nickelodeon writing fellowship – month 3

i can’t believe 3 months have already gone by! we had a nice 2 week vacation at the end of 2010, and 2011 has gotten off to a quick start.

the final draft of my cougar town script was approved! i’m really glad i got to write this script because i learned a lot. because i had never seen the show before, i had to do a lot more research than i had done in the past. research consisted of not just watching every episode multiple times, but also taking notes while watching, reading scripts of the show, and breaking down the structure of those scripts.

also, i realized the value of having a strong outline. writing the first draft is a lot easier if you have the outline nailed down.

for the rewrite of my community spec, i had to go back to the outline. karen didn’t really like my original script, so over the holiday break, i brainstormed new ideas. i ended up keeping the basic idea, but coming up with a different way of telling the story. now, it’s more like a whole new script than it is a rewrite. i worked on that outline and took a somewhat complex plot and distilled it into the basic story. the first draft was easy to write because i had done so much work during the outline phase.

each of the fellows were assigned to shows, and i got robot & monster. we had to pitch 3 ideas to the eic (executive in charge). she liked one of them and so i went on to write the outline. this is a new show that hasn’t aired yet, so i only have scripts to read, no actual episodes to study. i did get to see one animatic, so that helped a bit. once i submit my outline, i’ll get notes and move on to first draft, then second draft, and so on until i hand in a finished script. then hopefully i’ll be invited into the writers’ room!

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  1. I had fun writing my community spec. The characters are self aware so it was cool to play on that concept.
    I finished an outline for parks and rec and now I’m doing the first draft. I didn’t think it was possible but I’m having a little more fun with my parks and rec spec.
    Do youthink parks and rec has more nuance than communtiy? I laugh harder watching community but I chuckle more frequently with parks and rec.
    I feel community is funnier, but parks and rec has a charm that community doesn’t. I had an easier time writing community than parks and rec. But my parks and rec zingers hold more weight.

    What show did you have more fun writing. 30 rock or community? Were either of them harder for you to nail down than the other?
    What sitcoms do you feel are the best?
    I feel 30 rock, community, and parks and rec are 1,2 and 3 in that order. All the rest are trailing behind.

  2. i like parks and rec, but haven’t tried writing for that one yet. i really like community. that dungeons and dragons episode they did was truly amazing. they really take risks with their storytelling, like their paintball episode, zombie episode, and claymation christmas episode, whereas i feel parks and rec is much more traditional.

    30 rock was more challenging to write because the writing on the show is of such a high caliber. the pace is really fast, and you have to know about some current event stuff as well as pop culture stuff, in addition to really knowing the characters and their relationships, to be able to write something that matches the humor of the show. i feel there are more moving pieces to be aware of when writing 30 rock compared to most other sitcoms.

  3. Love the shows you’ve been writing specs for. I’m writing a Cougar Town, I have the outline written, but I’m looking for recent scripts for reference. I hate that I can only find the pilot. I think I’ve watched every episode 3 times.
    I agree with your notes on 30 Rock, such a high caliber of writing.

  4. Hey, thanks. I don’t live in LA. I’ll check out the yahoo group. I just subscribed to your blog. I’ve been working on my CT script and writing an original spec pilot. So different from writing features.Are you on Twitter? I’m @yeah_write if you are.

  5. Heyy!

    Quick Q- I just sent in my application a couple days ago for the fellowship, so I guess there is nothing I can do at this point to fix it. However, I do think that you could appease my worries. I got a mixed review on what I should do, so I ended up going with the majority vote. I didn’t know whether to register my script, and most felt like I should register anything I write. I ended up registering it, but then someone today said that might make my application prejudiced against because it looks like I’m over-protective of my ideas. I registered it as more of a legitimacy thing so I could prove that this was my original idea. I definitely am not overprotective over sharing my ideas because I know that you have to be willing to let ideas go at times to get what you want. Do you think that it will hurt my application by saying that I registered it with the guild?

    Thanks so much for your response and time!!


    1. hey catherine,
      i’m glad to say i can appease your worries! there is no bias for or against registering your script. it’s probably better to be safe and register. i always do. to make it out of the first round of judging, i’m pretty sure it’s completely based on the strength of the script you submit, assuming you submitted all the other required materials. good luck!

      1. Ah! Thank you so much! you just made my day 🙂

        Your blog is very interesting to read and one of the main reasons that I applied for the fellowship, so thanks for all your help!

        Hope you enjoy the rest of your experience at Nickelodeon!!

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