nbc writers on the verge – week 2

TUE 10/9/12

on tue, we went around and got notes on our outlines. first, we got notes from jen, karen, and julie ann. then the other writers gave notes to each other. that took up the whole 3 hours.

i’m used to notes. i had critiques in art school, in writing classes, as a web designer, and most recently in my writing groups. if it’ll make my work stronger, great!

the notes for my happy endings outline weren’t too bad. i had to make some things a little clearer. the C story needed the most work. someone brought to my attention a joke i had in my outline had previously been done before on another show. i’m not sure if i’ll keep the joke anyway, or change it. it kind of fits with the theme of the story so i might keep it.

the first draft is due in one week, tue at noon. that’s a fast turnaround! one week to go from outline to first draft. i’m used to writing fast from when i was in the nick fellowship, but not at this pace. the drama writers are on the same schedule as the comedy writers. the drama writers have to write more pages, but the comedy writers have to come up with jokes, so i guess it evens out.

before i started writing pages, i went back and updated my outline to address the notes i was given. for me, any time spent making the outline strong is time well spent. once the outline felt solid, i cut and pasted that into final draft, then started expanding each scene with dialogue.

we also have to pitch 3 ideas for pilots in a few weeks, so i’m writing down any ideas i have during my breaks.

THU 10/11/12

we had our second session of improv with instructors from UCB. the cool thing was the improv exercises were designed for writers to help with pitching, and weren’t regular scene exercises.

there were several exercises that stressed the importance of listening, and incorporating new information you’re given. it might especially be hard if you’re pitching, and you’re nervous, and you’re trying to remember what you’re going to say and in what order.

example: you’re pitching your great idea for a show and you’re talking about your main character, and the executive asks “does he have a love interest?”. what he’s really saying is, i think your main character should have a love interest, and if you’re listening, you can build off that and explore something that executive is interested in. if you’re not listening, you might hear those words but not get the intent, and you might just answer, “no, he has no love interest”.

for one exercise, we were given random made up titles, and we had to pitch what that show was. we had to pitch for 45 seconds, then pitch the same thing in 30 seconds, and then again in 10 seconds. we also did it in reverse, starting with 10 seconds and building up to 45. the point of the exercise was to get you used to condensing material down to what’s most interesting and important, and also expanding material and providing details.

both improv sessions were so much fun! alex and debra were great instructors. next week, we have a meeting with an exec who will talk to us about pitching.

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