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Chris Provenzano: Writer feels ‘Justified’ to branch out

10 TV Scribes to Watch

Chris Provenzano has written for “Mad Men” (season one, including the WGA Award-nominated episode “The Hobo Code”) and “Justified” (seasons one and two). Significantly, however, he also spent time early in his career on the other side of the creative-business divide, working on network promos, including at CNBC and ABC.

“Sometimes you hear the glib phrase, ‘What’s the poster?’ and I get that in a sense because promotions is all about breaking something down to its essential parts,” Provenzano says. “How do you put across a complicated idea in a simple, direct way?”

He finds it useful to think back to his days in promotions when pitching ideas.

“I do think about ‘how do I sell it so they get it and want to know more,’ ” he says. “That’s the whole drive of a 30-second promo.”

Provenzano, 37, landed his first writing gig on “Talk Soup” in summer 2001 after doing on-air promotions for E! He went on to write for NBC’s short-lived “Heist.”

“I hadn’t been a writers room assistant or a script coordinator, and there I was sitting in the writers room watching the adults build the show,” he says. “It was traumatic, but I had a tough skin and I could talk their language and I made them crack up. That sort of saved my skin.”

He wrote the script that would become the 2009 film “Get Low” before landing on “Mad Men.” Now Provenzano is ready to move on, choosing to leave “Justified” before season three begins.

“I have the wind at my back a little with ‘Get Low’ and the success of ‘Justified,’?” he says. “I’ve been fortunate to accumulate a good string of credentials. I’m proud of that, and now we’ll see what happens.”

10 TV SCRIBES TO WATCH
Rising writers take biggest step
Alex Cary | Whitney Cummings | Lena Dunham | John Enbom | David Hudgins | Rolin Jones | Kyle Killen | Chris Provenzano | Emily Spivey | Hilary Winston

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