5 Industry Experts Give Advice on Samples and Picking Your "Lane"

I looove watching It’s Always Sunny, Atlanta, Mad Men and The West Wing. Four shows in four different genres with four different tones. But if I’m a writer looking to break into the biz and land my first rep, should I try to write samples in each one of these genres?

This is a Q we get all the time from creators:

“Should I write in different genres and formats, or stick to one?”

In terms of career strategy, it’s wise to hone in on a specific genre/format (i.e. hour-long drama, multi-cam comedy, half-hour dramedy, etc). This way, when reps, showrunners, execs need that specific thing (that YOU write in YOUR unique voice) they’ll know exactly who to call.


One thing is for sure: when you’re a newer writer trying to break in, you need a killer sample. Your sample will serve three main functions:

  1. Getting you repped

  2. Getting you staffed