096 – Keto Shimizu (Co-Showrunner, DC’s Legends of Tomorrow)

This week, host Gray Jones catches up with Keto Shimizu, co-showrunner and EP for DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, and who formerly wrote for Arrow, Being Human, and The Cape.

Episode 096 is sponsored by Pilar Alessandra of onthepage.tv. Pilar is offering a 10% discount on any of her services: to get your 10% off, reach out to Pilar directly and mention the TV Writer Podcast.

Don’t forget that Gray interviewed Keto back in 2011 (episode 10), after she had just been staffed on The Cape. In that interview, she shares a lot about how she broke in to the industry. Check it out HERE or on any of the podcast aggregators.

Keto Shimizu biography:

Keto Shimizu was born in Princeton, NJ and spent much of her youth traveling the globe with a world music choir. A life-long fan of movies and comic books, she attended film school at Emerson College in Boston, then moved to Los Angeles in 2007 to pursue a career in the industry.

Following graduation she worked in post-production, using nights and weekends to follow her true passion: writing. Her hard work paid off, as she was accepted into NBC’s “Writers on the Verge” in 2009, and shortly thereafter was staffed on NBC’s The Cape. Following its cancellation, she moved on to SyFy’s Being Human where she spent two seasons.

She was then brought on to CW’s Arrow, and after three years writing for the DC comic adaptation she transferred to the spinoff Legends of Tomorrow where she is currently a writer and Executive Producer.

INDEX TO THE EPISODE:

2:18 – Intro, catching us up on her career since The Cape
11:15 – what was the experience like in the tough time after her first staff gig
13:59 – what to do between jobs
15:08 – using your genre calling card
18:27 – where she sees herself after Legends of Tomorrow
19:19 – the projects she’s currently developing
20:08 – on interviewing new writers
21:37 – on mentoring others, and general advice on pursuing a TV writing career
24:55 – how is the virus affecting Legends of Tomorrow

Follow Keto on Twitter: @ketomizu

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.

Upcoming weekly interviews will include Dan O’Shannon (EP of Cheers, Frasier, and Modern Family), Shawn Ryan(creator of Timeless and The Shield) and lots more!

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094 – Arika Lisanne Mittman (EP of Paradise Lost, Timeless)

This week, host Gray Jones interviews Arika Lisanne Mittman, EP of Paradise Lost on Spectrum Originals, and Timeless. She also wrote and produced on Elementary and Dexter.

Episode 094 is sponsored by Pilar Alessandra of onthepage.tv. Pilar is offering a 10% discount on any of her services: to get your 10% off, reach out to Pilar directly and mention the TV Writer Podcast.

Arika got her start as an assistant on Dawson’s Creek… though she would not get her first staff gig for several years, she landed an agent during that time.

Her career took a detour when she was asked to head up a web initiative for Sony, producing dramatic short series for their website. This experience, combined with many years networking as an assistant led to her first staff gig on South of Nowhere. One of her first scripts there led to a WGA Award nomination and a Humanitas Award.

She tells about several series where she was stuck at the staff writer level, but how she was able to catch up on Medium and Dexter, which was really the show that put her on the map.

After several seasons of Elementary, and one season of Timeless, she was finally ready for the jump to showrunner — and shares about her first experience showrunning on Timeless, a show she was very passionate about, and then co-showrunning the new Spectrum Original Paradise Lost and getting it off the ground.

Arika is very open about the challenges of balancing a family with a busy TV career, and shares great tips about how to win in showrunner interviews, on the page, and in the writer’s room.

