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Screenplay & Film Consulting By Susan Kouguell

Tag: Jeff Greenstein

Susan’s Ask the Screenplay Doctor: How to Pitch a TV Series


Jeff Greenstein with the cast of the new award-winning series Husbands Jeff Greenstein (far left) with the cast of the new award-winning series Husbands.

How can you pitch a new TV series? Screenplay Doctor Susan Kouguell finds an answer to this question of the month with Jeff Greenstein, the Emmy-winning writer and producer of Dream On, Friends, Will & Grace, Parenthood and Desperate Housewives

Question: One of my partners and I have begun creating a pitch for a new television show.  We’ve great faith in the idea, but I’ve never pitched for TV before.  Is there a different approach to presenting our ideas when it is time?  Besides a treatment, should we have a “pilot episode” teleplay at the ready?  Should we also have a synopsis of several episodes?  What do you recommend?

Susan’s Answer: Pitching for television takes skill, a lot of preparation, and some luck. Writers must know the company to whom they are pitching and the types of projects they are seeking.

For television, it is generally recommended to…

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Ask the Screenplay Doctor: 2013 Retrospective and Questions

2013 was quite an exciting year of columns, ranging on tips about marketing a screenplay, to the pros and cons of film schools. Thank you for your enthusiastic responses to my columns.

A special thank you to all my 2013 inspiring interviewees from across the country, who not only offered invaluable advice, but their honest insights into all aspects of writing, filmmaking and the film industry:

Thelma Adams: Self-described “outspoken” film critic, offered insights into the world of movies past and present, and gave us a glimpse into what critics look for in a film.

Film Critic Thelma Adams

Ann Flournoy: Louise Log Web Series director took us on the adventurous journey of making a web series with tips on her successful crowd-sourcing with Seed&Spark.

Anne Flournoy, creator of web series The Louise Log

Jon Gartenberg: President of Gartenberg Media Enterprises, talked about experimental filmmaking, distribution, and what’s happening to the field in this modern age.

Jon Gartenberg, President of Gartenberg Media Enterprises

Jeff Greenstein: Emmy-Award sitcom television writer, director and showrunner of such shows as Will & Grace and Friends, shared tips on breaking into writing for television, sitcom trends, and more. (Since our interview, Jeff is now the director of the new CBS sitcom Mom.)

Showrunner, producer, and writer Jeff Greenstein

Sydney Levine: President of Sydney’s Buzz pulled back the curtain on the international film industry with sage advice on getting films seen and distributed in the global market.

Sydney Levine, President of Sydney's Buzz.

Stephanie Spray and Pacho Velez: Award-winning Manakamana documentary filmmakers discussed the process of making their unforgettable feature, at our sit-down at the Locarno Film Festival, where they later took the stage as big winners.

Stephanie Spray and Pacho Velez, the filmmakers behind Manakamana


Genine Tillotson: Director of Harvard Square Script Writers talked about HSSW and the benefits of joining a writers group.…

Genine Tillotson, left, leading a meeting of Harvard Square Screen Writers.

JD Zeik: Screenwriter and SUNY Purchase Professor who’s worked with James Cameron, Alfonso Cuaron, and 50 Cent, and more. We talked about film school and the film business.

Professor and Screenwriter J.D. Zeik

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ASK THE SCREENPLAY DOCTOR Interview with Jeff Greenstein: Stories from TV’s Front Line

Interview with Emmy winner Jeff Greenstein

Showrunner, producer, and writer Jeff GreensteinAs the credits roll on some of the most critically acclaimed and groundbreaking television shows, including Friends, Will and Grace, Desperate Housewives, and Parenthood — writer, producer, showrunner, and Emmy award winner Jeff Greenstein’s name is seen prominently.

In his own words, here’s Jeff’s biographical background: “Jeff Greenstein grew up in Atlanta, Georgia and attended Tufts University in Boston, where he started as a computer science major and careened through the art history department, and ended up with a degree in film and dance. This proved the ideal prelude to a glorious career in television comedy.”  His first job was on HBO’s Dream On, where he stayed for five seasons, rising from staff writer to showrunner and garnering several industry awards, including the coveted and sadly defunct CableACE. He then signed on for the first year of NBC’s Friends, earning Emmy nominations as both a producer of the series and as co-writer of the show’s first Thanksgiving episode. That same year he co-created Fox’s Partners, starring Jon Cryer and Tate Donovan, which won plenty of critical plaudits but, alas, no second season.