Never let it be said I don't provide equal time. When a reader asked for David's comments regarding our writing partnership he graciously filed this:
In answer to a question to Ken about writing partnerships, one reader, curious to hear from Silent Dave, asked if I could chime in on the subject. So here goes.
After reading Ken’s take on the subject I would second, as I more often than not do, his points on having a successful writing partnership. The freedom to trust one’s own voice, and yet hold respect for the other guy’s opinion are cornerstones of any good writing team. “My way or the highway” is an attitude that will sink a partnership very quickly.
I will occasionally pitch or joke or make a story point I feel saves the day… sometimes it does and I’m the hero for that moment. However, it can happen that my brilliance is a met by my writing partner “with the jaundiced eye of rabbinical scholar”. In other words, he has a problem with it. That can be a sobering moment, cause when I said it I didn’t expect a lukewarm reaction. So now I have to defend it, not to mention that I’m a little resentful that it’s about to be picked apart by the ungrateful bastard. Still, I started writing with this obsessive prick because he was about the funniest person I’d met to that point in my life and if he doesn’t find my line amusing or my story fix cogent, there could be something about it I’m missing. So, for the sake of the script itself, maybe I should hear what the jealous SOB has to say. Now I may not ultimately agree, but once again, for the sake of the script, which is everything, it might be better to try another alternative. One we can both agree on. Some would say that is compromising, and I wouldn’t disagree on principle, but strangely, for us anyway, putting our heads together almost always results in a better line or story fix.
You usually team up because you both figure two heads are better than one. So why abandon that when things get tough?
Work with another person as long as Ken and I have and you are bound to run into problems and life situations that test your partnership. We’ve had some -- a few shouting matches along the way, and some chairs and tables have been turned over. Things got so tense once that I saw Ken, who no one is ever going to mistake for The Rock”, rip a LEATHER script binder in half in one motion. That was one scary, superhuman feat. I thought at the time, if he could do that to a cow skin he could crush my head like a grape. Luckily he was angrier at the actor than me.
Through it all though, we never took things personally for very long, and that, I think was the key. We both always recognized the value of the other guy to the bigger picture of turning out good work.
I wish you could have seen Levine tear that binder. It was fucking mythological.
Thanks, David. Note to other writing teams: rip a leather binder in half. You'll get your way a lot more often after that.