Home Author's Blog Excerpt Actor Appearances Read What ATWT Fans Think Read Other Reviews Press Links

Oakdale Confidential:
An As The World Turns Novel

Thursday, July 27, 2006


Admit it, you do.

You think you can spin five days a week, 52 weeks a year, 50 or 70 (!) years worth of story as well as the people who are currently doing it. Better even!

But how do you get started?

I get that question all the time, so I thought I'd put some basic guidelines down in writing.

First of all, you need an agent. A legitimate agent. What do I mean by legitimate? Well, first and foremost, someone who doesn't charge you a penny for the privilege of being represented. Someone who makes money when -- and only when --you make money. It would be nice if said agent had contacts in the daytime industry and had already repped a soap writer or two. (Shows can not read unagented material, it opens them up to lawsuits down the road. Plus, an agent serves as a gatekeeper. If a person whose livelihood depends on getting you a job thinks you have writing ability, it tells those hiring that maybe you have some writing ability -- or else why would the agent be wasting his/her time?)

Then, you need some credits. Produced plays, optioned screenplays, published novels work best. This will demonstrate that you have mastered the art of storytelling, dialogue, action, romance, all the good stuff.

Your agent will take your previously produced material and submit it to the shows. If The Powers That Be decide you have potential, you will be commissioned to write a sample script from an existing breakdown (a summary of the episode). This script will not air.

If they like your sample script, you might be hired on a trial, usually 13 week basis, to write dialogue for a half dozen shows that actually will air. If the 13 week trial goes well, there may be another 13 week trial, and then another, with possibly a contract to write scripts down the line.

Most potential soap writers come it at this lowest, script level. (A few do come in straight as breakdowns writers or, in rare cases like ATWT's Hogan Sheffer, go straight to Headwriter right out of the gate).

The usual career trajectory is script writer to breakdown writer to Headwriter... and often back to breakdown or script.

The fact is, Headwriters burn out and need to recharge their batteries a bit by writing breakdowns or scripts. Guiding Light's Lucky Gold took a spin in the Headwriter's chair and is now back to doing breakdowns. Hogan Sheffer wrote ATWT breakdowns for several months after stepping down as Headwriter before moving on the Headwriter gig at Days of Our Lives this summer. The list of musical jobs is endless. Because writing soaps is really, really hard.

For a first person look at how to snag that dream job, check out this interview with GL's Kimberly Hamilton.


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home