Thursday, January 29, 2009

Wanna find a writing partner?

Aloha. I’m going to use this Friday question day to do a little experiment.

Someone who didn’t leave his name asks:

Where is the best place to find a comedy writing partner if you don't know anyone personally or have contacts? Are there online forums for aspiring comedy writers?

So if you do find a partner will the credit read “Written by Joe Blow & Anonymous”?

Writing classes is the best source to meet potential collaborators. I think a couple of people from one of my Sitcom Room seminars have hooked up. I’m proud or take no responsibility depending on how it turns out.

Ask the instructors. Sometimes they can be good matchmakers.

Hang out anywhere you can network with other writers. Westside Starbucks are always popular (if you live in Los Angeles. I doubt many Starbucks patrons in Kalamazoo are working on their spec WORST WEEKS.) Sometimes show runners speak on panels at colleges, conferences, or the Guild. Attend and schmooze (and possibly learn something from the panel). However, if you go to the Comic-Con convention hoping to snare a partner, don’t dress in any costume.

I’ve heard that the WGA has held speed dating type events for finding writing partners. I did a post on that last year.

I’m sure Facebook and MySpace have tons of writing groups. Your favorite sitcom must have a website with forums. You might snare someone through that.

Gravitate towards funny people. Frequent comedy clubs. Take improv classes.

I met my partner in the army. But until you see comedy writing as a recruiting campaign look for other avenues.

So here’s the experiment, which might be fun or a huge bust): I’m inviting anyone who is interested in finding a partner to post your info in today’s comments section. A little about who you are, where you are, what genre you want to write, and contact info.

Good luck. Maybe the next Blow-Anonymous team will be discovered right here.

40 comments:

Anonymous said...

Great post! Thanks, Ken.

I'm a solid comedy writer w/ 2 co-written specs who has lost a partner.

If you are a comedy writer seeking a partnership, please email me at notroblowe@hotmail.com.

Best,
Joe Blow

mikeinseattle said...

As someone who has been down this road, I offer one bit of advice. Do your best to know ahead of time that this person is a puerile, petulant little wanker who's really a closeted aynrandian objectiveist republican asshole who's going to waste 9 months of your life while you do all the writing and you never see a bit of his writing and yet he acts all like he's the professor and you're the grad student and you've gotta prove your thesis when you're just trying to be creative and come up with a decent story and he admits this is the way he is but this dick isn't going to apologize or make an effort to change and you end up getting into a huge fight on the outdoor patio at a Peet's coffee and they call the cops on you, but you do register what you wrote with the WGA and fuck him.

Just saying, you know, these things are important before you commit.

Paul said...

Here's a laughable Friday question: Do people ever misunderstand you when you refer to David as your "partner"? You rarely use the full term "writing partner", so for the first two weeks that I read your blog, I thought he was your life partner. No joke. I laughed until I had tears in my eyes when I realized what you really meant.

KEN LEVINE said...

I wrote writing partner a lot for the first year or so with this blog but then figured most people would know by now... plus I got lazy.

David is married with children. He's strictly my WRITING partner. And we did share Clipper season tickets at one time, but that doesn't make you gay, does it??

Paul Duca said...

Men who share Clippers season tickets can be called many things, but gay is not one of them.

Anonymous said...

Well, I used to write jokes for top-rated morning radio DJs [before going into (and out of) radio myself. I found that, at least for me, that writing on my own was the best. A question for Ken: What do you do when you write a joke and somewhere down the road you hear it being used elsewhere and contibuted to another writer? I ask because I wrote a joke for a morning DJ and almost two weeks later heard it used almost word for word by one of the late night talk show hosts. I basically was pretty pissed and called out the DJ on it and he said he never sold/sent anything to anyone out in Hollywood but he would check into it. Found out that one of the show's writers had been in the area and heard it and "appropiated" the joke and passed it off as his own. They denied it, but since the DJ recorded ALL of his shows, they sent a tape out to the studio and proved them wrong. All I received was an apology and heard the "writer" was repremanded and then was fired about a month later. Anything like that happen to you? I assume if it did you had avenues to file formal protests, ie: writers guild, etc., unlike myself since I basically worked on my own.

Jennifer said...

I've been leaning more and more towards the comedy genre lately. My kind of humor leans towards dark comedy/controversial, sometimes a bit low brow.

I'm a 26 y.o. female located in Montreal, Canada. I've been writing forever but recently became represented by an agent for my non-fiction book. I've been on the search of a writing partner to work on a film script with for a while now. If interested, jmbest@gmail.com

DJ Muppet said...

Actually Ken, most of us in Kalamazoo are speccing House, The Office, Mad Men, and Chowder. Well, maybe the Chowder is just me, but there are also quite a few people doing original pilots and a large variety of sci-fi.

Many of the playwrights here, and we are myriad, started branching out a couple of years ago when Robert Eversz started teaching at WMU. That plus the presence of three improv troupes makes for an interesting talent pool now delving into work for the screen.

Don't be surprised if in the next few years you start encountering more solid writers from this city many don't believe actually exists. ;)

Chip said...

