Writing Gig: Editorial Asst/Writer Wanted

by TVWriter™ Press Service

How-To-Geek, One of the interweb’s most interesting and, yes, even informative tech websites is looking to hire an editorial assistant-writer. The gig is being offered as freelance, but with a contract and the hope of everybody involved that it can “transition into a full time role in the future.”

According to the HTG’s Lowell Heddings, you’ll need to “meet at least move of these criteria.” And those criteria are:

  • Good writing skills. If I asked you to write an article about the best way to edit the Windows Registry you should be able to write something coherent on the subject even if you’ve never opened the registry before.
  • Solid understanding of technology. You don’t need to be an expert, but if I asked you to program a VCR you should probably know how to Google what a VCR is and whether time machines exist and then just ask me if I want to schedule a recording on a DVR instead.
  • Great Research Skills. If I wanted to know what the best doctor is for laser eye surgery in DC, you should be able to cut through the marketing and ads and figure out which one I should go to so I won’t end up with an eye patch. (I seriously would like to know this)
  • Stick-to-it-ive-ness. If I give you a really boring task that is going to take a week, you should see it through to the end even if it takes two.
  • Sense of Humor. I am very sarcastic, and I have extremely strong and sometimes controversial opinions on things. Android is a dumpster fire. If you are easily offended we aren’t going to work well together.
  • Willingness to Speak Up. One of the worst things you can have as a CEO is a group of people who don’t think for themselves and never have any ideas to contribute.
  • Be a Self-Starter. When I give any programming or server task to our programmer Keanan he just goes and figures it out without having to ask me a bunch of questions or needing hand-holding. It’s amazing. Be like Keanan.

To find out more and actually apply for the job, hie thyself HERE

And once again  – meaning we say this every time we post about potential employment – if you pursue this one please let us know how it goes. The Good. The Bad. And the Fug-Ugly.

We think this is a cool op at a really cool site. Good luck!

500 Scripted TV Series Rocking On-Air This Season

That we’re living in The Year of Peak TV is indisputable, but we here at TVWriter™ do have a question: Is the fact that all these shows exist and are in need of writers (whether they realize it or not) the good news? Or is it the bad?

FX Networks Honcho John Landgraf

Scripted Series Tally Brings Viewers and Networks Another Record Year
by Michael Schneider

Peak TV still hasn’t peaked. According to FX Networks chief John Landgraf, as of August there have been 342 scripted programs via broadcast, cable, and streaming services this year – up from 325 at this time last year.

That puts the year’s tally racing toward a landmark 500 scripted shows in 2017, up from 455 in 2016. (There were 216 series in 2010, so the number has already doubled.)

But here’s where things might still explode before the end of the year: Streaming services have run 62 series to date (up from 51 this point last year), but have announced an additional whopping 79 shows. It’s unlikely all of those series will premiere before the end of the year – but if they did, the number would be 141 streaming shows, up from a total of 95 last year.

If that’s the case, Landgraf projects that the full series tally could rise to 534 – and, he pointed out, that’s before Apple even announces its TV plans under its new programming bosses.

“Yeah, it’s going to continue to grow,” Landgraf told reporters at the Television Critics Association press tour in Beverly Hills.

Among other year-to-date numbers, the broadcast networks have aired 127 scripted shows this year, up from 118; premium cable has run 25, up from 23; and basic cable has had 130, a tick down from 131 at this point last year. (The broadcast network rise seems to be from the increased addition of short-order series at the broadcasters, which have increasingly borrowed the limited-run series strategy of its cable counterparts)….

Read it all at Indiewire

Allie Theiss: Daniel Thomsen’s Approach to TV Writing Success – Part 1

by Allie Theiss

Writer Daniel Thomsen has been at the top of TVWriter™’s radar for a long time and has worked on some of this  minion’s favorite shows (TIME AFTER TIME, WESTWORLD, ONCE UPON A TIME, among many others). I’m delighted to have had the chance to talk to him about his enviable career.

When did you realize that you wanted to be a writer?

