Book Review: The Insider’s Guide to Writing for Television 3


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The Insider’s Guide to Writing For Television is exactly that, with insights from and about seasoned and new writers alike as well as input from the points of view of all professionals involved in the industry, from script readers to script editors to producers and agents.

What this book offers is not only a “how to” guide, but an overview of the industry and its processes and above all, and most crucially, how to approach the business side of things.

Julian Friedmann, of top literary and TV agency Blake Friedmann and co-author of the book, offers a unique insight into the realities of the industry and the work involved to get a foot in the door. His chapters on contracts, options and commissions alone are well worth the book price.

This isn’t a book which excludes new writers or those without an agent – Julian even offers advice on doing without an agent and the book as a whole tailors for those starting out as well as those who are currently working in the industry. Packed with information, links and advice for all aspects of the industry, it is a must read for anyone interested in writing for TV or film.

With the first half of the book covering the building blocks of industry business, self development and promotion, the second half is written by producer and editor Christopher Walker. Christopher talks us through what it takes to perform to industry requirements, from TV script formats and content to the importance of understanding audiences, genres, scheduling, plot devices and expectations of you as a jobbing writer. There are even examples of synopses, outlines and treatments.

Both sections are comprehensive and extremely informative, preparing you for every aspect of a career in TV writing. Both Julian and Christopher’s honesty about the industry makes this a practical and no-nonsense manual, yet their approach is always encouraging and the chapters are well sectioned and narrated so that the information is easy to read and digest. There are also plenty of quotes, insights and advice from active TV writers and producers to help explain the points being covered.

You may find that you feel a little overwhelmed by the complicated nature of the industry and the perceived difficulty of getting a foot in the door, but the knowledge gleaned from this book will arm you with a far better approach than a writer who may not take the time to do their research. Quite frankly, this book is invaluable as a first point of research.

I planned to have this book as my [studious] holiday read, but couldn’t help but dip into it early and couldn’t stop reading! I devoured it all in a matter of days. It is definitely a book I will refer to again and again, and one which I will recommend to any aspiring TV or feature writer alike. Only YOU can control your career, and this book will help equip you with the knowledge and the mindset to work towards your goals.

You can buy the book via Amazon or the publisher.

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