Submission are now being accepted for the WGA’s 2016-2017 TV Writer Access Project. The Project’s mission is to identify excellent diverse writers in order to provide a hiring resource for television writer-producers. WGA members who meet the criteria for participation are invited to submit one piece of literary material: one spec script for a television series in first run on either network or cable as of August 8, 2016 OR one original spec pilot teleplay, in either the half-hour or…
The City of Santa Monica’s Cultural Affairs Division is seeking proposals from writers living in Los Angeles County for their Writer Residency Program at the Annenberg Community Beach House. The program offers writers a private, beachfront office for nine weeks to complete a work-in-progress and the opportunity to engage the public in aspects of their work through readings, events, and the Residency blog.
Eligibility: The residency is open to all writers of fiction, poetry, plays, and screenplays. Projects in biography/memoir, essay and nonfiction are not eligible. Also not eligible: artists who have received a Beach House Residency in the past two years, or are currently arts grantees or resident artists through another City of Santa Monica program, or are currently employed by the City of Santa Monica. The residency will be awarded to one writer. Writing teams will not be considered.
Don’t delay to apply, as the September 15th deadline is fast approaching. Please click here for further details about this exciting opportunity. Good luck!
ScriptChat was created for the purpose of bringing new and seasoned screenwriters together to network, improve their writing, learn about the industry, and support one another both during and after a one-hour Twitter chat. Every week there’s a new topic, often with an honored guest from the screenwriting/filmmaking world.
This week, the special guest is Kam Miller (@kammotion). Miller is a writer/producer who has created pilots for Fox, CBS, 20th Century Fox, Paramount Television, and Universal Cable Productions. She wrote for Fox’s Killer Instinct as well as the long-running NBC show Law & Order: SVU. In The Hero Succeeds: The Character-Driven Guide to Writing Your TV Pilot, Kam shares her hard-earned knowledge about creating TV series that sell to Hollywood.
Kam Miller will be giving away a copy of her book during this Sunday’s ScriptChat, so don’t miss out!
For more information about how to participate in the conversation, please click here.
“Branding” and “audience engagement” can seem daunting and unfamiliar, but our resident social media guru, Phil Pallen, makes the learning curve fun and engaging. Phil returned last week to continue to help our writers formulate their social media strategies. Phil explained that in order to better engage in today’s marketplace, you must start looking at your website or social media platforms as an exercise in communicating who you are. The more you can close the gap between your in-person persona and your online persona, the more effective you will be.
The theme Phil utilized for this event was “What is it that you do really well?” This helped our attendees hone in on what they ultimately are trying to communicate through their website. Phil suggests focusing on your main priority. Trying to appeal to everyone, effectively, means you appeal to no one. You will appear unfocused and voiceless without a clear purpose or mission. Don’t be afraid of excluding anyone — a stronger voice is more likely to find an audience than a weak or unfocused one.
Phil also stressed the importance of keeping your website up-to-date. If it’s been the same for four years, your audience is probably going to get bored. Your website and web presence should be a living, breathing, and evolving presence — just like you!
A surefire way to keep things current and moving is to consider a blog. A blog is a content-driven way to keep people engaged. Content has become an unlimited resource, what we are all competing for is people’s time. You must be willing to compete.
Phil also recommends updating your photos. There’s no quicker way to date yourself and your website than outdated photos. And don’t just do the typical headshot — consider hiring a professional lifestyle photographer to liven things up. For a great example of what we’re talking about, check out www.mellylee.com.
In order to engage in today’s market, it’s crucial to stay current and be willing to compete in today’s parameters. Though it may seem like a lot of work, it’s important to realize that everyone else who is succeeding has also had to adapt to this new and unfamiliar terrain of the web. Don’t let it paralyze you — let it motivate you.
And if you need any help along the way, please reach out to us! TVWFFF is looking to organize a social media help group. If you are interested, please email Libbie at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The mission of the WGA’s Career Longevity Committee is to assist writers of all ages in planning for long and successful careers by giving them the tools and knowledge to adapt to changes in the marketplace. One of their most exciting programs, “Seasoned Readings,” provides older writers with an opportunity to produce their own work and reach an audience for it, often receiving useful feedback in the process. Each Guild member doing a staged reading in the series is encouraged to put together a targeted invite list of personal and professional contacts.
If you’re a member of the WGA and you are interested in arranging a Seasoned Reading, reach out to the Career Longevity Committee here.
The Scriptwriters Network has opened submissions for their 2016 Television Outreach Program (TOP.) The program’s objective is to help writers improve their craft so that they may achieve their goals of obtaining representation, script development, mentoring and career counseling services, landing writing assignments, and/or selling their work.
The deadline to apply is July 31st.
For more information about prizes, eligibility, and regulations, please click here.
As the only library on the planet focused entirely on writing for the screen, it’s easy to see why The Writers Guild Foundation Library is among the best places for screenwriters to hone their craft.
Their mission is to preserve and promote the craft, history, and voices of screen storytelling. They collect scripts and related materials, and make them available to everyone who comes to visit, providing wireless internet and a quiet place for writers to work. They have everything from produced film scripts to television, radio, and even video game scripts. As an added bonus, they’ve collected writers’ papers, books, periodicals, and many other materials on the history, biography, art, craft and business of writing for entertainment media.
