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Thread: [Conference] Story Expo / TV Writers' Summit

  1. #1
    Sitcom Comedy Writer BetsyComedy's Avatar
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    Question [Conference] Story Expo / TV Writers' Summit

    http://www.tvwriterssummit.com/register.php

    I want to go, but I will feel lousy if I paid $395 for the summit (that's $395 per day that is, not sure if one needs both days?), $250 for airfare, $200 hotel, rental car, food, and 2 unpaid days from work if it didn't help me get one step closer. I need to make the connections and this is specific to TV, perfect for me! I certainly don't have unreasonable expectations, just don't want it to be a waste. I need to feel like $1,000+ was worth it because it is a lot of money and I would be going by myself as none of my friends can combine a vacation then, I already looked into that. I remember back in 8th grade I was going to be a big time actress and my friend a fashion model lol, we spent a few hundred dollars for this so called contest (that was many hours of working at Arby's for us). I assume these people really are looking for fresh talent because what we went to back then at a local hotel was a joke. Yes of course your friend can be a top model despite the fact that she's 4'8, in braces and 10 pounds overweight!

    My friend has gone to writers conferences for his book but paid about half the cost of this summit. What do you guys think?
    Last edited by BetsyComedy; 12-26-2012 at 05:00 AM.

  2. #2
    practical experience, FTW Fenika's Avatar
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    For any type of conference/event, if you have to pay enough money that you are questioning if it is worth it, then it is My Opinion that you should save your money. Sometimes there is a cheaper auditor option (doesn't sound like there is, plus with airfare and other expenses, still very pricey)

    Aside from that, you can buy writing/editing book, join a local (free) writer's group, post in SYW (after reading the rules!), etc, etc.

    You can also look into more local events that are also less expensive, or events like Clarion perhaps.


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  3. #3
    practical experience, FTW benluby's Avatar
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    I've attended one or two of those so-called conferences, and found that, realistically, all they are doing is setting you up to sell a series of DVD's or CD's.
    Truth is, you really either need to be in an internship in one of the TV show capitals, or, as stated by Fenika above, check into alternative sources.
    A quick Google search of the experts reveals that they are mostly in reality TV, or 'helping' people get into writing.
    But before anyone can tell you 'no', you need to determine, where, exactly, do you stand skill wise on script writing? Have you had success writing for local shorts or youtube videos?
    You don't hop behind the wheel of a Ferrari the day after you get your learners permit. See where your skill lies, and whether you are ready to really jump in to a thousand dollar fee that you might be better put to, if needed, paying for some writing courses at the local college.

  4. #4
    practical experience, FTW Bogna's Avatar
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    That's on the cheaper side from what I've seen. Several of the general writers conferences in the PNW are ~$500 for member registrations.
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  5. #5
    Sitcom Comedy Writer BetsyComedy's Avatar
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    Thanks you guys. Speaking of youtube, my friend and I made a super funny youtube video when we entered a Jamie Kennedy contest 5-6 years ago when he was promoting a documentary he produced. I had written 90% of the video.

    We posted it, we won with the most votes of all other videos posted. But NO prizes, where was our trip to LA hmmmm? It was all a joke. And YET, it was in fact Jamie Kennedy's doing. His real youtube channel was linked to his official website, as well as his official blogsite. I am not talking fake Jamie Kennedy's here. He screwed us all.

    Anyway, that was a rather frustrating experience but I learned then I was good at something. I went on to write short sketch comedy for other youtube videos. Problem was, I could not get the crew. I am not a stand up comedian. I do comedy in which people interact. I cannot write, scout locations, film, edit, act multiple characters at once, handle lighting, sound all by myself. Even if I was technical, I still couldn't do all if it, though I could do half as one person. Anyone who showed interest ended up flaking out, and yes I did save up money to offer fair compensation, plus it was something for others to add to their resume as well as credit for the kids in film school.

    So my youtube stepping stone career didn't quite work out like Biebers youtube start and I quit when I could not find the crew. This is my sad youtube story. If I had the crew, one that shared my vision and excitement, I'd start back up. But it's hard to know where to put your energy.

  6. #6
    practical experience, FTW
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    Have the people teaching the summit done enough to impress the heck out of you? Do you love what they're done in the field of TV to make you want to pay out this much, or even more?

    If yes, go. If not, stay away.

  7. #7
    Sitcom Comedy Writer BetsyComedy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bogna View Post
    That's on the cheaper side from what I've seen. Several of the general writers conferences in the PNW are ~$500 for member registrations.
    But that's for just one day, there are two. And also, the question is, is it worth it? Because $500 is worth it if it helps you. $100 if it doesn't help is a big waste of money. See what I mean?

