inkcanada

curated by screenwriter Karen Walton

— @inkcanada on Twitter.

Tagged journal:

Reposting as there seems to be an issue with the original one (pilot error, no doubt) Part Two/Page Two from my live-journal/Jenn Liao’s generous gift of an archived document of this thread on our Facebook page, etc - context, see Part One.  

Page Two/Part Two

Mar 10

As I churned away at the Day in the Life of a Prime-time television series writer, my great friend & esteemed colleague, fellow inkcanada FBGroup member Elan Mastai began to live-journal a day in his life as a screenwriter in features, simultaneously.  This thread was active on our FBGroup from December 6th through the 16th, 2011.  Again as the archived docs are long, I’ll do these page by page - with thanks to filmmaker Jenn Liao for making their repub possible… and to Elan for permission to re-post here.

Page One/Part One

  

Mar 10

Page/Day Four….  

KW: 12:02PM - lunch is called for the production office/in studio crew. we usually take 20 to sit down and eat together as a story room. then back at it - after lunch will be notes on the new draft that’s in (I’m digging’ it!). More Prep (Pre-production) meetings on my ep shooting Thursday pend this aft. Let me get my tupperware organized and I’ll answer thots in the posts above…

Daniel Magnus (DM): Most interesting read on Facebook in recent memory. Rare behind the scenes, from writer’s P.O.V. Probably a dumb question but…Do writers go into OT? Thanks Karen.

WZ: Daniel, staff writers get paid a weekly salary. They don’t keep records of hours (i.e. no punching in and out) and don’t get overtime. Typically, when production is in full swing, you’re looking at 12-15 hour days, not counting writing at home after.

No overtime.

KW: Hi Jeff E. - fyi Wil Zmak is correct in most respects re your queries, esp as he worked this show last season - which was pretty different but what we’re on about here is similar (in fact am writing from ‘my’ office, which was ‘will’s’ last year. this season we do actually hang as a group all together all thru. we each have little offices hived off a big room w a lot of wipe boards, a remote-controlled fish, a TV for dailies (what we shoot each day) and to review and do notes on cuts, casting tapes etc. not tapes CDs/DVDs sorry. In this room there are four of us. We started together downtown in June. So six months in, we’re pretty hard-wired as a team and we work that way, to our show runner’s great example & credit each day.

KW: So no not in this season’s room is it ever terribly quiet. Wil’s room would have been different - each show, each year a room is as different as the writers’ and their experiences can be coming in, thru it and where ever we’re headed after. Our room is like the best lunch at high school car table you can get ;)

KW: Hi Daniel - writers don’t get OT, they just get really pale and mole-eyes - no matter what their colouring. we work until the work is done, because it’s tough for everybody else to do their jobs well until the script is what it needs to be for that to happen. I work 6 or seven days a week, and most nights after we go home we all then begin in earnest our writing due, individually. or the reading or the viewing or the revisions. which is why everybody else waiting to hear from me outside the show can get it over it now ;) I hope. Again changes every show but yes we et a flat rate to keep the wheels greased - whatever time that takes is what it takes, period. It’s a marathon not a punch your pay card kinda gig

KW: and thanks Daniel for the compliment, too kind.

KW: also re noise levels I get busted a lot for playing Zep or AC/DC or Jack White too loud. Everybody else has fancy noise blocker headphones but I’m cheap and need to air guitar to reach my ultimate out-put/day of half-baked crazy 

Mar 10

Page/Part Three of the Facebook Group thread in which I live-journaled a typical day at work last December.  Archived courtesy brilliant filmmaker & inkcanada Group member, Jenn Liao.  Part One is here.  Part Two is here.


KW: eeeeeeeew thanks Wil. eeeeeew. It probably wasn’t my 9AM stop tho - I brake close to home, only the other writers brake out here in studio-land… which I can’t do for many wrong-way divider reasons.

KW: 11:36AM finished in-house first draft for room review. I goofed and said this one is after my next one (currently in prep) - in fact it’s two eps from now. still gagging re Wil’s update on mice in take-away coffees, bt I’m usually gagging thanks to one writerly observation or another by this point (very early still) in our room’s day ;) I have three rubber rats in poses of simulated fornication on my desk, nuff said. Page: Driver going to set. Which today is on location. I need a stretch and fresh coffee…

KW: Elan Mastai in no way the same, writing tv versus features. I actually feel like a whole other person who writes a whole other way in tv now. lemme make a bathroom run (while I still can) and explain if not before over lunch…

KW: just realizes second to last post deceptive - ‘just finished READING’ that should say. Prepping Blues on about to shoot Thursday script which is written by yours truly. second of 3 (third will be a co-write with another staffer - awaiting concept approval now)

Jeff Eyamie (JE): Karen Walton Is there a TV in your room and is someone screening random clips from the internet on it? Is someone pitching to someone else? Describe the activity in the room for someone who’s never been inside one ;)

WZ: Jeff, there is a TV in the room, but it’s mostly used for watching casting tapes, dailies, rough cuts, director’s cuts and final cuts.

