Imagine having never gone to film school and getting a job proofreading scripts in a second language.
Raul Martin Romero takes us into the nuts and bolts of his job, writing for television, and how he worked his way into a writer’s room.
Listen to Raul Martin Romero share with Tanya how he got from There to Here.
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Tanya Musgrave (00:00):
Welcome to There to Here, an educational podcast where industry professionals talk nuts and bolts on how they got from there to here. On today's show, Raul Martin Romero takes us inside what it means to be a script coordinator on a series and his experience being a showrunner's assistant. As this is a new podcast, we're really wanting feedback. So go to media.colabinc.org, fill out the feedback survey and you'll be entered to win a $25 Amazon gift card. From CoLab Inc. I'm Tanya Musgrave. And today, I have Raul Martin Romero, a script coordinator on the star series Vida, and a new untitled Netflix mini series by Ava DuVernay. Welcome to the show.
Raul Martin Romero (00:34):
Thank you so much, Tanya. I'm very excited to be here.
Tanya Musgrave (00:37):
Yeah. I'm excited to have you here because I have never had a script coordinator on the show, and I've only interviewed one writer so far and it was already a very educational experience for me because I'm from the production side, not really from the writing side. So, I'm going to be peppering you with a lot of different questions today.
Raul Martin Romero (00:55):
This is perfect because a script coordinator is basically the union between writers and production. They make sure that what the writers come up with in the room happens in production. So, I'm going to be very excited about this today.
Tanya Musgrave (01:13):
Well, actually, let's start with that. Because I'm familiar with the script supervisors that are on set like on the production side, but what is your job as a script coordinator like?
Raul Martin Romero (01:25):
So, a script coordinator is a person who is in the room with the writers when the writers are coming up with storylines or plotting and creating characters, and then writing the episodes. We basically make sure that the scripts look and sound just like the writers are intended to make it happen when they write. But also the network usually has a set of rules that they want to follow. So, we make sure that that looks just the way they want to.
Raul Martin Romero (01:53):
For example, a network show is going to look very different than a cable show. And it's basically because the way you write it, it's totally different. Every show is different. They have their own set of rules. And it's usually because the writers or the showrunner wants that to happen that way. And I can be very specific such as for example, a lot of people use two dashes and some other showrunners like just one. Some other showrunners hate dashes and they use just ellipsis or a period.
Raul Martin Romero (02:24):
So, it can be as specific as that. Yeah. But this has a whole set of formatting rules that you have to follow.
Tanya Musgrave (02:30):
For each type of show?
Raul Martin Romero (02:33):
Yeah. Well, not type of show, but it depends on the voice of the writer or the tone of the show.
Tanya Musgrave (02:42):
Raul Martin Romero (02:44):
Right. So, formatting will be one thing. Another thing that we do is proofreading, which gave me major anxiety because English is not my first language.
Tanya Musgrave (02:54):
I do not know how you do it. Honestly, I would die if I had to proofread in Spanish.
Raul Martin Romero (03:01):
Well, I major in English.
Tanya Musgrave (03:02):
Oh, that's fantastic.
Raul Martin Romero (03:04):
So, I write better than I speak, I think. So, I think I am better when I read and write. So, what I do is a very old school way of doing proofreading for script coordinating which is, I print my scripts. I go line by line with this ruler. What you do is start from left to right and then from right to left. When you read backwards, you focus on how the word is written, know what the meaning of the line is, and that way you focus on how the word is written versus what it means because if you just read the words, yeah, you know what it means. Your eyes are going to see the word "house" but you don't see that they are missing the E.
Tanya Musgrave (03:44):
That is interesting.
Raul Martin Romero (03:48):
It takes me the average for a half hour, it's three hours. So, proofing goes through different passes. You do a pass for typos. You do a pass for formatting. Like for example, the dashes thing that I told you a little, some shows don't use, for example, all caps for words for emphasis. They underline the word for emphasis. So, you have to make sure that the writer who wrote that piece in particular, because of him or her coming from another show where they used to do it the opposite way before, you have to make sure that they are following those rules. And everybody is ... I mean, I have to remove the all caps and underline if that's what the show or the showrunner wants.
