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Phil Cooke Podcast

Mar 19, 2019

Showrunner Dean Batali shares how to be a successful writer and producer for network television in this interview with Phil Cooke. With a long career in Hollywood, Dean is known for That ‘70’s Show, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Good Witch, Ties That Bind, Nazareth, and Chonda Pierce: This Ain’t PrettyvilleTV movie. He’s also a co-writer of the book Watching TV Religiouslywrittenwith Kutter Callaway.


In this interview, he shares his story of breaking into Hollywood and offers tips for creatives interested in a career in film and television, plus specific helps for writers including getting your first script produced, pushing past writer’s block, meeting deadlines and the value of writing a spec script.


Here are a few highlights from the interview…


--The more you know what you want to do in the industry, the better. (i.e. line producer, showrunner, director) Figure out what you’re aiming at.


--If you want to be great in the kingdom of Hollywood, become a servant of all. (This attitude was key to helping him break in!)


--Don’t go into a meeting unless you’ve done your homework. (Check IMDb, Facebook, LinkedIn.) It gives you an opportunity to affirm people for their work.


--Breaking into Hollywood depends on talent, access and opportunity – but you’ve got to have the skills.


--Spec writing is still a necessary step before you write a pilot. When he’s hiring for a show, he wants to know if people can write the style he’s looking for.


--Dean relates Malcolm Gladwell's 10,000 hour rule to writing with those hours equaling 10,000 pages.


--Forcing through deadlines can help make you a better writer. He believes that sometimes good enough is good enough! Just get your first 2-3 scripts done, rewrite a few drafts, but then move on.


--Learn to separate yourself from the work so you can take notes and rewrite as necessary without taking it too personally.


--Be ready for a lot of rejection in Hollywood. Keep producing; be a self starter and if necessary, be ready to shift your dreams.


Find Dean Batali on IMDb here:

Follow Dean Batali on Twitter:


Check out these books mentioned in the interview…

“Watching TV Religiously” by Kutter Callaway with Dean Batali


“One Big Thing: Discovering What You Were Born To Do” by Phil Cooke


“Creativity, Inc.” by Ed Catmull


For more tips on TV, film and Hollywood, visit Phil’s blog at


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