3 Facts About Writers’ Room Hierarchy for Students in Television Schools

Posted on November 25th, 2016 - Written by: Trebas Toronto


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Success in the writers’ room is a collective effort amongst many individuals

Collaboration between many talented minds is fundamental when it comes to writing the next hit television series. Fan favourite shows like Breaking Bad, led by showrunner Vince Gilligan, or Grey’s Anatomy, led by showrunner Shonda Rhimes, could not have been such huge successes without every role in the writers’ room being executed properly.

After graduation, you can rest assured that no matter where you fit in that hierarchy, you will play a meaningful role in the creation of what might just be the next big hit. Keep reading to discover three facts about the writers’ room and its hierarchy.

Students in Film and TV School Will Likely Start Out as Entry Level Writers

Students who are fresh out of television schools will start at the bottom of the hierarchy, often occupying a staff writer position. As a staff writer, you aren’t guaranteed to write an episode and you may not have your name listed on the credits. However, securing this coveted position is a great accomplishment and can be a good stepping stone for your career in television.

It’s up to you to engage with your supervisors as much as possible to become an asset to your showrunner and senior writers. After a season of showing them your potential, you may be promoted to story editor. Story editors can pitch ideas to the senior writers and provide their opinion on the show’s creative direction.

Midlevel Positions Include Executive Story Editor and Co-Producer

Writers’ room midlevel positions include the executive story editor, co-producer, and producer. Professionals who move into these roles likely have a few seasons behind them and understand the ins and outs of the writers’ room. Midlevel writers may be lucky enough to write an episode of their own and appear in the episode’s credits. Duties of these writers can even include attending production meetings and castings.

However, the primary role of a midlevel writer will still mainly include writing and creating stories for a show’s episodes. To achieve the senior writers’ respect, you must demonstrate your dedication and use the knowledge you gained at film and TV school. If you do this successfully, you may move up to a senior writer position as you progress through your career.


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Midlevel writers may get the chance to write their own episodes!


Experienced Grads of Film and TV School May Become Senior Level Writers

Senior level positions include the supervising producer, co-executive producer, and executive producer, who all work under the guidance of the showrunner. Most of these roles serve as a right-hand to the showrunner, who is in many ways the “CEO” of the TV series. Often, the showrunner wrote the pilot episode and is the driving force behind the idea of the show. The showrunner will also enjoy complete creative control over the TV show. If the showrunner has to be away from the writers’ room for any reason, the senior level writers will step in and take charge.

Are you interested in enrolling in courses in television?

Contact Trebas today to get started on your dream career path!

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