Raul Martin Romero (04:28):
So, you do one pass for typo, another pass for formatting rules. And there's a very important task that you would have to do, which is for continuity, which basically means if for some reason the day before shooting they decided to omit a scene, you have to make sure that that scene ... If they mentioned whatever number of characters, if you remove that scene, you have to make sure those characters are not mentioned. Or something that happens in that scene, it's not mentioned somewhere else in the script because then it wouldn't make any sense.
Raul Martin Romero (05:00):
That will be a huge mistake if they are filming whatever scene tomorrow on set and the actors learn the lines and their production team, and the DP and everybody is working with that script. So they film tomorrow and they mentioned something that was erased on the scene last week. That will be terrible. So that's why you do several passes, exactly. The processes are very specific for different things. So I like to do one for just typos, one for tone and regular formatting and another one for continuity.
Raul Martin Romero (05:32):
Sometimes we also are in charge ... It depends on the network, but sometimes we're in charge of the clearance reports for legal. So for example, my experience with stars when I was on Vida, we would send the drafts to the network and then the network has a specific team of lawyers, legal department, and they would send me a report with words that cannot be said.
Raul Martin Romero (05:55):
For example, we cannot say titles of other things. We cannot say names that are registered. Something that is fascinating ... If you create a character who is a lawyer who lives downtown Los Angeles and it's whatever number of characteristics for that character, if that person exists, they have to make sure that there's no one who's a lawyer with that name because that person can sue the network and the show saying that it's based on that person, which I think is fascinating.
Tanya Musgrave (06:24):
Wow. That is fascinating. I had no idea that that was even a thing.
Raul Martin Romero (06:28):
I have so much fun, so much fun with the clearance report because you basically receive these reports saying that the number of things that you cannot mention on the script, and usually the showrunner is going to ask you to come up with alternative names. So, a lot of times our job is substituting names, coming up with names of establishments, like this restaurant cannot be called like that. So if you're filming a scene where the character walks in a street, you're going to have all the establishments, all those names of restaurants and stores and all that is going to change. And it's got to be fictitious because you cannot use those real names.
Tanya Musgrave (07:02):
So, you get to flex some creativity.
Raul Martin Romero (07:05):
Exactly. So I like to think that I'm being a writer because in a sense, in a way, I am-
Tanya Musgrave (07:11):
You are [crosstalk 00:07:11]. You're contributing.
Raul Martin Romero (07:16):
For the Netflix show, COVID happened while we were in the room. The writers were writing their episodes already, so their scenes were broken. The episodes were broken. We knew what the plot lines were going to be. We knew what the storylines were going to be for the episode for the season. The writers knew the episodes that they were writing, and then COVID happens. The writers go home, they are writing on their episodes. So there's a series of drafts that they've sent me. I proofed them. Showrunners read it and then there are another number of drafts.
Raul Martin Romero (07:47):
So we didn't go into production. So, there were a lot of things that I had to do for Vida stars that they're going to have to look for Netflix. Yes, because production stopped because of COVID, which that has also shaped the way I have to do my job, kind of, [crosstalk 00:08:05] because I'm very personal. Those little moments when you see a writer in the hallway and you can stop him and ask him or her and ask, "Hey, this word here is repeated. Would you like to change it or you're intentional?"
Raul Martin Romero (08:15):
Having that proximity with somebody to ask us a simple question, it's super easy and nice. And when you're working from home, you don't have that proximity. So that has been one of the things that have changed for my work is that. Also, there's no such a thing as a schedule, really, because sometimes the writer can spend a whole day writing and then they send it to you at 7:00 p.m. and they made for you at that night or early in the morning. So that's when your job also starts because you would have to start the proofing, all the passes and then you format it, and then you have to be careful with how the title page has to go because everything has a format. Everything has a way of going.
