nickelodeon writing fellowship – month 7

nickelodeon sent us to the robert mckee seminar. i was picturing the scenes from “adaptation”, and reality wasn’t that far off. robert mckee is a character, and when you register for the seminar, they send you an email with a disclaimer saying he is opinionated, he swears, he might offend you, etc.

over the course of 4 days, mckee covers all the basics of storytelling. i feel like if you’re a writer, you should already know most of the material he covers. maybe you wouldn’t be able to articulate all of his points as clearly, but i would think most writers would how to tell a story on an instinctual level. usually i’m very skeptical of screenwriting gurus and experts, but i thought the whole seminar was a good review of storytelling.

we met several non-writers there (producers, animators, directors, etc) who weren’t aspiring writers, but wanted to know what elements went into a story, and to understand stories better so they could communicate with writers.

on the last day, we watched “casablanca” as he analyzed it. i had never seen the movie before so that was pretty entertaining.

i’m glad i got to go, but that’s because i didn’t have to pay. i think the seminar might be more helpful to feature writers than tv writers, and i think reading his book would be enough.

after my outline was approved, i went to 1st draft. the writing went very smoothly because i put a lot of effort into figuring out the story in the outline phase. then in later drafts, i don’t really have to worry about the plot. i can focus on jokes, on timing, on word choice to make sure action lines and scene descriptions are clear and punchy.

when i first started the fellowship and got notes from karen, the meetings were long. there were questions on structure, and character motivations. jokes might be clunky. some scenes might not be working, or sometimes, entire storylines might not be working.

now, the meetings are short. she tells me which jokes made her laugh out loud. the story points she brings up, i already knew might be issues, and i come prepared with multiple options to fix them.

i’ve become a much better writer, and i could definitely feel the difference with this script.

i haven’t worked on my pilot much this last month because i was busy with my parks and rec. i recently met with a writer who just finished the wb writers’ program. she told me they sent out specs to get an agent, but sent original material to showrunners to get staffed. that’s something to consider.

i went to a panel that had the directors of the main writing programs. i posted notes here.

just in case i finish my fellowship here at nick and don’t get staffed, i’m going to apply to the other writing programs. i’m going to submit my 30 rock, the script that got me into nick.

i’m waiting to join the writers room for robot and monster. i hope it happens soon! i’m really looking forward to it.

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