Toronto Screenwriting Conference 2013 – Day 2

Saturday was simply an amazing day for Sue and I, being able to attend the TSC. Not only from being able to cover it for the blog, but the amount of note-taking we both did for our own writing was amazing!

And amazingly enough there was a whole second day of it today!

darleneArriving back at Ryerson this morning just shortly after 9, we grabbed some morning beverages, said hi to some familiar names and faces before we got ready for the day’s events.

First up was a fantastic session with Darlene Hunt, the creator of the Showtime series The Big C with Laura Linney, and now the showrunner for Save Me starring Anne Heche. Moderated by Marguerite Pigott, Darlene spoke at length about finding comedy in darker issues, like that of cancer, heart attacks. She was funny and offbeat, talking about the way she pitches a series or a script, the differences between being a series creator and showrunner, and how she writes.

And consequently, I added yet another show to my must-watch list.

This was followed by the Anatomy of the Pilot with Bob Kushell, a very successful comedy writer, who’s credits include 3rd Rock From The Sun, Samantha Who?  and Anger Management. He was here to chat about his pilot for BBC3, the incredibly dark and funny Way To Go, which just finished its first series in England. Once again it’s a dark subject, assisted suicide, coupled with comedy.

bobIt was really interesting hearing Kushell talk about having his script translated for a UK audience as well as talking about introducing characters through action and not dialogue.

Sue and I scribbled even more notes.

After the lunch break the afternoon sessions got under way with The Keeper of the Vision, a panel of showrunners, Tassie Cameron (Rookie Blue) Daegan Fryklind (Bitten) and Kevin White (InSecurity), moderated by David Barlow they talked about the showrunners’ vision of the show, the series bible, how the writers room comes into play.

Which led us to something we’ve heard a lot this weekend, even a couple of times in the morning sessions…

Don’t be the no guy.

If you’re going to shoot an idea down, or bash it, you’d better have a better one ready to go, or otherwise you’re just bringing the room down and not helping the creative process.

This got cited a lot this weekend, and with good reason. It’s so easy to say something mean or derisive about someone’s story or a plot point, but if you don’t have a suggestion or solution to improve it, then you’re really not helping.

Aaron_Korsh_a_pThen to finish off the weekend Glenn Cockburn the conference founder moderated the final session of the day featuring Aaron Korsh, the series creator of Suits.

Aaron spoke about his own experiences as an investment banker, and how he draws from his own personal experiences to tell his stories. Another topic that had been recited a number of times over the weekend, to draw from your own autobiography, or at least find an incident that would give you an in into the subject you wish to write about.

It was a whirlwind weekend for both Sue and I, and I think we both came away with so many notes to be used for our own writing it has given us a new level of excitement for our creations. We got to meet and talk with some amazing people, and learned so much about the process.

It was fantastic!

We hope to be able to attend again next year!



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