Troy DeVolld on the TV Writing Waiting Game

TVWriter™ pal Troy DeVolld returns to TVWriter™ today to remind all of us in the Hollywood writing biz  about one of the game’s most overlooked aspects.

Know how our teachers kept nagging us about getting our work done on time? Well, guess what? There are more than just a few people who haven’t listened.

Is “Waiting for Godot” really a showbiz metaphor?

by Troy DeVolld

[New TV writers] who follow me here: Please understand the speed of show business, which is seldom covered in film school.

Nothing breaks or budges an inch for days, months, even years… but when it does, everything is a three-alarm, git-r-done emergency with nary a minute to spare. That is, unless the person at the top suddenly decides to go to Cabo for a wedding and can’t find time to review and note the stuff you pulled a week of all-nighters to deliver.

This isn’t meant to be funny, but practical advice. If that kind of stuff bothers you, get over it.

Start dates on projects can also be ultra-fluid. I’ve often been told that a project starts the next day, and just as often that they expect to move forward within two or three months, depending on cast availability or some other pending element of business. Sometimes, the project evaporates during the inbetweenwhile. Sometimes, a 24-week gig goes up in smoke in week six.


You’ve got to learn to be patient and stay loose, while still creating your own ground rules… like not being scared to have a life during the time between gigs. Maria Bamford used to do a bit about wanting to go out of town for a week, wherein her agent chides, “Maria, I had a client who went out of town for a week once. Do you know what he does now? He drives a rickshaw.”

Troy DeVolld is a Larry Brody buddy, former senior story producer of Dancing with the Stars, and all-around true master of the reality TV genre. He knows whereof he speaks,  which is why we heartily recommend his bestselling book, Reality TV: An Insider’s Guide to TV’s Hottest Market