Get cracking on those spec scripts

29 03 2014

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hey followers… it’s that time of year! we are heading into fellowship and writing workshop script deadline season. As an alumnus of the Warner brothers workshop and a reader for the ABC/Disney fellowship, i can tell you, the competition is fierce out there.

Warner Bros. Workshop accepts submissions from may 1 – june 1. And that is coming up fast!

ABC/Disney fellowship application period is May to the middle of june! Get cracking!


How Do You Know Your TV Pitch is going south…

15 10 2012


Last week I pitched to a network /studio that shall remain nameless… And it did not go well.

Let me give you a little understanding of how it’s supposed to to give you a sense of how it did NOT go.

When you pitch a TV show you sit in a room with like 4 representatives from the studio and network and then usually 2 other people who have come with you who are producers on the project. The producers role is to introduce you to the network and introduce the project.  Then as the writer, I start my pitch.  I open up with a personal story of what inspired me to write this TV show.  And then I go into the world of the show and the characters etc.  This is when the network executives start writing. See, they have to take notes in order to pitch the show up the ladder and since they hear a ton of pitches a day it’s their way of remembering the details of the pitch when they go to their boss to pitch it.

Basically the longer they write notes the better it is, the more detail they want to have at their disposal.  It also means they’re engaged, they’re listening, they’re enjoying themselves and smiling at you when you make eye contact…

Now let me describe my pitch…

This guy took notes for about  1/2 of the pitch and then put his notebook down and started to look around the room at what the other people in the room were wearing, at what I was wearing, and what types of birds were flying by the windows.  At first  was thinking to myself ok, well maybe his hand is tired?” He seriously looked painfully bored which is super professional and great for my self-esteem and confidence in my pitch.  That’s when I make eye contact with him and he has this look on his face like “busted” and his eyes go wide and he gives me a CLASSIC fake smile. I mean he didn’t even attempt to give me a real one.  I know a fake smile when I see one because I give them all the time so I am very well versed in the language of fake smiling…

This is basically what he looked like, but worse.

Anyway, this is when I start to unravel.  One skill set I’ve discovered I have is while I’m pitching a memorized pitch to an audience I can simultanously have a conversation in my own head!

me: this is ridiculous, he so hates this pitch.

me: Yeah, he does.

me: can I just call this pitch half way through?

me: has anyone ever done that be like “look it’s obvs you’re not interested in my pitch and care more about what shoes rob is wearing”

me: I know, I also saw him look at that woman executive’s tits.

me: why? Mine are way better. (beat) Can I just get up and walk out?

me: ugh I’ll just race through the remainder of this pitch.

me: Ok but hurry up because this is seriously painful and awkward. (beat) should we get izakaya for dinner on the way home?

Suffice it to say I didn’t sell to them… onward and upward.

Sometimes I wish I was famous

11 10 2012

I rarely wish i was famous… I live in the same neighborhood as a lot of famous folk and travel to the same coffee shops, restuarants and doctors as they do.  And I see a lot of what they have to put up with in terms of being hunted down by the papparazzi as they’re just trying to get a soy macchiatto.  I recently went to sushi with a friend and was at the valet with  Michelle Trachectenberg and some papparazzi who were snapping away so I jumped in front of the cameras. It was more for my amusement than anything else. But i digress…

Then there are times when I see them cut the line in the coffee bean and get handed a drink without having to pay.  Say what now??  Thats the look on my face if someone were to take a picture in that moment…  Or most recently, when I was waiting to pitch my TV show at ABC Comedy last week and I’m sitting in the waiting area with Ty Burrell from Modern Family.  There we both were waiting to go into our comedy pitches.  I was sizing up my competition and was NOT feeling good about my chances.  Along came the people we were pitching with… my team did not look as famous as his team. I saw the writing on the wall. I wasn’t defeated, but there was a little part of me thinking, I’m definitely going to have to work a lot harder to sell my idea than he will to have to sell his.

So it was no surprise that the same day I got my rejection from ABC I read on deadline that Burrell had SOLD his.  There was a photo of him and his brother who he sold it with in their matching Harry Potter glasses.  They were just missing their capes and matching lightning bolt scars. But they didn’t need magic to sell their pilots, they had a celebrity from the very same network!  I’m the one who needed magic… note to self, buy glasses, cape and scar for next pitch which is this afternoon so I might not have enough time.

