What We Learned at WonderCon’s ‘Inside the Writers Room: From Script to Screen’ Panel

This weekend, I was able to attend WonderCon and sat through some great panels regarding writing, TV, and pop culture galore.

‘Inside the Writers Room: From Script to Screen’ reminded me that when we watch a TV show we sometimes forget how much goes into making one. From the countless hours of brainstorming, edits, re-writes and everything in between, it takes a team to make it all happen. I had the opportunity to listen to this awesome panel of writers and executive producers from a variety of shows and they gave us the inside scoop on what it’s really like inside the writers’ room aka where all the goodness happens!

This panel was moderated by Chris Parnell (president, Sony Pictures Television) and featured Gabrielle Stanton (The Flash, Titans, The Vampire Diaries), Michael Narducci (The Originals, Medium)Ryan Condal (Colony, Conan The Barbarian)Sean Crouch (Lore, The Exorcist), Ashley E. Miller (Fringe, Black Sails), Steve Melching (Star Wars Rebels, The Clone Wars), Kay Reindl (Freakish, Millennium), Mark A. Altman (The Librarians, Agent X), and Amy Berg (Counterparts, Eureka).

For anyone looking to get into TV writing, producing, etc., check out what we learned!
What are some qualities of showrunners, you may ask? There are lots!
  • You Have to Be VERY Decisive
It’s cutthroat, either a yes or a no. There is no time for in-betweens and maybes, because you’re working in such a fast-paced environment often with a ton of time constraints; a decision needs to be made pronto. Most of those decisions are ‘no’s’ and that is okay.
  • You Have to Be Open to Ideas
What makes a great showrunner is their ability to listen and not just hear the ideas shared with them. It’s what makes this a collective effort between the writers and showrunners.
  • Be Creative
Creativity has no limits.
  • Vision is Important
If you come with a set vision, it makes the process easier for you.
  • Be Courageous, Empathetic, and Brave

Good personal qualities are what makes you passionate and excel at your job.

  • Be Prepared

That’s always the key.

  • Know When You’re Done for the Day

You gotta know when the brainstorming session is over, it’s not a marathon. It’s not necessarily efficient to keep at it until midnight, each night. You gotta value those creative juices when they come.

What do showrunners want from their writers?

“People that are passionate about creating stories.”

If there is no passion, there is nothing to keep you going, you’ll get stuck and find yourself in a rut where moving onto the next script/task will end up being difficult.

Michael Narducci, who is known for his work on The Vampire Diaries and The Originals, shared an anecdote from TVD’s writers room. Most of the writers on the show were getting excited for the Damon and Elena arc, where their characters get together romantically. However, as the writers focused on writing their story, the other characters got lost. In order to avoid that being a continuous thing, they decided to put each character’s name in a hat and everyone would be assigned to write for the character they drew, that way no one was lost in the storyline.

One of the panelists mentioned trust as well. “You have to put the trust in giving and taking the notes. The reciprocity needs to be there.”

Other notable tips the panelists gave:

  • Fight until you can’t write anymore
  • Move forward and keep making stories
  • Don’t overdo it if it’s not there
  • Help new writers and make them feel protected

Did you find any of these tips helpful? Let us know in the comments below! And watch for more  WonderCon coverage!

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