Friday, April 17, 2015

Resources for comedy writers

Fernando writes:


Thanks for reading! For screenwriting advice in general, definitely check out Go Into the Story. There, Scott Myers has produced an absolute wealth of information, and plenty of the movies he explores are comedies. Geoff LaTulippe, who wrote GOING THE DISTANCE, also doles out advice on his blog and on Twitter.

You might also like the Scriptnotes podcast, since co-host Craig Mazin has written comedies such as IDENTITY THIEF.

Lastly, I enjoy the website Splitsider, which curates a lot of news and interviews about comedy (including TV and stand-up).

Check out the right side of this blog for a more complete list of screenwriting blogs, podcasts and places where you can download scripts. Reading professional comedy scripts is probably the most important thing you can do!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

How to get a pitch meeting

razor7 writes: Can you explain the process of ACQUIRING a pitch meeting.

In most cases, you need an agent or manager before someone (such as producer or studio executive) will hear your pitch, and your rep can set it up. Otherwise, you'll need to have a personal connection to the person you're pitching (but even in that case, you might need a rep). I first pitched a TV idea in a general meeting with a producer because my close friend was the producer's assistant and pre-pitched my idea to her to find out if she'd like it before I met with her. However, the producer wouldn't have met with me if I didn't have some kind of representation.

I got another opportunity to pitch my take on a movie adaptation when a friend of mine (whom I met when he was a manager assistant and I was an agent assistant) reached out to me. So the overall answer to your question goes along with my overall answer for everything: move to LA and start meeting people (probably through a job) so that you can start cultivating relationships and opportunities. Also, you'll need to have writing samples before you pitch anything; people generally won't hear pitches until after they've seen the kind of writing they can expect from you.

Readers, how did you get your first pitch meeting? I'd love to hear stories in the comments.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

On the Cusp: a podcast featuring up-and-coming TV writers

On the Cusp, a podcast by Ben Greene, features writers, actors, and improvisers trying to make it in the industry. Here are some episodes with TV writers:

Episode 14 -- Jen D'Angelo (Cougar Town, The Millers)

Episode 16 -- Lauren McGuire (Comedy Bang Bang)

Other TV writer guests include Dan Lippert, Justin Michael, Madeline Walter, and Ben Axelrad. All the other episodes can be found on iTunes, Stitcher or Soundcloud. Check 'em out!

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Nickelodeon's 'Script First' program open for submissions


Want to write an animated series for Nickelodeon? Enter the network's new Script First program!

From Nick's website:
Nickelodeon Animation Studios is proud to present a new path in series development called Script First! Here’s how it works: you submit a spec 3-5 page script that showcases an original show premise and characters in a self-contained story. If your submission is selected by our selection committee, you will get an offer to be paid to write an expanded script. You can choose to either build upon your submitted spec script or choose a different story using your same original characters and world.
What they're looking for:

  • Original short scripts, 3 to 5 pages in length
  • Content that is kid-appropriate
  • Strong, relatable characters that our kid audience of boys and girls ages 6 to 11 will love and want to see again and again
  • Concepts that play well for animation - visual humor is just as important as verbal!
  • Creators who are passionate about their ideas, their characters, and their stories. We want you to write from the heart. What do you really, really want to make that means something to you?
We’re open to any genre if your original idea has a strong comedic backbone. Action/Adventure/mystery is okay as long as it’s also funny. 
A short script, 3 – 5 pages long, is required. You can include an optional additional page explaining characters, worlds, or setup.  
Limit of three (3) submissions per person. Any scripts submitted beyond this cannot be considered. 
Submissions open on Monday March 30, 2015. The deadline for submissions is Friday May 15, 2015. No submissions will be accepted after this time.

Black List announces podcast series


The Black List has announced a new podcast series called the Black List Table Reads.

It's a podcast version of what the company already does with the live staged script readings, along with founder Franklin Leonard interviewing the scripts' writers. Scripts will come from the annual list, the website, and various other sourcing methods. Each script will be serialized over four episodes.

Launching April 16, the first featured script read for episodes 1-4 is Balls Out, written by Malcolm Spellman (producer of Empire) and Tim Talbott (winner of the 2014 Sundance Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award). Follow the coveted stories as they unfold on The Black List Table Reads Thursdays on Wolfpop.com.

