TV writers on how to get (and stay) inside the writers room | 2019 Film Independent Forum

raise your hand if you have completed a TV script at least 1 raise your hand if you've completed one feature script okay raise your hand if you were just here because you're just trying to get some information you don't really know what you're doing you're just figuring it out yeah right or I'll just figuring it out so I'm gonna start off by asking you guys about just the physical space of the writers room because there's different ways that we can set it up some rooms are you know couches or a conference table some rooms are whiteboard some rooms or cards tell me about your your ideal writers room situation I mean I'd like to be the person who can just lie on the couch and get things done but but that hasn't been so successful so I I do like a table I like you know whiteboards as much whiteboard space as possible for people to write on and throw up index cards I like and have only worked in small writers rooms because mostly cable shows the biggest one has been you know nine most from a bit more like five or six and probably my favorite writers room as far as physical space was the show I worked on blunt talk and the showrunner Jonathan Ames was renting a house and he had a pool and we kind of did the writers room in his basement but we also had pool pool privileges so that was pretty nice and yeah we got a lot done there our first writers and by the way was in a our producers garage that he converted into a writers room next to the pool but it's too cold again the pool I mean I prefer I like a conference table set up I just think it's a you know it's just a nice official workspace that gets everybody in in the right mindset I'm fighting an uphill battle as I go into different circumstances to get the the way that we collect information in the writers room a little more or technical I despise whiteboards I think it's like literally the worst way now to capture ideas you know what I'm moving fast I actually want to set up a writers room that is kind of based on screens and Google Docs because a lot of times when they're a bunch of writers in a room and they all have pitches and they all have ideas you know if you get a Google Doc it's a real-time instrument and you got two writers assistants trying to get everybody's ideas but those people can write down their own ideas and then if you miss something you know you'll have you'll have a record of it because especially in the comedy space my gut is always like the the first idea is the best idea so when you're in a room and you know somebody pitches a joke and everybody laughs then this thing happens where everybody starts to you know get different versions of it and then at some point you get lost in the woods and you can't remember what the thing was it's like it's like go back to that thing that made everybody laugh that's probably the one so that's that's kind of what it is yeah yeah I've been surprised by how analog this industry is and sort of resistant to change so I'm glad to hear that you're pushing that way because I tend to agree it's a good thing to have I mean at some point having having physical cars that you can move around it's a nice thing to be able to do but the process of just getting all of the information down in real time yeah digital is much better it all ends up there anyway by the end of the day the red resin systems have to write everything down so you can review it so why not I guess mystery why not just write it down first he's done they can go home earlier so then I want to kind of talk about sort of all the people all the jobs so it's kind of starting at the bottom so I'll kind of give you guys a you know sort of a little layer of how that goes and then you kind of fill in your experiences of how you got to any of these jobs so just to kind of throw it out there this may be a new information for you I apologize if it's a repeat but a lot of people haven't heard the stuff before so on a show you generally have a writers PA starting at the bottom you don't always have writers PA but if you do that person is running around you know running errands picking up lunches making copies making coffee all that just good writers PA stuff that is where I started and then you can become the writers assistant or the showrunners assistants runners assistant you're kind of stuck to their desk you're working on stuff for them in particular the writers assistant you're generally in the writers room and you're taking notes you're taking everything down it's a lot more stressful I would say on a comedy then on a drama because sometimes your screen will be up on a big display and they're actually watching you type in the jokes and people are yelling at you and it's that's a lot so I would advise try to be a writer system on drama if you're sort of back and forth then there's the script coordinator that's the person who is putting in all the script changes clearances the names that was that was what I did for like seven years so it's kind of master class because you're reading all the versions of all the scripts and you're putting out all the changes you're kind of the liaison between the writers and the production then you can finally get staffed some people are never assistants I think it's great to be an assistant because you kind of get to appreciate how works so the writing level goes like that so you start out as a staff writer and after that the next jump you make is to story editor none of these titles mean anything or make any sense but everybody just knows what they're then you become an executive story editor then you become a co-producer then you become a producer then you become a supervising producer then at some point there's this like consulting producer like arm thing over here that comes at this point or maybe higher which is where your rate is being protected by only taking three fifths of your quote because you're only working three out of five days it's a it's a lot of nonsense but consulting producer it means they won't pay you your quote they don't have enough money yeah and you don't like that that amount to become your quote for the title you take so you call yourself a consulting producer but you do work all five days you just make less than you should make and that's sort of how you