040 – Phil Klemmer (Veronica Mars, Chuck)

Today brings not just one but two interviews with Phil Klemmer, a writer on all five seasons of Chuck, and all four seasons of Veronica Mars. We also launch the new “Video Tips” segment of the podcast, and welcome a number of new sponsors.

After graduating with a classics major at Stanford, Phil Klemmer moved to L.A. and became a reader for Propaganda Films. There, he worked with such names as Michel Gondry and Spike Jonze, though his first break would come through Rob Thomas, who he met through Rob’s “crazy Halloween parties.”

Based on a Six Feet Under spec script that Phil wrote in two weeks, Rob hired him to write on Veronica Mars, a job that would last four seasons.

After Veronica Mars, Phil got a job on NBC’s Chuck, a show that has always been on the bubble for renewal. After the third season, renewal news came late, and most of the Chuck writers, including Phil, took jobs on other shows.

Phil describes what it was like to work on NBC’s Undercovers, a show that he says was doomed even before it aired, and then how he fortuitously returned to Chuck mid-season, immediately after Undercovers was cancelled.

Then Klemmer talks about the present, sharing how the cast and crew of Chuck are gelling like never before, but are already nostalgic about the end, as Chuck wraps up production for good on December 7th.

In the Video Tips section, Gray talks about how easy it is to add custom color looks to your showcase film or webisodes using Red Giant Software’s Magic Bullet Suite.

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.

032 – Rob Thomas (Veronica Mars, Party Down)

Do spec pilot scripts sell? What about pilots shot on spec? This week Gray talks to successful author-writer-producer Rob Thomas, creator of Cupid, Veronica Mars, and most recently, Party Down.

Rob Thomas has a fascinating story. He went from basketball and football player to rock band bassist, then graduated from college with a history degree and taught high school … all by his early twenties!

He moved to L.A. in the early 1990s to work at Channel One News, an L.A.-based TV news show aimed at teenagers. He then got a book deal, and published four young adult novels and a collection of short stories.

One of his novels led him to his break in Hollywood, and he got on the staff of Dawson’s Creek in its first season. Fourteen months after starting Dawson’s Creek, Rob wrote and sold the pilot Cupid, which was picked up! Halfway through its first season he became the showrunner.

Rob shares some great stories about how he came up with the idea for the critically acclaimed Veronica Mars, which he wrote on spec, and also how he not only wrote Party Down on spec, but shot the pilot with his own money at his own house!

Follow Rob on Twitter: @slaverat1

Visit Rob’s web site: www.slaverats.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.