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Alex and Nick discuss nonlinear narrative in television writing, from flashbacks to flashforwards.

What are effective uses of nonlinear storytelling? When should you work with flashbacks, flasforwards or parallel storylines? What are dos and donts of nonlinear narratives? Are there drawbacks of out-of-order storytelling?

Plus, we talk The Mick case and Amazon’s Lord of the Rings.

The Paper Team flashes around…

SHOWNOTES

Content

Paper Scraps: The Mick and Amazon’s LOTR (00:52)
1 – Brief history of nonlinear storytelling in TV and when to use it (04:52)
2 – Examples of effective TV nonlinear narratives (13:16)
3 – Dos-and-dont’s of nonlinear (31:39)
4 – Drawbacks of nonlinear (35:23)
Takeaways and Resources (40:43)

Links

“Protecting and Over-Protecting Your TV Script: Copyright, Ownership and Idea Theft” (PT23)
Wikipedia’s list of nonlinear narrative television series
Primer
FlashForward (TV Show)
“Time’s Arrow” (4×11 – BoJack Horseman)
“Thanksgiving” (2×08 – Master of None)
“The Visitor” (4×03 – Star Trek: Deep Space Nine)
“Get Me a Lawyer” (1×01 – Damages)
River Song (Doctor Who)

Resources

“Slaughterhouse-Five” – Kurt Vonnegut
“Nonlinear Storytelling” – Game Design Concepts
“The 21st Century Screenplay” – Linda Aronson

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: [email protected]

Alex and Nick invite Jorge Gonzalez, from the Tracking Board and Launch Pad Writing Competitions, to discuss what makes a contest-winning script.

How does the selection process of a TV writing competition work? What do readers look for when evaluating scripts and pilots? What separates top-tier screenplays from all others? What should writers watch out for before submitting their scripts?

The Paper Team strikes gold…

SHOWNOTES

Content

Getting involved with Tracking Board, the Launch Pad Competitions, selection process, what readers look for, finding top-tier scripts, common mistakes and faux pas, overdone tropes and cliches, what happens after the win, maximizing the opportunities, and notable success stories (00:54)
Resources and Next Week On (28:53)

Links

Launch Pad Writing Competitions
“The Mailroom” – David Rensin
Taylor Sheridan
“TV Writing Competition Winners: What Happens Next?” (PT55)
Kate Trefry
T.A. Snyder
Eric Koenig
Industry Standard w/ Barry Katz
Big Mouth

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: [email protected]

Alex and Nick discuss macro storytelling in TV writing, from season-long narrative arcs to character development.

Why is it important to have character arcs across seasons? When should you write serialized narratives? How far in advance should you plot things out? Do you need to know everything before writing a pilot? What are unique TV examples of macro storytelling?

Plus, we talk about what “signing with an agent or manager” literally means.

The Paper Team sets things up…

SHOWNOTES

Content

Paper Scraps: Reviews and rep signing (00:53)
1 – Season and story arcs in TV (05:00)
2 – Story arcs in your writing: what to watch out for (16:16)
3 – Character arcs (24:59)
4 – Keeping the macro story relevant to the micro scale (36:32)
5 – Reinventing the show (40:08)
6 – Self-contained versus serialization (50:12)
Takeaways and Resources (54:34)

Links

“Daredevil Showrunners on How Punisher and Elektra Shake Up Season 2” – Collider
“Why New TV Comedies Are Choosing Plot Over Jokes” – The New York Times
“Lay Down Your Burdens” (2×19/20 – Battlestar Galactica)
“Final Five” Cylons
“Nerve” (1×19 – Farscape)
“Chain of Command” (6×10/11 – Star Trek: The Next Generation)
“6 Screenwriting Lessons from Parks and Recreation” – TV Calling
“Hitting the Fan” (5×05 – The Good Wife)
“Dance Dance Resolution” (2×02 – The Good Place)
“One Last Ride” (7×12/13 – Parks and Recreation)
“Serialized Television Has Become a Disease” – io9

Resources

Michael Schur 2011 interview on The A.V. Club

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: [email protected]

Alex and Nick invite Britta Lundin, story editor on The CW’s Riverdale and author of Ship It, to discuss everything you need to know about your first TV staff writing job and working on a popular show.

What is the process of getting staffed on a TV series? What is the experience of working in a writers’ room for the first time? How do you approach the “room etiquette”? From pitch to draft, and season to episode, what is the writing process like on Riverdale? How do you adapt your voice to that of a showrunner? How should you build on studio and network notes? What is a writer’s job on set and in post-production? How is writing a novel different than TV writing?

The Paper Team gets a script…

SHOWNOTES

Content

Getting staffed on Riverdale, expectations vs. reality of a TV writers’ room, adapting your voice, breaking the season and episodes, dealing with notes, writers’ room etiquette, being on set and in post, engaging with fandom, converting a screenplay into a novel and differences between the two forms (00:56)
Resources and Next Week On (57:57)

Links

Britta Lundin on Twitter
Riverdale on The CW (Wednesdays 8/7c)
Pre-order “Ship It” by Britta Lundin
Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa
“Chapter Ten: The Lost Weekend” (1×10 – Riverdale)
Jughead’s “I’m Weird” Speech Meme
“How To Practice “Safe” Shipping w/ The Riverdale Cast” (Video)

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: [email protected]

TV Writing For You

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.

720 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.

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