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.


  1. I happened to pop into the chat for the last 60 seconds of their visit. Soooo bummed that I missed most of it, but I’m glad that Mike felt so positive about it. For the brief bit I saw, there was a lot of mutual thanks and support going around.

    Go writers!

  2. Being in the chat room with Mike and Jen was an amazing experience. They were friendly, informative, and hilarious! No one can question their commitment to the fans, and I actually feel a little better about the whole situation with the strike after the chat. Thanks Tanster!

  3. Damn! I always seem to miss when the stars come in!

    Well sounds like you guys had a great time and I am looking forward to the transcript.

  4. Just like stephanie said, it was an awesome experience to be in the chat room with them and I came away with feeling better about the strike and the hope that because of the way things have changed in the last 20 years the strike hopefully won’t go on as long as the one in 1988.

  5. Man, stuff like this is why I love The Office so much! The cast/crew have always been so amazing to their fans, and you’d think that that would lessen because of the strike. But they’re actually establishing even more of a connection!

    Can’t wait to see the transcript!

  6. When I signed in, I seriously didn’t even see that Michael and Jen were in there. I thought “uh oh .. why am I being moderated?” Then I finally got that 2 of the best writers in Hollywood were in the OTCR! (PS I am a huge fan of Michael Schur!)

    But talking to them really reassured me (and I’m sure a lot of others) that this is all going to turn out okay. We just all hope this gets resolved soon!

  7. Another opportunity to chat with Office people wasted! Curse you,and your lateness Pacific Standard Time!!!

  8. I know that there will be a transcript posted, but is there someone who was in the chat that can give us a short summary of what was said (especially about the future of the show)?

  9. It was amazing being in the chat last night, even if it was only for the last half hour. All of the people involved with the show are truly great people and its the little things like this that shows that they really do care about the fans. No wonder The Office fandom is what it is.

    On a sidenote, I was as giddy as a little girl that Mike acknowledged me and answered my question.

    Thanks, tanster, for having this awesome site that allows us normal folk to interract with these people.

  10. Can’t wait to read it.

    Glad you got some positive strike vibes from them, Stephanie.

  11. Wow!! I’m sorry I missed it – but this is one of the many (!) reasons this site rocks so much!! You rock Tanster!!

  12. Michael and Jen were wonderful! They were candid with us, which I really appreciated. They were very serious in answering our questions thoroughly, but they also had lovely senses of humor. Thanks so much Tanster (and Mike and Jen of course)!

  13. They’re awesome. All the more reason to continue our support – they truly know how to treat their fans!

  14. Thank you to Tanster, Mike and Jen for a great time in the OTCR last night! It was very informative to learn more about what’s going on with the strike and of course so amazing to be able to chat with both of them. And of course they were both so funny even in just an online chat! All the folks associated with The Office are truly the best people in the business.

  15. I’m going to second, third, a millionth the statements that have been made. I again am amazing and thankful at how personal and thoughtful that cast and crew are to us the fans. In a time and situation like this that they want and will keep us fans informed is amazing! All I have to say is “No Other Show” would do this! Thanks Mike and Jen for making me laugh and I support the WGA!!!

  16. I mimic earlier comments about anyone in the chat room who can give a brief summary about what was said. Just to tide us over…. like about the FUTURE of the show! Someone please…

  17. I just wanted to add…on Jenna Fischer’s website, she also says that the next (unfilmed) episode was likely to have been the funniest of the season, and that it involved Jim and Pam going to Michael’s.

  18. Wow, just wow. I’m behind them even more now (if that is even possible) they are so great, I wish I would have stopped into the OT chat room like I had planned. Darnit! I hope they come back soon, especially for the laughs, since we are going to need them. Also… it’s Office thursday people, lets get excited! We only have one more week left. (for now)

  19. Informative and hilarious. I love these people. I hope I’m around for the next one. Thanks for the transcript, Tanster!

  20. Wow, thank you so much for hosting and transcribing this discussion! I’m not gonna lie, I was kind of freaking out about this whole thing. It seemed like we were getting vague if not contradictory information from every direction, and this really did clear up a lot of questions I had. Very informative, and I feel a lot better now. Mike and Jen are amazing for thinking of the fans at this time and making an effort to keep the communication going. They make it seem possible that the hoards of fans on the internet and elsewhere can really effect the speed and occurrence of a resolution. I hope things work out for the WGA, and soon!

