Maddy's character is. 


Dave Holstein: My favorite,. 


Scott Tallal: One of her Christmas gifts as an axe.


Dave Holstein: Yeah.


Scott Tallal: That she likes to drag around the floor?


Dave Holstein: Yeah. She likes the sound it makes. We realize that her deadpan dry Christina Ricciesque delivery of things was something we wanted to really throw our various talents into, trying to write things for her. And she does not disappoint. Her first scene, her parents getting divorced, Then it's Christmas Eve. And they've gotten her everything on her Christmas list, including a large axe, which, you know, Chekov says if you bring in a Christmas wrapped axe in the first episode, it's got to go off by the 10th.


Scott Tallal: Are you on the set for every shoot?


Dave Holstein: Yeah.


Scott Tallal: Talk to us about the atmosphere on the set.


Dave Holstein: It varies every day. It's a very ambitious show and we demand a lot from the crew and the actors. And thankfully, everybody is game to push themselves. We did a sort of miraculous scene in season one that was minute and forty two second one-er that followed a woman over five years of her life. And we had 50 crew members changing the set around her as the camera never cut and used three body doubles and two dogs and, you know, the kitchen sink. And it took six hours of rehearsal and the goodwill of a lot of people and not a lot of half hour comedies on television will ask that of their crew to do. And we're constantly finding ways to raise the bar in terms of the cinematography we do, the creative swings we take. And that video went viral of the behind the scenes of how we made that. And I think someone likes to tell me more people have watched that clip than have read To Kill a Mockingbird. I think forty five million people have seen that, or there are forty five million views of that 90 second part of our show and far less for the rest of the show. But unsaid, I would say that everybody is trying to one up themselves and they're given creative license to do it. I think when you have a show that has Jim Carrey, Michel Gondry, Katharine, Frank, everyone's names above it, you can't just show, make a regular TV show. You've got to ask the most of everybody. And so I want to stretch Jim. I want to see him do funny Jim. I want to see him dance. I want to see him saying, I want to push him to his lips because I want to give the audience everything with Frank Langella. I want to see him chew the scenery. I want to see him tear down that wall. I really want to see the Nixon show up. I want to see all sides of Judy Greer. I want to remind the audience that she's not just the best friend in a romcom, that she's actually incredibly capable, dramatic actress. And with Katharine, I want to do the opposite. I want to remind people that she's actually really funny. And so when you get to our set, it's a constant feeling of ambition and collaboration. And God, it can get stressful and it can be difficult, but so is the hike up Everest, you know. And then you get to the top, you're like look what we did. I hope everyone thinks that at the end of the season.


Scott Tallal: So talk to us about one of the best moments on set.


Dave Holstein: Yes. So we had a pretty crazy day that could've gone really bad and turned out really good. And what happened was we were shooting actually a scene that was at the end of Episode  Four, where Deirdre and Scott are at the lawyer's office across the table from each other's lawyers. And there's Katherine and there's her husband. And then there's the two lawyers and there's two extras playing lawyers. And then there's an extra as a stenographer in the background. Pretty simple scene. I mean, it's complicated in that there's a lot of angles to cover. But all I know is I was at a production meeting downstairs while they were shooting that upstairs at a real conference room at Sony. And when I got out of the meeting about two hours later, I kind of serious rose. They had not shot a thing. And I was running upstairs to figure out why this delay. It turns out that one of the actors we had hired to play a supporting role for whatever reason was unable to perform that day. And we had a moment where we realized, OK, we need to replace an actor very, very quickly. And luckily, I had cast my friend from Weeds, Andy Milder, to play one of the lawyers. And I gave him the lawyer with the fewest lines. And then there's a lawyer who kind of drove the scene, who had to leave last minute. And I said, Andy, so you've got about 10 minutes right now to learn the other part and you're gonna go switch and play the other lawyer and you're gonna memorize this whole chunk yesterday because we have to shoot this. And Andy was like, yeah, I'm up, I'm in. And he memorized this huge chunk of dialogue. And then I realize we needed a lawyer now to play his part who had like three lines. And I pointed to one of the extras dressed as a lawyer. And I said, hey, any chance you're an actor? And this guy was lovely. His name was John Polite. I swear to God. And turns out was also, I believe, a reverend. He also has a church. He was the loveliest man. And I pulled him into a kitchenette and I said, can you just read these three lines to me? It's an audition. And he was great. And we cast him as the lawyer from being an extra who just showed up to work that day and wore a suit and tie. He was so good, we brought him back for a second episode to play the lawyer again. So he went from being a lovely extra to being a recurring actor on Kidding, but people really stepped up that day, it was exciting. Could've gone south, but everyone got a nice story and I sent my assistant across the street to the liquor store and got everybody champagne end of that day. But it was a nice one.


