Watch the Performance Reading of FAMILY GUY “What The Phuc?!”:
NARRATOR – Lorry Ayers
PETER – Adam Martignetti
LOIS – Marsha Mason
STEWIE – Dan Cristofori
BRIAN – Allan Brunet
CHRIS/PHUC – Geoff Mays
MEG – Victoria Kucher
Matthew Toffolo interviews winning television writer Dave Chan:
Matthew: What is your TV SPEC about?
Dave: Peter Griffin must find a way to get back his foreclosed house when Lois threatens to leave him for good. Meg falls in love with a new student at school who doubles as a heroin drug lord, and Stewie corners the market on Cheerios by pushing the popular breakfast cereal to addicted toddlers.
Matthew: Why does this script work and fit into the context of this TV show?
Dave: Much like the show, Peter’s foibles typcially land him and his family in trouble, but in my spec script, I also wanted to give Meg a strong B-story. Since she usually gets less attention on the show, I thought it would be fun to explore her character on a more emotional level. And as in a lot of the Family Guy episodes, I wanted to intertwine the multiple storylines and have them resolve and tie in with each other at the end.
Matthew: How long have you been writing stories?
Dave: I’ve been writing for about 10 years now. And I’ll never stop learning…
Matthew: What movie have you seen the most in your life?
Dave: Tough pinning it down to just one: The Shawshank Redemption, Unforgiven, Goodfellas, Raising Arizona, and Highlander.
Matthew: What artists would you love to work with?
Dave: Too many to mention! But here’s a start… Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, Sam Rockwell, Susan Sarandon, Kristen Wiig, Will Ferrell, Martin Scorsese, The Coen Brothers, Woody Allen, Quentin Tarantino, Vince Gilligan, Jerry Weintraub, Bono, et al.
Matthew: How many stories/screenplays have you written?
Dave: I’ve written and co-written several sketches, TV specs, pilots, shorts, and feature-length screenplays, primarily comedies or crime-dramas.
Matthew: What motivated you to write this screenplay?
Dave: I have a very crazy sense of humor, so a Family Guy spec was the logical choice. I love the show! And I immediately had in mind what I wanted to write about. The stories were all very clear to me. I just had to get them down on paper.
Matthew: Describe your process; do you have a set routine, method for writing?
Dave: I don’t really have a routinized process, but I can write any time of day. Location is more important to me than time. I’d like to know that I won’t be disturbed when I write. When I get into a flow, and I’m in the zone, I’d like to ride that wave as long as I possibly can. Being in a place like a cafe or a bar surrounded by background noises can really help my writing. Then at other times, it’s a pleasure to write at two in the morning when everything’s quiet. Inspiration can come from anywhere at any time, and I love that about writing!
Matthew: Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?
Dave: Besides film and TV, I love to travel — trying new foods, meeting new people, speaking new languages! I just love the process of learning and keeping my mind stimulated. Interval running is great also, but patellar tenditis isn’t. I don’t run anymore.
Matthew: What influenced you to enter the WILDsound Festival?
Dave: I think it’s an outstanding festival. To have your work read aloud and showcased on the internet is amazing! And the folks who run the festival are super cool. I had a very full plate at one point this year, and they were very patient and encouraging with my rewrite submission.
Matthew: Any advice or tips you’d like to pass on to other writers?
Dave: Wow. I’m definitely no authority on writing, but from my own personal experience… and please forgive the cheese and corn… Do NOT be afraid to fail. It’s the fear of failure, and not failure itself, that holds us back from achieving success. Let your ideas flow out when you write the first draft. It’s okay for your first drafts to suck. In fact, it’s normal. That’s what rewriting is for. And that’s when you should problem-solve.
Write with your heart. Rewrite with your head.
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