TV Business

Alex and Nick invite writer/producer Hilliard Guess for an in-depth discussion about his experience in the industry, working as a writer, and his involvement in the WGA and his Screenwriter’s Rant Room podcast.

How do you build a writing career without the traditional assistant or fellowship route? What are key differences in being a producer or writer, and juggling both roles? What are aspects of the WGA people should know more about? How do you overcome adversity and get things done? What are ways of putting yourself out there and opening doors?

The Paper Team goes rogue…

NOTE: We had a bit of noise on the line, and my upstairs neighbors decided to join in on the fun towards the end of the recording. We tried to fix most of the issue, but be aware there may be some residual audio.

SHOWNOTES

Content

Starting out, becoming a writer, getting writing jobs, being a producer, curating your work environment, being involved in the WGA, dealing with adversity, and the competition (00:01:22)
Resources and Next Week On (01:10:22)

Links

Hilliard Guess on Twitter
The Screenwriter’s Rant Room on iTunes
The Screenwriter’s Rant Room on Twitter
Hilldog Productions
Palo Alto (California)
Dangerous Minds
John Truby
Robert McKee
Jack Epps Jr.
Karl Iglesias
Z Nation
28 Days Later
World War Z (Film)
Two and a Half Men
Jaws
Million Dollar Listings
Million Dollar Listing New York
Fredrik Eklund
The Lot Studios
go90
WGA’s LGBT Writers Committee
WGA’s Committee of Black Writers
Lena Waithe
Michelle Amor
Dr. Phil (TV Series)
Dope
Straight Outta Compton (Film)
Wonder Woman (Film)
A Few Good Men
Precious (Film)
Mo’Nique
3rd & Fairfax WGAW Podcast
Lisa Bolekaja
Organization of Black Screenwriters
Kramer vs. Kramer
Jay Mohr
Mark Valley
Lynelle White
Army Wives
“Writing Action and Dialogue (126)” – The Screenwriter’s Rant Room

Resources

Pilar Alessandra’s On the Page
“Coffee Break Screenwriter” – Pilar Alessandra
Jen Grisanti
“The Sequence Approach” – Paul Gulino

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 Alex Switzky for helping us edit this episode.

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

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]

Alex and Nick invite Billy Domineau, writer of the popular Seinfeld 9/11 spec script and staff writer on Family Guy, to talk about the pros and cons of writing a TV stunt spec.

When should you write a stunt script? What is the process of making and distributing one? How can a TV spec get shared around town? How do you use that popularity to get represented and staffed on a TV show?

The Paper Team goes viral…

SHOWNOTES

Content

1 – Brainstorming, writing, distributing and having the stunt spec script go viral (00:54)
2 – Getting representation, being staffed on Family Guy, lessons from the writers’ room, and using social media as a TV writer (31:01)
Resources and Next Week On (53:23)

Links

Billy Domineau on Twitter
Seinfeld
Billy Domineau’s Seinfeld 9/11 stunt spec (“The Twin Towers”) (PDF)
Family Guy
Upright Citizens Brigade
Nicole Conlan’s The People v. O.J. Simpson stunt spec (“The Briefcase Switcheroo”) (PDF)
The Bechdel test
Jerry Seinfeld (character)
Elaine Benes
Cosmo Kramer
George Costonza
Julia Louis-Dreyfus
“The Conversion” (5×11 – Seinfeld)
“The Secret Code” (7×07 – Seinfeld)
Rachel Bloom
“The 9/11 Seinfeld spec script you absolutely have to read today” – The Comic’s Comic
“What Happens When Your 9/11 ‘Seinfeld’ Spec Script Blows Up the Internet” – Splitsider
“This Seinfeld Episode about 9/11 Is a Model of Comedy Writing and Monumentally Bad Taste” – Slate
Jon Lovett
James Adomian
Chris Kelly
Brandon McCarthy
“Billy Domineau talks September 11 spec script” – Entertainment Weekly
Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee
Rachel Bloom’s “Fuck Me, Ray Bradbury” (Video)
3 Arts Entertainment
United Talent Agency
Alec Sulkin
BET (Black Entertainment Television)
“The Wedding Squanchers” (2×10 – Rick & Morty)
Bowen Yang on Twitter

Resources

Writers’ Guild Foundation Library

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.

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

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]

Alex and Nick invite Gary Sundt, writers’ assistant on NBC’s Superstore and ABC’s The Goldbergs, to discuss the ins-and-outs of assisting TV writers in comedy.

How do comedy writers’ rooms operate? How do those experiences in the room help your own writing? When and how should you navigate asking your boss to read your content? What are the priorities when helping a writer develop a pilot? What is the meaning of storytelling?

