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Posts published in “Life of Alex”

Moving to Los Angeles (and Things We Wish We Knew) (PT01)

NEW: Get the episode cheat sheet on our Patreon!

In the inaugural episode of Paper Team, Alex and Nick discuss the very first step to becoming a TV writer: moving to Los Angeles.

This is not only about knowing why you need to be here, by also why you want to be here. Why did we both literally cross oceans and continents to live in LA? What can you do to prepare your nascent TV writing career before you step on a plane? And why do you need to know the town (and get a car)?

Let’s dig in…



1 – About Paper Team (00:17)
2 – Why television? (03:40)
3 – Why are we in Los Angeles? (07:23)
4 – What you need to do before stepping on a plane (14:27)
5 – Getting set up once you arrive in LA (24:32)
Takeaways and Resources (31:53)


Paris – Six-Part Mini-Series From France
NCIS: LA showrunner Shane Brennan to reboot Australian TV
La Fémis Launches New TV Centered Training Program
Jeffrey Lieber’s Twitter
Academy Nicholl Fellowships
Austin Film Festival
SNL‘s The Californians


Small Screen, Big Picture – Chad Gervich
This Business of Television – Howard Blumenthal
The Hollywood Assistants Handbook – Peter Nowalk & Hillary Stamm

If you enjoyed this episode (and others), please leave us an iTunes review and/or rating at paperteam.co/itunes! :)

What is Paper Team all about?

This is a podcast about television writing and becoming a TV writer.
It is for people like us–working their way into the business from the ground up–who aspire to be TV writers (whether drama or comedy).
It is also for everyone interested in the television industry and everything around it.

We’ll be alternating every episode between two threads vital to being a successful TV writer: the business side, and the writing side.
On the industry end, we’ll be discussing things like meeting people, networking, finding work, being an assistant, and the television business itself.

On the writing front, we’ll be tackling anything related to our craft. Writing TV pilots, TV specs, taking notes, structure, theme, working in a writers’ room, in a writing team, and so much more.

Our first few episodes aim to give you a basic step-by-step guide to getting yourself established in LA, armed with a basic understanding of TV writing, and giving you the tools needed to start your journey to the writers’ room.

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]

I am an American citizen

I came into this world half-French and half-British, so it’s only natural that I go through my Historical evolution and finally become an American.

My path to being able to live and work in the US has been well-documented.
Long-time readers of TV Calling will remember that I chronicled in 2008 and 2009 my long journey to getting my green card–after having won it at the DV “Diversity” Lottery.

“Frenglish” was how I described myself in the very first post of this website.
Today, I became Frenglican.
(What a mouthful.)

After a six-month process that began in late 2015, the final step towards citizenship occurred this morning with my US Naturalization Oath Ceremony.
The letter instructed me to show up at the Los Angeles Convention Center at 8AM. We were quickly ushered into a security area which led to a giant hall.

Empty Naturalization Hall

It all took place in the same location where, barely a month ago, I was lining up to get my WonderCon professional badge.
Speaking of, the line for registration here was much faster than con registration–despite about 3,000 people checking in at the same time.

Another fun fact: the convention hall was temporarily classified as a court, so that the judge presiding the ceremony could legally swear us into becoming ‘mericans.

Naturalization Document Line

After documents were taken care of, and we were handed a flag to wave, we took our seats (waiting for all 3,000+ people to be present and accounted for).

The judge was brought up. He made us rise and take the oath.
We sat back down as Americans.

Judge Naturalization Ceremony

Multiple speeches followed.
We were informed over 3,000 people were becoming citizens, with the top five countries represented being (in order): 1) Mexico, 2) Philippines, 3) Iran, 4) China, and 5) El Salvador.

Naturalization Speeches

Then we got treated to a special cameo by President Obama. Pre-taped.

Obama Naturalization Speech

This was trailed by the most American music video rendition of America the Beautiful.
The ceremony concluded with the Pledge of Allegiance, and a singing of the national anthem.

Finally, it was time to get our naturalization certificates.
Almost eight years after feverishly applying for it, and six years after obtaining it, I gave away my Green Card… In exchange for the certificate.

