nbc writers on the verge – week 5

TUE 10/30/12

i got notes on my outline, and you guys, it wasn’t pretty. i was really stuck on my pilot, and the outline i turned in showed that. i was still trying to figure out the characters and their relationships, and i had trouble deciding on the story i was trying to tell. i have to go back and turn in a more fleshed out outline next week.

the other writers all doing well with their pilots. some are further along than others, but i am clearly the furthest behind at this stage. luckily, there’s still plenty of time to catch up. jen, karen, and julie ann said this happens every year, where one or two people get stuck on their pilot. they told me i could work on another idea instead of this one if i wanted, and said it’s important to be passionate about what you write. i’ll keep that in mind, but i want to give this idea one more try.

THU 11/1/12

wet got to meet with 4 awesome writers:

Courtney Lilly
Co-Executive Producer
Guys With Kids

Sierra Ornelas
Story Editor
Happy Endings

Rick Muirragui
former WOTV

Ryan Harris
Staff Writer
Chicago Fire
last year WOTV

they shared so much great information with us! here are a few snippets of their wisdom:

make yourself invaluable in the room. for comedy, the easiest way to assert your value is to be funny.

do the work others don’t want to do, like web stuff.

learn how your showrunner writes. not just the dialogue, but the style, the punctuation they use, etc.

assistants will root against you sometimes. they think you’re taking their spot.

usually, you have meetings with studio network execs first, then with the showrunner. the exec already read you and likes your work, and they know the showrunner. they’re looking at your personality to see if it’ll be good match.

when meeting with the showrunner, make them comfortable.

for meetings, what about the show do you love? you have to find something.

become very familiar with the characters, even if you’ve only read the pilot. think of where those characters might be in season 4, etc.

showrunners build their writing team kind of like a like sports team. they need different people to play different roles.

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  1. Very interesting! I had very similar complications with the pilot that I’m currently working on when I was outlining it.
    As I began writing the first draft, all of the answers to these problems came to me one by one.
    Now, as I go through revising and rewriting I have the opportunity to give it more thought and make it as good as It can get.

    Keep it up!

  2. Kiyong, you’ll make it shine when you get to the right place with your pilot. I went through the same with my UCLA class, a tough time with the outline, then BOOM! it came together and made sense. IMHO this is the hardest part of spec pilots.

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