tell everyone you're too that yes it's the code yeah and then and then and then a co-executive producer Co ap they call it usually and then executive producer sometimes the executive producer you know is the showrunner sometimes the executive producer is also and/or the creator sometimes the executive producer is just a writer who's been on the show for a very long time or just comes in with a you know heck of a resume and they garner an AP credit from the beginning so that's the hierarchy within the room and everybody kind of knows who everybody is but it's not that it's not like co-producer comes with these job requirements or these job responsibilities it's sort of specific to the show and I've been the only mid-level writer on my last three show so it's been like all top people all low-level people and then just like me hanging out in the middle so it's there's no that there's not like one of each on any given show it can be any mix of things but that's just to kind of give you the idea when you hear all these weird titles and you watch credits for shows at the beginning you see all those producer titles half of them are writers one of them some random person who made one introduction nine years ago you know it's it doesn't mean it doesn't always mean like produced by is the only one that means the line producer so like I said I came up as an assistant I was an assistant for a long time finally got a freelance script and then it's been another three years as an assistant and then finally got staffed on on army wives so it took me a very very long time it's not a prescription it's not saying that's how long it will take you where that's the path in that's just my particular path in but you guys talked a little bit about your paths in as they relate to this world no literally I had my first credit was if I recall I was an executive story editor and then my next credit was executive producer because I was a comedian and so you know my path into the business came from a different route so I had done work I work on the Chris Rock Show when I was on HBO as and I'm talking about scripted versus you know comedy variety which is what that show was so you know when I was working on that show you know we're doing sketches and bits and stuff like that and I did some on-camera work and then when I got a job on the scripted show which was the Gregory Hines show on CBS and no no mm in 1998 so I don't remember the year my first credit was executive story editor I did not work on another show in another writers room until we did Everybody Hates Chris which I created with Chris and then I was an executive producer and showrunner I I don't you know I wish I would have had some of the intermediary steps because you know showrunner is a crash course in in everything crashing oh my god you know I mean you know the ways that you can go wrong are you know it's a rabbit hole of you know and sometimes it ends up really tough you know Frankie who's the woman who did smell Frankie Frankie show you know you know I feel for her because she you know she just had a really unfortunate experience with her show and it's a big blow up around it but the the business of running this multi-million dollar business with no training is you know it's a lot of stress and whatever so I you know if you can move through their process that's fantastic but sometimes it goes other ways rich and I had a similar we're writing partners and we had a similar thing to you we were actors first and had done a lot of work producing things independently directing acting and things that we did and writing things that we did and then we got we won the New York Television Festival for a spec script that we wrote which is not you know a normal path to anything but we did that and we ended up with a development deal with Fox which was not really and you never met any never met anyone hearing on and then we got the prize money for winning right and then every two months they were like we're gonna bring you in soon like talk to you and that your face is right but the good thing about it was because we had won this thing and because we had a development deal some of the things that we were pitching around people started caring that we were gonna come in and pitch them same pitch and nobody wanted to hear the week before yeah people like that's a dumb idea okay well now that we won this thing does that matter could we get in more rooms and apparently it did and we ended up selling our first show two CW seed which is CW's online platform still is still is and they gave us they bought 66 minutes of content from us to make whatever kind of like web series type thing we wanted and rich and I were like well we don't want to be web creators we want to be you know broadcast TV writers so we made three twenty two minutes full episodes and they could be subdivided into six 11 minute episodes for the web so it was basically a four act 22 minute episode where acts 1 & 2 had it to be continued in the middle of them if they were going to we're gonna air them online and they did not air them online they ended up picking them up to the network which again totally weird not something that normally happens but we were so naive we were like it's definitely gonna happen and I think that positivity we're like we're making a TV show and it's going on air like that's what's happening and it actually did which was insane and so on our first show that was on and we were executive producers and then he created it and we wrote all 9 episodes of the first season and that only happened because when we sold the digital show our lawyers were like we're gonna get you EP credit on the TV series when that happens and Warner Brothers was like that's not gonna happen will totally give you that credit and then it happened and they turned that more brothers like well they can't be EP is they've never done anything and our lawyers like yeah that was really dumb of you guys it's doing great too but it turns out they're gonna be EPS on the show and it was really just us and our sir who was our showrunner bertner partner kind of than we did this whole it was super low budget but we did a whole season of television pretty much just the three of us and so it was boot camp and it was insane and not a lot of people watched the show but it was great because it