Host: How would you pitch to a showrunner who seemed deflective to your ideas? Or like, I know that’s a loaded question.
Rosanne: Oh no, that’s an excellent question. That can happen because relationships grow and change. People get mad a each other for some reason. Maybe other people poison someone’s attitude about somebody else on the show, simply because they want to get rid of them because they’re competition. I mean, it doesn’t always happen. I’ve worked for some lovely people for whom I had a marvelous time and who were very supportive and wanted to help new writers moving up and they really were — there’s some wonderful people in this town. I really say the problem is we hear more of the bad stories than the good ones. But yes, in case such a thing happens, I think you should take a psychology class frankly. I think everyone should take a psychology class to understand the personalities out there and then you have to find new ways around that. When I felt like there might be someone getting in my way I figured out who my allies were and you made sure to connect with them. At certain points, there were certain things I wanted to change in a script and I knew a person at the table would argue against it. So, I went privately to a different producer on the show, who I knew I actually did get along with well, and explained why I didn’t like something and he was like… He had to agree with me first, right, or he wouldn’t help. He agreed with my point of view and so he knew he could present that in the room because he had a higher title than I did at the time — and so he did and when he presented it, it got accepted. So, I went sideways to get my ideas moved forward. So you know, you find a way.
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.