Jim Carrey on why we should never be afraid to fail

And if anybody’s an expert at failure it’s Jim

So here’s what happens when you ask a man about a subject he really knows

EDITOR’S NOTE: Wait, we’ll get it. How’s this:

Jim Carrey’s had his professional ups and downs, and with them has come the kind of wisdom that all of us who are struggling against the odds to make something of ourselves should heed:

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Yeah, that’s the ticket! When you’re right, you’re right, Jim. And this TVWriter™ minion thinks that this time around you’ve got it nailed.

The WGAW Definitely Thinks Rupert Murdoch Should Stay the Hell Away from Time-Warner

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This email from the Writers Guild of America West to its members re a Rupert Murdoch buyout of Time-Warner should come as a surprise to absolutely no one:

From The New York Times: $80B Offer From Rupert Murdoch Puts Time-Warner In Play

If this headline scares you – and it should – then consider this a call to arms.

As writers, we face a landscape today that the founders of our Guild would hardly recognize. For decades, there were dozens of significant buyers in television and movies.

Then Federal limits on mergers disappeared. FCC regulations requiring independent production in television were repealed. And the result was industry-wide consolidation, networks and studios combining, and independent production disappearing.

Fewer movies being made. Fewer development deals. Smaller TV staffs. And lower quotes… because the industry was suddenly in the hands of only six – six! – conglomerates.

And the Writers Guild, without a voice in Washington to protest, was unable to save the business from strangling itself.

Now, those six conglomerates are threatening to swallow one another. Think of that. Between them, Fox and Time-Warner would control 40% of the industry’s writing jobs. What happens if more consolidation follows? What happens if one mega-company ends up devouring them all? The idea is almost too frightening to contemplate. But it’s also too possible to ignore.

That’s why the Guild has a PAC.

For the last several years, the WGAW has been increasingly active in Washington: fighting off mergers, championing Net Neutrality, and distinguishing itself as a voice of reason on all media issues.

But our PAC cannot exist without your support.

Giving to the Guild PAC is vital to your future. The checks you write to your favorite Senate candidates cannot influence policy. But a powerful PAC, supporting candidates in the name of the WGA, gives us a fighting chance in the war against the corporate madness that threatens us all.

The math of it is simple. The more candidates we can collectively support, the more influence we will have. Our Guild has already gained respect on Capitol Hill. Our position-papers are sought after and cited regularly on media issues.

Of course, conglomerates like Fox and Time-Warner have influence too – so much so that some writers believe even trying to combat them is futile. It isn’t. Take a look at these links of writers like Shawn Ryan and Guild President Chris Keyser testifying at recent Senate hearings. When our Guild speaks, Washington listens. But to make sure our voices are heard, we need power. Simply put, we need you.

This, then, is our call to arms. In the industry as it exists today, writers no longer have the luxury of staying out of politics. Rather, more than ever, we need a voice in them.

Please, please, support our PAC by contributing here. Your future depends on it. In Solidarity, Chris Keyser, Chip Johannessen, Billy Ray

TVWriter™ definitely is with the Guild on this cuz, well, hell, gang, if we didn’t already know that CBS’ Les Moonves was the devil, we’d be sure it was Rupert M.

How to Write Gripping Scenes

We’re so glad we discovered Rita Karnopp’s blog. And we definitely think you will be too. Rita writes about prose writing, but good writing is good writing, regardless of whether it’s for the page or the stage:

by Rita Karnopp

bloody handWhat exactly [comprises] a scene?  I think of a scene like a trip to the mountains.  There are valleys of flowers and cliffs of varying shapes and colors.  Sometimes the end of the trail leads to a beautiful waterfall.  Suddenly we notice a dead body floating at the far end . . . and the story begins.  Each scene you create should stand on its own and add to the story in a crucial way, creating a structurally solid read.

How do we make scenes intrinsically sound?  The way I do it is to imagine every scene in my head.  I see my characters and feel what they’re feeling and understand why they react the way they do.  If you run your story through your mind like a movie, you’ll find holes and implausible behavior.

This is a good way to let your characters take over, do what comes naturally, and lets them improvise . . . my characters have written some of my best scenes.

Check the beginning of each scene and make sure it grabs your reader immediately.  Again keep in mind, “no one waits for the action to begin.”

