DATE : 28TH OF NOVEMBER 2020
The Movie Culture Interviews are back with yet another talent who is exponentially a living legend having worked on legendary sitcoms such as Brooklyn Nine Nine, Parks and Recreation and now Space Force starring Steve Carell.
Norm Hiscock is a Emmy Award winning Writer which he won for writing King of the Hill and has gone on to Write and serve as Producers on Parks and Recreation, Brooklyn Nine Nine, The Kids in the Hall, Corner Gas and many more.
Greetings Mr. Hiscock, we at The Movie Culture are thrilled to have you. We certainly hope you and your family are safe in a time such as this.
Norm Hiscock: Thank you. I hope you and your friends and family are safe as well.
Q. King of the Hill, Parks and Recreation and Brooklyn Nine Nine. To have such jewels in your credit how does that make you feel?
Norm Hiscock: I feel very lucky to have worked on these shows and with the people who created them.
Q. Your resume has a lot of comedic content throughout the years. What makes your attracted to do Comedy? Do you plan on writing Dramas?
Norm Hiscock: I was born in Montreal, Quebec and we had access to both American and British TV shows – I grew up watching both. Monty Python, Mary Tyler Moore, Bugs Bunny were big influences. So, I guess I just gravitated towards comedy.
I’ve no immediate plans to write drama but if someone offered me a chance to do it, I’d take it. I do like TV drama and films as well.
Q. As a writer who wrote Parks and Recreation & Brooklyn Nine Nine, how much brainstorming goes into writing for such shows?
Norm Hiscock: There’s a lot of brainstorming. We have what we call a “blue sky period” where we come up with a lot of comedy premises and ideas for characters. Then we choose our favorites and start shaping those ideas into stories.
Q. Brooklyn Nine Nine has an amazing Cast who has transformed into their real life counterparts. Now when you write, do you think of them or collaborate with them in some way?
Norm Hiscock: For sure we think of them and are careful they’re represented throughout the series.
In terms of collaboration with actors, all the writers produce the episode they write and are on set for the filming. We’re there to work with the actors and answer any questions they have about the script.
Q. You are an Emmy Award Winner, I’m sure you have been asked about it a lot, but what was that journey like? And the life after?
Norm Hiscock: Actually not many have asked about it but thank you for asking. It was fun to win and great for King Of The Hill to get some recognition.
Q. Given you have worked extensively in Sitcoms, the general understanding is that there are many Writers and Directors, may I ask how one must coordinate in such big machinery?
Norm Hiscock: The showrunner/creator is in charge of collecting a group of people that can make it all happen. They work with a line producer to keep the writers and crew on schedule. The show runner interviews and finds the directors/writers that can deliver the character comedy tone of the show.
Having many comedic minds working on the development of the show & characters helps shape it and deliver the material on a tight schedule.
Q. I have talked about your involvement with many Sitcoms, not to overlook you also worked on Saturday Night Live for a brief period, may I ask how did that happen and the Stark difference between Television with Live Television?
Norm Hiscock: Yes, there’s a stark difference. Each show on Saturday Night Live is written in one week. And it feels more like a play. Playing to and writing for a live audience gives it a different energy.
My first writing job was on a Canadian sketch show called Kids In The Hall. It was a mix of short films and taped live in front of an audience. Lorne Michaels was the executive producer. Lorne is also the producer/creator of Saturday Night Live, so when Kids In The Hall was done, I was lucky enough to be offered a job to write for SNL.
Q. As a Cinephile, there’s always one movie which is responsible for getting us in love with the art form. Which movie was it for you?
Norm Hiscock: I’m a huge movie fan so I have many. For comedy, it was Spinal Tap, Monty Python & The Holy Grail, Life Is Sweet, Annie Hall, The General.
And for drama, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Taxi Driver, The Best Years Of Our Lives, Drugstore Cowboy, Remains Of The Day.
Also, a lot of documentaries are in my top 10 favorite movie list.
Q. You have written from TV Series to Movies, do you prefer one over the other?
Norm Hiscock: I guess I prefer TV. It’s a little more collaborative and there’s a quicker turn around – you see the results quicker.
Film can be a little more solitary and tends to take longer.
But I did enjoy co-writing the Kids In The Hall film “Brain Candy”. The performers of that sketch troupe are also writers – so it was a very collaborative writing process. It also helps to have the actors in the room doing the characters – to hear the lines and what they would actually sound like.
Q. The Movie Culture is situated in India and we’d be happy to know whether there’s any Indian Origin Movie or A Series you came across and have loved it?
Norm Hiscock: Salaam Bombay! I’m a fan of Mira Nair’s work.
Q. Do you have any future projects lined up which you’d like to share with us?
Norm Hiscock: I’ll be working on the 2nd season of Space Force. A Netflix comedy series.
Q. To writers out there trying to get a big break, what piece of advice would you give to these young talents from your experience as a Writer?
Norm Hiscock: I guess if you’d like to write – start writing. Watch a lot of TV shows & movies. You’ll start to form a sensibility, a preference to the type of show you’d like to write for or topics you want to write about or an approach you prefer.
I went to film school and I also performed comedy live on stage with a sketch group. I also tried improvising. Joining groups or working with other creative people helps shape what you want to do… for a while I thought I wanted to be a camera man. And by performing on stage, I realized I preferred writing.
For me it was process of elimination and eventually gravitating toward things I connected with creatively.
The Movie Culture would indeed like to thank Mr. Norm Hiscock for agreeing to this wonderful interview.
Norm Hiscock: Thank you for reaching out.
The Movie Culture Synopsis
It was a treat to have interviewed Norm Hiscock and get an insight into Comedic Writing. We hope many writers who are learning the artform can take inspiration as to how they can write better.
We are also glad to report Norm Hiscock took time out of his busy Schedule to have us Interview him, for which we can’t truly thank him enough. Head out to Netflix where you can enjoy Norm Hiscock’s work such as Brooklyn Nine Nine, Parks and Recreation and Now Space Force.