Michael Schur and Jen Celotta visit the OTCR

The Office

It was an absolute thrill to welcome The Office’s co-executive producers and writers extraordinaire Michael Schur and Jen Celotta into the OfficeTally Chat Room tonight!

Aside from Mike mistaking Parker for a guy and Jen trying to type replies on a toaster, the chat went very well. They answered questions about the strike and the future of the show.

I talked to Mike afterwards, and he sounded totally pumped about the whole experience. Another chat is a definite possibility for the near future.

A full transcript of the chat after the jump. A few tiny spoilerish tidbits included.

21:57:55 tanster: Hi Mike and Jen!
21:58:02 MichaelSchur: Hi everybody!
21:58:10 JenCelotta: hi Tanster!
21:58:19 JenCelotta: and everybody!
21:58:19 tanster: We are happy to welcome The Office writers Mike Schur and Jen Celotta to the OTCR today. They are here to answer any questions you may have on the strike. Please enter your question to submit it to the moderation queue. Thanks!
21:58:50 tanster: First of all, welcome, Mike and Jen! Thanks for taking the time to talk to us Office fans
21:59:18 MichaelSchur: The pleasure is ours. We just want to say that we will try to answer any question you have, regardless of your POV. We just want to connect with fans of the show and keep lines of communication open. So fire away.
21:59:47 KKras (GMMR): There’s a lot of ideas out there about what fans can do to support the writers. Stop watching NBC.com, stop watching reality TV (and TV in general), stop buying DVDs. What are the suggestions of the WGA?
22:00:06 MichaelSchur: Good question.
22:00:40 MichaelSchur: Jen is typing our answer.
22:00:49 MichaelSchur: Please be patient, as neither of us has ever used a computer.
22:00:57 tanster: lol
22:01:03 MichaelSchur: Jen is typing on a toaster.
22:01:20 tanster: that means “laugh out loud”
22:01:26 MichaelSchur: ??!?!?!?!?
22:01:31 MichaelSchur: I have so much to learn.
22:01:37 Jim Mosby: *nice*
22:01:51 MichaelSchur: Okay. Getting close.
22:02:05 tanster: don’t burn that cheesy pita
22:02:21 JenCelotta: As Tori mentioned on Officetally, we think the best way to show your support is to write a letter to nbc to tell them you want to see the scripted shows that you love — you can mail it to Jeff Zucker at 30 Rockefeller Plaza. New York, NY 10112. We are thrilled to have fans that want to support us during this time.
22:02:45 JenCelotta: I did write that on a toaster. Pretty impressive, huh?
22:02:53 tanster: nice job jen
22:02:56 Clare: We are rooting for you all, but will miss The Office dearly. Do you think we’ll have our show back this season?
22:03:20 MichaelSchur: Basically, these mogul types think you are stupid — that you will just watch any old crap they throw up there. So if you write them and tell them that you demand good shows, then they will have to listen.
22:04:16 MichaelSchur: Jen is answering Clare’s question…
22:04:19 JenCelotta: Well, we have no idea, honestly. We’re hoping to get a fair deal and get this resolved quickly. We cannot wait to get back to work and shoot more episodes. The one we were supposed to shoot this week was the funniest table read we’ve had.
22:04:34 tanster: oh give us a little tidbit
22:04:46 tanster: a spoiler, if you will. ok, a crumb
22:05:26 MichaelSchur: That’s true. It’s an awesome script. Lee and Gene wrote it, and it’s about people going to Michael’s house for a dinner party. Honestly, it was the funniest table read we have ever had, and it’s killing us that we can’t shoot it.
22:05:44 MichaelSchur: But these issues are important, and we’re going to fight for them as long as we have to.
22:05:48 Denise (ddker): when is the next negotiation meeting set to take place or is there not one set up yet?
22:06:08 MichaelSchur: Jen is banging on her toaster…
22:06:19 Jim Mosby: *twss*
22:06:29 MichaelSchur: Nicely done, Jim.
22:06:45 tanster: yeah, make sure you guys have your sound turned up :)
22:07:26 JenCelotta: We haven’t heard about any scheduled negotiations… there are backchannel talks that happen and we don’t know of any of those but it’s always possible that it takes a while to find out about them. From the way the negotiations have been going, I would imagine a cooling off period before they begin again, but that’s nothing more than a hunch.
22:07:40 MichaelSchur: We hear a lot of conflicting things. They don’t tell the rank and file writers too much out of a need for media secrecy…
22:07:47 mg714: How many scripts had been written but not yet filmed before the strike? Just the one you had the table read for?
22:07:57 JenCelotta: how do you get the site to say “that’s what she said.
22:08:21 tanster: click the blue musical note thingie, that shows a list of sounds
22:08:44 JenCelotta: cool. *nice*
22:08:45 MichaelSchur: Well, we had two others that we wrote drafts of, but they had not been rewritten yet. They are both very good, but need the usual TLC that all of our scripts get from the writing staff.
22:08:59 Clare: How are Steve’s balls doing?
22:09:03 MichaelSchur: He he
22:09:16 JenCelotta: mike’s gonna handle this one.
22:09:25 tanster: *twss*
22:09:30 JenCelotta: *twss*
22:09:37 JenCelotta: damn, you beat me to it.
22:09:45 MichaelSchur: Just to clarify — Steve did not actually say that. John Aboud, a blogger at UnitedHollywood.com, wrote that as a joke, and people started attributing it to Steve, which is hilarious.
22:09:54 tanster: oh darn
22:10:10 mg714: What is the position of the WGA on actors, directors, etc. who are still working on episodes with scripts that were written before the strike?
22:10:17 MichaelSchur: In all seriousness, though, what he did is super duper A+ dawesome. We love him even more than we used to.
22:11:39 KKras (GMMR): Well, Mike. Have you seen the ratings for Dancing with the D-Listers and Deal or No Deal? The moguls are not wrong (sadly). How do you as ‘hyphenates’ deal with your obligations across various unions.
22:12:14 MichaelSchur: Jen is answering previous Q — I will take KKras’s
22:14:38 JenCelotta: Well, actors and directors are legally required to work because of their contract. The head of SAG came to our rally and said the actors support us and they can show their support by coming to our picket lines and picketing with us — but because of their contract they need to report to work.
22:15:05 MichaelSchur: Basically, the hyphenates thing boils down to this: if we are producer-level or above, and we are not on our sets doing things like editing, or casting future episodes…all those “producer” duties, technically we are in breach of our contracts and could, theoretically, have legal action taken against us. But frankly, we think that those duties are part of what it means to be a writer. And even if they weren’t, I don’t think I could cross my own union’s picket line.