Friday, January 14, 2011

On Writing with Donald Glover...

Though the world mostly knows Donald Glover as Troy Barnes, one half of the infamous "Troy and Abed in the Morning" duo on Community, he is actually much more than "just" an actor. Did you know he used to write for 30 Rock, for example? Tina Fey even referenced him in a recent episode, paying homage to the kid she gave a shot and then cut free to fly higher on another NBC Thursday night comedy. He's also a stand-up comedian, though, writing observational and reflective material to perform live, and he's a musician, writing both lyrics and score. Glover credits Community and its creator Dan Harmon itself on pushing him to be a better writer in all that he takes on.

"It's been great! It's really funny: Dan listened to my album and said 'I think what your album reminded me for season two is the only person judging me is me and really push it forward.' He's done that for me. I didn't know a show could be like this. He's really pushing it-- that a show could be like movies. He's breaking all of these rules that a show should have and he's pushing me to think 'Maybe this person doesn't have to do that just because the audience thinks they should'."

Obviously Glover's day job keeps him quite busy so he doesn't have a ton of time to focus on the "crying in the shower, eating Kit Kat bars, hating yourself" hard work that he calls writing, but he admits when he can, he writes "on the side." He wrote the score for a new film he has going to Sundance and he works on feature scripts, too.

"Writing is the hardest job in the world, and I think every writer will attest; I think they'd say the same thing. You're by's just hard! I do miss writing but I get to improv on this a lot."

And Harmon has also taught Glover about the importance of collaboration and creating a team environment. Though Glover does not sit in the writer's room in Community, he pitches lines in his own way. The "I love you" to Abed in season two's infamous zombie Halloween homage was Glover's own, in-the-moment word vomit, and it made it into the show.

"It was just what I felt in the moment," Glover laughed. "I mean, those zombies were scary!"

An upcoming episode of Community pits Troy and Abed, usually the best of BFFs, against each other, going after the same girl. It is a story Glover had shared with My Life, Made Possible by Pop Culture a few months ago that he was really hoping to do, and obviously the powers that be were listening. Glover couldn't share who the girl was but did say that there was no special guest star, so we have seen her before. My money's on Britta, even though Vaughan said she was a "B." Who's your guess?

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