writers on the verge is officially 12 weeks long, but the writing workshop part is 10 weeks, just like jen grisanti’s 10 week telesminar class. it was our first class after the holiday break, and the last class we got in depth notes on our scripts.
at the very end of 2012, i started a full time job doing design, and although i was grateful to have money coming in, it was really hard to make time to write. luckily, i wasn’t working for most of the program and i got this job at the very end. several of the other writers also weren’t working during the program, but a few had full time jobs the whole time and managed to get their work in every week, and their material was always solid. i don’t know how they did it, but it was impressive.
so i got more notes on my pilot.
the big notes were:
- raise the stakes. add personal stakes for the main character.
- set up how the main character’s accomplishment affects the other characters.
- stronger ending with the main character’s arc.
we had a table read for 3 of the drama writers, 2 pilots and 1 spec. it was really fun to hear the scripts out loud! karen, julie ann, and jen gave their final notes. i was a bit nervous for my table read coming up. my pilot just isn’t at a good place yet.
we had another table read with 1 drama and all 4 comedies. all the scripts were great. unfortunately, i wasn’t happy with how my table read went. my pilot was not in good shape. i usually do jokes last, but i’m still trying to get the story to flow properly, so i definitely don’t have enough jokes.
i have a lot of work to do. i wonder if should have done a table read of my happy endings spec instead. i like how that script came out, but maybe it was good to hear my pilot out loud so i know which parts need the most work.
dan o’ shannon from Modern Family came in to chat with us! he told us some great stories of when he first decided to be funny, of some of the differences between single cam and multi cam, writing specs, and realizing how the audience perceived him when he did stand up. he wrote a book on comedy, called What Are You Laughing At? (it’s not a how to book). he said was he thinks you need 4 things to be a writer. i’m paraphrasing, but it was something like: writing ability, obviously. ambition, to make the sacrifices to pursue what you want, people skills, like the ability to read a room, and a little luck.
after dan left, jen wanted us to all go around and say nice things about each other. she thought writers always get critiques and she wanted to end the program with positive thoughts. that was pretty easy for me to do because everyone was so talented and generous.
even though that was our last class, writers on the verge isn’t over. we have a little bit of time to polish our scripts before we hand in our final drafts, which i definitely need, and there are 2 mixers scheduled: a cross program mixer with writers in the wb, cbs, abc, and fox programs, and a wotv mixer with NBC execs, agents, and managers.