I just got back from Germany, and part of my trip there was devoted to teaching the principles of American TV writing & producing to German writer/producers and network executives with my friend Bryce Zabel. Today on his blog, Bryce sums up the experience perfectly:
The work was very fun, working for a company that facilitates
interaction between U.S. writers and international clients. The idea
here was to share some of the tricks of the trade the U.S.
television industry has learned in order to crank out orders of 22
episodes a season at a factory-like pace. More on that in future posts,
I’d imagine. Let me just say that if anything is holding back German
television it’s not the energy, creativity or ideas of their writers
but the structure of their system which doesn’t allow them to work
together often enough to achieve the greatness they’re capable of. That
seems to be changing. Everybody I met was extremely bright, talented
and motivated to make a better product so the chances are they will,
4 thoughts on “TV Writers Abroad”
Well, I’m glad to hear you guys had a great time, made some new friends and imparted some wisdom that may help others in your field across the pond.
German TV used to have a cool show called Tatort( Crime Scene) on ZDF.
One of them wrote to me based on my comment on this blog about my WWII story of the Battle of the Hurtgen Forest. He was curious about the difficulty of writing about something from so long ago and so far away that happened to be “in his backyard” as he put it.
It’s easier than it might sound, with extensive archives and comprehensive histories including the memoirs of the soldiers my father’s included at the head of the list. And Google Earth. He said Germans have sort of erased the collective memory of that turbulent time. We sure haven’t and with good reason.
He said there was a lot of work in television writing there and he could pay for a farmhouse in a rural village. That’s impressive from where I’m sitting in LA where I can’t make ten cents writing anything. Yet.
“German TV used to have a cool show called Tatort( Crime Scene) on ZDF.”
Used to? It’s still on regularly (new episodes and repeats)! I’m not so sure about the “cool”-part, though…