061 – David Barlow (King, Nothing Too Good For A Cowboy)

As a production manager, David Barlow got his break into writing by a very unusual method… pitching jokes on set! Since then, he has created two series, including the long running ‘Seeing Things,’ and has over 30 years experience writing in LA, Vancouver, and Toronto.

Mostly recently, David Barlow was a co-executive producer and writer on the Showcase series ‘King.’ Previously, he was a producer-writer on the CBC series ‘The Border‘ – twice nominated for the Best Dramatic Series Gemini. He has co-created two television series – ‘Nothing Good Too for a Cowboy‘ (with Charles Lazer), and ‘Seeing Things‘ (with Louis del Grande). His series credits as a story editor and/or writer include ‘Durham County,’ ‘Blue Murder,’ ‘Cold Squad,’ and ‘North of 60.’

Barlow may be the only producer to receive Gemini nominations for both Best Dramatic Series (‘E.N.G.‘) and Best Sports Program in the same year. The documentary was ‘Chasing the Dream,’ produced with Peter Raymont and William Thomas.

Barlow has received two Gemini Awards for Best Comedy Series (‘Seeing Things’), a Gemini for Best Writing in a Dramatic Series (‘Max Glick‘), the Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television’s Margaret Collier Award for his body of work as a screenwriter, and the WGC’s Writer’s Block Award for service to Canadian screenwriters.

He is also a faculty member of the Advanced Television and Film and Media Arts programs at Sheridan College, Oakville and has conducted professional screenwriting workshops across Canada, in Singapore, and in Dublin.

David has lots of great tips on how to break in… you don’t want to miss this one!

Buy Gray’s book for only $4.99! 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.

 
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Hosted by Gray Jones, the TV Writer Podcast is devoted to interviews with working TV writers. It is brought to you by Script magazine and Scriptmag.com, the leading source for scriptwriting information in print and on the web.

055 – Jana Sinyor (Dark Oracle, Being Erica)

She won an International Emmy Award for her series Dark Oracle, and received 16 Gemini Awards for her series Being Erica. This week, we meet Canadian series creator and showrunner Jana Sinyor!

After attending McGill for religious studies, it was an epiphany after a tough shift at a call center that led Jana Sinyor to pursue writing for the screen.

In her interview, Jana shares how her time at the Canadian Film Centre and attending screenwriting functions and parties led to her first freelance script for ‘Degrassi: The Next Generation,’ to writing for a children’s series, and then to create her own original series, ‘Dark Oracle,’ which won an International Emmy Award for Best Youth Drama.

Next Jana created the CBC critically-acclaimed one hour drama ‘Being Erica,’ on which she served as Executive Producer and Showrunner. Temple Street Productions produced the series, which subsequently sold to ABC Soapnet and many territories around the world. Being Erica has been nominated for 16 Gemini Awards – winning three. Jana is in active development on a new one hour series for ABC, as well as a new show for CBC with collaborator Aaron Martin.

Buy Gray’s book for only $4.99! 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.

 
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Hosted by Gray Jones, the TV Writer Podcast is devoted to interviews with working TV writers. It is brought to you by Script magazine and Scriptmag.com, the leading source for scriptwriting information in print and on the web.

036 – David Dias (Max & Ruby, Redakai)

Animation writer / creative producer / story editor David Dias was a hit on the TV Writer Chat several weeks ago, and is back for a one hour interview discussing all the ins and outs of writing animation for all ages, including many great tips on breaking in, pitching, and getting your idea off the ground.

After a BFA in Film Production from York University in Toronto, David started assistant editing at Nelvana, one of the biggest animation companies in Canada. He soon realized that he wanted to write, and landed a job on an in-house writing staff. For the next five years, he wrote for a large variety of shows, before becoming an independent writer-producer.

David has credits on over 40 animated shows from the mid-1990’s to the present, including such well known titles as Franklin, The Berenstain Bears, Doodlebops, Caillou, The Cat in the Hat Knows A Lot About That, Magi-Nation, Max & Ruby, and Redekai: Conquer the Kairu.

