Tag: writing

How to Write a Good Spec TV Script

by on Nov.26, 2010, under television

I worked this summer as a reader for one of the network television writing fellowship programs. I was one of four readers who together read about 1100 scripts. Last year, when my writing partner and I did the same program, we had written one of 8 scripts admitted from a pile of 900; this year the number of slots were the same, so the odds were even lower. After talking to someone at Thanksgiving about the process of applying to another one of the fellowships, I decided to write up some tips I gleaned from reading such a big pile.

The trend right now for hiring in television is towards original material (“pilots”) rather than sample episodes of existing shows (“specs”). However, most of the writers’ fellowships still require specs. I think this is a good thing; I think it’s important to master a spec episode of an existing show before attempting a pilot, even if agents, managers and showrunners are less interested in reading specs right now. Even if you’re not planning to enter a script in one of the fellowships, I still recommend writing a spec of a show you love. Hopefully this advice will be helpful.

(continue reading…)

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Writing Advice

by on Feb.22, 2010, under Movies

Jason Reitman was asked at a WGA event to give the aspiring writers in the audience something to keep them going through their darkest hours.

He said that he had hit a wall after working on Up In The Air for five years (this was part of a no-longer-subtle series of digs at writer Sheldon Turner, with whom he’s been forced to share credit and stage time by a WGA arbitration panel). He ran into Judd Apatow at the Santa Barbara Film Festival and asked him for advice.

Apatow said, “Write the ending. Because, then, theoretically, you’re done.”

And that was how Reitman did it (though pace Apatow he wasn’t immediately done.) He figured out the ending, and that let him go back and charge through things like the 20-page wedding scene. He knew where he had to go.

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by on Sep.23, 2009, under Books

If there are lessons for writers in Infinite Jest, this must be among them:

If you put into your work everything you know in your head, you’d best also put into it everything you know in your heart.

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