Guest Perspectives

Meet Rick Qualliotine, Co-EP

I’m writing this while sitting in the office of our Co-Executive Producer, Rick Qualliotine—the only person at The Wanda Sykes Show who has actually PAINTED HIS OFFICE… making this easiest the coolest office in the place (one wall is a bright warm orange-yellow).  Rick started his career in theater, producing plays...

GUEST PERSPECTIVE: Ellen Besen, Animator – Part Three

Today we wrap up our chat with Canadian animator and author Ellen Besen, who’s been explaining the ropes of animation and offering advice on breaking into the industry… ME:  ELLEN, IMAGINE YOU HAVE STAR STUDENT WHO HAS JUST GRADUATED, HAS A TERRIFIC PORTFOLIO, AND IS ABOUT TO LEAVE BUBBLE OF SCHOOL. ...

GUEST PERSPECTIVE: Ellen Besen, Animator – Part Two

Hey, screenwriters— We’ve been chatting with Ellen Besen, an accomplished animator and author of the great new book, Animation Unleashed: 100 Principles Every Animator, Comic Book Writers, Filmmakers, Video Artist, and Game Developer Should Know. Last time, we talked about creative principles of animation.  Today, we’ll learn the rules of breaking...

GUEST PERSPECTIVE: Ellen Besen, Animator – Part One

Hey, folks— We have a special guest with us for a couple days, animator and National Film Board of Canada director Ellen Besen, author of the recently released Animation Unleashed: 100 Principles Every Animator, Comic Book Writers, Filmmakers, Video Artist, and Game Developer Should Know.  I had read Ellen’s book and...

GUEST PERSPECTIVE: Tyler Perry's House of Shame

Hey, everyone– A few days ago, I posted a piece about screenwriter Tyler Perry and the four writers he fired for attempting to organize his hit TBS show, House of Payne, according to Writers Guild standards.  This weekend, the WGA hosted a protest at the grand opening of Tyler Perry Studios,...

GUEST PERSPECTIVE: How NOT to Write a Screenplay

Hey, screenwriters– I’m excited to present a special guest today… William M. Akers, author of the new screenwriting book, Your Screenplay Sucks! 100 Ways To Make It Great, from Michael Wiese Productions, and… my former screenwriting teacher at Vanderbilt University! Will was not only a great teacher (and my first screenwriting...

A Few Moments with Diablo Cody

Hey, guys– Happy Fourth of July weekend!  I wanted to point you all to my interview with Diablo Cody, the Academy-Award-winning screenwriter of Juno, which appears in this month’s issue of Writers Digest.  Diablo was one of the most fun interviews I’ve done, and she’s got some terrific insights into screenwriting…...

READER QUESTION/GUEST PERSPECTIVE: How Do I Break Into Clip Shows?

Hey, screenwriters– Today’s question comes from loyal reader Valerie, who writes… “Hi Chad!… I am interested in creating clip shows and would love to hear your valuable insight on these types of programs (ie. where/how to license footage, how to sell them (Pods or Network), general production tips, etc…).” (For those...

GUEST PERSPECTIVE: Charlie Stickney… Writing For Animation

Hey, screenwriters– One area of entertainment I’ve never worked in– but often get questions about– is animation.  And with all the booming animated projects out there– Family Guy, The Simpsons, Drawn Together, The Incredibles, The Triplets of Belleville, etc.– I decided to spend a few minutes with my friend Charlie Stickney,...

READER QUESTION: How do I Know What TV Spec to Write?

Hey, screenwriters— First of all, thanks for all the emails… I’ve got a nicely full mailbag, and I’ll do my best to get to all your questions over the next few days.  In the mean time—keep the emails coming (they make me feel really popular)! With the WGA strike over and...

GUEST PERSPECTIVE: Brad Wollack, talk show writer/producer

Hey, screenwriters— One of the most controversial topics of the last few months has been the issue of writers writing for talk shows.  After all, it’s no newsflash that most of the big talk shows came back on the air last month… in the middle of the strike… without their writers....

Jen Grisanti: Part II – A Follow-Up

Hey, guys– After Wednesday’s guest perspective from TV exec/producer Jen Grisanti, in which she talks about her new company, Jen Grisanti Consultancy, loyal reader Josh and a couple other people asked if she was a manager.  So I talked to Jen, and here’s what she had to say… JEN: “I am...

GUEST PERSPECTIVE: Jen Grisanti – TV Exec & Producer

Hey, screenwriters– I’m pleased to introduce a special guest today… TV executive and producer Jennifer Grisanti.  As a Current Exec at Spelling Television for over ten years, Jen has worked with some of the best writers, showrunners, producers and execs in Hollywood… people like Medium creator Glen Gordon Caron, NCIS producer...

BREAKING INTO PODIOBOOKS: Talking with Mark Yoshimoto Nemcoff

Hey, screenwriters– I wanted to talk about something kind of unique today… something I just learned about (and am still learning about) myself: the world of online audio books– better known as podiobooks.  It’s very different than screenwriting, but as conventional media merges with the internet, podiobooks are shaping up to...

GUEST PERSPECTIVE: Footsoldiers on the Frontlines

Over the last three weeks, we’ve seen a lot of familiar (and famous) faces walking the picket lines and supporting the writers: Sandra Oh, Steve Carell, Alyson Hannigan, Paul Haggis, Jesse Jackson, Katherine Heigl, Alicia Keyes, Greg Daniels, Tina Fey.  And while it’s great to see the A-listers out there fighting...

GUEST PERSPECTIVE: An Agent Speaks Out

Hundreds of people have been affected by the strike… cameramen, grips, gaffers, assistants.  But rarely weighing in on the strike and how it affects them are the agents and agencies: the slick, Armani-wearing salespeople charged with peddling writers’ work to the networks and studios.  Agents are in a stickier situation than...

Exclusive John Truby Interview!

Hey, everyone–  Last week, fellow Writers Digest blogger Maria Schneider interviewed legendary screenwriting teacher/theorist/software designer John Truby, best known for designing Blockbuster screenwriting software.  Truby has also written for film and television, and his first book, The Anatomy of Story: 22 Steps to Becoming a Master Storyteller, was released last month...

GUEST PERSPECTIVE: Strike Fallout… An Assistant Speaks Out

The writers strike affects more than just writers and studios; it affects everyone from Hollywood’s executives and corporate employees to directors and actors.  But perhaps no one feels its effect more powerfully than Hollywood’s crew people and assistants… the people at the bottom of the industry hierarchy struggling to eke out...

A Guest Perspective: Notes From the Picket Line

The writers strike is in full swing here in Los Angeles, with hordes of picketers outside every studio and network in town, fighting for rights of screenwriters across the country.  All over Hollywood, TV shows like The New Adventures of Old Christine, Back To You, ‘Til Death, and Rules of Engagement...