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Television Writing from the Inside Out: Your Channel to Success Paperback – November 1, 2003
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However, this book is so much more than a script manual. Yes, there is the technical stuff like writing for spec, first assignments, outlines, teleplays and how to write them. But Brody also covers things like where to live, how to get connected in the business in order to get to a pitch meeting, the numerous types of meetings, realistic timeframes that set things occur and how people respond by what they say and what they really mean. He really makes the business of television writing real.
After reading Brody's book, if you ever had illusions about how easy writing for television could be (ideally), they will be completely dispelled. When you are finished, sit back and ask yourself if it is what you REALLY want to do. If the answer is yes, he gives you a great outline. If the answer is no, now is the time to stop and find another worthy pursuit. Brody comes across as honest with how demanding the business-side of television writing is, and it is not always about the writing. This is one of the best books I have ever read on this subject.
You should also check out tvwriter.com and take one of Larry's classes.
If you're serious, and ready to work hard at your writing, read Brody--and then start writing.
But the account of how a network television organization works is useful if you plan to try to market your material to such organizations.
The book is also useful for laying out the three stages that an idea must go through to end up on TV. These he calls "the logline", the "outline" and the teleplay. His examples of each of these (for sitcoms, series and TV movies) are also useful.
The book also (unintentionally) helps you to understand why television shows and network-produced TV movies are so bad.
My only reservation in recommending this book to everyone is that it's been a long time since Larry stood outside the industry looking in. The landscape has changed and Larry is already a barnacle on the television whale, far out to sea. For those stuck on the rocky shore, this book might be more useful if you already have screen credits and want to leverage your position with knowledge about how the industry works.
If you found this book helpful, you will also likely enjoy Starting Your Television Writing Career by Abby Finer. Another very good book.