I grew up during the 1990s, in the rural rustbelt, before there was much attention given to writers in television. I was a passionate STAR TREK fan, but all that meant was I watched every new episode of TNG and DS9. It fed my storytelling imagination, but I didn’t pay attention to the names of the writers or anything like that. It just never occurred to me that I could write stories to make a living. That wasn’t my world.

I went to college in Boston for business and technology, and fiction writing was always just a (secret) hobby. Living in a big city for the first time exposed me to theater, music, and art. I started to see that people from all walks of life could participate in creative work.

And then, as luck would have it, I graduated right as the first “dot com” bubble collapsed. All the jobs I was hoping to get as a Web technology worker disappeared, and I was faced with a crisis that turned out to be very liberating: I could either stick around in Boston and wait for the economy to bounce back, or I could move to Los Angeles and try to turn my writing hobby into a career. There didn’t seem to be much to lose, so I packed up my car, drove across the country and gave it a shot.

Why did you pick the TV business to showcase your creativity?

There were a few reasons. First and foremost, the years I spent in business school gave me a very practical approach to starting my career, no matter what field it was in. One of the first questions I asked myself was: “How can I work my way up the ladder and get in the door?” I didn’t always have a lot of insight or awareness back then, but one thing I was very smart about was never assuming that “writer” could be an entry-level job — I didn’t have the experience, the training, or the connections.

I did some research and discovered that television had paying jobs for people who wanted to apprentice — production assistants, writers assistants, script coordinators, etc. I could move to Los Angeles and make enough money to pay my bills (barely) while learning the ropes of TV writing. In contrast, when I looked at the world of feature films, I didn’t see those jobs. Frankly, I wasn’t confident enough to be a guy who sat in his apartment, wrote spec scripts and counted on the fact that one of them would eventually win the lottery.

That’s a fairly emotionless answer, so I should also point out that I’ve always loved television more than movies. I grew up in a rural area of the country, and it was a long drive to get to the theaters. I like serialized stories, and I like that television can build rich, lifelike worlds the audience can keep coming back to week after week. To me, movies can feel very transactional. But when a great television show ends, we feel a genuine sense of loss. That’s powerful motivation for me as a writer.

What do you find challenging about writing TV shows for the fantasy/sci-fi genre?

Honestly, I think we’re in a GREAT era of television for fantasy and sci-fi. People are taking chances on unique, ambitious genre stories. Ten years ago, when I was working on THE SARAH CONNOR CHRONICLES, the challenge was that we needed to draw a huge number of viewers because we were on the Fox network in primetime. But we didn’t want to make a summer blockbuster; we wanted to tell a story for true fans of genre — an allegory that took Sarah and John Connor’s fight against Skynet and framed it as a mother’s endless fight to raise her child.

If we had done the show in 2017 and the same number of people watched it on Netflix or Hulu or Syfy, we probably would’ve been able to do more episodes. The economics are better now, and they allow storytellers to take more chances.

Today’s TV landscape is an embarrassment of genre riches. If the biggest challenge today is coming up with the idea that’s ambitious enough to make noise in the crowded marketplace… that’s an awesome challenge to face!

How did you first break into TV?

I hope LB won’t be too embarrassed for me to include the detail that he provided a lot of knowledge and assistance in my early career. When I moved to Los Angeles, I didn’t know a single person, but I knew LB from his online classes, and his advice pointed me in the right direction.

I got a PA job in a writers’ office on a show called BIRDS OF PREY, spent my first year in LA getting lunches and coffee during the day, and delivering scripts at night. It was hard work that barely paid the rent, but I met a group of writers that directly paved the way for my future career. My various assistant jobs led to a freelance script assignment for a show called CLOSE TO HOME. The freelance script led to an agent and, after an anxious year of taking meetings, my first staff job on THE SARAH CONNOR CHRONICLES.

But the only reason I got that staff job is the woman who created BIRDS OF PREY (and met me as the young idiot delivering her coffee) made a phone call that got my script read by the creator of SARAH CONNOR. From my first day on the job as her PA to my first day on the job as a staff writer, it was about five years of just scraping by.

I tell people who want to do this that, unless they have an incredible connection, they should expect to put in at least five years of networking before their break. Looking back, I’m proud of the way I hustled, but the hustle wasn’t everything — I got a few lucky bounces, too. It could easily have taken me a few years longer.

