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Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Jill Solo

And this, my fellow writers, is how the real stuff is done:

“Six-Feet Under” Meets FFDA (Florida Funeral Directors Assocation)

“Six Feet Under” supervising producer Jill Soloway asked the tough question first. “How many of you think the show is an abomination? That’s how I’ve heard some of you describe it to me.” A couple of forceful hands shot up in the air – no question about it. Some of the show’s supporters in the audience of over 200 funeral directors and their families winced, others stayed silent. That’s how the two hour writers’ workshop at the Florida Funeral Directors Association Annual Convention began.

It was the first time anyone from the show had ever addressed a funeral directors convention; it was going to be interesting. However, by the close of the program everyone was on board – even one of the detractors was eagerly offering suggestions for story lines and relaying personal experiences.

On Tuesday morning, July 14 at Disney’s Boardwalk Inn each of those 200 audience members signed HBO’s “Workshop Release” and embarked on the unique experience of developing story ideas for the Emmy award winning series and getting an inside look on how episodes of the show come about. Using a dry-erase board to illustrate the process and selecting five audience members to come on stage to serve as focal points for various aspects of the show, the journey began.

Jill Soloway expertly guided the FFDA “writers” asking how many episodes during the year should Nate, for example, have a story line and what should happen in each episode. She asked for examples of interesting experiences from funeral directors in the audience, and hands shot up everywhere. She had script readings by participants on the stage each acting a Six Feet Under cast member’s actual dialogue from a show. She gave the background of how some of the specific ideas from the show were developed. She awarded “Six Feet Under” prizes for ideas and readings. She had the attention of everyone in the audience.

Everyone had a good time. What a great way to get those continuing education hours!

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