Marta Kauffman

Producer / Show Creator


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

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About
About this interview

In the half-hour, solo portion of her interview, Marta Kauffman talks about her childhood and her early love of musical theater. She describes how the entertainment industry treated women when she began her career, as well as how those things have changed since. She discusses the importance of caring about the characters you write, and details her production company and then-current projects. She speaks of missing the production of Friends, and gives advice to aspiring television writers. In the two-and-a-half hour joint portion of their interview, David Crane and Marta Kauffman talk about how they met, and how their writing partnership came about. They describe creating and producing the HBO comedy Dream On, for which they received an Emmy Award nomination, as well as working with Norman Lear on the short-lived series The Powers That Be. They speak in great detail about creating, writing, and producing the blockbuster-hit NBC comedy Friends, including casting, story arcs, the contribution of James Burrows, and their time slot on NBC’s “must see” Thursday night lineup. They outline the popularity of Friends, as well as its cultural impact and legacy. They recall the breakup of their Bright/Kauffman/Crane production company, and opine on the then-current state of network television. Beth Cochran conducted the interviews on October 7, 2010 in Los Angeles, CA.

"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."

People Talking About ...
Highlights
Marta Kauffman on how her writing partnership with David Crane came about
David Crane and Marta Kauffman on the Friends theme song, "I'll Be There For You"
David Crane and Marta Kauffman on writing the pilots Family Album and Couples
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 NBC's response to the Friends pilot, and on suggestions Warren Littlefield and audience research made for the show
David Crane and Marta Kauffman on their favorite stories about each other
Full Interview

Chapter 1

On her early childhood; on her love of musical theater
On not having any idea she would become a writer until college
On being a female writer in a "boy's club"; on making sure the shows she produced were friendly for female staff members; on how things have changed for women in television
On not having a specific writing "philosophy"; on her production company; on then-current projects
On seeing the cast of Friends after the show ended, and on missing the show; on advice to someone wanting to start out in television

Chapter 2

START OF JOINT INTERVIEW WITH DAVID CRANE AND MARTA KAUFFMAN: On how they met; on what appealed to them about writing; on learning to write as they went along, and deciding not to be actors
On selling their first script; on how Dream On came about and the premise of the show; on why Dream On was successful for HBO
On the premise of Dream On, and on how the video clips of old television shows were worked into the series; on being nominated for an Emmy for Dream On
On working on The Powers That Be with Norman Lear; on what they learned from working with Norman Lear; on writing the pilots Family Album and Couples
On how Friends came about; on coming up with the characters on Friends, and on using their own lives for inspiration; on network notes for the show, and on coming up with the show's title

Chapter 3

On casting Friends; on how James Burrows set the tone for Friends in the pilot and what he brought to the show; on the show's theme song
On the opening credits of Friends; on how they divided their responsibilities on Friends; on how they worked with the actors on the show
On Friends moving to NBC's "must-see TV" Thursday night 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 Friends; on the story arcs of Friends
On the "Ross/Rachel" story arc on Friends; on their favorite episodes of Friends
On how Friends affected popular culture; on the possibility of doing a Friends reunion show
On how 9/11 affected production on Friends; on the success of Friends over 10 years; on creating Veronica's Closet

Chapter 4

On why their writing partnership and Bright/Kauffman/Crane dissolved; on the state of network television today
On their proudest achievement; on their mentors
On advice to television writers; on their favorite stories about each other
Shows

Dream On

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David Crane and Marta Kauffman on how Dream On came about and the premise of 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, and on how the video clips of old television shows were worked into the series
David Crane and Marta Kauffman on being nominated for an Emmy for Dream On

Emmy Awards, The (Primetime and Daytime)

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David Crane and Marta Kauffman on being nominated for an Emmy for Dream On
David Crane and Marta Kauffman on getting a mistaken Emmy nomination for Friends, due to a teleprompter error

