Publish date:

My Archival Wanderings: 1958 Rod Serling Q&A

Question: You had only two or three credits and were able to start right in with a top agent. How?
Answer: I started writing for TV in 1949 when even the large networks weren’t sure what a TV writer was. An impressive list of credits was not required to work with a smart agent then.Question: Are you able to write, well, anything you wish?
Answer: Fear keeps you from writing just anything. You can’t fight a story out. I guarantee that if you sweat and worry, you’ll never make it.Question: What are some of your weaknesses?
Answer: Plotting and writing about women. I can’t get close up to a woman and study her emotions and what she thinks. I can’t write a love scene without blushing. I feel that I’m barging in without being invited.Question: Does the beginning writer have a better chance to sell the ½-hour show, the hour show or the 1 ½-hour show?
Answer: The ½ hour show is easiest for the beginner, because there are more of them. The 1 1/2 show is almost impossible to break into for the beginning writer.Question: How many credits must a writer have today before being able to work with a top agent?
Answer: God only knows. Of course, magazine credits are good and the more known the magazine to which you contribute, the better become your chances. Question: Will producers read unsolicited scripts?
Answer: If a writer doesn’t have an agent, it’s definitely best to query a producer before submitting a script, even an outline. Another point to remember in preparing your TV script is to leave the directing to the directors if you are not familiar with the business directions. A story is used if it has something good, regardless of the lack of technical TV knowhow. Rod Serling is not overly enthusiastic about the controlled effect TV has on writers (the restrictions sponsors demand and the reluctancy of TV producers to produce controversial shows). However, he says, “There’s something opiatic about TV. When people take off their shoes and relax in their living rooms, it’s difficult to prod them into thinking. Yet, if there’s any art form that can influence people everywhere, it’s TV. It’s so constant in its existence. It’s always there.”

Hi Writers,
Today's exhibit in my month-long dive into the Writer's Digest archives is a Q&A with screenwriter Rod Serling. This ran a year before The Twilight Zone debuted on network TV. I apologize for my lack of sticking to any sort of logical or chronological order with these excerpts. I guess I'm not that linear after all.

Anyway, here is Rod Serling for your reading pleasure:

[from Writer's Digest June/July 1958: one year before The Twilight Zone first appeared on TV)

Question: Do you ever write your story with a particular actor or actress in mind?
Answer: No. There are simply too few top-rate actors and actresses around to be able to do that. Usually, I have as many as three or four of one type of actor or actress to fill the part.


More of my archive digging finds tomorrow, so stay tuned.
Keep Writing,
Maria

NaNoWriMo: Making the Most of Community

NaNoWriMo: Making the Most of Community

Books, much like children, sometimes take a village. Let managing editor and fellow WriMo participant Moriah Richard give you tips for engaging with your online and in-person NaNoWriMo community.

From Script

Film and TV Show Reviews and Writing What You Know (From Script)

In this week’s round up brought to us by Script magazine, Script contributor Tom Stempel reviews the latest in film and television show releases, an exclusive interview with Lamb screenwriter Sjón, and much more!

Why We Should Read Middle Grade Fiction as Adults

Why We Should Read Middle Grade Fiction as Adults

Young Adult fiction has surpassed its own demographic by being acceptable to read at any age. Why have we left middle grade fiction out of that equation? Here’s why we should be reading middle grade fiction as adults and as writers.

What Are the 6 Different Types of Editing?

What Are the 6 Different Types of Editing?

When you reach the editing phase of your manuscript, it's important to know what kind of editing you're looking for in particular. Author Tiffany Yates breaks down the 6 different types of editing.

WD Poetic Form Challenge

WD Poetic Form Challenge: Imayo Winner

Learn the winner and Top 10 list for the Writer’s Digest Poetic Form Challenge for the imayo.

Writer's Digest 90th Annual Competition Print or Online Article First Place Winner: "Surfacing an Aquatic Diaspora"

Writer's Digest 90th Annual Competition Print or Online Article First Place Winner: "Surfacing an Aquatic Diaspora"

Congratulations to Elaine Howley, first place winner in the Print or Online Article category of the 90th Annual Writer's Digest Writing Competition. Here's her winning article, "Surfacing an Aquatic Diaspora."

Writer's Digest 90th Annual Competition Script (Stage Play or TV/Movie) First Place Winner: "Jaguar Woman"

Writer's Digest 90th Annual Competition Script (Stage Play or TV/Movie) First Place Winner: "Jaguar Woman"

Congratulations to Olga El, first place winner in the Script (Stage Play or TV/Movie) category of the 90th Annual Writer's Digest Writing Competition. Here's her winning TV Pilot script, "Jaguar Woman."

Writer's Digest 90th Annual Competition Non-Rhyming Poetry First Place Winner: "won't you celebrate with me"

Writer's Digest 90th Annual Competition Non-Rhyming Poetry First Place Winner: "won't you celebrate with me"

Congratulations to Nicole Adabunu, first place winner in the Non-Rhyming Poetry category of the 90th Annual Writer's Digest Writing Competition. Here's her winning poem, "won't you celebrate with me."

Writer's Digest 90th Annual Competition Rhyming Poetry First Place Winner: "She Lives in Underbridge World"

Writer's Digest 90th Annual Competition Rhyming Poetry First Place Winner: "She Lives in Underbridge World"

Congratulations to MF Slattery, first place winner in the Rhyming Poetry category of the 90th Annual Writer's Digest Writing Competition. Here's the winning poem, "She Lives in Underbridge World"