nbc writers on the verge – week 1

i finished my first week of writers on the verge!

the program is 12 weeks long, part time, 7-10pm on tue and thur. we’ll write one spec and one pilot while we’re in the program. the tue sessions are focused on writing, and the thu sessions cover the business side of writing – working on presentation skills, meeting with executives, etc.

before our first session, we had to come up with 5 loglines covering 3 different shows (5 loglines total, not 15) to pitch for the spec we’re going to write. i have a lot of specs for workplace comedies, like parks and rec, 30 rock, etc, so i wanted write a spec for a family or bunch of friends hanging out show to round out my portfolio. i came up with pitches for happy endings, new girl, and raising hope.

TUE 10/2/12

tuesdays are our writing sessions, taught by jen grisanti. we meet on the nbc universal lot in studio city, right next to universal studios. there are 8 “entities”, one of the entities being a writing team, so 9 writers total. we went around and introduced ourselves. everyone seems very nice, very smart, very talented, and very accomplished. some are currently working as writers assistants or script coordinators. someone had his feature film in sundance. several of the writers already have agents or managers.

we all went around and pitched our 5 loglines. karen, julie ann, and jen told us which ones they liked the best. they liked one of my pitches for happy endings and one for raising hope. i went with happy endings because i don’t think as many people watch raising hope, even though it’s a great show.

we were each assigned mentors! i didn’t know that was part of the program, so that was a nice surprise. my mentor is a director of comedy development. i don’t know if i can say his name, but knowing what he’s done, i’m very excited.

the program is part time, but the workload is not. we have to have an outline by sat. that gives us from tue night to sat 3pm for each of the writing assignments. that is not a lot of time!

once i knew i was doing a spec for happy endings, i did what i always do, which is read produced scripts of the show, and break them down like this:

that way i can see the pattern of the show, the rhythm, how they do their act breaks, etc.

i wrote loglines for each of the A, B, and C stories, figured out the beats of each stories independently, then at the end, weaved the separate scenes together into a cohesive whole.

we have to upload our work by 3pm every saturday onto a web server that timestamps your work. then we have to read everyone else’s work and have notes ready by tues.

i’m not familiar with some of the shows the drama writers are working on, so i have to watch those shows so i can give proper notes.

THU 10/4/12

thursdays, they cater food! yum. the first 2 thurdays will consist of improv exercises, with instructors from ucb. it was really fun! i hadn’t done any improv in a while and i felt really rusty. i think after the wotv program ends in january, i’ll sign up for another class at ucb.

looking forward to week 2!

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  1. Hi
    I’ve been reading your blog since August this year, and love it. It’s great insight into the field for aspiring writers, I’m sure you’ve heard it all before :).
    I’m just curious though: do you have any insight into the particular issues/experiences of being a minority, pursuing a field that is not known to have many minorities?
    I’m a minority too, and have always been a writer. Now I’m more serious about actually doing it professionally and getting my work out there.
    I’m not trying to pull the race card by any means. But at the same time, I don’t think we can deny that being a minority can cause certain perceptions from others, whether they are potential employers or fellow writers.
    Your interview with Aaron Ho touched briefly on the subject. I would love to hear your insight?

    1. hey jack. thanks for reading. i can’t say i have any insight about being a minority in the industry because i haven’t actually broken in yet. however, whatever perceptions people have of each other based on ethnicity or gender will be there in any industry. i can only focus on the quality of my work and hope for the best.

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