One in a series of evenings and special screenings presented as part of The Paley Center for Media's Inside the Writer's Room series in Los Angeles. This evening focuses on "The Office," an American comedy series (based on a British series of the same name) in the format of a faux documentary, focusing on the life of Dunder-Mifflin paper company middle manager Michael Scott and the people in his office. Freelance entertainment writer Jennie Tan, who runs a website focusing on "The Office," moderates. Barbara Dixon (director of The Paley Center in L.A.) offers opening remarks. Next, Greg Daniels (executive producer/writer) introduces the opening scene from "Baby Shower," the episode of "The Office" scheduled to air in two days, followed by a montage of appearances by writers on the show.

Afterward, Tan introduces the panelists: Daniels, and writers Charlie Grandy; Ryan Koh; Anthony Q. Farrell; Justin Spitzer; Lester Lewis; Lee Eisenberg; Mindy Kaling; Paul Lieberstein; Michael Schur; Jennifer Celotta; and Aaron Shure.

The panelists touch on such topics as: if it's difficult to watch one's own work when it airs; why many of the writers also act on the show; how the show's writers -- rather than its popular cast members -- contribute to the show's success; the effort by writers to mix serious scenes with broad comedy; how writers are chosen to work on a specific episode; if plot developments are motivated by fans' suggestions; how decisions are reached on making the central character of Michael Scott into a "stupid" but always plausible lead; if any live episodes are planned; if writers try to "open up" the scripts by making action take place outside the Dunder-Mifflin building; why many of the writers have taken on directing duties; if writers get frustrated by requests for too much focus on one plotline, as with the Jim/Pam romance; problems created by online "spoilers"; if the show would have been as big a hit without the help of iTunes, the web, and similar technology; and if the show's finale has been planned.

Questions from the audience then lead to a discussion of the following topics: if the show's faux documentary format restricts some plot lines; if the documentary's "crew" members are considered "characters"; which guest stars are currently being sought; how much ad-libbing takes place on set; how many writers contribute to each episode; if the writers get defensive when their scripts are rewritten; and if writers try to make stand-alone episodes, or work toward a specified story arc.

The seminar concludes with an "Office" trivia quiz, followed by gift bags being given out to winning audience members.


  • DATE: October 14, 2008 7:00 PM
  • RUNNING TIME: 1:40:49
  • COLOR/B&W: Color
  • CATALOG ID: B:93330
  • GENRE: Seminars


  • Barbara Dixon … Host
  • Jennie Tan … Moderator
  • Greg Daniels … Panelist
  • Charlie Grandy … Panelist
  • Ryan Koh … Panelist
  • Anthony Q. Farrell … Panelist
  • Justin Spitzer … Panelist
  • Lester Lewis … Panelist
  • Lee Eisenberg … Panelist
  • Mindy Kaling … Panelist
  • Paul Lieberstein … Panelist
  • Michael Schur … Panelist
  • Jennifer Celotta … Panelist
  • Aaron Shure … Panelist