Scott Tallal: So I'm going to ask you the opposite of that. What keeps you up at night?


Dave Holstein: I mean, I'm a writer, so, you know, empty white pages keep me up at night. But we do have a good amount of time to write the scripts before we shoot this thing. Thankfully, it's just about raising the bar and about being given an opportunity you don't want to waste, you know? No one wants to finally get there and then have the place burned down around you. But I'm going to say, I think that as a show goes on and you're in Season Two and it's your second summer at summer camp with all these wonderful people. You really do form a shorthand that is invaluable. And Jim and I having collaborating for almost three years now, and I really value his partnership. And we get each other more than we did on day one. And that makes everything easier. And same with Catherine and Judy and Frank. Everybody just kind of gets along better and understands the dynamic. And I think that that makes everything just flow.


Scott Tallal: It's interesting what's happened because of the nature of streaming video and what that affords. It's got almost to the point that there's some people saying I don't want to go back to features. I'm having too much fun in television. 


Dave Holstein: As a writer, 100 percent, 100 percent. I mean, not just the ability to sort of make what you want to make, but television is a writer's medium and features are a director's medium. And no matter how much personal blood, sweat and tears I put into a screenplay, I still have to hand it over to somebody else and television, which is now kind of where the eyeballs are anyway. I have to see that through from beginning to end. Even if you bring on a cinematic genius like Michel Gondry, he can only be so many places at once. He can direct a couple episodes of that thing. So someone has to be the consistent voice through it. And in television, luckily, that's the writer. And so if I could be anywhere, I would be writing a TV show with movie people, because essentially I will try to sell a movie and try to get someone like Jim attached. And that will take years. And I get to go to work the next day. And if I come up with a scene the night before, we get to shoot it so we can come up with 10 movies a season. And that's that's the golden age of television.


Scott Tallal: And in your spare time, are you going to open that bagel shop?


Dave Holstein: I actually have a pie company. And. 


Scott Tallal: Really?


Dave Holstein: Yeah, it's a half joke because my mom had a bakery growing up and I make a lot of pie and my wife made me a logo of my fictional pie company. And so once a year on Christmas, executives and people who have been especially kind to me over the year get a pie from the Holstein pie company branded and logoed. Yeah,. 


Scott Tallal: That's great., I get the sense that this has got to be the most rewarding thing you've ever done.


Dave Holstein: Absolutely. 100 percent. Because I somehow lucked my way into a major television network just saying write whatever creatively inspires you and you have these actors and these directors and this crew to do it. And so there's nothing literally nothing we can't come up with and not make, and that never happens to a creative in Hollywood, it would never happen to me in screenwriting on my feature side. I certainly couldn't do this on a broadcast network by just the combination of being at Showtime and having these people like Michel and Jim, who set a very high bar. You kind of have to come to work and give it your all, because how many times can you come to work and give it your all where they'll actually make it? So yeah, I take the show very personally and I take the opportunity to make it very personally.


Scott Tallal: Very cool. Dave Holstein, thank you so much for joining us.


Dave Holstein: Thank you guys.


Scott Tallal: Best of luck with the series.


Announcer: Hollywood UNSCRIPTED is created by Curtco Media and presented in cooperation with the Malibu Film Society. This episode was hosted by Scott Tallal with guest Dave Holstein, produced and edited by Jenny Curtis. Sound Engineering by Michael Kennedy, the executive producer of Hollywood UNSCRIPTED is Stuart Halperin. The Hollywood unscripted theme song is by Celeste and Erik Dick. Please rate, review and subscribe to this podcast for more conversations with top industry professionals discussing the entertainment you love.


Announcer: Curtco Media. Media, for your mind.

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