WZ: Also, re: the room. At the beginning of the season, before production, it’s writers sitting around a table and talking for 10 hours a day for a couple of months. By the time the cameras roll, it has been subdivided; everyone off working on one part of the machine or another.

JE: Wil Zmak So it’s quiet in there right now? Quiet as a coffee mouse?

KW: 11:47AM break with the boss (veteran show runner Peter Mohan - reporting first call received regarding me doing this here. I didn’t ask permission because as always at ink I don’t tend to break any contractual obs writing online — but don’t try this at home (or from your show) unless you’re familiar with your legal. And as cool, Pete thinks it’s awesome and is very supportive as always of sharing experiences among pros so how cool is my gig? but again, unless you’re super familiar with the online info management, I wouldn’t do what I’m doing today if you’re new or don’t like potential trouble from on high. Hopefully most know know I’m not a malevolent messenger ;)

KW: The boss is back from mixing Ep1 and apparently it’s awesome which surprises me not in the least. It’s a great ep and it’s going to be an amazing season. 

Mar 10

On December 5th, 2011 I live-journaled a typical day in a story room as Writer-Co-Executive Producer of a dramatic television series in production, via our public Facebook Group.  The forum allowed members of the Group (other professional writers in film, tv, digital, our students, & keen friends in other disciplines) to interact as I published, so this thread remained active from 9:45am that day, until 10:12am December 8th, 2011.  My sincere thanks to all who engaged me there, and especially to my esteemed colleague - filmmaker Jennifer Liao at Believerville Productions - who surprised me with this generous gift of archiving it, so it wouldn’t be lost.  It’s a big document, so I’ll re-publish it here page by page, as it appeared on the Group. Context: I think at this point in the year, we were mid-shooting Episode Six of a total of thirteen.  The Story Room had convened in June.  We’d been shooting since September.

Page One of the Thread (opens at 9:45am)

Karen Walton (KW): bring(ing) you up to speed - 6:30AM - awoken by cats on the couch. it’s not unusual for me to fall asleep working late on the couch.

KW: 7:00-8:00AM - review production schedules, prep schedules, directors’ emails on latest script revisions published Friday.

8:30AM - lunch packed (we have catering, but after a few months and two(unrelated) tooth extractions, I have to get all special on what I’m eating) I also supply the room with assorted vitamins, treats, snacks and sometimes baking which I no longer have the waking hours for. Why? everybody forgets to eat anything healthy after 3PM

KW: 9:00AM - en route from the city of Toronto to the studio in Mississauga. Mandatory stop at yes, Timmy’s. This is not a paid endorsement, oddly. Mid-way thru season, I find each morning requires at least two chocolate dip donuts, or bad things happen. See tooth extractions, now you get it.

KW: 9:50AM - in the ‘treehouse’ - the story department sits above the production offices, and as I have mentioned before the shot-bell is directly under me. The unit is out on location. The writers have a new script to review for the ep that preps after mine. Mine is #9 in shooting order of #13 and it starts shooting on Thursday. So far we’ve published White and Pink revisions. I’ve got a little shopping list started for the Blue Revisions pending. The list is mostly stuff that comes up as we prepare - locations, budget, cast, guest stars scheduling v number of scenes I can put ‘em down for etc

KW: 10:06AM I can hear the writer of the ep currently shooting prepping on-the-day fixes for the currently shooting ep with the ADs (on location) I can hear my ADs downstairs in the office below me shaking out the boards (schedule of which scenes shoot where what days - TBC) as they prep to review locations today w director & producers. Each time I change the script for any given requirement, it affects the boards and everyone working the show, so you try to stay super-on top of all concerns (see above shopping list) as they come up.

KW: 10:10AM ok so instead of a post-wknd catch-up with our gang, I’ve updated you on the day so far. I’m writing from my office, where I’m about to read the next episode and offer notes with the rest of the writers before it gets one more revision pre-submission to the networks, producers. When I write features, I’d just be rolling out of bed about now ;) grab a coffee and again, ask any Q’s you wish - can’t discuss content but happy to answer anything unclear (typing bloody fast)

 End Page One.  Page Two soon…

 

Feb 26

#writinglife: day in the life of a prime-time television series writer (part two)

Reposting as there seems to be an issue with the original one (pilot error, no doubt) Part Two/Page Two from my live-journal/Jenn Liao’s generous gift of an archived document of this thread on our Facebook page, etc - context, see Part One.  

