Thursday, June 25, 2009

3Questions: Scott Weinger - TV Writer/Actor

As part of our continuing 3Questions series, I present Scott Weinger, a television writer and actor.

HBAD: So, tell us about yourself. Who are you, what do you do, what does that position involve?

SW: My name is Scott Weinger and I'm an actor and a writer. For the past few years I've focused primarily on writing for television. I've written sitcoms and one-hours, most recently this year for the dearly departed CW dramedy "Privileged," a great show I was proud to be a part of. Writing is generally thought of as a lonely craft, but writing for television is another story. TV writers work together in conference rooms, coming up with ideas, breaking stories, writing jokes, and making each other laugh. It's a fantastic process, and when it's your turn to write a script, you go off with your notes and get to do some real writing, pacing around your office the way everybody imagines it to be.

HBAD: How did you get your start?

SW: I became an actor sometime before my tenth birthday. I lived in Hollywood, Florida, which couldn't be further away from Hollywood, California. Acting was an after-school hobby that turned into a profession thanks to a series of happy accidents, but also the support of my parents, who recognized that acting was something I was passionate about and who agreed to take me to auditions after school, even travel with me to New York or California if something came up. After working steadily in Los Angeles for several years, I left the business to go to college. When I returned to LA, I continued to do some acting but I became more and more focused on pursuing a career as a writer. I was determined to learn how television writing worked and start from the ground floor so I wouldn't be perceived as an actor who thought it would be amusing to dabble in writing. I went to work as an assistant to a very successful television director, helping him out on several comedy pilots, bringing him coffee, the usual assistant drudgery. But from that job I learned the process of making a TV show from a perspective I never saw as an actor, and I met a great group of people who gave me my first crack at a TV sitcom episode and my first look at a writing room, and I was hooked.

HBAD: What advice would you have for someone just starting out in this business, looking to become a television writer?

SW: The best advice I can offer to someone interested in writing is to get started right away, don't wait. Start writing now, because it takes a while to really learn how to do it. Get in any door you can, work your way up. You'd be shocked if you knew how many successful people started their careers by bringing someone coffee or photocopying scripts. Meet as many people as you can, work hard, and your break will come in ways you never could have anticipated.

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