Raul Martin Romero (08:53):
Something else that we do is distro. There's a whole list of people who have to receive the scripts and that is even before production. So for example, there's different drafts that the script goes through. For example, the first part will be a writer's draft, which is very in-house. It stays in the room pretty much. Then that moves to producer's draft. Producers receive this draft and they have notes. If the writers have to address the notes, they work on that and then they move to a network draft. Network executives would read the draft, give notes and then go back to the writers. The writers work on those notes. And then finally you get to production.
Raul Martin Romero (09:33):
And even when you're in production, sometimes because of weather, things that they were planning on filming tomorrow, tomorrow is a huge storm and it's all exterior. So those scenes, either they have to rework them or change them, whatever. So even when you are working on the production draft, there has to be revisions, and that goes by colors. Sometimes you might have a script that looks like this.
Raul Martin Romero (09:55):
So instead of changing a whole episode of 60 minutes, a one-hour drama, for example, I've had revision that happens only in three scenes instead of changing the whole script and get people crazy trying to find out where the revisions are and where the scenes that have changed are, you just change the color of those scenes. So it will be called blue revision and then the date. And then you will have somebody from production printing those colors, and you just have to put it in between. You just substitute the pages that were obsolete with the new pages. Script coordinators are in charge of those revisions too.
Raul Martin Romero (10:33):
That's an order of colors. So you know exactly which one do you have to move to. You start with whites. White is production, so whenever you start working on something and they're going to give you probably the white production, which is a script like this. It's just white. And then if there's something that has to be changed in scene five, you would move color and that is blue. So someone in production, after I have worked on whatever changes the showrunner of the writers wants to do, someone in production would print all those two scenes in a paper, in a colored paper blue, which is like a baby blue. It's very specific actually.
Raul Martin Romero (11:12):
So they would leave that in everybody's desks in the morning, and then that person has to go to the script, go to page five, which obviously that's an email. And you will see the number of the page on the blue papers. So you go to page five, get rid of that paper and add the blue one. So that way, I know exactly that that has changed. And since it's blue already, then if there's a new change coming in three days, it's not going to be blue. It's going to be the next one, which is pink.
Raul Martin Romero (11:43):
And then yellow, and then green, there's golden brown. There's so many different color options for this.
Tanya Musgrave (11:48):
Raul Martin Romero (11:51):
I don't know if ... Does that make sense?
Tanya Musgrave (11:52):
Raul Martin Romero (11:53):
You need to kind of like leave it for two weeks and then you're like, "Oh, okay. So that's what happens." So, the production office is so important and having a nice production office on the set is so great because it can be super easy, but it can be a nightmare because if you have somebody who's not making those copies but you're putting your job and you're putting out the new revisions the night before, but at the following day, there's nothing on the tables, it's a mess.
Raul Martin Romero (12:24):
So, I mean, this is my second show. So I haven't seen production office as being the worst. I have been super lucky to work with amazing people all the time.
Tanya Musgrave (12:37):
I heard that you had quite an interesting journey into this production office or into the writer's room.
Raul Martin Romero (12:45):
I think it's super basic. There are so many different paths to get to your goals in the industry. Everybody has different paths and everybody has different ways to get in from A to B. The more people you talk to, the more stories you're going to hear about how people make it. I, for some reason, the assistant path came my way and it's what is working for me right now.
Raul Martin Romero (13:12):
I started very late. Like I started being a PA when I was, I'm going to say 36 or 37 years old. So, everybody has a different life experience. I could never afford going to film school because it was very expensive. I didn't want to put my parents through that. So I said I'm going to do something that I can afford myself. So I decided to do English studies. That's why I majored in English.
Raul Martin Romero (13:42):
That is super doable. I can pay myself having an okay job, a part time job, blah, blah. And then I will start working as whatever. And then whenever I can afford film school, I will ... So I basically wanted to do it my way without having to depend on anybody. And that's what I did. And I worked as a teacher. I worked in summer camps. I worked as a tutor and then I was saving money to help friends in the weekends with short films and theater here and things there.
