Why TV Writers Need to Watch TV

People who want to write are often told that they should read as much as they can in order to improve their craft. “Readers are the best writers,” we are told, with this phrase being up there with such popular refrains as “write what you know” and “show, don’t tell.” Likewise, people who want to write for television are advised to watch a lot of TV (read: be an average American college student during finals week). But how important is it really? Continue reading

Once Upon a Time: The Characters We Think We Know (Part 1)

In honor of my mom’s upcoming birthday, and also because I really wanted to, I’m going to be doing a commentary in two parts about one of her favorite shows and mine: Once Upon a Time, the show with a cast that’s pretty much a rogue’s gallery of fairy tale characters and, uh, other stuff that Disney has the rights to. (Seriously, Jiminy Cricket? Mulan? I’m starting to think that the Enchanted Forest would have been more aptly named the Disney Characters Forest and Rumplestiltskin.) Continue reading

Backstory: Why It Matters

We all know that desires are what drive the action in a character-based story, but where do these desires come from? It’s important for a writer to know exactly what factors in a character’s life fuel his or her actions. I’m talking good actions, bad actions, inactions, whatever. It all has to come from somewhere.
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Breaking Bad: How Did It Come to This?

I decided to do Breaking Bad for my first commentary (I’m going to be saying ‘commentary’ until I come up with a better word) for a couple of reasons. First of all, because it is, in fact, Breaking Bad. Everyone and their brother is watching this show, has it on their watch list, or at the very least has heard good things about it. Second, I had a good experience watching the pilot for the first time. Every few minutes or so I found myself going, “Oh! Oh, I see! So that’s why he decided to cook meth, yes, it all makes sense!” Which is pretty much the main point of a pilot–to take the premise and convince us that it makes sense.
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