PRIME TIME PRODUCER
RANDALL WINSTON TALKS BEHIND THE SCENES ABOUT HIS SUCCESS
As director and producer for hit TV shows like Scrubs and Spin City, Randall Winston tells us about his journey to success and his many upcoming television shows – one of which takes place in the Motor City.
1. To what do you attribute your success?
That is a big question. I would say a solid foundation, meaning my family and sense of self, when I was growing up. I love this business, and I always knew that even though I was not always sure what I wanted to do in it, I felt supported.
2. What is the guiding principle you live by?
Indecision is the mother of frustration.
3. What advice would you give someone who wants a career similar to yours?
My first boss told me to work hard and tell the truth. I think it is very hard to find your voice and that much harder if you are always masking your opinion. Also, don’t be a jerk. You work long and hard in this business, and you don’t want to spend your days with (other jerks).
4. What accomplishments are you most proud of?
My marriage and my children. Work-wise, I think it is a moving target. When we went to do Spin City, I was proud to have found a way to work it out in the city. When we did Scrubs, it was great to develop a template at that hospital that gave us our own little world. Cougar Town we had to fit a lot of growing into a little bit of time. Now, this year we are doing four shows at once, and it feels like we are scaling to new heights and the bar is very high.
5. Who is your mentor and why?
Gary David Goldberg. He taught me so much; nice guys don’t finish last, I remember. He was such a force and had a way of making everyone feel included and special. It was a great way to come into the business.
6. What was your best career decision? Your worst?
The most influential was probably going to New York to do Spin City. The worst is not really fair because I think I learned from missteps, but I think in general when I have been too cocky it has come back to bite me or left me stranded.
7. What was the toughest situation you faced in your career, and how did you deal with it.
Trick question. I think the toughest time in my career was when I had a job that I did not want to go to every morning or any morning. I had to take another leap of faith. I just believed that it would be better to fall trying something I could love then stay unhappy doing something over and over thinking it would change.
8. What makes you laugh?
Something smart and unexpected. I’m around comedy writers a lot, so work makes me laugh plenty.
10. Please share with our readers the story behind the production of Ground Floor.
Well, I want to tell (them) about all our shows. Ground Floor is a great upstairs-downstairs romantic comedy. Skylar Astin from Pitch Perfect and John C. McGhinley from Scrubs star as financial advisor king-of-the-world types and Skylar’s character falls in love with a downstairs girl.
Surviving Jack is a family comedy with Chris Meloni as a dad who is suddenly the primary parent to two teenagers because the mom goes back to law school. He is hit with all of those challenges in a time before Google. It’s based on a best-selling book by Justin Halpern called I Suck at Girls.
Finally, there is Undateable and that one takes place in Detroit. Two guys, who are really a modern-day odd couple, end up as roommates. It stars comedians Chris D’Elia as the ladies man and Brent Morin as sort of the head of a group of misfit friends who hang out in his Detroit bar – the fictional Black Eyes. The writer and a few of us on this show are Michiganders. It is really fun when we get to talk about the city and state we love.
13. What do you miss about Detroit?
I think about Coney Island dogs, the Franklin Cider Mill, and the Lake Front. I used to love going to Pine Knob (DTE Energy Music Theatre) in the summer, sitting on the lawn for a concert – does that still happen?
15. Tell us about living and working in LA.
It is a dream come true in a lot of ways. I always wanted to come here and work in this business. I think it is a lot of hard work with people who are passionate about what they do. It is the circus, and some days you’re on the trapeze and some days you’re behind the elephant.