unemployed

it’s been almost 3 months since i’ve left nickelodeon and have been unemployed. i’ve tried to be productive, but it’s hard to maintain momentum at the end of the year with the holidays. here’s my status report:

i finished my pilot script. it was my first one, and i have to say it was difficult to write. i want to start another pilot, and i’m hoping it’ll be easier the second time around. i already have the concept (it’s set in a mailroom) and most of the characters. i’m giving myself a deadline: the end of feb.

karen pushed the agent meetings back till mid january. i really hope that happens! ideally i can get an agent and have another pilot written, and be ready for staffing season.

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interview: Tawnya Bhattacharya, NBC Writers on the Verge 2011

i met tawnya several years ago where she taught the writing class that i was taking. i was not a fan of the institution, but i loved tawnya and her class! then a year ago, i saw the list of people who were accepted into the nbc writers on the verge program, and saw that she was one of them. we’ve kept in touch since, and she’s been kind enough to share her experience with us.

What spec did you submit to get into the NBC Writers on the Verge (WOTV) Program? Why did you pick that show?

My writing partner, Ali Laventhol, and I submitted a NURSE JACKIE spec.

I fell in love with NURSE JACKIE early in the first season. I’m personally drawn to darker humor and well-drawn, complex characters with a bit of a serrated edge. Characters that others might dismiss as “unlikeable.” I think it’s okay for a character to have unlikeable qualities and flaws and to do things we deem as wrong or awful as long as we know why they are motivated to do what they do. If we know the psychology behind it or the core wound… we can get behind them. Nurse Jackie is flawed (she’s a rule-breaking, drug addicted liar who’s having an affair) but she happens to have a lot of very likeable and redeemable traits. She’s a fantastic nurse who goes above and beyond, often breaking rules and being vigilante to do what’s best for her patients. She also loves her family and has an awareness and guilt for the wrong she does.

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nickelodeon writing fellowship – month 11

UNCERTAINTY
i’m a planner by nature, and having nothing lined up as the fellowship comes to an end has been very stressful. some days were ok. other days, i couldn’t sleep, lost my appetite, and couldn’t focus. but then i realized that all this uncertainty is something i better get used to, because i can be certain my life will have more it in the future.

even if i got staffed on a show at nick during the fellowship, the network might not renew the show for another season. or if i had an agent, that wouldn’t mean i’d get staffed during staffing season. if i was staffed, seasons ends. shows get cancelled. that’s what it is to work as a writer. it’s just part of the job.

if you can’t deal with instability and uncertainty, give up now and save yourself the stress. go become an accountant or something. with less than 2 weeks left to go, i’m not that stressed anymore. i’ve accepted it, i know i’m going to keep writing, and that’s all that matters.

seriously though, stress is bad. watch this documentary. i think they have it streaming on netflix.

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writing program notifications – rejection

it’s that time of year when the writing programs (nickelodeon, wb, nbc, cbs, abc/disney) start notifying people. if you get a call, that means you made it past the first of several rounds. most of us will not get calls, and this is a message to all those people.

getting into one of these writing programs is hard. there are a LOT of submissions and it’s ridiculously competitive. at nick, i think there were about 1300 submissions. only 25 or so make it onto karen’s desk. then from there, she might only pick 12 or so that are good enough to be semifinalists. 12 out of 1300+. then that will probably be whittled down to 5 finalists, and then 3 fellows.

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nickelodeon writing fellowship – month 10

ROBOT & MONSTER
nickelodeon held a little screening of robot & monster in the gym. they showed 2 episodes, and they were fantastic! it’s a very funny show, and the animation looked wonderful. i think the show will do very well. actually, it got picked up for a second season even though season one hasn’t aired yet. it would have been a fun show to work on.

AGENTS
agent meetings will be early next month, after labor day. we asked karen which agencies we’ll be meeting with. i don’t remember all of them, but i think they included uta, gersh, paradigm, gotham, and several more. i’ll write about what happens in next month’s post.

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interview: Aaron Ho, ABC/Disney Writing Program 2010

i recently met aaron at a CAPE networking event, where we learned we were both comedy writers. aaron went through the abc/disney writing program, then worked on cougar town where he had a produced episode! he’s currently on the disney channel sitcom, austin & ally.

What spec did you submit to get into the ABC/Disney Writing Program? Why did you pick that show?

I submitted a spec of “How I Met Your Mother” to get into the Disney ABC Writing Program.  It’s one of my favorite shows on TV.  I am a HUGE fan of multi-cam sitcoms, but I enjoy the pacing and ability to have cut-away jokes that a single-cam sitcom lends.  “How I Met Your Mother” takes the best of both worlds.  Plus, the characters are rich with comedy, and there’s a lot of heart to the show.  A show needs heart — it’s the only way you’ll ever care about the characters.  I like a show that can make me laugh AND cry.  (but mostly laugh)

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