You guys, it finally happened. I got an agent!

I’m repped by Kaplan Stahler! I don’t want to go into detail, but it involves a meeting at ICM last August, leaving a day job, a stock trade on Apple quarterly earnings, and a certain reader of this blog. Seriously, it’s crazy how it happened, but luckily, I was ready and had my script ready when the opportunity came, and now I have an agent!

I have to thank all my writer friends who gave me notes on my pilot, my mentor Kourtney Kang, and Karin and everyone at CAAM.

Since I got signed earlier this month, I’ve been reading a bunch of pilots, and brainstorming ideas for new pilots to write. Hopefully I’ll get meetings, go out for staffing season, and get a job writing on a show!

writing recap of 2014, goals for 2015

Oh my god, I haven’t posted in so long! A lot has happened, so let me try to catch up.

At the midpoint of the year, the end of June 2014, I was feeling pretty good about things. I was in the CAAM Fellowship, and I was so fortunate to get an amazing mentor in Kourtney Kang. My day job was stable, and I was working on a new pilot.

I’ve continued to teach writing online. I love it!  I got to meet so many wonderful, talented people. Several of them did very well with their scripts, including placing in Scriptapalooza, the Austin Film Festival, and the CBS Writers Mentoring Program.

In August, I had a meeting with some agents at ICM. They had read my pilot, and they were nice to enough to chat with me. It was just an introductory meeting, but they said they liked my writing, and would read the next thing I wrote. They said these days, you need multiple pilots. One sample isn’t good enough. I pitched them the pilot I was working on, and they seemed to like the concept. I asked when would be a good time to send them something by. They said Dec, or Jan at the latest.

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sitcom spec workshop

I’m going to run another sitcom spec workshop, starting early next year on Sunday 1/4/15. The workshop runs 8 weeks, and I want people to be able to finish a new spec for the Nickelodeon deadline at the end of Feb.

Past students have placed in the CBS Writers Mentorship, Scriptapalooza, and the Austin Film Fest.

More info and registration here:

2014 writing program notifications

*updated 10/07/14

Here’s my annual writing program post. If you hear of any updates, please let me know. Good luck, everyone!


  • Nickelodeon
    Finalists have been announced on their Facebook page.
  • WB
    The writers have been announced on their Facebook page.
  • CBS
    I think the writers were chosen. I know of at least one writing duo who got in! Also, one of my students from my workshop, and a writer I worked with 1 on 1 both made semifinalist in CBS! Congrats to both of them!
  • NBC
    My friend Stephanie from my writers’ group got in the program! Here’s the list of the writers who made it in:
  • ABC/Disney
    They said on their Facebook page they’re hoping to contact semifinalists before Thanksgiving.
  • Sundance Episodic Story Lab
    10 fellows were chosen in the inaugural program. A huge congrats to my friend Nick for getting in!


  • Austin
    Congratulations to 6 of my students who made it to the 2nd round with the specs they wrote in my workshop (Jay, Amanda, April, Shannon, Lak, and Jack), plus 3 more (Prashant, Paul, and Bernard) who made it with scripts they wrote after my workshop! The full list of Second Rounders and Semifinalists is on their site.
  • Scriptapalooza
    Congrats to my students April (finalist) and David (semifinalist) for placing in Scriptapalooza with their specs!
  • Slamdance
    Quarterfinalists have been announced on their site. Congrats to my friends Boey and Erika for placing with their pilot!

interview: Raf Esparza, NBC Late Night Writers Workshop

I met Raf back when I was a fellow in the Nick program. He had taken a meeting with Karen Kirkland, and she introduced us. When I heard that NBC was starting a Late Night Writers Workshop, I thought Raf would be great for the program, and it was no surprise to me when he got in.


Congrats on having been chosen for the inaugural Late Night Writers Workshop! You seemed like the perfect candidate because you’ve been doing this for a while: you worked on the Tonight Show as a coordinator, submitted jokes, and you perform a late night talk show at Flappers Comedy Club. How did all that help you write the material you submitted?

Hey Kiyong, thank you so much for the nice words (please do not cash the check I gave you to say said nice things, it won’t clear until the end of the month).

For me, the Late Night Writers Workshop was the cumulation of all the little things I’ve tried to do for the past five years—including my time at The Tonight Show and the creation of my own late night talk show Early Late Night.

At The Tonight Show I learned the discipline needed for a successful writing schedule and the ability to persevere through constant rejection.

Writing monologue jokes is a pretty thankless job (even when you do get paid). You spend hours of your time researching, sifting through news articles trying to find the best takes on the day’s headlines. The minute my shift would end, I’d sit at my computer and force myself to write for at least another hour. After a full day of work, I’d be tired as hell—but sticking to that routine was something that I knew would one day pay off.

I didn’t get a ton of jokes on at the very beginning and would often get discouraged—until one day one of the most prolific writers at the show (an awesome writer named Jon Macks) shared the following statistic: for every 100 jokes you write, 1 will get on air.

Now just take a moment to really think about that number. 1. For Every 100.

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interview: MysteryTVWritersAsst

I follow @MysteryTVWrtrAs on Twitter. Apparently we’ve met before, but I have no idea who it is, and I know nothing about this person’s gender/ethnicity/age. I’m not even sure whether this person works in comedy or drama. We got chatting one night on Twitter, and I asked to do an interview. This person’s anonymity allowed for some candid answers about being a writers’ assistant.

What’s a typical day like as a writers’ assistant?

Every day is different. But a typical day is keeping your ass in the seat and taking notes. All the other writers get up to pee, you stay in your seat. Have an important call/text, redirect it to your laptop. I now have carpal tunnel due to many hours over many months with an indecisive Showrunner. It sucks, but it’s the path I chose.

How should someone go about trying to get a job as writers’ assistant?

My story: I was a PA on a show (how did I get that?…there was a listing for a PA gig on the studio website). While the other PA’s would take the long runs for the mileage reimbursement, I would get to know the writers by doing the short runs.  Eventually the writers’ assistant was let go, and they needed someone ASAP…ME!!

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