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Evered Title
October 2nd 2006

Charles Evered

Charles Evered is the freelance writer of the season 5.5 episode of Monk entitled "Mr. Monk and the Leper" which aired in black & white and color on December 22nd 2006.

With an undergraduate degree from Rutgers and a Masters of Fine Arts degree from Yale University [Tony Shalhoub's alma mater] Mr. Evered's primary experience has been as a theatrical playwright. He's more recently branched into screenwriting and now televison.

Also at one time a journalist and writing teacher, his work has been featured in The New York Times, Sports Illustrated, BBC World and NPR, He has taught at Rider University, Carnegie Mellon University and at The University of California's new Palm Desert Graduate Center in Palm Desert, CA.

He is married to the actress Wendy Rolfe Evered. They have two children and live in Los Angeles and Princeton, New Jersey.

Charles willingly and kindly answered a list of questions I sent to him about his Monk experience.


Is this your first experience writing for an episodic TV series?

Yes, this is my first experience writing for episodic TV.

How were you originally approached about writing a Monk episode?

Andy [Breckman], in general, seems to be a fan of my work — especially my plays, and offered me an episode to write. Andy was nice enough to come to a production of a play of mine called The Shoreham, that starred Eric Stoltz and my wife, the actress Wendy Rolfe Evered at The Black Dahlia theatre in LA a few years ago. Andy really appreciates writers from media outside of TV, which of course I'm happy about.

Was “Leper” your idea? Is it what you originally pitched to them?

"Leper" was not my idea. It was an idea the writers had worked up. They brought me in during the story breaking period.

Have they changed the title to “Mr. Monk and the Bad Client” or will it air as “Mr. Monk and the Leper.”

I believe it'll air as "Mr. Monk and the Leper,"---but don't hold me to it!

Can you describe the process of writing the episode?

The process of writing the episode was really fun----basically, you sit in the room with a bunch of talented and funny writers and try to keep up with them---then, I take everything we worked up in the room for the week and go off and do a writer's draft,---and hand it in about a month later.

What is it like working with the Monk writing staff?

I really enjoyed working with the Monk writers, especially because they're such an eclectic group. Some are really fast on plot, story, and some are really hilarious joke writers and somehow that combination works for them. It was a really low key room, no competition, no "one upsmanship"--none of that, which was a nice way for me to break into the episodic world. As a playwright, as you could imagine, I'm used to working alone a lot.

Had you seen the series before you began working on it? If so what was your opinion?

I had seen the series before I wrote for it, and I'm particularly fascinated with the character of Monk — I think he's very different from a lot of characters on television in that he's flawed, and more complex.

You’ve also written a screenplay with Andy Breckman. What is that about?

Andy and I worked on a screenplay called President's Day, --Andy and I came up with the story, and I wrote the screenplay. It's about ghosts in the Whitehouse,---sort of a modern day Ghost Busters set in Washington, DC.

Was it much different working with him on the screenplay than it was working on the Monk episode?

It was different working with Andy on a screenplay because it was just the both of us in the room---and so we were able to really focus on the arc of the story. He and I get along really well, so there's no stress involved at all!

You’ve worked on theatrical plays, screenplays and TV. Is there one you prefer? If so, why?

I think of the three sorts of writing I've done, TV, screenplays and plays, I would have to say theatre will always be my favorite for the very reason that plays---while they don't pay you as well---they do afford you a lot more freedom as a writer and you're afforded much greater latitude in terms of the subject matter and the styles you could play around with. Also, there's the fact that as a playwright, you own what you write, and no one can change a word of it without you signing off on that. In that way, I feel a lot more in control as a playwright. But, the bottom line is---I like telling stories, and if I had to write all my stories down on napkins at a diner, that would be fine with me too----the medium means less to me than the fact that my story gets told somehow.

What is the most interesting aspect of writing for television?

The most interesting thing about writing for television is the speed at which things move. In writing for film, things take forever ---- not just the deals, but the development process, the rewrites, etc. In TV, you write it and a couple months later, you see it---that's amazing to me.

You’re working on a pilot for your own TV series. What’s that about?

I am working on a pilot for NBC---it's a half hour comedy about what it's like to be in the armed forces back here at home. Kind of an office comedy, except it takes place in the military. I'm a huge fan of MASH, and so I'd like it to be in that world a little bit.

California or New Jersey, which do you like best?

California or New Jersey!? Hmm. There are a lot of beautiful things about California that my wife and I love, — the ocean, the desert, the weather — mostly things related to nature. I'm not much into the LA/Hollywood scene. When I think of California, I think of places like Joshua Tree, or Lone Pine, or up the Coast, — Northern California, places like that. I don't think of the Sunset Strip or Hollywood as California, I think of them as industry saturated malls, really. New Jersey on the other hand, well, I was born and grew up there, so it will always be home in a way. I'm always thankful that most people have no idea how beautiful most of New Jersey is — I would prefer they think it's all like the Sopranos, or stuff like that. Because the truth is, it's a beautiful state. We live in Princeton, so it's hard to beat that. The culture, the schools, the university---all the museums, the arts related events. There's so much for a family there. And I wouldn't be too happy having my kids growing up in LA. Also, living in Princeton, it's kind of nice living around a bunch of brilliant academics, Nobel Laureats, etc. Only in Princeton can you go to a Starbucks and overhear two people arguing about the subtext in WAR AND PEACE — whereas in LA, people seem too close to the industry, too inundated and obsessed with it. I really appreciate the distance and perspective living in Princeton affords me and my family.

Charles Evered Small


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