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Mediabistro.com Presents Small Screen, Big Picture: A Writer's Guide to the TV Business [Kindle Edition]

Chad Gervich
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $17.00
Kindle Price: $10.99
You Save: $6.01 (35%)
Sold by: Random House LLC

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Book Description

Take On Hollywood and Make It as a Television Writer.

From mediabistro.com, the media industry’s most well-respected source for jobs, professional development, and community, this inside-the-business guide gives you the knowledge and tools you need to infiltrate Hollywood and land a job as a TV writer. That’s right—Small Screen, Big Picture gives you a competitive edge over millions of other aspiring writers who share your talent, creativity, and determination . . . because after reading these pages, you’ll have the one thing they lack: an understanding of the business of television.

This journey into Hollywood’s inner workings not only details how networks, studios, and production companies work together, it teaches you how the process affects the creation and writing of TV series, how shows make money, and—ultimately—how you can use this information to break into the industry.

You’ll learn:
• What really goes on in the inner sanctum of the writers’ room—and how to be a part of it
• How today’s TV business model works—and how rapidly it’s changing
• Who has the power to buy a show idea—and how to pitch your own
• How new media formats are changing television—and how to use them to your advantage
• Which jobs will kick-start your TV writing career—and how to get hired
• And much more . . .

Armed with this solid foundation of knowledge, you’ll be ready to plan your entry into the industry and begin your successful TV writing career.


From the Trade Paperback edition.


Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

*Starred Review* This could just be the most informative book ever written about the television industry. While such works as Bill Carter’s Late Shift (1994) and Desperate Networks (2006) focus on the personalities behind TV’s hits and failures, Gervich, who has worked in television production for about a decade, concentrates on the mechanics of the industry. He takes a budding scriptwriter through the lengthy, often emotionally draining process of getting a script onto the air, pausing along the way to talk about such fundamental things as pilot season, the way a broadcast day is broken into key segments (called “dayparts”), how the TV ratings work, the different requirements of specific genres, how to schedule a new series, the syndication process (generally speaking, a show doesn’t turn a profit until it’s sold into syndication), even the mechanics of filming a television show. The book is also full of surprises—the fact that cable TV was accidentally invented 60-odd years ago by a Pennsylvania appliance salesman who just wanted to sell more television sets—and it’s written for the general reader, someone who hasn’t already spent years in the business. It would be difficult to imagine a more engaging, user-friendly, and educational book on the subject. --David Pitt

About the Author

CHAD GERVICH has worked as a TV writer, producer, and executive. He’s written, developed, and produced shows for the Littlefield Company, Fox Television Studios, Paramount Television, NBC, Warner Bros., ABC, Fox Reality Channel, E! Entertainment Television, and 20th Century Fox.

Product Details

  • File Size: 613 KB
  • Print Length: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Three Rivers Press (November 25, 2008)
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B001MXK53G
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #229,428 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Save Time and Money - Buy This Book! December 29, 2008
Format:Paperback
I've been at the script writing game for two years now in L.A. This is after transitioning from the world of Advertising in New York City. I wish this book had been my in-flight reading for the transcontinental trip. It sums up and adds too what I've learned from a studio job, writing classes, and reading about every other book and trade publication out there. I recommend if you're coming to the City of Angels to pursue a writing career, buckle up and buy this book. Because even though the television industry may be Godless, it just got a Bible in Small Screen, Big Picture.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If you want to work in TV buy this July 4, 2009
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I work in the back office of an entertainment company. Lots of books will tell you they have the secrets for how to get a job, how to make a pitch, etc. Many of them are full of crap. If you have an idea you would like to put onscreen, or if you would like to get to work in TV, this book isn't a complete roadmap. But no book is a complete roadmap.

What this book does is much more important: it tells you how the industry already works so you can figure out how to put your idea in language people in the industry can understand. If you pitch a police drama to Cartoon Network they will laugh you out of the room. If you make it animated, that probably won't help. But if you get to the Adult Swim programmers, you have a chance. If you can explain why your idea fits with the rest of their schedule in that daypart, you get closer. This book will tell you why that is the case, and how to make your case.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating inside look at the TV industry September 13, 2010
By Holly
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
If you want to be a TV writer, order this book immediately and start reading it. If you want to be a writer, but you're not sure what kind, check out this book. If you don't care about writing, but you love TV, you'll love this book, too.

For the TV fan, this book is full of fascinating information about life behind the scenes, including how the TV industry is structured, how pilots work, how series are staffed, and a whole lot more. It includes entertaining trivia about the history of television, as well as surprising facts about past and current shows. Ever wonder how TV ratings work? It's in there. Ever wonder how much it costs to produce a pilot or a single episode of a TV show? Check out this book. You won't be disappointed. It's written in an easy to ready style, and is appealing to the general reader, who hasn't already spent years working in the entertainment business.

