Ellen's Tips
  • On Writing
  • As a writer your job is to make choices and WRITE THEM DOWN!

    Until you write them down you’re thinking, not writing. You become a writer when you make the trip from your head to the page. It’s a short trip, but a scary one.

    You can’t try to make the trip, you leap! When you leap, you are writing!

    Wasn’t that fun? Now you can look back and read it. Because the truth about writing is that it’s usually not as bad as you feared, but it also almost always needs a rewrite. But don’t rewrite while you’re leaping – you’ll fall.

  • Red Flag
  • QUIRKY - Have you described a character(s) as "quirky"? Okay, now you need to go back, and go on. Quirky is shorthand; a placeholder. What is it that makes your character "quirky?" How is she quirky? What does she do that would make someone think she’s quirky? Shorthand is okay for someone else to evaluate your character, but your job as the writer is to create the "quirkiness." To do that, you define it. That’s creating a character. And that, my dear sweet creative soul, is you being a writer.

  • Quote
  • "...when you’re writing a television series. You have to write when you’re not writing well. I wrote 88 episodes of The West Wing. One of them is going to be your 88th best. And I’m not good enough for my 88th best to be very good.” Aaron Sorkin

  • What's Up in the Kitchen
  • This month’s project: Cheesecake

    I make a pumpkin cheesecake every Thanksgiving (which I have to say, is pretty great) and a friend asked if I’d make it for the dessert table at his wedding – flattery will get you everywhere. So I said “For your wedding?! Sure, I’d be honored.” If you’d like to download the whole story and the recipe, click here.

    Click here to buy the premiere issue of In Frame magazine,
    with Ellen's article, "Getting Staffed on a Show"!

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    Ellen Sandler, leading TV writing expert and career coach, is the ideal consultant for the writer who wants to break in to the entertainment industry and chart a long, successful career in television. Emmy-nominated Co-Executive Producer of Everybody Loves Raymond and veteran writer/producer of hit television shows, she offers insight and knowledge as well as creative support and guidance for all your writing projects.

    TV Pilot Development Consultation

    Agents and television execs now want to see original pilot scripts in addition to spec scripts for existing series. Ellen works with you to develop your concept, characters and pilot story to meet the demands of network standards.

    "I'm really surprised that more writers don't use a coach to help them perfect their craft. Star athletes like Kobe Bryant use personal coaches all the time to be the best at their game. Ellen's expertise as a writing coach provided me with thorough and insightful feedback on a recent TV Pilot. She's involved throughout the process - guiding and coaching all the way. Ellen is invaluable!"

    Chandus Jackson - screenwriter

    Spec Script of On-Air Show Development

    The most cost effective of Ellen's services! The hardest part of any writing project is getting the story to work; if it doesn't, no amount of brilliant dialogue will get your reader past page 10. Ellen is an expert on story structure and can get your story into shape - usually in a single session.

    Career Strategy

    Ellen develops a custom-tailored approach for you to market yourself and your work to literary agents and television staffing executives.

    "Ellen is a brilliant teacher. Every time I meet with her, I'm amazed by her ability to pinpoint what I need to work on to take my pilot to the next level. Her insights and feedback make me excited to get back to work. Honestly, it's hard for me to contain my enthusiasm for her work into just a few sentences - but if you take her workshop or consult with her, you'll know exactly what I mean!"

    Wendy Weiner, currently writing a TV movie for ABC Family

    Ellen with Carl Reiner

    Photo by Elaine Siegel
    February 2012 - Ellen, thrilled to appear on a panel with her hero, the legendary Carl Reiner

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    Fran Drescher starred in
    Ellen's play, Jewish Roots

    Fran Drescher

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    Ellen's got a few things to say, and
    you can read them on these sites:

    Ellen is an Expert on
    "Ask the Expert" at Storylink.com
    Click here to read her article - Getting Staffed on a TV Show

    Ellen's article on mediabistro.com
    What Not To Do in the TV Writer's Room