Chuck Lorre has had decades of success producing multi-camera sitcoms for broadcast television, but “The Kominsky Method” is a somewhat new venture for him both in its single-camera format and it streaming network, Netflix.
“[Netflix has] been unbelievably supportive. When in doubt, they encourage you,” Lorre told Variety at the show’s premiere at AFI Fest in Los Angeles on Saturday.
For Lorre, one of the most best elements of bringing a show to streaming was that he wasn’t restricted by a set time in which he had to tell each episode’s story. “It’s wonderful to not have time limits,” he said. “Thirty-two minutes, 28 minutes, just tell a good story.”
But the fact that he didn’t have to develop those stories with commercial breaks in mind also freed up his creative process and that he could share the full vision for his story all at once with the audience are also important pieces of the storytelling structure to him.
“The story can flow without having a break,” Lorre said. “When you put eight episodes out all at once, they’re like chapters in a book. So if somebody is watching show 4, you can assume they’ve watched episodes 1, 2 and 3, and they may have just watched them so it can flow like a novel, as opposed to last week.”
“The Kominsky Method” is not Lorre’s first foray into streaming. He recently produced “Disjointed,” a Kathy Bates-starring pot comedy, for Netflix. That series was a bit more experimental than Lorre’s usual fare, breaking up narrative scenes with animation and other short interstitial videos that acted as commercials. It lasted one season.
Lorre says in his experience working with Netflix “occasionally they’d have some thoughts and ideas” on developing his stories, but “they pretty much trust you.”
“It’s a wonderful thing to have that kind of trust, and I’ve had that at CBS for a long time so I’m not complaining about a lack of trust [there], but I’m just saying that Netflix has been really great,” he said.
Bringing “The Kominsky Method” to the screen involved major star power in Michael Douglas and Alan Arkin. Lorre couldn’t contain his excitement about working with both, saying, “Between the two men, there’s about 100 years of experience, maybe more. … These are movie stars, and Michael’s a producer as well — he’s produced a lot of these extraordinary movies — so I got to learn from these guys.”