  8. #8
    Sitcom Comedy Writer BetsyComedy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jamesaritchie View Post
    Have the people teaching the summit done enough to impress the heck out of you? Do you love what they're done in the field of TV to make you want to pay out this much, or even more?

    If yes, go. If not, stay away.
    GREAT points, though they may have connections with others too that may be better fits for me.

    Everyone else makes good points too, I am not there to buy all their stuff, though I am thirsty for knowledge for sure.

    I can tell you that if Larry David was doing anything like this, (though he never would), I'd be the first sign up. Too bad he keep cancelling CYE or else I absolutely could write episodes there, it's right up my alley. I will look more into the shows these people are behind. This may not help me directly for my comedy sitcom, but my comedy reality tv show since that's their area and that's what I have that's done. I know people need to get paid for their time. I just want to make sure that I get something for the money too, their guaranteed income, what's my guarantee? Can I at least get time with each? So far I am leaning one direction.
    Last edited by BetsyComedy; 12-26-2012 at 08:33 AM.

  9. #9
    practical experience, FTW cornflake's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BetsyComedy View Post
    GREAT points, though they may have connections with others too that may be better fits for me.

    Everyone else makes good points too, I am not there to buy all their stuff, though I am thirsty for knowledge for sure.

    I can tell you that if Larry David was doing anything like this, (though he never would), I'd be the first sign up. Too bad he keep cancelling CYE or else I absolutely could write episodes there, it's right up my alley. I will look more into the shows these people are behind. This may not help me directly for my comedy sitcom, but my comedy reality tv show since that's their area and that's what I have that's done. I know people need to get paid for their time. I just want to make sure that I get something for the money too, their guaranteed income, what's my guarantee? Can I at least get time with each? So far I am leaning one direction.
    Did you look at the schedule? It's just panels in which the people tell the audience of however many people fit in the ballroom what a logline is and etc.

    No, you don't get time with each, I'd wager a lot. Regardless, even if you could, what is it they do? Are they development execs?

    As for Curb, you couldn't really have written for that - there isn't really any writing for that and David does whatever it is.

  10. #10
    Sitcom Comedy Writer BetsyComedy's Avatar
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    CF- Yes Larry was the main writer for CYE, but there are other smaller writers as well. Not listed on Wiki, but research will show you there were others.

    I know non accomplished writers don't start off with CYE even if it was still on, I say this because I learned this here and because I know it may come up again.

    It was simply an example of an area I feel comfortable writing because it was said to me here that writing for another show before your own is the only way to go. Of course when I spoke with Fred A of Portlandia telling him I had Portlandia ideas, he said it was best to do my own thing. So it's not so easy figuring out direction.

    I appreciate your insight CF, I really do. I've been open to everyone's constructive criticism that's been so helpful. And while I do learn things from you (thank you), and I have a lot to learn, it feels like I am regularly explaining myself in response to your posts when you correct me, a lot. With you, sometimes in your posts things are taken in a different direction than I originally intended, almost for the sake of proving me wrong. I am sure that's not your intention, but how it feels sometimes.
    Last edited by BetsyComedy; 12-26-2012 at 10:58 AM.

  11. #11
    practical experience, FTW cornflake's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BetsyComedy View Post
    CF- Yes Larry was the main writer for CYE, but there are other smaller writers as well. Not listed on Wiki, but research will show you there were others.

    I know non accomplished writers don't start off with CYE even if it was still on, I say this because I learned this here and because I know it may come up again.

    It was simply an example of an area I feel comfortable writing because it was said to me here that writing for another show before your own is the only way to go. Of course when I spoke with Fred A of Portlandia telling him I had Portlandia ideas, he said it was best to do my own thing. So it's not so easy figuring out direction.

    I appreciate your insight CF, I really do. I've been open to everyone's constructive criticism that's been so helpful. And while I do learn things from you (thank you), and I have a lot to learn, it feels like I am regularly explaining myself in response to your posts when you correct me, a lot. With you, sometimes in your posts things are taken in a different direction than I originally intended, almost for the sake of proving me wrong. I am sure that's not your intention, but how it feels sometimes.
    No, that's not my intention - at all.

    I've been trying - without just saying 'this is not at all how this works' because a. well, who knows, anything can theoretically happen and b. I don't want to come off like I'm trying to be discouraging as that's not it either - to try to figure out what exactly you want and to try to figure some way you might get there that's in any way close to what you're hoping.