For the aspiring writer, this book gives you a full view of what it's like to get into the TV industry and what life is like as a TV writer. If you're not sure whether you want to be a TV writer, a screenplay writer, or a novel writer, this can help give you an idea of whether television is for you, or whether you're better off focusing your writing efforts elsewhere. It can even give you ideas on how to develop other kinds of writing: character development, point of view, and the premise are present in many other types of writing as well. Personally, reading this book gave me a lot of ideas for non-TV writing.

And, of course, if you're looking to break into the industry as a TV writer, this book is the bible you need to get started. Don't make another move until you've read this book. If you think you need to wait tables in LA for years until you get your writing break, you're dead wrong.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Terrific Reality Check May 31, 2011
Format:Paperback
Breaking into the TV/Cable world as a writer isn't easy...but Chad Gervich's SMALL SCREEN, BIG PICTURE: A Writer's Guide to the TV Business will certainly make that bumpy road smoother and much easier to navigate! This book covers it all and the boxed comments which highlight advice and information from his "in the trenches" contacts and colleagues really gives writers an honest and thoughtful reality check! If writing for television or cable is in your future, this book will definitely help you to reach that goal!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommend this! September 23, 2010
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is a terrifically insightful book - hugely informative whether you are a writer , assistant, upcoming exec. A great tool for anyone interested in TV - I cannot recommend it highly enough.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great primer for the unitiated! December 10, 2008
Format:Paperback
I read this book __after_ I got my first and only job in the entertainment industry. Unfortunately, I didn't get to read it soon enough. I had to learn everything on the job and if I had had this book first, it would have made my transition from technology to entertainment so much easier. This book tells you everything you need to know, in _detail_, step by step, who does what, how to break in, etc... Anyone who wants to work in entertainment, especially in television, needs to read this book.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars So helpful!!!! December 15, 2008
Format:Paperback
I've been working in the film/TV industry for a number of years, and I still learned new information from this book. Informative and at the same time entertaining, it's a thoroughly enjoyable read. I highly recommend this book for anyone who wants to improve their knowledge of working in television - from the very beginner to those already involved who want to advance their own careers.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars great! May 5, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Very thoughtful, in depth and adds a ton of value, I think you'd look at the business in an entirely different way after reading it!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars This was recommended by my film school professor
This was recommended by my film school professor. It is very lengthy but there are some great nuggets of wisdom in here!
Published 3 months ago by S Sasha Fresh
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent read!
This is really a highly, highly fascinating book, broad, in depth, relevant. I'm a writer, not some CEO but small screen big picture managed the impossible: I'm in love with the... Read more
Published 10 months ago by Olaf Weyer
4.0 out of 5 stars good
Good. Solid. Liked it because Simple and direct. Good background info and good reminders. A complete picture of the biz
Published 11 months ago by good
4.0 out of 5 stars Opened my eyes.
Concise, informative, do's, dont's.
Another great read into the world of Screenwriting and Motion Picture.
Take yourself seriously and read this book!
Published 13 months ago by B. Rich Adams
4.0 out of 5 stars Great inside knowledge
Great inside knowledge to inner workings of the TV writing and development world. Would definitely recommend for students and baby writers.
Published 14 months ago by TV Watcher
5.0 out of 5 stars Review
Everything was great and delivered on time, except the Garcinia Cambogia. It is making my hair fall out and I'm not taking it again.
Published 18 months ago by Nora Diamond
5.0 out of 5 stars This book
This book will answer all your questions you may have about television production. It gives one an insight to how this industry works. For a television writer, it is a must have.
Published on October 25, 2012 by Kesha
4.0 out of 5 stars Encyclopedia-like Book with Narrow Focus and Lots of Terminology
This book certainly covers all the bases when it comes to TV programming--but it does it in a somewhat dull textbook manner. Read more
Published on April 30, 2009 by Mediaman
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More About the Author

Chad Gervich is a television writer/producer, bestselling author, and award-winning playwright. He has written and produced for shows such as "Dog With a Blog" on Disney Channel, Chelsea Handler's "After Lately" on E!, "Cupcake Wars" on Food Network, and "Wipeout" on ABC. He spent five years as a development executive for the Littlefield Company, and recently completed a pilot development deal with 20th Century Fox. Chad's critically acclaimed TV-writing handbook, "Small Screen, Big Picture: A Writers Guide to the TV Business" (Random House/Crown), is being used as a textbook in the CBS Diversity Writing Program, the WGA Showrunners Training Program, NBC's Writers on the Verge, NATPE's Diversity Fellowship, and at universities across America, including UCLA, California State, Long Island University, National University, and USC.


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