Don’t just be concerned with scene beginnings, but be equally aware of scene endings.  This is your chance to make the reader unable to close the book and continue another time.  Stop just when your character is going to make a critical decision or when something terrible just happened or is just about to happen.  Maybe the character is pushed to the limit and is ready to either explode or do something they might regret.  Make your reader decide, ‘ok, just one more chapter.’  If I’m into a book – I’ve been known to close it (begrudgingly) at three am.

I know this might sound strange, but a scene must serve a purpose.  Its job is to further the story, clear-up or create doubt, and add intensity.  It must nurture the story and keep our readers turning the pages.

Be aware of placing in every scene.  Dialog can speed up your scene and thoughts and descriptions will slow them down.  This creates a feeling of movement.  You can use internal and external conflict, dialogue, actions, and description to draw the reader from chapter one to reading ‘the end.’

Read it all

Love & Money Dept – TV Writing Deals for 7/31/14

Latest News About Writers Who Are Doing Better Than We Are
by munchman

  • Frank Spotnitz (THE X-FILES) is adapting Phil Dick‘s mucho-kudo’ed masterpiece of fiction, The Man in the High Castle into a pilot for an Amazon Studios series. (There is so much wonderfulness in that sentence that I just have to sit back and taste it for a beat. If this comes anywhere near yer friendly neighborhood muncher’s expectations, I promise to stop mocking Amazon and except it as, oh, almost a genuine, professional studio-network-whatever. And who knows? Maybe I’ll toss out the “almost” bit too.)
  • Warren Ellis (currently a big deal comic book writer, don’tcha know?) has a deal with Universal Cable Productions to write an as-yet-untitled pilot about an as-yet-unspecified bunch of characters engaged in as-yet-unspecified, um, stuff. (I can hear the Warren Ellis fans celebrating already. As well that should.)
  • Taylor Elmore (JUSTIFIED) has a new overall deal with CBS TV Studios to develop and write and produce and all that good stuff that we all want to do. (And while I’m not a member of the JUSTIFIED Rave Society, I wish the Tayman all the luck and success in the world. Cuz I just can’t help meself. Y’all know how positive a nature the munchman has.)
  • Charlie Kaufman‘s (INSIDE JOHN MALKOVICH) FX pilot isn’t going to series after all. (Proving that even the A+ listers can get crapped on. Sorry, Charlie – and believe me, I mean it. Cuz if they can reject Charlie Kaufman, what chance do the rest of us writerly types have?)

Peer Productions: BRISBANE NUCLEAR OLYMPICS

And the winner for the absolutely best medium for presenting well-grounded but outrageous and biting satire is:

The interweb!

Check out this brilliantly painful short short by Duncan Elms and you’ll see what we mean.

Duncan Elms on Vimeo

Understanding How Comedy Works

what are you laughing at…Which is, you know, kind of important if you’re writing it. Recently, several of TVWriter™’s comedy writing friends (industry biggies, baby!) independently recommended this book as well for fledgling humorists/writers to get a handle on what it is exactly that they’re supposed to be doing. So we thought we’d pass it on:

The book is called What Are You Laughing At? and it’s written by Dan O’Shannon, MODERN FAMILY producer who knows his away around the funny, as somebody who prefers to remain anonymous for obvious reasons (but is otherwise a funny dood himself) has said to us. The Amazon description gets to the heart of the matter:

If you’re looking for a book that will teach you how to write comedy, we suggest you keep moving. You still have time to pick up a copy of Writing Big Yucks for Big Bucks before the store closes. However, if you want to understand the bigger picture — what is comedy, why do we respond to it the way we do — then you’ve come to the right place.

What Are You Laughing At? presents an entirely new approach to comedy theory. It challenges long-held beliefs and shows how the three main theories of comedy (incongruity, superiority, and relief) are not in conflict; but rather, work as parts of a larger model. There are many examples pulled from the author’s own experiences, writing for shows such as Cheers, Frasier, and Modern Family. By the end, you’ll have an understanding of just what happens when man meets comedy. It will change the way you hear laughter.

The theory of comedy! What could be more worthwhile? Check it out! (And no, TVWriter™ isn’t gonna get a pfennig if you click “Buy.” Not our style, gang, as you know.)