Holy moley.

Today is the nine-year anniversary of TV Calling!

Yes, that’s right. Over 3,285 days of television writing content.

So far, 2017 is on pace to be the most-viewed year on record, with an average 400 visitors a day for the main site and 635 a day including our script library.
In other words, an average of 18,000 visitors a month! If you’re keeping track, that’s what our record month was only last year. Incredible.

So THANK YOU as always for being awesome participants in this growing community.

Now let’s reminisce. What has been happening since last year’s celebrations?

For one thing, I’ve been busy with the Paper Team podcast, the bestest weekly podcast about television writing.

If you haven’t subscribed yet… What are you waiting for?

iTunes: http://paperteam.co/itunes
Android apps: http://paperteam.co/android
Google Play: http://paperteam.co/googleplay
Stitcher: http://paperteam.co/stitcher

If you’re subscribed and enjoy the show, I dare you to leave us a review right now on iTunes! It takes a minute to do and helps us grow the comunity.

We’re in the middle of recording our fiftieth episode of the show, so stay tuned for more awesomeness.

TV Calling is also on the brink of breaking seven hundred posts. Only 11 to go as of this one…

Some of the most popular posts written over the past year included:

– I found a now-gone post by Jane Espenson discussing how Joss Whedon and the Buffy writers’ room broke their episodes. Truly a must-read.
– We flew very close to a writers’ strike and my 2017 WGA strike vote primer proved useful to people for a TL;DR on the situation.
– A reader asked whether to finish writing a pilot similar to an existing show, or transforming it into a spec script. I broke down the answer.
– Another reader wondered how to approach writing TV specs for adapted series. I talked about whether or not you should use the source material as inspiration.

But the most popular new posts, unsurprisingly, were the 2017 TV spec list for drama and TV spec list for comedy.

And like last time, if you’re writing specs or thinking about writing specs, I recommend checking out my awesome (free) Spec Script test.
It’s a PDF with several key questions (and explanations) to make sure the TV show you’re picking to spec is the right one for you.

What a ride.

Here’s to our final single-digit year — and many more posts to come!

Time for year ten.

Alex and Nick discuss why scene descriptions in TV scripts are so important, what to focus on in your TV prose, and treading the line between writing a script as a technical document versus a reading experience.

What makes good or bad prose? What are some examples of compelling scene descriptions? Should prose be efficient or florid? How do you convey textual information? When should you “direct” in a TV script?

Plus, a quick review of Shonda Rhimes’ TV writing masterclass.

The Paper Team illustrates their thoughts…

SHOWNOTES

Content

Announcements (00:49)
Odds-and-ends: Shonda Rhimes’ TV writing masterclass (02:23)
1 – What is screenwriting prose and why is it important (07:50)
2 – Why scene descriptions need to be efficient (09:33)
3 – Script: technical document or reading experience? (17:53)
4 – Describing versus telling (22:51)
5 – The screenwriter’s voice (27:39)
Takeaways and Resources (30:15)

Links

Shonda Rhimes’ TV writing masterclass
Six Feet Under
Alien script by Walter Hill and David Giler
David Foster Wallace
Shane Black
American Gods (TV Series)
Courier Prime
“Two for the Road” (2×20 – Lost)
“Exposition in TV Writing” (PT24)
Sherlock (TV Series)
“Sherlock: How To Film Thought” (Video)
“A Brief Look at Texting and the Internet in Film” (Video)
Fringe chyrons

Resources

Hemingway Editor
Thesaurus.com
“The Synonym Finder” – J. I. Rodale

This episode brought to you by Tracking Board’s Launch Pad Writing Competitions

Use code PAPERTEAM to get $15 OFF when you enter a Launch Pad Competition

Special thanks to Alex Switzky for helping us edit this episode.

If you enjoyed this episode (and others), please consider leaving us an iTunes review at paperteam.co/itunes! :)

You can find Paper Team on Twitter:
Alex@TVCalling
Nick@_njwatson
If you have any questions, comments or feedback, you can e-mail us: ask@paperteam.co

Alex and Nick invite writer/producer Hilliard Guess for an in-depth discussion about his experience in the industry, working as a writer, and his involvement in the WGA and his Screenwriter’s Rant Room podcast.

