Host: Do most production companies, most executives, once the pilot is out there and people respond to it, do they normally just kind of back up after that. They’re like okay it seems like you’ve got a show on your hands. We’ll let you do it the way you want to do it.
Rosanne: It depends on your relationship with the network. Obviously, the kinds of people like Shonda Rhimes, as I mentioned, someone who’s got a track record like that can say I know what I’m doing leave me alone. Netflix basically promises that. That’s how they wooed people away from broadcast and cable. They’re like we promise not to give you notes. Just whatever you like to do, you go do it, and yay for you, right? So Ryan Murphy’s doing Pose and things like that. They’re not going to give a ton of notes. If you’re new, they might still because they’re trying to form what is going to be a sort of a Netflix brand. If you’re new in the network world or the cable world yeah you’ll get that kind of stuff for a little bit until you have a track record and can say I don’t — or you’ll still get notes but you have much more ability to say no can’t do that changes the trajectory of the show or that’s wrong for my character. Whatever those things are and that’s part of what I was saying about them earlier, you learn how to manage notes. You learn how to say all right I’ll give you this but I’m keeping that. Or we going to do this because we want this kind of an episode and if you don’t like it that’s too bad. Next week we’ll do this kind of episode which will you know smooth down some feathers if people have a problem with whatever storyline we gave last week. So your ability to be more autonomous grows as your career grows.
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.