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Posts tagged as “Saturday Night Live”

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]

Seven Years of TV Industry

The television industry has evolved more in the past seven years than in its previous seven decades.
That’s a bold statement, I know. Let’s take a look at the business-related stories I did in that time.

One of my very early posts was a manifesto entitled “why TV is where you must be“.

Who would have thought 2 years ago that a small basic-cable movie channel was going to make not only one but two innovative shows, let alone one that wins Best Drama?

That was 2008. The network was AMC. The two shows were Mad Men and Breaking Bad.
Seven years later, AMC’s TV shows are everywhere. Hell, television shows are everywhere. It’s even a banality to say that.

We’ll dig into some of my TV industry predictions tomorrow, namely my “Nine ideas to save television“, also from 2008. In the meantime, let’s take a look at some other classics about the business.

The big NBC 2009 move was to put Jay Leno in primetime, every day. No more NBC dramas. My reaction was, maybe, an over-reaction. “Is NBC killing television?“, I wondered.

If everyone would pull a Zucker, and every network would simply remove dramas from the 10PM slot, original primetime content would be swallowed by clones of clones of clones of shit. […] I’m hoping that FOX/ABC will wake the fuck up and seize this great opportunity to be the underdog; bringing alternative, groundbreaking content to this 10PM slot.
Don’t ruin this for us, guys.

This reaction led, in turn, to a counter-over-reaction: “Is NBC reviving television?
What I was actually talking about though was simple—

As I pointed out yesterday, the 10PM slot is begging to be changed.
Well, not really “begging”.
CBS’ Les Moonves himself declared the other day that “Taking a third [broadcast] competitor out of the marketplace will make us even stronger”, though he said that for different reasons (“‘CSI: Miami’ on Monday at 10 o’clock will beat Jay by a lot. Remember that. By a lot.”).
The Leno-move should not be without consequences for the 10PM slot on the other nets.
I am not talking about drastic schedule changes here (even if I’m guessing it’ll unfortunately come to that — affiliates anyone?).
I am talking here more about quality changes.
We have in one corner C.S.I., and in the other Jay Leno.
Bring on the alternative!
And if there aren’t any alternative on the Big Five, then we sure as hell will tune to other content-providers.
Like Cable.

Yup, still sounds about right seven years later.

We could also talk about my Emmy (2008, 2009, 2010, 2011) and Oscar (2009, 2010, 2011) recaps. I miss doing them. Maybe I should start covering again.

There’s hundreds of industry stories we covered over the years, but there’s only be a handful I really cared to dedicate lengthy articles for. Some we’ll talk about tomorrow (Netflix, the future of the TV industry, etc.).
Others, well, I’ll mention them right now.

Since we’re on the subject of alternative programming, Lordy wrote about potential “new outlets for scripted fare” in the days of 2010. Namely: A&E, Starz, EPIX. Kudos on the foresight.
He also did a great piece about “what’s it gonna take to bring your bubble show back?” Among his solutions: international/DVD sales, other networks, and a producer with clout. Rare options five years back, but now mainstays to save (or bring back) TV series.

On my end, I wrote last year two pieces on the great Stephen Colbert, one in reaction to his Late Late Show announcement, and the other for his last Colbert Report episode.
Now I’m bummed.
Let’s cheer up by reading my review of the Jay Leno Show.

Overall, it was your typical Jay Leno talk-show.
There was no “revolution” here, just me being mostly bored.

Ah, the good old days of NBC bashing. I’m feeling nostalgic.

Reminds me of the time I asked Lorne Michaels “what he did”.

Everyone (including the President himself) is telling you to hire someone being able to do a good Obama impersonation, so you audition great comedians, and then you don’t hire any of them?
What. The. Fuck.

And now, he’s adding two new female cast peeps.
Okay, that’s a good thing.
But then he subsequently fires two other female cast members (Michaela Watkins and Casey Wilson)?!
What. The. Fuck.

[And] according to E!‘s Ted Casablanca, Wilson was asked to loose 30 pounds during the hiatus (and was fired because she didn’t).
What. The. Fuck.

At least Casey Wilson got Happy Endings out of all of this.

Can you believe I’ve been crying about the TV business for seven years now?
I can, but I don’t want to. Otherwise I’ll start crying again.

Let’s see where the TV industry is heading next.