Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Book Review: Crafty TV Writing
I've taken a hiatus from my blog lately. After finishing the 2nd draft of my 10th book, I decided it was time to try something different. I enrolled in a Scriptwriting class through Coursera and wrote a TV Pilot. Trying something new and getting feedback from my peers was both exhilarating and overwhelming. Which led me to read Crafty TV Writing by Alex Epstein.

I really enjoyed Epstein's style and voice throughout the book. He is both practical and entertaining and I think anyone who enjoys watching television would find this book interesting. It's even better for someone who wants to write for television.

Prior to my scriptwriting course, everything I knew about writing for TV I learned from watching Seinfeld. Which in hindsight, wasn't such a bad education. Epstein, however, adds to what I learned there. His book is divided into three parts: Thinking Inside the Box, The Writer's Toolkit and Working in TV Land. Part one dissects the technicalities of scriptwriting including the hook, characters, show bible, springboard and more. Epstein frequently refers to TV shows on air to illustrate his points. Part Two focuses on weakness in scripts and how to fix them including how to take and use criticism. Part Three outlines what it's like to work on a TV show and explains some of the different writing jobs.

The version I read was written in 2006. I don't think Epstein has updated his book since then. His TV references could use some more recent references and I had to wonder if some of the formatting and inner workings of television have changed since then. Still, I think it is well worth reading and feel I have a much better picture of what it would be like to work as a writer in television. Alex also shares a lot on his blog, which I plan to start reading.