Page Two/Part Two

#writinglife: day in the life of a feature film writer (part one) by Elan Mastai

As I churned away at the Day in the Life of a Prime-time television series writer, my great friend & esteemed colleague, fellow inkcanada FBGroup member Elan Mastai began to live-journal a day in his life as a screenwriter in features, simultaneously.  This thread was active on our FBGroup from December 6th through the 16th, 2011.  Again as the archived docs are long, I’ll do these page by page - with thanks to filmmaker Jenn Liao for making their repub possible… and to Elan for permission to re-post here.

Page One/Part One

  

#writinglife: day in the life of a prime-time series writer (part four)

Page/Day Four….  

KW: 12:02PM - lunch is called for the production office/in studio crew. we usually take 20 to sit down and eat together as a story room. then back at it - after lunch will be notes on the new draft that’s in (I’m digging’ it!). More Prep (Pre-production) meetings on my ep shooting Thursday pend this aft. Let me get my tupperware organized and I’ll answer thots in the posts above…

Daniel Magnus (DM): Most interesting read on Facebook in recent memory. Rare behind the scenes, from writer’s P.O.V. Probably a dumb question but…Do writers go into OT? Thanks Karen.

WZ: Daniel, staff writers get paid a weekly salary. They don’t keep records of hours (i.e. no punching in and out) and don’t get overtime. Typically, when production is in full swing, you’re looking at 12-15 hour days, not counting writing at home after.

No overtime.

KW: Hi Jeff E. - fyi Wil Zmak is correct in most respects re your queries, esp as he worked this show last season - which was pretty different but what we’re on about here is similar (in fact am writing from ‘my’ office, which was ‘will’s’ last year. this season we do actually hang as a group all together all thru. we each have little offices hived off a big room w a lot of wipe boards, a remote-controlled fish, a TV for dailies (what we shoot each day) and to review and do notes on cuts, casting tapes etc. not tapes CDs/DVDs sorry. In this room there are four of us. We started together downtown in June. So six months in, we’re pretty hard-wired as a team and we work that way, to our show runner’s great example & credit each day.

KW: So no not in this season’s room is it ever terribly quiet. Wil’s room would have been different - each show, each year a room is as different as the writers’ and their experiences can be coming in, thru it and where ever we’re headed after. Our room is like the best lunch at high school car table you can get ;)

KW: Hi Daniel - writers don’t get OT, they just get really pale and mole-eyes - no matter what their colouring. we work until the work is done, because it’s tough for everybody else to do their jobs well until the script is what it needs to be for that to happen. I work 6 or seven days a week, and most nights after we go home we all then begin in earnest our writing due, individually. or the reading or the viewing or the revisions. which is why everybody else waiting to hear from me outside the show can get it over it now ;) I hope. Again changes every show but yes we et a flat rate to keep the wheels greased - whatever time that takes is what it takes, period. It’s a marathon not a punch your pay card kinda gig

KW: and thanks Daniel for the compliment, too kind.

KW: also re noise levels I get busted a lot for playing Zep or AC/DC or Jack White too loud. Everybody else has fancy noise blocker headphones but I’m cheap and need to air guitar to reach my ultimate out-put/day of half-baked crazy 

#writinglife: day in the life of a prime-time series writer (part three)

Page/Part Three of the Facebook Group thread in which I live-journaled a typical day at work last December.  Archived courtesy brilliant filmmaker & inkcanada Group member, Jenn Liao.  Part One is here.  Part Two is here.


KW: eeeeeeeew thanks Wil. eeeeeew. It probably wasn’t my 9AM stop tho - I brake close to home, only the other writers brake out here in studio-land… which I can’t do for many wrong-way divider reasons.

KW: 11:36AM finished in-house first draft for room review. I goofed and said this one is after my next one (currently in prep) - in fact it’s two eps from now. still gagging re Wil’s update on mice in take-away coffees, bt I’m usually gagging thanks to one writerly observation or another by this point (very early still) in our room’s day ;) I have three rubber rats in poses of simulated fornication on my desk, nuff said. Page: Driver going to set. Which today is on location. I need a stretch and fresh coffee…

KW: Elan Mastai in no way the same, writing tv versus features. I actually feel like a whole other person who writes a whole other way in tv now. lemme make a bathroom run (while I still can) and explain if not before over lunch…

KW: just realizes second to last post deceptive - ‘just finished READING’ that should say. Prepping Blues on about to shoot Thursday script which is written by yours truly. second of 3 (third will be a co-write with another staffer - awaiting concept approval now)

Jeff Eyamie (JE): Karen Walton Is there a TV in your room and is someone screening random clips from the internet on it? Is someone pitching to someone else? Describe the activity in the room for someone who’s never been inside one ;)

WZ: Jeff, there is a TV in the room, but it’s mostly used for watching casting tapes, dailies, rough cuts, director’s cuts and final cuts.

