027 – Eric Haywood (Soul Food, Relative Stranger)

Writer-director Eric Haywood started out as a successful Atlanta-based music video director, but since moving to Los Angeles has written for cable and network television, has written a TV movie, and has written and directed many short films. You’ll love hearing how he has approached every step of his interesting journey through the industry!


Eric was born and raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He began his career as a music video director while still enrolled at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in filmmaking. After relocating to Atlanta, Eric went on to direct and produce videos featuring such artists as Usher, Cee-Lo Green, Outkast, New Edition, Ice-T, Tupac Shakur, and legendary Parliament-Funkadelic bassist Bootsy Collins. His video for Bay Area rapper E-40’s song “Sprinkle Me” was selected by MTV and XXL Magazine as the #10 Greatest West-Coast Rap Video of All Time.

Eric then turned his focus to writing, and moved to Los Angeles, where he landed jobs as a writer on all five seasons of Showtime’s Soul Food: The Series, and NBC’s police drama Hawaii. Along the way, he has periodically returned to his filmmaking roots, writing and directing three short films (Staring at the Sun, Intersection, and Nick of Time), each of which has screened at a number of film festivals around the country.

Most recently, Eric wrote the Hallmark Channel Original Movie Relative Stranger, starring Eriq LaSalle and directed by Charles Burnett. After premiering in the spring of 2009, the film garnered three NAACP Image Award nominations and a Best Supporting Actress Emmy® nomination for Cicely Tyson.

Follow Eric on Twitter: @Eric_Haywood

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.

016 – Ellen Sandler (Author, TV Writer’s Workbook)

This week we have an absolute treat… a 46-minute interview with Emmy-nominated writer-producer, playwright, director, and author of the TV Writer’s Workbook, Ellen Sandler!


Entertainment Today calls Ellen Sandler the “Dalai Lama of television writing”… her TV Writer’s Workbook is used by the top film schools in the world, including USC, UCLA, and NYU. The praise is well-deserved… like Save the Cat by Blake Snyder does for feature writing, Ellen’s book comes from a writer’s approach, telling you in very simple, easy to understand terms, virtually everything you need to know to be a successful TV writer.

Ellen is a seasoned writer — she was nominated for an Emmy for her work as a Co-Executive Producer of the CBS hit series, Everybody Loves Raymond. She has written for many other prime time network television comedies, including ABC’s Coach, and has created original television pilots for ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox Family, Oxygen Network, and the Disney Channel.

Both a teacher and a consultant, Ellen provides script development and career coaching for professionals and emerging writers in the entertainment industry, as well as writing workshops and seminars at conferences and universities both in the US and abroad.

Do we need to tell you she has a ton of wisdom to share? Even if you haven’t read her book, you’ll benefit greatly from the interview. If you have, you’ll get a lot of extra depth.

Follow Ellen on Twitter: @sandlerink — or visit her website at www.sandlerink.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.