  21. Thank you for the transcript, tanster. Like everyone else here, I support the strike 100%. If it weren’t for writers, what would the studios have? The pay they get from DVD sales is pathetic, and it’s ridiculous that the studios would lie and say they don’t know how much they’ll make off of new media. I hope the strike doesn’t last too long, but I hope they get everything they deserve in the end.

    (And thanks for this fantastic site, tanster. I’m a first-time poster, but long-time lurker.)

  22. Thanks so much for posting the transcript! I’m sick I missed it but it was so completely awesome that they came into the room and answered questions and gave some good laughs! What an amazing group of people they are! I am 110% behind them. I hope they get what they deserve.

    Thanks for the updates and again thanks for all you do Tanster!! :)

  23. This started pretty much 10-15 minutes after I left the chat….that’ll teach me to go off the Internet before 10 PM.

  24. I heart everything about this show/staff/etc. Call to arms sounds great. Tell me what to do and I will follow. Like that dwarf from Lord of the Rings…

  25. I’m so sorry I missed this! Must participate in the OTCR more often.

    Thank you so much for stopping by Michael and Jen!

  26. Hey (side note) everyone make sure you get everyone to turn on their TVs to The Office tonight for sure, no watching online later, no relying only on Tivo, we need to make sure the ratings are crazy high for these last two episodes so the “studios” know what they will be missing when we all turn our TVs off.

    Though, have we figured out whether we should turn off for reruns? Or only for other crap TV.

  27. I get the impression from this blog that the strike is going to last a long while and just because of the studios. The studios will move when they start losing money and because several shows have episodes in the can through the new year, looks like it’ll be a long time before they start hurting. There are so many reruns and reality shows that people can watch.

  28. It sucks that we aren’t getting new eps probably any time soon, but I’m behind these guys 100%. After all the ads I had to watch on NBC.com with their great webisodes and deleted scenes, the writers deserve a cut for the awesome writing they’ve done.

  29. Is it possible to love these people any more than we already do? If I didn’t live 700 miles away and didn’t have a family to care for, I’d be on the picket line with them!!

  30. Thank you Tanster!
    I usually just lurk in the shadows, but I figured if I’m writing to NBC I would be brave and write here too.
    Actually I am excited to hear that Denise is from Omaha, NE! Me too!!!

  31. Thanks, everybody, but I have to give credit where credit is due: Mike contacted me and asked to do the chat. This was Mike’s idea from the get-go.

    So if you have any doubts as to whether The Office staff really cares about its fans, I hope they’re all erased now. :)

  32. Tanster – thanks for letting us know. As if we didn’t love The Office staff so much already, knowing that Mike initiated the chat makes us love them more. It’s amazing that Mike and Jen thought of the fans and our reaction to everything going on when they have had such a difficult week. The show itself is the most entertaining show on TV, but knowing that such great people are involved with it makes it truly a great show, and they definitely deserve all our support.

  33. Tanster, I know that I said I didn’t think I could love these people anymore. But knowing now that Mike and Jen approached you first just sent me over the edge! Runs to write more postcards till my hand falls off.

  34. I, for one, will be working on my letters when I get back into town. Thanks to Mike and Jen for the chat last night (and tanster for hosting). It was very informative and funny. I just don’t understand how the networks can be so greedy as to not want to give residuals to those creating the show. Without them, there would be no shows.

  35. This is seriously amazing. No other cast, crew, writers on any other show would do this. They make us feel like we are actual people who love the show and not just crazy fans (even though inside we all freak out and squee sometimes) lol but seriously, this is incredible and I fully support the writers through all this and I just love everything about the office and I love this site. Ok, I’ll stop rambling hehe. :)

  36. It would be neat if after this is all over that Dunder Mifflin goes on a strike.

    Also, One thing I would like to know, that was kind of touched on, do writers get paid per script, a salary for the year even if they don’t write an episode and are on staff or are they contracted to product a certain amount of scripts?

  37. My children just missed getting lunch because I had to read this entire transcript.

    Amazing. Just amazing.

    Makes me love The Office even more (is that even possible????!)

  38. Amazing. I really hope they get a fair deal!

    My letters are in the mail right after work finishes!

  39. Wow!! This is just amazing! I didn’t think I could love these guys anymore than I did until now. That was very informative. Thanks so much tanster for the transcript. I appreciate everything you do!

