Meet TV Producer Pamela Eells O’Connell

Pamela Eells O’Connell writes sitcoms, or situation comedies, and teaches college classes in writing them. A sitcom is a TV series where the same characters appear in different funny situations.

Pamela Eells O’Connell writes sitcoms, or situation comedies, and teaches college classes in writing them. A sitcom is a TV series where the same characters appear in different funny situations.

Pamela Eells O’Connell is a script writer and executive producer for the new Disney Channel show “The Suite Life on Deck.” She has also written and produced shows in the series “The Suite Life of Zack & Cody,” “The Nanny” and “Family Matters.”

A group effort

Pamela said the difference between writing a TV script and writing a book is that a script is written with many other people. “A book exists in your head, and the only other person you might have to consider is the editor.”

She said: “When writing a film or TV script, you need other people to bring it to life, including actors, directors and set people. There are about 100 people working on a TV show.”

When writing TV comedies, she said:
“You sit in a room with unbelievably funny writers. I might say I think it would be funny if Zack and Cody become super heroes. Then you pitch (or present) your idea.”

Then the writers start thinking of what could happen with that idea. Each writer contributes his or her ideas. The group of writers has to come up with a funny story that has a beginning, a middle and an end.
When the network approves the idea, a smaller team of writers from the group writes the new episode. The rest of the writers work on the episode being filmed at the moment.

Writing for TV

Pamela said the biggest difference between writing for movies and for TV is that in TV, the writer is the executive producer, or the boss. In movies it is different. There the director is the boss.

Everybody reports to the executive producer in TV, she said. “Costumes, props, art direction on the set, what an individual set looks like, the music, everything, comes to the writer for final approval.”

When writers work on a script, they do not just write the plot. They write the dialogue, or the conversation. They also write the action directions, giving the actors suggestions about when and how to move.

Pamela said: “Writing a script is so spectacular because it’s like playing house, only real people are your dolls.”

Getting started

Pamela did not plan on being a writer when she was a kid. But, she said, “I loved reading from the time I was 2. I loved reading, loved film and loved TV.”

She said when she was a kid she never knew you could make a living writing for television. Writing for TV did not become her dream until she was an adult.

After college, Pamela became an assistant director in a TV network news department. She then decided she wanted to become a comedy writer. She watched old TV comedies to study how writers made people laugh. She wrote a script and tried to sell it.

Joys of writing

Pamela said the greatest joy of her job is that “I’ve spent the last 20 years surrounded by people trying to make me laugh. And I’ve been trying to make them laugh. The result of all that is we have hopefully made a lot of people all over the world laugh.”

One downside of being a script writer is job security. Writing for TV can be a risky business. But, she said, for her it is worth it.

4 Responses to “Meet TV Producer Pamela Eells O’Connell”

  1. 1 says:

    Hello. My name is Payton Ziegler and I would love to be on your show Jessie and if you give me your address, I will send you all my information.nn1

  2. 1 says:

    I watch Disney with my girls all the time. Noticed your last name my maiden name is Eells. Unusual name and spelling so when it showed up as producer it caught my eye.nn1

  3. 1 says:

    hi, my name is Jeannette and im 10 years old. turning 11 on Jan.17th. once i was watching T.V and i saw the show Jessie! i absolutely fell in love with the show, i watch EVERY SINGLE episode when it comes out… i love all the actors but mostly i love Emma Ross, or Peyton List.. i have dreams of being an actress just like Peyton List. i Googled and Googled none stop, for Jessie auditions. i hope i finally found the right one. i also hope you guys didnt start filming season 4 yet because i applied on a website, and never got an answer…… but there is one problem. i live in Canada BC. i did go to the USA once for an interview and they invited me to come back. but i really want to be on the Disney show Jessie.if you could please respond on this email and tell me where exactly i have to go to audition ( if you still have any left ) i would be so happy!!! in case your wondering, i did do a christmas play in school and was one of the main characters! i really love acting! i have brownish orange hair, mostly orange. and bluish greenish eyes. if however i cant be on the show, then do you have anything else i could be on? to start my career? thanks! from: JEANNETTE SCHNEIDER.nn1

  4. Mela says:

    I wanna be an actress

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