Raul Martin Romero (14:17):
So I have been writing all my life, but I'm currently still not getting paid for it, which is what happens when you're a writer or an artist that sometimes you just depend on that moment where somebody reads your script and it's like, or being ready I think it's so important. And this is something that I want to tell everybody that is listening right now. It's so important that you're ready because opportunities are there, but you need to ...
Raul Martin Romero (14:41):
And I have been there, like the reason why I am where I am right now as a script coordinator is because I was ready. First, I had samples. I have been writing. I have things ready for people to read if they ask me. I was nice, which is surprising ... I'm not saying, "Oh, my God, I'm nice." I'm not just bragging. Being nice is what you're supposed to be. But this is such a weird industry that I found people telling me, "Oh, my god, you're so nice." And I was like, "Wait, who have you worked with?"
Raul Martin Romero (15:18):
This is what you're expected to be. But there can be some assholes in this industry. So when you are naturally nice and you do things because you want to improve yourself every day and go a little extra, having things organized, putting ... There's a room here that is a mess full of boxes on the paper room and the copy room. I made sure that that room was organized every day. I was sure that the writers were attended when I was a writer's PA.
Raul Martin Romero (15:47):
So that way, when there was an opportunity for Tanya Saracho who's the showrunner on Vida to have an assistant, I had the writer's pitching me because they like the right ... So if I go to work and I am doing the bare minimum waiting for the time to clock so I can go home, those writers would have never pitched to me, Tanya, to be the assistant.
Raul Martin Romero (16:13):
So work on those things, work on those relationships because that is what it's going to make you move up. So let me tell you, if you want to, I can tell you how I entered being a writer's PA, because it's also very competitive in Los Angeles right now because every writer wants to start as a writer's PA but it's very complicated to find. It's not impossible, but it's very complicated.
Raul Martin Romero (16:35):
I was taking one of the many screenwriting workshops all over the city, which basically a lot of them work the same. You work on a project and every week you have to work on something for that project. The first week is maybe log line and then plan what the show is going to be about. The second week is character development. The third week is world, the tone and themes.
Raul Martin Romero (17:01):
So, every week of the workshop, you work on different aspects on your script, right? And this workshop had a series of working writers coming every week to talk to us as a lecture, if I may, and then you would have to do a little pitching in front of them on your show. So I have a writer coming as a guest and I was working on this project that's about drag queens and an old cabaret club, blah, blah.
Raul Martin Romero (17:29):
And I did my pitch and that week was tone and, I'm going to say, theme or voice or something like that. And this writer came to me after and say, "Oh my god, that was insane. That was so good." And I was like, "Wait, what? You are telling me this right now, this is insane." So, he was giving me all these compliments and I was like, "Listen, I know I'm not supposed to do this, but I'm going to give you my card," because it's also kind of like, you don't want people to give you cards and say, "Hey, hire me or make it happen for me." No, that is not the way it should be.
Raul Martin Romero (18:06):
So, I knew it wasn't okay, but I still did it. And I was like, "This is my card. If you ever need anything, just count on me." And then two or three weeks later, he called me and he said, "Hey, if you want to do this much work for this little money, I can use you as an assistant doing ..." So, he would have me once a week doing script analysis, helping him with slug lines, transcribing stuff, like all very basic little things. Like he would memo me minimal amounts.
Raul Martin Romero (18:41):
But that, what happened with that is that I established a relationship with him that led to him getting staffed. He got staffed on Vida because he was working on other shows before, but he got staffed on Vida for the first season. And then he heard of a position as a writer's PA and he pitched me. So that's how I got it.
Raul Martin Romero (19:02):
So in a way, it depends on who you know, yes. But also it's not just your friends. I am not friends with this writer. I was just doing a good job for him. So he saw that and he was like, "Okay." So, that's how I got as a writer's PA.
Raul Martin Romero (19:20):
Writer's PA is basically making sure that the writers have whatever they need, which is food, drinks, stocking everything they need. And then having everything a little clean. And then if they are cool, which in my case they were the coolest, they will tell you things like, "Hey, Raul, you're not doing anything. Do you want to come to the room?" And I'll be like ...
