"What drives us? What makes us so passionate about getting up at the crack of dawn and going to a stage and shivering eating nothing but a bagel and a cup of bad coffee? It's getting to play make believe."
About This Interview
In his four-and-a-half hour Archive interview, John Shaffner talks about his early life, including television he watched as a child and his first impressions of color TV. He describes his education at the University of Montana and Carnegie Mellon, and tells of his first forays into television art direction with a couple of made-for-television movies. He recalls his first major television job designing the set for Star Search, and talks of working on several specials for magician David Copperfield. Shaffer discusses his long association with Friends - creating the iconic sets - including the various apartments and Central Perk coffee house. He also outlines designing sets for The Drew Carey Show, Two and a Half Men and The Big Bang Theory, as well as for the yearly MDA Telethon with Jerry Lewis. He speaks of his time as Chairman of the Television Academy, and talks about changes he made to The Emmy Awards as well as to the organization overall. Stephen J. Abramson conducted the interview on September 13, 2013 in North Hollywood, California.