How to Break In And Excel in a TV Writers' Room

Hosted by Mike Gauyo

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Mike Gauyo

Webinar hosted by: Mike Gauyo

TV Writer (GINNY & GEORGIA, INSECURE)

Mike Gauyo is a TV writer who has most notably written on Netflix’s hit series GINNY & GEORGIA. Originally born in Haiti, Mike broke into Hollywood as a production assistant on reality shows like AMERICAN IDOL and SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE until being discovered by Issa Rae who staffed him as a writer on her fiction podcast FRUIT. Mike entered the world of TV writers’ rooms serving as a writers’ assistant on the TNT show CLAWS and currently writes on HBO’s comedy hit INSECURE with Issa Rae. Mike also founded The Black Boy Writes Mentorship Initiative, a mentorship program for black men who are looking to break into TV writing. Mike’s varied background in TV writing has allowed him to experience many different writers’ rooms and has given him a keen sense on how to best write and perform in these settings. Full Bio »

Webinar Summary

The writers’ room is the beating heart of any scripted television show and the place 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 as it turns out, you need more than just writing chops to shine in this context. Pitching ideas, working and getting along with fellow writers, story editors, and showrunners, overall presentation and how you hold yourself—all of this plays a role in how well you do in a writers’ room and how you can build your career as a TV writer and producer. For these reasons, it’s critical to understand how writers’ rooms work and how to best to perform.

As it turns out, not all writers’ rooms are built equally. Rules and expectations change depending on the genre of the show, the network or platform, who the showrunner is, and how many writers there are. As a result, this is not a one-size-fits-all situation, and writers who might fit in well at a episodic network drama room might have to adjust if they are later staffed in, say, a comedy room for a streamer. That said, there are still strategies, tools, and things you can understand to better break into a room, fit in, and rise through the ranks. Let’s take a closer look.

Mike Gauyo is an accomplished TV writer who has most notably written on Netflix’s hit series GINNY & GEORGIA which recently received a second season order. Originally born in Port Au Prince, Haiti, Mike broke into Hollywood as a production assistant on reality shows like AMERICAN IDOL and SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE until being discovered by Issa Rae who staffed him as a writer on her fiction podcast FRUIT. Mike entered the world of TV writers’ rooms serving as a writers’ assistant on the TNT show CLAWS and currently serves as Story Editor on the final season of HBO’s comedy hit INSECURE. Mike is also developing his own content and at the top of 2021 launched a mentorship program for pre-WGA Black writers, called the Black Boy Writes & Black Girl Writes Mentorship Initiative. Mike’s varied background in TV writing has allowed him to experience many different writers’ rooms and has given him a keen sense on how to best write and perform in these settings.

Mike will break down how different TV writers’ room work, and how you can best break in and interact in these settings to build your own TV writing career. He’ll lay out the different types of writers’ rooms and go through the general hierarchy of any room, from assistants to showrunner. He’ll offer advice and strategies on how you can best break into a writers’ room in the first place and then explain how to work your way up once you’re in, including getting promotions and finding opportunities for set or production experience. He’ll finally teach you what good etiquette in a room is, how to form relationshipspitch and effectively work with everyone else in the room.

 

Whether you're currently in a writers' room looking to advance or move to a different show, or a writer looking for your first television experience, Mike will offer the knowledge, strategies, and perspective to help you take the next step you're looking for.

What You'll Learn

  • Different Types of Writers' Rooms
    • Comedy vs. drama
    • Broadcast vs. cable vs. streamers
  • The Main Roles and Hierarchy of a Writers' Room
    • Assistants
      • Writers' Production Assistant
      • Script Coordinator
      • Writers' Room Assistant
      • Showrunner's Assistant
      • Researcher
    • Staff writer
    • Story editor
    • Executive story editor
    • Co-producer
    • Producer
    • Supervising producer
    • Co-executive producer
    • Creator/Showrunner/EP
  • Breaking into a Writers' Room
    • Fellowships
    • Assistant track
    • Competitions
    • Managers/agents
    • Working with your agent or manager
      • Can you find an ‘in’ without a rep?
      • What to expect when working with an agent or manager
    • Mentorship programs
    • Networking to find opportunities
      • Being an intentional networker
      • Quality over quantity
      • How to build a genuine connection
  • Working Your Way Up
    • Finding longevity once you're in
    • Relationship building
    • How not to be a dick
    • How writers are generally promoted
    • And how to deal with contracts
    • Finding opportunities for advancement
    • Getting set or production experience
  • A Day in the Life of a Writers' Room
    • What's the general agenda of a writers' room?
    • How does each role contribute?
  • Etiquette in a Room
    • Understanding the DNA of your room
    • Forming relationships
    • How to pitch
    • Crediting others
    • Disagreeing and saying 'no'
  • Q&A with Mike

About Your Instructor

Mike Gauyo is a TV writer who has most notably written on Netflix’s hit series GINNY & GEORGIA. Originally born in Haiti, Mike broke into Hollywood as a production assistant on reality shows like AMERICAN IDOL and SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE until being discovered by Issa Rae who staffed him as a writer on her fiction podcast FRUIT. Mike entered the world of TV writers’ rooms serving as a writers’ assistant on the TNT show CLAWS and currently writes on HBO’s comedy hit INSECURE with Issa Rae. Mike also founded The Black Boy Writes Mentorship Initiative, a mentorship program for black men who are looking to break into TV writing. Mike’s varied background in TV writing has allowed him to experience many different writers’ rooms and has given him a keen sense on how to best write and perform in these settings.

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