Today, TV Calling celebrates its ten years of existence.
Yes, a full decade.
On this day, ten years ago, I was sitting in my bedroom in Paris typing words on a blogspot site that could have fallen into the void.
Instead, they thrived into all that you’re seeing around.
TV Calling was born as a genuine, personal way to share my own path into the world of TV writing. At the time, only a couple of sites were even talking about TV writing as a craft. Let’s just say it was a lonely little world online.
Since then, TV writing has become “the hot thing”. Everyone wants to be a TV writer because they’re realizing that TV is its own art form.
True to its mission statement, TV Calling continued discussing the writing craft and the TV business. It became not just a resource, but a reference.
Which brings me to the next evolution of this site.
Over the years, people have asked for a real forum outside of TV Calling blog comments or occasional email exchanges.
A way to meet other aspiring and working writers.
A place for people to share their thoughts, advice, and resources on TV writing.
I’ve teased it on Paper Team, but I can finally officially announce the opening of a brand new TV Calling Facebook group —
The TV Writers’ Room – A TV Calling Community
At long last, your dreams are coming true!
The TV Calling Writers’ Room is a venue for you to share thoughts and ask for advice about TV writing with fellow TV Calling readers and Paper Team listeners.
Tune in next Tuesday for the full announcement and how you can join this community.
Speaking of, let’s return to our 10-year celebration of TV Calling…
Looking back at some of the most popular “industry” posts, it’s crazy to see how prophetic they were.
A decade ago, cable was still cementing its foothold. Breaking Bad had barely premiered. We even talked about Netflix’s entry into scripted television — and how it could be a game-changer
Gather around kids, for I will tell you the story of how TV Calling predicted television.
That very first year of TV Calling, in September 2008, I listed nine ideas on how networks and television could evolve their content in the (then-upcoming) era of OTTs and all-cable.
Turns out, all of them have been implemented successfully over the past ten years —
1. Original scripted programming all year long instead of just during traditional network season. Remember when shows only happened between September and May?
2. Networks branching into their own “video on demand” service. CBS All-Access and HBO Go was but a twinkle in Viacom’s and Time Warner’s eyes when I landed on that idea.
3. Limited advertising during linear airings. Maybe less of a default than other thoughts, but still used in premieres and important episodes.
4. Shorter seasons. Starting with 22 episodes, I was already saying how revolutionary a 13-episode order would be for network television — now we’re down to 8 episodes.
5. Cost-efficiency. If you work in TV then you know that (for better or worse) networks are fracturing their budgets.
6. More online content and webisodes for traditional shows. Fear the Walking Dead, Heroes Reborn, Agents of SHIELD. You can take your pick of shows branching outside their “mothership” to offer webisodes or original online narratives for their fans to explore. Hell, even the WGA and the Television Academy offer prizes for short-form new media.
7. Re-develop ideas and pilots. Beyond the reboots and remakes, this trend also goes to failed pilots who are now very often retooled and redeveloped for other networks or seasons. So many fares leads to a demand for more content.
8. Big names for big shows. Another huge trend that I had to predict because I’m a genius that way.
9. Taking chances. Arguably the one idea networks have NOT taken to heart. People hate taking chances. But there’s still time…
My point isn’t to prove that I’m basically Nostradamus. More so to showcase the scope of how far we’ve come with television in ten short years — and the need for this site to continue chronicling that change.
Of course, I should mention the reason why most people know and follow TV Calling — spec advice. The annual spec script list is always one of the most popular resources year after year.
But if you look around, you’ll find a ton more about every aspect of TV writing. In fact, if you haven’t yet, I’d recommend reading the TV Writing Roadmap; the real MVP of this site listing all the key resources around these parts.
And what about the impetus for this site? The chronicle of my journey?
Well, my personal story has been documented across the years through blog posts, tweets, and Paper Team episodes. It’d be hard to do a concise summary in one blog post.
Perhaps I should go back to regular blog posts updates — although I’m still not sure if people would be interested in those anymore.
The main lesson that I always impart is that becoming a TV writer is a journey. Not a destination.
So much of that journey has been explored in 750 posts plus countless emails and comments.
I could go into even more stats — but I’ll save that for another year.
Because this celebration isn’t really about some blog posts. Or even this website.
It’s about you. Yes, you. Right here. Right now. Reading this.
As I said, TV Calling was born as a way to share my own path into the world of TV writing, and specifically to inspire and help others to do the same.
I made it so it could be a resource for those who didn’t have the access or the knowledge to become a TV writer. Extending a hand to people who aspire.
Here’s a quote I always like to pull from one of my first posts on this very website —
Why am I rambling on about all this now?
Well, it is intended to point out what purpose this blog will hopefully achieve. That is, to help other struggling writers out there in their daily, and not-so-daily problems. I hope my trial and errors […] will help show that nothing is impossible when you pour your heart and soul into it.
Now more than ever, we need this diversity of thought and diversity of story. As Vulcans say: infinite diversity in infinite combinations. And that’s where you come in.
Even though you’re probably down on the world right now, let me say — I believe in you!
I’ll even go one step further and say thank you.
Whether you’re a fervent TV Calling reader, an occasional visitor during spec and fellowship season, an avid listener of Paper Team, or just a fan of TV.
Thank you for being you and being here. None of this could exist without your amazingness.
Here’s to another decade of TV Calling and much more!