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Interview with Martha Plimpton and Greg Garcia of "Raising
FBC PUBLICITY: Raising Hope with Martha Plimpton and
Greg Garcia September 15, 2011/5:00 p.m. EDT
Moderator Welcome to today’s Raising Hope Conference Call with Martha
Plimpton and Greg Garcia. At this time, all participants are in a
listen-only mode. Shortly, we will conduct a question and answer session
and instructions will be given at that time. As a reminder, today’s
conference is being recorded.
I would now like to turn the conference over to our host today, Ms.
J. Sprague Hi, everybody. Thank you for attending the Raising Hope
Conference Call with Martha Plimpton and Greg Garcia. As a reminder, our
second season premieres on Tuesday, September 20th at 9:30 p.m. on FOX.
So now, let’s start with the first question, Dave.
Moderator We’ll go first to the line of Lisa Steinberg with Starry
L. Steinberg Hi, Greg and Martha. It’s wonderful to speak with you today
and I’m glad you are cheery and have a good disposition, Martha, after
that nap you just had.
G. Garcia Not a nap. We have to preface this by saying we’ve been
shooting in Vegas for the last three days and we finished shooting this
morning at—what was it again?
M. Plimpton At 9:00 a.m.
G. Garcia At 9:00 a.m. this morning—when we were shooting all night. And
Martha woke up from sleeping and I got off a plane and have slept 4
hours in 48 hours. So—
M. Plimpton Oh, man.
G. Garcia But we’re going to—we’re good.
M. Plimpton Oh, man. We are good to go. We’re on fire.
L. Steinberg Well then I’m going to start off with a really great
question because you guys have been teasing on Twitter. We’ve got to
find out if you’re going to tell us who Burt’s parents are?
G. Garcia Oh, yes, I think it’s out there. It’s Lee Majors and Shirley
L. Steinberg Oh, that’s going to be a wonderful combination.
G. Garcia Yes.
M. Plimpton It’s fantastic. I can’t tell you how psyched I am.
L. Steinberg Speaking of Twitter, I mean everybody now, except for baby
Hope—maybe she has an account too—is on Twitter. I’m wondering how that
has been such a great asset to the entire show and the cast, with the
G. Garcia Well, technically, we have everybody but Lucas Neff who I was
actually just pretending to be Lucas Neff for a week and just—torturing
him by tweeting like really silly things like, “Tummy aches are a drag”
and things like that. But I actually came clean. So he’s still
M. Plimpton Yes. Lucas doesn’t believe in technology.
L. Steinberg How has it been, then, a really great asset for the show
and for the cast as well with the promotion of the new season coming up,
and previously before with Season One as well?
M. Plimpton I have to trust in the powers that be that it’s getting
out—that it’s bringing attention to the show because to be perfectly
honest most of the people that are communicating with me have seen the
show and they love it. And that’s kind—I mean it’s nice; it’s a really
nice boost hearing how people love the show. But not a lot of people
write to say they haven’t seen it, which is kind of a good sign.
G. Garcia Yes. I mean from where I sit on Twitter, I mean it seems like
it’s a really fun way to communicate with the fans of the show and the
people that are big enough fans of the show—that they would want to
reach out and follow people associated with the show. I think if you
took all of our followers and combined them together, it wouldn’t really
do much of a blip on the ratings scale compared to our actual viewing
audience and stuff. But I mean, it’s just really fun to get feedback and
have that communication with the real loyal viewers.
M. Plimpton You can tell that Greg’s been awake a lot longer than I
G. Garcia But I may nod off and you may stay awake.
L. Steinberg I would love to hear a little bit—also, if you could tease
about some great stories that we’ll get to see this season with Maw Maw
because everybody loves Cloris.
G. Garcia Cloris will be in episodes. Is that not enough of a tease? I
hate teasing episodes. I like just people being surprised. Well, you
know what? Here’s a good one for you. Maw Maw swallows a gold tooth and
the family has to deal with the fact of—are they the type of people who
go through poop. That’s one of my favorite Maw Maw stories.
M. Plimpton You asked.
Moderator Next we’ll hear from the line of Danielle Turchiano with the
D. Turchiano So, I wanted to see—with the flashback in the first
episode, where we flash back to young Jimmy, is that a theme for the new
season? Are we going to see a lot more young Burt, young Virginia in—?
