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Nerdist Writers Panel #1 – A fascinating insight into writing for television

I was listening to TWiT this week, feeling strangely nostalgic while stumbling home, reminiscing on all the hours of laughs and knowledge it has given me, and an introduction to podcasts in general. I’d listened to the LOST podcast religiously for years of course, but TWiT got me listening to so much more, making commutes not a complete waste of time in the process. When I stumbled across the page for this Nerdist podcast via /r/television, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, and had never even visited the site before, but knowing I’d hear Damon Lindelof talking LOST again for at least a small part of proceedings was enough, and 100 minutes later, I feel like writing a pilot!

The Nerdist Writers Panel series is an informal chat moderated by Ben Blacker (co-creator of The Thrilling Adventure Hour, writer on CW’s Supernatural) with professional writers about the process and business of writing. Covering TV, film, comic books, music, novels, and any other kind of writing about which you’d care to hear. Proceeds from the series benefit 826LA, the national non-profit tutoring program. Recorded live at Nerdist Industries at Meltdown Comics in Los Angeles. 

Episode one features: Damon Lindelof (Lost); Jane Espenson (Buffy; Battlestar Galactica; Torchwood); Erin Levy (Mad Men); Drew Z. Greenberg (Buffy; Warehouse 13).

You’ll hear about the television industry, how these guys got their breaks in writing for television, the relationship between showrunners, writers and the writers room, breaking an episode, arc, season or series, writing a spec script, what makes a good show, and a whole bunch of other tidbits, with some darn good personal experiences thrown in. It really is fascinating and inspiring, and well worth a listen for anyone thinking of picking up that pen and writing a short story or the next LOST.

There was a bit from Damon Lindelof on what he thinks can make a character special that I particularly loved…

…to boil it down to its simplest form, it’s just, it’s, “what’s your secret?”. You know, so that idea of like, if you fundamentally accept the rule that every single person in this room has a secret, and, it doesn’t mean that you haven’t shared it with some people, but, you know, if you look at your characters and you apply the same logic and say “They have a secret. What is it?”, and, it might not even come out in the process of, they might not tell it, they might not reveal it, it might not be germane to whatever your story is, but if you commit to it and decide what it is, that automatically gives them a level that they did not have previously. For LOST it just so happened to be essential in the building of the show, but I always feel like that’s an interesting place to start

Listen now: ~1 hr 42 min

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Or download it here

Bring on panel #2!

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