I’d missed this piece from November by Jesse Lasky in which he describes his first experience pitching a TV show.
The second season of Downton Abbey debuts Sunday in the U.S. As I’ve discussed on the podcast, I couldn’t wait and bought it off the UK iTunes Store. I’ve already watched the whole second season and the Christmas episode.
So, for American audiences, here’s a non-spoilery preview of what I found notable about this season.
Comparing Archer’s actual script to my transcript-y approximation shows a little bit more about how Adam Reed’s show works.
Screenwriter and TV scribe Christine Boylan talks through her work habits and tools.
Procedural-plus shows are simply more difficult to pull off, both at the whiteboard stage and in the finished episode. Once you’ve established the stakes of the A-plot — a killer is on the loose! — any scene that doesn’t address that feels like filler. So writers need to find ways to weave character moments into plot scenes, which can be difficult.
John and Craig discuss the new fall shows and how little kids become screenwriters, with discussion of D&D, Malcolm Gladwell and daisy-wheel printers.
Peter Aspden remembers when TV wasn’t art, and certainly wasn’t something to talk about seriously. He argues that cable dramas — in particular, those on HBO — changed everything.
Merlin Mann’s Back to Work podcast has a great discussion with Rob Corddry this week, talking about Children’s Hospital.
Kevin Fallon points out that most reboots of classic series don’t stick around long. But that’s because most TV shows fail. That’s TV.
Pronunciation jokes have a tendency to feel cheap and hoary. But when they work, they work — and it’s easy enough to show them on the page.
The Tiny Protagonist has a good interview with Javier Grillo-Marxuach (a writer/producer on LOST and many other shows), talking about how he got started and the craft of television.
I’m reading more network pilot scripts this year than in years past, so I can’t say whether this is a new trend or just something I was unaware of: What’s with all the swearing?
Today’s First Person comes from Daniel Thomsen, a television writer who’s worked on staff at Terminator: The Sarah Conner Chronicles and Melrose Place.
Several readers questioned my advice to write a TV spec, even if feature screenwriting is your primary goal.
A writing team is getting good response to their first script — but it’s their only script.
Jay Faerber is trying to transition from writing comics to writing TV, and is doing so with the help of the Warner Bros TV Writers Workshop.
Mary McNamara has an article in the LA Times about married TV showrunners.
Roddenberry’s 1964 outline is the same kind of write-up TV writers use today.
If you’re writing the pilot episode of a TV series, you have a choice to make: will this episode be more-or-less typical for the series, or will it be The Beginning?
Three quick answers on writing camera angles, formatting TV scripts and choosing a pen name.
Really, wireless radio devices don’t need to be touched to work.
Writers are making less money, and it’s part of a bigger shift in the industry.
The Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal on the Cablevision case, allowing the Second Circuit Court’s decision to stand. Cablevision can begin introducing its service.
Any sort of application, whether it’s for a grant, for college or for a job, needs to do exactly three things.
Jonny Sommers has a job many readers want — or at least, think they want: the assistant to a successful and busy TV showrunner.