Interview: Jeff Davis

Half his mind is criminal, half is wolf – at least when it comes to writing. This week, TSL talks to TV writer Jeff Davis (Criminal Minds, Teen Wolf). When asked if aspiring (paid) writers should have a back-up plan, Davis says, “There is no motivation like starvation. I believe that this is an all-or-nothing business.” And Davis should know. Though the way he sold Criminal Minds seems like an overnight success, Davis paid his dues first – including having worked as a script reader, editorial assistant, writer for computer software manuals and Mac support specialist.…

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Interview: Hal Schwartz

“Never take ‘no’ for an answer,” Indie Producer Hal Schwartz (Wake, Crazylove) says. “As much as writers hear ‘no,’ in producing it’s ten times worse.” You can’t get offended by that, it’s just the way it is. Every person I know who’s made a movie has heard ‘no’ way more than they’ve heard ‘yes.’” And when he does get a “Yes,” or several to lead up to getting a movie made, Schwartz says the most rewarding thing(s) about his job is “working with creative people [and being] creatively involved. It’s tremendously rewarding to work on material, be on set, and see it come to life. Then it’s a thrill to walk into a theater and see your movie being played, to hear 1200 people laughing at your movie in the right places, reacting how you want them to react. No amount of money can buy that incredible feeling. And then you just want to do it again.”…

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Interview: David Eilenberg

The Apprentice, Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?, and Da Ali G Show are just a few of the shows that David Eilenberg has worked on as a writer or producer. Eilenberg, who is Head of Development & Current Programming at One Three Television (previously known as Mark Burnett Productions), says, “The sheer variability of projects and the amazing people I get to meet and interact with make this a constantly enlivening, terrifically exciting job. Every day is different, and I am never bored.” When asked about what some of the key differences are between reality and scripted shows (aside from the obvious), Eilenberg, who has worked on both, relays, “The key storytelling components in good scripted TV and good unscripted TV have a lot more in common than they do not have in common. You have to understand what makes a compelling narrative arc, good pacing, and clear characters. Without those fundamentals, you are not going to produce satisfactory television.”…

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Interview: Tim Hedrick

After college, Tim Hedrick (Avatar: The Last Airbender, Bob & Doug, Popzilla) took a job as an ESL teacher in Hungary “for some exotic world experience and to avoid getting a ‘real job,’” he says. “I grew up in Indiana, and making movies and TV shows seemed like something other people did so that the humble folks in the Heartland could watch the results,” he adds. Of course, Tim later became one of these “other people” – and without the aid of graduate school; he dropped out twice, once from Indiana University, and again from USC’s film school: “After a year, I felt I had learned as much about screenwriting as anyone could teach me, and I realized that no one in Hollywood would be wowed by my MFA degree,” he says. “So I decided to save myself thirty grand on year two and dropped out.”…

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