Q. What time of year do TV shows usually hire freelancers? Is it at the same time as staff writers, during staffing season, or is the cycle different? Or is there a cycle at all?
If a show is hiring free lancers, they might start having people come in and pitch, and assigning episodes, once they've got their writing room set up and the staffers know the template of the show. They'll bring in free lancers after that as they need free lance episodes. So, in terms of the regular season, that would probably be June-December -- bearing in mind that the season is less regular these days.
In Canada, people seem to be assigning fewer free lance scripts and keeping more for the staff, which is good for shows and for training up showrunners. In the States, you're required to assign a small number of free lance scripts.
These days, with less work to go around (thank you, reality shows; thank you, CRTC), a lot of free lance eps probably go to unemployed friends of the showrunner instead of to new writers.
Labels: staffing season