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MENTORING MATTERS - Platform Jumping: Making The Leap From Games To Scripted TV

Posted By Matt Stokes, Monday, February 4, 2019

My route to the PGA has been different than most: I’ve been producing video games for the last 15 years. Games is an incredible industry, but like most producers, I’m interested in all kinds of ways to tell stories and create memorable projects.

When I applied for the PGA Mentoring Program, it was to find a route to combine my experience in producing with my skills as a writer. I wanted to get my feet wet in scripted television, specifically hour-long, action/thriller content like the CW superhero shows 24 and Alias. I love all that stuff and want to work on similar content one day. During my interview with the Mentoring Committee, I was asked who my dream mentor would be. I swung for the fences and asked for a showrunner who had created and worked on the kinds of shows I wanted to make someday. We were asked for specific names of potential mentors, and I gave a few I had researched—any one of which would have been wonderful to learn from. A few months later, the Committee notified me that I had been paired with my first choice: Marc Guggenheim, co-creator and former showrunner on Arrow. It was a great lesson in asking for what you want—you could actually get it.

Marc and I hit it off quickly at our first meeting, and he’s been an invaluable teacher and guide on how shows are put together and reach the air. I’ve already learned a lot about how shows are developed, the process for taking them out and how vital it is to work with the network in preparing a pilot. He’s also been honest about how tough the television business is; there is no standard path that everyone follows. As someone who went through video games to get into the PGA to then get a mentorship about writing/producing television, I’m not afraid of building my own path.

In addition to multiple one-on-one meetings with Marc, I also asked him about joining a writers’ group. “Sure, let’s build you one!” he replied, and so we did. We now have a small group of writer/producers eagerly working on their own projects.

Not only have I gained a teacher and friend, I’ve also found a group of like-minded writer/producers to bounce ideas off and grow with. That’s the power of PGA’s Mentoring Program and the Guild as a whole: bringing producers and creators from across different media together, and giving us the opportunity to learn from each other and build incredible new things together.

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