The first job you have to do and any new show, of course, every new show — unless it’s someone you’ve worked with before and that that can happen but not always right sometimes your friends don’t get other jobs and so you move in with somebody else kind of. You have to understand them first. First, you have to understand their show and what do they think the show is. I give a classic example that most people will have heard of or at least seen some of The Sopranos and the joke about The Sopranos was they described the show as a family drama where dad happens to be a hitman. So if you were pitching an idea, you weren’t pitching a crime. You were pitching mom and dad had a fight and I’m afraid they’re getting divorced so I’m going to pretend to be sick to draw mommy and daddy together and while I’m doing that, daddy gets busy having to kill someone and I don’t get his attention right? Always the the dad’s story with that. Crime was a secondary thing and if you didn’t understand that you would pitch the incorrect kind of stories and you’d never win right? So first you have to understand what the person thinks their show is.
It’s always fun to sit down with students and share stories about entering the television industry and how things work at all stages and I had that opportunity the other day.
Daniela Torres, a just-graduated (Congratulations!) student of the Columbia College Semester in LA program asked me to guest on a podcast she had recently begun hosting with another college student she met during her internship (good example of networking in action!).
We could have talked all morning (the benefit of a 3 hour class session) but we held it to about an hour and fifteen minutes or so. Hopefully, along the way I answered some questions you might have about how the business works. So often it amounts to working hard at being a better writer and gathering a group of other talented, hard-working people around you so you can all rise together.
Dr. Rosanne Welch is a television writer with credits that include Beverly Hills 90210, Picket Fences, ABCNEWS: Nightline and Touched by an Angel. She also teaches Television Writing and the Art of Film at San Jose State University.
Rosanne discusses what made shows like Beverly Hills 90210 compelling, what to do and not to do when attempting to pitch a show to broadcast or streaming, what most young writers neglect in their writing process, and much more!
The Courier Thirteen Podcast is available on YouTube, Spotify, Apple Podcasts, SoundCloud, and Audible.