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Archive for March 22nd, 2009

Writing for Television

If you want to write for television, identify the kinds of shows you want to write. Find out who the producers are – their names/logos usually come at the end of the show. Find out their numbers from the directory/Internet/Just  Dial services and call them up.

Ask for the creative director on the show. It is better of you ask for him/her by name. Again, the creative director’s name appears in the opening credits roll. Don’t be afraid of rejection. You may get some, but mostly, ‘writer’ is the magic word that will open doors. There is such a chronic shortage of good writers that chances are creative directors will drop everything and meet you.

If you don’t get to speak with a creative director after repeated attempts or they just ask you to send an email, don’t despair. Creative directors are very busy people. At any time they are looking at the story, screenplay and dialogues for a show, going to the sets for the shoot, looking after other creative (art, styling) and technical aspects of the show, juggling various talents, managing the channels and so on. Creative directors’ job is never done. They work 24X7X365.

So respect that and send an email. Eventually you’ll meet them. And when you do, make sure that you are worth their time. Don’t make them feel they’ve wasted their time in meeting you. They don’t have the time or the inclination to teach you basics of screenplay writing, so make sure you know your stuff. It is better if you have a sample of your writing with you.

That’s it. If you’re any good, you’re on. Initially they will try and extract work from you for free – work for shows under development, pilots, rewrites etc. Write all that. Pretty soon you’ll be able to work your way into the paid writer category. And when you do, it’ll all have been worth it. Money in TV is good and it is on time.

Remember another thing. Write fast. Time is of paramount importance in TV and none of your usual – I couldn’t think of anything, I need more time, will work. If you can turn in a script fast, you’ll score over a writer who may be more creative.

And now I’ve got to go. My creative director just called, ranting about how her writers (including yours truly) are giving her a hard time and how she is desperate for new ones. She’s so desperate, she’s asking me to recommend competition!

 

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