VEEP Script Coordinator Breaks Down Expectations of a Comedy Writers' Room

Hosted by Jon Stahl

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Jon Stahl

Webinar hosted by: Jon Stahl

Script Coordinator at Veep (HBO)

Jon Stahl is a writer, producer and script coordinator, who has served on HBO’s DGA, SAG, WGA and Emmy Award-winning comedy series VEEP. Jon began his career in production, working on projects like Jason Reitman’s YOUNG ADULT starring Charlize Theron, Showtime’s THE BIG C, and IFC’s MARON. He also produced Season 1 of the Emmy-nominated series EASTSIDERS, before getting his first high-profile writers’ room position on the NBC network sitcom MR. ROBINSON with Universal Television. Jon went on to work in the writers' room at Nickelodeon on their show GAME SHAKERS. He’s currently on the upcoming FOX animated series HOUSEBROKEN starring Lisa Kudrow and Will Forte. Working alongside the writers of television’s best comedy, Jon not only knows what it takes to write great comedy, but also what is needed to take a seat at the table with the rest of them. Full Bio »

Webinar Summary

The writers’ room is the beating heart of any scripted television show and the area where writers find their footing and voice within this world. Being a successful writer in the world of television is only possible if you’re successful in a writers’ room setting and breaking into a writers’ room as an assistant or coordinator is often the springboard needed for writers to build their career in the television space. For these reasons, it’s critical to understand how writers’ rooms work and how to best to perform and stand out in one to positively contribute and get noticed for the right reasons.

While each show’s writers’ room has unique characteristics, there are specific expectations of a comedy show’s room in particular that differ from their counterparts. You’re not just breaking story in these rooms, but jokes too. This process brings with it a different rhythm and understanding. Finding success in a comedy room requires different skills than others. If you’re an aspiring comedy writer with hopes of breaking into a show’s writers’ room, it’s crucial you understand how exactly these rooms work and how you can best fit in and stay in.

Jon Stahl is a writer, producer and script coordinator, who has served on HBO’s DGA, SAG, WGA and Emmy Award-winning comedy series VEEP. Jon began his career in production, working on projects like Jason Reitman’s YOUNG ADULT starring Charlize Theron, Showtime’s THE BIG C, and IFC’s MARON. He also produced Season 1 of the Emmy-nominated series EASTSIDERS, before getting his first high-profile writers’ room position on the NBC network sitcom MR. ROBINSON with Universal Television. Jon went on to work in the writers' room at Nickelodeon on their show GAME SHAKERS. He’s currently on the upcoming FOX animated series HOUSEBROKEN starring Lisa Kudrow and Will Forte. Working alongside the writers of television’s best comedy, Jon not only knows what it takes to write great comedy, but also what is needed to take a seat at the table with the rest of them.

Jon will break down how a leading TV comedy writers’ room works and outline how you can break in and find success in one as a script coordinator. He will begin by going through the basics of how a writers’ room runs and the different key players. He’ll show you how to get a job in the writers’ office and delve into the culture of the room and you can navigate. Next Jon will break down the duties of a script coordinator in the room, including, taking notes, scriptwriting, distribution, investigating clearances, using the white board and more. He’ll also give tips on the technical side of the script coordinator, including typing etiquette and using specific software. He’ll go through the art of pitching in a room and how to handle “big personalities”. Finally Jon will give you tips on how to take next steps from the script coordinator position, how to put together writing samples and use your connections to move up.

If you’ve always wanted to have a career in TV writing but don’t know where to start, start here.

What You'll Learn

  • General info on a Writers’ room. Briefly:
    • What a Writers’ office is (and what it isn’t).
    • The key players.
    • How it operates day to day.
    • Hours / Pay
  • Getting a job in a Writers’ Office
    • How to make new connections
    • ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
    • How to use existing connections
    • Moving from production to Writers’ Room
    • How to format your resumé
  • Room Culture
    • How to navigate
    • Handling sensitive information
    • What makes a writers’ room different from every other job you’ve worked in
    • Food and why it's very important
    • Office hierarchy
    • Writers’ Office Politics
    • Language
  • Duties of the Job
    • Notes
      • Notes etiquette
      • Software platform
    • Scriptwriting
    • Distribution
    • Clearances / WGA Paperwork
    • Assisting on Set
    • Brief Outline / Story Breakdown
    • White Board
    • Administrative 
    • Technical - This gets its own section later
    • Custodial 
    • Creative - This gets its own section later
  • Technical Stuff
    • Speed
    • Typing etiquette
    • Final Draft / Others
      • General info / Tips & Tricks
    • Microsoft Word
      • General info / Tips & Tricks
    • Scenechronize
      • General info / Tips & Tricks
    • Other useful software / Platforms
  • Internet Searches
    • Useful searches
    • Fun searches
    • How to read the room
  • Pitching
    • Etiquette
    • How to pitch
    • Examples of good and bad pitches
    • Responding to other writers’ pitches
    • Room bits
  • “Big Personalities” = Code for “Assholes”
    • How to deal with stressful people/situations
    • Sometimes your job is just to get shit on and pretend you love it. Brings us to our next topic:
  • How To Get Shit On And Pretend You Love It
    • Relax, it’s only TV
    • There are awesome parts of the job
  • Next steps
    • Writing samples
    • Advice on how to keep moving up
    • Why you should be good at your job (but not too good)
  • Q&A with Jon!

 

About Your Instructor

Jon Stahl is a writer, producer and script coordinator, who has served on HBO’s DGA, SAG, WGA and Emmy Award-winning comedy series VEEP. Jon began his career in production, working on projects like Jason Reitman’s YOUNG ADULT starring Charlize Theron, Showtime’s THE BIG C, and IFC’s MARON. He also produced Season 1 of the Emmy-nominated series EASTSIDERS, before getting his first high-profile writers’ room position on the NBC network sitcom MR. ROBINSON with Universal Television. Jon went on to work in the writers' room at Nickelodeon on their show GAME SHAKERS. He’s currently on the upcoming FOX animated series HOUSEBROKEN starring Lisa Kudrow and Will Forte. Working alongside the writers of television’s best comedy, Jon not only knows what it takes to write great comedy, but also what is needed to take a seat at the table with the rest of them.

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