Raul Martin Romero (19:38):
So I will be just sitting there and listening to them and being like, "This is how the magic happens." So they would let me sit down, which is when that happens is incredible. You'll have to take all the advantages that you can which is learn, see the dynamics of the room, see when they talk and how they talk. There's a hierarchy-
Tanya Musgrave (19:58):
Yeah, I've heard that there's like a hierarchy and they're like politics and stuff like there's a ... There's a what, sorry?
Raul Martin Romero (20:05):
Oh, yeah. Even physically they always sit in the same place.
Tanya Musgrave (20:07):
Raul Martin Romero (20:09):
Yeah. That is the thing. They sit always in the same seat and you don't sit in a place, on a chair that is somebody else's chair. So you have to be mindful of that.
Tanya Musgrave (20:18):
So is it like hierarchy even as like, all right, showrunner, and then-
Raul Martin Romero (20:23):
It depends on the show. Sometimes you cannot ... When you're support staff, support staff is the writer's PA, the writer's assistant, the script coordinator. When you're support staff, it depends on the show and the showrunner. And my experience has been very different than a lot of support staff member that I know that have been struggling for years.
Raul Martin Romero (20:47):
I was lucky to work for rooms where I could speak. You just have to be smart to know that if you open your mouth, you better have something nice or good to say. Otherwise, the next thing is, "Hey, Raul, don't open your mouth."
Raul Martin Romero (21:02):
So if you are lucky and they let you collaborate, pitch, help with a joke, prove that you can. If not learn, be quiet, learn. And then you speak whenever you think you're going to say something nicer than silence. Isn't that like a thing, like a proverb or something? But it's totally true.
Raul Martin Romero (21:25):
You know about the actual hierarchy of writers, these writers that are higher level, which is writers that have been staffed for years and they are more experienced. Their title is called usually executive producer or CoEP which is co-executive producer, which is the person right underneath the showrunner. Then there's mid-level writers, which are people that have been staffed in a number of shows. And their title on credits, if you read story editor, that is the mid-level.
Raul Martin Romero (22:00):
Sometimes, a producer too ... Producer can be a mid-level. So sometimes when you read producer and the name, it's not an actual producer on set.
Tanya Musgrave (22:10):
Yeah, so that's what I'm familiar with.
Raul Martin Romero (22:12):
Right. The title is level producer, which is a middle higher level. Higher level will be a co-executive producer, mid-level will be a story producer or producer. And then if it's your first year or second year as a writer, which probably entitles that you might not even have an episode for yourself. You just stay in the room to pitch ideas or to pitch jokes or to do ... Still you're a writer but it's your first year, for example, you will be staff writer.
Raul Martin Romero (22:44):
So if you go to the credits of a show, pay attention to staff writer. That means that it's a beginner level. Maybe one show, two shows, three shows of experience. And then if you see story editor and producer, it's probably the mid-level. And then when you see producer or co-executive producer, that is probably a higher level writer.
Raul Martin Romero (23:09):
So those are the writers, which usually is ... The first thing you see after the casting is usually the writers. And then the actual producers, and the executive producers, and the people that are actually in the offices with the phones, those are the actual set producers [crosstalk 00:23:25]. So that is the hierarchy.
Raul Martin Romero (23:28):
But usually, Tanya, it's not that you are like, "Okay, I am going to keep my mouth closed because I am not a higher-level writer." Nobody pays attention to that really. Sometimes the showrunners want to have a mix of everything, all levels together, because they think that they're going to be providing amazing life experiences to the room.
Raul Martin Romero (23:52):
But I also know, and I cannot name the show, but I know for a fact of a couple of shows where the showrunners just want staff levels, very young people because they are cool and they bring up freshness to the room that they provide these ideas all the time. And then the writer, the actual writers, the showrunner, make the episode happens.
Raul Martin Romero (24:12):
So it depends, I know of shows that want like a mix of all levels. I know a lot of shows that prefer just higher levels and maybe half a couple of lower levels just because, and that's the deal with the writers.