    If it's the trying to figure it out thing that's coming off like that - I'm trying to figure it out. I'm not sure what it is you're looking for, like a specific goal or path. I could just be all 'keep plugging' but I personally don't think that's a helpful thing. Like in the query thread, I assumed you were looking for an agent, as that's what most people do with a query. Then you said your idea, so I was all 'wait... what do you mean?' You could have meant my idea for being a quirky voice that X or finding a NEW agent to represent or my idea for a sitcom that I want produced. The latter doesn't really work that way, as others noted. I don't want you to be either misled thinking it would or sending something out that'd put people off because it's not what they do.

    As for this thread - I asked about the schedule because to me, it looks like it's just panels with etc. You said do you get time with each. I'd wager a ton no, and hence the second q. Even if you did - are they development execs? If they are, or are with a production company puts stuff into syndication that's like what you do, then that makes sense but maybe there are other ways to approach them. If not, then what good would it do to meet with them one-on-one? I ask this because you might have some reason I didn't think of or because you may not have thought of it that way and if you did, it might help you.

    As to Curb, again, I'm sure other people have credits on there but it's David's thing and it's based on them all being of a similar improv/standup background. As I'm sure you know the 'scripts' for that have apparently tended toward five lines scribbled on a napkin. That's not really a job someone gets hired for - it's something he does and credits someone he knows with if they come up with an idea. You realize it wouldn't be a job you could get, I'm only trying to help you focus on jobs you could so you can work in that direction.

    The Portlandia thing - I'm not attempting to correct you, I'm just explaining because I think you don't know this and I think you'd rather know. Shows don't hire people who say they have ideas for that show. The 'rule' is to never spec a show you want to work for. Like if you wanted to write for The Office, and you got Novak to agree to look at your stuff, you wouldn't give him an Office script. It just isn't done. You'd give him a 30 Rock or whatever other shows you have scripts of, and a pilot.

    Something like SNL is obviously an exception here, you pitch them skits appropriate for them.

    I am only trying to help and, as someone else said in the other thread, seeing areas where it seems your general knowledge of the business is perhaps lacking. I try not to assume, however, as I've seen the Odd Couple, so I ask.

    If you'd rather I bow out of your threads, that's fine.

  12. #12
    Sitcom Comedy Writer BetsyComedy's Avatar
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    Darn it I keep posting in the wrong place. Thanks moderator for moving it where it should go, I will get it in time.

    CF my issue was that when others said no you can't do so and so, they followed up with what I could do instead and also there wasn't the picking apart taking out of context feeling for me. Some things too are subjective rather than completely black and white....

    Anyway, thank you for your explanation and for offering some sound advice in your last posting. No need to bow out, I wouldn't want anyone to feel censored, that's why I felt like I could express my feelings too. I can learn to extrapolate what is helpful to me from this point forward.

  13. #13
    Sitcom Comedy Writer BetsyComedy's Avatar
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    Okay I was searching for other info but I ran across this site below, the prices are even higher for this "pitch fest." The other one CF observed that you can't pitch, so to me not worth the $.

    I really like the idea of pitching to many agents at once, but a part of me thinks back to my friend who paid tons of money to go to Barbizon modeling school when they knew she could never make it no matter what she did, but told her she would. Same applies to actors, you pay to take classes and learn, but they don't pay to audition....it's based on talent, not who can afford it. And pitching is like an audition, right?

    So that's my struggle with these things. I guess they make a lot off most who won't go anywhere, but do they seriously consider the pitches? Do they have the actual connections, do they have the time to help someone if they did see potential? I just don't want it to be a quick money making scheme where they don't actually intend on working with even someones script they like? I will research the speakers more but not sure it will answer these Q's. An impressive resume does not indicate the desire to help others.

    Having said that, if you guys give me the green light on this, I think I would do the cheaper $400 option, no "party," because then I can bring my book writer friend.

    https://pitchfest.com/gapf10/
    Last edited by BetsyComedy; 12-27-2012 at 01:21 AM.

  14. #14
    figuring it all out
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    Quote Originally Posted by BetsyComedy View Post
    Okay I was searching for other info but I ran across this site below, the prices are even higher for this "pitch fest." The other one CF observed that you can't pitch, so to me not worth the $.

    I really like the idea of pitching to many agents at once, but a part of me thinks back to my friend who paid tons of money to go to Barbizon modeling school when they knew she could never make it no matter what she did, but told her she would.

