Grant Rosenberg, an Accomplished Writer and Producer of Film and TV, Joins the Willamette Writer’s Conference
Grant Rosenberg has worked for over 40 years in both the executive and creative sides of the entertainment industry, including household favorites like MacGyver, Star Trek: The Next Generation, and Lois and Clark. He has also been involved in many television programs, including The Outer Limits, Jeremiah, Masters of Horrors, Masters of Science Fiction, Eureka, Fear Itself, Lost Girl and Bitten. In addition to Grant’s vast experience in television, in December of 2020, his first novel, Gideon, a suspense thriller, will be available from Pegasus Publishing.
Grant’s experience as a leading industrial professional gives him an impressive understanding of decisions made and the process behind film production, including the beginning development stages, writing, production, and post-production. And this summer, you can learn from Grant by attending both his Master Class and a 2-part Workshop at the Willamette Writers Conference in Portland. In February of 2020, Grant shared with us a little bit of what you can expect to learn from his coming classes.
Grant Rosenberg’s Beginning in Entertainment
ANDREW ADLEMAN: From NBC to Paramount Studios to Walt Disney Studios, among others, you have been an executive, a producer, a writer, and showrunner. How did you get started in the entertainment industry?
GRANT ROSENBERG: I initially landed a Page job at NBC with the hopes of getting into the news division, but that never materialized. As a Page, I worked on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson and the Academy Awards, but being a Page was a steppingstone, not an occupation. My first real job at NBC was in the research department, analyzing such programs as Little House On the Prairie and The Wonderful World of Disney.
My next job was to run television research at Paramount TV, which I did for three years, before moving into my first creative job as Vice President of network series development for Paramount.
A few years later, I moved over to Walt Disney Studios with Michael Eisner and Jeffrey Katzenberg to run Disney Television. Finally, after spending 12 years as a studio executive, I transitioned into writing and producing dramatic series, which I did for the next 28 years.
Grant Rosenberg’s Master Class: From Concept to Broadcast
ANDREW ADLEMAN: What particular skill sets would you say you bring to the Master Class at the 2020 Willamette Writers Conference?
GRANT ROSENBERG: I’ve written or rewritten over a hundred hours of television and worked extensively as a showrunner, coordinating all facets of television production. One of my favorite experiences was a series for Syfy called BITTEN. In the Master Class, I’ll use BITTEN as the archetype for how a television series makes its way from initial concept to broadcast.
ANDREW ADLEMAN: All the steps from start to finish?
GRANT ROSENBERG: Through instructive experiences and informative anecdotes, I’ll take the class on a journey from the first sales pitch through to the show getting on the air. This will include a deep dive into the areas of development, writing, casting, budgeting, hiring the crew, scouting locations, and construction of the sets. In other words, I’ll lay out the roles and responsibilities of everyone involved in production and post-production.
ANDREW ADLEMAN: On March 3rd, you’re giving a talk in Portland.
GRANT ROSENBERG: The talk specifically focuses on the role of a writer in network series television. I’ll detail what the writer goes through, starting from crafting the script, to managing and revising it though the prep and production phases, including the writer’s role on set during the shooting of the episode.
Create and Pitch Your Own Idea for a Series
ANDREW ADLEMAN: In addition to the Master Class, you’re also doing a two-part workshop as part of the Writers Conference.
GRANT ROSENBERG: The workshop will be an improvisational development of a television series idea. Everyone in the workshop will take part in shaping the basic concept (e.g. selecting a genre, a geographic setting, a target audience, defining the protagonists and antagonists, etc.). Then the participants will individually develop a unique series idea that fits within the specified creative parameters. On Day Two, each person will have three minutes to pitch their idea and the group will vote to determine the top three. I’ll then work with those three people and help them flesh out their ideas further if they desire.
Grant’s Previous Roles Mentoring Writers
ANDREW ADLEMAN: It sounds as if you had a role in mentoring writers?
GRANT ROSENBERG: I’m a firm believer in helping writers develop their careers by understanding all aspects of the entertainment industry, as well as how to craft a script. I’ve given lectures at USC, UCLA, UC Davis and Oregon State on television development, and have also taught screenwriting courses for the Gotham Writer’s Workshop. By sharing my experiences in the Master Class and Workshops at the Willamette Writers Conference I hope to impart information that educates, enlightens and amuses those in attendance.
Grant Rosenberg will be joining us on March 3rd at the Portland Chapter Meeting. Come meet him there, and make sure you register for his Master Class at the Willamette Writer’s Conference (July 31-August 2, 2020). Registration opens March 15th. Don’t miss out on this exciting opportunity to learn from a master in film creation, writing, and production!