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Inspiration vs. Stealing in TV Writing (PT58)

Alex and Nick discuss the differences between inspiration and stealing in screenwriting and television.

What constitutes an original idea? Where is the line between inspiration and stealing? Where can you get inspiration from? What is considered an homage? How many different stories are there to tell?

Plus, an answer to how many episodes of a TV show you should watch before speccing it.

The Paper Team pays homage…



Paper Scraps: Episodes to watch before writing a TV spec (00:52)
1 – What is an original idea? (03:34)
2 – Why everybody “steals” (06:36)
3 – Paying homage and the different stories being told (09:23)
4 – Inspiration in TV and spec scripts (22:58)
Takeaways and Next Week On (34:13)


Deep Impact
“Protecting and Over-Protecting Your TV Script: Copyright, Ownership and Idea Theft” (PT23)
Parallel thinking
Rough Night
Girls Trip
Akira Kurosawa
Stranger Things
Aesop’s Fables
Jean de La Fontaine
Hero’s Journey
Christopher Vogler
“The Art of Fiction” – John Gardner
“Save the Cat” – Blake Snyder
“The Seven Basic Plots” – Christopher Booker
“The Six Main Arcs in Storytelling, as Identified by an A.I.” – The Atlantic
The Shield
The Simpsons movie references

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 Evan Schmitt for helping us edit this episode.

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Paper Team
Paper Team
Alex Freedman & Nick Watson

Paper Team is a podcast about television writing and becoming a TV writer.

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