at the end of my in person interview, karen told me she and julie ann would make calls on friday (today) to let people know whether they got in or not. instead, i got a call yesterday at 3pm. karen and julie ann congratulated me and told me i was accepted into the program! i’m THRILLED! i’m so grateful for this opportunity, and i look forward to learning as much as i can.
i had my phone interview with nbc on wed, and was told i’d probably hear by the end of the week whether or not i made it to the next round. i was trying to lower my hopes and expectations because the odds are i wasn’t going to advance. i saw someone post that about 1600 people submitted, 50 get phone interviews, 20 get in person interviews, and 8 writers get selected. i thought, just being 1 of the 50 writers who made it to the next round is somewhat of an accomplishment. it’s a little bit of validation that lets me know i’m not entirely crazy to be pursuing this dream.
as i was thinking this, the phone rang, and it was nbc. they liked chatting with me and wanted to set up a time for an in person interview! i made it to the next round, and my interview is on 9/17 which is a week and half away.
Theo and I met through Nickelodeon, which he mentions below, and also through the message board of the Yahoo TV writers group. He recently went through the CBS Writers Mentoring Program, and I’m SO happy he just got staffed! I think today was his first day!
Theo Travers is the newest staff writer on Showtime’s House of Lies. He moved to Los Angeles four years ago after working as a television news reporter in Memphis. Coolest moments include interviewing Barack Obama one-on-on and riding with undercover cops on drug and prostitution stings. Theo’s writing earned him a coveted spot in the CBS Writer’s Mentoring Program earlier this year. Prior to that, Theo optioned a one-hour pilot, “Thieves of Baghdad,” to Fox after being selected to participate in its Diversity Writer’s Initiative. Theo also helped create a web series industry showcase for fellow NYU Tisch alum on the west coast.
The CBS Writers Mentoring Program requires a spec and original
material to apply. What did you submit?
I submitted an NCIS: Los Angeles spec and a piece of short crime fiction. As of late, the program, for legal reasons, will only consider original material that is not a pilot. I’ve seen some writers get tripped up on the idea that CBS asks for the two samples to also be similar in tone or theme. Ideally, any writing you’re going out with feels uniquely yours in some ways and, as a result, similar in tone.
karen had wanted to set up a mock writers room class while i was still in the fellowship, but the timing didn’t work out with the teacher’s schedule at the time. he’s available now though, and karen was nice enough to invite me back to take the class even though i’m done with the fellowship. the class is twice a week for 6 weeks, with myself, the 2 current fellows (tina and sasha), and a fellow from several years ago (ivory).
the teacher is joel thompson – http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1403671/.
he sometimes teaches at ucla extension, so if you can take a class with him, do it!
the class is run like a writers room, and we’re writing a spec episode of the nickelodeon show, big time rush. we started out pitching ideas for episodes, and the class decided to go with one i pitched. we broke the A story first, worked out all the beats, then moved onto the B story. we just finished week 4, and started to move from outline to actual script pages.
2011 was an interesting year. i finished up the nick fellowship, which was an amazing experience. i learned a lot, met great people, and wrote a bunch of solid scripts. as great as the experience was, it didn’t lead to a job, so the end of the year after the fellowship was rather depressing. i’m hoping 2012 leads to some sort of breakthrough.
here were my top 3 goals for 2011:
- get staffed on a show after the fellowship.
NO. this didn’t happen. not even close. i also didn’t get an agent, and didn’t get into another writing program (although i did make it past the first round of disney). sigh.
- write a pilot script.
YES. i finally wrote my first pilot! i’m already working on my second.
- make a web series or short film.
SORT OF. i didn’t shoot anything, but i did finish the script for a live action short, so i count that as half.
so out of my 3 goals, i accomplished 1.5. not so great.