Tanya Musgrave (24:28):
Man, I feel like you should just be teaching. You should just be teaching writers. This is fantastic.
Raul Martin Romero (24:34):
No, what I want to do is be one of them.
Tanya Musgrave (24:38):
Well until then, you can do podcasts then.
Raul Martin Romero (24:40):
Tanya Musgrave (24:42):
We'll take you on our podcast. Well, so I heard that you were also a showrunner's assistant. So what is that like?
Raul Martin Romero (24:50):
All my experience on my first show that was Vida was always very kind of like, "Yeah, this is going to be just a two-week thing, just to cover for somebody else." And it was never two weeks. They would always extend and they would always give me more things and more responsibilities. So, I will be forever thankful for this, and for this show. And I will come back ... I will get back to this in a second.
Raul Martin Romero (25:17):
But I will tell you, there was a ... They needed an assistant for Tanya. Tanya wanted something very particular for the job, obviously, because that's why she is the showrunner. And so they told me, "Okay, we'll find that," because she wanted people that were more in the production side instead of the writer side. People who would know of more and then ... I don't know. There's different things that people would request for different jobs.
Raul Martin Romero (25:42):
So they told me there was going to be something temporary. And I started, and then our personalities clicked, and now in two years passed and then I did the whole second season as her assistant. When we were not in production, she would hire me to be her assistant even when we're not finished, when we're not filming.
Tanya Musgrave (26:04):
Some about personalities that click.
Raul Martin Romero (26:05):
It's about personalities, absolutely. And then she decided to bump me to a script coordinator because she knew that what I really want to do is writing. So, she was kind enough to give me this screen coordinating position, which is great because this show has given me so many cool things and opportunities. So, I'll be forever grateful.
Raul Martin Romero (26:27):
Sometimes depending on the projects too, you do more percentage of actual writer or production job versus personal. And at some point in the year, that thing can flip. So like when I went to UCLA to do this screenwriting program and stuff, there you learn about formatting and things about the industry even though you always have to have inside the urge to be a writer and the ideas.
Raul Martin Romero (26:58):
And there's a lot of different types of writer. I'm a story guy. I like to create storylines and plots and characters. And there's some writers that like exclusively jokes. Like comedians, for example, stand-up comedians are working in a lot of rooms because they are good with just coming up with jokes. And they might not be amazing at creating a whole story of what happens in an episode, but they know very good help with the jokes.
Raul Martin Romero (27:21):
So there's different types of writers, right? I knew about the craft of screenwriting for my own learning, UCLA, personal experience, blah, blah, blah. And all writers that are listening right now know that. But when I was an assistant for a showrunner is when I learned enough about TV. That for me was like a master's on TV because all the departments needed to filter through me to get to the showrunner.
Raul Martin Romero (27:46):
So there was a moment, there was a moment that I knew exactly when to approach the showrunner with whatever topics. And I would say, "Hey, costumes, if you give me a board where she sees all the costumes for the episode and she can just circle or point, you're going to get it done in 30 seconds versus if you want to put a whole meeting of an hour explaining the dresses that you want to show." So that-
Tanya Musgrave (28:11):
You're the liaison. Yeah, seriously, you're the translator.
Raul Martin Romero (28:20):
A lot of the times, it's what it is. And that's why I had so much fun because I would ... None a single day look like the day before. It was always something different, it's truly amazing.
Tanya Musgrave (28:30):
Wow. I can see how that would be a master's in the whole entire thing, because filming for television seems like it's just a completely different world than narrative features. I mean, like I had no idea that outfits would be coming to them. You know what I mean? That seems just like the director's type of thing, or the vision is completely different.
Raul Martin Romero (28:52):
That is a very nice way of putting things. That is true. And on feature, the director figure for a TV show is probably the showrunner. Even though they have to check on executives of the network, producers, it's basically the vision of the showrunner. But it makes sense. That's why there's a director per episode, sometimes two. If you film in blocks, you have the same director directing two episodes. That's why you have different directors and you need the figure of somebody telling you what vision this is. Otherwise, the show will be a mess because you have ...
