…and I always say Beverly Hills 90210 is an excellent study for people in how who the showrunner is makes a difference because that show was created as a pilot by Darren Starr who’s still famously writing pilots and then he left and the show was run, managed on a daily basis by Chuck Rosen. If you look at the pilot of 90210, it’s really a bunch of rich kids and fancy clothes hanging out at the beach having bonfires. There’s not a whole lot of meat to it. Two Ohio kid’s dad moves to town because he’s an accountant and he’s going to work in Beverly Hills and so their midwest values meet Beverly hills values and that’s all you get. Chuck took over and he was the child of a surgeon at Cedars-Sinai. He grew up in Beverly Hills. So those children became real three-dimensional human beings because one of the issues is how do you — how do you connect to a character that’s uber-rich. Like they have no problems because they’re rich and that’s what most people would think because we’re not all rich but he knew kids who had drug problems. He knew kids whose parents had drug problems and therefore weren’t there for them. So he looked at the fact that it doesn’t matter how much money you have, if there’s a problem in your family, it still makes you vulnerable and that is going to make an audience interested in you.
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.