My first action as a US citizen: register to vote.
My second action: a road-trip to the social security office. Gotta change that status.

California Voter Registration Application

It’s interesting to notice how my professional aspirations have extended into clearly personal ones.
This civic journey is years the making–much like my journey into television writing.

So, why exactly did I become an American citizen?
Simply put: voting rights.

I’ve been dealing with taxation without representation since I moved to California.
Yes, technically I’m represented in the House of Representatives and the Senate… but I didn’t have a say, even in local issues and propositions.
If I had kids, I wouldn’t have been able to vote in their school board election.

The right of (legal) immigrants to vote in the US has been a contentious issue throughout the last century.
(You know it’s true because even Wikipedia says so.)
Although non-citizens are forbidden from voting in federal elections (which can be understandable), I contend they (AKA me before today) should be allowed to vote in state, municipal and local elections.

The Constitution itself does not grant the right of vote. Instead, amendments have been ratified to limit who could and couldn’t vote in certain places. And only federal elections are defined in those amendments.

You can read more about this in Josh Blackman’s post on the 2013 NYC attempt to bring non-citizens into the voting booth, as well as Derek Muller’s legal article on the subject:

Alien suffrage was quite common during the nineteenth century, coming to a peak in 1875 when twenty-two states and territories granted aliens the right to vote. That ended in the 1920s, at which point all states required citizenship as a condition to voter eligibility.
Today, every state prohibits noncitizens from voting in federal elections. Federal law, too, prohibits aliens from voting in federal elections.
There are, however, jurisdictions that allow, or seek to allow, noncitizens to vote in local elections. And as resident aliens have a significant interest in the locales where they reside, and are subject to other political obligations like taxation, there have been particularly strong arguments in favor of extending suffrage to at least a set of them.

I can only wish that the next voting rights battle is fought for legal residents. Perhaps even escalating the case to a Supreme Court so State and local elections can finally be available to all those paying taxes and permanently residing here.

Unfortunately, I doubt we’ll see a legal immigrant fighting for her/his rights to vote in the near future.
Whomever would care that much about their voting right would probably also aspire to become a citizen–and wouldn’t want to tarnish their record by suing any form of government.

In the meantime, I hope you didn’t tune out from this post a third way in.

I wouldn’t blame you. This post isn’t directly related to television. Or writing.
Maybe you reject the binary American political construct (I guess).
Maybe you don’t care about voting (why?).
Maybe you don’t enjoy reading (huh).

But, as (probably) a fellow writer, I think you can appreciate, and be a part of, this (necessary) involvement in our ongoing cultural/civic conversation about who will make America–
Its Americans.

I know I am.

And we’re back!

At long last. Back from hiatus.

Let’s do a quick recap of my life these past months:

I somehow disappeared after going to New York for my NYTVF victory lap.
10/10 festival, would do it again.
At some point I lost track of my TARDIS. Then New Year’s came. Spotlight won Best Picture.
I also placed in another script competition. Getting traction with some of my scripts.
Oh, and I’m about to become a full-blown American citizen. Just in time for the 2016 elections.

More on some of those things in the next few weeks.

Now, enough chit-chat about me.
Let’s talk about what’s ahead of us with TV Calling.

First off, I know a lot of people have been waiting with bated breath for the release of my 2016 Spec Script List. Well, I’ve got great news… It’s coming out next week!

Mark your calendars: Tuesday, March 22 for Comedies; Wednesday, March 23 for Dramas.

There are also a ton of new scripts added to our TV script library. We’re well over 170 scripts and counting as of right now.

On top of all that good stuff, I’ll be sharing much more content over the next few weeks.
Screenwriting lessons? Check. Interviews? Check. Nonsensical ramblings? Triple check.

Don’t forget to check our magnificent sidebar for some highlighted featured articles.

If you’re working on (or want to work on) a spec, stay tuned because I got awesome news coming your way.
In fact, I’m planning major announcements as we approach the TV fellowships.

That means, among other things, I’ll be resuming my Twittering schedule.
If you want to be kept in the loop, don’t forget to follow me on Twitter.

Here we go.