Meryl Streep, NYWIFT Launch Program For Female Screenwriters Over 40

The only thing better than the news below would be that it wasn’t necessary. Thanks, Meryl!

by Ross A. Lincoln

imgresThe Writers Lab, a program targeting older female screenwriters, was announced at the Tribeca Film Festival today during a panel featuring Meryl Streep and the New York Women in Film & Television Tribeca. Streep, a NYWIFT Muse Award honoree, is helping finance the program with the organization in an effort to support and mentor female screenwriters over 40. Touted as the only program of its kind worldwide, the lab aims to counteract perceived gender and age bias affecting creative women in the film industry. Funding was provided in part thanks to a “sizable” contribution by Streep, who has a longstanding relationship with NYWIFT.

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munchman: Life Lessons from Power Rangers

If you’re just reaching the neighborhood of being 30 years old, chances are that there was a time in your life when you watched the hell out of POWER RANGERS while your mother shook her head sadly and muttered something like, “Such a terrible waste of time….”

Well, we’re here to tell you that it wasn’t a waste of time at all. It was awesome prep for your future. (Whaddaya think of that, Ma? Oops, no, I didn’t say anything. Nope, not me. This guy, OTOH:

power rangersby Eric Ravenscraft

Kids shows are pretty cheesy. Power Rangers, doubly so. The idea of learning real, adult life lessons from the shows we loved as kids sounds silly, but sometimes things stick with you. Here’s what the Power Rangers taught me that actually stuck around. Seriously.

Don’t Let Other People Make You Feel Like Crap

Bullying isn’t a new trope for kids shows. In my day, though, there was no one who epitomized the nerdy stereotype more than Billy, the Blue Ranger. His role on the show was to be an egghead, despite the show’s heavy emphasis on solving problems by punching them. In the early episodes, people couldn’t even understand the way he talked. He needed someone else to translate his geek-speak into human words.

Being a nerd came with a lot of self-esteem issues, especially in the 90s, before being “geeky” became cool. The Rangers addressed this often, but it was especially poignant in an episode called Dark Warrior. In this episode, Billy gets bullied by the disgustingly lovable Bulk and Skull (again). Finally, he’s had it. He decides to learn martial arts to defend himself. At the end of the episode, though, he doesn’t use his newfound skills to take down the bullies (Trini’s invisible uncle takes care of that). Instead, he says, “I really just needed to prove to myself that I could do it.” In the end, what he felt about himself was more important than what others felt about him.

This was one of the hardest things to learn once I started writing professionally. Writing for the internet is extremely public. For a long time, I wanted to write, but I was terrified of putting myself out there. Best case scenario, my work would be read by a lot of people, many of whom would probably hate and mock it. Worst case, it wouldn’t get read at all. Neither felt like it would be good for my self-esteem. It would be a lot safer to just do my boring office job and keep my work to myself.

Billy never would’ve done that, though. Billy wanted to be part of the team, to make himself better and take chances. For a shy, scrawny nerd, he did rather well for himself. As the show went on, Billy became a better fighter and a better communicator. Oh, and he invented all kinds of gadgets the team needed, including their communicators, teleporters, and a freaking flying car. Rather than let the opinions of other people push him around, he used his skills to make the team better. Sitting out the fight wasn’t an option.

This lesson took on an even more sombre note when I became an adult and found out why David Yost, the actor who played Billy, eventually left the show. Off screen, David was bullied for his sexuality by producers and other crew members. Knowing that he was bullied off screen just as much as on screen hurt the child in me. At the same time, it made the lesson I learned from him all the more powerful. Despite the abuse, he stuck around for nearly 200 episodes and a movie. He was the only ranger to appear in every single episode of the Mighty Morphin series, and he was the second-longest running ranger ever. Being pushed around, insulted, and mocked never convinced him to stop doing his best work.

