Host: Was there a specific instance where you had written an episode of a television show and the networking was like, we don’t like this. We don’t like this. We don’t want this and you had to be like, No and how did you do — how did you do that? How did you go about that?
Rosanne: That actually happened in my actually my second episode was a show called Picket Fences which was by David E Kelly who’d come off of LA Law and he’s done a million things since then. Quite brilliant. He wasn’t there anymore. He left the show to another producer named Jeff Melvoin who’s quite another wonderful producer in town — writer/producer — and he’s got Emmys and whatnot is brilliant, but came in to do that and it was a show about small-town America. Dad was a cop — sheriff — and mom was a doctor. So you kind of had the mix of cop and doctor shows all in one. You could decide what the episode would be and I thought that was brilliant. They had three kids right they lived in a small town and we had done — I was still a partner then — we did an episode where the younger boy, who’s about 10-ish or 11, wanted to be popular in school and we were looking at the internet and wanting to say the good and the bad. So overarching dramatic question is the internet a good influence or bad influence and of course, there’s much good about it. You can watch all kinds of educational things. You can be exposed to all kinds of things from the past that we didn’t know about. We can learn so much more about history, other countries, like I just said about Netflix shows all of that, but we wanted to balance that with okay what are the problems?
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.