was a great way that we could learn while doing which is not something that you know everybody gets the opportunity to do so we were very fortunate and we did jump back in between that and our next show life sentence that was on CW which also not a lot of people watched but in the middle we were like in live everyone watches it on Netflix yes don't bite the hand I know I love but we scratch that we had a similar space you were it we had he actually even been in another person's writers room at all so we ended up staffing for a season on fuller house because that was available in fit in time wise because we just wanted to be in a room and see how it worked and see as somebody who wasn't running the room how we wanted to be treated how other people in that room behaved and what was sort of a positive environment to create in and what was negative and so we did that and took away a lot of positives and a few negatives and applied as much as we could when we moved under life sentence but it's still very scary to run your own show no matter how much experience you have yeah I started as a writer's assistant on if anyone remembers queers folk on Showtime and when I got the job I don't even think I had a TV I was very focused on movies and I didn't realize what would have kind of a great job and a great stepping stone a writer's assistant job was so I feel like and in some cases I took full advantage of it in some cases I wish I had taken more advantage and had kind of pitch myself as a writer for the show instead I was more leaving my features spec scripts around for my show runners to read and hoping they were gonna like introduce me to some some people um one great thing about the show was I was kind of the gatekeeper for writers reading their respects and so I got to know a lot of agents and that's how I found a feature agent in season 2 queers folk I I left and I got my first job which was writing a movie Studio movie and I got into the writers guild I felt like I had like made it and that I was home free and I was you know I'd anyway that movie never got made and that process repeated itself for a couple years until maybe five years until I realized like oh I'm making writing movies and not getting the made isn't that much fun around the same time I was watching I did have a TV then and then I was watching more TV and I was like I'd rather watch like you know two episodes of Mad Men and half the movies and I'm going to see so I made the jump to TV a little before kind of I feel like there was like a rush of feature writers moving into TV so maybe this was like 2008 and because I came from features I feel like I was kind of welcome to a little bit with open arms in the TV world and I did a couple sold a couple scripts to ABC those went nowhere so sold a bunch of things felt like oh this is I like this already because I just felt like I wasn't being kind of replaced by the director I liked TV immediately oftentimes you go to a you know a meeting with a producer and you pitch them your idea they're like they pass but sometimes they have an idea for you in most cases their idea at least for me is usually terrible or it's like something nobody else wants or it's like some yeah but in this case the producer was like hey we want to do a show with Marc Maron and I was like I love Marc Maron and they're like okay and I think he'd met with a few writers and nobody clicks why I met with him and I was a fan of the podcast and we got along and it was a little bit of a unique situation where they were the producer was putting up a certain amount of money to shoot a sizzle reel and was looking for someone to you know write some scenes with Marc I think they wanted to see if you could act if the show would feel different than Louie that's what it would look like and in my case I felt like if I'm gonna write something may as well try and write a whole pilot I think my ignorance about how little money we had actually served me in this case whereas I equal thirty thousand dollars it's a lot of money should we just like shoot a pilot and yeah we had a wonderful director and a great this was Denis Leary's action company they produced it we shot this thing over two days and and and they used that as the sales tool they sold the show Marin to to IFC so in that case I got to go you know I spent a lot of six years in like the movie trenches but I also got to go from a writer's on queer as folk then to a one of the EPS on on Maron so not a showrunner but an executive producer because I helped create the show and they paired me with a showrunner showrunners in this case was a writing partners and it was a great first room for me because I had it worked in the writers room before besides being an assistant ten years before so everything was very noose was just me the comedian in the star Mark and the showrunners and there are a lot of things I didn't know but since I knew the comedian star the best and kind of could write in his voice that was kind of my strength that made up for the things I didn't know and yeah that was kind of I broken into TV so just follow these paths our first season of Everybody Hates Chris in particular was interesting because I was sitting with Chris and really getting a lot of firsthand anecdotal you know stuff from him and I've known her for a very long time so that was you know I was able to kind of suss out of him certain little anecdotes ideas and these little strains of things that we become a build story around but then after that it really kind of became how do we invest ourselves in the television version of this family these are not all straight real-life Chris anecdotes so now you know you start kind of going around the room and finding out things that happen to other people and their families and you know so our first season was kind of tough as we kind of got the foundation but the second season of that show brought in another showrunner a guy named Don Rio who did what was Damon Wayans show on ABC yeah my wife and kids yes and you know Don's done a bunch of stuff I mean he worked you know like on blossom and Sanford and Son I mean like I'm literally like an old pro like a guy that shows up at 10:00 in the morning and he's leaving at 6:00 and you know and it's like you know writing television is a job and so in our second season he was