Pitching over Zoom? Try using an external camera to improve the image quality

I first planned to write about using tech to improve your TV/movie pitches over Zoom back in May, but then I asked myself “how useful will this post be in a month?” and I didn’t wind up writing it. Now here we are in July and, well…I should’ve written it then.

So here’s the basic gist — I actually don’t think you should be relying too much on technical gimmickry to gussy up your pitches. You don’t need on-screen graphics or green screen effects in a Zoom pitch any more than you need them in an in-person pitch, and the more tech you incorporate, the more things can go wrong. What you do want: The best possible presentation of you and your voice.

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How to be a kick-ass writers’ assistant

It’s June, which means TV writers’ rooms for the next season are opening for business.  Most of the people in those rooms are veteran writers who (hopefully) need no advice.  A lucky few are first-time writers who will need a lot of advice, but they’ll get none from me.  (Y’all are on your own.*)  No, this post is for the other people who make their living in a TV writers’ room; the true, unsung heroes of television. The Writers’ Assistants.

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Anatomy of a TV Writers’ Room

449A4438One unexpected fruit of the internet: a million blogs dedicated to recapping every episode of every TV show currently on the air. Throw in all the people devoting their free time/lives to reexamining old episodes of Buffy, Star Trek: The Next Generation, and Doctor Who, and you’ve got approximately 1 trillion web pages all devoted to one thing: Telling People What They Already Saw.

The AVClub, HitFix, TelevisionWithoutPity, and Entertainment Weekly — among countless other sites — have all figured out how to monetize the desperate need for TV addicts to have their opinions verified through consensus. No show is too small to be covered, no detail is too small to be obsessed over.  Thanks to the explosion of the TV echo-chamber, never before has so much attention been given to the process of making television.

And never before have so many people gotten it so wrong.

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Local L.A. Newscaster Or Porn Star?

If you’ve ever been to Los Angeles and turned on the TV at noon, 6, or 11pm, you might’ve noticed something “different” about the people delivering you the local news, sports, and weather.  Their lips are plumper. Their bods are buffer. Their boobs are much, much, larger. They frequently look like the porn version of what a local newscaster should look like.  Don’t believe me?  Here’s a quiz for you:

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