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Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Q. I wrote a spec of The Office and applied to different fellowships. Luckily, I made it as a semi finalist for the Nickelodeon Fellowship, and of course I'm hoping I get picked in the next few weeks.

Let's say I'm lucky enough to get my foot in the door at one of these programs. What writing samples should I work on next? Should I be writing more TV spec scripts? Should I be working on a pilot? Or a feature? Or should I be working on a web series?
"What do I write next?" is something I struggle with whenever I don't have a paid gig on my plate. For a straight TV writer, the answer is easy: another spec. Either a spec script or a spec pilot.

If you're into a TV fellowship, your problem is solved. The point of the fellowships is to get you some mentorship to go with your writing.

I'm a TV and feature writer, so, "What should I write next" is a conversation I'm often having with my agent. I try to diversify and spread my bets. So, for example, I just wrote a spec pilot. Before that I wrote up a pitch for a thriller feature. Before that I rewrote two spec features that producers have optioned, and cast a short film I hope to direct. Earlier in the summer, Lisa and I wrote a pilot for The N. In the middle there I've read various projects I'm "up for," which means doing the creative work of figuring out my "take."

I've never tried very hard to write a web series, because I don't know how you get paid for writing a web series. I don't even know anyone who's serious about producing one. But if you want to produce your own as a calling card, that might be a way to set yourself apart from the pack of TV writers who have spec scripts as good as yours.

I get very grumpy when I'm not writing, so I try to move to the next writing project ASAP. Which means I'll be pondering this very question shortly.



While I wait for my screenplay to sell, I'm writing a book of short stories about the San Fernando Valley, where the smog settles in like cheap hairspray and you can fry an egg on the streets during the summer.

By Blogger Paul Solomon, at 12:51 AM  

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