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TV Prose and Scene Description 101 (PT48)

Update: PT48 transcript now available

Alex and Nick discuss why scene descriptions in TV scripts are so important, what to focus on in your TV prose, and treading the line between writing a script as a technical document versus a reading experience.

What makes good or bad prose? What are some examples of compelling scene descriptions? Should prose be efficient or florid? How do you convey textual information? When should you “direct” in a TV script?

Plus, a quick review of Shonda Rhimes’ TV writing masterclass.

The Paper Team illustrates their thoughts…



Announcements (00:49)
Odds-and-ends: Shonda Rhimes’ TV writing masterclass (02:23)
1 – What is screenwriting prose and why is it important (07:50)
2 – Why scene descriptions need to be efficient (09:33)
3 – Script: technical document or reading experience? (17:53)
4 – Describing versus telling (22:51)
5 – The screenwriter’s voice (27:39)
Takeaways and Resources (30:15)


Shonda Rhimes’ TV writing masterclass
Six Feet Under
Alien script by Walter Hill and David Giler
David Foster Wallace
Shane Black
American Gods (TV Series)
Courier Prime
“Two for the Road” (2×20 – Lost)
“Exposition in TV Writing” (PT24)
Sherlock (TV Series)
“Sherlock: How To Film Thought” (Video)
“A Brief Look at Texting and the Internet in Film” (Video)
Fringe chyrons


Hemingway Editor
“The Synonym Finder” – J. I. Rodale

This episode brought to you by Tracking Board’s Launch Pad Writing Competitions

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Special thanks to Alex Switzky 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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