Adam's posts Animation Badlands Collaboration Development Herman, the Legal Labrador Pre-production The Precinct Writing

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Guest blogger Adam Wajnberg
Guest blogger Adam Wajnberg

I asked Dave if I could submit my own blog post for the show, the idea being that I could draw in interested parties that know me, and not Dave, and to introduce my own voice to existing followers as the other creative party at this point. So allow myself to introduce myself.

I’m Adam Wajnberg, and I’m the co-writer of The Precinct. I say co-writer and not co-creator, because this has been very much Dave’s baby from the start. Dave and I have been mates since high school, and it has seemed inevitable for years now that we’d end up working closely on something together. It was usually me insisting upon a partnership, because Dave has a much better work ethic than I do, and I wanted to take advantage of that.

My own training is in screenwriting. I completed RMIT‘s Professional Screenwriting course in 2006, a feat which has led to much call centre work with some of Australia’s largest corporations. I have also previously worked with Dave as a voice actor and general sounding board on Herman, The Legal Labrador. Dave has animated a short I wrote called Badlands, which has won much praise despite (or because of) it’s 40-second run time.

Dave was already up and running with The Precinct when he asked me to come aboard. I was unsure if I could add much. I’m a fan of cop shows, but not to the obsessive degree Dave is. Moreover, I recoil at the procedurals and prefer the narrative (so I’ll devour The Wire, and never sit through a whole episode of say, Law and Order). But a couple of walk-and-talks revealed that I had an angle on determining a plot thread that Dave had never really had to do before.

For those who are interested, the working relationship between Dave and I looks like this: we both fall into the “misanthropic, out-of-shape Jewish man” type, a figure riddled with redundancies. Thankfully, we differ in the details. Dave is calm and workmanlike, I’m hyper and lazy. I can burst with a good 15 minutes of productive ideas and then fall asleep, Dave will concentrate for 2 or 3 hours before needing to take a sip of water. Dave agonizes over each beat, I prefer a quick and dirty approach.

"Either we get this scene right or we watch some Daily Show"
"Either we get this scene right or we watch some Daily Show"

More to the point, Dave insists on creating as much realism as possible, while I move more towards creating a cartoony wonderworld. This goes back to Herman, where I insisted on characterizing the voices (ie. making them higher pitched) while Dave wanted the voices to be normally pitched. Dave gets his way most of the time, which is fitting as he’s the director. But if I make a particularly good case, he’ll go with my suggestion. That doesn’t happen often, because I’ll be dozing and/or playing darts rather than articulating why I think a scene should work a certain way.

Beyond that, it boils down to strengths. I’m better at creating plot, but Dave is better at keeping an eye on continuity. We’re both natural dialoguists, but Dave is better at keeping things succinct. I usually err on the side of fewer swears to give them greater impact, while Dave likes to whip them out with impunity. Dave likes a challenge, I prefer praise — so Dave gets encouraged by a scene that doesn’t work, with the mindset being “this needs to be better”, and I prefer to be egged on when things are working. Dave gets stuck with a lot of the re-drafting, because I lose faith when things don’t work right STRAIGHT AWAY.

But overall, we work well together, and much of that comes from the friendship and very similar world-views. I think we’re both looking forward to when we can work at it on a daily basis, in an office, with rolled up shirtsleeves and suspenders and a big whiteboard with random mugshots and scribbles bestrewn on the surface. And mustaches. And steamy parmas.

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