THIS STEP-BY-STEP GUIDE WILL TELL YOU EVERYTHING YOU SHOULD KNOW AND EXPECT WHEN BECOMING A WRITER FOR A TELEVISION SERIES!
Written by Johnny Papan
Characters, storylines and the direction of a series evolves with the team who writes it. Though the seed of a series may often come from the mind of one individual, it takes a team to plant, water and blossom a television show into what we see on screen. A show’s direction can completely change based on a number of factors. Characters originally intended to last through the finale are killed off two seasons early because an actor decides to move on, or two protagonists will develop an unplanned romance because it’s what the audience wants.
In the hit mockumentary series The Office (U.S.) the show’s main couple Jim and Pam were written to break up in it’s final season. However, after audience backlash, the entire production backpedaled, quickly rewriting, reshooting and re-cutting episodes to mend the fictitious couple’s breaking bond as the season was already on-air, making sure to get the couple back together for a happy series finale.
Although the screenwriter’s journey is a long and winding road, it’s never too late to start. Diving into the world of film and television later in life, InFocus Screenwriting Instructor Roslyn Muir bloomed into an actively working screenwriter who has penned feature films, television movies and, most recently, was part of the writer’s room for the CBS television series Ransom.
Originally working for the series as an intern after being accepted into the Corus Writer’s Apprentice Program, Muir used the time to learn, network and push for a greater opportunity.
After meticulously studying the show, rewatching old episodes and reading past scripts, Roslyn became a story editor for Ransom Season 3 and penned the ninth episode, “Broken Record”.
Now, Roslyn shares her experience of how a television show breaks down inside a writer’s room.