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WGAW on the Death of the Comcast-Time Warner Cable Merger

Just found in LB’s inbox:

wga re comcast merger Capture

Troy DeVolld Gives Us a Few Words of Caution…

Moving On, Staying Put
by Troy DeVolld

Another friend just gave up on reality television and moved into a more stable profession… and I can’t blame her.

I’ve always loved reality television, but it has its pitfalls… one of which is the unpredictability of employment.

Case in point… I recently wrapped an incredible gig on a show that was pulled from production not because of its quality, but because the new network president opted to go another direction with programming.  Many shows in production, not just ours, were unceremoniously ditched, and the hell of it was —  it’s just one of those things that happens.  No bad guy in the scenario, just business.

I’ve always hated that line on the back of my book cover that says something about getting in, getting real, and maybe even getting rich.  It can be done, but it takes a long time and a lot of hard work to get there.  That’s why the focus of my book is on craft, and not the sexier, dreamier prospect of creating shows.

It takes years to make it in L.A. or New York — and those places aren’t cheap.  You can’t reward yourself too early, because you could always end up in a situation like I did last year and not land somewhere for months after 14 years of wall-to-wall work on countless hits… and as much as I try to practice what I preach when in comes to being financially conservative, six months at home is an unexpected sock in the guts to pretty much ANYONE with no notice.

New to this? Save your money.  Have a roommate… the kind that pays in cash instead of excuses.  Don’t try to be a baller, because no one cares if you drive a 1991 Nissan except you.  There’s a major studio head out here driving a Subaru Outback, and I spent two and a half years on the train/bus in LA before replacing my dead Buick with a ten year old Jetta.  I’d been working 11 years before I finally bought a “nice” car, and frankly, it’s sometimes the most expensive one in the parking garage.  You can bet I think about that stuff during my dry spells.

Remember how you used to feel when you had a few hundred bucks in the bank after paying the bills?  Imagine having tens or hundreds of thousands fifteen or twenty years into a career.  Remember how you felt when you were a few hundred in the hole at the end of the month, sweating a thirty dollar overdraft fee?  Now try feeling that way with 20 grand in credit card debt after watching your savings atrophy because the work dried up.

Those are the times you think about finding something else.  My friend saw that exit from show business life and jumped at it.  Me, I’m a single guy.  I can stay at the craps table and keep rolling.  I’ll be up again tomorrow on some other smash hit, feeling like the world is my oyster, because I live to tell stories and teach the next generation how it’s done.  It’s all a never-ending gamble that could end with me selling a company for tens or hundreds of millions… or as a kindly old greeter at a big box store.

Do this… do anything… because you love it.

Larry Brody Department: Submit Your Script To The 2015 Portland Film Festival!

PortlandFilmFestCaptureby Larry Brody

The Portland Film Festival, Portland’s leading film non-profit – but not the Northwest’s because not only do we need know how “leading” is being defined in this situation but, hey, we’ve got the Port Townsend Film Festival, in Port Townsend, WA, the director of which used to live right across the street from yours truly (She didn’t move. I did. So it goes.) – wants everyone to now that it wants you/me/us to submit our scripts to it so that…well, I’ve got no idea what the submission is going to be for because the “Submit your script” page doesn’t say.

And, yes, I find this annoying. Because TVWriter™ and I personally are all about helping new writers find new opportunities to develop their talent and show it off and make oodles of $$$ or at the very least change their lives by feeling proud of themselves and what they do–

And I have no idea if the Portland Film Festival’s Submit your script (why aren’t Your and Script in upper case, I wonder) page is going to help with TVWriter™’s and my above stated goals.

Oh well, maybe someone can actually submit a script (or Submit a Script) and let me know?

The Portland Film Festival will run from September 1-7 of this year, and its website is HERE. On that page there’s a link with yet another spelling of the page to which you can submit your script, which is “Submit your Script” (see what they did there?), and  you can go straight there by clicking HERE.

Oh – the Portland Film Festival also wants you to “Submit your Film,” but from what I can tell isn’t spelling out exactly why about that either.

Nuff said.

Not by the Portland Film Festival but by me.

LYMI LB

LYMI
LB