incredibly helpful to me because instead of doing this kind of you know this in this meta experience where we searched through and try to find stuff we literally put up a board ABC stories and literally came up with a hundred log lines of stories so we had three main characters who the kids was I mean we had the Chris character the mom and the dad there was a younger brother and a sister and then we had side characters so we take the Chris Carrick tango Chris gets in a fight Chris steal some money Chris breaks down the car Chris and then we do another B story you know mom is too sleepy to cook dad does this we just did and so Ben we just really started and so you know we went through all of these stories we had a ton of them up on the wall and it was it was actually it became problematic on the network side because we had eight weeks we had eight weeks of pre-production and by the time we finished the eight weeks of pre-production we had fourteen scripts and the network wanted us to slow down because they were like we don't have time to read all this stuff and whatever but we did you're dealing with a small budget and when you're dealing with a budget like that the more you know as you're going into this season the more able you are to deal with how you're gonna spend the money right this is all showrunners stuff right and then but they would say well we don't know if we have a story on this show that's going to do this or on this show that's going to do that and I'm like yeah but you know we have one so tell everyone else not to do what we're doing instead of trying to get us to not do what somebody else might do what they haven't even thought of yet no like we actually have the scripts right here right now so I mean there was just kind of way and then when you get in it the more time you have to work on your material the more time you have to ask yourself questions about where's the story what's the nuance what do I kind of get out it's very very different from my sitcom experience my multicam sitcom experience where they got a screen up on the wall everybody's throwing jokes you know it's Monday it's gonna go on the floor on Wednesday they got to do a whole bunch of meetings and you're scrambling down to the floor trying to figure stuff out all the time it just felt like we were able to do something that I felt really good about because we had more front time to ask ourselves questions and then more time to set ourselves up to execute you know and then just wherever the stories come from with the writers it's you know at some point you're delving into your own experiences and taking that into the show so what would you say so the you know the industry is constantly changing the nature of writing is constantly changing the nature of what is TV is constantly changing what do you think at this moment is what what would you expect a writer to have like if you're if you're going to staff up a room what would you expect for them to have written and what would you expect for them to have bring to the room in terms of I don't know let me say it and then tell me if there actually might it was a friend of mine that I used to I start out in sketch comedy an improv comedy and she and I did sketch together and she's trying to start writing more in TV now she was an actress as well or still is and she was like I want to write a spec of a current show what should I write and I said don't bother you can but everybody wants to read original material now I mean at least in our experience when we wanted to staff everybody we staffed I don't think we read any specs of a show because especially nowadays at least in my opinion you want unique voices you don't necessarily want just someone that can mimic you especially showrunners you kind of end up having to rewrite everybody a little bit anyway because the show should be in one voice and that's yours but you want a diversity of experience and background and character perspective and so you can't really get that if you're reading a spec of a show that a writer is mimicking someone else's voice and for us we just didn't want a bunch of mimics and so we hired a lot of people with different voices some of those ended up being great hires some of them were a little tougher you know in terms of you have to do more work rewriting them because they just can't mimic your voice but they bring stuff to the room that somebody whose only skill is to copy what they hear you say and how you say it wouldn't bring to the room so I think original material that's in the tone of the shows you want to work on is what you should have and and now because half hour an hour aren't that different necessarily if you sitcom like multicam is its own thing but if you want to work in our dramedy or half hour cable like weeds or a typical those scripts can cross over if you have a great hour dramedy a half hour dramedy showrunner will read that in vice versa i would say people will read features too but generally if you're getting a bunch of submissions the least amount of pages you can read to decide somebody's gonna be great the better you know if you have a 25 page script that sells you it's much better than 125 page script that tells you I mean I would say for yourselves in terms of the practice it is not a bad idea to write a spec script because it's kind of a thing that you said it's like if you're in a band the first thing you learn how to play is cover tunes like can you play songs right do you know what a change looks like do you know what the starts and stops do you know what the rise and fall in the dynamics are of how a script works so if a show already has that in place and you're kind of forced to write to that structure then you can bring that skill set to voicing your own material because you can have an original voice that's kind of all over the place but if you haven't written enough scripts to get a sense of how this is supposed to work what an act break is or what it accurate might look like or why a scene is long or short or all of these kind of things that are devices in executing your material you know you're gonna have five pages when I'm reading your script I'm like okay nothing's happening here neither I'm not spending another 12 minutes reading this right so that that is what you can learn by writing other shows that you like you