TV Prose and Scene Description 101 (PT48)

TV Prose and Scene Description 101 (PT48)

Update: PT48 transcript available here

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

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Special thanks to Alex Switzky for helping us edit this episode.

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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.

693 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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