TVWriter™ Newsletter – January 2014

You would’ve gotten this yesterday if you were on the TVWriter™ email list:

Look! It’s Alan Brady! We mean Rob Reiner! Um, no, Carl Reiner! Well, he’s a writer playing a writer on TV. Whatever.

TVWriter™ Newsletter – January 2014


How’s 2014 working for you so far?

For me, things are looking good. I’m healthy, fit, and ready for action. All systems are go.

For television, things are going well also. BREAKING BAD may be off the air first-run, but the ever-changing – and so far improving – TV biz paradigm assures that you and I and our children and our children’s children will be able to watch it again, or for the first time, or just plain over and over. And that, as some guy who never wrote TV but probably would’ve wanted to, “is a consumation devoutly to be wished.” It’s also something that never would have been done back in the BIW – Before the Interwebs – era.

TVWriter™ is also doing well, thank you for asking. Our daily/weekly/monthly viewership is growing by the proverbial leaps and bounds. Just ask our hosting company, which keeps sending us “Over Bandwidth” and “Time to Upgrade Your Server” notices. More people than ever before are coming to the site for all the newsinfo, and writing tips, you just can’t get anywhere else.

Well, okay, some of them, maybe. But not the way we present ’em, you know? (Yeah, I’m talking about you, munchman. Attitude is everything in showbiz. Just ask Justin Bieber.)

No, wait! Don’t ask Justin Bieber. Come to TVWriter™ and ask us whatever you need to know about getting started – and staying ahead – in the realm of TV and film writing. Your dreams are our dreams, and we’ll do all we can to help you make them come true.

This is going to be your year.




As of January 1, 2014, the 23rd People’s Pilot Competition has been up and running at the usualstand.

Until March 1st, it’s Early Bird Entry time, meaning that we’ve slashed the price by 30%, down to $35. We think this is a great bargain. Especially since you don’t have to actually submit your entry(s) until May 31st, giving you loads of time to perfect it (them).

Past Winners, Finalists, or Semi-Finalists of TVWriter™’s two contests are or have most recently been on the staffs of CHICAGO FIRE, PERSON OF INTEREST, THE WALKING DEAD, RIZZOLI AND ISLES, GREY’S ANATOMY, NTSF:SD:SUV, ANIMAL PRACTICE, ROME, NBC’s new CHICAGO PD, ABC’s new KILLER WOMEN, and HBO’s new THE LEFTOVERS.

This year, the People’s Pilot is giving over $5000 worth of prizes, plus free Feedback for each entry. Some of the other specifics of the contest have changed, however. The best way to learn what they are is to click on over to our People’s Pilot page HERE.

And while we’re at it, here’s the closest thing to a cheat sheet we can offer. The prize-winning scripts, posted for your edification, HERE

What’s that? You want to enter the Spec Scriptacular? That can be arranged, but not just yet. We’re staggering the contests, which means that the Spec Scriptacular will open July 1st. Get the details HERE.

Or just go to TVWriter™ and scroll down the right hand index to the contest of your choice.


The next TVWriter™ Advanced Online Workshop starts Wednesday, February 12, 2014 and considering how quickly it fills up, there’s no better time to sign up than right now.

This is the workshop for writers who already know the basics and have a specific project to workshop with LB. The Advanced Workshop is limited to 5 students, so if you’re interested in getting in on the fun, you really should have a look-see at the Advanced Workshop info and sign-up form

Larry Brody’s next Master Class will begin Thursday, February 8, 2014.

The Master Class is the online workshop for professional level writers who want to spend an intense month perfecting your current work. That means you have a draft of 60 pages ready to be read and tweaked. Or revised, or, who knows, maybe thrown away, but we don’t want to scare ya. Let LB himself analyze your story, plot, and characterization just as he would if he were producing your masterpiece.

LB accepts a maximum of only 3 students at a time in this one so if you’re interested you definitely need to get more info and reserve your place ASAP.

Or find out more about everything TVWriter University is currently offering HERE.


Television & Story

by LB

The key to writing for television is to remember that it is primarily a storytelling medium. All other considerations are secondary.

No one in TV is crazy enough to say that character and dialog don’t matter, but the truth is they don’t matter AS MUCH as story. Writing teachers can say all they want about character-driven screenplays and teleplays, but for all practical purposes all television scripts are story-driven. Characters are created to service the story, not vice versa.

The primary purpose of a television episode is to keep the viewer tuned in for the next commercial, or in the case of HBO and Showtime, to make the viewer want to cough up next month’s fee, so swift pacing, designed to capture and keep the viewer’s attention, is essential.

The TV writer’s job is to pack as much story as possible into the hour drama or action show. In 55 pages and 46 minutes the average television episode will have 25-30 scenes. That means that scenes have to be short and punchy. Most series, in fact, simply won’t allow any scene to run longer than 2 ½ pages.

This doesn’t mean, however, that you can write those short, moody, “beach-walking” or “staring at the sunset” scenes that feature films do so well. Those are character moments, not story scenes. Besides, television’s limited budget means there’s no time or money for lots of quick moments. It’s go! go! go! Build a scene and move on, build another and move on again.

This may sound stifling, but look at it this way – THE ILIAD and THE ODYSSEY have endured just about forever because of their action-packed stories. And we love and relate to Odysseus BECAUSE of how he rises to the challenges the stories provide. With a little work maybe your next television script can also live forever.

That’s it for now. Our work here is done. (Now it’s up to you.)

Team TVWriter™

Larry Brody – Head Dood
munchman – Keeper of the Faith
Various Volunteers – Mucho Appreciated Scapegoats
Gwen Brody – Beautiful Dreamer

Be sure to check out TVWriter™ for all the latest news, products, and a wealth of info on screen and TV writing!