Marta Kauffman

Producer / Show Creator


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

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About
About this interview

In her three-hour Archive interview (half-hour solo, two hours plus with writing partner David Crane), Marta Kauffman discusses how she got her start in the business. In her joint interview with David Crane, she talks of how they began writing together, their partnership with Kevin Bright, the creation of the popular series Friends, Dream On, and other series and pilots they worked on together. They spoke in great detail about Friends; its development, cast, and writing process. Beth Cochran conducted the interview on October 7, 2010 in Burbank, CA.

"At a certain point the show tells you what it wants, and you know you're going in a certain direction and you had no idea that this arc would be so powerful and you have to go with it… When you do a show, your intention is not to affect American culture or to have people start wanting to wear their hair like this or dress like that... 'Dream On' was fantastic, it was a great experience, we learned so much from it. But 'Friends' was a perfect experience. It was creatively satisfying; and we worked with extraordinary people across the board."

Full Interview

Chapter 1

Solo interview with Marta Kauffman; on her early childhood; on her love of musical theater
On never thinking she would become a writer until college
On being a woman writer in a "boy's club" and how the television industry has changed towards women
On not having a specific writing "philosophy"; on her writing style

Chapter 2

START OF JOINT INTERVIEW WITH DAVID CRANE AND MARTA KAUFFMAN; On how they met; on writing for theater; on why they didn't want to pursue acting themselves
On how they began to write for television; on pitching a script for a TV show called Just a Guy; on how their partnership came about; on waiting for a sign to tell them writing was their calling
On their show Dream On; meeting Kevin Bright; on the writing process on that show
On working on Sunday Dinner with Norman Lear

Chapter 3

On casting Friends; David Schwimmer, Matthew Perry; Lisa Kudrow, Courtney Cox and Jennifer Aniston
On how James Burrows set the tone for Friends in the pilot and what he brought to the show; on the theme song (which they wrote)
On the opening sequence of Friends; on how they divide their responsibilities on the show; on how they approach the actors
On Friends' moving to the NBC "must-see TV" Thursday primetime lineup; on the early success of the show; on the writers' room; on where ideas for Friends storylines came from
On the writers' room; on where ideas for Friends storylines came from
On the "Ross/Rachel" story arc on Friends; on their favorite episodes
On how Friends affected popular culture; "The Rachel" haircut

Chapter 4

On why their writing partnership and Bright/Kaufman/Crane dissolved; on the state of network television today
On their proudest achievement; on their mentor
On advice to television writers
Shows

Dream On

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David Crane and Marta Kauffman on how Dream On came about and the premise for the show
David Crane and Marta Kauffman on why Dream On was successful for HBO
David Crane and Marta Kauffman on the premise of Dream On; on how the clips were worked into the show
David Crane and Marta Kauffman on being nominated for an Emmy for Dream On; on attending the Emmys; on attending the Emmys; on how it affected their careers and the show
05:16

Emmy Awards, The (Primetime and Daytime)

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David Crane and Marta Kauffman on being nominated for an Emmy for Dream On; on attending the Emmys; on how it affected their careers and the show
05:16
David Crane and Marta Kauffman on getting an Emmy for Friends only to have to give it back
03:06

Friends

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David Crane and Marta Kauffman on the comedic characters they had created on Friends and why each actor was right for their roles
01:48
David Crane and Marta Kauffman on how James Burrows set the tone for Friends in the pilot and what he brought to the show
David Crane and Marta Kauffman on the theme song for Friends; Kauffman's husband wrote the music and they did the lyrics "I'll be there for you"; the Rembrandts recorded it
David Crane and Marta Kauffman on the Friends opening title sequence
David Crane and Marta Kauffman on the cast of Friends; 
David Crane and Marta Kauffman on Friends' moving to the NBC "must-see TV" Thursday primetime lineup
David Crane and Marta Kauffman on how 9/11 affected production on Friends
David Crane and Marta Kauffman on "Monica"'s fat suit on Friends
David Crane and Marta Kauffman on the "Ross/Rachel" story arc on Friends
David Crane and Marta Kauffman on the success of Friends over 10 years
David Crane and Marta Kauffman on their proudest achievement, Friends - "it was perfect"

Sunday Dinner

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David Crane and Marta Kauffman on working on Sunday Dinner with Norman Lear
Topics

9/11

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David Crane and Marta Kauffman on how 9/11 affected production on Friends

Emmy Awards

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David Crane and Marta Kauffman on being nominated for an Emmy for Dream On; on attending the Emmys
03:54

Pop Culture

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David Crane and Marta Kauffman on how Friends affected popular culture

TV Theme Songs

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David Crane and Marta Kauffman on the Friends theme song "I'll be there for you"

We Laughed

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David Crane and Marta Kauffman on the first time Ross and Rachel kiss on Friends
Professions

Show Creators

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David Crane and Marta Kauffman on how they (as writers on Friends) dealt with actors
David Crane and Marta Kauffman on how they hired writers for Friends
David Crane and Marta Kauffman on the success of Friends over 10 years

Writers

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Marta Kauffman on realizing a writing partnership with David Crane would work out
01:32
David Crane and Marta Kauffman on advice to television writers
Genres

Comedy Series

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David Crane and Marta Kauffman on the success of Friends over 10 years
People

Jennifer Aniston

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David Crane and Marta Kauffman on casting Jennifer Aniston on Friends 

Kevin Bright

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David Crane and Marta Kauffman on working with Kevin Bright on Dream On (and later on Friends)
01:34

James Burrows

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David Crane and Marta Kauffman on how James Burrows set the tone for Friends in the pilot and what he brought to the show

Courteney Cox

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David Crane and Marta Kauffman on casting Courtney Cox on Friends: she requested the role of Monica
David Crane and Marta Kauffman on the character of "Monica" on Friends and why Cox was right for the role

Lisa Kudrow

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David Crane and Marta Kauffman on casting Lisa Kudrow on Friends as Phoebe

Norman Lear

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David Crane and Marta Kauffman on working on Sunday Dinner with Norman Lear, who hates their initial script

Matthew Perry

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David Crane and Marta Kauffman on casting Matthew Perry on Friends 

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