091 – Khanisha Foster (“How I Wrote That” Podcast)

This week, Gray Jones interviews Khanisha Foster, host of the Stephen’s College M.F.A program’s “How I Wrote That” podcast, which features Hollywood’s most successful working female writers discussing their journey and current projects.

Khanisha Foster is a mixed race actress, writer, teaching artist, the Associate Artistic Director of 2nd Story and a TCG’s Young Leader of Color. She is currently enrolled in the M.F.A program and touring with her Solo Show “Actor of Color.”

Follow Khanisha on Twitter: @KhanishaFoster.

Buy Gray’s book for only $4.99! Look for it on Amazon – How To Break In To TV Writing: Insider Interviews.

Didn’t get your questions asked? Make sure you follow Gray on Twitter (@GrayJones) so you can get the scoop on who is being interviewed and how to get your questions in. Also check out our TV Writer Twitter Database to find Twitter addresses for over 1,000 TV writers. Find our previous episodes and other resources at www.tvwriterpodcast.com or on Gray’s YouTube channel.

Lisa Alden – Intro to Power of the Pitch

Informative introduction to Lisa Alden’s “Power of the Pitch” workshops – learn how to pitch a script for an original TV pilot from somebody who has sold every one in the room! Even if you plan on writing it on spec, learning how to pitch it will exponentially develop your project and save you months of writing wasted drafts.

Are you in L.A. this Saturday, April 19, 2014? Sign up for the 2-day Power of the Pitch seminar ASAP (she’s offering it at a discount)! The second day will be May 4th. Get the details on Lisa’s blog: lisaaldenme.tumblr.com

If you’re watching this after the fact, don’t worry… there’s tons of valuable tips in the presentation.

About Lisa: after a successful career as a movie executive (New Line, Universal, Fox) Lisa joined the second season writing staff of Entourage. After staying there for four amazing years, she moved on to a short-lived NBC show Lipstick Jungle. It was during the WGA strike (that interrupted that show) that she made the decision toto start writing her own TV pilots. In the last few years, she has sold every show that she’s pitched – to Fox21, HBO, MTV and ABC Family. As she continues to pursue her created by” dream, she enjoys teaching other writers how to create their own original pilots and develop the confidence to pitch them. Lisa teaches TV writing in the Professional Program at UCLA, and teaches her successful “Power of the Pitch” workshops at various locations around Los Angeles. She also works one on one with writers in both mediums of television and screenwriting. If you live in West Hollywood and see a tall skinny girl with four crazy dogs and an Urth Cafe coffee cup walking around, that’s probably her. Happy Writing!

Follow Lisa on Twitter: @LisaAlden3

Bookmark Lisa’s blog: lisaaldenme.tumblr.com

Buy Gray’s book for only $4.99! Look for it on Amazon – How To Break In To TV Writing: Insider Interviews.

Didn’t get your questions asked? Make sure you follow Gray on Twitter (@GrayJones) so you can get the scoop on who is being interviewed and how to get your questions in. Also check out our TV Writer Twitter Database to find Twitter addresses for over 1,000 TV writers. Find our previous episodes and other resources at www.tvwriterpodcast.com or on Gray’s YouTube channel.

090 – Ken LaZebnik (Touched By An Angel, A Prairie Home Companion)

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Ken LaZebnik is the founder and director of the Master of Fine Arts in TV and Screenwriting program at Stephens College, a low residency program based in Hollywood, which aims to increase the number of female writers working in Hollywood.

Ken writes for television, film and the theater. His work includes collaborating with Garrison Keillor on Robert Altman’s last film, A Prairie Home Companion, and many years of writing and producing for hour-long television dramas, including seven years of writing and producing the drama Touched By An Angel. Two of his plays have won citations from The American Theatre Critics Association (ATCA). His first book, Hollywood Digs: An Archaeology of Shadows, was published in 2014 by Kelly’s Cove Press – a collection of essays about personal encounters with Hollywood history.

LaZebnik’s feature work includes the Lionsgate film Thomas Kinkade’s Christmas Cottage, released in 2008, starring Peter O’Toole and Marcia Gay Harden. His television writing has also included Army Wives, Providence, Star Trek: Enterprise, and the new series When Calls The Heart on the Hallmark Channel.

Ken’s plays have frequently been premiered at The Mixed Blood Theatre in Minneapolis, directed by Jack Reuler. The most recent of these collaborations was On The Spectrum, which premiered in November, 2011. On The Spectrum was awarded a Steinberg Citation from the American Theatre Critics Association, and had a successful run in Los Angeles at the Fountain Theatre. Other plays Mixed Blood has premiered include Vestibular Sense, League of Nations, and Calvinisms.

