2015 Writing Program Notifications

I didn’t apply to any fellowships this year, but here’s my annual writing program post. If you hear of any updates, please let me know. Good luck, everyone!

(updated 10/1/15)


  • Nickelodeon
    The chosen writers have been announced on their Facebook page.
  • WB
    I hear the final writers have been selected!
  • CBS
    They started making calls.
  • NBC
    The writers have been chosen! Check their Facebook page.
  • Sundance Episodic Story Lab
    Writers have been selected.
  • NHMC
    Started sending rejection letters.
  • ABC/Disney


  • Austin
    Semifinal calls were made over the weekend. Here’s the list of semifinalists and 2nd rounders. Congrats to my 4 students who made 2nd round with the specs they wrote in my workshop!
  • Scriptapalooza
    Winners listed here.
  • Slamdance
    Rejection emails were sent.
  • Final Draft Big Break
    Quarterfinalists announced on their site.
  • Nicholl Fellowship
    Finalists have been announced on their site.
  • Launch Pad Pilot Competition
    Semi-finalists have been announced on their site. Congrats to my friend and writing group member Cynthia for placing!
  • Creative World Awards
    Finalists have been announced on their site. Congrats to my student Jack for placing as a semifinalist with his Brooklyn Nine Nine spec!
    Semi-finalists for the Lifetime Writers Project have been selected.

interview: anonymous reader of writing program

It’s almost that time of year when contests and fellowships start contacting people who made it to the next round. I did an interview with a reader from one of the network writing programs to find out about what they’re looking for.

When you’re given the scripts, are they anonymous? Do you as a reader look at any of the other submission info like the bio and stuff?

When your script is in the initial round, readers won’t take any personal info into account. We’re really just reading the script and looking to see if the writer has a clear understanding of the basics of storytelling, a strong voice, and (in the case of spec scripts) familiarity with the show.

What did the fellowship people tell you to look for when reading? How did they tell you to judge the scripts? What’s the process to make it to the next round?

I wish I could sugar-coat it, but the entire process is mostly subjective.  If you wrote a drama, did you surprise me and keep me wanting more?  If you wrote a comedy, did you make me laugh? Keep in mind, what I may find appealing may be a total turn-off to the next reader (and sometimes is… haha).  Yet despite this fact, there are definitely guidelines.  You must follow the format of the show you’re speccing.  I can’t tell you how many people submitted specs that were too long or too short or didn’t follow the same structure (e.g. failing to include the right number of act breaks) or didn’t feature any of the main characters.  In order to make it to the next round, you have to get the basics down and still write something entertaining and unique. That’s all.  Unfortunately, not many people who apply can do this.

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sitcom spec workshop!

I’m going to run another sitcom spec workshop, starting on Sunday 8/30/15, at 11am PST. 8 students max. This will be the last spec workshop I run in 2015. The next one will be in early 2016.

One of my students just placed as a Finalist in the Creative World Awards with the spec he wrote in my workshop! Past students have placed in the Disney/ABC Writing Program, CBS Writers Mentorship, Scriptapalooza, and the Austin Film Fest.

More info and registration here: http://www.kiyongkim.com/writing/workshop

mid year creative review 2015

The year is already half over! Here were my goals at the start of the year.

1. Get an agent.
YES! Finally.

2. Get staffed on a show.
NOT YET. I had several general meetings, but no showrunner meetings. I’ll have to try again next year, but who knows. Maybe something midseason? Or cable?

3. Write 2 pilots.
1 OF 2. My last pilot was a family sitcom, so I wanted to write a workplace comedy to round out my portfolio. I just finished last week, and my agent has already started sending it out. For my next pilot, I’m thinking of writing a multicam, since I don’t have one in my portfolio.

4. Work on some other creative project: either a feature, a web series, or an animated pitch.
NOT YET. Not sure if I’ll get to one of these projects, but I have some ideas floating around.