How do you build a writing career without the traditional assistant or fellowship route? What are key differences in being a producer or writer, and juggling both roles? What are aspects of the WGA people should know more about? How do you overcome adversity and get things done? What are ways of putting yourself out there and opening doors?

The Paper Team goes rogue…

NOTE: We had a bit of noise on the line, and my upstairs neighbors decided to join in on the fun towards the end of the recording. We tried to fix most of the issue, but be aware there may be some residual audio.

SHOWNOTES

Content

Starting out, becoming a writer, getting writing jobs, being a producer, curating your work environment, being involved in the WGA, dealing with adversity, and the competition (00:01:22)
Resources and Next Week On (01:10:22)

Links

Hilliard Guess on Twitter
The Screenwriter’s Rant Room on iTunes
The Screenwriter’s Rant Room on Twitter
Hilldog Productions
Palo Alto (California)
Dangerous Minds
John Truby
Robert McKee
Jack Epps Jr.
Karl Iglesias
Z Nation
28 Days Later
World War Z (Film)
Two and a Half Men
Jaws
Million Dollar Listings
Million Dollar Listing New York
Fredrik Eklund
The Lot Studios
go90
WGA’s LGBT Writers Committee
WGA’s Committee of Black Writers
Lena Waithe
Michelle Amor
Dr. Phil (TV Series)
Dope
Straight Outta Compton (Film)
Wonder Woman (Film)
A Few Good Men
Precious (Film)
Mo’Nique
3rd & Fairfax WGAW Podcast
Lisa Bolekaja
Organization of Black Screenwriters
Kramer vs. Kramer
Jay Mohr
Mark Valley
Lynelle White
Army Wives
“Writing Action and Dialogue (126)” – The Screenwriter’s Rant Room

Resources

Pilar Alessandra’s On the Page
“Coffee Break Screenwriter” – Pilar Alessandra
Jen Grisanti
“The Sequence Approach” – Paul Gulino

This episode brought to you by Tracking Board’s Launch Pad Writing Competitions

Use code PAPERTEAM to get $15 OFF when you enter a Launch Pad Competition

Special thanks to Alex Switzky for helping us edit this episode.

If you enjoyed this episode (and others), please consider leaving us an iTunes review at paperteam.co/itunes! :)

You can find Paper Team on Twitter:
Alex@TVCalling
Nick@_njwatson
If you have any questions, comments or feedback, you can e-mail us: ask@paperteam.co

We launched Paper Team a little bit over ten months ago, and after 46 episodes, we’ve once again hit a new milestone:

Over 30,000 downloads!

Let’s repeat that in all caps.

THIRTY THOUSAND DOWNLOADS!

As always: THANK YOU listeners and fellow TV Calling aficionados for the love.

We’re in the process of recording a very special episode to celebrate our one-year/50th episode anniversary.
In the meantime, we’re still releasing new episodes every Monday. Tune in for that!

If you’re a fan of Paper Team, please consider leaving us a review on iTunes right now to celebrate!
http://paperteam.co/itunes

For any questions/topics you’d like us to cover, don’t hesitate to e-mail us at ask@paperteam.co

And, of course, you can subscribe to Paper Team on all major podcast platforms…

Hi there!

Alex Freedman

I'm Alex Freedman, the writer behind TV Calling.


I started this site in 2008 to chronicle my own journey in television writing.

689 posts and 9 years later, TV Calling has also become a comprehensive resource dedicated to the full TV writing industry — from spec to success.


Everything here is written by yours truly (unless otherwise credited), so feel free to blame me for any missed deadlines.


I hope you'll answer your television calling, and join me in this creative journey.


Write on.


P.S.: New around? You should start here.

What’s Alex Watching?

The Good FightThe LeftoversThe Chris Gethard ShowMaster of NoneLegion
TV Calling

TV Calling