From the UI to Hollywood: TV club writes their own script

The new TV Writing Club provides a space for students to work on their writing and workshop their scripts among like-minded students.

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From the UI to Hollywood: TV club writes their own script

The University of Iowa TV Writing Club I seen working on a set of spec scripts in the Iowa Memorial Union on Sunday, September 15th, 2019.The TV Writing Club is a new organization bringing students together who are interested in screenwriting.

The University of Iowa TV Writing Club I seen working on a set of spec scripts in the Iowa Memorial Union on Sunday, September 15th, 2019.The TV Writing Club is a new organization bringing students together who are interested in screenwriting.

Tate Hildyard

The University of Iowa TV Writing Club I seen working on a set of spec scripts in the Iowa Memorial Union on Sunday, September 15th, 2019.The TV Writing Club is a new organization bringing students together who are interested in screenwriting.

Tate Hildyard

Tate Hildyard

The University of Iowa TV Writing Club I seen working on a set of spec scripts in the Iowa Memorial Union on Sunday, September 15th, 2019.The TV Writing Club is a new organization bringing students together who are interested in screenwriting.

Rylee Wilson, News Reporter

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Some students at the Writing University are looking to bring their talents to the small screen.

With few options at the University of Iowa to explore TV writing in the classroom, a group of students came together to form the TV Writing Club. The group aims to help members find fellow TV writing enthusiasts and provides them with a space to improve their writing. 

The group meets for more than an hour-and-a-half on Sundays, taking up conference tables in the IMU. Students work on writing exercises and workshop scripts together. 

The club’s president Brett Shaw said his dream job is writing for a comedy show. He saw a need for more opportunities for students interested in TV writing to work on their craft after taking a screenwriting class. 

“It was this really cool, fun class — it was the only TV writing class there was at the university at the time, and now there isn’t even that,” he said. “There was obviously a need for more experiences for people like me and tons of other people who have those goals and interests for writing for TV.” 

Although the UI currently has no screenwriting major, the UI will propose the creation of a screenwriting-degree program to the state Board of Regents Academic and Student Affairs Committee on Thursday. 

Shaw said the club has around 18 members, although attendance can vary at each meeting. 

The TV Writing Club has groups for students interested in different genres of TV writing, including sitcoms, sketch comedy, and drama, Shaw said. He added that he hopes to accommodate a variety of interests in the club.  

RELATED: ‘The Sopranos’ producers plan to teach screenwriting course at the UI

“I don’t know everything; I’ve only taken one class,” Shaw said. “I am acting as a facilitator to get everyone together, and then everyone can teach each other from there.” 

While writing comedic and dramatic scripts requires some of the same skills and formatting, Shaw said the focus when writing either type of script differs. 

“I just think it’s [about] working with different voices when it comes to the actual writing. When you’re doing comedy or drama, some people will be more tuned into the way a joke comes off, but in drama you’re working a lot with lead character and conflict,” Shaw said. 

First-year student Haley Williams said she came to the UI to pursue her goal of becoming a TV writer. She’s interested in writing comedies such as BoJack Horseman and It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.  She said the club provides a space for students to concentrate on their writing. 

“It’s awesome to have people to bounce your ideas off of that are also knowledgeable and care about TV,” she said. “We’re doing a lot of workshop activities, which helps with writing in general. The hardest part is just sitting down to actually write.” 

First-year student Axel Ohrvall is interested in writing dramatic scripts. While he isn’t sure if he wants to write for TV after college, he said he enjoys the creative outlet that the club provides. 

“I’m already enjoying the ideas of everyone else. I enjoy their personalities. They really bring their ideas to life, and I’m just trying to live up to that,” Ohrvall said. “I’m trying to create something that’s not only original, but impactful and meaningful.”

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