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Encyclopedia > Head writer

A Head Writer is a person who is in charge of a television/radio series' writing team. Head writers are part of a serialized series production team, and primetime serials. The first TIME cover devoted to soap operas: Dated January 12, 1976, Bill Hayes and Susan Seaforth Hayes of Days of our Lives are featured with the headline Soap Operas: Sex and suffering in the afternoon. A soap opera is an ongoing, episodic work of fiction, usually broadcast on television...

Contents

Role

They conceive the long-term story of a scripted television or radio series, and write the thrusts, outlining their tale approximately a week at a time, along with their Associate Head Writers, the show's producers, and if they have a Story/Creative Consultant (SC/CC), then they are included as well. A writing team usually holds three meetings a week. Sometimes, there may be a story document for one particular plot, summarizing all of the major beats, but this isn't required for all stories. Creative consultant is a credit that has - particuarly in the past - been given to screenwriters who have “doctored” a movie screenplay. ...


The head writer (HW), associate head writers (AHW), breakdown writers (BDW), and consultants then divide the week's thrust into five episodes by meeting at least twice a week. During these meetings, the Writer's Assistant, like GH's Nathan Fissel, takes notes for the writers, performs research and fact check. The breakdown writers outline an episode, breaking it down into acts and scenes, with a summary of the action. Sometimes a head writer, associate head writer or other members of the crew may choose to write a breakdown. Then the script writers take the breakdown and write dialogue for each scene.


Script Editors, like Elizabeth Korte, Jeff Beldner, and Carolyn Culliton, proof-read each completed script, check for continuity errors, and search for new writers by reading spec scripts. From time to time, a script editor can also write breakdown and dialogue scripts on their respective shows like Korte and Culltion do on General Hospital and One Life to Live. Most primetime TV series, like Desperate Housewives and Medium, have an Executive Story Editor [1] and a Story Editor. A script is not considered completed until the Script Coordinator, like GH's Heidi Ploen, Jim Reitzel, and Sasha Cartullo, goes through it and the head writer gives final approval. A script coordinator is the point person between the writers and production, distributes scripts to production, and takes care of clearance issues. Script Editor is a program included with Mac OS that allows AppleScripts to be written, debugged, and ran. ... Elizabeth Korte is an American TV script writer on the daytime serial General Hospital. ... Jeff Beldner is an award-winning American soap opera writer. ... This article, image, template or category should belong in one or more categories. ... Proofreading traditionally means reading a proof copy of a text in order to detect and correct any errors. ... A screenplay or script is a blueprint for producing a motion picture. ... For other uses, see General Hospital (disambiguation). ... One Life to Live (OLTL) is an American soap opera which has been broadcast on the ABC television network since July 15, 1968. ... Desperate Housewives is an American television comedy-drama series, created by Marc Cherry, who also serves as show runner, and produced by ABC Studios and Cherry Productions. ... Medium is an American drama television series about a woman (played by Patricia Arquette) who acts as a research medium for the Phoenix, Arizona, district attorneys office. ...


A television series' writing team can consist of a head writer/co-head writer, associate head writer, breakdown writer, script writer, script/story editor, script/story consultant, script/story coordinator, script supervisor/continuity, creative consultant, and a writer's assistant.


Financial Core Status Writers

  • All My Children: James Harmon Brown & Barbara Esensten
  • The Bold And The Beautiful: Kay Alden
  • Days Of Our Lives: Hogan Sheffer, Meg Kelly, Victor Gialanella, Mark Christopher
  • General Hospital: Garin Wolf, Michael Conforti
  • One Life To Live: Gary Tomlin, Frances Myers, Jeanne Marie Ford, Michelle Poteet Lisanti
  • Passions: James E. Reilly, Shawn Morrison, Pete T. Rich
  • The Young And The Restless: Josh Griffith, Maria Arena Bell, Paula Cwikly

Victor Gialanella (born in the 1950s) is an American television soap opera writer. ... Mark Christopher is an American soap opera writer. ... There are very few or no other articles that link to this one. ... An editor has expressed a concern that the subject of the article does not satisfy the notability guideline or one of the following guidelines for inclusion on Wikipedia: Biographies, Books, Companies, Fiction, Music, Neologisms, Numbers, Web content, or several proposals for new guidelines. ... Jeanne Marie Ford (previously known as Jeanne Marie Grunwell) is an American television soap opera writer. ... Michelle Poteet Lisanti is an American soap opera writer. ... Paula Cwikly is an American soap opera writer for the Daytime television serial The Young And The Restless. ...

