Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Vampire Fish!

My 30 Rock spec script, "Vampire Fish," is almost wrapped up. I counted a total of 135 jokes so far, which is well below the 30 Rock average of 180, but they're all solid. I'll be doing a table read in the next couple of weeks with some friends and then off shall go my application to NBC's Writers on the Verge. I still have to answer the darn essay question though:

What from your background do you bring to the table as a writer that provides a fresh perspective in your storytelling? (not to exceed 250 words)

I know what NBC is looking for: "I'm a brain surgeon philanderer who bullfights and writes on the side." "I was a troubled youth and now I'm a district attorney who writes on the side." "I'm a stripper and a cop who writes on the side." You know, John Grisham and Diablo Cody types; writers whose real world experience can be mined for your entertainment.

But there's nothing about my background that's remotely interesting. I'm a writer who writes on the side. And not even a successful writer -- a struggling one who farts press releases to pay rent, who grew up in a normal family, who loved consuming TV and movies and books so much that creating them too was inevitable. Add hard work into that mix, an inspiring teacher here and there, a wacky imagination, a bit of talent and... and that's it, NBC. That's all I got.

In other news, I stumbled across some AMAZING writing contests today that I had never heard of before. They're in the US, of course (because Canada stinks at supporting its artists) but Canadians can apply for them, too. Good luck to all!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Citrus helmut cat = 1 joke. Only 179 to go!

It's May so you know what that means... it's TV spec script submission time! NBC's Writer's on the Verge and the WB Writer's Workshop submission deadlines are looming and I'm back where I started exactly one year ago: still not a visible minority but still trying really hard to be talented enough so it doesn't matter. It's funny because a few years ago, being a female would have qualified me as a minority in a writer's room, but no more. (Thanks a lot, feminism!) I can't blame my rejection from these programs entirely on their diversity focus (two white women did get in last year), nor am I slamming diversity programs (they are essential in a business that mostly produces shows about white people for white people), but it is a really convenient excuse, don't you think?

For this year's submission, I'm writing a spec script for 30 Rock. I don't know why I thought I'd be able to pull this off. 30 Rock is ridiculously smart. Waaaay smarter than I am. Here's the math: There are roughly 30-35 fast-talking pages in any given 30 Rock script and roughly 6-10 jokes on every page. That means in order to write a 30 Rock script I must come up with -- at minimum -- 180 jokes. 180 jokes! Easy to take that for granted when you're lying on your couch with nothing better to do. Not so easy to take for granted when you're the one writing the show.

The title of the episode I'm currently writing is "Vampire Fish." So far, the script is rough but promising. I'm too terrified to count my jokes at this point, but I'll keep you posted on my progress.