TV Eh? Seminar (AKA Why was the Frame(lines) update a day early?)

Today I want to a “Writing for television” seminar with NAME, put on by “TV Eh?”. Full disclosure: I didn’t pay for this seminar, I won it in an email response contest so a big thank you to Praxis for putting that on and another thank you to my Blackberry for making me way too efficient at responding to my emails. Moving on…

I’ve been to different industry events before, most of the time on a discounted or free student pass, as a volunteer, or as a guest of someone who was there legitimately. Whenever I’ve gone in the past I’ve always received some value from the event; usually some information or advice that I didn’t have before I started, and always some motivation. Television writing isn’t something I had ever planned on doing — as much as you can ‘plan’ on anything in this business, and I don’t know why I responded to that email so quickly: probably the allure of something free. But it turned out that this seminar had a lot of what I needed.

First off, going to this seminar didn’t make me want to write for TV. As lovely and creative and amazingly hectic as it sounded, I’m not as passionate about it as I am my other work. Also, TV never stops. It NEVER STOPS. And I need to take some space in order for me to be a functioning creative. A lot of what I heard were refreshers on things that other mentors and speakers have told me, but there was also some good new stuff in there. Including a really great scriptwriting metaphor that centres around an umbrella!

The biggest thing that I took away from this seminar was about pitching. Going in I understood the idea of a pitch – telling someone your idea in hopes of gaining something (money, contacts, support) in return for your sheer creative genius. But I never had someone break down pitching, as in how long should it be? (Usually about 45 minutes for a network pitch meeting, but have shorter pitches to pull out in other scenarios) What should I say first? (Typically: World, Characters, Tone, Pilot Episode).

And finally some of my favourite quotes:

” ‘There’s some good stuff in there’ means it’s sh*t.”
“Just try to write something that, when you watch it, doesn’t make you want to hang yourself”

There were some other gems, but I can’t give them all away now can I?

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