Breaking the usual chronological interview format, Gray and David spend almost a full hour talking about all aspects of animation writing, including how to know which companies are accepting open pitches, what you need to be able to pitch, how the quality of art can make or break a pitch, how to land an artist without having to pay up front, and much more!

Follow David on Twitter: @DiasDave

Buy Gray’s book for only $4.99! 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.

 
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Hosted by Gray Jones, the TV Writer Podcast is devoted to interviews with working TV writers. It is brought to you by Script magazine and Scriptmag.com, the leading source for scriptwriting information in print and on the web.

034 – Sheri Elwood (Call Me Fitz, Defying Gravity)

Within 7 years of graduating from film school, Sheri Elwood had not only created her own successful TV series, but had written and directed a feature film starring Kirsten Dunst and Lynn Redgrave. Fast forward to the present: her current series, Call Me Fitz, which was inspired by her own family, has just won 7 Gemini Awards.

After graduating from Ryerson University’s Film Program in Toronto, Sheri Elwood was awarded the National Apprenticeship Award from the Academy of Canadian Film and Television. This launched her to many seasons of comedy writing for networks such as Disney, Fox, The Family Channel and YTV. By 1999, she had created her own series for tweens, “I Was a Sixth Grade Alien,” which went two full seasons.

In the off season, Sheri wrote and directed a Gemini nominated short film, “Eb and Flo,” and her first feature film, the romantic teen drama, “Deeply,” starring Lynn Redgrave, Kirsten Dunst and Brent Carver. Deeply premiered to a 4-star review at the Toronto International Film Festival, and was also nominated for four Genie Awards.

Elwood teamed with Lionsgate TV to create the comedy series “Beta Males” for the CW Network, and also wrote for the 1-hr ABC/CTV drama “Defying Gravity” for Fox Television Studios with creator James Parriott (Grey’s Anatomy).

Fulfilling a dream to capture the spirit of her loving and unique family on TV, Elwood created the edgy cable series “Call Me Fitz,” starring Jason Priestly, for TMN/Movie Central. They have just begun shooting season 3, with Elwood writing, directing and showrunning. You can catch Call Me Fitz on HBO Canada, or in the US on Netflix or DirecTV.

Elwood has just signed a blind development deal with Jerry Bruckheimer Television.

Sheri splits her time between Los Angeles and Nova Scotia where she and her family spend time at their century old schoolhouse and love to ring the bell.

Follow Sheri on Twitter: @elwoodink

Buy Gray’s book for only $4.99! 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.

 
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Hosted by Gray Jones, the TV Writer Podcast is devoted to interviews with working TV writers. It is brought to you by Script magazine and Scriptmag.com, the leading source for scriptwriting information in print and on the web.

023 – Jennica Harper (Shattered, Mr. Young)

Next in our “writers who have done it all” series is Vancouver-based TV/feature/graphic novel writer, poet, and standup comic Jennica Harper. Not only has she worked in many genres and mediums, but she has great tips and anecdotes about them.

Jennica Harper has published poetry, fiction, and creative non-fiction in over 25 publications in Canada and the United States, as well as two poetry collections, and a graphic novel “Abigail’s War,” which she currently developing as a feature with Zeros2Heroes Media.

An award-winning stand-up comic, Jennica is a lot of fun to listen to… You’ll love the discussion on how story editing for Canadian features has many similarities to TV writing in Hollywood, yet how Hollywood feature writing differs from the Canadian approach.

Jennica also has a lot of great tips about breaking in, planting many seeds, and being aggressive at going after what you want.

Follow Jennica on Twitter: @jennicaharper

Buy Gray’s book for only $4.99! 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.

 
Subscribe: iTunes (Video)iTunes (Audio)PodBean (Audio)
Hosted by Gray Jones, the TV Writer Podcast is devoted to interviews with working TV writers. It is brought to you by Script magazine and Scriptmag.com, the leading source for scriptwriting information in print and on the web.

