If you're into screenwriting, I can't recommend the podcast On the Page highly enough. They have an assortment of great guests working in the biz (not just screenwriters) and the host, Pilar, is bubbly, enthusiastic and asks great questions.
I'm going to paraphrase a particularly enlightening bit of information from episode #412 guest Corey Mandell:
This year, HBO will purchase around 200 original pilots (120 dramas, 80 comedies). HBO will buy more original scripts than all the studios combined. That's just HBO. Think about Showtime, Cinemax, AMC, Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, etc. Think of all the buyers. There's never been more scripts and pitches bought in TV ever. Most of the pilots will be bought as pitches. Here's the process: You sell your pitch in July and August. You write it in September. You get notes. You rewrite it in October. You get more notes. You rewrite it in November and you know by December whether they are going to pick it up or not. You make a nice six figure income for five months of work.
Everyone is looking for new writers. They are fighting for new writers. HBO executives prime objective is to find new writers. They are looking at blog writers, new novelists, play writes, spec scripts, etc. They are fighting all the other buyers for these new writers that can write pitch-perfect authentic scripts. Most of the top writers are already locked up into other projects. There's not enough writers who can write at the quality that they are looking for to fill the spots. They are looking for NEW STUFF. They want worlds, characters, and stories we've never seen before. They want new fresh faces. Three years back, HBO was the only one looking for these types of scripts, but now because of on demand competition, even the networks (FOX, NBC, ABC, CBS) are looking for these edgier scripts. There's never been a better time for an unknown writer to break into television. And they don't try to make you fit a 22 episode season mold. They ask you what's the best way to tell your story.
- True Detective writer Nic Pizzolatto makes $600,000/episode. DAAAANG!
- Before you get a manager have these things ready because lots of people are going to want to meet with you: 1 fully fleshed out script (2 is better), 1 completely worked out pitch, 2 soft pitches (elevator pitches).
- Once you get into a room, no matter how bad you think it's going, don't bail.