know can you accurately kind of portray what somebody else created because that's still gonna be your job but you're gonna have to do that job by bringing your your voice or your experiences or your ideas to someone else's you know material and it's also good to have if you had a spec script that you'd written for a show that you loved that you know is the kind of show you'd want to be working on and you had an original piece or several because every show is gonna have different requirements of what they want to read from you and you don't want to be like oh I just have the one thing you know you want to have a bunch of stuff so that if they say oh well we really like this but we're kind of not sure that they can write on this medical show you want to be like oh I have a spec of Grey's Anatomy what do you want to get read that to you want to be prepared for whatever is gonna I don't mean like right a hundred scripts in every genre because that's not gonna be right for you but if you're like I like dramedy and I like medical and I like I don't know whatever one other thing or something like that then cover your bases a little bit for what you think is right for you nurse baby agrees and that is and also I guess I'll dial back what I said a little in that if you want to write on a medical show but you don't have a great medical idea then do write us back of a medical show so like Erin said you have that also whatever you write make sure the first act is really good because we will not keep reading you past the first act if it's not interesting or even if the characters are interesting that cold-open will get me to the first act yeah oh yeah but yeah each five pages gets you to the next Annette there were some people who were so good you you just read the first half and we can meet them I read the end of this at some point but you if it's that good then you know you want to meet with the writer and see if they're a fit for your room yeah yeah I would use that go I think at least in cable most of my experience has been reading originals but it feels like more and more especially because everything is so fractured like it almost feels like you're just taking it used to be like ten years ago you could write a Seinfeld or a Frasier something now it's like how do you even know the showrunner reads this show I mean there's just so much there that you might choose to spec out that I just feel like I'm writing an original might get you noticed a little and go so much faster now especially if Netflix is new like three season thing you write us back and then all the sudden that shows been gone for three years before you know it I had friends that were talented writing partners and took a few years to break in I know they have done a couple the existing show scripts and then they broke in with a script that was an original that would never get made it was it was a little it was so over the top was almost like an office it was almost like the office but in a sweatshop it really got them notice cuz people were just here the logline they'd be like that sounds offensive and interesting we read it to the point we're like I saw someone on a plane reading it and I was like that's my friends script so I think they kind of roll the dice and not only did they write original but they wrote something they're like we know this isn't gonna get made but it will get read the only practical absolute use for an aspect of an existing show now is the diversity programs a lot of them still require a speck of an existing show so that's something if that's a route that you're sort of looking about going into they all have their website and they all have their requirements I won't go down that path now because there's plenty of information out there about that but those are places that do require a spec I think some of them now require like a spec and an original when I was coming up they were all just specs and now they've a list of what shows you can do because there's so many but I will say when you're writing an original sample one of the things that sort of clicked for me after I'd written a few was that this notion of it doesn't don't worry about it getting made this is not a pilot can have two purpose app it can have two purposes a pilot can be something for development and you can think about down the road and you can think about season two and you can think about the character arcs from the character development and a pilot can be a staffing sample and it it you can it can live as a staffing sample its entire life and never go never be developed I actually have a project right now that I wrote as a staffing sample with like sort of a maybe about development that's now in development but that was not originally the plan so I wrote this big flashy sort of thing that was going to get a ten that was gonna get noticed and now I'm realizing as I'm developing it I have to pull some of that stuff out it's on it's not sustainable for the show so when you write feel free to write big and bold and crazy and whatever and don't get so bogged down by what they did what the plan is I mean they should be able to you know they might ask you in a meeting like where do you see this going or what do you what you know you should be able to answer it but don't like make a series Bible if it's a staffing sample you know I'm saying like it can just be that it can be loud and flashy and have a really great first 10 pages like there's one sample where like I'd drown a toddler on page 10 they keep reading it's awful but I mean and I'll say just from the stuff that I've not staffed a show but I end up reading a lot of stuff just people I mentor and things like that if for the love of God whatever is happening in our culture in terms of texting it should be in English it should have punctuation words that should be capitalized should be capitalized that little red squiggle means you spelled it wrong for the love of God treat your scripts like a written document that is not a text I can't tell you how many scripts I'm seeing where there's no punctuation at the end of a sentence I don't care if you text that way that's not how we write this language and if you're going to write in this language I'll put it down if you're if you're doing nonsense with lowercase eyes unless it's like you're quoting like how old