In Advisor Studio sessions, Sundance Collab Advisors share field experiences and insights into their specific areas of craft, including writing, directing and producing for TV and film.

Join writer/producer John Lopez (STRANGE ANGEL, SEVEN SECONDS) as he delves into the process of developing a TV show from the pilot to the series outline. Lopez shares his writing tips on getting started; creating compelling, relatable characters; mapping the story and character arcs; crafting a story world, theme and tone; and strategies to navigate notes and the rewriting process.

Artist's Chosen Interview:

Artist' Chosen Resources:

  • The Los Angeles Central Library - I love this city and the Central Library is not only an architectural triumph, it's safe haven for every aspiring writer out here. I used to write there when I first got back from college: many, many bad drafts of long forgotten screenplays. The best part is you have an incredible mountain of research at your fingertips that will put even the best Googler to shame. Honestly, when I'm starting something new, I'll still go there, get lost in the stacks, and invariably come out with something valuable.
  • The Short Stories of Anton Chekhov- Many folks out here love to name drop Chekhov's plays, but we shouldn't forget he also wrote short stories that are some of the greatest masterpieces of Western Art. If you want something that will knock your socks off and humble you as a writer--or you just need a great read--I'd pick up a copy pronto.
  • The New Beverly Cinema - I lived down the street from Tarantino's now famous theater for almost a decade and this was my film school. (I know I'm not alone in that.) The American Cinematheque is great, too, but still nothing beats catching whatever odd double-bill the New Bev has up at any given moment.
  • The Arroyo Seco Freeway - This may seem strange, but if you live in L.A. for anytime at all, you know your car becomes a mobile refuge. Unless you're driving in bumper to bumper traffic on the 405... fortunately, the 110 north of downtown is almost always a pleasant drive, which I use to zone out and led my mind wander. Some not-that-terrible ideas have even come out of it.
  • Any novel by Thomas Pynchon - Unfortunately, I'm that annoying friend who tells you to read something, anything by Thomas Pynchon because he's the greatest living American writer. But whether or not he's your cup of tea, (and he's definitely not for everyone) the exhaustive amount of research that makes its way into even the most casual of his novels can send you down insane rabbit holes to last a lifetime.
  • Ventura Blvd. - This time not on car, but on foot. I'm a Valley kid at heart and anyone who says no one walks in L.A. should give it a try. Start at the Universal City stop, head West and let your mind roam free.
  • The Sundance Film Festival... of course! Just do yourself a favor and find a way to go at least once in your life.
A Los Angeles native, John Lopez has covered film and the arts for Grantland, Vanity Fair online and Bloomberg Business Week. His short PLAN B, starring Randall Park and Rosa Salazar, was a finalist in the NBC Short Cuts Film festival; he also directed segments for NBC’s 2014 Actor’s Showcase and served as associate producer on Hossein Amini’s film THE TWO FACES OF JANUARY. In 2015, John was selected as a fellow for the Sundance Episodic Lab with his pilot CRUDE. Most recently, John has written for Netflix’s crime drama SEVEN SECONDS and CBS All Access’s STRANGE ANGEL. He is currently writing for CBS Studios’ upcoming television adaptation of Nicolas Roeg’s classic film THE MAN WHO FELL TO EARTH. more...

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