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TV Criticism ft. Heather Mason (SyFy Fangrrls/Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls) & LaToya Ferguson (The A.V. Club/IndieWire) (PT81) - Paper Team

Alex and Nick invite Heather Mason (from SyFy Fangrrls & Amy Poehler's Smart Girls) and LaToya Ferguson (from The A.V. Club & IndieWire) for a lighthearted conversation about the current state of TV criticism in the era of peak content and serialized storytelling. What does TV criticism look like today? What is the process of reviewing a TV show? What can writers learn from critics? When are shows reviewed as a whole as opposed to episodically? How can critics review so much content in the...


Digital Content & Emerging Platforms ft. Eva Miller (Canvas Media Studios) (PT80) - Paper Team

Alex and Nick invite Eva Miller, Manager of Development at Canvas Media Studios, to discuss digital content and cross-platform storytelling. What does the digital landscape look like for scripted content? How do stories evolve with the format? What genres are more suited to online formats over traditional linear forms? How can interactivity drive narratives in unique ways? How are digital content or creatives discovered? What is the development process for digital shows? Plus, a special...


TV Spec Script 201: Starting Your Research (PT79) - Paper Team

Alex and Nick discuss how to start researching your TV spec script and the show you selected. Which episodes and scripts should you watch and read to prepare? Where should your spec script fit within a show? How do you research the structure, characters and stories? What should you look for in scripts of the show you want to spec? Plus, we answer more voicemails. The Paper Team does some reverse-engineering... SHOWNOTES Content Paper Scraps: Spec script headers (01:11) 1 - Preparing the...


Acting for TV ft. Jona Xiao (Halt and Catch Fire/Being Mary Jane) (PT78) - Paper Team

Alex and Nick invite Jona Xiao (Halt and Catch Fire, Being Mary Jane, Gifted) to discuss acting for television, and what writers can learn from actors. What is the casting process like in TV? How are character descriptions influenced by the script? What preparation can actors do before going into production? What makes an interesting character and compelling scenes for an actor? What can TV writers learn from performers? The Paper Team gets set to recur... SHOWNOTES Content Early...


Analyzing Great TV Scenes: Case Studies of Deep Space Nine, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, The Good Place, The Good Wife, Lost and The Simpsons (PT77) - Paper Team

Alex and Nick break down six iconic TV scenes to look at what makes them engaging and unique. The moments explored in this episode include scenes from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, The Good Place, The Good Wife, Lost, and The Simpsons. What makes for a great TV scene? How can a simple exchange play off character and story? How can dialogue be used to define a moment? What are ways acting, directing and editing influence the impact of a scene? What TV writing...


Being a TV Showrunner’s Assistant ft. Sydney Mitchel (NCIS: New Orleans/Outcast) and Zimran Jacob (Marvel’s The Punisher) (PT76) - Paper Team

Alex and Nick invite Sydney Mitchel from NCIS: New Orleans & Outcast, and Zimran Jacob from Marvel's The Punisher, to discuss the responsibilities, duties, and opportunities of being a TV showrunner's assistant. What does the job of a showrunner's assistant entail? How do you get hired on a show? What does a typical work-day look like? How do assistants communicate with their showrunner? How creatively involved are showrunner's assistants? What amount of notes and feedback do showrunners...


Putting Yourself Out There (PT75) - Paper Team

Alex and Nick discuss how you can put yourself out there as a creative and TV writer. From proactive networking to content generation, learn ways of staying in the loop and in people's minds. How do you build new connections and foster meaningful professional relationships? How do you stay in the conversation for new jobs and opportunities? What are ways of putting your content out there and creating a presence? What should you look for in a mentor? Plus, we talk finding a first agent. The...


TV Production Companies ft. Logan Kriete (Producer & Development Executive) (PT74) - Paper Team

Alex and Nick invite Logan Kriete, producer and development executive at Escape Artists (and formerly from Superb Entertainment/Baer Bones), to discuss how TV production companies work and find their projects. What are overall deals or "PODs" and why are they important? How is material turned into a TV show? What makes a script stand out for an executive? How does the development and notes process work? How do production companies sell shows to studios and networks? How does the evolving...


TV Script Formatting (PT73) - Paper Team

Alex and Nick go over how formatting works in TV scripts and the various pre-draft documents you'll be writing on TV shows. What are the formatting and structural differences in writing a TV screenplay as opposed to a feature? How do half-hours and one-hours differ in their acts and page count? Which documents will you be writing before going to draft on a TV episode? What are important formatting elements to know and common mistakes to avoid? Plus, we answer questions about genre and...


Analyzing Great TV Characters: Case Studies of David Palmer (24), Lindsay (You’re the Worst), Michael (The Good Place) and Scorpius (Farscape) (PT72) - Paper Team

Alex and Nick break down four iconic TV characters to look at what makes them memorable. The TV characters explored in this episode include David Palmer from 24, Lindsay Jillian from You're the Worst, Michael from The Good Place, and Scorpius from Farscape. What makes a great TV character? How are the characters introduced in unique ways? How do shows flesh out specific goals, needs and wants? What are key moments and decisions that can define characters? Plus, we celebrate the new year....


