An evening with Chuck Lorre Productions

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Wow! That is probably the best word to use to try and accurately describe my evening at Warner Brothers. I was invited with around 30 other journalists from different countries, covering a variety of outlets for a few minutes with the “King of Sitcom” himself, Chuck Lorre.

Chuck Lorre Productions are behind some of the biggest shows in television. Think Two and a Half Men, Big Bang Theory, Mom, Mike and Molly, Dharma and Greg – to name a few.

In all honesty I didn’t know what to expect from the evening or how it would play out. I arrived at the Warner Brothers lot, checked my car in to the valet, took a photo of the iconic water tower, which reminds me always of Animaniacs and was escorted in to a giant cinema.

As the lights dimmed the 25 seats on stage were filled with what I can only really describe as ‘too much excellence’ for me to comprehend in such a small space. The casts of Two and a Half Men, Big Bang Theory,Mike and Molly and Mom sat in a relaxed and ready to chat fashion. The casts were then followed by some of the writers and producers who work on these hit shows. It took me a moment to realise that I indeed was in a room with the best in the business, in my business, in the world that I too hope to be in and part of one day. I sat back in my chair, after realising that in fact I had edged forward a fair amount as if my vision would be somewhat improved by a few inches. I took a moment! WOW, this is pretty freakin’ awesome, and then my mind raced at ‘what’ should I ask?

The microphones were passed around the group and the floor was open to anyone to ask anything of the cast, Chuck or the writers about the shows. Many had one question that they wanted answered and that was – “Would Charlie Sheen be coming back for the finale of Two and a Half Men”? The question was dodged a number of times! Each journalist trying to word the question slightly differently to get a reaction from someone on the stage. I would put my money on a YES! Each answer hinted that it would be a memorable finale leaving everyone satisfied, which to me suggested that he will in fact me making an appearance perhaps?

Another common question that was asked to the group was about the recipe of a successful show not only in the US but worldwide? What was it about Chuck and his shows that separates them from the rest and gives them that power to have a following as successful as they are time and time again? Ashton Kutcher was the first to answer saying it was “Chucks ability to have the common theme of Family in all his shows. Whether it is a biological family (Mom) or an urban family (Big Bang) all the shows are representations of dysfunctional families just like yours and people love to laugh at themselves”.

Jim Parsons was quick to follow up saying that “we all must remember that Chuck was a musician first (he wrote the ninja turtle theme song) and another thing all his shows have in common is a rhythm. It is like a good pop song, that is why you can watch episodes over and over again, you know what is going to happen but it is the rhythm that you enjoy”.  I personally had never really thought about it that way and on reflection I couldn’t agree with Jim more!

One of the writers mentioned for them “Chuck is always pressing for things to be better”. Chuck was referred to as the Comedy Whisperer. “Where is there another place to laugh on this page? Can this be funnier?” They described it as the Quest for excellence and a reminder to always ask ‘can this be better’.  They also spoke about falling in love with the actors and the characters and how it makes their job so easy when that happens and when it clicks, it just clicks.

At this point I thought ‘live life Kim’ and shot my hand up to ask a question. There was so much I wanted to know from each of the amazing people in front of me, but one question I thought might give everyone in the room a token to take home. I began by giving New Zealand a shout out and then thanking everyone on stage for bringing so much laughter into our homes each week. Then I asked Chuck Lorre…What the best professional piece of advice he had ever been given and from whom?

He took a moment and looked at me and said, “I have never been asked that before!” As a journalist (for the day), writer, presenter or host – those are words you love to hear. He took an extended beat and then said ‘To fail but on your own instincts’. He went on to say “If you do things by the book you will never know what it is like to step outside of that, that you have to be fearless and run at things and also if you fail but you fail because you took someone else’s advice or guidance then you will never learn what would have come from your own decisions and instincts, if you fail on your own then you can learn”.

This was great advice. I loved it! I then asked the cast of all these much loved television shows, “Do you ever step out, are you ever fearless and try something unscripted or different?”. In unison they all responded boldly without hesitation with an overwhelming “No”. Followed by laugher and a smirk across Chucks face. Priceless!

Once the Q and A was over we were escorted in golf carts (obviously) across the lot of Warner Bothers to stage 26, the set of Two and a Half Men to eat some food and hang out, or mingle as they put it. Mingle? As in mingle with the 25 epic humans I just spent the past hour staring at. Yes Kim, turns out, that is what we were doing. The chance to chat and hang out with everyone? My inner actress and the child in me that loved Dharma and Greg more than anything in the world was doing backflips and jumping around.

“Act cool and approachable, act cool and approachable” – this is literarily what I said to myself worried that I would look far too excited. I was at least 15 years younger than 99% of the other media in the room so I didn’t want to come across as the over excited actress who wanted to jump up and down and talk everyone’s ear off – which is exactly who I was/am!

I grabbed a plate of food, mini hash browns, a taco, a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and a doughnut! Yes, an odd selection of food but I was indecisive and in need of carbs obviously. As I wondered I had the thought again ‘Live life! Put your food down and go chat’ so that is exactly what I did. Being from New Zealand is a great conversation opener (tip for travellers).

I was one of the last people to leave the studio lot that night, after some great conversations and many a selfie. As I lay in bed I had so many thoughts running through my mind about my journey that I am on and how what may have been just another night for some people in this city – for me it was so much more than that. I felt like I am part of this world and that is a really exciting and fun feeling. It is my dream to be the lead actress in a successful American comedy and to be surrounded by people who do that everyday was very exciting for me. FAN GIRL TO THE MAX!




Kimberley Crossman

Kimberley Crossman is a kiwi actress, author, and presenter. Oh and you are currently on her website reading a blog she has written.