A Comedy Showrunners’ Assistant Tells What It’s Like

Scott Brody (no relation to LB…so far as LB knows) works for comedy writer-showrunners Andrew Reich and Ted Cohen. He was kind enough to answer 5 questions about his job:

errandboy1. How did you get your job?

I think the same way most people end up getting jobs.  Timing, luck, having a good relationship with past employers, and a smidgen of balls.  I glued myself to the trades and created a spreadsheet of development and pilot news (something I didn’t realize at the time futoncritic.com was already doing for me).  I wrote down any connection to any pilot that I could possibly string out, no matter how remote, and started emailing friends and former colleagues.

One such connection was from my time working as an assistant at a production company that had developed something with Andrew Reich and Ted Cohen.  I remembered chatting with them and figured they might be nice enough guys to pretend they remembered me, too.  So, I emailed my old boss at the production company and asked if he might reach out to them on my behalf.  The assistant they had lined up had just fallen through and they happened to need someone urgently.  I got called on a Thursday, interviewed Friday, and started the next Monday.

2. What are the basic duties on a typical day of your job? Do you have time to write?

My job has changed in nature a few times.  When Andrew and Ted were doing two pilots at once, my job was a lot of scheduling and coordinating.  Then whenWork It got picked up, I got to/had to read tons of scripts from writers at all levels for staffing.  That was also an opportunity for me to give some input and show that I have a brain.  Opportunities to prove you have a brain are important as an assistant.  You want to make sure your boss doesn’t end up just thinking of you as Assistant-bot 5000, or “that dude who fixes my iPhone.”

In series, my job was a lot of “shadowing”: always following my bosses around so that I was there if they needed anything, but trying not to get in the way or generally say anything stupid.

Finally, when we transitioned to development, my job became more flexible and I’ve had to be game for anything from scheduling to proofreading scripts to picking up my boss from the mechanic when his car was getting serviced.

I have had time to write, and I’m sad to say I didn’t always take advantage of those opportunities.  But ultimately, I learned how to be productive in the stretches of down time I had and quickly shift gears when necessary.