Hello and Happy network TV staffing season to you all! If you know what that means then my thoughts and prayers are with you during this horrific time of year. If you don’t, then this post is for you.
Writers: feel free to use this mock conversation as a guide to explaining your life. Others: feel free to use this mock conversation as motivation to not speak to any of the writers in your life for the next month.
- Them: Hi, how are you? Haven’t heard from you in awhile…
- You: Yeah…well…it’s network TV staffing season so I’ve been a little tied up.
- Them: Uh-huh. Remind me what that means again.
- You: Remember how last year and the year before that and the year before that other year I told you all the network TV shows that are going to premiere in September hire their writing staffs – like the group of people that write the show – sometime in May.
- Them: Oh right! So you got a job?!
- You: No. Ha! No. This is just the time of year when a lot of jobs are available so I’ve been busy preparing…to not get a job.
- Them: Wait. What?
- You: Sorry. That was a joke.
- Them: Oh. So you’re going on interviews for jobs?
- You: Meetings, not interviews and not yet. Wait. Why? Has Janice Barlow’s son been getting meetings? Is that why you’re calling me??
- Them: No. Well, I don’t know. Do you want me to call her to find out?
- You: NO. Definitely not. Also, he’s Co-EP and I’m Staff so even if he is getting meetings now it doesn’t mean I’m in trouble.
- Them: Okay. That’s great. When are your meetings?
- You: I don’t have any, yet.
- Them: Okay. When will they be when you have them?
- You: If and I don’t know… I’m hearing shows are starting to take meetings now but my agents and managers say there’s still time, but it’s like a peach, you know, it’s like it’s not ripe, it’s not ripe, it’s not ripe, it’s not ripe and then it’s bad.
- Them: Uh-huh…So when you say TV staffing season it’s not really a season so much as…
- You: A week. Maybe eight days.
- Them: Right. Okay. But there’s a lot of shows so there must be a lot of jobs.
- You: No. Each room has between six and ten writers, but they’re all different levels and they usually only have budget for two maybe three staff writers, and there are sometimes network mandates for diversity hires and some people come from network writing labs or programs and a lot of showrunners promote their assistants so in the end there’s probably – I don’t know – 25 maybe 30 jobs.
- Them: TOTAL?
- You: Yep. But I only have connections at two, maybe three shows so I’m really only eligible for two or three slots.
- Them: TOTAL?? You have eight days to get one of two jobs for the year??
- You: Nonononono. There’s staffing all year long, and my tone is really more of an Amazon/Netflix/Hulu fit anyway, so it’s fine.
- Them: Mmm, okay. So why again are you so stressed out?
- You: I have to be. It’s part of the persona.