Molly Vogel is a talented and prolific L.A.-based writer, and Winner of Filmmatic's Comedy Screenplay Awards Season 7 for her adult animated comedy TV project "Time Pod". Some Q&A with this up and coming talent:
1) How long have you been writing?
I’ve been scribbling away at stories since I was six, when I penned a fanfiction sequel to Peter Pan, titled Hook’s Return. So, I’ve been writing basically all my life! Granted I can’t vouch for the quality of my writing until the last five years or so, when I really found my voice.
2) What screenwriting training have you received?
I studied Screenwriting and Film Studies at Loyola Marymount University for undergrad, and clearly I liked the experience enough that I went back for grad school, where I earned a Masters in Writing and Producing for Television.
3) How many hours a week do you write? Do you have a day job as well, and how does it influence your project selection and writing?
I feel like I never write enough! However, I’m a big fan of outlines, so I try to chip away at my newest outline everyday. I don’t necessarily crank out pages non-stop because I like to have a solid foundation first upon which to build. I also think research is just as important as actually writing the pages. In that sense, I do research for my projects constantly, multiple hours a week.
I have a day job– I currently work as an assistant to a talent agent at Innovative Artists, though it doesn’t really influence my project selection or writing. It’s a losing battle for my confidence in my projects if I try to pay attention to industry trends. The industry changes constantly, so I just focus on writing what I want to write.
4) What writing habits work for you? Do you write in short or long shifts, at scheduled times?
Outlines and research! I build up my outlines in short shifts, then hammer out pages by act in long shifts. My writing habits used to be dictated by my school schedule, but now I focus on my projects after work. I’m also a collaborative writer– hence why I’d prefer to write for TV, not film. It’s very helpful to bounce ideas off my friends and family, as our riffing can lead to great ideas or dialogue for the script.
5) What genres do you lean towards? Are most of your works TV projects?
It’s funny– I’m definitely a comedy writer, but I don’t actually consume that much comedic content. I think it’s because my humor is dark or weird, so I’m drawn to dark or weird content. I lean toward horror/thriller/mystery in what I consume, but I lean toward comedy in what I write. I also much prefer writing TV projects because I enjoy the structure. I know every act break needs a plot twist or a hook, and I don’t need to answer all the questions I’ve introduced by the end of the script.
6) We really loved "Time Pod", how would you describe the project to our readers?
My four-word pitch is “Horny Time-Traveling Podcast Hosts.” And if that hooks you– Time Pod is a half hour, adult animated comedy, following female disaster duo Babs and Mick, as they time travel throughout history to interview and/or bang historical hunks for their podcast, all while evading technocrat Time Cops. First stop – the Titanic!”
7) How did you ever come up with "far out" premise behind "Time Pod"?
I’ve always been obsessed with the sinking of the Titanic ever since I was a kid. The first chapter book I ever read was Magic Tree House’s Tonight on the Titanic. I absolutely love going to the various museums across the country, and I had the musical memorized by age 8! (Yes, there’s a musical. No, it has nothing to do with the movie.) In fact, I didn’t even know there was a movie until I was 13… and of course I fell in love with it. Somewhere along the line, I started listening to true crime podcasts too, like every other Basic White Chick in existence. I also love time travel, from Terminator to Doctor Who. Plus, I’m a person who finds humor in dark situations and likes to share weird or macabre facts with my unwilling friends. Then, one day in college, while taking a procedural pilot writing course, I realized I could combine all my weird interests and humor into one show. What if a lady historian from the future was really horny for random historical figures and time-traveled to interview/bang them for her podcast? They say to write what you know, and what historical event do I know better than the TITANIC! It blossomed from there into this weird, wild pilot, and I loved the premise so much because I love history! I have so many ideas for different episodes– from the JFK assasination, to the Great Emu War of 1932, to the Salem Witch Trials, to the Black Plague, to Lizzie Borden, and beyond!
8) What are you working on now? What do you plan on writing in the near future?
Right now I’m working on another rated-R animated comedy procedural– working title: “Diary of a Teenage Coroner.” It’s only in the outline stage right now, so all I’ll say is beware the splash zone (of blood)!
9) Where would you like to be writing-wise and career-wise in 4 years?
I would love to have sold a script and be writing for television. My ultimate goal is to be paid to write, and if I can sell an original pilot along the way, all the better!
10) Any advice for those about to write their first pilot?
No concept is original, so think of how you can bring your originality to the idea. I believe in the adage ‘write what you know’-- but you should always be expanding your knowledge. You never know what bit of a podcast/wikipedia article/TV show/documentary/etc could make it into your new script. Also, you should know what happens in episode two and beyond. If you can’t imagine what happens next, neither can your reader. You want to end the pilot on a hook that excites the audience to read more!
Congratulations once again to Molly Vogel, our Season 7 Comedy Winner. All contact and script requests for Molly will be forwarded to her attention.