Trainee Writer

Adventures of a screenwriter in training…

Guest Blog: “Tips for Creating an Author’s Website” by Lauren Williams


If you’re an author, having your own website is an excellent way to promote your work, develop your personal brand, and connect with others. It’s just about essential nowadays, and with so many helpful website building tools, it doesn’t have to be incredibly difficult, either. Your website is a direct reflection of you and your work, so it pays to take the time to get it right. Here are some tips to help you create a successful author’s website.

Biography

One of the most important pages on your website is a biography page. This is where people will get to learn more about you personally. It will help them understand who you are and what the motivations and values are behind your work. Take time to craft a bio that provides a clear, concise look into your life. You don’t want to go into extreme detail, but mention things like where and how you grew up, how you came to be an author, and what your life is like now.

You should also mention all of the professional honors, awards, and designations you’ve received, which may or may not be its own separate page, depending on how many you have.

Photo

You should include at least one professional photograph on your website, because people want to be able to put a face to your name. You don’t have to plaster it all over the site, but one discreetly placed photo on your bio page is appropriate. If you’d like, you can include a few more personal photographs to represent yourself, but make sure all your photos go with the image you want to portray to the world.

Contact Information

Provide a page with contact information, which will generally include an email address and a mailing address. If you want, provide a contact form so that people can email you directly from your site; this encourages more feedback from visitors.

Book Pages

Unless you have dozens of books, it’s a good idea to make a separate page for each book you’ve written or collaborated on. On each book page, describe the book and provide brief commentary on something like your personal vision for the book. Include information on where the book can be purchased, along with a direct link if applicable. People want to learn more about your work, so give them some information they can’t find elsewhere.

You may also want to include a separate page that will talk about or tease your upcoming releases.

Mailing List and Social Media

On the homepage of your website, include a box where people can input their email addresses to become part of your mailing list. This way you can contact people when your next book comes out! On your homepage or your contact page, you should also include links to your social media, such as a direct link for people to like or follow you.

There are many ways you can organize your author’s website – just remember that it should be an informational site that can act as a sort of portfolio for you.

Lauren Williams is a freelance writer and published author.  She enjoys journalism and creative writing as well as fiction novels.

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November 20, 2012 Posted by | Guest Blog, writing | , , , , | Leave a comment

Guest Blog: “Pilot Season” by Serge Kozak


The Pilot Season, what is before and what follows 

Pilot Season is usually the time of the year, when all TV series promoters produce prototypes of their new series, called “Pilot”.

What  actually is the development cycle of a TV series?

It starts in autumn, when a writer/producer with good reputation presents his or her idea for a new series to the network or studio.  If the latter like the idea, they decide to make a Pilot. The writer/producer works out the script of the Pilot. If they like the script, too, they start preparing for shooting the Pilot.

In the first months of the new year, a casting director is chosen to breakdown the script. The breakdown contains: the names of the producer, writer and director of the Pilot; the studio; the type of show (drama, sitcom, action, etc.); when and where the shooting will be; description and requirements of the roles to be cast. The casting director should find the regulars, co-stars and guest stars, about twenty actors altogether for a pilot. This happens in about ten weeks.

Then Pilot season comes, usually January to March, even June of late, which is the hectic casting time for all actors.

The order of auditions is as follows: pre-read with the casting director, callback for the producer, a second callback for the producer to make the final choice of actors. The studio and the selected actors then start a “test deal option” – a detailed negotiation between the actor’s agent and the business department of the studio, leading eventually to a contract of usually five years. This contract will be signed before the actor goes for a test before the executives in the studio.

This great audition is the moment of truth; there is no second chance for the actor that fails it, not even for the great ones. If the executives fall for the actor, he/she will go to the last, the network test before the executives of the network that will broadcast the show.

There are usually three or four actor competing at this stage, a very ugly but frequent situation. The winner however can count on at least $50 000 for fourteen days of shooting the Pilot. If the “actor’s option is picked up”, i.e. he/she is taken for the role in the series, big money is following – from $15 000 upwards per episode.

When a Pilot is ready, it goes to the network/studio along with the other pilots produced in the same time. Then a decision is made whether and which pilot will go to series.  This decision is announced at the so-called Up Fronts, a magnificent media event in New York in May, where the general public and the actors themselves come to know what the new season will look like and who will be in it. Series production starts in July or August.

Many pilots never reach the phase of series. Pity for the efforts and hopes.

Pilot Season is the event and time of the year that many actors build their life plans around. They all have to take part in it if they want to have a chance to end up on the TV screen. For families with children actors this could be a frustration, even a tragedy, when children are taken out of their common environment and forced to compete like the elders. That however is the price paid for early success.

Serge Kozak is the founder of Edictive, a studio management software and film marketing company.

October 6, 2012 Posted by | Guest Blog, networks, screenwriting, specs, writing | , , , , | Leave a comment