All Wolfpop podcasts are available for streaming on iTunes and Soundcloud.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Snag a fellowship at LA writing workspace theOffice

Just got word of a fellowship opportunity at theOffice:
If you're looking for the perfect place in LA to leave the distractions of life behind and finish that screenplay/novel/short story/what-have-you, enter now to win a FREE 6 month Premium Membership to theOffice. 
theOffice is a quiet, communal workspace on 26th Street in Santa Monica (across from the Brentwood Country Mart). There are 26 ergonomic workstations in the room equipped with Aeron chairs, wifi, a reference library and all the coffee & tea you can handle. Charter and current members include JJ Abrams, Matthew Carnahan, Clark Gregg, Gigi Levangie Grazer, Jen Celotta, Gary Glasberg and many more. It's where serious writers go to GET IT DONE. 
The contest is free to enter. All of the details are on theOfficeOnlineBlog.com.
Hurry!!  Deadline to apply is April 15th. 
Send Submissions to: theOfficeFellowship@gmail.com 
Find us on Twitter: @theOffice_LA

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Upcoming screenwriting events in LA

Black List Live Read: 2014 Black List Script GIFTED

Sat, March 14
7:30 - 10:30 pm

Ricardo Montalban Theatre
1615 Vine St.
Los Angeles, CA 90028

Tickets are $27.37. Purchase them & get more info here.

Written and Directed by Tom Flynn, GIFTED is the story of Frank Adler, a deliberate under-achiever raising his niece Mary in rural Florida. Things get complicated for both of them when he enrolls her in school for the first time and she is immediately labeled as gifted. For reasons that become boldly apparent, all Frank wants is for Mary to have a normal life, but standing in his way is his formidable mother Evelyn, and the small problem that he doesn't actually have custody of Mary.

Starring:

Armie Hammer (THE SOCIAL NETWORK, THE LONE RANGER)
Mckenna Grace (COOK, AMITYVILLE: THE AWAKENING, THE VAMPIRE DIARIES)
Mary Steenburgen
Gina Rodriguez (JANE THE VIRGIN)
Michael Beach (SONS OF ANARCHY)
Nick Searcy (JUSTIFIED)

Writers Guild Foundation: First Draft To Feature (Spring Craft Symposium)

Sat, March 28
9 am - 6 pm

Writers Guild Theater
135 S. Doheny Dr.
Beverly Hills, CA 90211

Tickets are $65. Purchase them & get more info here.

Get your screenplay ready for submission to industry professionals with a full day of panels discussing how to take apart your story and turn it into something special. Writers Guild Foundation and Austin Film Festival team-up for four panels, a WGA Archive Exhibit, and a full day of inspiration.

Panelists:

Greg Beal – Director of the Academy Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting
Evan Daugherty – DIVERGENT, SNOW WHITE AND THE HUNTSMAN
Leslie Dixon – MRS. DOUBTFIRE, PAY IT FORWARD
Matt Dy – Director of the Austin Film Festival Screenplay and Teleplay Competitions
Jason Hall – AMERICAN SNIPER, PARANOIA
Rick Jaffa – AVATAR 2 & 3, DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES
Adam Kolbrenner – Manager/Producer at MADHOUSE ENTERTAINMENT
Ashley Edward Miller – X-MEN: FIRST CLASS, THOR
Barbara Morgan – Executive Director and Co-Founder of the Austin Film Festival, Producer
Pamela Ribon – Memoir "Notes to Boys (And Other Things I Shouldn’t Share in Public)," novelist, screenwriter, actor, and blogger
Edward Ricourt – A.K.A. JESSICA JONES, NOW YOU SEE ME
Terry Rossio – NATIONAL TREASURE: BOOK OF SECRETS, PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN TRILOGY & ON STRANGER TIDES
Amanda Silver – AVATAR 2 & 3, DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES
Robin Swicord – MEMOIRS OF A GEISHA, MATILDA

Monday, March 2, 2015

CBS Writers Mentoring Program now accepting submissions


The CBS Writers Mentoring Program is accepting submissions from March 2 - May 1, 2015. From its website:
The focus of this six month program is on opening doors: providing opportunities to build relationships with network executives and show runners; to support new and emerging writers in their efforts to improve their craft; and to develop the interpersonal skills necessary to break in and succeed. 
The Writers Mentoring Program is not employment and there is no monetary compensation. It is, instead, a structured program of career development, support, and personal access to executives and the decision-making processes, with the goal of preparing aspiring writers for later employment opportunities in television.
Each participant will be teamed with two different mentors. One is a CBS network or studio executive with whom they will meet on a regular basis, to discuss their work, get creative feedback on their material and get advice and support in furthering their career. The other is a show mentor who is a senior-level writer on a current CBS drama or comedy series. This relationship builds over the course of the Program and is focused on helping the participant with career goals. 
Once a week, participants will be invited to attend a small workshop-style meeting with various CBS show runners and other industry professionals. Speakers include executive producers, agents, managers, development and current executives and show runners. The purpose of these gatherings is for participants to gain a better understanding of how the business works from many different perspectives as well as creating the opportunity to make critical networking connections. 
Another important part of the Program is the opportunity for each participant to spend time observing in a writing room, as well as in the CBS current and development departments.
The Program is scheduled to begin in late September 2015 and continues through April 1, 2016. To apply, you must submit an application, letter of interest, work resume or bio, notarized submission release form and two writing samples (one spec script and one original pilot, stage play or short fiction story).

 Head over to the program's website to read more and apply.