Branding is your friend

I had a good meeting with a television literary agent last month. We talked about what the business is currently looking for in a new writer. Which is not what we're taught to expect.

I think we all know by now that original material is gold. Maybe you need a series spec to get in the door, but after that, it's all about your personal voice. So you write that spec pilot. Great. Fabulous. Then what -- another spec pilot? Sure, why not. And since last time you wrote, say, a procedural, this time you're going to write a high school comedy, or maybe a sudsy drama, or a sci-fi actioner. Gotta show range. We've all heard horror stories about writers getting pigeonholed at the start of their careers and nobody wants that to happen. Right?


As far as this agent is concerned, don't think of it so much as a pigeonhole as a BRAND. And yes, you DO want a brand. You want to be a salable, marketable, instantly recognizable entity: this is what I write; this is what I will bring into your writing room and produce, reliably, again and again and again. Don't worry too much about pigeons and holes -- once the industry loves you, there will be plenty of time to show them that you can do sudsy high school procedurals in space just as well.

Okay. So this is one agent's opinion, right? Weeeeell -- this is also the message I got from the Disney/ABC Writing Fellowship interviews. Every question they asked came back to: who are you as a writer, what is your singular voice and what can a room rely on you to provide. Every question. For three days of interviews.

It took me three days to figure out the answer. I didn't get the Fellowship (SO close - agh!) Learn from my mistake. Know your brand.