How does being a TV writer now compare to how you thought being a TV writer would be in regards to the way you have to write and not just the politics of showbiz?

The biggest adjustment to writing on staff is accepting that your ONLY job is to deliver your best, most creative ideas in the voice of the showrunner. When you’re thinking of ideas to pitch in the room, your thinking is always framed by, “How would the showrunner want to tell this story?” When you’re sitting down at the computer to write lines, you’re not just writing the lines that would otherwise come naturally to you. When you’re on set, and someone asks you a question, you’re answering on the showrunner’s behalf.

It’s a very tricky skill to learn, and there’s a balance to it, because most showrunners want you to incorporate some of your own voice into your work as well. But when I say balance, I mean 85% showrunner voice, 15% personal voice. Sometimes even less, depending on the job.

A staffing career isn’t like being a rock star. It’s like being the rhythm guitarist who plays alongside a rock star.

(Not coincidentally, I think that’s why so many more people are now trying to join the business as creators rather than as staff writers. The creators are the rock stars.)

It isn’t over yet. Join us next week for Part 2 of this conversation with Daniel Thomsen and the Big Question: “What path do you recommend a budding TV writer take to get hired onto a show?


Allie Theiss, is a TVWriter™ Contributing Writer and one of TVWriter™’s Recommended Writers. Check out her daily Story Prompts, Book Marketing ideas, and Script Magic on Instagram. Learn more about her HERE

Larry Brody’s Poetry: ‘Everyone’s a Hero’

 by Larry Brody

NOTE FROM LB

I used to think that I’ve had to learn way too many lessons the hard way. Then I realized: So has everyone else:


Everyone’s A Hero

I wanted to be a hero, and searched from cause to cause.

Every moment was a battle, a contest between right and wrong.

Anger ruled like the most powerful dictator,

Shaking my limbs, and contorting my belly.

All those I met were my enemies, forever in the hero’s path,

Small, stooped windmills fighting dragons of their own.

They too warred for humanity, for their children,

And their children’s children, for honor and renown.

To them I was the monster, smack in their Quixotic way.

Our faces twisted. Our voices bore a blade’s edge.

How we thundered!

How we roared!

Our might was awesome. Our clashes were the stuff

Of which legends were made.

Archetypes flailed!

Egos toppled like heads!

Ah, what a world! What a fine, bloody field! What a life!

One day, I tired of the conflict. My arms grew too heavy to lift.

My armor was dented, and there were holes

In it where my self showed through.

When I looked around, I saw that the others

Were in the same shape as I.

Ah, I thought, what a world! What a fine, bloody field!

What a life!

My weapons clattered to the ground,

And I dragged my carcass away.

Everyone’s a hero,

Just for getting through the day.


Larry Brody is the head dood at TVWriter™. He is posting at least one poem a week here at TVWriter™ because, as the Navajo Dog herself once pointed out, “Art has to be free. If you create it for money, you lose your vision, and yourself.” She said it shorter, though, with just a snort.

TVWriter™ Don’t-Miss Posts of the Week – August 14, 2017

Time for TVWriter™’s  Monday look at our 5 most popular blog posts of the week ending yesterday. They are, in order:

Web Series: ‘Stupid Idiots’

Looking for TV Pilot Scripts?

Who Inspires You: TV Writers Share Their Creative Inspirations

TOLDJA! – Web Series ‘Stupid Idiots’ Now has a Genuine TV Deal

LB: A Sad Goodbye To An Old Friend

And our 5 most visited permanent resource pages are, also in order:

Writing the Dreaded Outline

PEOPLE’S PILOT 2017 Writing Contest

The Logline

The Outline/Story

THE PEOPLE’S PILOT: Rules

Major thanks to everyone for making this another great week at TVWriter™. Don’t forget to click above and read what you missed and re-read what you loved!

Herbie J Pilato Hangs with the Big Dogs

The big time definitely agrees with Herbie J!

That’s TVWriter™ Contributing Editor Emeritus Herbie J Pilato on the right, hanging with Joel Eisenberg and Lloyd Schwartz at a speaking engagement last week in Valencia, CA.

