TV, or not TV…that is the question

30 Mar

Act One is centered around writing for film, but they also offer an additional TV Track for those who wish to learn the world of tv writing as well.  When I filled out my application for Act One, I wasn’t sure if that was what I wanted to do or not, but as time went by I pretty much decided that I would go ahead and take the TV Track as well since I’m already out here anyway.  But today my interest got slightly blown out of the water.

They had a tv writing panel this afternoon where they brought in four tv writers out of Act One to discuss their experience entering and working in the world of writing for tv.  It’s not the hard work that puts me off, or even the fact that one must move out here to work in the field, but as I listened to their pitch, I started to realize that the job of tv writing is everything I wanted to get away from.  Part of my desire in screenwriting is to work from home, be my own boss, set my own schedule and have more time to do other things.  In tv writing, should I make it into a writing room in the next half decade, I’d be lucky if I had time to be home three hours a day.  I’d initially assumed that tv writers worked long hours for a short term, say maybe a few month stretch, but that’s not the case.  A tv writing term on a 22 episode show is 40 weeks.  The writers told of missed summer breaks with their kids and literally giving birth and going straight back to work without even being able to see their new child.

So, as far as a life career goes, I just don’t see how tv writing could be for me.  To be truthful, I feel guilty for not wanting to do it.  TV land needs good-hearted, godly-messaged people to work in it.  With film it could be years, or never, before I ever see one of my screenplays on the big screen.  That’s the biggest bonus of tv writing — they get to see the fruit of their hard work beginning every September 17.  But in spite of my personal feeling, I want to be faithful enough to offer this up to the Lord in prayer and ask Him to guide my steps.  I’m more willing to be obedient now than I have been in a long time, and I would like very much to continue that trend.

For those of you who are fans, one of the writers sharing with us today wrote for the first season of LOST and was also a writers assistant for 24 — a show notorious for not allowing women to stay more than a few weeks on staff, but she survived and because of it has an open door just about anywhere.

Anyway, if you have any helpful advice or would like to join me in prayer over this, I would appreciate it.  I must respond by first thing Thursday morning.  Where’s Shakespeare when I need him?

Follow Up:  The main reason why I would have considered the TV Track would not have been for sit-com writing but for children’s tv and cable shows since that’s where most of my ideas lie.  But after discussing with our WP leader Sheryl, sit-coms are where the TV Track is going, and if I find I really need to take it down the road, I can always come back just for that.  So no TV Track.  I’ll be focusing solely on film for the time being.

(Cross-posted at Tumblr on July 15, 2009.)

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