INDEX TO THE EPISODE:

1:58 – How is the virus affecting you? How will this impact the industry going forward — is there a “new normal” that will be a different way of doing business?
8:18 – Her unconventional start in the industry, pioneering into online content for Sony; how she has seen some parallels in Twitter and networking directly with fans.
16:26 – About South of Nowhere, her first staff writing gig, and how she was nominated for a WGA award and won a Humanitas award for one of her first scripts.
20:21 – Her experience getting an agent while still an assistant at Dawson’s Creek; got fired by that agent, and signed with another later on.
22:33 – How valuable it is to be an assistant, and what your attitude and work ethic needs to be — how this network will be what gets you work later on.
24:13 – On staff, now what? Her trials and tribulations on her first few shows… repeating the staff level three times, shows getting cancelled, and how Dexter changed the game.
30:48 – On developing pilots, while still working on Dexter and having 2 young kids.
32:53 – On getting offered a position on Elementary
34:17 – How it wasn’t easy – some of her challenges working her way up.
41:12 – Landing the gig on Timeless and becoming showrunner for the first time — how being passionate about the show is a key to getting the job, and the experience from the start of the show to its cancellation and movie wrap up.
51:40 – on Paradise Lost, co-showrunning a show, starting from scratch and staffing it.
53:24 – building a diverse staff.
56:25 – Help for greener writers — what she looks for in an interview, being enthusiastic about the project and being able to articulate why, as well as what you bring to the table.
1:00:49 – What she looks for on the page.
1:02:38 – Juggling young kids and a writing room, or working from home developing projects — how does she manage? What is her writing habit?
1:04:11 – Final thoughts — general career advice to greener writers.

Follow Arika on Twitter: @arikalisanne

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.

Upcoming weekly interviews will include Michael Narducci (EP, The Originals), Keto Shimizu (EP, Legends of Tomorrow), Dan O’Shannon (EP of Cheers, Frasier, and Modern Family) and lots more!

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093 – Sarah Watson (Creator of The Bold Type, Author of Most Likely)

This week, host Gray Jones returns to the Skype format due to the Coronavirus quarantine, but you’re sure to love his interview with Sarah Watson, creator of The Bold Type and executive producer on Parentood!

Episode 093 is sponsored by Pilar Alessandra of onthepage.tv. Pilar is offering a 10% discount on her interactive online class, Writing the First Draft, which started April 4th, but can be joined any time up to the second class on April 11th. To get your 10% off, use the code onthepage10 at checkout. 

Sarah is very open about the challenges along the way, and how she was able to spin some of the toughest experiences into victories, including her incredibly hopeful young adult novel, Most Likely. Just like the message of the book, she is optimistic that the world is changing for the better, and that the upcoming generation will be the key.

Learn about the innovative way she turned a class she taught at UCLA into a virtual writers room… how getting on staff wasn’t the Holy Grail, but each new opportunity taught her invaluable lessons… how getting onto a network show really propelled her career forward, and how she really found her voice working with Jason Katims on Parenthood… how and why she cancelled a meeting and went straight to Disneyland to buy a season’s pass… how taking a year off and being unavailable turned her into a hot commodity, even leading to a successful pitch to Steven Spielbergand an option on her book!

She also talks about what it was like to be in production on a pilot and getting ready for the big launch of her book, and having to shut it all down overnight because of COVID-19.

INDEX TO THE EPISODE:

0:00 – Introduction
2:57 – Interview starts
3:15 – Shooting pilot, book launch interrupted by COVID-19
9:45 – TV writing course Sarah teaches at UCLA, and why that program is special
13:38 – How Sarah got started, working on Rachel’s Room
15:23 – Early days, how Sarah got on staff
18:44 – How Sarah’s career really took off when she landed a gig on a network show
24:21 – Working on The Middleman with Javi Grillo-Marxuach
26:37 – Writing on Parenthood, and how she really found her voice
29:14 – How she got an overall deal and started to develop shows
34:50 – All the details about developing The Bold Type which is on its fourth season
38:38 – How a soul crushing year led to a hopeful YA novel
44:20 – Details about her untitled re-enactment pilot, and pitching to Steven Spielberg
50:59 – On adapting her YA novel for Amazon
51:45 – Advice to greener writers

Follow Sarah on Twitter: @SarahWatson42

Speaking of COVID-19, 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 $1/month! 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 1,000 TV writers. Find previous episodes and other resources at www.tvwriterpodcast.com.

