086 – Bill Taub (Automatic Pilot)

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Bill Taub has written and produced hundreds of hours of television over several decades, including many pilots that have gone to series. His new book on TV pilot writing, Automatic Pilot, is an indispensable tool for your arsenal!

Bill Taub is a native New Yorker who’s gone from Forest Hills to Beverly Hills. He has been obsessed with television since he was five, and considers himself a student as well as a participant in the medium. He came to television writing through advertising, as a writer-producer, Clio winner, and creative trouble shooter at several New York agencies.

His decades of experience in the industry have included both drama and comedies, including such hits as Barney Miller, Hill Street Blues, Newhart, and Cagney & Lacey. Pilots he has written that have gone to series have included Friday the 13th: The Series, The Odyssey, and Relic Hunter.

The more he studies the work of those he admires most, the one thing that becomes apparent is they either didn’t know all the rules, or they ignored them. It’s their originality, their uniqueness, that have made their work such a tremendous success. Whether it’s the work of David Shore, David Kelley, David Milch, or Larry David (the confederacy of “Davids” as he calls them), they didn’t know what they weren’t supposed to do — or didn’t know what they didn’t know.

Recently, Bill distilled the system he created and developed for his UCLA Extension Writers’ Program Workshop into the book Automatic Pilot.

Bill splits his time between Los Angeles and Toronto, where his wife’s family resides. He keeps himself busy with half a dozen other projects, pilots, web series, consulting, as well as occasionally teaching online thru the UCLA Extension Writers’ Program and the Laugh Factory.

Follow Bill on Twitter: @BillyTaub

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.

085 – How to Write a TV Pilot (San Diego Comic-Con Panel)

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Couldn’t make it to Gray’s How To Write a TV Pilot panel at Comic-Con this year? No problem! Here is the complete video, including Q & A.

CONTEST/EXTRAS LINK: http://tvwriterpodcast.com/pilot

Have you ever thought of a perfect idea for a TV series? Find out how to write it! Gray Jones moderates a discussion and Q & A with powerhouse panelists Jen Grisanti, William Rabkin, Bill Taub, and Carole Kirschner. Get that idea from your brain to the screen!

Great questions were fielded from the packed house, including how to write a show bible, differences between one hour drama and sitcom writing, as well as single camera versus multi camera sitcoms, creating a TV show with an ensemble cast, and lots more!

Did you know that writing a spec episode of an existing show is still recommended for your portfolio? Find out why! Which screenwriting contests are the best for TV scripts? All these answers and more are found in this hour-long video!

MODERATOR:

Gray Jones (@GrayJones) – TV Editor/Writer, Author (Breaking In To TV Writing: Insider Interviews)

PANELISTS:

Jen Grisanti (@JenGrisanti) – Story/Career Consultant, Author (Story Line: Finding the Gold In Your Life Story, TV Writing Tool Kit: How To Write A Script that Sells)

William Rabkin (@WritingThePilot) – TV Writer, Author (Writing the Pilot, Successful Television Writing)

Bill Taub (@BillyTaub) – TV Writer, Author (Automatic Pilot)

Carole Kirschner (@Carole_POTL) – Director, WGA Show Runner Training Program, Author (Hollywood Game Plan: How to Land a Job in Film, TV and Digital Entertainment)

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.

084 – Francis Tapon (Unseen Africa)

Author, Harvard MBA grad and world-renowned backpacker Francis Tapon is on a 4-year journey to all 54 African countries. How can he turn this into a 4-season TV series? By going a non-traditional route, of course!

The TV landscape continues to divide into thousands of channels, and it seems there’s a new online distribution player every month. More channels means less advertising per channel, and budgets are shrinking. Higher budget shows may be in trouble, but there’s a veritable gold rush for independent producers who can produce great content more cheaply. The challenge is that the funding models are different, and very few have a handle on the best strategy to stay ahead of this rapidly changing field.

Francis Tapon, a successful author and world traveler, has a promising idea for an episodic documentary series, called The Unseen Africa. But like Corinna Mendis, who shot her own scripted pilot, Francis has decided to forego the traditional pitch process and produce a full pilot himself, assisted by a Kickstarter campaign for part of the budget.

Will he be successful? Is this a viable path to getting your own reality or documentary series off the ground? Find out on this week’s podcast!

A little more about Francis:

Francis Tapon is a world-renowned author and world traveler, author of The Hidden Europe: What Eastern Europeans Can Teach Us and Hike Your Own Hike: 7 Life Lessons from Backpacking Across America.