You don’t have to be a guild member to take advantage of this resource! All you need is a photo I.D. for use of library materials.
7000 W. Third Street, (Corner of Fairfax Avenue & Third Street)
Los Angeles, CA 90048
11:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. Tuesday – Saturday
11:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m. Thursday
Closed Sundays & Mondays
Visit their website by clicking here for further information.
THR reports that the pre-Upfronts wave of cancellations at the broadcast networks went into full swing on Thursday. Here’s how it stands now:
► CBS cancels “CSI: Cyber” after two seasons and gives a series order to Kevin James family comedy “Kevin Can Wait.” Meanwhile, CBS’ streaming service All Access is nearing a deal for a “Good Wife” spinoff series.
► ABC cancels “Castle” after eight seasons, “Nashville” after four seasons, as well as freshman show “The Family” and sophomore series “Galavant.” The network also axed the reboot of “The Muppets” and “Marvel’s Agent Carter.”
► Those that are living at ABC with a renewal include “The Catch,” “American Crime,” “The Real O’Neals” and “Dr. Ken.” Meanwhile, it’s ordering to series “Still Star-Crossed,” “Notorious,” “Imaginary Mary,” “Time After Time,” “Conviction,” “Downward Dog” and “Second Fattest Housewife.”
► NBC gives a series order to “Chicago Justice,” the third spinoff of the 4-year-old franchise and also orders Dan Fogelman dramedy “This Is Us” to series.
► Fox cancels “The Grinder” as well as “Grandfathered,” “Bordertown” and “Cooper Barrett’s Guide to Surviving Life.”
► CW picks up CBS’ “Supergirl” for a second season, hands out series orders to “Riverdale,” “Frequency” and “No Tomorrow.”
NBC’s Writers on the Verge is a 12-week program focused on polishing writers and readying them for a staff writer position on a television series. They look for diverse writers who are “almost there” but need that final bit of preparation with their writing and personal presentation skills.
The application window is open through May 31st — don’t miss your chance to submit to this amazing opportunity!
Click here for more information on the program.
Day One – The Wild West of Digital Deals
With an explosion of digital platforms and niche markets over the past 10 years, there are more opportunities to engage with the market today than ever before. However, because of the sheer volume of content flooding the market, the dealmaking process has become increasingly complex and competitive. Traditional and digital platforms are generally looking to make content at a minimal price and they’re looking for content that checks the necessary boxes — Can it appeal to diverse markets? Is it unique? Will it give their service a boost in viewers or customers?
In this climate, having a firm grasp on your business and marketing plan is key. Knowing your numbers and your bottomline will help as you navigate the choppy waters of digital dealmaking. Have a distribution strategy in mind. Demand transparency from potential distributors or buyers. Have a good lawyer to help you along the way. According to a number of panelists, it’s important to realize that in today’s market it is unlikely you will see any money up front. Backend deals are almost nonexistent. Authorship can fall by the wayside. And more often than not, checks won’t make their way to you for years. While this may sound bleak, if your expectations are in check and you can judiciously manage dealings, you’ll have a better chance of a positive outcome.
A large part of marketing involves knowing your target audience. Twenty years ago, Hollywood had to appeal to the lowest common denominator. Today, there’s an unprecedented level of specificity in the content that’s out there and it’s easier to tap into those niche markets. With that said, knowing how to engage with your audience is imperative. Find a platform that best suits your content and a platform that you see yourself being able to comfortably use and navigate. Crowdfunding is also a great way to generate audience interest and involvement around the project. With the democratization of investments and donations through online services like IndieGoGo, Kickstarter, and StartEngine, there is a larger pool of investors than ever before. Keep in mind that most people exploring these services will get behind a project because they are passionate about it or connect to it, not because they see a huge financial reward or return, which is why knowing and appealing to your audience is key!
It’s also worthwhile to identify and corner foreign markets for your content. Carve out your own international rights instead of giving them all to your distributor. This way, you’re more likely to see money from the deal. If rights aren’t available outside the US, you will want to know this information in advance as this could potentially compromise the deal. Additionally, through the development stages of your project, keeping universal themes in mind and speaking to a global audience can be advantageous when you have to cross the international marketing bridge later on.
In focusing on the business and marketing end of your project, and less on your personal or emotional attachments to your work, it becomes undeniably clear how important networking and industry relationships are. Align yourself with the right producer to collaborate with and find an advocate at the right network to go to battle for you. But keep in mind that you won’t be able to cultivate these relationships until you prove your value in the marketplace of ideas and content creation. You have to have more than one idea or story. Express your ideas in proof of concept pieces or demonstrate your unique access point to these stories. In today’s market, ideas alone are no longer sufficient, so it’s important to paint a fuller picture for your potential partners and collaborators.
Write it, express it, put it in the marketplace until it sells, repeat. Simple, right? It’s important to realize that in today’s market, a “sale” might be a “like” or 10,000 “likes” online. There are new and changing measures of reach and success. Accumulated “likes” might lead to a meeting with a digital platform, which might lead to a distribution deal, and so on. So while it may feel uncomfortable and unfamiliar, it’s time to embrace the sprawling, uncharted plains of the new digital landscape.