Raul Martin Romero (29:28):
A director cannot commit for a whole season. Sometimes it does, and it's perfectly good. But if you're going to have different directors filming the whole season, you need somebody that has a vision for the whole thing to look cohesive. So that's why the showrunner is there.
Tanya Musgrave (29:43):
Okay. So I've got a question then. So you are on some pretty high level shows, are you in the union? Are you in the Writers Guild?
Raul Martin Romero (29:54):
No, I don't have credits writing. So there's a couple of requirements that you need to have to be in the Writers Guild based on number of hours writing for an actual union show. So I don't have the hours yet. I am on my union. The script coordinators have a union which is coordinators union. So we are coordinators with art, script supervisors, script coordinators, art coordinators, and I'm going to say admin coordinator, everything that is like a coordinator level. We have our own union.
Tanya Musgrave (30:28):
Okay. What is that called again?
Raul Martin Romero (30:30):
Yeah, it's Local 871.
Tanya Musgrave (30:33):
This COVID crisis has kind of thrown everybody into the blender, essentially. So, I mean how are you doing? Are you surviving? Are you all right?
Raul Martin Romero (30:44):
I was lucky to be working throughout when it started, when the lockdown happened and the stay-at-home order happened. We were working from home for this Netflix show. So I have been getting paid up to last Friday, which is the day that we wrapped. So now I sign up for unemployment, but I heard from friends in the industry that it's taking forever to hit because there's so many people applying. So I don't know when that is going to come through. So I'm going to use my savings and I hope that we can survive that way.
Raul Martin Romero (31:21):
But yeah, I'm available. The union knows that I'm available. So if something happens work-wise, or in fact, there's less rooms happening right now for obvious reasons. But there are some, but I also understand that the position of script coordinator in a room right now can be difficult because there's a lot of times that you are hired once the episode is written.
Raul Martin Romero (31:49):
Sometimes you are actually lucky to start from the very beginning, which I think is amazing, because that way you don't have to catch up with story, with different personalities in the room, with what characters are these. So I love when I get to start from the very beginning in the room. But it's true that your workflow at the very beginning is very minimal.
Raul Martin Romero (32:08):
So I understand people hiring script coordinators later on. So, this is how people getting used on rooms, getting used to work remotely, it's so new too. I don't really know what's going to happen with script coordinators. It can be a real challenge.
Tanya Musgrave (32:24):
Yeah. It's going to be a very interesting scene coming back.
Raul Martin Romero (32:27):
Very interesting to see how we're slowly getting back to reopening. But there's a lot of conversations. I'm hearing people from the studios already with strategies and plans to reopen. So that means that production will slowly start coming through, so that means that rooms start writing again. There are some people writing right now. I know people that are actually being hired as writers as of right now. So that is cool.
Tanya Musgrave (32:48):
So what does that going to look like then coming back? How different is that going to look?
Raul Martin Romero (32:53):
You know what, for writers, I think it's going to be very weird and different because you're in an actual room sitting with somebody so close that remote option might be actually an option, which I felt like for the same reasons I told you earlier that I am very personal. I like to go to work. I like to go somewhere and then come home.
Raul Martin Romero (33:16):
And then that way I can differentiate my two worlds. I am not complaining at all, but I'm saying that if I could choose, I would prefer to have actual writers' rooms instead of working remotely because I lack that proximity.
Raul Martin Romero (33:30):
Now, how is that going to look for actual writers? I think production is going to be more affected because writers can be working remotely. And meetings can happen remotely and online. Maybe rooms are going to be bigger now because they have to have more space. I have no idea how they are planning on doing it just because I see the writing part of it being remotely, which I hate as I've told you.
Tanya Musgrave (33:52):
Yeah. We've covered a lot of how a script coordinator works and how you got there. So what questions should I have asked you?
Raul Martin Romero (34:01):
I think that it will be interesting for listeners to understand that a writer, it's always a ... You don't need permission to write. So you always have to be writing. You are assumed to be always, always writing, that you're ready for whenever you have to have that first encounter with a producer or a manager or somebody who wants to actually meet you.