    (p.s. How do I get the chat to work for me? I click the link for it and a new window with nothing but a red X pops up. Thanks.)

  40. I’ve never really written a letter in support of any political cause, etc., and other than adopting my animals from shelters I’ve never really supported a serious cause either. (Although I do enjoy a 5K “Fun Run” now and again.) But for some reason I feel that this is important and kind of personal (does that make me pathetic?) so my letter is written, stamped, and in the mail this afternoon.

  41. Hey tanster, maybe we could have some kind of letter-writing challenge? I don’t know exactly how that would work, but people could set goals of writing, I don’t know, a letter a week until the strike is over or something.

  42. That was great thank you so much Tanster, Mike, Jen and all those who asked great questions!
    #46 – I agree, I didn’t know it was possible to love it more… but I’m pretty sure I do now!

    and side note to Denise (ddker) – I’m from Omaha too! :)

  43. ok, it is really hard to not love those two!! they’re so intelligent and witty, they definitely answered a lot of my questions. go writers!!!!

    i think turning off the reruns would be a good idea, lets stick with our dvds for now (even though they only get 4 cents from them :-( )

  44. I think the best part of this strike (if there is a best part) is that the internet, the mode by which the studios are cheating their writers, actors etc, is actually the main means by which the writers are getting their message across, and will hopefully result in their triumph at the end of all this. I think thats something we should all try to incorporate in our letters…if this media is so “New” then how is it working better than any other medium to rally the American People?

  45. Same, Matt, all of the letters I wrote last night and today in school are getting mailed today. Everyone – send mail to NBC and the other studios. It really will influence them!

  46. My letter’s going out tomorrow. I’m so proud of it.

    It was great to see how honestly and genuinely passionate Michael and Jen were. Made me proud to be a fan.

  47. It’s just a vicious circle! I feel guilty because after no more iTunes episodes, I was FORCED to watch it online, and now I know what it was costing me. It’s so hard because I only want to see the show and the brilliant writing again and again and now there won’t be any brilliant writing for a long time beCAUSE I watched it again and again.

  48. Thank you so much for posting the transcript! I was just getting ready to send email to find out about how best to support the writers and everyone on the show. I will do whatever I can to help. The Office is by far the best written and funniest show on TV – it is a great example of what there should be more of. Go Writers!

  49. PS-I was lucky enough to go to the convention in Scranton. Unfortunately, that meant I missed that Thurs epi as I was travelling. I talked to my BF & he said how funny the show was so I was dying to watch & was so bummed by NBC & all the commercials it forces you watch. Then, to top it off, the video was stuck where Pam is sleeping on her computer–I could not see the ending!Ugh! I finally went to Amazon.com & bought the epi/season so I could watch it in entirety. Is this bad? Should I cancel my subscription?

  50. Thanks Mike and Jen. Best of luck to the whole WGA. I’ll miss The Office during the strike, but you can be sure that when you’re back writing, I’ll be back watching. Keep in touch.

  51. Thanks Tanster! That was the most informative transcript I have ever read. The writers are awesome to keep us informed. Thank you for posting all the links to various blogs and videos about the strike, and keeping us up to date. The Office is the only TV show I watch, and I hate that the show has stopped production. I pray it’s only temporary, and the WGA WINS!

  52. I just want to say that when I read, “Jen’s on the computer/Which means she’s actually screaming at a picture frame”, I laughed so hard I almost wet myself. Thanks Tanster for posting this.

  53. Wow. These people are insanely amazing. I fully support them in anything they do. In the of Michael Scott: “Follow them blindly.” You guys rock, completely ant totally. Thanks Tanster, our fearless leader.

  54. Thanks for posting this tanster. This was very informative, and the part about Lost was very eye-opening.

  55. John Aboud at the United Hollywood blog links to the OTCR chat and refers to Mike Schur saying that Steve’s quote was actually his (John’s). John says that it actually was not him that said it but that the “account was sent to [John] by a source who attended a Guild debrief meeting and added that we wished Carell ‘a slow recovery.'” He also says that this quote is now “America’s favorite urban legend.”

    [from tanster: OT is proud to help perpetuate this urban legend. :) ]

  56. Before The Office came along, I thought Hollywood was all the same. But, because of how amazingly down-to-earth all the cast/producers/writers of The Office have been, I have a totally different way of looking at it now.

    They truly are one in a trabillion. I support them 100%

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