G. Garcia I don’t think any more than we saw last season. I mean we did
a lot of flashback stuff. It’s always been a device—ever since the
pilot, it’s just been a device of the show. I mean, my feeling is
that—that’s the way I kind of see life. If you go and you meet some
people and you meet like a new family on your block that moves in,
sooner or later you’re telling stories, and you’re telling stories about
your past. And you’re hearing about things that they’ve done and that
kind of informs you of who they are and where they’re going now in their
And that’s always just been, for me, a big part of socializing with
people is stories and things that have happened to them. So I guess in
the writing, we feel like we like to use that as a tool. But I don’t
think it’ll be any more than we’ve done in the first season.
D. Turchiano We’re getting to know these characters a little bit
better—learning that Jimmy has secret talents or at one point had a
secret talent. And we’re learning a little bit more about Sabrina. What
can you guys tease that we’ll learn about Virginia this season?
G. Garcia I’m looking back at my list of episodes. What will we learn
about—? Nothing. We know everything we know about Virginia.
M. Plimpton We know everything we need to know about Virginia.
G. Garcia No, we’re going to find out in our third episode—we’re going
to find out some big secrets that Virginia has been keeping from some
people. This is the year of secrets. It’s all coming out. Yes. Our third
episode, we find out some—yes, we find out some stuff about Virginia. I
don’t even know how to tease it, it’s such huge news. I don’t want to
give it away.
D. Turchiano Just one last quick—as an aside question. With the first
season coming out on DVD next week, was there one episode that you guys
would say to new viewers, if you haven’t seen the show watch this
episode and you’ll get right at the heart of what we are, and what we
G. Garcia I would be greedy and say watch two. I mean, first of all I’d
say watch all 22 because we are real proud of all of them. I mean if
you’re going to buy the DVD, sit down, get some popcorn and have fun.
But I would say if you only had time for two—I don’t know. I’d say maybe
watch the pilot and the season finale because they kind of tell a little
story and bookend the season. And it really kind of kicks things off and
then kind of plays some stuff out with the different characters and
That’s what I would say. I don’t know if Martha had a different—
M. Plimpton Yes. Yes. I agree. I agree with Greg. I would second that.
Moderator Next we’ll hear from the line of Jenny Rarden with
J. Rarden Last season, Hope was still young enough—she was just learning
to scoot and crawl at the end of the season. This year, though, from
what we’ve seen on the previews and everything she’s kind of a
walking/running machine, right?
G. Garcia Yes. She’s real mobile.
J. Rarden How does that change how things are on the set and during
filming? Because I can only assume it’s more of a challenge because you
can’t just set the little girls who portray her down and expect them to
just stay there.
G. Garcia Yes, it’s tougher. You have to use glue. No, we’re learning
actually. I mean we’re learning. We can still put them in a highchair
and they’re happy and then now we found a little rocking horse that they
like to be on. And we’ll start scenes with kind of a foreground cross of
one of the babies, get them from point A to point B and kind of
establish that they’re there. But the days of just putting them on a
blanket and having them there are over. And the days of carrying them
around are over if anybody wants to keep their back muscles intact.
So yes, just like real children—as they grow older, there are new
challenges and then there’s new things that we can do that are fun. And
then there’s new ways of trying to figure out how to get around certain
J. Rarden How do you balance the humor with the heartwarming parts of
the show? Like you have Maw Maw with her Alzheimer’s, which is funny,
but it’s also a serious thing.
G. Garcia Well she has TV dementia. She’s not technically diagnosed with
anything other than whacky TV dementia.
M. Plimpton Whacky TV dementia.
J. Rarden Well, and then you have some utter ridiculous story lines and
then the episode about everybody flirting and the sweet talk Burt gave
the coffee shop guy. How do you balance all of that stuff—to keep it a
comedy but give it some heart, I guess?
G. Garcia I think you just kind of feel it out based on the story you’re
telling. There are some stories that you tell that you don’t earn a nice
sweet moment in it so you don’t try to jam it down the audience’s throat
and you just go for comedy. And then there are some episodes that
definitely have warmer moments at the end.
