February 2, 2018

Faculty Profile: Sonja Warfield

What classes do you teach at the School of Cinematic Arts? Currently I’m teaching 434 Writing the Half-Hour Comedy Series and CTWR 537 Advanced Half Hour Comedy Series Pilot.

What inspired you to help lead the next generation at USC? I’m inspired by my students and their fervor for writing. It actually reignited my passion.

What are some of the most exciting recent developments in writing for television? There are so many new platforms for content; therefore there are more opportunities for writers. There also seems to be a growing interest for content that represents racial and cultural diversity.

What is something you hope students take from your class and into the career field they are going in? I hope my students leave my class with a clear understanding that knowing who their main character is and what he or she wants is indispensable to telling any kind of story. I also want them to grasp structure and outlining, which may seem boring but as professionals they will have to write outlines. I think outlining is analogous to a doctor taking one’s blood pressure. The outline gives a clear picture of what is happening in an episode. It’s a first and very important step that has to happen before the writing journey begins.

What advice would you give to students aspiring to be a television writer? My advice to aspiring television writers is to be patient, kind and don’t make decisions out of fear or desperation. This advice can also be applied to dating and dieting.

Is there any media (film, television show) that you always recommend? I know students are already watching television and film so I always recommend that writers read both television and film scripts.

Do you have any projects you are currently working on? I recently sold a pitch to Netflix and I’m developing and writing that pilot.