The Paper Team pulls up a chair…

SHOWNOTES

Content

Being a writer’s assistant, assisting a showrunner in developing pilots, working in a writer’s room, and the role of comedy in politics (00:01:20)
Resources and Next Time On (1:14:32)

Links

Gary Sundt on Twitter
Superstore (TV Series)
The Goldbergs (2013 TV series)
Playboy’s the Antiviral Show
Archie Comics
Kill Bill
Angel (TV Series)
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
Marley & Me
Clerks II
Summertime Killers
Rick Wiener
Kenny Schwartz
American Housewife
Charlie Grandy
Guys With Kids
Super Fun Night
Justin Spitzer
Dan Harmon
Mulaney
America Ferrara
Ruben Fleischer
Colossal
Adam F. Goldberg
Joseph Campbell
Michael Arndt
Blake Snyder
“Save the Cat” – Blake Snyder
Neil Gaiman
Twister (Film)
Independence Day (Film)
Adam Wingard
Death Note (2017 Film)
“The Hidden Life of Trees” – Peter Wohlleben
“Rapt: Attention and the Focused Life” – Winifred Gallagher
“Essays in Love” – Alain de Botton
“Modern Romance” – Aziz Ansari

Resources

Michael Arndt’s “Setting a Story in Motion” (Video)
“What Are You Laughing At?” – Dan O’Shannon

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 Alex Switzky for helping us edit this episode.

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

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]

It took until thirty minutes past the midnight deadline, but the WGA ended victorious with a (tentative) deal — and no strike!
Well, until everything gets ratified.

Here’s the pretty picture of the winning committee:

And here’s the official WGA letter:

Dear Colleagues–

Your Negotiating Committee is pleased to report that we have reached a tentative agreement with the AMPTP that we can recommend for ratification.

In it, we made gains in minimums across the board – as well as contribution increases to our Health Plan that should ensure its solvency for years to come. And we further expanded our protections in Options and Exclusivity.

We also made unprecedented gains on the issue of short seasons in television, winning a definition (which has never before existed in our MBA) of 2.4 weeks of work for each episodic fee. Any work beyond that span will now require additional payment for hundreds of writer-producers.

We won a 15% increase in Pay TV residuals, roughly $15 million in increases in High-Budget SVOD residuals, and, for the first time ever, residuals for comedy-variety writers in Pay TV.

And, also for the first time ever, job protection on Parental Leave.

Did we get everything we wanted? No. Everything we deserve? Certainly not. But because we had the near-unanimous backing of you and your fellow writers, we were able to achieve a deal that will net this Guild’s members $130 million more, over the life of the contract, than the pattern we were expected to accept.

That result, and that resolve, is a testament to you, your courage, and your faith in us as your representatives.

We will, of course, provide more details in the next few days. But until then, we just wanted to thank you – and congratulate you. Your voices were indeed heard.

Your 2017 Negotiating Committee

Chip Johannessen, Co-Chair
Chris Keyser, Co-Chair
Billy Ray, Co-Chair

Alfredo Barrios, Jr.
Amy Berg
Adam Brooks
Patti Carr
Zoanne Clack
Marjorie David
Kate Erickson
Jonathan Fernandez
Travon Free
Howard Michael Gould
Susannah Grant
Erich Hoeber
Richard Keith
Warren Leight
Damon Lindelof
Glen Mazzara
Alison McDonald
Jonathan Nolan
Zak Penn
Luvh Rakhe
Shawn Ryan
Stephen Schiff
David Shore
Meredith Stiehm
Patric M. Verrone
Eric Wallace
Beau Willimon
Nicole Yorkin

Howard A. Rodman, WGAW President, ex-officio
Michael Winship, WGAE President, ex-officio
David A. Goodman, WGAW Vice President, ex-officio
Jeremy Pikser, WGAE Vice President, ex-officio
Aaron Mendelsohn, WGAW Secretary-Treasurer, ex-officio
Bob Schneider, WGAE Secretary-Treasurer, ex-officio

The deal still needs to be voted on, but it seems like it’s gonna pass considering the major gains.

Just the fact that an episode span definition has been reached (2.4 weeks per) and added into the MBA is a huge step forward. Can’t wait to read the details on the new options/exclusivity protections.

If you’re wondering what that 96.3% sign people are holding, it’s the overwhelming number of WGA members who voted in favor of the strike during the strike authorization vote last week — thereby putting pressure on the AMPTP.

After weeks of negotiations, here’s a huge THANK YOU to the amazing WGA committee, as well as all WGA members who voted yes on the SAV.

Let’s breath a collective sigh of relief, as I continue saying…

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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