sitcom pilot workshop

I’m running another sitcom pilot workshop, and it starts on Sunday 12/6. Pitch your loglines, flesh out your characters, and build the story engine of your show. The goal is to have a finished outline, but in the last class, several of my students finished full drafts of their script.

For more info:

notes from the Austin Film Festival 2015


I had another wonderful time at the Austin Film Festival. It was 4 days full of panels, roundtables, parties, meeting other writers, hanging out at the bar at the Driskill hotel, and lots of beer and brisket. It would take me too long to write a detailed post about Austin, so here are some bullet points:

Shane Black, writer of Lethal Weapon
It’s all about the material. That’s the most important thing.
Don’t chase the marketplace. By the time you write what’s currently hot, gets sold, and goes into production, people will already be on to the next thing.

Michael Arndt, writer of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Toy Story 3, Little Miss Sunshine
Internal conflicts and obstacles alone aren’t enough. The plot is there to force the character to take action and address their issues.

Adam Kolbrenner, manager, co-founder of Madhouse Entertainment
I asked when he’s considering potential clients, if he’d be more interested in someone who was a just writer, or someone who did multiple things like write TV, write features, direct short films, etc. He said he’d be less interested in someone who did multiple things. “Pick a lane.” Focus on one thing and be good at it. Don’t try to do everything.

Jarrod Murray, manager at Epicenter
Don’t send multiple loglines when querying. Pick one.
For your writing to stand out, make the reader care about the characters.
Keep writing. Generate new material.

Continue reading notes from the Austin Film Festival 2015

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 11/12/15)


  • 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, and sent rejection emails.
  • 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
    Started making calls. Phone interviews next week.


  • 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.

Continue reading interview: anonymous reader of writing program

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 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!

Continue reading interview: Meghan Pleticha, writers’ assistant Silicon Valley

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:

Continue reading my new pilot