A writers’ room is where the seed of an idea begins to take shape through endless rounds of iterations, discussions and debates amongst a set of experienced writers. These rooms are crucial to building a solid foundation for the show and it is every platform’s and producer’s desire to set up a room that can be an ideal template for a dynamic, committed and creative collaboration.
Unfortunately, these sessions have the potential of degenerating into ego wars, clashes and perspective logjams.
It helps to have a content consultant in the room to defray the tension and steer the room back to the unifying vision and task at hand. This person cannot function as the monitor or the person whose ideas become the default or mandatory inclusion into the process but needs to be the person who asks the questions and pushes the writers to think and embrace fresh possibilities.
Here are some of the things this ‘consultant’ can bring to the table while representing either the platform or the production company in the room :
- A neutral and objective view point that helps to run the writer’s room with fewer clashes and more efficiency.
- When creative teams are alternating between various shows and internal processes, a reliable and senior resource can be tasked with addressing the various drafts and simplifying communication, as well as, discussion for all concerned.
- The presence of a senior resource in regular meetings limits power play and politics. There is a two way professional supervision and accountability thus realigning focus on getting the job done well.
- Timelines and deadlines can sometimes get lost in the chase for perfection. Alternatively, the additional time required to get the show to be richly detailed and nuanced can be neutrally represented via a focused, production oriented perspective.
- At all times, the ‘consultant’ should follow a transparent process of mediation and keep the stake holders informed every step of the way to avoid any kind of divisiveness or misinformation to creep in.
- The myriad concepts and scripts submitted by industry hopefuls can swamp the best meaning professionals in the team. An additional resource can take a quick look and provide one more opinion to help in the decision making process.
- Regional teams can also use this resource as a sounding board.
- You get a senior and reliable person to attach themselves with the platform at a fraction of the cost.
For an arrangement of this nature to be successful and result oriented, the platform or production house should ideally provide the following :
- Hire someone who has the experience, upskills regularly, has led creative teams, is preferably apolitical, is reliable and trustworthy.
- Introduce the resource as a representative that will function as a go-between for the two partners and enable a creative and focused approach to writing.
- Empower this resource to keep the project on track while the internal team members effectively facilitate the show makers.
- Communication at all levels is key to successful implementation.
- Freedom to drive the room in a fair and responsible manner is essential.
- Help the resource feel invested by creating an atmosphere of inclusion.
These arrangements work best in an environment of trust and can result in the output being rich and diverse in its language by allowing a democratic approach. As with any creative work, the output is rarely predictable but enabling an environment where magic is plausible, egos are kept at bay and a commitment to delivering one’s best is the focus, it will usually result in an honest and good piece of writing.