Hi, I’m Michael Jamin. I’m a professional television writer for 26 years, and today, I’m going to talk about why I think it’s better to be a television writer, as opposed to a feature writer. This is my opinion, okay? But, I’ve done both. So 26 years of TV, but I’ve also sold a couple of movies with my partner to 20th Century Fox. I’ve tasted that world, and I went back to TV. I much prefer it. But an interesting thing about working in television is I create in a year, usually, maybe 20 episodes of television, so I’m constantly breaking stories, and coming up with new stories, and writing those stories. And that process of doing it over and over again makes you better and better at doing it.

Feature writers can work on one story for a year, or two years, or whatever. That’s their drive, that one little thing. And so, they don’t get that practice over and over again. And I think they become very attached to what they have. It almost becomes precious because they’re engrossed in it. They’ve cultivated for so long. Whereas a television writer, “Okay, if I don’t like this story, I’ll do next week, better.” And one of my memories of selling these two movies was we were working with the studio executive, and the executive had some notes for us, and we’re like, “Okay. Okay, no problem.” “And we want this to happen in act …” “Okay. Not a problem.” And at the end, she was very surprised. She was like, “God, I really like working with TV writers so much more than film writers because you guys, you just take a note, and you’re happy to do it.” And it’s not a problem. It’s never a problem.

Whereas feature writers, everything’s so precious. And their words are their words, because for us, it’s like, “Okay, we’ll just do it over. We’ll do it a different way,” because we’re so accustomed to having to do things over and over again, to carry different stories every week. And we become less attached to it, in a way. And by the way, when you become a feature writer, you sell your movie, then you do your rewrites, then they hand it off to somebody else, the director, then the director will bring in their own writers. It’s often 10 to 15 writers will be on a project. And so, it’s not like one writer will write one movie. They have a dozen writers on these things, so your words are vanishing anyway. So on TV, you accept it. I don’t know. We become more at peace with it, and you’re okay with it… That’s part of the challenge, and part of the fun is doing the rewrite.

For more tips on what it’s like to be a television writer, or a feature writer, or how to become one, follow me here, follow me everywhere, especially on Instagram @MichaelJaminWriter.

Michael Jamin, Showrunner, TV Writer, Author

Michael Jamin

For the past 26 years, Michael Jamin has been a professional television writer/showrunner. His credits include King of the Hill, Beavis & Butthead, Wilfred, Maron, Just Shoot Me, Rules of Engagement, Brickleberry, Tacoma FD and many more.

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