022 – Andrea Moodie (Psi Factor, Property Virgins)

This week we meet another writer who has done it all… Toronto-based writer Andrea Moodie has worked in features, scripted dramatic television, documentaries, reality and lifestyle television, interactive games, and web series. She has a lot of tips on writing for these different mediums, and the differences between them!

Most writers interrupt their lives to write — Andrea interrupts her writing for life. Writing in all forms consumes her, and so it’s not surprising she’s written material for many mediums, and many of her projects have won awards and critical acclaim.

You might recognize some of the titles of shows she’s written for — Property Virgins, Animals at Work, The List, the sci-fi drama Psi Factor, and webisode missions for SyFy’s Sanctuary, among many others.

A graduate of Queens University Film Studies, The Drama Studio London USA, and the Canadian Film Centre, Andrea is an active member of the writing community as a juror for the Dora, Gemini and Writerʼs Guild Top Ten Awards.

Buy Gray’s book for only $4.99! 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.

 
Subscribe: iTunes (Video)iTunes (Audio)PodBean (Audio)
Hosted by Gray Jones, the TV Writer Podcast is devoted to interviews with working TV writers. It is brought to you by Script magazine and Scriptmag.com, the leading source for scriptwriting information in print and on the web.

015 – TV/Feature Writer Wil Zmak

He moved permanently to Los Angeles! And then the phone started ringing for Canadian jobs… Award-winning Canadian TV & feature writer-producer Wil Zmak is sure to win records for the longest commute!

Wil Zmak grew up in Toronto, and studied film at Toronto’s York University (around the same time Gray was there), as well as the Canadian Film Centre. Then, his wife’s career demanded a move to the US, and it was off to Los Angeles!

Now permanently planted in L.A., Wil was offered the first of many Canadian jobs, that would see him travel to Canada for several months at a time, flying home on weekends to be with his family. Since then, Wil has worked as a writer, producer, and story editor on several Canadian television series, including The Listener (CTV, FOX International), The Aladdin Project (CTV), Stone Undercover (Tom Stone – CBC / US syndication), Jinnah on Crime (CBC), and Being Erica (CBC).

Hear the fascinating story of how a conversation with director Paul Fox on the state of film storytelling resulted in Wil writing the script for the 2005 thriller “The Dark Hours,” which has won fifteen awards at international festivals, including seven for Best Feature.

Wil has also worked in development for both TV and features, and offers many helpful tips, including the best way to adapt novels to the screen; what adaptations can teach you about your original material; targeted networking; and why you shouldn’t limit yourself to the hero’s journey and commonly taught story structures.

Follow Wil on Twitter: @wilzmak

Don’t forget your homework: To buy the excellent TV Writer’s Workbook, by Emmy-nominated writer Ellen Sandler, and send your questions for the author to mail@tvwriterpodcast.com by March 30th, as Gray will be interviewing her on April 1st.

Buy Gray’s book for only $4.99! 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.

 
Subscribe: iTunes (Video)iTunes (Audio)PodBean (Audio)
Hosted by Gray Jones, the TV Writer Podcast is devoted to interviews with working TV writers. It is brought to you by Script magazine and Scriptmag.com, the leading source for scriptwriting information in print and on the web.

014 – TV/Feature Writer Matt MacLennan

Whether you live in Los Angeles, Toronto, or anywhere else, you’re going to love this interview with Canadian TV & feature writer Matt McLennan. Not only is it full to the brim with tips on breaking in and getting ahead, but you’ll be inspired by Matt’s tenacious “never give up” attitude, his resourcefulness, and his desire to mentor.

Once Matt set his eyes on the goal, nothing would stop him from achieving it. He read books, worked as a script reader, sent out hundreds of unsolicited emails, worked as personal assistant and production assistant, and met with anyone who could give him advice on the industry.

When one door would close, Matt would open another. When he did get a job, he would milk it for all it was worth, volunteering his time for duties outside his job description, so he could learn as many aspects as possible of what it takes to put a show together.

