Emily Andras Previews the Writing Room Intensive at the Toronto Screenwriting Conference

Photo courtesy of Emily Andras
Photo courtesy of Emily Andras

Wynonna Earp showrunner Emily Andras will be at the helm of a different script when she leads up the special Writers Room Intensive as part of the upcoming Toronto Screenwriting Conference (TSC). Andras will join six participants on Friday, April 22 to create the basic elements for a spec script of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Those six participants will then accompany Andras onstage at the conference on Saturday, April 30 to present their ideas to the audience at the TSC, as well as discuss the process for breaking the story in the room.

“I had talked at a panel two years ago about the art of genre, I was the only female writer on the panel. I think they really wanted a female showrunner to run the writing room this year,” Andras tells The TV Junkies. With a background that also includes three seasons as showrunner and executive producer of Lost Girl and supervising producer on Killjoys, Andras seemed like a natural fit for the TSC, and she didn’t need much convincing. “I have a really good relationship with the Toronto Screenwriting Conference and I think it’s an incredible event where they bring together professionals to talk to each other about the art of screenwriting,” she says.

So why did Andras land on a room revolving around Buffy instead of her current show Wynonna Earp? “I didn’t feel comfortable running a room about Wynonna because I knew we’d only be about four episodes in and not everybody may have seen it,” she explains, before adding that she then “pitched them the idea of doing something classic, but still in my wheelhouse, which is genre with a strong female protagonist, and of course Buffy the Vampire Slayer came up.”

The fact that Buffy is so well known and beloved was also a huge selling point for Andras. She says it feels like a good fit here because “we can all break an episode with the young writers, but also when we’re doing the presentation with the audience, I feel like it’s a show that the audience is familiar with and can enjoy.” She also adds that “there’s something good when you’re talking about breaking an episode of television that it’s a really good idea to do a show that lots of people love and understand the beats of.” The fact that Andras herself is a fan of Buffy is just an added bonus. “Any opportunity to talk about Buffy anywhere, any time, just seems like a good time for me,” she jokes.

Courtesy of the Toronto Screenwriting Conference
Courtesy of the Toronto Screenwriting Conference

If you’re thinking that one day to break an entire episode of television isn’t a lot, then you’d be correct. That’s why Andras says she wants to emphasize “the experience of being in a writing room versus the content.” What sort of episode actually comes out of all this is still a bit of a mystery, as Andras didn’t want to give much away. However, she did tell us that “what’s fun about doing a Buffy [spec] is that I’d like to do something that’s a little bit meta. Buffy is a show that’s been off the air for many years and is very beloved, so I think you can have fun with a spec script that isn’t exactly fan fiction, but maybe turn some Buffy ideas on its head or take a more modern take. That’s kind of what we’re circling right now.”

Joining Andras in the room on Friday will be six participants that were chosen from a wide array of applicants. “We were only taking submissions from people who were already Writers’ Guild members,” explains Andras. “I remember very clearly how hard it was to shift from half hour television into one hour drama, and specifically into genre. I just looked for people who were maybe experienced, but were really wanting to make the jump into genre and had strong samples,” she says.

The chosen participants for the Writers Room intensive with Andras, and people who met those guidelines include: Laura Ashley Seaton (Script Coordinator on The Expanse), Tim Kilby (Private Eyes), Priscilla M. White (Story Editor Season 2 of Killjoys), Keri Ferencz (Story Editor on Remedy), Matt Doyle (Cracked) and Blain Watters (Lost Girl, Between).

 

If you’re in or around the Toronto area on Saturday, April 30 you may want to hop down to Constitution Hall and see what Buffy script they were able to come up with! More information about the conference can be found here.

Wynonna Earp airs Fridays at 10 p.m ET on Syfy in the US. In Canada, episodes air Mondays at 9 p.m. ET on CHCH. All episodes will also stream live on CHCH.com in conjunction with the SyFy and CHCH broadcast airings.