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TV Calling

Directing TV Comedy ft. Alethea Jones (Queen America/Wrecked) (PT118)

Alex and Nick invite Alethea Jones, director on Queen America, Wrecked and Gortimer Gibbon’s Life on Normal Street, to discuss what goes behind directing TV comedies and half-hour shows.

What is the role of a director in television? How can writers better convey action for directors? How does a director work with a TV writer on set? What are differences between directing children’s television and comedies? How do directors handle crossboarding? What are the responsibilities of being a producing director?

The Paper Team takes the shot…

PT118 Alethea Jones



Directing for TV comedies and dramas with Alethea Jones (00:43)
Final Advice, Resources and Next Week On (44:27)


Alethea Jones on Twitter
Queen America on Facebook
Gortimer Gibbon’s Life on Normal Street
Strictly Ballroom
Gretchen Enders
Charles Randolph
Babylon Berlin


Shot Designer

This episode brought to you by Script PipelineSubmit by March 1st to the 2019 Script Pipeline contest for a reduced entry fee

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:
If you have any questions, comments or feedback, you can e-mail us: [email protected]

Paper Team is now on Patreon

After three years and well over 100 episodes, Paper Team is now on Patreon!

As our podcast grows, it gets more expensive to maintain. Patreon allows our listeners (you!) to make ongoing contributions of a few dollars – in exchange for amazing rewards.

Our goal with Patreon is to not only allow our listeners to sponsor the show, but to offer exclusive content to Patrons as well.
When you become a patron, in addition to supporting our long-running podcast, you will get more content, more advice and become a part of our TV writing community:

Get More Content

Joining our Patreon gets you access to more of what you love about Paper Team – including our new monthly “Paper Patron” mini-episodes where we answer your personal industry questions and give additional TV writing tips.
Patrons will obtain an in-depth behind-the-scenes look at our upcoming “Paper Team Mentorship“, where we guide one of our listeners through the process of writing a new TV pilot.
Patrons also receive exclusive full-length bonus episodes plus detailed, practical “cheat sheets” of our most popular content.

We’re launching with THREE cheat sheets, which you can access right now if you sponsor us for only $5/month:
TV Pilot 101 📺
Bringing the TV Writers’ Room Process Home ✍️
Moving to L.A. (and things we wish we knew)

tv pilot 101 cheat sheet

Get More Advice

We’re dedicating a “Paper Tease” slot to our Patreon supporters – which means we guarantee that at least one of our Patrons gets feedback on their TV pilot during each session.
In addition to insight from us, you’ll also get the opportunity to have your questions answered directly from some of our guests.
If you’re a friend of the call, then you know our past guests have included TV writers/producers from shows like BoJack Horseman, Riverdale, Altered Carbon, Queen Sugar, Into the Badlands, Superstore, Harley Quinn, Animaniacs, DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, and many more!

Join Our Community

Becoming a Patron of Paper Team invites you to be part of our TV writing community. Our private, curated Facebook group is filled with fans and friends of Paper Team and TV Calling. We try to make this a real look into the world of Paper Team. We post about upcoming episodes, TV writing news, as well as opinion polls that influence upcoming topics/guests.
Patrons also get early access to tickets for our mixers and live events – which fill up quickly.

If you’re interested in improving your TV writing and your career, then we believe this Patreon and our podcast are for you. Each tier offers amazing value for only a few bucks a month – and this support means we can continue to produce high-quality content on a weekly basis without compromise.

Write on.

TV Formula 101: Building an Engine For Your Show (PT117)

Alex and Nick discuss why TV formulas still matter and how to build a successful TV engine for your pilot and show.

What is a TV engine? Why is a “formula” a necessary ingredient for a sustainable TV series? What are some ways serialized and character-based series use formulas to their advantage? How do you generate a sustainable and compelling engine for your show? How do you express that formula in a script?

Plus, we launch our Patreon page and are hosting a mixer to celebrate!

The Paper Team regenerates…



1 – Paper Team is now on Patreon! You can support us starting as little as $2/month and get exclusive TV writing advice in exchange, including cheat sheets and bonus episodes. Join us at https://www.patreon.com/paperteam

2 – To celebrate the launch, we’re having a free mixer! Join us Saturday, January 19 at the Harlowe Bar in West Hollywood. The event starts at 5PM and runs all evening. More information available at http://paperteam.co/mixer


Announcements: Patreon launch and Mixer details (00:26)
1 – Why formulas are still important in TV (03:39)
2 – How to generate a TV engine (09:09)
3 – Common questions and problems (22:44)
Takeaways and Next Week On (26:34)


TV Pilot 101 (PT30)
TV Pilot 201: Keeping the Reader Interested (PT84)
Day Break
Act Breaks (PT15)
Weaving Storylines: A/B/C Stories (PT53)

Special thanks to Alex Switzky for helping us edit this episode and everyone else who supported us this year.

You can find Paper Team on Twitter:
If you have any questions, comments or feedback, you can e-mail us: [email protected]