Last updated on November 25, 2010
Montréal-based screenwriter Alex Epstein has an interesting blog often full of pithy insights to the screenwriting side of (live-action) television. But here’s one article that especially twigged with me:
“Q. I was wondering, five years later: is the “writing room” mentality still dead in Canada? Or has it picked up any steam since you last discussed it in your book?
I would say it has largely taken over. I can’t think offhand of any prime time dramas or comedies that are still going with the old, bad system of one head writer and a lot of free lancers. So that’s a bit of cheery news.”
On the animation side, I can’t think of one animated tv show that’s done in Canada that actually uses a writing room. At all. Or a story room for that matter.
It seems the ‘old, bad system of one head writer and a lot of free lancers’ is still the norm up here – and is one of my pet theories behind the dearth of successful indigenous projects not already based on a children’s book. I think the slide in quality only increases exponentially when board artists are also run under the ‘old, bad system’ and denied the opportunity to crawl out of their drawing caves to jam on a board in an attempt to better an episode.
I’ve had the opportunity to work on…let’s see…2 tv shows that ran story rooms in my 12 years of working as a board artist. It’s as rare as hen’s teeth. So are decent shows. If you are working on a show that uses a writer’s room or a story jam session, let us know in the comments. I’m curious.