Raul Martin Romero (34:24):
Finding a manager could have been a whole new question because it's another adventure, but again, it's more of the same. It is keep writing and keep networking and keep being aware of what you're doing, so you can eventually meet somebody that wants to meet you.
Raul Martin Romero (34:42):
But anyway, my strategy right now is being alert of what the studios are, and what people are buying, so that way I have my samples ready. And if for some reason my manager and I can sell something, great. If not, I will just keep writing until it comes some other way.
Raul Martin Romero (35:02):
I think I'm going to work on a feature idea that I have, which is not really the tone that I always have. I am a huge half-hour dramedy guy. I like that type of tone. So I'm doing a feature that has nothing to do with that, it's more thriller. That, and a very nice question that they always ask you in generals and in meetings as a writer is, "What are you watching now?" Because that says a lot about what you write.
Tanya Musgrave (35:32):
What are you watching?
Raul Martin Romero (35:32):
So I'm going to ask you ... No, me first. What are you watching?
Tanya Musgrave (35:41):
No ... You know, I will be perfectly honest, I've been trying to take a break. I love watching. I love watching shows where you can see a little bit of both sides, where like, for instance, Parenthood and This Is Us. And there's a lot of empathy on all sides.
Raul Martin Romero (36:02):
Tanya Musgrave (36:03):
I like British shows, so I like-
Raul Martin Romero (36:06):
Oh, my god. Have you watched Normal People?
Tanya Musgrave (36:10):
Raul Martin Romero (36:11):
Tanya Musgrave (36:11):
Raul Martin Romero (36:15):
It's so good. It's on Hulu right now. It's so good. It's one of those shows that is very simple with a good sense of, like I want to write that way. It's the good sense of the word simple, rounded story, nothing super crazy, and high concept. It's very real life. But, yeah, Normal People, I think it's Irish and it's on Hulu right now. It's really cool. It's really cute. It's just a high school teen drama but half-hour dramedy.
Tanya Musgrave (36:44):
Oh, wait, wait, wait. I think I have seen ... I've seen ads for that. I'm quite old. I'm still kind of catching up, but I like the older things like Call the Midwife. I love Miranda. Miranda is one of my favorite. I will go back and watch so many of those episodes.
Raul Martin Romero (37:04):
She is very funny. I like her. Also I'm 6'8", so I can relate to being a very tall person. That cracks me up because a little bit of humor is for her physicality and that is also something that I do too.
Tanya Musgrave (37:17):
Yeah. What's another ... I just like The IT Crowd and fun random stuff like that, I don't know. When I watch stuff, it's usually to turn my brain off.
Raul Martin Romero (37:27):
Exactly. And with the times that we live in right now, I agree. And right now, with the whole COVID thing, I don't think my brain is ready for super intense things now. I'm watching Normal People. I'm watching Never Have I Ever, which is very cute teen drama about Mindy Kaling on Netflix. We just finished Westworld but that is a little intense, but this season was great.
Raul Martin Romero (37:58):
What else? I love Glow. Glow on Netflix is one of my favorite shows. So very simple stories but at the same time like grounded and fun, that's what I really enjoy. Better Things on FX with Pamela Adlon, I would kill to write on that show.
Tanya Musgrave (38:14):
Well, thank you so much for your time for all of your insights and, man, all of your education. That's fantastic. It was great.
Raul Martin Romero (38:25):
Tanya, thank you so much for having me. This was super fun.
Tanya Musgrave (38:27):
Yeah, for sure. We'll see you.
Tanya Musgrave (38:30):
If you enjoyed this interview, follow us right here and check out more episodes at media.colabinc.org. If you have comments or know someone who would be a great guest on our show, send in your suggestions to email@example.com. And again, we're really wanting feedback, so go to media.colabinc.org. Fill out that feedback survey and you'll be entered to win a $25 Amazon gift card.
Tanya Musgrave (38:49):
Raul, thanks so much again for your time. We'll see you next time on There to Here.