BOOK REVIEW – Writing the TV Drama Series (4th Edition) by Pamela Douglas

We’re in the new Golden Age of television. The most established filmmakers are moving away from feature films, and into the television business. The most powerful players in Hollywood are making series. And you want to be one of them? Here’s where you need to start.

A writer needs to be many things. Stephen King says a writer needs to have an excellent memory for every scar that they’ve had. J.K. Rowling says that a writer needs to be protective of their writing days. Both of those comments are true, they won’t help you learn what you need to drop the day job and be a professional writer in the most interesting industry at the moment, television.

The knowledge that Pamela Douglas brings to aspiring television writers in the fourth edition of her book, Writing the TV Drama Series, is so practical and relevant that you will want to keep it with you at all times. It comes courtesy of the ever-reliable Michael Weise Productions.

How is it that we can spend so many hours binging on a show on Netflix and prefer this to a ninety-minute movie? A lot goes into it, obviously, and it always starts with the writer. Pamela Douglas brings tremendous amounts of knowledge about the craft of writing for episodic content: from the story structures that you need to master and that are industry standards, to creating a story world, developing the pilot and, inevitably, rewriting.

It is obvious that all this knowledge has been acquired through years and years of practice. Pamela Douglas has been nominated for multiple Emmy and WGA Awards, and was a member of the Board of Directors of the Writers Guild of America, West, and has consulted on heaps of projects.

But the knowledge that Pamela Douglas shares about the craft of writing for television is just the first half of this remarkable book. Where the book reaches new heights -and what will make you want to get your hands on this book- is when she shares her grap on how the television industry works. Who does what? What does your future job as a staff writer involve? Where do you stand on the food chain?

The expertise that this book contains is unparalleled and invaluable to aspiring, up-and-coming writers. In the ever-changing landscape of the television industry, Pamela Douglas manages to make sense not just of where the writer stands in the production process, but also of where the industry is taking its writers, where the opportunities lie and, crucially, how to break in the industry.

This book is the stuff that is not taught in film schools (not just because few film schools have actually adapted to the current landscape) and that is only learned from tremendous experience. For anyone with the ambition to write for television, this book is as thorough, insightful, industrious and practical as it gets.

Get the book on Amazon.

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About 

Baptiste is a writer hailing from the part of France where it is always sunny. At Raindance, he started as a marketing intern for the 23rd Raindance Film Festival in 2015, then joined the London team in 2016 as the Raindance Postgraduate Degree Registrar. He is passionate about diversity in film, his dissertation topic for his Master's Degree in Management, which he writes about extensively. He is also a writer and producer, founder of Bubble Wrap Creations.