Script Supervisor

A person who tracks which parts of a series have been filmed, how the filmed scenes deviated from the script; they also make continuity notes, creating a lined script. The script supervisor is a position found on most major motion picture sets and is the individual who is primarily responsible for maintaining comprehensive and detailed notes of everything that has been filmed (or videotaped) during the shooting process. ...


Current American daytime serial head writers

For other uses, see Young and Restless. ... Josh Griffith is an American soap opera writer and producer. ... The Bold and the Beautiful (often called B&B or less commonly, Bold) is a popular American television soap opera, first broadcast on CBS on March 23, 1987. ... Kay Alden is the award-winning television scriptwriter, and former head and co-head writer for the most-watched American soap opera The Young And The Restless. ... Days of our Lives is an American soap opera, which has aired nearly every weekday since November 8, 1965[2] on the NBC network in the United States, and has since been syndicated to many countries around the world. ... Hogan Sheffer (born Mark Wayne Sheffer on June 12, 1958 in York, Pennsylvania) is an American Daytime Emmy winning screenwriter. ... Meg Kelly is an American television soap opera scriptwriter who co-head writes Days of our Lives since early October 2006 with Hogan Sheffer. ... Dena Higley is an American television soap opera writer who lives in Los Angeles, California. ... For other uses, see Passion. ... James E. Reilly (born July 15, 1948 in Bountiful, Utah) is a writer of American soap operas. ... For other uses, see General Hospital (disambiguation). ... Robert Guza Jr. ... Meg Bennett is an actress best known for playing Victor Newmans first Wife, Julia, on The Young And The Restless. ... One Life to Live (OLTL) is an American soap opera which has been broadcast on the ABC television network since July 15, 1968. ... Gary Tomlin is an American soap opera actor, writer, producer and director. ... Ron Carlivati is an American soap opera writer. ... The date that commonly refers to the attacks on United States citizens on September 11, 2001 (see the September 11, 2001 Attacks). ... As the World Turns (ATWT) is the second longest-running American television soap opera (the first being Guiding Light),[1] airing each weekday on CBS Daytime. ... Jean Passanante is an American television writer best known for her work in daytime soap operas. ... Leah Laiman is an American soap opera writer and romance novelist. ... Guiding Light (known as The Guiding Light prior to 1975, GL) is an American television program credited by the Guinness Book of World Records as being the longest-running soap opera in production and the longest running drama in television history. ... David Kreizman is a writer for American soap operas. ... Donna Swajeski is an American soap opera writer. ... All My Children (AMC) is a popular American soap opera that has been broadcast Monday through Friday on the ABC TV network since January 5, 1970. ... James Harmon Brown is an American television soap opera writer. ... Barbara Esensten also credited as Barbara J. Esensten is an American television soap opera writer. ... Julie Hanan Carruthers is an American TV producer. ... Brian Frons is an American TV executive who holds a Master of Science degree in Communications from Syracuse University and a Bachelor of Arts degree in History from the State University of New York at Fredonia. ...

Salary

A Head Writer for a 60 minute series, starting February 2, 2008, is paid $32,995 (used to be $31,879) per week, which adds up to $1,715,740 (used to be $1,657,708) per year.


The minimum for a daily breakdown of a network non-prime time serial (when written by a writer other than the head writer) is $1,076 (used to be $1,739) for a 60 minute series.


For each script on which a writer, other than the head writer, performs writing services, such writer will be paid not less than $3,180 (used to be $3,087) for a 60 minute series.


The minimum for rewriting or polishing a non-prime time serial script or breakdown (when done by a writer other than the head writer like a Script/Story Editor) is 30% of the script or breakdown fee.


The minimum for a long-term story projection (when written by a writer other than the head writer like a Story/Creative Consultant) for a non-prime time serial is: 1. 3 months or less: $15,302 (used to be $14,785) 2. 6 months or less, but more than 3 months or unspecified: $22,953 (used to be $22,177) 3. 12 months or less, but more than 6 months: $30,601 (used to be $29,566).


