Alex and Nick invite Kiyong Kim to talk about everyone’s favorite subject: money.
We discuss all the basics about how to start a budget, investing, and managing your income when you’re working in the entertainment industry as an assistant, aspiring TV writer, and staff writer.

Why should you learn how to manage your money? Where to begin when you don’t know anything about budgeting? What are some ways to invest and use efficiently every amount of money you make?

The Paper Team diversifies its portfolio to tackle these questions…

DISCLAIMER: We’re sharing our thoughts/personal experiences with money, budgeting, and investing. Use our advice at your own discretion, caution, and risk.



1 – Budgeting and managing your income (01:15)
2 – Investing basics (16:12)
3 – Financial priorities as an assistant and TV staff writer (29:14)
Takeaway & Resources (43:27)


Kiyong Kim on Twitter
Amazon Rewards Visa Card
“What is credit card churning?”
Secured credit card
Annual Credit Report
Credit Karma
Charles Schwab Bank
Wells Fargo Controversies
The Marshmallow Test (Video)
Roth IRA
Value Investing
Mutual Fund
Exchange-Traded Fund (ETF)
“Is it Better to Rent or Buy?” – The New York Times
T-Mobile Tuesdays

You Need a Budget
“The Intelligent Investor” by Benjamin Graham
“The Millionaire Next Door” by Thomas J. Stanley & William D. Danko

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

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

Tonight, we say goodbye to Adult Swim’s Childrens Hospital after seven seasons and over 80 episodes.

The show started out amid the writers’ strike, in 2008, as a web-series on
Yes, that WB.

Post-strike, Childrens Hospital got picked up by Adult Swim, making it the first-ish web-show to jump to television. (And still kind of the only one still around.)

It had everything you could want from a live-action night-time 12-minute comedy:
Jokes, hospitals, cameos, non sequiturs, self-deprecating characters, irreverent humor, spin-offs, and Brazil…
Which is where we are right now.
(Fun fact: they actually flew to Brazil just for that running gag.)

As a commenter said over at the AV Club:

I have nothing but love for Childrens Hospital. Not only did it remain hilarious throughout its run, but it did a brilliant, ambitious job experimenting with different storytelling formats, especially given its 12-minute time slot. It got super-meta without ever becoming inaccessible or weird for the sake of weird, and it stuck to its own established continuity, with the history of the show-within-a-show (except for when it didn’t).

You can turn to BBF LaToya Ferguson (also at the AV Club) for great analysis on what made those experimental minutes of television so special.
Just this season, Childrens Hospital had an episode spoofing 1950s variety shows, a black-and-white exploration of one of their meta-characters, and their own take on plots from I Love Lucy.

If you’re a fan (or are becoming one), you’ll be excited to learn of the many interviews posted about the show this week. I highly recommend reading two specific ones:
The oral history of Childrens, published by WIRED, featuring a bunch of the players & writers; and
– Inverse’s off-the-cuff sit-down with Rob Corddry and Rob Huebel
(How have I not realized until now that they share the same first name?)

As an avid watcher of both Childrens Hospital and Party Down, I must conclude this post by sharing an all-time favorite episode of mine (thankfully available on the interwebs)…

Here’s to hoping they do an inevitable reunion show within the next few years.

The awesome comedy writer (and future BBF) Nick Watson posted the other month on Medium an insightful list of prevailing problems he’s found with scripts.

Here’s a little excerpt:

The most fundamental ‘formula’, or elements of story, are the same as a good logline:

A (protagonist) must do (action) in pursuit of (a goal) despite (obstacles), or else (stakes).

You cannot tell a satisfying story if it is missing any of these 5 elements.
Try it.

In my experience, the most common issues I see in scripts can be divided into two areas: Problems with story, and problems with craft.

Read the full article

Whether you’re outlining your story or rewriting your script, I’d definitely go over Nick Watson’s list.

It’s a dozen bullet points, and a very nice TL;DR on vital screenwriting items that need to be addressed.

Write on.

Now here’s a question…
Is live-action better than animation when it comes to writing TV specs?

On today’s Readers’ Mail, we tackle the big debate thanks to Paul’s question:

Would an animated show like Archer or American Dad be a good choice as a spec script for [the TV writing fellowships]? I worry that a live-action show would be a more appropriate idea and I don’t want to immediately shoot myself in the foot with a bad show choice.
I typically prefer watching and writing comedy, but if sticking a group of zombie snacks in a prison and calling it Walking Dead gets my spec to the top of the pile, that works too.

First off, you need to pick your lane. By that I mean: if you want to write comedy, by all means focus on comedy. But you shouldn’t write a one-hour spec “just because” it may be more well-received (or not). A Walking Dead spec will only work for a drama writer.
Considering that you seem to prefer writing comedy, your next point of order should be to pick a good comedy to spec.
Which brings us to your great question: should you spec an animated show, or a live-action comedy? And does it really make any difference?

The short answer is: no, it doesn’t really make a difference. Up to a point.

Now onto the longer answer.
If you want to apply to the Nickelodeon fellowship, although they do accept animated specs, they can occasionally frown upon them. Or, at the very least, frown upon animated Nickelodeon specs. It’s their bread-and-butter, and they’d rather you show your comedic writing chops through the live-action model.
In regards to the other fellowships, the door is wide open.

With that said, the reality is that there are fewer legitimate animated options to spec. This year for instance, you could write an Archer, a Simpsons/American Dad, a Bob’s Burgers, a Bojack Horseman, a Rick & Morty, and—that’s about it. Four of those six are pretty much over-specced and old, and the other two are somewhat of a gamble. Bojack will undoubtedly become popular this time next year, but it still is a risk right now. Warner Bros. for example is not accepting it.

So, what does my convoluted answer really mean?
Half-hour animated specs are just as valid as live-action ones. In a vacuum. Given their rarity and varying popularity, finding a good animated show to spec is already a difficult task, much less crafting a great one.
FX’s Archer was a very popular comedy spec for a lot of people in its hey-days, but you could argue the show was already this close to being live-action.
Yes, a great animated TV spec will always be a strong choice for any TV writing fellowships. The format is rarely what detracts readers from pushing your script to the top. It’s more likely that the animated show in question isn’t that well-regarded to begin with.

As usual, the answer to most spec choice questions should be boiled down to: pick the show you will write the best spec for. Uou should not discard a great spec idea just because a show is too much or not enough popular. If you have the bestest Archer spec ever, by all means write it and send it out. Just be aware it’s pretty much most people’s only choice (with Bob’s Burgers) when it comes to recent animated shows.

Finally, in regards to professionally writing in animation as opposed to live-action, I’ll refer you to this post by BFF Kiyong Kim on the subject. Here’s an excerpt:

Several animation writers in the studio all gave us the same advice – don’t write for animation! They told us to go work in live action. The pay is better because it’s WGA and there are residuals.

Gotta love straightforward salary advice.

So what do you think dear reader? If you have a question, feel free to send me a message.

Write on.

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.

687 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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