Host: You have if you have a show and you’re going on you’re going to pitch it, do you have that in mind always like okay I’m going to pitch to HBO. These are the people I’m pitching to. How do they react?
Rosanne: Yeah. What do I think they want. What part of this is going to be most interesting to them? Their own personal backgrounds. I mean you need to know as much of that as possible. Also so you don’t step into any landmines, right? I mean you know everyone has a joke about the worst pitch they ever did and the worst pitch I ever did was for a movie idea and I went in to meet with someone and…
Host: What — can you share what the movie idea was by chance?
Rosanne: Yu know what? I honestly can’t even remember anymore. You do so much for this. It’s really — I don’t — I don’t remember. I just remember I had this meeting and first you do a little chit-chatting right — a little chit-chat general stuff. Who are you? To see if you even like each other and maybe if this doesn’t sell they’ll want you to do something else with them. So you’re hoping to make a connection and in the middle of the chit-chatting, I don’t know why but the concept of cheerleading came up and I said something derogatory about cheerleaders because I certainly wasn’t one in high school and you know they’re easy to pick on except the woman I was meeting with had been a cheerleader.
Rosanne: So right away, you’re like oh I just insulted her. Okay, fine keep talking — keep — let’s find a thing we have in common right? At some point later, it came up — smoking came up — and it’s generally pretty good to say smoking is stupid. It kills people. Who the hell would waste their money on a pack of cigarettes. She grew up on a tobacco farm in Kentucky.
Host: Oh my god. No. No.
Rosanne: I didn’t know that. I didn’t have the ability to get that kind of information back in the day right? I was like, oh my god, what am I going to say now?
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.