Friends

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Marta Kauffman on seeing the cast of Friends after the show ended, and on missing the show
David Crane and Marta Kauffman on getting a mistaken Emmy nomination for Friends, due to a teleprompter error
David Crane and Marta Kauffman on how Friends came about
David Crane and Marta Kauffman on coming up with the characters on Friends, and on using their own lives for inspiration
David Crane and Marta Kauffman on NBC's response to the Friends pilot, and on suggestions Warren Littlefield and audience research made for the show
David Crane and Marta Kauffman on coming up with the title for Friends, and on their initial time slot
David Crane and Marta Kauffman on the Friends characters as they had imagined them in their original script, and why each actor was right for his or her role
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 Friends theme song, which was written by Kauffman's husband, Michael Skloff, (music) and Kauffman and Crane (lyrics)
David Crane and Marta Kauffman on the Friends opening title sequence
David Crane and Marta Kauffman on working with the cast of Friends
David Crane and Marta Kauffman on Friends moving to NBC's "must-see TV" Thursday night 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, and on audience reaction to their relationship
David Crane and Marta Kauffman on the success of Friends throughout its 10 years on the air
David Crane and Marta Kauffman on casting Friends
David Crane and Marta Kauffman on how they divided their responsibilities on Friends
David Crane and Marta Kauffman on the Friends writing staff
David Crane and Marta Kauffman on the process of writing Friends
David Crane and Marta Kauffman on planning out story arcs on Friends
David Crane and Marta Kauffman on writing the final episode of Friends
David Crane and Marta Kauffman on the friendships among the cast of Friends, and on how celebrity impacted them
David Crane and Marta Kauffman on how Friends impacted American culture
David Crane and Marta Kauffman on the possibility of doing a Friends reunion show
David Crane and Marta Kauffman on their proudest achievement, Friends - "it was perfect"

Powers That Be, The

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David Crane and Marta Kauffman on working on The Powers That Be with Norman Lear

Veronica's Closet

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David Crane and Marta Kauffman on creating Veronica's Closet
Topics

9/11

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

Advice

View Topic
Marta Kauffman on advice to someone wanting to start out in television
David Crane and Marta Kauffman on advice to aspiring television writers

Creative Influences and Inspiration

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David Crane and Marta Kauffman on mentors in their careers

Diversity in Television

View Topic
Marta Kauffman on the status of female writers on television when she started
Marta Kauffman on making sure the shows she produces are friendly for female staff members, and how things have changed for women in television

Emmy Awards

View Topic
David Crane and Marta Kauffman on being nominated for an Emmy for Dream On
David Crane and Marta Kauffman on getting a mistaken Emmy nomination for Friends, due to a teleprompter error

Historic Events and Social Change

View Topic
Marta Kauffman on the status of female writers on television when she started
Marta Kauffman on making sure the shows she produces are friendly for female staff members, and how things have changed for women in television
David Crane and Marta Kauffman on how 9/11 affected production on Friends

Pivotal Career Moments

View Topic
David Crane and Marta Kauffman on mentors in their careers

Pop Culture

View Topic
David Crane and Marta Kauffman on how Friends impacted American culture
David Crane and Marta Kauffman on the Friends theme song, "I'll Be There For You"

TV Theme Songs

View Topic
David Crane and Marta Kauffman on the Friends theme song, "I'll Be There For You"

Television Industry

View Topic
Marta Kauffman on advice to someone wanting to start out in television
David Crane and Marta Kauffman on the then-current state of network television
David Crane and Marta Kauffman on advice to aspiring television writers

Women

View Topic
Marta Kauffman on the status of female writers on television when she started
Marta Kauffman on making sure the shows she produces are friendly for female staff members, and how things have changed for women in television
Professions

Show Creators

View Profession
David Crane and Marta Kauffman on how they worked with the actors on Friends
David Crane and Marta Kauffman on what they looked for when hiring writers on Friends

Writers

View Profession
Marta Kauffman on the importance of caring about the characters you write
Marta Kauffman on advice to someone wanting to start in television
David Crane and Marta Kauffman on what appealed to them about writing
David Crane and Marta Kauffman on learning to write as they went along, and deciding not to be actors
David Crane and Marta Kauffman on advice to aspiring television writers
David Crane and Marta Kauffman on the success of their writing partnership
Genres

Comedy Series

View Genre
David Crane and Marta Kauffman on creating Dream On
David Crane and Marta Kauffman on working on The Powers That Be with Norman Lear
David Crane and Marta Kauffman on creating Friends
David Crane and Marta Kauffman on creating and running Friends
David Crane and Marta Kauffman on creating Veronica's Closet
People

Jennifer Aniston

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David Crane and Marta Kauffman on casting Jennifer Aniston as "Rachel Green" on Friends 

Kevin Bright

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David Crane and Marta Kauffman on working with Kevin Bright on Dream On and then teaming with him in a production company

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 as "Monica Geller" on Friends
David Crane and Marta Kauffman on the character of "Monica" on Friends and why Courteney Cox was right for the role

Lisa Kudrow

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

Matt LeBlanc

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David Crane and Marta Kauffman on casting Matt LeBlanc as "Joey Tribbiani" on Friends

Norman Lear

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David Crane and Marta Kauffman on working on The Powers That Be with Norman Lear
David Crane and Marta Kauffman on what they learned from working with Norman Lear

Matthew Perry

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David Crane and Marta Kauffman on casting Matthew Perry as "Chandler Bing" on Friends

David Schwimmer

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David Crane and Marta Kauffman on casting David Schwimmer as "Ross Geller" on Friends

All Interviews

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