Who are you and what do you write?
I’m Cherry Chevapravatdumrong. I write for Family Guy and I also write books.
I also have a short story in an anthology that’s being published next year by Candlewick. The YA stuff is under the name “Cherry Cheva” which is also where you’ll find me on twitter: @cherrycheva
Where and when do you write?
Mostly at the Family Guy office, five days a week. It’s a regular day job with fairly regular hours, although on occasion we’ve ended up staying there till super late at night (typical for comedy shows…and I’ve heard of much worse, like staying all night every night, and/or working weekends, so no complaints here). Our staff is huge, so we’re actually rarely all in the same room at the same time (when we are, there’s always a few people sitting on the floor); rather, we usually break into smaller groups and go off to various other offices/conference rooms to work on different sections of the script. Divide and conquer!
When I’m by myself writing a Family Guy script or doing book stuff, I generally do it at home. Not really a café person; occasionally a library person. I’m pretty much a weekend warrior when it comes to non-Family Guy stuff, since it’s nearly impossible for me to motivate to write more after having just spent a whole day at the office doing it. Hell, it’s hard to motivate after spending the whole day doing any job, which meant I was a weekend warrior back in my assistant days as well. I’m definitely not a “get up early and do it before work!” kind of person.
What software do you use?
Final Draft for Family Guy scripts and other script stuff, Word for outlines and book stuff.
What hardware do you use?
At Family Guy, we’re on Macs, and in the main writers’ room we have a big long conference table that has monitors every few seats, plus a few couches, so that everybody can be looking at the same thing at the same time as the writers’ assistant types.
The New York Times ran a photo that shows what it looks like when we’re all around the table.
There’s also a TV for when we’re rewriting animatics (the rough, black & white early version of an episode that’s basically all the storyboards strung together) or colors (version after it’s been animated), so we can watch it as we go, and we outline stuff on big whiteboards that have wheels so we can move them between all the different rooms as necessary.
People generally handwrite notes on their scripts, so we have many, many containers of pens and pencils all over the table. Like, way more than enough, which is great for when people are doing bits involving throwing them around the room or chucking them at the ceiling.
At home I have a Dell desktop and one of those wavy ergonomic keyboards. I don’t have a laptop, which everyone thinks is insane but is actually fine because on the rare occasion I’m trying to work somewhere that’s not my house, I just bring a pen and legal pad and I’m just jotting down notes or whatever.
I still have the same desk I acquired the first day I moved to LA (I was subletting from this girl who didn’t want her desk anymore so she gave it to me; it’s gigantic so I have lots of surface area to throw stuff everywhere). I also sometimes do that thing of putting up notecards on a corkboard when I’m trying to loosely outline something (one scene or chapter per card, depending on what I’m working on).
What (if anything) would you change?
I would write more (and/or procrastinate less)! I’m SO LAZY. I’m fine if there’s an actual deadline, I can totally kick it into high gear then, but if there isn’t one staring me right in the face, yikes. This is probably also a problem with writing at home most of the time…it’s so easy to be like “Oh, there’s the TV.” “Oh, there’s the kitchen where the snacks live.” “Oh wow, what if I turned on some music and had a one-woman dance party for the next hour?”
At Family Guy, of course, it’s different; that’s like an actual office job so you just do it, no problem. There I would just change the available candy to be more often the kinds I like (yeah, look at me, complaining about the free food).