Hey, Michael Jamin here. School’s in session, which is why I got the lockers we’re in school. So here’s the question for you? Why do people read stories or why do people watch stories? And many of you probably have a horse crap answer. Can’t say horse crap. Uh, many of you have a horse crap answer. Like people read stories to understand the human condition or to explore pathos or something. Okay. Whatever, you get a B+ on your term paper. That’s not the answer I use. I don’t feel that quite hits the nail on the head. I think it’s simpler than that. The reason why people read stories or watch stories is to find out what happens next, right? That’s it. And if you don’t provide that, I think you have an obligation as the writer to give them that desire to find out what happens next, or else they’re not going to turn the page.

I see this happen all the time with new writers where they’ll write a line or a paragraph and they go, well, this is just for me. I just like it, so I’m keeping it in. That’s selfish and no one’s going to want to continue reading your project or no one’s going to read your next one. The only person in the world who’s obligated to read your work is your mother. Everyone else is going to get out of it. Maybe they’ll do it as a favor. Oh, sure. I’m a really good friend. So I’m going to read your thing, but they’re not going to want to read the next one. If you are not fulfilling that obligation that you have to them, which is, you know, making them want to know what happens next. 

It’s selfish of you to put anything in there that doesn’t fulfill that obligation. So like that’s what your diary is for. If you want to explore your emotions, great. Put it in your diary. I think that’s wonderful. It’s very therapeutic. It’s good for you. But when you’re writing something for somebody else, you have that obligation to entertain them. And that doesn’t mean it necessarily has to be funny. It’s entertaining, but drama is also entertaining. And so what I teach in this course is how to do that. Honestly, it’s how to take those steps, to provide something that your reader wants to find out what happens next. And even when I’m writing, sometimes I go, is this for me? And it breaks down not just the story, but the sentence or the paragraph and the line is this for me? Or is it for somebody else? And if it’s not for somebody else, I cut it out. So how do you know whether it’s for you or for somebody else? Those steps are covered in the course. So if you want to learn, you’ll sign up, click the link. Good luck.

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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