The 2017 Paper Team Holiday Special (PT71) - Paper Team

Alex and Nick celebrate the end of 2017 by taking a look back at Paper Team's past year, and a look forward at what is to come in 2018. What were the most popular Paper Team episodes of the year? What was the best thing of 2017? What new gifts did Nick and Alex exchange with one another? Plus, a word about contacting our guests. The Paper Team throws some confetti... SHOWNOTES Content Paper Scraps: A word about etiquette (01:10) 1 - Paper Team 2017: A year in review (03:26) 2 - Best of...


Nonlinear Storytelling (PT70) - Paper Team

Alex and Nick discuss nonlinear narrative in television writing, from flashbacks to flashforwards. What are effective uses of nonlinear storytelling? When should you work with flashbacks, flasforwards or parallel storylines? What are dos and donts of nonlinear narratives? Are there drawbacks of out-of-order storytelling? Plus, we talk The Mick case and Amazon's Lord of the Rings. The Paper Team flashes around... SHOWNOTES Content Paper Scraps: The Mick and Amazon's LOTR (00:52) 1 - Brief...


Writing a Contest-Winning Script ft. Jorge Gonzalez (Tracking Board/Launch Pad Writing Competitions) (PT69) - Paper Team

Alex and Nick invite Jorge Gonzalez, from the Tracking Board and Launch Pad Writing Competitions, to discuss what makes a contest-winning script. How does the selection process of a TV writing competition work? What do readers look for when evaluating scripts and pilots? What separates top-tier screenplays from all others? What should writers watch out for before submitting their scripts? The Paper Team strikes gold... SHOWNOTES Content Getting involved with Tracking Board, the Launch Pad...


Macro Storytelling: Writing Character and Story Arcs in TV (PT68) - Paper Team

Alex and Nick discuss macro storytelling in TV writing, from season-long narrative arcs to character development. Why is it important to have character arcs across seasons? When should you write serialized narratives? How far in advance should you plot things out? Do you need to know everything before writing a pilot? What are unique TV examples of macro storytelling? Plus, we talk about what "signing with an agent or manager" literally means. The Paper Team sets things up... SHOWNOTES...


Navigating Your First TV Writing Job ft. Britta Lundin (Riverdale) (PT67) - Paper Team

Alex and Nick invite Britta Lundin, story editor on The CW's Riverdale and author of Ship It, to discuss everything you need to know about your first TV staff writing job and working on a popular show. What is the process of getting staffed on a TV series? What is the experience of working in a writers' room for the first time? How do you approach the "room etiquette"? From pitch to draft, and season to episode, what is the writing process like on Riverdale? How do you adapt your voice to...


TV Censorship (PT66) - Paper Team

Alex and Nick discuss the evolution of censorship on TV and the involvement of "standards & practices". What is considered censorship in television? How is sensitive content categorized? What are differences in TV censorship across the world? How have sensibilities changed across the years? When can standards & practices influence TV writing? Plus, we answer our very first voicemail. The Paper Team bleeps itself... SHOWNOTES Content Paper Scraps: Rolling submissions and visa questions...


Adapting Content for TV (PT65) - Paper Team

Alex and Nick share their experiences adapting preexisting material to television, from established novels and properties to historical events. What constitutes an adaptation? How do you balance existing content and personal take? How close should you stick to the original source? How do you stay historically accurate while telling a compelling story? When should you spec an existing property without having the rights? Plus, a new venue for feedback and an update on the Fox Writers Lab....


Halloween on TV (PT64) - Paper Team

Alex and Nick mark Halloween by looking at iconic TV episodes celebrating the holiday and what makes them so special. How does Halloween translate to television? What are some of the best Halloween episodes? What makes a good Halloween story? The Paper Team scares itself... SHOWNOTES Content 1 - Some Halloween history (00:46) 2 - Elements of Halloween TV episodes (08:17) 3 - Favorite Halloween episodes (17:23) 4 - The Simpsons' Treehouse of Horror (29:24) Resources and Next Week On (36:48)...


Assisting a TV Literary Agent ft. Matt Thilenius (CAA) (PT63) - Paper Team

Alex and Nick invite Matt Thilenius, TV literary assistant at the Creative Artists Agency, to discuss the role of agents representing TV writers. What is the relationship between TV literary agents and TV writers? How do agents operate during staffing season? How do they find new clients? What are tips for writers looking for representation? How often should writers be generating new material to best help their agent get them work? The Paper Team finds a rep... SHOWNOTES Content Assisting...


Meetings 101: Generals and TV Staffing (PT62) - Paper Team

Alex and Nick discuss the basics of meetings for TV writers. From generals to staffing, here are some tips and tricks to get and ace your own one-on-ones. What are the different types of meetings? How do you get in the room? How should you prepare for a general or staffing meeting? How do you make a good first impression? What are dos-and-donts during and after your meeting? Plus, we answer additional questions from our "Writing your first TV pilot" Scriptchat session. The Paper Team takes...


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