6 1/2 Weeks Left to Enter the 2015 People’s Pilot Contest

2015 People's Pilot Logo

by Larry Brody & Team TVWriter™

…Cuz the June 1st due date is a lot closer than it seems. Deadlines are funny that way.

TVWriter™’s People’s Pilot contest has been around for years. In fact, this is the 24th running. It’s for original series pilots, natch. As in your unique creations. Your television dreams.

There are over $10,000 worth of prizes and entry bonuses, including free feedback for all on where your entry ranks in terms of both professional standards and this year’s competitors.

In just the past couple of years, Winners, Finalists, or Semi-Finalists of the TVWriter™ contests have been on the staffs of CHICAGO PD, CHICAGO FIRE, PERSON OF INTEREST, THE WALKING DEAD, RIZZOLI AND ISLES, GREY’S ANATOMY, ONCE UPON A TIME, SMALLVILLE,  ROME, NTSF:SD:SUV, KILLER WOMEN, ANIMAL PRACTICE, THE LEFTOVERS, and the upcoming, highly anticipated THE BASTARD EXECUTIONER.

And that’s only the winners who’ve stayed in touch.

You too can be in this elite company. But first you have to write. Win or lose, that effort alone puts you ahead of 99% of the pack. And a finished spec pilot script is the currency of TV writing today. It’s the favored writing sample of showrunners and agents. The only thing better is a finished pilot script that’s scored at or near the top of – you guessed it – the People’s Pilot.

There’s lots more to tell about this highly respected contest, but our marketing maven says we should keep our e-mails as short as possible. So here are some links where you can find out all the rest:

More about THE PEOPLE’S PILOT

More about the prizes

Enter the 2015 PEOPLE’S PILOT

Hope you enter!

TVWriter™’s Most Popular Posts of the Week Ending 4/10/15

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Here they are, the most viewed TVWriter™ posts during the past week:

THE 7 MOST WANTED TV DRAMA PILOT SCRIPTS

Nickelodeon Wants Your Script

Kelly Jo Brick: The Write Path With EMPIRE’s Wendy Calhoun

THE MYTHS WE ALL BELIEVE ABOUT BREAKTHROUGH THINKING

Peggy Bechko: Whip Out Your Armor Plating And Write

And our most viewed resource pages were:

Writing the Dreaded Outline

THE PEOPLE’S PILOT

The Teleplay

The Logline

THE BASICS OF TV WRITING: Overview

Big thanks to everyone for making this such a great week, and don’t forget to read what you missed, re-read what you loved, and, most importantly, come back for more soon!

BuzzFeed Emerging Writers Fellowship

BuzzFeed Writing Thing

Yo, new – excuse us, we mean emerging – writers, BuzzFeed wants you. In the words of the site’s literary editor, Saeed Jones:

With the mission of diversifying the broader media landscape by investing in the next generation of necessary voices, BuzzFeed’s Emerging Writers Fellowship is designed to give writers of great promise the support, mentorship, and experience necessary to take a transformative step forward in their careers….

Ideal candidates for this program will have ambitious ideas and a proven desire to publish work that creates an impact on cultural conversations. The product of the fellowship will be published by BuzzFeed. The writers selected for the fellowship will work with BuzzFeed News’ senior editorial staff and be based in New York. Fellows will receive a stipend of $12,000.

We say that if there’s some person or place out there that wants to give you money to write you have to be nuts not to swoop in and grab it. Which is why TVWriter™ encourages you to learn all you can about the new fellowship and, you know, maybe even – oh, god, the pressure! – enter.

FIND OUT MORE ABOUT THE BUZZFEED EMERGING WRITERS FELLOWSHIP NOW!

The Truth About IT’S ALWAYS SUNNY IN PHILADELPHIA Creator Rob McElhenney

Meet the McElhennys

Meet the McElhennys

It’s podcast time!

Listen up, everybody, as Rob McElhenny, the man to whom we’ll be forever grateful cuz IT’S ALWAYS SUNNY IN PHILADELPHIA recounts his sordid wonderful life to none other than Marc Maron.

Thanks to a certain BFF for turning us onto THIS.