someone is texting I'm I'm out so just that's my like soapbox don't do it appear to be like a belt rack I'll offer you this just in terms of style you know I've read a lot of scripts that that are very high in style quotient because the writer is writing for the read right there their goal is to try to keep me engaged page by by being insulin by being clever and by being meta and referencing things that are on the page and that's all fine and dandy but I know that it's kind of like functional yeah right you're trying to do cool stuff so that it seems cool but that's not cooler than actually writing a great line describing a great character painting a fantastic picture you know I know what I'm just reading and then on page three is our reference before on page just a minute I don't know stop yeah like just give me give me good content you know don't reference the content like the way you wrote it is cool because that's not going to be the way that it's functionally seen right it's gonna be a TV show or a web series or a film or whatever it is that's what I'm trying to picture I'm not here trying to see how cool you can reference what you wrote three pages earlier I don't care we actually read a couple samples they just remembering now well we were staffing life sentence where I don't think we ended up meeting two people because we would talk about the script and say you know if the actual content of what was going to be on screen was as entertaining as the action lines were this right would be cool like and this writer is capable of that but they're wasting their cleverness on something that does not ever make it on screen which also shows that you don't understand that a script is just a blueprint for a TV show it's not a book it would be like writing sheet music and sample color the guitarist's advice you think in terms of making shorts having a funny Twitter whatever is there anything else or do you think that it's really is just about writing a good script and getting it out there I mean I think the script is is thing functionally sort of thing one but you actually have to learn how to do that uh-huh and then you know what door you get through we were having a brief conversation about this earlier you know with technology and you know the boldness of youth the the doors keep moving right so you know if you were Easter and decided to do you know a youtube series years ago you know well that happened now that doors closed you know and then somebody does a clever string of tweets and then somebody goes oh listen by my dad says and in that door closes right so it keeps moving and Men you know vine was up for a hot second and somebody gets on because it had and somebody starts putting something in insta stories and you know somebody you know catches on to that and you never know who's watching what you're doing you never know how people are responding to it so I mean it's like the floodgates are open you know but with all the people and all of the content that are rushing through there are still some things there are always things that are better than other things right so that's where the craft comes in if you've spent time learning how to write if you've spent time learning how to execute and and craft your idea and sustain an idea once you get past that splash enos and you get through the door when the dust settles you know something good is going to be standing there you know it's array is on and she's doing well because she actually did a lot of content before she got a television show before it became insecure it was developed someplace else and it didn't work so this long arc to success is exactly that it's long and you have to be able to sustain it because you've been putting time and effort and energy and work into your craft and then you know where the opening is gonna be I don't know you know could be a film festival could be a contest you know could be a random meeting you know in a online thread that point don't chase what someone else's success was don't see like Oh Andy Samberg made shorts I'm just gonna do that if that's not something you're passionate about those people anyone that you know you can think of that God in a weird way had a really good idea that was a great fit for that medium that they put it on and they were passionate about it so if you're gonna do something crazy and splashy to try to get your foot in the door make sure it's something you're passionate about and the only goal isn't just to be seen that said we're all at least the two of us are always looking for clever stuff that we can help get made because then it's an idea we don't have to come up with but you never know where you're gonna see that you might hear it on the radio you might be on your friends Instagram account looking at picture and you never know so don't chase being seen do something worthy of being seen and someone will find it what's your like quick words of advice and then we'll open it up to Q&A so if you had these all right write a script then write another script and then write another script after that don't think that whatever you wrote is so good that you can just stop writing and focus on doing that if if you wrote it finish it whatever you start as best you can finish it then you know let some friends read it whatever it is and then then then move on whatever you think you've written now that that probably feels good might be good but I absolutely guarantee you whatever the next thing you do is will be better so write keep writing don't stop writing because you know that thing she did it to talk where she goes who here has a script who he has another script you know I want to see three scripts not because I care that they're all good what I care about is that I know that you have enough energy effort and focus to keep writing because that's TV we did it last week now we got to do it again this week can you sustain the process of constantly coming up with stuff that nine times out of ten is not gonna be used that's the job get used to it it's not about rejection it's just about calling all of these sources to get to the thing that is going to be the best thing that you can think to use at the time you're going to do it yeah I would say just to add on that when you're when you are coming up with what you want to do originally rich and I always