Screenwriting Blog
Posted on by Courtney Meznarich

Veteran TV Writer Ross Brown Gives Screenwriters This Free Business Advice

Take it from someone who’s written some of the most successful television shows of all time: there are a few surefire ways to succeed and infinitely many more ways to fail in show business. Luckily for you, veteran TV writer Ross Brown is more than willing to share his secrets to the business of screenwriting. In fact, he does it almost every day for his students at Antioch University Santa Barbara, where he’s the program director of the MFA program for writing and contemporary media.

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You may recognize Ross’s name from the writing and producing credits on TV hits, including “The Cosby Show,” “The Facts of Life,” “Who’s the Boss?” and “Step by Step.” These days, though, he gives back by teaching aspiring writers everything they need to know to make it.

“In terms of the business angle of starting out as a screenwriter and breaking in, I think you have to think of yourself as a professional. Have a card that presents yourself that way. Have a website.”

Veteran TV Writer Ross Brown

But if you want to be a screenwriter, specifically, you’ll need to take a few extra steps that could be the determining factor in your success, he explained.

“I actually think it can be really important for aspiring writers to consider actually making a short film. It’s easier to get people to watch a video than it is to get them to read something.”

And that’s not the only benefit to filming.

“The second benefit of shooting what you write is you learn an awful lot when you start seeing your words performed,” he said. “Screenwriting is about how those words are going to be photographed and performed. When you start seeing long speeches that you thought were just brilliant and you’re in the editing room looking at it going, good God! Could someone just cut this speech in half?! You get religion real fast about tightening up your dialogue.”

For more videos from Ross Brown and other veteran TV and film writers, be sure to subscribe to SoCreate’s YouTube Channel. And if you take Ross’ advice, maybe we’ll see your film project over there, too!

Time to dust off that camera,

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