TV Writer Podcast 060 – Devon Shepard (MADtv, Weeds)

From Fresh Prince of Bel Air to Weeds, Devon K. Shepard has been a busy TV writer/producer for the last 23 years. He’s full of wisdom on what made that possible!

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Devon K. Shepard was born in South Central California. From a very early age, he always had a love of television and film. His parents recognized this love, so on Saturday afternoons, they would drop Devon, his younger brother and older sister at the local movie theater where they would watch movies all day long.

That love of movie translated into a Radio, Television and Film degree from Cal State Northridge. Upon graduation, Devon was hired as a music intern for the television magazine show, Entertainment Tonight. His big break, however, came when he met Rob Edwards (The Princess and the Frog) at a barber shop in South Central California. Because he was always cracking jokes on whomever sat in the barber chair, Rob thought that he was funny and asked him to interview for a writer’s trainee job for a show called Out All Night starring Patti LaBelle, Vivica A. Fox and Morris Chestnut. Devon was hired for the job and has been working in television ever since.

Devon’s credits include The Fresh Prince of Bel Air, MADtv, Everybody Hates Chris, Weeds and this year’s hot new show, House Of Lies. Devon made his directorial and acting debut in a short film, My Brother’s Keeper, which he also wrote. Devon is married to Ranada Shepard, a writer in her own right, and they reside in Chatsworth, California, with their three sons.

In his interview, Devon talks about how crucial it is to have a great work ethic, to elevate your craft no matter what stage you’re at, to keep evolving your writing for current issues, and to keep abreast of technological changes like social media and new production techniques. He also talks about researching other cultures to make your characters more believable, and writing material in different genres so you’re not pigeon-holed.

Inspired by Norman Lear and John Hughes, Devon values well crafted & developed characters, and has moved away from comedy to dramatic television.

Follow Devon on Twitter: @DevonShepard

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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 Scriptmag.com, the leading source for scriptwriting information in print and on the web.

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