ask ourselves many questions and before we settle on an idea but the two most important is why you and why now so why are you the person to write this script to tell this story and why is it relevant in our world today in the huge landscape of television today why does the world need to hear this story and I think if you can answer both of those questions before you start writing you're gonna be so far ahead of the game I also think for us the thing we did is we always I'm weirdly gonna reference somebody who probably shouldn't be mentioned in public anymore not Lucy Kay Matt Lauer but it's an interesting story I heard an interview with him back when people didn't know how creepy he was and he was like a weatherman or a field reporter in rural North Carolina and he had his like little small-time agent and his agent was cool what are your goals he's like well I want to be on the Today Show I'm gonna host the Today Show this Asian was like right but like what's next and he's like whatever gets me one step closer to the Today Show I don't not take any job I will not do anything don't set any meeting for me that doesn't put me closer to the Today Show and so Aaron and I've always sort of adopted that philosophy which I will stop calling the Matt Lauer philosophy now The Today Show but but I think it's really important to know where you're headed like we did with the when we got this digital opportunity we knew that wasn't our endgame so we moved the goal line a little bit I so really think about what your end of your life goal is and whatever you write whatever you do make sure it's moving in that direction and then you know if you're doing something funny online then that'll be purposeful and it will get you there and then instead of just trying to be seen for no reason when somebody does see you you have the four scripts that sell you and make somebody believe that oh this you have the capability to make this a TV show and you're not just funny here so really know what your goal is and always be moving towards it yeah and I would just add as far as in terms of what are you gonna write for your you know first script second square root third script whatever it is when I've been reading scripts for shows and for staffing even if the script doesn't feel like it's completely successful or like completely there I do feel like myself and the other producers have responded to things that that's feel like they are the writers story whether really is or not just reading it and being like I want to meet this you know meet this man or meet this woman this feels like this is kind of their life that that really speaks volumes where I feel like the person's really you know putting themselves on the page in a way that makes it stand out from like the other scripts words they're not trying to write something that feels like it's a version of something TV already they're just anything you can think of that feels personal to put in the script really I think speaks volumes and kind of makes me even if the you know script isn't great kind of makes me want to be like oh we should have this person in time I want to meet them I would agree not chasing trends is smart I think if you you know do love podcasting you have it like an inclination there or a talent there maybe you already have like you know the podcast set up like doing some kind of narrative podcaster there's just just doing something else if you're passionate about it is a good thing to think about I still make short films and sometimes the short films are like proof of concepts for a show I want to do or for look like a movie I want to make and I do it maybe knocks it's always the smartest thing to do but I'm passionate about making short films it's a great thing to have something that I've made and that kind of keeps me going in that respect so many roads kind of selling your show really great the one thing I will add because it always feels like I like something that you can do that is that is active that is cheap and that is half a table read I have always had a table read for everything I've ever written all the way back to my very first nobody should have read that plays and it's super easy you literally just invite some actor friends over and nowadays you don't even have to you know print out the script you can just have everybody bring an iPad or a laptop don't let people read on their phones that's weird but you know and and send them the script and just have them sit around and read it and I would advise you you don't read anything you just listen have someone actually read all the stage directions out loud don't skip over those parts because that's part of the script and you will hear so much you will it's not even about the feedback you get from those people is about the experience of hearing it cuz most of them are just gonna go oh my god I can't believe you around something I'm so proud of you if you have like delightful friends or you'll have that button asshole friends like I know what you should do you know we should do is don't listen it's not about it's not really about feedback it's about getting it so that you can hear it out loud so you can hear where your repetitive so you can hear where things landed especially if it's a comedy you can hear where things are funny and don't be precious with your material don't send out NDA's with your scripts that's don't don't do that you know register it with the guild great but really everything so electronic if there's ever like a dispute and if you're ever going to arbitration you're not gonna win it doesn't matter nobody's stole your idea we're all drinking the same water and seeing the same billboards sometimes people have the same ideas it's fine you know like be smart about it but don't be an asshole about it you want if someone's going to read your script don't make it hard for them to do that make it easy for them to do that your idea for sure it's not it's who gets there first so if you have a great idea stop telling people about it and go write it and you get it out there ahead of the other person who had that idea because the first person there will win if it's a really great idea somebody reads yours first right somebody's gonna make it before that other person finishes their script yeah you

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