His play Rachel Calof, adapted from the memoir of a Jewish homesteader in North Dakota, is a one-woman show starring Kate Fuglei. His play Theory of Mind, commissioned for young audiences by the Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, has also been produced in Minnesota, Hawaii and Michigan.

Follow Ken on Twitter: @KenLaZebnik.

Didn’t get your questions asked? Make sure you follow Gray on Twitter (@GrayJones) so you can get the scoop on who is being interviewed and how to get your questions in. Also check out our TV Writer Twitter Database to find Twitter addresses for over 1,200 TV writers and writers’ rooms. Find our previous episodes and other resources at www.tvwriterpodcast.com or on Gray’s YouTube channel.

089 – Mike Alber (Kirby Buckets)

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Remember Mike Alber’s incredible story in episode 035? Well, hold on to your hats, because he’s got a lot more to share in this follow up interview! How did he go from zombies to cartoons? Read on and watch!

When we last caught up with Mike Alber, he and co-writer Gabe Snyder were staffed on MTV’s Death Valley. When it didn’t get renewed, they took a lot of meetings around town, but nothing seemed to click. It was a general meeting at Disney XD that would take their careers in a whole new direction.

Mike tells the incredible story of how he and Gabe wrote and shot the pilot for Kirby Buckets, and when it didn’t test well, Disney XD actually gave them the chance to do a rewrite and shoot it again with different actors! Not only did the second pilot fly, but Disney XD ordered 20 episodes in the first season, and 26 episodes for the second.

Mike has a lot of practical advice for both upcoming and working writers, based on several more years experience under his belt, and staffing his own show.

Make sure you watch his previous interview in episode 035 as well, as he went into great detail about his unique path in to the industry.

Follow Mike on Twitter: @malber or @malber2000.

Buy Gray’s book for only $4.99! Look for it on Amazon – How To Break In To TV Writing: Insider Interviews.

Didn’t get your questions asked? Make sure you follow Gray on Twitter (@GrayJones) so you can get the scoop on who is being interviewed and how to get your questions in. Also check out our TV Writer Twitter Database to find Twitter addresses for over 1,000 TV writers. Find our previous episodes and other resources at www.tvwriterpodcast.com or on Gray’s YouTube channel.

088 – Rick Rosner (Jimmy Kimmel)

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What would you do if you were ranked among the top three smartest people in the world? This week’s guest, TV comedy writer Rick G. Rosner, is sure to surprise you with his answers!

Rick G. Rosner is not your typical genius. From attending high school not twice, but three times, to working as a bouncer and nude model, Rick has taken a very atypical path to becoming a TV writer.

From his first opportunity writing for an MTV show in 1987, to a large number of clip shows, comedy shows and pilots, to a long stint with Jimmy Kimmel, Rick has worked in many forms of comedy writing.

Be sure to watch to the end, when he shares many helpful tips on breaking in to comedy writing.

Follow Rick on Twitter: @dumbassgenius

Buy Gray’s book for only $4.99! Look for it on Amazon – How To Break In To TV Writing: Insider Interviews.

Didn’t get your questions asked? Make sure you follow Gray on Twitter (@GrayJones) so you can get the scoop on who is being interviewed and how to get your questions in. Also check out our TV Writer Twitter Database to find Twitter addresses for over 1,000 TV writers. Find our previous episodes and other resources at www.tvwriterpodcast.com or on Gray’s YouTube channel.

087 – ‘Hand of God’ Creator Ben Watkins

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Ben Watkins moved 14 times by the time he graduated high school. As a kid, his experiences ran the gamut from living in a fancy, gated community, to being homeless and sleeping in a 1976 Ford Monarch. He was married and had a family by the time he graduated college.

Before he turned to writing, Ben had worked more than 30 jobs ranging from plastics salesman to paralegal to soap opera stud. With such an eclectic background, it’s no wonder he has emerged as one of the most original storytellers in television.

Ben Watkins began the transition to writing with the award-winning Sundance short film Quest to Ref, which he wrote, co-directed and starred in. Soon after adapting that project into a feature screenplay for Universal, Watkins joined USA Network’s Burn Notice. He rose from staff writer to executive producer, before moving on to create the provocative Amazon Originals series, Hand of God. Watkins recently completed production on season one of Hand of God, which premiered in September.

Ben resides in El Segundo, California, with his wife and four sons.

Follow Ben on Twitter: @_benipedia_

Buy Gray’s book for only $4.99! Look for it on Amazon – How To Break In To TV Writing: Insider Interviews.

Didn’t get your questions asked? Make sure you follow Gray on Twitter (@GrayJones) so you can get the scoop on who is being interviewed and how to get your questions in. Also check out our TV Writer Twitter Database to find Twitter addresses for over 1,000 TV writers. Find our previous episodes and other resources at www.tvwriterpodcast.com or on Gray’s YouTube channel.