On Tuesday, October 16, Cohort IV received a visit from writer/producer, Sang Kyu Kim. This is Sang’s second visit to TVWS. Previously, Sang visited Cohort II. He has served as both writer and producer for “The Walking Dead,” “Hawthorne,” and Starz’s first originally produced series “Crash.”
Sang discussed everything from how he began in the television industry, to networking, to his time on “The Walking Dead” and his current projects.
In The Beginning
Sang’s genesis into the television industry includes his studies at AFI where he met our very own Norman Steinberg, the founder of TVWS. After applying to various conglomerates including Fox and Disney, Sang received an offer from My Network TV where he translated Telenovelas into English and got himself into The Writer’s Guild Of America all while completing his graduate education. He credits Norman with facilitating this process through networking and advertising of his work.
From his time with My Network TV, Sang was able to meet writer/producer Glen Mazzara (“The Shield”) who brought Sang along as a staff writer when he created “Crash.”
In The Writers’ Room
Sang described his writing process, particularly being a writer in a writers’ room. He advised the cohort to learn how to separate yourself from your work in order to accept criticism.
When asked about his writing habits, Sang says he takes a more insular approach to writing and does not have a writing partner. Still, he emphasizes how important it is to listen to other writers’ ideas at the writing table rather than just waiting to get a word in. He says, if you are not the best at throwing out story ideas, listen to the ideas of others and make a strong impression with your writing.
For a project that he has been working on about the Jonestown massacre, Sang interviewed James Jones Jr., the adopted son of the infamous minister murderer, Jim Jones.
“Go out and get information you can’t get in books,” he said, “Otherwise you’re just skimming the surface of what the character is feeling or just guessing.”
Currently, Sang is developing a ten episode miniseries (of which he may not name) with industry vets such as Melissa Leo, Matt Dillon, Terrence Howard, and M. Night Shayamalan attached to it.
“Write your passion,” Sang advised, “I’ve yet to write anything that has been mainstream and sellable.”
He urged aspiring writers to always remember that there are many others writing exactly the same thing you are writing. Ask yourself, ‘What do you have that they don’t?”
His final and most important tip for an aspiring writer in this competitive industry:
“It all comes down to what you put on the page,” he said. The writing is the “great equalizer.”
(written by Cohort 4 student Bianca Coombs)