And, I think that our second episode that’s going to air has a very
nice, compelling and sweet ending to it that isn’t necessarily funny for
a good deal of the—just the very end of the show. It wasn’t driving
toward some big comedy piece, but it was very compelling. And once you
have met these characters and start to care about them, I think you can
do that because the audience is invested in their lives and you have
actors that can pull this stuff off and make you care about what’s going
on with them.
But, I think you try to mimic life as much as you can and you just
combine ridiculous humor and sweet moments which is, I think, life—at
least my life.
Moderator Next we’ll hear from the line of Jenny Eden with TV &
J. Eden Hi, Martha. You started off acting very young, obviously not
quite as young as the babies on the set. What was it like being a little
kid surrounded by grownups when you were starting off like that?
M. Plimpton It was a blast. I loved it. I mean, obviously I enjoyed it;
otherwise I don’t think my mother would have let me do it. And I wasn’t
doing anything quite as involved as a TV show or anything when I was a
kid and I was working mostly on plays, which is really fun for kids.
It’s like two hours of work a night and you get to be in front of an
audience and play act, and it’s a lot of fun. I mean it was playtime for
me when I was little.
J. Eden How did your mom manage to keep you grounded?
M. Plimpton Well my mom just didn’t put a very high premium on me being
like really famous or really wealthy or anything. She allowed me to do
it because I liked it, because I had a good time doing it. She wasn’t
interested in me pursuing it in order to enrich her or give her life
meaning or whatever. You know what I mean?
J. Eden Yes.
M. Plimpton She let me do it because I liked it and she always let me
know if I didn’t want to do it, I didn’t have to. I could stop at any
time and we just had a very—my mother had been an actress and we came
from that world in New York, the theater world and the downtown sort of
theater scene, and so I guess we didn’t really have what you’d call like
a Hollywood kind of life at all. We were in New York and so we just had
a different kind of life than that.
J. Eden Has that kind of lesson helped as you’ve gone along in your
career, do you think?
M. Plimpton Oh, for sure. I mean I think the thing about it is that it
meant I grew up thinking about what I was doing as a job, as work and as
something that was about the quality of whatever work I was going to be
doing. It wasn’t about getting into parties or something like that. It
wasn’t about cultivating fame or anything like that. So, yes absolutely.
I think those are good things to keep in mind.
Moderator Next we will hear from the line of Donna Gafford with
D. Gafford I have a question apiece for both of you. Greg, I read that
you went through the Warner Bros. Writing for Television classes and it
kind of opened the door for you, maybe in Hollywood. What are your
thoughts about that and is it beneficial for anybody to be able to do
that if they’re interested in writing television in Hollywood?
G. Garcia Well yes, I mean I think that any program that’ll open some
doors or get you around writers is good. Yes, I was involved in an
outreach program that Warner Bros. had, which they don’t do anymore,
through colleges and I got picked—one of two people in the country to
come out to Los Angeles. And that’s when I got to sit around a writer’s
room and I really got to kind of realize that this was, perhaps, an
obtainable goal that I would want to try to do.
Then I went through their other program, they had a ten week program
that I went through that traditionally opens doors for you but actually,
after that one I was told I wasn’t going to get a job at Warner Bros.
and then I actually kicked down a couple doors and I did get a job out
of that workshop. But yes, I mean I haven’t kept up with that workshop.
I don’t know if it’s still going on and thriving. But yes, I mean, any
place that you can get around other writers and have a structured place
where you can write and get advice from other people and feedback from
other people, and then the added bonus if it’s one of these like Disney
or Warner Bros. things where you can actually get placed on a show.
Obviously yes; that’s a great opportunity.
D. Gafford Martha, I read somewhere that you were actually credited for
your second season being the best new sitcom of last season. You were
credited for that—from a writer. What do you think about that?
M. Plimpton I think that’s awesome. That’s delightful …. I mean, I think
it’s horrible. He’s totally wrong. It really got a lot better. No, I
think it’s thrilling. I mean, I personally—I agree with that person. I …
of our show and we’ve worked and continue to work extremely hard. I love
our writing and I love our cast and I think—great. That’s certainly how
I feel about our show and if other people agree with me, well then
D. Gafford And obviously, you should agree with that person. Are you
bored yet? Because you sound like you kind of get bored kind of easily.
