Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Nickelodeon Writer's Script Review

A few weeks ago at the San Diego Latino Film Festival, I was lucky enough to attend a writers conference held by Nickelodeon for aspiring TV writers. The event is designed to help writers polish their spec scripts for submission to the annual Nickelodeon Writing Fellowship competition.

Every year, Nickelodeon, Disney, NBC and a few other studios hold fellowship competitions for aspiring TV writers. In the process, hopefuls submit sample or spec scripts, and the studios will judge the scripts to ascertain those with the most potential. Winners have the opportunity to work for a year under the fellowship, learning the field with an eventual chance to get staffed on one of their shows as a writer.

It's a very heated competition, with many talented people applying. The Nickelodeon Writers Script Review gives people the opportunity to have an actual sit down meeting with the execs at Nick who do the script judging and have them give their honest opinion of your script and provide constructive criticism and analysis of it. This review is invaluable because it allows you to hear from the horses mouth exactly what they're looking for in a winning script, and basically helps you identify problems so that you can build the best script possible to submit to the fellowship.

The two Nickelodeon execs I met with were awesome. Relaxed, friendly and super helpful. I was incredibly nervous, but they made me feel comfortable and provided honest and constructive criticism. It's helped me see the strengths and weaknesses in the script and I feel super-charged to go back and do some quality rewrites.

One of the books they recommended is Story by Robert McKee. He's a pretty popular author (figuring prominently in Adaption, Kaufman's film about the stresses of screenwriting). It's a great tool for understanding story structure and the unspoken meaning within stories. You can buy it here.

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