Mr. Eisenberg is the executive producer of Herbie J’s new Classic TV series, Then Again with Herbie J Pilato on Decades TV. Mr. Schwartz is a Classic TV classic himself – writer-producer of The Brady Bunch and Gilligan’s Island.

Wouldn’t it be cool if those three could get together and create a new series of their own? Pilato’s Island, anybody?


Herbie J Pilato is the Founder and Executive Director of The Classic TV Preservation Society, and the author of several classic TV companion books.  He is practically a founding father of TVWriter™ and is a Contributing Editor Emeritus. Learn more about Herbie J Pilato HERE.

Writer Cindy Caponera on Showtime’s ‘I’m Dying Up Here’

Inasmuch as LB himself is a huge (Whew, almost said “yuge” but managed to stop meself in time) fan of I’m Dying Up Here, it’s a thrill and a delight to have found this interview with Consulting Producer and writer for the show, Cindy Caponera.

by Patrick McDonald

One of the great new premium channel TV series, which piggybacked on the “Twin Peaks” return on the Showtime Network, is “I’m Dying Up Here.” Set in the 1970s, it tells the stories of fictional stand up comedians in Los Angeles, and one of the Consulting Producers and series writers is Cindy Caponera.

Caponera wrote the latest episode, “Girls Are Funny, Too,” which focused on Cassie (Ari Graynor), as she tries to break new ground in an era where women in comedy had even more obstacles in a man’s show business world. The episode was loose, poignant and funny, and highlighted the excellent cast, which includes Oscar winner Melissa Leo as Goldie, the owner of the club that the stand up comics perform in. Add in Jake Lacy, Al Madrigal, Andrew Santino, Erik Griffin and RJ Cyler, and the world of the comedy in the 1970s is magnificently represented. – the series even places real people like Johnny Carson and Richard Pryor in the mix. “I’m Dying Up Here” was created by David Flobette and Executive Producer Jim Carrey.

Cindy Caponera was born on the Southside of Chicago in the Back of the Yards neighborhood. She honed her comic skills with two stints in at The Second City comedy club on Wells Street, and began her television writing career with the early Comedy Central series, “Exit 57.” She landed a writing gig on “Saturday Night Live” in 1995, and after three seasons on that show has worked as a freelance TVwriter ever since. Her credits includes “Norm,” “My Boys,” “Sherri,” “Ground Floor,” plus Showtime’s “Shameless” and “Nurse Jackie.” In 2014, she published her collection of essays, “I Triggered Her Bully” – named a Kindle Top-Rated Humor Book – and it’s available both in online and print versions. She talks with HollywoodChicago.com for a third time, about her involvement with “I’m Dying Up Here,” both in an interview transcript and audio.

HollywoodChicago.com: The episode you just wrote, ‘Girls Are Funny, Too’ almost seems personal. What was the cathartic effect of writing something that profound about the situation with ‘funny girls’ in the 1970s?

Cindy Caponera: Well, for example, when Cassie [the woman comic portrayed by Ari Graynor] is assaulted in the parking lot in the episode, that was the extension of the oppression felt in that situation. I really identify with Cassie, coming up in a comedy world where you’re struggling to be really funny, yet still be feminine and live your truth… and that world is primarily men. I came up in that type of world a decade later, not in stand-up, but improv comedy. At The Second City back then, if there were two women in an improv group, it meant that there would be four or five guys as ‘the balance.’ Even in TV writing today, my agent will tell me that a show has their ‘woman writer,’ and often I’ve been that one woman in the room.

HollywoodChicago.com: How do you connect with the character of Cassie directly?

Caponera: There was a scene in the pilot where she goes in and essentially blackmails Goldie. And I thought, ‘geez, that character has balls.’ She’s always asking for what she needs, and she still gets the backlash like the assault. She’s complicated, ambitious and confident, and in that era she was really doing something different, much different than anything her girlfriends were doing. I was doing the same thing in the 1980s when I was learning improv comedy, not staying in the neighborhood and marrying someone from the gas company or a fireman. It was really difficult….

Read it all at HollywoodChicago (and listen to the audio recording there too!)