He walked across America four times: he thru-hiked the Appalachian Trail and the Pacific Crest Trail, and in 2007, became the first to do a round-trip on the Continental Divide Trail. In 2009, he was one of the finalists for the California Outdoors Hall of Fame, which “features nominees who are world-renowned for their skills and who have helped inspire thousands of others to take part in the great outdoors.”

Though he speaks several languages due to his South American and French ancestry, Francis hails from San Francisco.

More info on The Unseen Africa Kickstarter campaign: CLICK HERE

Follow Francis Tapon on Twitter: @ftapon

Francis Tapon’s blog and website: francistapon.com

The Unseen Africa website: theunseenafrica.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.

083 – Hilary Winston (Bad Teacher)

Hilary Winston is the creator and showrunner of Bad Teacher, which premieres April 24 at 9:30 pm on CBS! Gray Jones caught up with her a few days before the premiere.

In the interview, Hilary has great tips on career development and networking, as well as writing, pitching, and selling pilots. She also has a fascinating personal story… how she started as an intern at the White House in the Clinton administration and ended up writing comedy in Hollywood… how even after writing scripts on a writing staff, becoming an assistant for several years was the best thing for her career.

Hilary’s official bio:

Hilary Winston is an author and writer/producer of television and film. Prior to developing and executive producing Bad Teacher, Winston wrote for network and cable television series, including the Emmy Award-winning comedy My Name is Earl, Happy Endings, and Community.

Winston expanded into novel writing and is the author of a dating memoir, My Boyfriend Wrote a Book about Me, which she adapted as a movie for Paramount Studios. Also, she pens a monthly column for Playboy Magazine.

Winston began her writing career by getting people coffee at various places like National Public Radio and Hollywood Squares. She can now proudly say someone else gets her coffee. Unfortunately, she doesn’t like coffee.

Winston grew up in Corpus Christi, Texas. Currently, she resides in Los Angeles with her husband and her cats, Lolly and Gordon.

Make sure to watch Bad Teacher Thursdays at 9:30 pm on CBS!

Follow Hilary on Twitter: @hilarywinston

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.

082 – Amy Berg (Caper, Eureka)

The TV Writer Podcast is back, better than ever! Host Gray Jones has moved permanently to LA, and the podcast now features exclusive in-person video interviews with Hollywood TV writers and producers. This week’s fun episode is with Amy Berg, co-creator of the new web series Caper, and producer/writer for Person of Interest, Eureka, Leverage, and The 4400.

Amy Berg is a self-confessed power nerd, and her office proves it! Gray & Amy have fun geeking out over her collection of sci fi figurines, before getting down to business.

What gutsy move fresh out of college landed her a meeting with Joss Whedon?

How did a failed interview lead to her first staff TV writing job, at 22 years old?

How was it a good thing that she lost out on a job to Jane Espenson?

How did a spec script from the point of view of a dog kick her career into high gear?

What’s her advice about “gimmick” scripts?

And how did she end up creating a web series after so many years producing television?

Speaking about Caper, check out new episodes every Wednesday, plus lots of bonus content at Geek and Sundry!

Follow Amy on Twitter: @bergopolis

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.

081 – Jeffrey Lieber (Lost, Tuck Everlasting, Necessary Roughness)

Co-creator of Lost… creator of Miami Medical… writer of Tuck Everlasting… showrunner of Necessary Roughness… what more do we need to say? You’re sure to love this week’s interview with feature & TV writer Jeffrey Lieber!

One day in 1986, after blowing up a glass beaker in a lab in high school, Jeffrey Lieber’s science teacher, Dr. Nagoi, turned to him and said, “Jeffrey… you be an actor… you be a writer… maybe have a family… but please, dear God, don’t be a chemist.” And it was those words that launched a journey that has ended up with Mr. Lieber becoming a screenwriter, showrunner, blogger, father and husband. Every day, while pursuing his passions, Mr. Lieber takes a moment to stop and thank Dr. Nagoi for his sage advice.

In our first video interview from a backyard, Jeffrey has many humorous anecdotes about his efforts to secure an agent, writing Tuck Everlasting, developing Lost, creating Miami Medical, showrunning Necessary Roughness, and his path between all these projects. He also has great advice about breaking in, and how to get noticed.

Follow Jeffrey on Twitter: @JeffLieber

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.