Notable television head writers

Irna Phillips (July 1, 1901 – December 22, 1973) was an American writer who created and scripted many of the first American soap operas. ... Michael Malone is a Southern author, born in Durham, North Carolina. ... One Life to Live (OLTL) is an American soap opera which has been broadcast on the ABC television network since July 15, 1968. ... Frank M. Hursley (November 21, 1902–February 3, 1989) and Doris Hursley (September 29, 1898–May 5, 1984) were a husband-and-wife team who wrote American soap operas. ... Frank M. Hursley (November 21, 1902–February 3, 1989) and Doris Hursley (September 29, 1898–May 5, 1984) were a husband-and-wife team who wrote American soap operas. ... Agnes Nixon Agnes Nixon (born Agnes Eckhardt on December 27, 1927) is a Daytime Emmy award-winning writer and producer. ... Sheri Anderson is an American TV writer who has worked primarily on serials. ... William J. Bell (a. ... Douglas Marland (born Marland Messner, May 5, 1935 - March 6, 1993) was an American writer of soap operas. ... Harding Lemay (born 1922 in Bombay, New York) is a well-known American soap opera writer. ... Another World was an NBC soap opera that ran from May 4, 1964 to June 25, 1999. ... Megan McTavish (born April 30, 1949 in Pembroke, New Hampshire) is an American soap opera writer, most known for her head writing stints on All My Children. ... Bridget and Jerome Dobson were writers for American soap operas and created the NBC soap opera Santa Barbara in 1984. ... Robert Guza Jr. ... Henry Slesar (June 12, 1927 - April 2, 2002) was an American author, playwright and copywriter. ... The Edge of Night was a long-running American television soap opera. ... Kay Alden is the award-winning television scriptwriter, and former head and co-head writer for the most-watched American soap opera The Young And The Restless. ... Patricia Pat Falken Smith (January 21, 1926 – May 19, 2001) was a television writer, most famous for her stints as head writer of several soap operas, including General Hospital and Days of Our Lives. ... Marc Cherry Marc Cherry (born 1962) is an American writer and producer. ... Desperate Housewives is an American television comedy-drama series, created by Marc Cherry, who also serves as show runner, and produced by ABC Studios and Cherry Productions. ... Not to be confused with John Stewart or John Stuart. ... The Daily Show (currently The Daily Show with Jon Stewart) is a Peabody and Emmy Award-winning American satirical television program produced by and airing on Comedy Central. ... Norman C. Stiles [1] (born June 18, 1834, Feeding Hills, Agawam, Massachusetts) was an American inventor. ... Sesame Street is an American educational childrens television series for preschoolers and is a pioneer of the contemporary educational television standard, combining both education and entertainment. ... Lou Berger is celebrating his 17th year with Sesame Street and his ninth year as Head Writer. ... Sesame Street is an American educational childrens television series for preschoolers and is a pioneer of the contemporary educational television standard, combining both education and entertainment. ... Jeff Moss (June 19, 1942–September 24, 1998) helped to create the childrens television series Sesame Street. ... Sesame Street is an American educational childrens television series for preschoolers and is a pioneer of the contemporary educational television standard, combining both education and entertainment. ... Shonda Rhimes (born January 13, 1970 in Chicago, Illinois) is a screenwriter, director and producer. ... This article is about the television series. ... Harold Ramis (born November 21, 1944 in Chicago, Illinois) is an American actor, director, and writer. ... Second City Television, or SCTV, was a Canadian television sketch comedy show offshoot from the Toronto troupe of The Second City. ... Adam McKay is an Emmy-nominated American writer and film director. ... This article is about the American television series. ... Elizabeth Stamatina Tina Fey (born May 18, 1970) is an Emmy-winning American writer, comedian and actress. ... This article is about the American television series. ... This article is about the TV series. ... Seth Adam Meyers (born December 28, 1973 in Bedford, New Hampshire) is an American actor and comedian best known as a cast member of Saturday Night Live (SNL). ... This article is about the American television series. ... Pamela K. Long is an American actress and writer, most known for her stints writing the soap opera Guiding Light, from 1983 to 1986 and from 1987 to 1990. ... Claire Labine is an American soap opera writer. ... Ryans Hope was a soap opera which aired for fourteen years on ABC, from July 7, 1975 to January 13, 1989. ... David Chase (born David DeCesare—although some sources list his birth name as David Del Cesare—August 22, 1945) is an American screenwriter, director, and producer best known as the creator and head writer of the highly acclaimed HBO series The Sopranos. ... This article is about the television series. ... David S. Milch (March 23, 1945, Buffalo, New York) is an American television writer and producer. ... Steven Ronald Bochco (born December 16, 1943) is an American television producer and writer. ... NYPD Blue was an Emmy Award-winning hour long-running American television police drama set in New York City. ... Tom Fontana is an American writer, producer born on 12 September 1951 in Buffalo, New York, USA He is the producer for Oz, The Jury, and Homicide: Life on the Street. ... Oz is an American television drama series created by Tom Fontana, who also wrote or co-wrote every episode of the series. ... Cast of Paradise Falls Paradise Falls was a weekly soap opera shown nationally on the Showcase channel in Canada, starting in 2001. ... David Edward Kelley (born April 4, 1956) is a prolific multi-Emmy award winning American writer, executive producer, and creator of the well-known television series Picket Fences, Chicago Hope, The Practice, Ally McBeal, Boston Public, and Boston Legal. ... The Brotherhood of Poland, NH is a short lived drama series that aired on CBS. The show focuses on the families of three brothers in a small town, one the sheriff, one the mayor, and one out of work. ... Aaron Benjamin Sorkin (born June 9, 1961) is an American screenwriter, producer and playwright. ... Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip is an Emmy Award winner and Golden Globe Award nominated American television Comedy-drama series created and written by Aaron Sorkin. ... This article is about a TV show. ... This article is about the American television series. ... Lorraine Broderick is an American soap opera writer who got her start on All My Children as a protégée of Agnes Nixons. ... Sally Sussman Morina is an American soap opera writer and producer. ... Joss Hill Whedon (born Joseph Hill Whedon[3] on June 23, 1964 in New York) is an Academy Award-nominated American writer, director, executive producer, and creator of the well-known television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, and Firefly. ... For other uses, see Buffy the Vampire Slayer (disambiguation). ... Mirkin at Comic Con 2007. ... Bill Oakley (born in 1966) is an American televison writer, best known for his work on The Simpsons. ... This article is about The Simpsons writer Josh Weinstein. ... Mike Scully (born October 2, 1956 in West Springfield, Massachusetts) is an Emmy Award-winning American television writer best known for his work as show runner of the Fox series The Simpsons from 1997 - 2001 (Seasons 9-12). ...

