Thanks to the gracious invitation from my Screenwriting Research Network colleague Paolo Russo – and a grant he was able to procure (and in the before-Covid time) I was able to spend a week at Oxford Brookes University working with the screenwriting masters students in Paolo’s course. At the culmination of the week, I gave this lecture on how writers rooms worked in the States.
Touched by an Angel I spent a lot of time on. I actually started my career as a high school teacher at an all-girl academy which is funny because now I teach at an all-girl college and then I was a receptionist and then a writer’s assistant. So these are the stages of how you get into a writer’s room. Either you have to have a friend who’s a writer or you get an agent which is almost nearly impossible without having a job already or you become the friend to writers by getting a job working for them in some fashion. I actually know someone who got a job because he was the ski instructor to the writer’s wife and he gave the wife a script which she gave her husband and he liked it enough he hired the ski instructor to be a writer on his show. So however you can get in the face of writers is an important thing. That’s what internships are very good at. That’s what interviewing people — if you have a school newspaper or someplace you can get published with something or a blog and you offer to interview someone, you can make an introduction. That’s really an important thing. So I went through — all these are a bunch of shows I was an assistant on. Then I was a freelance writer, which is what we do in LA and then I was hired full-time on Touched by an Angel.
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