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Phil Cooke Podcast

Mar 28, 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 part two of this interview, Dean shares practical tips for writers wanting to break into television gleaned from his years of working in Hollywood in both film and TV. Find out how to lead and work within a writer’s room, take notes from producers, set up a writer’s schedule and pitch your project to a Hollywood executive. You’ll also gain insight on how to excel in your writing skills even if you don’t live in LA.


Here are a few highlights from the interview…


--A good TV writer “plays well with others.” You’ll spend 6-12 hours in a room breaking episodes with 6-12 writers and you’ve got to communicate and collaborate well.


--If you want to learn how to lead a writer’s room, build your own! Be the showrunner for your own script and gain the experience, even if it’s outside of real production.


--When receiving notes, find out if these are preferred notes or demand notes. Do you have to implement them or just consider them? For the ones that are difficult, learn how to pick your battles.


--Learn how to write on a schedule. Develop a plan, even if it’s writing 45 minutes before you go to your “day job.”


--Remember when you’re working on a deadline that sometimes “good enough” can be good enough.


--When pitching your project, remember to engage your listeners in the first 90 seconds. Are you grabbing them with a hook – even if it’s not necessarily the pitch? Gain their interest first.


--If you don’t live in Hollywood, remember you can get good wherever you are.


--Make sure to find a support group for your writing and for the spiritual aspect of what you’re trying to accomplish.


Find Dean Batali on IMDb here:

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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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