It’s been a good, productive first half of the year. Looking forward to the second half.

interview: Meghan Pleticha, writers’ assistant Silicon Valley

I met Meghan at a mixer, and then we ended up in the same writers group for a couple years!  Alex already did a great interview with her on his blog, so definitely check that out. I had some questions about her time on Married and Silicon Valley. She’s also making a web series, and I had some questions about that process since I’ve been thinking about making one for a while now. I just donated to her Kickstarter at www.weremakingapodcast.com. There’s only a couple days left, so check it out. One of the perks involves a nude bodysuit. You can follow her on Twitter @MeghanPleticha.
How different were the writers’ rooms in Married and Silicon Valley? Were your responsibilities different?

I worked as both the Writers Assistant and Script Coordinator on both shows, so my responsibilities were the same, although Silicon Valley has more of everything – more clearances, more room notes, more serialized stories to track, etc. It’s all good, though. I’ve learned a lot in both rooms, and pretty much feel like a lucky asshole all the time.

Do you know how the writing staff of either show was put together? What made one writer get hired over another?

Literally no idea. If you find out please let me know so I can get staffed.

Has your writing process changed at all since you’ve become a writers’ assistant / script coordinator?
Not especially. My outlines have gotten more detailed (who knows though if that’s from seeing room outlines or just wanting to put off writing as long as possible), but the basic process is still the same. I’ve definitely benefited from watching writers far more experienced than myself work through story and jokes, and I’ve learned more how to write regardless of whether I’m in the right head space – work gets busy, write when you can!

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my new pilot

While I’m taking meetings and waiting to see what happens with staffing, I started writing a new pilot. The last pilot I wrote was a family sitcom, so I wanted to write a workplace comedy to round out my portfolio.

I came up with some loglines and sent them to my agent. I thought he’d hate the idea I wanted to do the most because it’s high concept, but he actually liked the idea!

Next I wrote up a 2 page concept sheet detailing the world and the characters of the show, which he also liked. Great, so I had the green light to move forward.

I want to finish my pilot around the end of June. Here’s my schedule to go from concept sheet to finished script:

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interview: Ty Freer, Final Draft Big Break Winner

I met Ty when we were in the same writing group, along with Beau and a few others. He’s placed in a bunch of stuff, and then he won Final Draft, which made me super happy. Follow Ty on Twitter @TyFreer, on Instagram @Ty.Freer or check out his truly terrible artwork at tyrribleart.tumblr.com.


What’s your writing background?

This is usually the most boring part. So I’ll spice it up by answering with Buzzfeed-like bullet points without the fun of an accompanying Buzzfeed-like gif!

  • Loved writing dumb, funny stories in English class. Remember one called “The Merce-Granny” about a grandmother/Irish mercenary. I am dumb.
  • Wrote movie reviews for high school paper. Gave “Phantom Menace” an A. Like I said, I am dumb.
  • Wrote David Letterman-themed valedictorian speech entitled “The Top Ten Things To Get From My Speech.”
  • Wrote for sports section for short time at Purdue during Kyle Orton era. We went 6-5 a lot.
  • Wrote for LA Weekly-style magazine in Champaign, IL while at U of Illinois. Favorite story was first-person account playing Belegarth with a field of super competitive uber-nerds.
  • Started copywriting after graduating from grad school. Projects include work for NBDL (the NBA’s minor league), Riot Games, and Cinedigm. Also weird stuff like a lawn treatment company and a chain of fitness centers I accidentally offended and never heard from again. I continue to copywrite.
  • Start writing TV specs while living in Austin. Wrote two terrible ones. Fear my computer’s hacking and their eventual public release.
  • 2011, move to LA to get into TV. Wife agrees, because she’s the best. Shortly thereafter, named a Finalist in the Nickelodeon TV Writing Fellowship. Don’t get in.
  • 2012, named a Semi-Finalist in the NBC Writers’ on the Verge program. Don’t get in.
  • 2014, again named a Semi-Finalist in the NBC Writers’ on the Verge program… and got in! Just kidding. Don’t get in. Strike three.
  • 2015, won Best Half Hour Pilot in the Final Draft Big Break contest. Confetti falls. Tears dramatically roll down cheek. “We Are The Champions” plays. FADE TO BLACK.

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