M. Plimpton I am not bored at all. I am not bored in the least. I am
still figuring it out. There’s a lot to learn about working on a show
that shoots 22 episodes a year and these characters are
definitely—Virginia is definitely keeping me interested. And I think the
writers are working extremely hard to make sure the audience isn’t bored
either. So I mean it’s way too early to talk boredom. It’s only Season
Two. Ask me that again eight years from now, okay?
Moderator Next we’ll go to the line of Krista Chain with TVMegaSite.com.
K. Chain I wanted to know if there was any characters or any other
actors or actresses that you would like to see guest star on your show.
M. Plimpton Well, I’ll tell you something very exciting which is that
just the other day we were talking about who was going to play Burt’s
parents in an upcoming episode. And I got so excited about Lee Majors
coming on the show because of my enduring crush on him since I was a
little girl that I just—I think I just harassed Greg until he …—
G. Garcia Yes, you were very excited.
M. Plimpton “Is he doing it? Is he doing it?” That was me, for like a
day, maybe longer. So I’m very excited about Lee Majors, of course.
Shirley Jones is going to come on and play Burt’s mom and that’s just
G. Garcia It’s funny because we get these roles and then I’ll come down
with like a list and we just all kind of get all geeky and look at all
the names and there’s like so many that we’re excited about and stuff.
So I think it’s hard to kind of just say, “Oh, there’s this one person
that we want on the show.”
M. Plimpton Right. No, it’s true. It’s true. But I’ll tell you, it’s
thrilling that we even get to do that. I mean, I love that Greg even
lets us know who he’s thinking of casting because I don’t know, it’s
just really fun and we all get very excited and we sort of sit there
twisting our little mustaches wondering who we’re going to victimize
K. Chain Is there any of the shows that you’ve done that have been your
M. Plimpton That’s a really hard question, and a good one, because I
have a lot of favorite episodes. I have a lot of favorite moments. From
last season I really love—I call it sort of the jenga episode but it’s
the hoarders episode where Cloris has to empty out the garage so we can
find the baby.
K. Chain I loved that episode.
M. Plimpton Yes. I thought that was great. I loved our pilot episode. I
also loved our finale last season and there’s a new episode coming up
early on this season—I think it’s the second episode, Greg. It’s the one
where Burt gets kidnapped.
G. Garcia Oh, that’s the third episode.
M. Plimpton That’s the third episode. Yes. So that’s also really good,
but I haven’t seen the other two so—
K. Chain Okay.
M. Plimpton No. There are a lot. There’s too many to mention.
K. Chain Well my husband and I are both big fans. And my husband told me
when he found out I was going to be talking to you today, he told me to
ask if Maw Maw was lucid today.
G. Garcia Last time we saw or heard from Maw Maw she was in New York
taking French fries off somebody’s plate.
Moderator We’ll hear from line of Rita Sherrow with the Tulsa World.
R. Sherrow I had a question specifically about Greyson Chance and the
genesis of this episode and using basically a non-actor, although he’s
done some theater. And he’s such a great kid. He’s from here, so—can you
talk about that, Greg?
G. Garcia Yes. Well my son is 13 and he went to a bar mitzvah and he
came back and was raving—because, of course, everyone has crazy, insane
bar mitzvahs and bat mitzvahs around here—and he came back raving that
it was in an airplane hangar and Greyson Chance was playing. He was
talking about how amazing he was and I said, “Oh, well who’s that?” And
I looked him up on You Tube and I realized, “Oh yeah. I’ve seen this
clip of the paparazzi.” And I watched him for a second and I thought,
“Man he kind of looks like a young Lucas Neff.”
Then instantly I was thinking, “Wow, maybe this would be a good a guest
spot to do.” And then I thought of the idea that Jimmy perhaps had
musical talent at one time in his life, and how we’d deal with that. And
I brought that to the writers and they ran with it. And we all kind of
came up with a story and then I contacted—I actually went through my
friend who’s the executive producer of Ellen because I know Greyson does
a lot of stuff with Ellen and he put me in touch with Greyson’s
management. We all got on the phone and they seemed interested, and we
all went to see Greyson at a little concert and met him there, and then
that was that. And we signed him on to do—he’s going to do three
R. Sherrow Oh, wow. He wouldn’t tell me that. I talked to him today and
he wouldn’t tell me that. He goes, “Oh, no. It’s all secret. It’s all
secret.” And I said, “No, you can tell me. I won’t tell anyone.”
