PERSONAL: The Writersroom Model

I’ve written quite a bit about the Writersroom model. That is, taking a bunch of writers with only some experience and no TV credits and recreating the environment of a TV writing staff under an experienced showrunner in order to help train them. My pilot project in this arena has shown some success, though there are a lot of kinks to work out in the process.

I think the Writersroom model was key to my development as an early writer, and is a fantastic opportunity for developing writers to grow. Which is why, within the next decade, I’d like to turn it into an actual training ground for emerging TV writers in a hub like Toronto or Vancouver. And after that… the world.

Obviously, it’s not ready. I’m not ready. My current pilot project of the Writersroom model is still in progress after over a year, which is decidedly not how something emulating the rush fast culture of TV production should go. Systems of communication need to be planned out. Paperwork. Authority structures. Ways of keeping writers on track and on deadline. Presentation of the work to professionals as a reputable portfolio piece.

But a start’s been made. And once the seed is planted, with a careful gardener, it can grow into something magnificent.

I’m obviously trying to build this while undertaking a career as a screenwriter, which is something akin to suicide by overwork. But, much like Scott Myers, writing isn’t the only thing in me that I need to explore. My passion is in storytelling, but also in how stories are told, and who is telling those stories. I’m as entranced by Kickstarter as I am by Buffy the Vampire Slayer, by Netflix as much as In Treatment, by Pioneer One‘s genesis as much as its story. We are in an era of uncontrollable change and I love that. New systems taking their place aside the old for a stronger whole.

This is one reason I love script series. (More on that here and here.) And it’s why I love new training structures and funding models and gateways to the majors. Because now, anyone can be a storyteller, as long as their story is worth the telling, and that’s really exciting.

I don’t know if, in the next decade, I’ll be able to fulfil my hopes to turn this system into a structured and exciting standard training format for writers. But I’m excited about trying.


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