nbc writers on the verge – finalist!


i had my phone interview with nbc on wed, and was told i’d probably hear by the end of the week whether or not i made it to the next round. i was trying to lower my hopes and expectations because the odds are i wasn’t going to advance. i saw someone post that about 1600 people submitted, 50 get phone interviews, 20 get in person interviews, and 8 writers get selected. i thought, just being 1 of the 50 writers who made it to the next round is somewhat of an accomplishment. it’s a little bit of validation that lets me know i’m not entirely crazy to be pursuing this dream.

as i was thinking this, the phone rang, and it was nbc. they liked chatting with me and wanted to set up a time for an in person interview! i made it to the next round, and my interview is on 9/17 which is a week and half away.

i’m super excited! i’ve applied to the nbc program (along with every other program) since i wrote my first spec in 2009, and this is the first time i received any response from nbc.

i like charts, so here’s a chart that shows me vs. the writing programs.

a few things:

  1. i just realized after making this chart that i got at least some positive feedback each year i applied. i guess that’s why i haven’t given up yet.
  2. i sent the same exact script to all of the programs each year, but clearly, i didn’t get the same response. this happens all the time with other writers i know. what might get someone recognition from one program or contest might not them any response from another. different network programs have different tastes and are looking for different things in the scripts they read. a lot of this stuff is subjective, but i believe if your writing is good enough, someone, somewhere, will recognize your talent.
  3. i applied to the different programs even during the year i was a fellow at nick, but that didn’t give me any bonus points. it’s not like i made it to the next round in all of the programs that year.  these are all blind reads, and since my script didn’t have what they were looking for, i didn’t hear from them.

so, back to nbc. i realize i’m extremely lucky to have gotten even this far in the process, but i’m hoping beyond hope that i can capitalize on this opportunity, do well in the interview, and get accepted into the writers on the verge program. wish me luck, people!


an update on the different writing programs. this is just information based on stuff i’ve heard or read on message boards and facebook posts of people i know, so take it with a grain of salt.

  • nickelodeon just announced their semifinalists. https://www.facebook.com/notes/nick-writing-fellowship/congratulations-to-the-2012-2013-semi-finalists/459939874027677
  • cbs already had interviews. if you haven’t heard by now, i think it’s safe to assume you didn’t make it.
  • nbc, i’m guessing they had all the phone interviews by now.
  • abc, you might still have some time. abc contacts people in waves, and they contacted me last year on 9/20 to request more materials, so there’s still hope!
  • wb, i know someone who was asked to submit original material. someone said wb might also notify people in waves, so there might still be hope.

if you didn’t make it this year for any of the programs, be sad for a day, then go write another spec. immediately. because once the holiday season starts, you won’t have much time to write, and you want to give yourself enough time to really research the show, properly outline, write, and polish it up. the nick deadline is the end of feb, and the other ones are in may and june. it’ll come sooner than you think.

i don’t want to repeat myself, so i’ll just post a link to what i wrote last year:


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  1. Congrats KK! I heard NBC made all their comedy phone calls and setup interviews accordingly… but I haven’t heard of anyone who interviewed or got calls for Drama. Is this true?

    1. thanks! a drama writer on my facebook got a phone interview right around the same time i got mine, so i don’t think they’re handling the drama writers on a different schedule than the comedy writers.

  2. Great article Kiyong! Thanks for sharing so much wisdom. Thankfully you are also type-A and made a grid. Exactly what I would have done! Fingers crossed for you, dude.

  3. Congrats on making this far Kiyong.

    Just out of curiosity what kind of original material are you sending in? Pilots to your own shows? And for spec submissions do you write separate specs for each network? So for example, for Nick would you write a spec for iCarly and for NBC would you write a spec for Community?

    Can you clarify on what you are submitting to the networks? Thanks!

    1. i don’t think nbc requires original material. cbs asks for original material when you submit, but they say no pilots, but a stageplay, short story, or feature would work. wb requires original material in the 2nd round. abc, you can submit original material in the 2nd round, but it’s not a requirement. nickelodeon, you can not submit original material, only specs.

      for spec submissions, i send the same spec to every program that year. i was a finalist at nick the first year with an office spec, and i got in the next year with a 30 rock spec. that same 30 rock spec also got a request for more material from disney. this year, my parks and rec spec got me through the 1st round at nbc.

      i personally would not write an icarly spec. i think a non kid’s show would be more versatile in your portfolio.

  4. Kiyong – I truly appreciate your blog, and bringing us along. I applied this year (first time for any) to WB, NBC, ABC and Austin. Didn’t make it anywhere in Austin. No word from NBC (done) or WB (close to done). I’m hoping for ABC (my spec is Castle with lots of humor and great feedback from peers and a table read). Reading this post, I know I’m on the right track. Bummed for a moment but happy I finished a decent spec and applied. My next spec is Modern Family and it’s coming along swimmingly. Note to self: get a Thesaurus.

    1. hey mike, thanks for reading. do you want to write drama or comedy? even though castle might have comedic moments, it’s a 1 hour show and considered a drama, where modern family is a half hour comedy. i would pick one genre and write several specs and pilots in that genre before trying to switch.

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