Crafty TV Writing

Thinking Inside the Box

Alex Epstein

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A professional TV writer’s real-world guide to getting paid to write great television

"No need for me to ever write a book on TV writing. Alex Epstein has covered it all . . . along with a few things I wouldn't have thought of. Save yourself five years of rookie mistakes. Crafty TV Writing and talent are pretty much all you'll need to make it."
—Ken Levine, writer/producer, MASH, Cheers, Frasier, The Simpsons, Wings, Becker


Everyone watches television, and everyone has an opinion on what makes good TV. But, as Alex Epstein shows in this invaluable guide, writing for television is a highly specific craft that requires knowledge, skill, and more than a few insider’s tricks.

Epstein, a veteran TV writer and show creator himself, provides essential knowledge about the entire process of television writing, both for beginners and for professionals who want to go to the next level. Crafty TV Writing explains how to decode the hidden structure of a TV series. It describes the best ways to generate a hook, write an episode, create characters the audience will never tire of, construct entertaining dialogue, and use humor. It shows how to navigate the tough but rewarding television industry, from writing your first “spec” script, to getting hired to work on a show, to surviving—even thriving—if you get fired. And it illuminates how television writers think about the shows they’re writing, whether they’re working in comedy, drama, or “reality.”

Fresh, funny, and informed, Crafty TV Writing is the essential guide to writing for and flourishing in the world of television.


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Book Excerpts

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Introduction 
Why You Want to Write TV
 
When I was first coming up in the biz, movie writers looked down at TV writers. “If this doesn’t work out,” they’d say, “there’s always TV.” TV writers had an inferiority complex: “I’d love to work in movies. But I can’t afford it.” (Even then, TV writers made more money.) A movie could be made for a niche audience, but not TV. The three networks only aired shows that the entire country could watch. It was the ’80s, and Miami Vice was the most innovative thing on television.
 
Then cable blossomed.

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About the Author

Alex Epstein

Alex Epstein is the author of Crafty Screenwriting. He has worked as a development executive, television story editor, and television writer for more than a decade. He cocreated the comic drama series Naked Josh, and was head writer for the science fiction series Charlie Jade. A graduate of Yale University and the UCLA School of Film and Television, he writes the popular blog Complications Ensue.

Alex Epstein

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Available Formats and Book Details

Crafty TV Writing
Thinking Inside the Box
Alex Epstein

Trade Paperback

Trade Paperback
Henry Holt and Co.
Holt Paperbacks
May 2006
Trade Paperback
ISBN: 9780805080285
ISBN10: 0805080287
5 1/2 x 8 1/4 inches, 352 pages
$17.99

e-Book Agency

e-Book Agency
Henry Holt and Co.
Holt Paperbacks
May 2006
e-Book Agency
ISBN: 9781466807594
ISBN10: 1466807598
352 pages
$9.99
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