089 – Mike Alber (Kirby Buckets)

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, as well as tips on idea generation:

Follow Mike on Twitter: @malber or @malber2000.

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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 Scriptmag.com, the leading source for scriptwriting information on the web.

088 – 2nd Smartest in the World Rick Rosner (Jimmy Kimmel)

What would you do if you were ranked among the top 3 smartest people in the world? This week’s guest, comedy writer Rick 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

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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 Scriptmag.com, the leading source for scriptwriting information on the web.

069 – Rick Muirragui (Suits, The Good Guys)

Rick Muirragui did everything right… moved to LA, got assistant jobs on well known shows, wrote tons of spec material, and wrote freelance episodes for the shows he worked on, but it was when he was accepted into the NBC Writers on the Verge writing fellowship that his career really took off!

Rick Muirragui grew up in Virginia, but traveled a lot because his father was in US Army. After studying journalism and writing several spec features, he moved to Los Angeles and became interested in television.

He landed assistant jobs on well known sci fi shows ‘Roswell‘ and ‘Firefly.’ One show led to another, and he wrote freelance episodes when he could. However, he was on several short-lived shows, and his first potential staff writing job got killed by the 2007 Writers Strike.

Rick decided his career needed a boost, so he applied to the NBC’s Writers on the Verge fellowship program in 2008. He got an agent through a script he wrote in that program, and finally landed a staff job on ‘Men of a Certain Age.’ From there, he has written for ‘Past Life,’ ‘The Good Guys,’ and his current series, ‘Suits.’

In his interview, Rick discusses the “Dos and Don’ts” of writers room etiquette, the importance of outlining, and the destructive power of negativity vs. the constructive power of “what if.” In addition, he takes us through the process of a TV episode, from idea to finished script.

Follow Rick on Twitter: @the_real_rick

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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.

067 – LaMont Ferrell (Let’s Stay Together, Reed Between the Lines)

Acting, directing, writing, producing, teaching, stand-up comedy… LaMont Ferrell wears a lot of hats!

Originally from Philadelphia, LaMont Ferrell has been entertaining audiences for many years. He has performed for a variety of ages and ethnicities across the US, and around the world. A local magazine describes his act as, “Energetic, creative and original, but most of all just plain funny.”

After winning the 1996 Comic Relief Comedy Festival’s “Funniest New Comic” Award, he took his comedic writing talents to TV, and started writing for various sitcoms such as BET’s ‘Nothin’ But a Woman,’ the WB’s ‘The Parent ’Hood‘ and UPN’s ‘Moesha.’ He won The Media Projects 2000 Shine Award for a Moesha episode he co-wrote.

LaMont is a busy pilot writer, having had sales to the Fox Network, TBS, and the UPN Network. He also works in motion picture writing, having been hired to punch up the movie, ‘The Cookout,’ and is in pre-production for ‘Family Business,’ a film based on the true story of his family’s restaurant business in Philadelphia.

In 2003, LaMont formed his own production company, Just Jokes Entertainment, and produced and directed three volumes of his own stand-up comedy DVD series. ‘LaMont Ferrell’s Just Jokes Comedy Tour’ features himself, several national known comedians and hilarious skits. The DVD is available online at www.justjokesentertainment.com, Netflix.com and various media outlets around the country.

He is currently a writer for BET’s series ‘Reed Between the Lines‘ and ‘Let’s Stay Together.’ Also, you’ve might have seen him in his recurring role on the hit NBC show, ‘The Office.’

In his interview, LaMont discusses how to train your observational skills, being a “clean” comic, and being an entrepreneur in today’s market.

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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.

047 – Ross Brown (The Cosby Show, Byte-Sized Television)

From family TV to teaching web series writing… Ross Brown wrote for some of the biggest family sitcoms of the eighties and nineties, including creating a show that would be the launching pad for Halle Berry‘s career.

Few of us have more humble beginnings… Ross Brown literally started out on his hands and knees, as a stand-in for a dog in a dog commercial. Clearly there was nowhere to go but up! And up he went, as a 2nd assistant director and then 1st assistant director on such hits as films Private Benjamin and National Lampoon’s Vacation, as well as TV series Knots Landing.

But Ross wanted to write… and write he did. A spec Webster episode led a staff gig on The Cosby Show, followed by The Facts of Life, Who’s The Boss, Step by Step, and many other popular sitcoms. He also created prime time series for ABC, CBS and the WB, such as Living Dolls, in which he helped cast young model Halle Berry in her first acting role.

Ross then began teaching, and expanding his writing horizons. His play Hindsight received two staged readings at the Pasadena Playhouse (Pasadena, California) in July of 2007. His short play Field of Vision was performed in Chicago at the Appetite Theater’s Bruschetta 2008 festival.

Currently Ross is an Assistant Professor of Film and Media Arts at Chapman University in Orange, CA, where he developed a series of cutting-edge courses on creating TV series for the Internet. This series led to his popular book, “Byte-Sized Television: Create Your Own TV Series for the Internet.”

Discover more about Ross at his website: http://bytesized.tv

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.

046 – John Vorhaus (Comic Toolbox, Married… with Children)

John Vorhaus is best known as the author of The Comic Toolbox: How to be Funny Even if You’re Not. This seminal book on writing comedy for television and film is now available in four languages, and continues to be a definitive source of information and inspiration for writers from Santa Monica to Scandinavia.

An international consultant in television and film script development, Vorhaus has worked for television networks, film schools, and production companies in 30 countries on four continents.

