THE ECHO INSIDER'S GUIDE TO WRITING FOR TV
All four workshops for $300!
Individual workshops are $100 apiece.
CREATIVE JUMPSTART: FINDING YOUR STORY with Jessica Sharzer
Saturday, October 7th at 1:00pm PT
Writers are often stuck at the first step, trying to decide what to
write about. It’s an elusive and daunting question, maybe the
most important question of the entire writing process. When we
jump to a quick response, we often choose topics we think are
commercial or relevant without looking more deeply at what we
really love and feel strongly about. In this workshop, we’ll use a
series of exercises to uncover the hidden themes, genres, and
characters we most want to write about.
Jessica Sharzer made her feature writing and directing debut with SPEAK,
based on the acclaimed novel by Laurie Halse Anderson. SPEAK stars
Kristen Stewart, Elizabeth Perkins, Steve Zahn and D.B. Sweeney. It
premiered at Sundance in 2004 and was nominated for a Writers Guild
Award and a Directors Guild Award.
Ms. Sharzer holds an M.A. in Russian Literature from UC Berkeley and an
M.F.A. in Film & Television from NYU. Her thesis film THE WORMHOLE
garnered the NYU First Prize, the New York Magazine Award and the
Student Academy Award Gold Medal in narrative.
After film school, Ms. Sharzer signed a three-picture deal with Universal
Studios. She has developed two scripts at Universal, including an
adaptation of Turgenev’s novella First Love and the Dusty Springfield story
for Tony winner Kristin Chenoweth. She has also adapted Lizzie Simon’s
memoir Detour for HBO Films. For director Michael Apted, Ms. Sharzer
adapted the true story of Judi Bari – an environmentalist who was targeted
by big timber and the FBI.
In television, Ms. Sharzer has directed “The L Word” for Showtime and
shadowed on “Friday Night Lights” in the NBC/DGA Fellowship Program.
She has written three dance movies for MTV Networks including “Turn the
Beat Around” which premiered on MTV in early 2010. Ms. Sharzer has
developed various one-hour pilots including “Music City” and “Bronx D.A.”
for CBS, “New Canaan” for FOX and most recently “Dress to Kill” for ABC
and Imagine Television. She is currently a writer and co-executive producer
on “American Horror Story” for FX Network.
PITCHING TV with Micah Fitzerman-Blue and Noah Harpster
Thursday, October 12th at 4:00pm PT
So, you think you have a great idea for a show. Now what? How
do you convince the buyer that your idea is indeed great, and that
they need to buy it. We'll walk you through our process of building
a pitch, and some pitfalls to avoid. This is a workshop for anyone
trying to navigate the maddening process of selling your show in a
contracting industry with a confusing business model led by
Micah Fitzerman-Blue and Noah Harpster just released their limited-series
PAINKILLER on Netflix, which was the number one show in 54 countries.
The series tells the story of the Sackler family and their role in the Opioid
epidemic, starring Uzo Aduba and Matthew Broderick, with Pete Berg
Micah and Noah are also working on another limited series, based on
RAZZLEKHAN: THE INFAMOUS CROCODILE OF WALL STREET for
Searchlight Studios and Hulu. This upcoming series will star Lily Collins
with Charlie McDowell directing. They're also writing and producing the
limited series FERNANDOMANIA about Fernando Valenzuela and the
1981 Dodgers, with Alfonso Gomez-Rejon directing.
On the film side, they recently wrote the remake of BAMBI with Sarah
Polley directing and Kacey Musgraves writing original music. Also for
Disney, they're currently adapting FLIGHT OF THE NAVIGATOR with
Bryce Dallas Howard directing. Micah and Noah also wrote MALEFICENT
2 and A BEAUTIFUL DAY IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD, which garnered an
Oscar nomination for Tom Hanks, WGA nomination and Humanitas and
PEN awards for Noah.
Their writing and producing of TRANSPARENT earned them a Peabody
Award and the show went on to win Golden Globes and BAFTA awards,
WGA nominations and Emmy Nominations, among many others.
As an actor, Noah plays Bill Strausser in the Apple series FOR ALL
MANKIND. Before that, he played Tig Notaro’s brother in ONE
WORKING ON A GREAT OPENING: MAKING SURE YOUR
TEASER AND FIRST ACT POP with Mando Alvarado
Saturday, October 21st at 1:00pm PT
In TV: "You get one shot to make a good first impression." When
someone is reading your script, you want them to read past the
first act. Often, the first few pages are either full of exposition in
an attempt to set up the world, or it feels familiar, without a new
take or a surprising character that jumps off the page. In this
workshop, we'll look at a few examples of pilots that have strong
openings that grab you immediately, go over shared work and talk
through different options in hooking the reader on a deeper level,
giving them a sense of the characters, the emotional stakes and
the themes that are going to be explored in the writing.
MANDO ALVARADO is an award-winning playwright/screenwriter from
Pharr, Texas. He was a Co-EP on IRON MIKE for HULU and was a
Consulting Producer on WASHINGTON BLACK for HULU. He's written on
BRAND NEW CHERRY FLAVOR, VIDA, GREENLEAF, and was a Co-
Producer for SEVEN SECONDS. He co-wrote and co-directed his first
feature film, Cruzando, with Michael Ray Escamilla. He is an alum of
INTAR’s Hispanic-Playwright-in-Residence Laboratory and a graduate of
The University of North Carolina School of the Arts.
THE WRITERS' ROOM with Jessica Goldberg
Saturday, October 28th at 1:00pm PT
This workshop will explore the many facets of the writers’ room:
We'll cover how one gets into a writers' room-- discussing the
substance and form of the pilot script, then move on to how
writers' rooms work, from interviewing to etiquette to pitching
stories and working your way up the staff.
This workshop is for those hoping to be in a writers' room
someday as well as for those with some experience who are
looking to sharpen their skills. It will be interactive so be prepared
to write and give feedback- valuable skills you'll need in the room.
Jessica Goldberg started her career as a playwright. Her plays have been
produced at Rattlestick, Playwrights Horizons, The Echo Theater
Company, and The Mark Taper Forum among others. Her play REFUGE
won the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize, and she went on to adapt and direct
it as a feature film starring Krysten Ritter. Recently her play Babe,
premiered at the Echo Theater Company and won the Los Angeles Theater
Critics Award for Best Playwrighting.
Jessica started writing in film and television in the early aughts.
She wrote on NBC’s Parenthood for two years before creating and
executive producing her own show, critically acclaimed THE PATH (starring
Aaron Paul, Michelle Monahan and Hugh Dancy), that ran for three
seasons on Hulu. She recently served as Executive Producer and
Showrunner of AWAY (starring Hilary Swank) for Netflix. Jessica’s work on
Away earned her a Gracie Award for Showrunner, and a Media Access
Award. Jessica currently has a deal at Universal Television where she is
adapting the cult 90’s film FEAR into a series for Peacock.
Jessica’s film work includes ALEX OF VENICE directed by Chris Messina,
and the Apple original movie CHERRY directed by the Russo Brothers
starring Tom Holland. She is currently writing a movie about Carl Sagan
and The Golden Record with director Sebastian Lelio.
Jessica is a graduate of NYU’s Dramatic Writing Program, and alumni of
The Juilliard School’s Playwrighting Program.