Fictional head writers

Matthew Albie is a fictional character on the U.S. TV series Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, played by Matthew Perry. ... Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip is an Emmy Award winner and Golden Globe Award nominated American television Comedy-drama series created and written by Aaron Sorkin. ... Elizabeth Liz Lemon is a fictional character played by Tina Fey on the American television series 30 Rock. ... This article is about the TV series. ... The Dick Van Dyke Show was an American television situation comedy which aired on CBS from October 3, 1961 to September 7, 1966. ... The Dick Van Dyke Show is an American television situation comedy which initially aired on CBS from October 3, 1961 to June 1, 1966, created by Carl Reiner and starring Dick Van Dyke and Mary Tyler Moore. ...

Writing awards

There are several awards for which a head writer can be eligible for. They include:

The Daytime Emmy Awards are awards presented by the New York- based National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences and the Los Angeles-based Academy of Television Arts and Sciences in recognition of excellence in American daytime television programming. ... The Primetime Emmy Awards are awards presented by the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences in recognition of excellence in American primetime television programming. ... Annual awards given out by the Writers Guild of America for outstanding achievements in film, TV, or radio writing. ... The Gemini Awards are an annual awards ceremony in Canada. ... The Saturn Award is an award presented annually by the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films to honor the top works in science fiction, fantasy and horror in film, television and home video. ... The Golden Globe Award The Golden Globe Awards are American awards for motion pictures and television programs, given out each year during a formal dinner. ... The British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA), is a British organization that hosts annual awards shows for film, television, childrens film and television, and interactive media. ...

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