WGAW 2015 Diversity Report

The State of Diversity in Writing for Television: WGAW Releases Latest Findings in 2015 TV Staffing Brief, Announces TV Writer Access Project Honorees
by Team TVWriter™ News Service
(in other words, yeah, it’s a press release)

Research Shows Declines for Minority and Women TV Writers Across the Board

All together now: >sigh<

And now the news:

LOS ANGELES– The Writers Guild of America, West has issued the findings of its 2015 Television Staffing Brief, the WGAW’s latest analysis of the state of diversity in writing for television within the entertainment industry.

The WGAW’s 2015 report examines employment patterns for nearly 3,000 writers working on close to 300 TV shows airing on 36 broadcast and cable networks during the 2013-14 season, highlighting three specific groups who have traditionally been underemployed in industry: women, minority, and older writers.

The brief focuses on the writers’ room as the key site for data collection, taking inventory of each writer by gender, race, and age for TV shows covered, including the latest data from the most recent TV season, and providing a unique statistical breakdown by show and network to accurately determine trends for diverse TV writers.

The findings in this year’s brief reveal that not only has very little changed since the 2011-12 TV season examined in the Guild’s previous report in the series – the 2013 WGAW TV Staffing Brief, which revealed “pockets of promise for diverse television writers amidst minimal overall progress” – the situation has grown worse since then. In fact, women and minorities have actually lost ground as compared to their white male counterparts since the last brief, both in terms of overall staff positions and in higher-level executive producer ranks.

Meanwhile, although writers over 40 continued to claim a majority of all staff writer positions, data from the most recent TV season show that their employment prospects drop dramatically after age 50. Such stark statistics continue to illustrate that the entertainment industry remains a glaringly unlevel playing field.

“Over the years, the fortunes of diverse writers in the television sector have ebbed and flowed. While the general pattern consists of an upward trajectory in diverse sector employment, the rate of progress has failed to keep pace with the rapid diversification of the nation’s population. This is significant not only in terms of employment opportunity but also in terms of industry bottom-line considerations,” noted the report’s author, Dr. Darnell M. Hunt, director of the Ralph J. Bunche Center for African American Studies at UCLA and professor of sociology. “Indeed, research is beginning to confirm the common-sense notion that increasingly diverse audiences desire more diverse storytelling. When diverse voices are marginalized or missing altogether in the writers’ room, it is less likely that the stories told will hit the mark.”

Contrary to incremental gains in TV employment achieved by minority and women writers over the past decade, the 2013-14 season saw minority and women writers’ share of TV staff employment decline across the board, while overall minority TV writer staffing levels remain disproportionate to actual minority demographics of the U.S. population, as diverse writers continue to be substantially underrepresented on TV writing staffs as a whole.

Key findings in the WGAW’s 2015 TV Staffing Brief include:

Women Writers’ Share of TV Staff Employment Declines

  • Women writers accounted for 29 percent of TV staff employment during the 2013-14 season, down from 30.5 percent in 2011-12.

Minority Writers’ Share of TV Staff Employment Declines

  • Minorities accounted for 13.7 percent of TV staff employment during the 2013-14 season, down from 15.6 percent in 2011-12.

Minority Writers Continue to Staff 60-Minute Shows More Often Than 30-Minute Shows

  • During the 2013-2014 season, 61.2 percent of minority staff writers worked on 60-minute shows, while only 38.2 percent worked on 30-minute shows. Multiracial writers and Latino writers were among the most likely minority writers to staff 60-minute shows – 69.6 percent of the time (48 writers) and 65.3 percent of the time (49 writers), respectively.

Writing Staffs Remain Less Diverse for Other Programming (i.e., Late Night, Talk, Game Shows, etc.)

  • During the 2013-14 season, women occupied only 18 percent of other programming staff positions (compared to 29 percent overall) and minorities claimed only 3.5 percent of these positions (compared to 13.7 percent overall).
  • Women were underrepresented by a factor of nearly 3 to 1 in other programming staff positions and minorities by nearly 11 to 1.

Minority Share of Executive Producers Declines

  • Minorities occupied only 5.5 percent of the Executive Producer positions during the 2013-14 season, down from 7.8 percent in 2011-12.

