TV Writer Podcast 045 – Sarah McLaughlin (Drop Dead Diva, That 70’s Show)

The doctor is in! This week features none other than the TV Script Doctor herself, Sarah McLaughlin, who also happens to be a successful comedy writer on shows such as That 70’s Show and Drop Dead Diva.

Click image to play video; more details are below.

Growing up in New York, Sarah McLaughlin wasn’t allowed to watch television… fascinated by the forbidden fruit, she pursued journalism at the University of Colorado, and before long she was in Los Angeles working as a production assistant on the final season of Home Improvement.

On Home Improvement, she fell in love with scripted television, but didn’t know anything about the industry. She used her time there wisely, talking to as many people in different TV jobs as she could, and reading as many scripts as she could get her hands on.

After taking a course at UCLA and writing some spec scripts, she landed a spot in the Warner Brothers Writers Workshop. Though tremendously helpful, it didn’t directly land her a writing gig. However, she was able to use her position as a writer’s assistant on That 70’s Show to pitch and write her own episode, and her writing career took off!

After a few short stints on other shows, she ended back on That 70’s Show, where she worked her way up for several seasons. She went on to work on South Park, and sell pilots to MTV and Sony Television, before landing work on her current show, Drop Dead Diva.

Between her staff experience, and her work as a script evaluator and creative consultant for the Warner Bros. Writers Workshop and The Disney/ABC writers fellowship, Sarah understands what it takes to have your script go from the “reject” pile to the “yes” pile. In this podcast, she shares many great tips on how to improve your spec or pilot script, as well as sharing how a TV episode goes from idea to finished product.

Sarah works as a consultant to both new and working writers through her website:

Follow Sarah on Twitter: @tvscriptdoctor

CONTEST: buy Ross Brown’s book, Byte-Sized Television: Create Your Own TV Series for the Internet, read it, and submit questions to by January 1st. If you win the random draw, you’ll receive a copy of Troy Devolld’s book, Reality TV: An Insider’s Guide to TV’s Hottest Market.

Hosted by Gray Jones, the TV Writer Podcast is devoted to interviews with working TV writers. It is brought to you by Script magazine and, the leading source for scriptwriting information in print and on the web; and by Final Draft scriptwriting software, the entertainment industry standard for scriptwriting worldwide.

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