Hi, my name is Chip (at least, that's my AA name).

I am a puerile, petulant little wanker who's really a closeted aynrandian objectiveist republican asshole who's going to waste 9 months of your life while you do all the writing and you never see a bit of my writing and yet I will act all like I'm the professor and you're the grad student and you've gotta prove your thesis when you're just trying to be creative and come up with a decent story and I'll admit this is the way I am but this dick (me) isn't going to apologize or make an effort to change and we'll end up getting into a huge fight on the outdoor patio at a Peet's coffee and they call the cops on us, but you do register what you wrote with the WGA and fuck me.

Can't wait to get started! Here's to a great partnership! :)

blogward said...

What the heck. Anybody in the UK interested in comedy and/or drama, blogward@operamail.com. Either speccing current stuff or pilot, though I have a suspicion that one-off half-to-one hour drama is coming back. Sarf London. Cheers Ken.

Emily Blake said...

If I ever partnered again I'm pretty sure I'd end up stabbing him in the eye with a Phillip's head screwdriver.

Call me!

Anonymous said...

Can Philip's head screwdriver be used on any other body parts?

jbryant said...

DJ Muppet: Kalamazoo? That's priceless. Was it your verification word? :)

Chip: You sound promising as a writing partner, but I don't drink coffee.

Emily: You seem awesome, but my eye socket will only take a flathead.

Jennifer: I just looked at your blog, and I definitely want you as a partner. Writing optional. (Kidding aside, good luck with your book.)

Tom Quigley said...

Hey, Ken --

Who's that bald-headed guy right at the beginning of the middle table in the picture?... He looks like he'd make a good writing partner.... Oops, wait a second --that's me....(sorry about that -- I'd better look in the mirror more often)....

Anonymous said...

Are any responders here looking to improve writing skills and advance their careers or just anonymous social interaction and an audience to validate them w/ mildly amusing responses w/ big words?

spartickes said...

I'm actually interested in furthering my career. So here goes.

My name is Josh. I'm currently located in Nashville, TN, which has a lot of talent, but is rather disorganized when it comes to anything except music.

I've written two feature scripts in the past with a partner. We had a parting of the ways, no big drama, he became born again and went into ministry work. I've also written a feature by my self and am currently polishing a short that is shooting in March.

I tend to write dark, crude humor, with the odd literary bent. Think Gilmore Girls with swearing, and occasional incidents of violence.

Considering working on spec scripts now though as I get more and more into writing.

spartickes said...

Awwww frak-toast. This is Josh again, you can contact me at

spartickes@gmail.com

Danny said...

I'm a TV comedy writer who has received callbacks and requests for additional material from top agencies. I'm looking for a compatible partner at the same level. W/ the right partner, I'm sure we will be writing professionally in the near future. I am very serious. Please respond if you have samples.

Also, I just spoke to the WGA re: writing partner "speed dating" events and was told that they are only for WGA members. I then spoke to someone in the WG Foundation events dept. and recommended that they do the same thing for non-members. They sounded interested and will keep me posted - I will keep this blog posted.

Anonymous said...

Here is a yahoo group for TV writers, including comedy. You must be serious to join. Its probably a great place to find a partner.

http://tv.groups.yahoo.com/group/tvwriters/

Danny said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
gwangung said...

Emily,

I'm head of a sketch comedy group. Love to partner; Phillips screwdriver to the eye is a vast improvement to what I've been through before. Have your people call my people.

gwangung said...

Not to mention some of the dates I've been on...

A. Buck Short said...

Oh, I’m sorry, I thought you said Phillips head screenwriter. In the words of our late shop teacher Mr. Friedlander, “Phillips-head, flathead, either way you’re screwed.” Friedlander was wrong. The excessive specificity fortifies the visual image by implying an otherwise unnecessary element of plotting. And props for the tacit acknowledgement that “Phillips screwdriver” alone needs the extra beat. Incidentally, Friedlander’s other catch phrase was, “Look what you’re doing. Bleeding all over my floor.”

And who says, we haven’t made progress. It wasn’t too long ago to be a comedy writer you had to be Jew Blow. As you can surmise, I think I’ll just stick with the anonymous social interaction and mildly amusing validation responses. Why quit when you’re on a roll?

PS, if you still haven’t scored your Super Bowl 3D glasses, they say Target is supposed to have them Saturday only. I just want to see if Pepsi blows the chance to make ‘em work on their ever so unexpected, game-ending, Gatorade deluge surprise.

Write Away said...

Ken... Great post and a great idea. Let's see what happens.

I live in Western New York and I've been an avid writer since I was 7. I write mostly in the drama genre, but I've worked with a partner on a science fiction screenplay which was -- briefly -- tossed around Hollywood agencies. I am not a comedy writer, but comedy plays an important role in all of my material as people are funny and say funny things even when bad or horrible things happen. I am looking for someone to collaborate with who is open to writing outside a particular genre and who likes or understands the same things I do. Here is a small list of some of my favorite comedy movies or TV series:

Monty Python's Flying Circus

LOST

Cheers

L.A. Story

Brazil

Of course I have a great top ten list that I would love to share.

