Introducing the Writers Guild Foundation Podcasts

Today’s a pretty magical day. It’s the day our events become easier to experience than ever. It’s the day we introduce the WRITERS GUILD FOUNDATION PODCAST. It’s the day you can start listening to our events on your phone! Your iPod or non-Apple music player! Your tablet! Or right here on your desktop in this very blog post!


Click the play button on the media player above to listen to our recent GENRE SMASH! evening with the amazing Marti Noxon, who wrote (and ran) unforgettable shows like BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER and PRIVATE PRACTICE. She’s also the seasoned feature writer behind the FRIGHT NIGHT remake, the upcoming TOMB RAIDER reboot and the (also upcoming) film adaptation of the Jeannette Walls memoir THE GLASS CASTLE. It’s a great chat; Marti is a goldmine of insight into the writing process, the unique hurdles faced by women in the industry, and the value of pop culture in the public sphere (during her time at BTVS, Willow came out as gay, becoming one of a relative few LGBT characters on television at the time).

You can also subscribe to our podcast, so you’ll never have to worry about missing an episode:
Click here to subscribe to our podcast via RSS.
Click here to subscribe to our podcast via iTunes.

We’ll be releasing new episodes every two weeks, including one-on-one chats with writers, panel discussions from our day-long craft symposia, and more great stuff we’ve got in the works.

For many moons now, folks who love what we do have been asking us: Is there any way to watch your events online? Are you going to stream this event for people who don’t live in Los Angeles? Are you recording this event?

Over the years, our approach to recording and distributing our events has varied. As recently as the late 1990s, we were recording our events on VHS tapes.


Tapes for events in 1999 and 1989. Lego barista included for scale.

You used to be able to come to our library and watch any event you missed. We still have the tapes, but, uh… we don’t have a VCR to play them on anymore. So you can watch them if you want, but you’ll have to bring your own VCR. We’ll loan you some headphones.

After VCRs, we moved to DVDs, which we sold at events and here on the website (and still do, actually – but more on this soon). As most of the folks reading this may already know, we’re a nonprofit (HINT HINT, YOU GUYS) and so any little source of income is welcome. And this was definitely a “little” source of income; DVD sales made us a few thousand bucks in a good year. Not bad, but there were production costs to consider, as well as the annoyance of having to lug a bunch of copies around to sell at our events.

So we switched to online streaming via Ustream. Click the link and check out our channel, and you’ll see just how skilled we are at using the latest technology to produce masterful videos with crystal-clear image and concert-quality sound. You’ll also see that we’re pretty good at sarcasm.

Long story short: Maintaining a live stream of an event is a fairly cumbersome process when you don’t have a staff dedicated to it – or even a staff member dedicated to it. Streaming was a huge pain, and in the end it wasn’t making us a heck of a lot of money. So we started uploading all those Ustream videos – which, despite their poor video quality, were chock full of great information – to our YouTube channel, where people could access them for free.* We figured: Better to make them available to thousands of people around the world for free than to make a pittance selling them to a couple dozen people a year. People don’t like paying for stuff on the Internet, as it turns out. Who’da thought?

And now, today, we introduce our podcasts. They’re audio-only, but don’t worry – we’ll still record video of many of our big events like our BREAKING BAD panel or our WALKING DEAD panel and post them here. We record nearly everything we do, so if you miss an event, don’t worry – you’ll eventually have a chance to hear it on the podcast.

* Please note – because we have a small staff and a lot to do, uploading these can take a while.


New Video: Writing and Acting THE WALKING DEAD

A few months ago we brought the writers and actors behind THE WALKING DEAD to the Writers Guild Theater, along with Nerdist extraordinaire Chris Hardwick as host. I wish everyone reading this could have been there with us, because it was an amazing night.

And so here it is: Hardwick interviews showrunner Scott Gimple; Robert Kirkman, who created the original comic and wrote several episodes of the show; and Lauren Cohan and Steven Yeun, who play Maggie and Glenn on the show.

I won’t bore you with a lot of chatter. But watch for the Ray Romano impressions. They’re not exactly dead-on. But they’re hilarious.

Inside the Writers Room with BREAKING BAD

You asked, and we answered. Here’s the recording of our INSIDE THE WRITERS ROOM WITH BREAKING BAD event, recorded December 3, 2013 at the WGA theater.

In it, Glen Mazzara interviews (from left to right) creator Vince Gilligan and writers Moira Walley-Beckett, Sam Catlin, Peter Gould, Thomas Schauz, Gennifer Hutchison and George Mastras.

Why are you still reading this? Start watching!

Oral History: Our Garry Marshall Interview, and an explanation

Over the years, the Writers Guild Foundation has conducted dozens of interviews documenting the oral histories of screen and television writers. We did it in an effort to preserve their stories before they passed on, and to document the conditions and experiences that crafted the experiences of the creators of the 20th Century’s most memorable popular culture.

It was a great idea with near-perfect execution, with one flaw: Once we recorded these histories, we burned them to DVDs and put them on a shelf in the back room of our library. And we never really publicized the fact that we had them.

Lately, we’ve been trying to change that. Slowly, we’ve been moving all of the content that we own to YouTube – including streamed events that were previously kept behind a paywall. It’s all on our YouTube channel, including our look inside the writers room of NEW GIRL, our oral history of Sherwood Schwartz (part 1, part 2), and more.

We’ll be adding more content in the coming months, as well as podcasts of our recent events, like our evening with Billy Ray, our GENRE SMASH! interview with Ash Miller and Zack Stentz, and some of our upcoming events as well.

In the meantime, here’s our most recent addition: Our interview with TV maestro Garry Marshall. I haven’t watched this video yet, but it’s got a special place in my heart – I grew up watching HAPPY DAYS, LAVERNE & SHIRLEY and THE DICK VAN DYKE SHOW in syndication every day after school, and along with a handful of other shows (mostly comedies from the late 70s, including GOOD TIMES, WHAT’S HAPPENING! and THREE’S COMPANY), formed the basis of my passion for good screen storytelling.

So without further ado, here’s Garry.