nickelodeon writing fellowship – month 6


we finished our level 1 class at UCB and had a show. i was kind of expecting a train wreck, but the show actually went smoothly. the class was split into 2 groups, and each group performed for about 20 minutes. even though i really enjoyed taking improv, i’m not a performer and have no desire to take any more classes.


a teacher from UCB came to nickelodeon and taught a compressed version of their sketch writing class over 4 days. i had never tried writing sketches, but it was pretty fun. i might try shooting some of the sketches i wrote as short films.


i submitted 3 premises as usual, and karen selected the same idea that i liked. then i expanded the 1 page premise into a 6 page outline. the outline has all the sluglines of the script, with the description of each scene written in prose. this is where most of the hard work is done, and where you figure out your story. if the story doesn’t work in the outline, it’s not going to work in the script. if you want to write for television, you must get used to writing outlines. someone is going to have to read it and approve it before you can write the script, and it’s part of the process whether you’re in live action or animation. so i turned in my outline and the notes were that my A story was ok, but i needed to clarify my B story a bit. i made some fixes and now i’m moving on to first draft.


we’ve been volunteering weekly at a nearby school and helping 5th graders write scripts that will be performed by actors at the end of the program. the teacher explains basic story structure, and we stress that even in a 5 page script, you need to have a characters with clear motivations.


i got notes on the premise of my pilot. if this is going to be a writing sample, i was told that i need to push it more and take more risks. i agreed and decided to change projects and work on a completely different idea. a couple months ago, we got to meet with one of the development execs here at nick. his advice was to have a calling card for yourself. some piece of original material, whether it’s a pilot, a short story, a play, whatever. and he said this calling card should show your voice and talent, and it should be memorable, but it should be unproducible. it should take so much risk that it would not be able to air. something to keep in mind as you work on your pilots.

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  1. Hey Kiyong,

    Been following your blog for a while now. Really cool stuff, learning a good deal just by reading your posts. Can’t say I’m not envious of you.

    If you don’t mind me asking, what exactly do you mean when you say you need to “clarify your B story”? Does that mean that it’s hard to tell what the B story is, or is there something more to it?

    Anyways, good luck with the rest of the fellowship, sounds like things are going well!

  2. thanks for reading my blog! the problem with my B story was that it had too much going on. my A story is between leslie and tom, and my B story had ron, andy, april, and jerry. i simplified my B story by removing april from the storyline, which gives me room to add more conflict between ron and andy.

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