Jonathan Schmock [Interview]

Today’s interview subject is a man who has had such a varied career in so many different fields in a career spanning so many decades. Just the plethora of amazing projects he is responsible for or worked on is absolutely astonishing and extremely impressive. And the man has seriously done it all. Whether he is writing, directing, voice over, acting, etc., he has mastered it all! And it would behoove us to preface that he is also an acclaimed political cartoonist as well, which we will discuss below!

Although I didn’t know it then, Jonathan Schmock was responsible for so many of the shows that brought me so much entertainment always entirely throughout my childhood. From his work on Blossom, creating Sabrina The Teenage Witch, as well as acting and/or working on set on brilliant shows like Dharma & Greg and My Wife & Kids. And he moved right into my adulthood with his political writing on Reel Time with Bill Maher, and appearances on shows like The War at Home and Arrested Development.

Seriously folks, I am so happy to have Jonathan Schmock with us here at Trainwreck’d Society to day to discuss is amazing career, his political takes, and what he has been up to lately! So please enjoy some amazing words from this genius and brilliant creator Jonathan Schmock!

When did you realize that you the world of film and television was the way you wanted to earn your living? What was it that initially drew you into this world?

I think it was originally the theatre and it grabbed me young before I knew any better.  My parents would take me to shows at the Old Globe in San Diego, or the Starlight Opera. I just wanted to be a part of it, to go backstage, to not be “a civilian.” I was hooked. After acting school it just seemed natural to gravitate to film and TV.

You received a couple of well deserved Emmy nods for your work writing on the beloved political program, Real Time with Bill Maher. I am always curious to know what it is like to work on a variety show centered around American politics? It can be a pretty grim topic, but the when you through comedy into the mix, it sort of lightens the mood. So how was your experience working on a program like this?

Being on Real Time was a pressure cooker. We had no idea on Monday what Bill would fill an hour with on Friday. Day by day we’d piece together the segments; the monologue, the new rules, the guest segments, the editorial. We also used to shoot a short film or a campaign ad parody.  The writing and producing staff was amazingly talented, not only were they great comedy writers but each had a background in politics as well. As the week progressed we’d have to be prepared to tear out stuff for breaking news. The show airs LIVE at 7:00 in L.A. so Friday afternoons could be intense. Also we were at the mercy of all the shows that aired daily; The Daily Show, Colbert, the late night shows. They might kill one of our bits before we got to Friday. Best of all is that Bill is totally fearless and honest. We only went for the best.

In somewhat of the same form as your work on Real Time, I have noticed that you are also a brilliant political cartoonist in your own right. What inspired you to get into this line of work amongst the plethora of other gigs you have done in the creative world?

Well, I don’t know about brilliant, but thanks! The first thing I ever did, even before acting, was drawing. I was always drawing cartoons. I would draw funny greeting cards and try to sell them to my family… The thing that’s great about cartooning is that you can complete something creative, and hopefully meaningful, by yourself.  Like a lot of people, I’ve gotten more and more into politics and that’s really coming to a boil now. So if I can focus that passion into a thought or a way of looking at an issue, or make a joke of hypocrisy, it feels great. It’s a mission. Plus with the internet you can have an idea, draw it and share it with millions of people that same day. That’s amazing.

You were one of the brilliant minds behind one of my favorite sitcoms from my youth known as Sabrina the Teenage Witch. I looked forward to this show each week, and whenever else I was able to see my teenage TV crush, Melissa Joan Hart. It was a brilliant program with a successful run. So, what made you decide to develop this program? What was it about the Archie comic series that you just knew would make for some quality television?

It was Melissa and her mom, Paula, who had the brilliant idea. They secured the rights for Sabrina. I was one of several people who pitched concepts for the show. I was lucky enough to get it started and write the pilot. Sabrina just seemed to be such a perfect show for kids. “Kid shows” aren’t silly. They’re about the firsts in our life; first kiss, first driver’s license, first big fight. For me the idea that we only fit in when we realize and accept that we’re different is what Sabrina’s about.

In your incredibly impressive career, you have worn many different proverbial hats in the business. From acting to writing, producing, directing, and more. With that being said, what would you consider to be your favorite form of expression to work on? If you were to find yourself in a position to only work in one field, what would it be?

Wow, that’s a hard one. I really love it all. I love show business, as much now as when I was a kid. I guess if I had to choose I’d say I really love acting, I love being funny, I love doing drama, and the reason is because I’m such a ham. I just love it. One of the cool things about getting older is that you get to play those cool eccentric parts. I love directing too, because it’s so collaborative. It’s the opposite of cartooning. I guess that would be second. It’s great working together with people, writers, actors, on a project, collaborating together. Being at the center, the hub of something. It’s inspiring.

What does the future hold for you? Anything you would like to plug to our readers?

Keep your eyes on 

Also, there’s a short film Keep Calm and Tampon. It was directed by Claudia Lonow and I helped produce it.

What was the last thing that made you smile?

This question! Thanks!

About rontrembathiii
write. write. write.

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