Alumnus awaits word on contest, development deal as TV writer

After surviving the cut from 1,500 aspiring television writers down to 25 in a contest that rewards the winner with a one-year development deal with Fox, one recent Penn State graduate will find out Oct. 26 if he has won the top prize worth $25,000.

Josh Sorokach, who earned his degree in broadcast journalism in 2005, is a finalist for the second consecutive year in the New York Television Festival Comedy Script Contest. The contest required a script that was 25 to 35 pages in length. (The script of a standard half-hour TV comedy usually runs 30 to 35 pages).

Sorokach’s entry, titled “Black Sheep,” features a newlywed couple whose idealized picture of marriage gets interrupted when two relatives move in unexpectedly.

“I just liked the idea of having four very distinct characters and creating an organic scenario where they’re all forced to interact on a daily basis,” Sorokach said. “In terms of a contest, especially one I entered for free, this is low-risk and high-reward.” Winning the grand prize would move Sorokach much closer to his dream of becoming a TV writer.

Sorokach’s time at Penn State helped drive him toward his intended career path. Along with work in the classroom, Sorokach explored his comedy approach and writing while working with like-minded students. He helped create and host a late-night talk show on campus and he found that, although he was not a stellar host, he did enjoy writing.

In addition, his interest in television writing was the result of an internship on the set of “Late Night with Conan O’Brien,” which was facilitated by the Office of Internships and Career Services in the College of Communications.

Sorokach, who lives in New York City and blogs for Barnes and Noble and Sparknotes, credits Penn State with helping him toward his career. He said students who have a passion and utilize the University’s resources and support can move toward their dreams.

A fellow Penn Stater, Adam Yenser, an award-winning comic, appreciates Sorokach’s talent.

“He has a knack for generating original characters and story ideas. It takes a special talent to come up with an original concept -- Josh has that talent,” Yenser said. “In 10 years, I could definitely see him as a producer or head writer on a show of his own creation.”

More information about the comedy script contest can be found at the contest site online.

Last Updated October 21, 2013