Breaking into the television writing business is no easy feat, but there’s a few definite ways to crack open that door. But no matter which way you try, you’ll need at least one (preferably more!) strong spec teleplays to serve as demonstrations of your writing ability.
There’s teleplay competitions where winning scripts get sent to prospective agents and studios. There’s sending out a blitzkrieg to potential agents.
Then there’s going the studio route and one of the best programs out there is NBC/Universal’s Writers On The Verge program. The list of their graduates who have gone on to do great things is long: Marc Cherry (Desperate Housewives), Greg Garcia (My Name Is Earl) and Felicia Henderson (Soul Food) to name a few. Every year, the Workshop selects up to 10 participants out of almost 1,000 submissions and exposes them to Warner Bros. Television’s top writers and executives, all with the ultimate goal of earning them a staff position on an NBC/Universal produced television show. The window for entry is usually May of each year and the entry fee is $30.
But HOW does one go about writing a script that will get noticed by Writers on the Verge? Well, I could give you a long-winded answer, but I’m going to do something even better…
Program Director Karen Horne (NBC Executive/Spawn Co-Producer) and program script reader Spiro Skentzos (George Lopez) ran a panel discussion at ComicCon10 this summer. I was there, recorded the whole shebang, and thanks to Spiro’s permission, you can download the MP3 recordings and listen to them yourself.
Lastly, get yourself over to Spiro Skentzos WRITE NOW Facebook Page. He shares excellent information about writing for television as well as links to relevant articles, and really, you can never have enough information to break past those 1,000 other entrants so you’ll submit a great script!
Further recommended reading:
Eureka Writers Chat w/Missouri State Writing Students
Executive Producer Jaime Paglia, Co-Executive Producer Bruce Miller, and Staff Writers Eric Wallace and Nick Wauters