TV Insights, Observations and Obsessions from the NYTVF
Check out our Q&A series with Fest Founder Terence Gray (and others), designed to provide submitting artists and TV fans with insight to the current development landscape. If you're thinking about submitting to the NYTVF, this is for you.
Insights from the intern bullpen
As part of our expanded intern program, we are looking at the backgrounds and interests of the students and recent grads who help make the NYTVF run smoothly and keep the NYTVF staff on our toes. For the most recent of these interviews, we asked Eleanor Bray, a recent graduate of Barnard College at Columbia University, to talk about her unique perspecive on watching television and tell us what makes a successful pilot.
My name is Eleanor Bray and I am a recent graduate of Barnard College at Columbia University. With a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology, people often ask “Anthropology? What are you going to do with that?!” My answer is always “absolutely nothing, now stop bothering me.” In all seriousness, it might seem like the field of Anthropology is far removed from the television industry, but the two are more related than one might think; Anthropology is the study of cultures, and television is often our number one place for viewing and understanding cultures we might be unfamiliar with, from Jersey Shore to Downton Abbey. I even managed to write my senior thesis in Anthropology on American sitcoms, and how people interact with comedy in times of tragedy (it was basically a secret ploy to get my professors to let me watch Netflix as homework).
In addition to my educational jaunt with the culture of television, I have been obsessed with TV since day one. It was from my parents that I learned what makes a good television pilot: structure, voice, and character. It would be cool if those all started with the same letter, but for now they’ll have to do. As an aspiring writer, structure is important to me because it shows whether or not the writers know where the show is going – does every joke, scene, and interaction move the story along? Is it clear how the show will be set up and paid off each week? A coherent voice can make or break a show – what do these characters take seriously, and what do they find funny? Fully fleshed out characters are perhaps the most important element of a show to me – whether it is scripted or unscripted, a show is unwatchable without engaging and relatable characters. A modern television show I feel that does this best is It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, although there have been many more before.
Some new television shows that I’ve been gushing over recently include Broad City, Inside Amy Schumer, and, as a Portland native, I feel obligated to say Portlandia.
Check out previous downloads here:
Insights from the intern bullpen - 8/27/14 | Insights from the intern bullpen - 8/19/14 | Insights from the intern bullpen - 8/6/14 | Insights from the intern bullpen - 7/30/14 | Insights from the intern bullpen - 7/24/14 | Rory Covey of My Damn Channel's Honchos - 4/10/14 | Drama advice from Siobhan Byrne O'Connor - 4/3/14 | NYTVF Alum Danny Abrahms - 3/21/14 | Drama Advice - 3/13/14 | Advice from Chicago - 3/10/14 | Unscripted LA Panel - 2/25/14 | Drama Development - 2/20/14 | MSN Development - 2/12/14 | Casting - 2/5/14 | The Network Development Process - 1/29/14 | History Development - 1/15/14 | Comedy Formats - 3/18/13 | A&E Pipeline - 4/3/13| Fox Script Contest - 4/10/13 | From Film to TV - 5/17/13 | Lifetime Unscripted - 9/4/13