As I tend to do when I come across a podcast I really fall in love with, I went back and listened to every single episode of The Nerdist Writer’s Panel hosted by Ben Blacker after my pal Justin Aclin recommended it to me for the second or third time. This podcast — of which there are currently 42 episodes — focuses on the world of television writing by getting a group of TV writers together in a room with an audience and asking them questions. Well, mostly, there have been a handful of smaller interviews with just one subject that go more in dept, but the panel set-up is the main focus.
As a guy who fancies himself a writer-in-the-works (doesn’t count until you’re published), I’m always looking for interesting insights into the world of professional writers and this show has it in spades. What I love most about this podcast is that, for the most part, the panelists are all very candid and honest. Most of them aren’t talking the real deep dirt, but that’s to be expected because they are active, working writers and they don’t want to burn all the bridges. Aside from that, though, you get a really good sense of this industry and how varied it can be.
I will now list a few things I’ve learned from the show. First off, there appears to be no set way of getting into television. I’ve heard stories of friends getting friends jobs and playwrights eventually working their way into TV and pretty much everything in between. There is no set way of doing this and I like that. It’s also been interesting hearing how the different writers rooms are treated and how comedy rooms differ from hour long drama rooms. Lastly, much like everyone gets into writing differently, it’s interesting how different writers tackle their writing. Some of them love being in the room beating out the story with other writers while others just want to be left alone to do their thing. Some absolutely love tearing through a script while others despise every moment of it.
I really have no complaints about this podcast. If anything, listening to so many of them in such a short period of time made them blend together, but that’s no one’s fault but mine. When listening to something like this in a month or two, you also get to pick up on the patterns in the rooms and with the writers. So, if you’re at all interested in writing and the reality of TV writing specifically, especially if you saw and were interested in The TV Set, do yourself a favor and check out this podcast.