G. Garcia Oh, I’ve let the cat out of the bag.
R. Sherrow That’s okay. He’s such a great kid. I mean—
G. Garcia Well he was great and when you say he’s not—I mean, to say
he’s not an actor, he is now.
R. Sherrow Well, yes. And he said that at one point you said he was
going to have—they were going to bring an acting coach on for him or
something and you said, “No, no. No acting coach.”
G. Garcia Yes, my kind of feeling on that kind of stuff is—and I guess
everybody’s different but I’d seen Greyson doing some interviews and he
seemed very comfortable in front of the camera. I didn’t want somebody
just taking our script and trying to interpret what we wanted and
coaching him and getting him into any kind of habits. I wanted him to
come in here and be a 13-year-old boy and do it. And then we would
adjust him a little bit if need be, and I would think it would be more
natural that way and that’s the way it turned out.
R. Sherrow And was he, as far as being on set because he’s not used to
marking and sounds and let’s do this over and all of that
stuff—different takes. Was he—he seemed to be a natural on screen.
G. Garcia No. He was great.
M. Plimpton Yes. He was great.
G. Garcia He took to it right away. And there was a lot of singing and
stuff so a lot of it was in his wheelhouse and so you get him in front
of a piano and you know he’s going to thrill everybody watching and then
you do some scenes and he was very comfortable.
R. Sherrow Martha, how was it working with him?
M. Plimpton Oh, it was fantastic. He could not be more sweet and
charming and just a regular kid. He’s just a lovely, lovely kid and I
thoroughly enjoyed acting with him.
J. Sprague Dave, we have time for one more question.
Moderator We’ll hear from the line of Simon Applebaum with Tomorrow Will
S. Applebaum Greg, shifting gears. I wanted to give you an opportunity
to respond to what the Directors Guild America had to say yesterday. For
those people on the call who may not have known, … the Hollywood Trades
or Los Angeles Times and so forth. The Directors Guild came out with a
study of episodic television last year. The basic conclusion was that
far too few women are directing television episodes; far too few people
of color directing episodes. It’s like 12% for both; 1% for women of
And in doing that study, I don’t know if you saw the press release but
they listed the worst shows—the best shows that are hiring women and
minority directors, and in terms of the new shows that came on last
year, Greg, your show was in the worst category. They mentioned the
five—according to their survey 5% of all your episodes were directed by
women or people of color. And I wanted to give you the opportunity to
respond to what the Directors Guild had to say overall and the situation
with your show.
G. Garcia Well, I mean, I can respond to what I did last year as far as
directing went. There were a lot of female directors that I tried to
hire that weren’t available or passed on episodes. Allison Liddi-Brown
and Lee Shallat Chemel, and then also—gosh, I’m blanking on her name.
She did a bunch of Earl’s, or she did an Earl.
And a first year of a show you’re very protective and you kind of bring
in people you’ve worked with in the past as much as possible. I actually
tried to hire somebody of color who was completely busy that I’ve worked
with a lot in the past so I don’t know. I’m not really sure how to
respond to that. I mean we have Rebecca Asher who’s our female director.
M. Plimpton Yes and we worked with a lot of the—and I’m guessing, I
really am not an expert on this, but I’m guessing in your first season
you’re going to work with a lot of the same directors in your first
season. People you’ve worked with before that you know what their style
is and what their pace is and you’re familiar with them. But I mean, we
did like four episodes with one guy. We did like eight episodes with
another person. People direct multiple episodes on our show. They don’t
just pop in and pop out.
G. Garcia Yes. So I mean, we are lucky that we’re single camera so we
get a chance to try new people here and there when we have availability,
or the people that I’ve worked with a lot that aren’t available. But,
I’m not sure what more to say than that.
J. Sprague Thank you everybody for joining us today for the Raising Hope
Conference call. As a reminder, the second season premieres on Tuesday,
September 20th at 9:30 p.m.
At this time I’ll turn the call back over to Dave. Thank you.
Moderator That concludes our conference today.
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