Welcome to the PIT List!

I'm a network field producer who also worked in local tv as a line producer and field producer. Over the years, I have had the great fortune to work with super people. Now I'd like to pass along what I know and rant a tad.

"Dear Maggie..." pitlist@gmail.com
I check it sporadically, but I love answering emails, so if you have an issue or difficult person you need help with, don't hesitate to shoot it my way.

Maggie L

Maggie L
One of the rare times I'm in the office

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Writer's Block & Some Tips

Most of the time, you crank out story after story with nary a thought. But occasionally, you get writer's block. What to do? Whenever I would get stumped, I'd pretend to call my grandmother on the phone and tell her the story I was writing. Think about it. It's easy to tell a story verbally (Hey Grandma, would you believe???)... but for some reason when you sit down to write the exact same story, it becomes a bigger deal. When you talk to people, you automatically put the most interesting stuff first, etc. So next time you're stumped, think of someone you talk to on the phone often, and just write down what you'd say to them if you were describing the story. It's a start. More tips... For the lead graph.. think-- what is happening with this story right now? Are police investigating? Is someone recovering? Is a family mourning? Figure out, no matter how small, what is happening right now and lead with that... along with the most important bits of the story (why it was important enough to put in your show). Lose adjectives and adverbs. They are generally not very useful unless they are factually descriptive (as in red car, 14-story building, etc). Horrible accident? Says who? Compared to what? Paramedics rushed them quickly to the hopsital? Well no duh. Jettison useless verbage. Real people sound is generally more interesting that official sound. "I could have swore the whole sky was coming down!" vs. "We had a building collapse in the 84000 block of Main Street." You might also consider using sound when you have not a lot or not great video (instead of :30 vo, think :25 vo and :05 of sot. Look for nats full you can use in scripts (and not just from concerts). AND--- always always always always--- look at your video first before writing-- never write a script without looking at the video-- it will help your writing immensely.

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