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Thursday, October 21, 2010

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pleasehelpus@yahoo.com

Hey, i don't know how to get a hold of you, so i'll post my comment here in hopes that you get this... but i just read your article in LA WEEKLY about over the hill writers' assistants.

there is one aspect that you didn't cover that i wish you would have. what most people don't know is that most TV shows are required by the WGA to give out a freelance script for every first twelve or back nine episodes ordered. if they do not, there is a measly fine to pay to the guild.

Many shows/showrunners opt to just pay the fine and not deal with a freelance script. i think this is a cannibalistic travesty. (i am a writers' assistant and i've had produced episodes that i've sold but have not yet been staffed).

most of the shows nowadays are run where the scripts are "room written", meaning they are gangbanged in the room. it used to be that writers would go off for a week or two with an EXPLICITLY detailed outline and write a script. Now shows like 2 1/2 men and big bang theory are room written. making giving a freelance script out even more of a no-brainer. So when you see that the 2 1/2 men written by "Ima Hack" was actually written by several writers, as opposed to one person.

instead of giving the freelance script to a writers assistant, who arguably makes more contributions in the progress of the script than most in the room, showrunners just pay the fine.

it should also be mentioned that there are often times now no insurance for such jobs. making it more difficult for writers assistants. many networks like NBC refuse to pay insurance for these office positions to watch their bottom lines.

there's blood on everybody's hands. i wish you had brought this to light in your article. it's

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I'm the pop culture editor at The Washington Post, and I've written about arts, entertainment, business, and technology for the Los Angeles Times, New York Times, Slate, Los Angeles Magazine, and other publications. I was previously deputy editor at L.A. Weekly, overseeing arts and culture coverage. I've won awards for my stories about slash fiction, magicians, and television in India, among others. I've appeared on NPR and I wrote a book about Avenue Q. I've taught journalism at Loyola Marymount University and creative nonfiction at the University of Virginia Young Writers Workshop.

I also have performed standup comedy at venues such as the Laugh Factory, Westside Theater, and ComedySportz.

To read my full bio, click here. To read more of my writing, click on the categories below. You can follow me on Twitter at @zpincusroth.

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