March 18, 2018 Episode 209 - Neil Landau (TV Writing on Demand: Writing for TV)

Neil Landau is an award-winning screenwriter, producer, author and professor. His screen credits include the cult comedy "Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead" starring Christina Applegate, "Melrose Place," "The Magnificent Seven," "Doogie Howser, M.D.," "The Secret World of Alex Mack," "Twice in a Lifetime," "MTV's Undressed," "The Young & the Restless," "Monarch Cove" and one-hour drama pilots for CBS, ABC, ABC Family (now Freeform), Warner Bros, Disney, Lifetime and Fremantle.
Neil runs the MFA in Writing for Television Program at UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television (his alma mater), where he also facilitates a first-look Writing the One-Hour Drama development workshop in conjunction with Sony Crackle, now in its fifth year.
Neil is the author of several bestselling books: "101 Things I Learned in Film School" (Grand Central Publishing, 2010); "The Screenwriter's Roadmap" (Focal Press, 2012, now in ten languages); and "The TV Showrunner's Roadmap" (Focal Press, 2014, now in 7 languages). His fourth book, "TV Outside the Box: Trailblazing in the Digital Television Revolution," published by Focal Press in 2016, was the first book sponsored by the National Association of Television Program Executives (NATPE) and his fifth and latest book, "TV Writing On Demand: Creating Great Content in the Digital Era" was released in Feb 2018.


"When writing its hard to be the creator and critic at the same time" - Neil Landau


Pre Show Notes

— Want to win a FREE copy of Neal's new book?! To enter all you have to do is;

  1. Share this podcast episode on the social media channel on your choice
  2. Comment what you learned in the comments (either on Podbean, the episode itself on the website, etc)

The winner in North America will have their choice between a physical or pdf copy. If the winner is outside North America, they will win a PDF version.

— Quentin Tarantino Writing Masterclass (A collection of advice)

This is a video I edited together from various Tarantino writing advice I’ve heard over the years. Please let me know what you think of it.




— Backstage –  Use code dbcast at checkout when posting a casting call for a FREE basic listing

— Dave Bullis Podcast Filmmakers Group on Facebook – a FREE filmmaking group I made on Facebook.


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Show Notes

-- Don't Tell Mom the Babysitters Dead - A teenage girl and her four siblings are left to their own devices when their mother leaves them in the care of an elderly babysitter who drops dead! Christina Applegate stars.

-- The Last American Virgin - A shy guy and his bold buddy like the same girl.

-- Can't Buy Me Love - Nowhere-man Ronny Miller is secretly in love with Cindy Mancini, the prettiest, most popular girl on campus. When Cindy finds herself in a desperate predicament, Ronny steps in to save the day ... for a price! Cindy must pose as Ronny's girl so that her popularity might rub off on him. But the road to popularity takes an unexpected twist when Ronny becomes so "cool" that his former friends feel the chill, Cindy is left toally out in the cold, and Ronny himself discovers that money might buy you popularity, but it can't buy you love!

-- Better Off Dead - After his girlfriend ditches him for a boorish ski jock, Lane (John Cusak) decides that suicide is the only answer. However, his increasingly inept attempts bring him only more agony and embarrassment. Filled with the wildest teen nightmares, a family you can't help but identify with and a host of wonderful comic characters, Savage Steve Holland's writing/directorial debut is a masterful look at those painfully funny teen years.


— Game Over is the TV pilot I shot several years ago about 5 employees working at a video game store struggling to get to the next level in their lives.

Tagline: In life there is no reset button

The goal is to get a lot of eyeballs on this so if you know anyone that’d be interested please share this with them.

— Game Over – Making a TV Pilot – The blog post with all of the behind the scenes details about making, Game Over.

— How NOT to make a TV Pilot – My interview with Alex Ferrari at Indie Film Hustle

TV Writing On Demand: Creating Great Content in the Digital Era takes a deep dive into writing for today’s audiences, against the backdrop of a rapidly evolving TV ecosystem. Amazon, Hulu and Netflix were just the beginning. The proliferation of everything digital has led to an ever-expanding array of the most authentic and engaging programming that we’ve ever seen. No longer is there a distinction between broadcast, cable and streaming. It’s all content. Regardless of what new platforms and channels will emerge in the coming years, for creators and writers, the future of entertainment has never looked brighter.

This book goes beyond an analysis of what makes great programming work. It is a master course in the creation of entertainment that does more than meet the standards of modern audiences―it challenges their expectations. Among other essentials, readers will discover how to:

  • Satisfy the binge viewer: analysis of the new genres, trends and how to make smart initial decisions for strong, sustainable story. Plus, learn from the rebel who reinvented an entire format.
  • Develop iconic characters: how to foster audience alignment and allegiance, from empathy and dialogue to throwing characters off their game, all through the lens of authenticity and relatability.
  • Create a lasting, meaningful career in the evolving TV marketplace: how to overcome trips, traps and tropes, the pros and cons of I.P.; use the Show Bible as a sales tool and make the most of the plethora of new opportunities out there.

A companion website offers additional content including script excerpts, show bible samples, interviews with television content creators, and more.



Neil Landau

-- Official Site
-- Twitter

Dave Bullis

— Youtube
— Twitter

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