Minority Writers Underrepresented at Major Networks

  • During the 2013-2014 season, minorities were underrepresented by a factor of more than 2 to 1 among writers staffing shows at the major broadcast networks.
  • Minorities claimed 16.1 percent of the positions at ABC, 14.2 percent of the positions at NBC, 13.9 percent of the positions at Fox, and just 11.3 percent of the positions at CBS (where minorities were underrepresented by a factor of more than 3 to 1 among writers).

Despite “periodic advances and pockets of promise,” Hunt asserts that the WGAW’s latest report offers a woefully familiar conclusion: “Much work remains to be done before diverse writers are adequately incorporated into the television industry, and we are losing ground in this effort as the nation races toward the not-too-distant day when it becomes majority minority… Findings like these highlight a glaring disconnect between the increasing diversity of audiences and business-as-usual practices in the Hollywood industry. The fact is that writers’ rooms simply do not reflect the America of today or the America that is steadily emerging.”

Hunt concludes the report by suggesting the potential financial impact of not improving true diversity within the ranks of writers and the industry at large: “Failures on the diversity front increasingly will become failures in terms of the bottom-line of ratings.”

To read the full 2015 TV Staffing Brief, click here.

The Guild’s latest TV brief will be incorporated into the WGAW’s upcoming 2015 Hollywood Writers Report to be released later this year, the tenth in a series of semi-annual reports the Guild has commissioned over the last two decades which analyze employment patterns for writers working in television and film sectors.

In related news, the WGAW has also announced its 2015 TV Writer Access Project Honorees, a group of eleven diverse writers who have competed in Comedy and Drama script categories:

2015 TV WAP Comedy Honorees

  • Chuck Hayward – I’m Not Your Gay Friend
  • Dennis Hensley – Misadventures in the (213)

2015 TV WAP Drama Honorees

  • Natalie Antoci – The Gables
  • Bill Balas – Affliction
  • Marc Bernardin – The Last Remaining Light
  • Cynthia Greenburg – Jamestown
  • Teresa Huang – The Chain
  • Diarra Kilpatrick – The Dirty Dozen
  • Jack Monaco – The Professor
  • Karen Struck – The Compound
  • Rebecca Taylor – La Reina

Created as a proactive response to the chronically low numbers of diverse writers hired in television, the WGAW Diversity Department’s TV Writer Access Project targets television writers in five underrepresented categories – minority writers, writers with disabilities, women writers, older writers (55 and up), and LGBT writers – to help open doors and increase employment opportunities for diverse writers.

The Guild’s peer-judging TV WAP program is designed to enlist its own membership to identify and recognize outstanding, yet underutilized, diverse writing talent, as well as provide viable resources for accessing their work to entertainment industry decision-makers, including showrunners, producers, network and studio executives, agents, and managers. Since its inception in 2009, TV WAP has achieved tangible results, facilitating the employment of numerous diverse television writers over the last several years.

This was the second year that TV showrunners Glen Mazzara and Eric Garcia & Leo Chu organized and led a series of seminars during February aimed at this year’s crop of TV WAP Honorees, which covered such relevant topics as: how to interview with a showrunner, crafting your own personal story, jumpstarting your career, and how to pitch.

For more information on this year’s slate of TV WAP honorees and their work, click here.

Yet more work needs to be done to achieve true parity within the industry: While the WGAW’s TV Writer Access Project is “an important first step toward the goal of diversifying the contingent of storytellers whose work fuels the Hollywood industry,” Hunt notes in the 2015 TV Staffing Brief that “subsequent steps forward, as previous reports have concluded, also will require a renewed commitment on the part of other industry players – the networks, studios, and agents – to go beyond what has been done in the past to address the status quo on the industry diversity front.”

TVWriter™’s Most Popular Posts of the Week Ending 4/3/15

Robert-De-Niro--thumbs-up-jpg

Here they are, the most viewed TVWriter™ posts during the past week:

How Do TV Writers Develop Episode Plots?

Peggy Bechko Blogs: Where Do All Those Writers’ Ideas Come From?

9 TV Shows That Began on the Internet

Looking for TV Pilot Scripts?

Where Do Your Story Ideas Come From?

And our most viewed resource pages were:

Writing the Dreaded Outline

THE PEOPLE’S PILOT

The Teleplay

The Logline

THE PEOPLE’S PILOT: Rules

Big thanks to everyone for making this such a great week, and don’t forget to read what you missed, re-read what you loved, and, most importantly, come back for more soon!