Film and TV Reps – Writing for TV

How about writing for TV as another option to explore at the conference?

As of 10 years ago not many writers who attended the conference were interested in writing for TV. Recently, though, we’ve noticed a number of writers pitching TV pilots so we want to cater to our members’ needs by showcasing the growing number of opportunities in TV at the conference. Veteran TV writer, show runner, USC instructor, and 2016 WWC presenter F.J. Pratt reflects,

“Television is experiencing a golden age the likes of which the industry has never seen. Your parents will tell you, there was a golden age in the infancy of the medium back in the early 50’s. Sorry, Mom & Dad… the real golden age is happening NOW! The days of four broadcast networks telling us what to watch… and when is a relic of the past. Power has reverted to the artist and the consumer.”

“We writers, directors, actors, designers, have jumped into the business at a good time—there used to be a great divide between film and television. TV was once considered the bastard step-child. With the proliferation of cable networks and the insatiable thirst for original content, film writers and producers are sprinting like Usain Bolt for the long form narrative of television. Last year, an all-time high of 409 original series were produced for television (including streaming services such as Netflix and Hulu). The landscape has forever been redefined. It’s DIY: Do It Yourself! It’s the ‘if you create something interesting… they will come’. Look at Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer of ‘Broad City.’ Their self-made series began on YouTube. It drew an audience and the attention of Amy Poehler. The rest is history.”

“In a time when network executives were desperately searching the landscape for new, original voices, via independent film and theater… now, all an inquisitive executive has to do is scour the Internet and find the crazy person creating something so outlandishly weird and inventive from their basement in Idaho, that Hollywood seeks them out. (I’m sure this has killed Greyhound bus service for one-way tickets from the Midwest to Los Angeles) Case in point: I have a good friend who lives in Nebraska and started a Twitter account under the handle @badbanana. The creator, Tim Siedell, came up with multiple daily tweets that were so hysterical, it caught the attention of people in Hollywood. Cut to: Tim is now a writer on ‘The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore’.  This is the stuff of dreams… and it happened in Tim’s unfiltered, twisted mind and on his own terms. So, what am I getting at? What’s the point of all of this? Well, if you believe the creative theory that everyone has a story in them… and I do… Go to your computer, type that personal story of yours that’s been incubating in your head for years, charge up your iPhone… and shoot the damn thing! You just never know where it will take you.”

The Willamette Writers’ Conference is an invaluable resource where writers of all levels can learn from top TV and film professionals on what it takes to tell stories for a living. With an incredible line up of talent ranging from working writers, university faculty, producers, and representatives, WWC is a “Do Not Miss” event.

By Waka Brown

Waka Brown

Waka Takahashi Brown is the 2016–17 Willamette Writers Conference Film & TV organizer. A screenwriter for many years, Waka was selected to participate in the 2013 Quest Initiative with Scott Myers of Go Into the Story at The Black List. As a Curriculum Specialist for the Stanford Program on International and Cross-Cultural Education (SPICE) since 2001, Waka has authored and contributed to a variety of curriculum units on topics such as Chinese religions and philosophies, ethnic minority groups in China, the Baltic States, Indonesia, and Islamic art. In addition, Waka has recently been published in Stanford Magazine.