Learn the amazing story of how he proposed an innovative solution to a modestly budgeted teen show, to use indie local bands for fresh but inexpensive music. Matt ended up helping to promote many bands that would use the TV show to springboard to greater success, and at the same time he was credited not only for his writing, but for his music supervision as well!

To top it all off, Matt graciously offers his email address to any writers who would like to seek his advice or help. if you’ve learned anything from Matt, take him up on the offer!

Matt’s latest show, HBO Canada’s “Call Me Fitz,” starring Jason Priestley, begins airing in the US in April. Watch for it on DirecTV!

Follow Matt on Twitter: @mattmaclennan

This episode also features our new sponsor the Toronto Screenwriting Conference, and a highlight video from the Toronto Ink Drinks event attended by Gray on March 18th.

Don’t forget your homework: To buy the excellent TV Writer’s Workbook, by Emmy-nominated writer Ellen Sandler, and send your questions for the author to mail@tvwriterpodcast.com by March 30th, as Gray will be interviewing her on April 1st.

Buy Gray’s book for only $4.99! 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.

 
Subscribe: iTunes (Video)iTunes (Audio)PodBean (Audio)
Hosted by Gray Jones, the TV Writer Podcast is devoted to interviews with working TV writers. It is brought to you by Script magazine and Scriptmag.com, the leading source for scriptwriting information in print and on the web.

Special – Ink Drinks Toronto (HD)

In episode 012, writer-producer Karen Walton told us about the online group she founded, called “Ink Canada,” and their “Ink Drinks” events. This week, Gray had the opportunity to bring a video camera to Ink Drinks Toronto. It was a blast, and Gray has put together a special mini-episode highlighting the event.

Follow Karen Walton on Twitter: @inkcanada

Buy Gray’s book for only $4.99! 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.

 
Subscribe: iTunes (Video)iTunes (Audio)PodBean (Audio)
Hosted by Gray Jones, the TV Writer Podcast is devoted to interviews with working TV writers. It is brought to you by Script magazine and Scriptmag.com, the leading source for scriptwriting information in print and on the web.

013 – TV/Feature Writer Tim Stubinski

The prevailing wisdom says that “you must move to L.A.” if you want to make it as a TV or feature writer. This week we meet Tim Stubinski, a Canadian writer who has not only had several features optioned, but got an award winning television pilot produced and on the air… all while living in a small town 5 hours away from Toronto.

Are you frustrated, trying to work at a day job, while writing in your spare time? Tim Stubinski continues to work as a salesman in his small town, yet is constantly networking, pitching, and writing. He offers great tips on how to write the best query letters, how to pitch over the phone, and how social media tools like Facebook and Twitter are invaluable to anyone trying to break into writing, but especially the “remote writer.”

Hear how he and his writing partner Michael Markus managed to get several feature scripts optioned, and how they made the decision to turn one of their features into a TV pilot, called Wolf Canyon. This pilot got produced by Really Real Films out of Vancouver, starring Kevin Sorbo, Lorne Cardinal and comedienne Nikki Payne… it aired nationwide in Canada, and won five LEO awards!

As a salesman and successful writer, Tim offers much encouragement to other remote writers. He shares openly about the statistics he has observed in how many rejections he must get through before he finds someone who will read and respond to his script, and reminds us all that when selling a script, it’s the “yes” that matters!

Follow Tim on Twitter: @TStubinski

Don’t forget your homework: To buy the excellent TV Writer’s Workbook, by Emmy-nominated writer Ellen Sandler, and send your questions for the author to mail@tvwriterpodcast.com by March 30th, as Gray will be interviewing her on April 1st.

Buy Gray’s book for only $4.99! 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.

 
Subscribe: iTunes (Video)iTunes (Audio)PodBean (Audio)
Hosted by Gray Jones, the TV Writer Podcast is devoted to interviews with working TV writers. It is brought to you by Script magazine and Scriptmag.com, the leading source for scriptwriting information in print and on the web.