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Macmillan Higher Education Palgrave Higher Education

Inside The Writers' Room

Conversations with American TV Writers

ISBN 9781137338105
Publication Date January 2014
Formats Paperback Hardcover Ebook 
Publisher Palgrave

US television drama has gained recognition for its sophisticated narrative form, and the role of the writer has been central to this. Here television writers share their experiences and practices of writing for highly successful shows such as The Sopranos, Seinfeld, Cheers, Sex and the City, The Wire, Mad Men, The Big C and Boardwalk Empire.

Christina Kallas is Adjunct Professor in the School of the Arts Film Division at Columbia University, USA, and also teaches at the New School in New York. A producer and writer, she has been the President of the Federation of Screenwriters in Europe since 2006, and is the founder of the Writers Improv Studio in New York.

Introduction: (R)evolution of a Medium
1. Terence Winter (Boardwalk Empire, The Sopranos)
2. Warren Leight (In Treatment, Lights Out)
3. Tom Fontana (Oz, Homicide, Borgia)
4. Jenny Bicks (Sex and the City, Men in Trees, The Big C)
5. Robert Carlock (Friends, SNL, 30 Rock)
6. Janet Leahy (Cheers, The Cosby Show, Gilmore Girls, Boston Legal, Mad Men)
7. Eric Overmyer (The Wire, Treme)
8. Diana Son (Law and Order, Blue Bloods, Southland)
9. Charlie Rubin (Seinfeld, Law and Order)
10. Tim van Patten (The Sopranos, The Wire, Boardwalk Empire)


Anyone who's ever romanticised the writers' room of US network/cable TV legend, this book – as gripping and thought-provoking as the best dramas it gets under the bonnet of – grants exclusive access to a world that's equal parts hard, unforgiving reality and unfettered creative wonder. The simple, honest interrogation of a glittering parade of showrunners means every page packs a punch for the daydreaming writer of the next Sopranos.' – Andrew Collins, Film Editor, Radio Times, UK
'As feature films stage more and more spectacle, the human need for stories gets fulfilled elsewhere. Namely on television, where the characters' lives actually continue, also in between and after all the dramatic and tumultous events. Just like in real life. Inside the Writers' Room provides a unique insight into why the stories told in contemporary TV series work so well and why the writers are in charge. Recommended reading for anyone interested in TV series, required reading for anyone interested in writing them.' – Sveinbjörn Baldvinsson, Screenwriter, Head of Screenwriting at the Norwegian Film School, Norway
'It offers a window into the inner workings of many of our current top shows, how the operations work, how the writers interact, how the process is completed, what the writer's room is like, who's in control, why television is a writer's medium.' – David Howard, Professor and Founder of the Graduate Screenwriting Program at the School of Cinematic Arts, University of Southern California, USA
'As an (experienced) TV writer herself, Christina knows her stuff. Under her alert guidance writers talk openly about their work and their way of creating it … A must for every writer and for anyone who wishes to become one.' – Marc Terjung, TV Creator, Germany
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