WZ: Also, re: the room. At the beginning of the season, before production, it’s writers sitting around a table and talking for 10 hours a day for a couple of months. By the time the cameras roll, it has been subdivided; everyone off working on one part of the machine or another.

JE: Wil Zmak So it’s quiet in there right now? Quiet as a coffee mouse?

KW: 11:47AM break with the boss (veteran show runner Peter Mohan - reporting first call received regarding me doing this here. I didn’t ask permission because as always at ink I don’t tend to break any contractual obs writing online — but don’t try this at home (or from your show) unless you’re familiar with your legal. And as cool, Pete thinks it’s awesome and is very supportive as always of sharing experiences among pros so how cool is my gig? but again, unless you’re super familiar with the online info management, I wouldn’t do what I’m doing today if you’re new or don’t like potential trouble from on high. Hopefully most know know I’m not a malevolent messenger ;)

KW: The boss is back from mixing Ep1 and apparently it’s awesome which surprises me not in the least. It’s a great ep and it’s going to be an amazing season. 

#writinglife: day in the life of a prime-time television series writer (part one)

On December 5th, 2011 I live-journaled a typical day in a story room as Writer-Co-Executive Producer of a dramatic television series in production, via our public Facebook Group.  The forum allowed members of the Group (other professional writers in film, tv, digital, our students, & keen friends in other disciplines) to interact as I published, so this thread remained active from 9:45am that day, until 10:12am December 8th, 2011.  My sincere thanks to all who engaged me there, and especially to my esteemed colleague - filmmaker Jennifer Liao at Believerville Productions - who surprised me with this generous gift of archiving it, so it wouldn’t be lost.  It’s a big document, so I’ll re-publish it here page by page, as it appeared on the Group. Context: I think at this point in the year, we were mid-shooting Episode Six of a total of thirteen.  The Story Room had convened in June.  We’d been shooting since September.

Page One of the Thread (opens at 9:45am)

Karen Walton (KW): bring(ing) you up to speed - 6:30AM - awoken by cats on the couch. it’s not unusual for me to fall asleep working late on the couch.

KW: 7:00-8:00AM - review production schedules, prep schedules, directors’ emails on latest script revisions published Friday.

8:30AM - lunch packed (we have catering, but after a few months and two(unrelated) tooth extractions, I have to get all special on what I’m eating) I also supply the room with assorted vitamins, treats, snacks and sometimes baking which I no longer have the waking hours for. Why? everybody forgets to eat anything healthy after 3PM

KW: 9:00AM - en route from the city of Toronto to the studio in Mississauga. Mandatory stop at yes, Timmy’s. This is not a paid endorsement, oddly. Mid-way thru season, I find each morning requires at least two chocolate dip donuts, or bad things happen. See tooth extractions, now you get it.

KW: 9:50AM - in the ‘treehouse’ - the story department sits above the production offices, and as I have mentioned before the shot-bell is directly under me. The unit is out on location. The writers have a new script to review for the ep that preps after mine. Mine is #9 in shooting order of #13 and it starts shooting on Thursday. So far we’ve published White and Pink revisions. I’ve got a little shopping list started for the Blue Revisions pending. The list is mostly stuff that comes up as we prepare - locations, budget, cast, guest stars scheduling v number of scenes I can put ‘em down for etc

KW: 10:06AM I can hear the writer of the ep currently shooting prepping on-the-day fixes for the currently shooting ep with the ADs (on location) I can hear my ADs downstairs in the office below me shaking out the boards (schedule of which scenes shoot where what days - TBC) as they prep to review locations today w director & producers. Each time I change the script for any given requirement, it affects the boards and everyone working the show, so you try to stay super-on top of all concerns (see above shopping list) as they come up.

KW: 10:10AM ok so instead of a post-wknd catch-up with our gang, I’ve updated you on the day so far. I’m writing from my office, where I’m about to read the next episode and offer notes with the rest of the writers before it gets one more revision pre-submission to the networks, producers. When I write features, I’d just be rolling out of bed about now ;) grab a coffee and again, ask any Q’s you wish - can’t discuss content but happy to answer anything unclear (typing bloody fast)

 End Page One.  Page Two soon…