And to continue my bitterness rant, I read the log line of Ty’s show and why did that show sell? A show about two families in oregon who want to make a better life without technology?!  That’s it?  Ok, maybe I changed my mind, dammit, maybe I do wish I was famous if for no other reason than to sell a show at the network level… oh and that free macchiatto!

Development season…

30 08 2012

Well it’s that time of the year again… development season. Where writers come up with ideas, do a dog and pony show pitching them to production companies and studios only to re-write their ideas, make it more someone else’s idea and then do another dog and pony show to the networks in the hopes of selling their own TV show and writing the pilot.

While I’ve had major success selling to cable networks like MTV and Spike, I haven’t had any success selling a pilot to one of the major networks. This shouldn’t be at all surprising to people in the business. It’s very hard to sell a pilot if you haven’t sold one before (catch-22 much?) or you didn’t write on friends. Google the NY times article on how many shows Friends writers have sold and how successful they have become to know what I’m talking about.

But year after year my representation wants me to get out there. Last year was my funniest idea to date based on my personal experience and it didn’t sell. I had everyone laughing at the networks and the Dreamworks guys who I pitched with were convinced this was a sure thing… guess what nothing is ever a sure thing. Suffice it to say it didn’t sell (see NY times article about the friends writers)

Just kidding, I know other people who sell shows who aren’t Friends writers, but I will say one of my best friends has been wildly successful in TV, now in the executive producer ranks of a new show coming out this fall and she rarely sells a pilot to a major network and this is a woman who has sold one before and produced it!

So what does it take to sell a pilot? Your guess is as good as mine. But I do know it doesn’t only take a great idea. That will get you into the door to the newtork, but it won’t be the end all/be all. You need a great idea combined with great credits, hopefully a previous pilot sale, a great company or studio working with you, you need to get in the door before everyone else has who has a similar idea, thus timing is essential, you need to put on a show in the room, entertain the folks for sure and you need a great story! Not to be confused with the show’s idea story, nope, you personally needs a great personal story. Just read just to see how many people sell shows “based on their own life.” Go there right now and you’ll see one about some country singer. That’s right, a show sold by a country singer… did i mention you don’t even need to be a writer?

soooo on that note… wish me luck! haha. That’s one thing I didn’t mention you need.

The New Girl

28 09 2011

Are you guys wanting to get a jump on a spec for the hot new TV Shows of this season?! Of course you are! So here’s a script for one of the hottest comedies this fall season. The New Girl. You can grab it below. I can’t link to it cuz I no smart!

It’s pitching season!

27 09 2011

So today I’m off to FOX to pitch my TV show comedy pilot idea! Cannot wait to get out there and have people hear my idea! The big question is, should I shower beforehand. This is a question I’m sure most writers experience. You sit alone all day every day and no one sees you, so you can wear the same outfit every. single. day… and I have no problem admitting that i’ve done this… more than once.

But it’s 8:30am and I’m finding it difficult to motivate to get out of bed and jump in the shower. Of course I had no problem getting out of bed an hour ago to drive to the coffee beAN to get coffee. But i digress.

Today is FOX. The least favorite part of the pitch process is the questions you get afterward… you never know what they’re going to be and typically they’re the lamest questions you could ever think of… but you would never think of them, fellow writer, because we don’t think in marketing a TV show terms, or time slot terms, if the show is funny, then buy it, end of story. That’s how i think. Unfortunately, that’s not enough to sell a show to a network, so wish me luck, hopefully i’ve hit all the arbitrary targets the networks have.

TV Script Doctor

27 04 2011

Not only have I been super crazy busy filming my episode of my show and writing my second episode, I’ve also been reading and giving notes on tons of my client’s scripts and having a blast. One writer, who is a repeat customer, sent me her new script and I loved it and it was such a huge step up from the very first script I read of hers. Made me so proud that she keeps writing and getting better as that’s the only way to improve.

I read another client’s Glee and we had so much fun coming up with a new ending on his script, I felt like I was back in a comedy writers room! I hope this kid moves to LA and gets on a show, he’s gonna be a star!

And then I’ve been reading tons of pilots and giving notes on character, plot, tone and story! Phew, it’s been a busy spring! What are you guys writing these days?