Vorhaus’ own screenwriting credits include ‘Married… with Children,’ ‘Head of the Class,’ ‘The Sentinel,’ ‘The Flash‘ and many overseas television shows and films, including the sitcoms ‘House Arrest’ and ‘Pretty, Sick and Twisted,’ and the movie ‘Save Angel Hope.’

John is also the author of the six-volume Killer Poker series, plus miscellaneous other books on the subject, including the novel Under the Gun, a “how-to whodunit” set in the world of high stakes tournament poker. His other novels include The California Roll and its upcoming sequel, The Albuquerque Turkey.

Vorhaus is a graduate of Carnegie-Mellon University and a member of the Writers Guild of America. He has taught writing at Northwestern University and the American Film Institute, and lectured for such disparate groups as Mensa and the New Jersey Romance Writers Association.

Discover more about John at his website: http://johnvorhaus.com

Follow John on Twitter: @TrueFactBarFact

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.

038 – Kristin Newman (Chuck, That 70’s Show)

Comedy writer Kristin Newman spent almost 10 years writing on very well known comedies, including having her own pilot shot and picked up to series (though not aired). She now brings her talents to a one-hour drama, on NBC’s Chuck.

Kristin Newman got an early break, with a production staff job on ‘Everybody Loves Raymond.’ She graduated to writer’s assistant on ‘Nikita,’ ‘Mad About You,’ and ‘That 70’s Show.’

She ended up stuck in the 70’s (in a good way!) for the next 7 years, rising up from staff writer to supervising producer. Moving on to ‘How I Met Your Mother‘ as co-executive producer, she also landed an overall deal at Fox… which was unfortunately cut short when the writers strike happened.

Because of an injury, Kristin was not able to walk the picket lines. What could she do? She wrote the pilot ‘Single with Parents,’ which was shot with Alyssa Milano and Beau Bridges, and picked up to series… though it unfortunately never aired.

Then came NBC’s ‘Chuck!‘ She entered the staff as co-executive producer in its fourth season, and is currently breaking the series finale. Make sure to watch the final season, when Chuck returns on Friday, October 28th!

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.

025 – Karey Dornetto (Portlandia, Community)

Comedy writer & stand-up comic Karey Dornetto has worked on all kinds of comedy shows, from sketch to traditional sitcom, and many in between.

The daughter of a military professor and an ex-nun, Karey was headed for a life of financial trading, before taking the plunge to join the sketch comedy group The Perch, in Charlotte, NC. Still working in finance, she moved to New York and began to perform stand-up comedy.

In New York, she wrote a story called “Fat Basketball Diaries” for the online magazine, Girlcomic.net… this story would prove to be a major turning point for her, as the response to the story convinced her she could become a writer. It also helped her land management in L.A., and her first TV writing gig, on South Park.

Moving to Los Angeles, Karey landed gig after gig on a wide variety of comedy shows, such as The Jamie Kennedy Experiment, Dog Bites Man, Arrested Development, Community, and her most current show, Portlandia. She has a lot of great stories about her path through the industry, as well as her experiences with the different comedy and writing styles.

For more information and writing samples, visit her website at kareydornetto.com.

Follow Karey on Twitter: @KareyDornetto

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.

024 – Courtney Lilly (The Cleveland Show, My Boys)

Comedy writer Courtney Lilly has only been in Hollywood 11 years, and yet has had tremendous success on a number of well-known sitcoms, including Arrested Development, Everybody Hates Chris, My Boys, and The Cleveland Show. You’re going to love his story!

Working as a journalist on the east coast, Courtney Lilly decided pretty quickly that journalism was not for him. He knew nothing about TV writing, but read everything he could about it, and got accepted to the Nickelodeon Fellowship’s first year, in 2000.

After staffing on the animated show Invader ZIM, Courtney tells how he ended up as an assistant to a lawyer in Encino. Though it seemed like he was far from his goal, he shares how “prepared luck” landed him an influential manager, who helped him land a staff gig on Arrested Development.

From there, Courtney goes into great detail about time on Arrested Development, Everybody Hates Chris, My Boys, and his current show, the Family Guy animated spinoff, The Cleveland Show.

He gives a lot of great tips on breaking in, including the wisdom: “Everyone takes bets… you might as well bet on yourself!”

Follow Courtney on Twitter: @CourtneyLilly

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.

005 – Emmy Winning Comedy Writer Rob Kutner

He’s won 5 Prime Time Emmys, a Grammy, a Peabody, and a Television Critics’ Association Award, and was even named a “SuperJew” by Time Out New York. No, he doesn’t have superpowers, but that hasn’t stopped comedy writer Rob Kutner from writing over 1000 episodes of great comedy shows “The Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien,” “The Daily Show” with Jon Stewart, and “Dennis Miller Live.”

Oh, and did we mention that he’s a best-selling author too? His recent satirical end-of-times bestseller “Apocalypse How: Turn the End Times into the Best of Times!” is one of the top 100 parodies at Amazon.com. Click image to play video; more details are below.

You’ll love hearing how he got his comedy start as the only Jewish kid in a Christian kindergarten class… How studies at Princeton led to him being deported from Uzbekistan… how Dennis Miller gave him his first break… and all his tips for getting in to comedy writing.

Rob recommends several books in the podcast — you can find them all, including his book “Apocalypse How,” in the TV Writer Podcast mini-Amazon store. Please CLICK HERE to support the podcast by buying books through the mini-store, or CLICK HERE to browse Amazon.com’s whole catalog.

Rob also takes the time to answer many fan questions that came in over Twitter… You can follow him at @ApocalypseHow.

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.