And, if it matters, I have a degree in film from Emerson College, and I am currently working on a documentary for about former East Germany. Anyone interested can contact me at hubbaiv@mindless.com.

Write Away said...

Me again...

That should say "about former East Germany" not "for about East Germany" Well, I guess I need a partner who is better at proofreading than I am!

gwangung said...

Are any responders here looking to improve writing skills and advance their careers or just anonymous social interaction and an audience to validate them w/ mildly amusing responses w/ big words?

Yes.

Joe said...

Incidentally, the origin of the "Phillips head screwdriver" comes from Mr. Phillips parting his hair into quadrants.

-Joe (non-blow)

P.S. Why not? JMGarciaJr at gmail dot com.

Joe said...

P.S. No, I will NOT get Clippers tickets.

P.P.S. For what it's worth.

Joe said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Joe said...

P.P.P.S. I'm in Miami. I like my humor on the cerebral side with a side order of absurd, and a dash of darkness. (These are the glorious results of a youth misspent watching BritComs on PBS.)

Did a (ridiculously brief) stint in standup. I've been published on the matter of wine and menswear (not in the same piece, incidentally).

And I have my own pens and papers and markers and stuff.

Anonymous said...

I love in the Westside and am drawn to comedies, the darker the better. Think "Curb Your Enthusiasm" or "Weeds".
I like to explore the controversial...

Email me: producer310{AT}}} Gmail{{{{DOT}}}} COM

Jeff said...

"Writing classes is the best source..."

Now that's funny!

VW "uncherou": the French name for Underoos

Jo Gates said...

jbryant: Some of us here really do live in Kalamazoo. Don't frequent Starbucks, though.

DJMuppet: You're right, the Chowder is just you.

Anonymous (re looking to improve writing skills vs. social interaction and an audience): Who says it can't be both?

Tom Quigley: I agree that the guy there at the end of the table looks like he'd make a good writing partner. I think that writer in the blue sweater looks like she'd make a good writing partner too.... Oops, wait a second--that's me. Do I really look that serious at a comedy writing class? Oh well, somebody's gotta tie up the loose plot ends. Comedy is serious stuff.

So, Ken, as the instructor, is this your way of playing matchmaker?

I suppose I'm really a drama writer. I love comedy, and I find deep humor in many good stories (I consider The Sea Inside comedy). It's in the tone, the worldview, the acceptance of characters' (people's) foibles, that the humor lives.

Writing the scene in The Sitcom Room class was great. We had a seriously funny group, which is a seriously fun way to work.

So I've kicked around trying to find a partner, as I've been through writing "phases" over about six years now. I'll write a feature spec script or TV show spec, stop, go about traveling or working 65-hour weeks at my day job for a couple of months or otherwise spending time other-than-writing, then get back into it. There's something different about taking that learning-by-practicing and deciding it'll be your actual job, that I may be coming closer to doing, but still haven't done.

I've been a chemist, a weekly newspaper reporter, a copy editor, a computer programmer, and possibly other things I'm repressing the memories of. I am, actually, in Kalamazoo (Michigan ... and, yes, it's really, really cold and really, really snowy and SoCal is looking really, really good right about now ... but see day job, above).

I want a partner who, like coworkers in other fields, helps me be better, whom I help be better.

Now, how do I make that funnier?

Contact info: jothewordsmith@gmail.com

Joe said...

Now, if Levine were a completely sadistic man, he'd "forcibly" pair up people from among his combox denizens and make them write a scene or something to be posted on the blog.

P.S. My WVW is "follow" which, ironically, the "w" failed to do.

Jennifer said...

I think Ken should put all our names into a hat and match us up that way. I pick spartickes!

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cynthiar.com said...

Hi - How can one find a writer who would collaborate on spec?
I am not really a writer; my prose leaves much to be desired. The core issue is that I've had a wild and fun lifetime of experiences and would love to put into a serial/fragmented but readable package. If done correctly, it could be very entertaining, post-modern ADD-friendly autobiography. Given my degree of talent, however, writing it myself would not do the work justice.
Would you know how I find writers who might be interested in a quasi experimental project that could result in a published work? Any payment would be on a percentage (50-50) basis of whatever is sold. Obviously, this is highly speculative and would not be appealing to most writers trying to make a living. I'm just wondering if there's a way to find someone who might find it interesting and potentially lucrative to collaborate with me.

Thank you for your thoughts.
c@cynthiar.com

Anonymous said...

Meet a writer at Starbucks? That could go well or...very bad ;D

Dumbbells said...

Hey there, my name is Dumbbells (MaMa nicknamed me Jen)

I am seeking a MALE sitcom writing partner. I am currently writing a pilot (Curb Your Enthusiasm/ style)

jenzbiz@yahoo.com

Sincerely,
Dumbbells

Dumbbells said...

Hey there, my name is Dumbbells (my close friends call me Dumb)
Male writing partner wanted. I'm working on a script (Larry David style) use Final Draft, live in Colorful Colorado. )

jenzbiz@yahoo.com