    I guess they make a lot off most who won't go anywhere, but do they seriously consider the pitches? Do they have the actual connections, do they have the time to help someone if they did see potential? I just don't want it to be a quick money making scheme where they don't actually intend on working with even someones script they like?

    An impressive resume does not indicate the desire to help others.
    I'm not knowledgeable about pitches at script writing conferences, but I imagine they're not far different from pitch sessions at writers' conferences. I believe that the people who benefit most are the people who are making money from the pitches. Many people who attend these sessions come home disappointed and poorer for the experience.

    Also, if you are contemplating going to a conference about script writing, you should find out if the people who are lecturing actually know how to teach. Having a famous name doesn't automatically give an individual the ability to teach.

    Although I don't want to sound negative, I believe the words "caveat emptor" (buyer beware) should probably be on every brochure for these conferences. Writers go to them with such high expectations and end up disappointed more often than not. You should research books on writers' conferences, both fiction and nonfiction, that will give you a clearer picture of what you may be getting into.

  15. #15
    Such a nasty woman SuperModerator Old Hack's Avatar
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    Betsy, I've spoken at writers' conferences, I've chaired many panel discussions, and I've read and participated in several of your threads here and with all due respect, you're not ready to go and pitch your work anywhere yet.

    Before such an event might be useful to you, you need to learn more about how the business works, and about how you could fit into it. Until you're at that point, you'll gain nothing from these events. You'll be wasting your money if you go to them now.

    Step back. Spend a few months--a year!--learning more about the business from people who know what they're doing. It'll be time well-spent.

    I'm sorry to be so blunt, I really am. But I'm also worried that you'll pay money you can't afford to attend something like this, hoping that it'll help you. If you do that right now you'll be wasting your time and money.

  16. #16
    practical experience, FTW cornflake's Avatar
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    At the least - do you have a portfolio?

    Like if you bumped into Larry David coming out of a cafe or at a sporting event and started talking to him and you asked if he'd look at your stuff and he agreed - would you have the standard stuff to give him?

    You should have a spec or two and a pilot. If you do more, like you've said you write skits, you could have those too. I presume you have a pilot, but do you have at least one current or recently-gone show as well?

  17. #17
    Sitcom Comedy Writer BetsyComedy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rac View Post
    I'm not knowledgeable about pitches at script writing conferences, but I imagine they're not far different from pitch sessions at writers' conferences. I believe that the people who benefit most are the people who are making money from the pitches. Many people who attend these sessions come home disappointed and poorer for the experience.

    Also, if you are contemplating going to a conference about script writing, you should find out if the people who are lecturing actually know how to teach. Having a famous name doesn't automatically give an individual the ability to teach.

    Although I don't want to sound negative, I believe the words "caveat emptor" (buyer beware) should probably be on every brochure for these conferences. Writers go to them with such high expectations and end up disappointed more often than not. You should research books on writers' conferences, both fiction and nonfiction, that will give you a clearer picture of what you may be getting into.
    Yep you are absolutely right. I will not go to it, it just seems like those most benefiting are not the participants, regardless of their talent level. When people start paying to audition for acting roles and for American idol, then maybe I will consider paying. It's just not the protocol and I don't think it's how most successful writers started out. If I pay for something, it will be classes, not 2 minute pitches that may or may not even be taken seriously followed by overselling. I could be wrong, but this is what my gut says.

    As far as not being ready Hack, yes I know, you've told me before and I do listen, I really do But I still want to ask questions in the meantime about a variety of topics surrounding the writing world, because all that is part of learning for me. I know you're looking out for my best interest and I don't disagree with anything you say as someone so knowledgeable. But my perspective is very different. Meaning, I am not so concerned with where I am at now, but where I am going. If I focus too much on not being ready today, on not knowing enough etc...it would get me down.

    Rather, I do something. I come here, I ask questions, I read every single day from many sources and absorb as much as I can, especially pertaining to the TV writing world. Where I am now, and where I will be in 6 months when this conference takes place are not one and the same. In time, I will learn the business inside and out, but I will always find time to polish my work as well, because without quality work, all the knowledge in the world of the business won't help me.

    Yes, I have portfolio that I need to organize, everything is on the computer.
    Last edited by BetsyComedy; 01-02-2013 at 02:17 AM.

  18. #18
    Mostly Harmless SuperModerator CaoPaux's Avatar
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    The last being in '15, looks like parent TV/Film Seminars has dropped TV Writers' Summit to focus on Story Expo: https://storyexpo.com/
    ICAO
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