interview: Meghan Pleticha, writers’ assistant Silicon Valley

I met Meghan at a mixer, and then we ended up in the same writers group for a couple years!  Alex already did a great interview with her on his blog, so definitely check that out. I had some questions about her time on Married and Silicon Valley. She’s also making a web series, and I had some questions about that process since I’ve been thinking about making one for a while now. I just donated to her Kickstarter at www.weremakingapodcast.com. There’s only a couple days left, so check it out. One of the perks involves a nude bodysuit. You can follow her on Twitter @MeghanPleticha.

How different were the writers’ rooms in Married and Silicon Valley? Were your responsibilities different?

I worked as both the Writers Assistant and Script Coordinator on both shows, so my responsibilities were the same, although Silicon Valley has more of everything – more clearances, more room notes, more serialized stories to track, etc. It’s all good, though. I’ve learned a lot in both rooms, and pretty much feel like a lucky asshole all the time.

Do you know how the writing staff of either show was put together? What made one writer get hired over another?

Literally no idea. If you find out please let me know so I can get staffed.

Has your writing process changed at all since you’ve become a writers’ assistant / script coordinator?

Not especially. My outlines have gotten more detailed (who knows though if that’s from seeing room outlines or just wanting to put off writing as long as possible), but the basic process is still the same. I’ve definitely benefited from watching writers far more experienced than myself work through story and jokes, and I’ve learned more how to write regardless of whether I’m in the right head space – work gets busy, write when you can!

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mid year creative review 2012

i like to make lists and track my progress with things.

so far:

  • i participated in a mock writers room class at nickelodeon, where as a group, we wrote an episode of the nick show, big time rush.
  • revised my parks and rec spec and my pilot.
  • applied to cbs, wb, disney, nbc. i also submitted to the austin film festival competition for the first time.

here were my top 3 goals for 2012:

  1. be a working writer, and get staffed on a show.
  2. write at least 2 new scripts, either 2 pilots, or a pilot and a spec.
  3. make a short film or web series.

1. be a working writer, and get staffed on a show.

ha ha. that would be a big no. it’s been 9 months since the nick fellowship ended, and i’m no closer to getting representation or to working as a writer now than i was before i was accepted into the nick writing fellowship. i applied to the fellowships again this year, so we’ll see what happens.

2. write a pilot script

i started my pilot, and i started writers groups to specifically focus on pilots (previous post here). i was hoping i’d have a rough first draft by now, but i’m a bit behind schedule because of the short film i shot (see below). based on some of the early feedback from the group, i ended up changing the structure of my pilot which probably saved me months of rewriting. i’m really glad i started the writers groups! i was able to find some really talented people so the level of feedback has been fantastic, and now i have a bunch of wonderful writer friends that i didn’t have a couple months ago.

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my short film – i’m done shooting!

first of all, the indiegogo campaign for my short film, you will meet a sexy stranger, was a success! i raised $2610, surpassing my original $2500 budget, to supplement my own $1500. i’m extremely grateful to all the people who donated. without their help, i would not have been able to make my movie in the way that i wanted to, and wouldn’t have had certain resources that i really needed.

2 years ago i took part in the duke city shootout, and shot my 10 page short, camera obscura, in 4 days. there were multiple locations, night shots, driving scenes, and visual effects. it was really fun but it was grueling, and it was only possible because as part of the contest, i had a wonderful producer and a whole crew to take care of pre-production. i just showed up to new mexico and everything was pretty much ready to go. for this short, you will meet a sexy stranger, i didn’t have those people helping me,  and so i wanted to do something simple.

it was a 6 page script, 1 location, 3 actors. i wanted to shoot it all in 1 day. i think most features shoot around 2 pages a day, where low budget features and shorts might shoot around 4 pages a day. i figured i could shoot 6 pages because it was 1 location, and mostly dialogue, and i knew my actors were great so they’d deliver consistent performances for each take.

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previz on my short film

i have 1 week left for the indiegogo campaign of my short film! please check it out – http://igg.me/p/103615?a=594484

in between producing duties like schedules, budgets, and contracts, i’ve been squeezing in some director prep. i’m using a program called frameforge which lets me create digital storyboards based on a digital version of my set.

frameforge is better than drawing storyboards because it gives me an accurate representation of what i’ll see using different lenses. it also generates floorplans that are super useful.

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i have my cast!

i already knew tw leshner and was familiar with his work, so i was thrilled when i asked him to be in my movie and he agreed. it was such a relief to start preproduction knowing you have a solid actor! check out tw’s site: http://www.twleshner.com

i still needed to find 2 actresses for the roles of jen and sonia. i posted an ad on la casting and got around 1500 submissions!

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short film update – camera, crew, location, callbacks

i’m getting closer to making my movie, and there are only 2 weeks left for my indiegogo campaign! i have some cool perks including consultations, script reviews, and artwork, so please check it out and donate if you can.

http://igg.me/p/103615?a=594484

CAMERA

we’re shooting on the RED epic!

a few movies shot on this camera:

  • prometheus
  • amazing spider man
  • hobbit

my DP is going to do a great job and it’s going to look amazing.

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