Upcoming weekly interviews will include Arika Lisanne Mittman (Paradise Lost, Timeless), Michael Narducci (The Originals), and lots more!

 

WATCH NOW:

LISTEN NOW:

Lisa Alden – Intro to Power of the Pitch

Informative introduction to Lisa Alden’s “Power of the Pitch” workshops – learn how to pitch a script for an original TV pilot from somebody who has sold every one in the room! Even if you plan on writing it on spec, learning how to pitch it will exponentially develop your project and save you months of writing wasted drafts.

Are you in L.A. this Saturday, April 19, 2014? Sign up for the 2-day Power of the Pitch seminar ASAP (she’s offering it at a discount)! The second day will be May 4th. Get the details on Lisa’s blog: lisaaldenme.tumblr.com

If you’re watching this after the fact, don’t worry… there’s tons of valuable tips in the presentation.

About Lisa: after a successful career as a movie executive (New Line, Universal, Fox) Lisa joined the second season writing staff of Entourage. After staying there for four amazing years, she moved on to a short-lived NBC show Lipstick Jungle. It was during the WGA strike (that interrupted that show) that she made the decision toto start writing her own TV pilots. In the last few years, she has sold every show that she’s pitched – to Fox21, HBO, MTV and ABC Family. As she continues to pursue her created by” dream, she enjoys teaching other writers how to create their own original pilots and develop the confidence to pitch them. Lisa teaches TV writing in the Professional Program at UCLA, and teaches her successful “Power of the Pitch” workshops at various locations around Los Angeles. She also works one on one with writers in both mediums of television and screenwriting. If you live in West Hollywood and see a tall skinny girl with four crazy dogs and an Urth Cafe coffee cup walking around, that’s probably her. Happy Writing!

Follow Lisa on Twitter: @LisaAlden3

Bookmark Lisa’s blog: lisaaldenme.tumblr.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.

091 – Khanisha Foster (“How I Wrote That” Podcast)

This week, Gray Jones interviews Khanisha Foster, host of the Stephen’s College M.F.A program’s “How I Wrote That” podcast, which features Hollywood’s most successful working female writers discussing their journey and current projects.

Khanisha Foster is a mixed race actress, writer, teaching artist, the Associate Artistic Director of 2nd Story and a TCG’s Young Leader of Color. She is currently enrolled in the M.F.A program and touring with her Solo Show “Actor of Color.”

Follow Khanisha on Twitter: @KhanishaFoster.

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.

083 – Hilary Winston (Bad Teacher)

Hilary Winston is the creator and showrunner of Bad Teacher, which premieres April 24 at 9:30 pm on CBS! Gray Jones caught up with her a few days before the premiere.

In the interview, Hilary has great tips on career development and networking, as well as writing, pitching, and selling pilots. She also has a fascinating personal story… how she started as an intern at the White House in the Clinton administration and ended up writing comedy in Hollywood… how even after writing scripts on a writing staff, becoming an assistant for several years was the best thing for her career.

Hilary’s official bio:

Hilary Winston is an author and writer/producer of television and film. Prior to developing and executive producing Bad Teacher, Winston wrote for network and cable television series, including the Emmy Award-winning comedy My Name is Earl, Happy Endings, and Community.

Winston expanded into novel writing and is the author of a dating memoir, My Boyfriend Wrote a Book about Me, which she adapted as a movie for Paramount Studios. Also, she pens a monthly column for Playboy Magazine.

Winston began her writing career by getting people coffee at various places like National Public Radio and Hollywood Squares. She can now proudly say someone else gets her coffee. Unfortunately, she doesn’t like coffee.

Winston grew up in Corpus Christi, Texas. Currently, she resides in Los Angeles with her husband and her cats, Lolly and Gordon.

Make sure to watch Bad Teacher Thursdays at 9:30 pm on CBS!

Follow Hilary on Twitter: @hilarywinston

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.