116 – Tawnya Bhattacharya, Founder of Script Anatomy

This week, host Gray Jones interviews Tawnya Bhattacharya, founder of the #1 TV writing school in the USA, Script Anatomy

Please watch Tawnya’s original interview from June 2013 (episode 078) to find out about her background, how she teamed up with Ali Laventhol (interviewed in episode 115), and how and why she started Script Anatomy.

TAWNYA BHATTACHARYA BIOGRAPHY:

Tawnya Benavides Bhattacharya is the Founder & CEO of Script Anatomy and currently the Co-Executive Producer of Apple’s “Salsa.”

A screenwriting teacher for the past 15 years, Bhattacharya launched Script Anatomy in 2011 just as her career was taking off. Her objective: to use her experience of breaking into the TV industry and building a career to help other writers do the same.

She created a unique writing curriculum with trademark tools for development, writing and rewriting, which have helped hundreds of writers get a job writing for TV, find representation, or sell pilots, screenplays and novels. 

As a guest instructor, Tawnya has brought the Script Anatomy method to the Disney | ABC Writing Program, The WGA Foundations, WGFestival, the Austin Film Festival, the Producer’s Guild (PGA) Power of Diversity Workshop, Hugo House in Seattle, the Willamette Writers Conference, Stage 32, The International Screenwriters Association, TV Writers Fund and the CineStory TV Writers Retreat in Idyllwild. Her column “Your TV Guide“ can be read in Script Magazine. She’s also been a guest on several podcasts, including Scripts & Scribes, Sell Your Screenplay, The TV Writer Podcast, and On the Page.

Bhattacharya and her writing partner, Ali Laventhol, are Co-Executive Producers and prior to Apple’s Salsa, she and her writing partner have written on “Ginny & Georgia” (Netflix), “A Million Little Things” (ABC), “Famous in Love” (Freeform), “The Night Shift” (NBC), “Perception” (TNT), “The Client List” (Lifetime) and “Fairly Legal” (USA). They’ve sold pilots to eOne, Lionsgate and MGM and been hired to do rewrites for Legendary. They are currently writing a movie for Ozy Media and Lifetime based on Trump’s “Zero Tolerance” policy and family separation at the border.

They are former NBC Writers on the Verge fellows, and were semi-finalists for the ABC Disney Fellowship before getting a job that took them out of the running. Bhattacharya was also a FOX Writer’s Intensive fellow. The team is repped by Industry Entertainment and Morris Yorn and UTA.

Bhattacharya, an alumnus of Cornish College of the Arts Conservatory, studied acting and playwriting, and interned with playwright, Marie Irene Fornes and New City Theater in Seattle. She has performed in Seattle, Chicago, Austria, Germany, Czech Republic and LA.

INDEX TO THE EPISODE:

2:14 – Interview start, intro
3:22 – Why she feels Script Anatomy is the #1 TV writing school in America.
7:08 – The value of current working writers doing the teaching. Talks about some of her teachers and the courses they teach.
12:24 – Theory vs practical, how there is a huge system teaching theory, but Script Anatomy teaches practical tools. Tawnya expands on their method.
26:36 – Explain why they teach a lot about how to develop projects. Tawnya tells about some of the tools they use, particularly around theme.
34:58 – The successes of Script Anatomy alumni.
41:22 – The community outside the classes.
44:42 – Sponsor break – visit sponsors avgearguy.com & drivingfootage.com.
45:52 – Script Anatomy’s offerings in 2021.
50:24 – Where should someone start?
54:59 – Other workshops, and weekend festival they’re planning.
58:45 – Tawnya tells how to navigate their website, and script consultation services they provide.
1:02:36 – How should someone prepare for one of Script Anatomy’s classes, so they can hit the ground running?
1:05:57 – Her recommended writing books.
1:09:55 – What will set people up for success in 2021?
1:13:03 – Conclusion

Follow Tawnya on Twitter: @tbhattacharya

Visit Script Anatomy on the web: scriptanatomy.com

Follow Script Anatomy on Twitter: @scriptanatomy

Buying Final Draft screenwriting software? Use this link to support the podcast: tinyurl.com/BuyFinalDraft.

You can help with the ongoing costs of bringing these weekly podcasts to you by becoming a patron of the podcast – for as little as 25¢ per episode! There are many reward levels. CLICK HERE to find out more.

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 1,200 TV writers. Find previous episodes and other resources at www.tvwriterpodcast.com.

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115 – Ali Laventhol (Ginny & Georgia, A Million Little Things)

This week, host Gray Jones interviews Ali Laventhol, most recently co-executive producer on ‘Ginny & Georgia‘ with her writing partner Tawnya Bhattacharya of Script Anatomy.

Ali Laventhol Biography

Ali Laventhol got her start in show business working on movies like ‘National Treasure: Book of Secrets,’ ‘Terminator: Salvation‘ and ‘Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest.’ Only not as a writer. She was a visual effects compositor for features, commercials and music videos before making the leap to her original love: writing.

Teaming up with Tawnya Bhattacharya and together attending the NBC Writers on the Verge writing fellowship led to staff gigs on shows like ‘A Million Little Things,’ ‘Famous In Love,’ ‘Perception,’ and ‘The Client List.’ Most recently the duo have been Co-Executive Producers for ‘Ginny & Georgia‘ at Netflix and ‘Salsa’ at Apple.

A former competitive equestrian and certified massage therapist, Ali currently teaches TV writing at Script Anatomy. Her free time is generally spent playing in local tennis leagues or with her rescue mutt, Mavis, who has her extremely well trained.

INDEX TO THE EPISODE:

0:04 – Intro, special discounts for podcast listeners – 15% off photo & video scanning/importing at avgearguy.com, and 20% off 9-angle driving plates at drivingfootage.com.
3:41 – Interview start, Ali’s background in visual effects.
10:22 – How she made the career transition into writing.
11:50 – Building a writing partnership with Tawnya Bhattacharya, after meeting her at Writers Boot Camp in 2005.
13:57 – How they got into NBC’s Writers on the Verge, and their experience in the writing fellowship, including getting representation and their first job. Discussion about being in a writing partnership.
19:30 – Her experience on their first staff job, ‘Fairly Legal.’
22:08 – Signposts of their subsequent 8 year successful run, going from one show to another.
25:07 – Discussing producer responsibilities, like visiting set, casting, etc.
27:35 – Their more recent projects, discussing different showrunning styles.
30:40 – Co-executive producing on ‘Ginny & Georgia’ and their most recent project for AppleTV, which was primarily developed over Zoom in a mini-room format.
33:43 – Script tips based on her wealth of experience reading scripts, and coaching and teaching through Script Anatomy.
36:51 – What Script Anatomy offers writers.
39:55 – The most common advice she gives newer writers.
46:37 – Do you really need to go to film school?
48:09 – What does she wish she had known at the start of her career, that she knows now: how different each showrunner is.
49:52 – What helps to get through the harder times?
51:13 – End of interview, how to connect with her.

Follow Ali on Twitter: @AliLaventhol.

You can help with the ongoing costs of bringing these weekly podcasts to you by becoming a patron of the podcast – for as little as 25¢ per episode! There are many reward levels. CLICK HERE to find out more.

Buying Final Draft screenwriting software? Use this link to support the podcast: tinyurl.com/BuyFinalDraft.

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 1,200 TV writers. Find previous episodes and other resources at www.tvwriterpodcast.com.

WATCH NOW:

LISTEN NOW: