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: https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0060678/?ref_=nv_sr_1
Follow Dean Batali on Twitter: https://twitter.com/deanbatali
Check out these books mentioned in the interview…
“Watching TV Religiously” by Kutter Callaway with Dean Batali https://amzn.to/2FkWf43
“One Big Thing: Discovering What You Were Born To Do” by Phil Cooke https://amzn.to/2Y67CEr
“Creativity, Inc.” by Ed Catmull https://amzn.to/2FlePJm
For more tips on TV, film and Hollywood, visit Phil’s blog at https://www.philcooke.com
Get a free eBook on Creativity! Sign up for Phil’s blog at https://www.philcooke.com
Listen to the Phil Cooke Podcast here: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/philcookes-podcast/id1439369056
Find out more about Cooke Media Group here: https://www.cookemediagroup.com
Visit Phil Cooke’s YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCzivfiicpepFmAv5ZblgYWQ