This week’s vlog is about screenwriting books for television that I recommend.
In the video, I talk about how I started off writing screenplays in an unusual way—by writing a TV pilot.
Television has changed a lot since I wrote that first script.
Hi! Are you interested in writing for television? If so, I have some books to suggest to you. When I was starting out actually as a screenwriter—as an aspiring screenwriter I should say, since I haven’t had anything produced just yet–I wrote a TV pilot and this was back in the days when you had to be in the television industry, working in the room and working your way up in order to write anything for television. But I did it anyway just … I don’t know why. I guess for laughs. Maybe I thought someday it might come to something.
Well, back then I bought a book called Successful Television Writing by Lee Goldberg and William Rabkin, and I knew about Lee Goldberg because I’d seen seeing his blog. And William Rabkin was a new name to me, but both of them are industry insiders and know a lot about television. And so what I would like to recommend is a book called Writing the Pilot. This is by William Rabkin, and it’s a much more recent book and acknowledges that people now don’t have to be within the industry in order to write pilots that might actually be of interest to television show producers. And I’ll just tell you that right now Netflix is planning on bringing 700 new shows next year and spending something like 8 billion dollars on that. Something like that. So they also don’t care where the content comes from if it’s good.
So if there’s any way you can make a contact with that industry and contacts are key when you’re writing screenplays or anything like that, it’s a great way to get your writing out there if you can do it. If you can make those contacts. And I can talk more about that later, but the writing comes first. Being able to write something that people are interested in comes first. So that’s why I recommend Writing the Pilot, because it gives an insider’s view of how to write an effective pilot very succinctly, and there’s also a book called Writing the Pilot: Creating the Series with a similar cover that I can’t seem to find. Anyway, it’s by the same author, William Rabkin, and it’s excellent advice.
And my latest book which I hope to get to soon is called TV Writing On Demand, which is about writing content for the digital era, and that’s where we are now. People binge watch—I don’t, but people do—and writing content that will keep people watching is a skill that needs to be learned if you’re going to make it in television these days. So that’s the future, folks.
If you have any more interest in this topic, please let me know. Feel free to leave a comment and let me know what you think and if you’re interested in more on this, because I can talk more about the ins and outs of trying to break into the industry. And with that I’ll just say talk to you later. Thanks!
PS: If you’re interested, check out my recommended books for screenwriters here!