Shonda Rhimes, writer of the hit TV series Grey's Anatomy, opens Thursday at Inbound 2018 with her keynote speech on performance, writing and her career.
Rhimes's company; Shonda Land is now teaming up with Netflix to exclusively produce content for that platform. Her talk about Inbound is focused on her career and time on set of Grey's Anatomy and how the production process have influenced her work moving forwards
Shonda On 'Grey's Anatomy'
Rhimes talks extensively about the casting process for her biggest success story; Grey's Anatomy. While writing, she had an image of what the character would look like prior to the show even being optioned for production. Here she talks about characters and storytelling.
"We are all the main character in our own storyline," says Shonda when asked about her writing process and how she envisioned her show as it began to come to life.
Shonda states that she was amazed, when producing the show, to find that there was still a belief that you shouldn't be writing about people and people.
To Shonda, this is a most important factor in your writing. If people can't see a real person in the character in a story then they are less likely to engage and relate them.
If you can't relate to a character on screen or in a story then why would you invest your time in it?
Writing stories that people find tangible has been a revolutionary success for Shonda Rhimes. Grey's Anatomy recently finished its fourteenth season. When the majority shows last between five and eight seasons this is a staggering achievement.
Joanna Coles, hosting the session with Shonda, asks about the quest for love in Grey's Anatomy.
Shonda responds by stating that the characters in her show are driven by an overpowering need to connect with other people. In Grey's Anatomy, it was a need for love but every story is different.
Rhimes's stories are just as much about people defining themselves as people, connecting with others and getting their history and their mission out there for others to relate to as it is about character's finding love.
The Year Of Yes
Shonda was asked to board the Kennedy Centre by President Obama. This honour was made even stronger by the fact she was invited to sit in the President's Box during the honours event.
Following the event, Shonda realised that had she been asked, rather than told, that she would be sitting with President and Mrs Obama then she would have said no and potentially missed out on the opportunity of a lifetime.
The Year Of Yes was born.
Shonda learned to embrace the opportunities put in front of her by, instead of letting her social anxieties get in her way, saying yes and trying new experiences and engaging with people.
Following her year of saying yes to opportunities Shonda moved to Netflix from ABC, producers of Grey's Anatomy.
In September 2018 she is working on eight shows for the platform. This achievement is one that many writers dream of.
"Netflix is a challenge," says Shonda. The shows are all being worked on at once and they go out into the world immediately.
For Shonda, who had never worked with a streaming service before, this was a new and exciting challenge that couldn't be turned down.
Writing for the audience is important. When working at ABC was very different from the experience of writing for Netflix. The way that you structure your stories has to be geared towards what your audiences and their interests and needs. This is a key takeaway from Shonda Rhimes's talk; it is about writing for an audience and giving yourself a challenge along the way.
If you need compelling content and stories that will resonate with your audience, talk to Insynth today about writing for your market.
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