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 Dias on Twitter: @DiasDave

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.

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 stand-up 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 nonfiction 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! 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.

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 Writers Guild Top Ten Awards.

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.

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 Zmak on Twitter: @wilzmak

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.

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’s “Call Me Fitz,” starring Jason Priestley, begins airing in April.

Follow Matt on Twitter: @mattmaclennan

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.

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 high definition mini-episode highlighting the event.

Follow Karen Walton on Twitter: @inkcanada

Make sure you also follow Gray on Twitter 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 several hundred TV writers. Find previous episodes and other resources at www.tvwriterpodcast.com.

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; and by Final Draft scriptwriting software, the entertainment industry standard for scriptwriting worldwide.

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