LB: At Last! The Real Differences Between Writing Film, TV & the Printed Word

by Larry Brody

One of my favorite blogs is ComicMix, which quite simply is the most more interesting and best written and edited sources of comics industry information on the net. (You may have noticed that TVWriter™ regularly features columns by two of Comic Mix’s glorious writers, John Ostrander and Dennis O’Neil.)

I admire the blog’s entire staff for its varied comic book work and its amazing insight into creativity as a whole. Today’s case in point is the most recent column by CM’s Marc Alan Fishman, one of the creator-partners at indie comics company Unshaven Comics and a force to be conjured with indeed.

“Game On, Comics Off,” the particular column in question is a look into the relationship between video games and their comic book spin-offs as Marc discusses why the comic book versions of hugely successful games like World of Warcraft, Assassin’s Creed et al so often end up tanking when it comes to sales.

It’s quite a perceptive analysis, but that’s not a subject that TVWriter™ has much to do with. What knocked me out, as we used to say back in the days of Frank Sinatra and the ratpack, was an absolutely spot on throwaway paragraph that positively screamed, “Epiphany! Epiphany!” and which I think all of us who write TV, film, and prose fiction of any kind should take to heart.

Here’s The Paragraph To Always Remember:

When a book becomes a movie, the movie must drop nuance and backstory for increases in action and visual exploration of settings. When a movie becomes a TV show, it drops the quality of the settings, and becomes stifled by commercial breaks interrupting story. When a TV show becomes a movie, it loses the ability to explore nuanced characterizations afforded to longer interactions across multiple episodes.

Got that? Read it again. And again. The bottom line here is that Marc has answered, clearly, succinctly, and incredibly accurately, the age old fan question: “But why isn’t the [film] [TV show] [book] more like the [book] [TV show] [movie]?” in a way that not only is easy to explain to fans but also clarifies the adaptation process for everyone involved in writing said adaptations.

In other words, if you let Marc’s words roll around in your head and become fully absorbed, the odds are very, very good that the next time you attack an adaptation project the writing is going to be not only better but easier because you’ll have a finer grasp on what it is you have to do.

And anything that makes the world’s most difficult creative endeavor (AKA writing) easier is to me as important and sacred as the most revered pronouncementfrom, yeah, God.

Thank you, Marc Alan Fishman, from the bottom of my creative soul.

And as long as we’re talking about it, why not check out the full column HERE ?

LB: ‘Moonlight’ Writer Shuts Down the Hollywood Bullshit

by Larry Brody

As I said on Twitter last week, my Oscar favorite for this year is Moonlight. I’m rooting for it for Best Picture, Best Screenplay, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actor, you name it.

In other words, I’m absolutely recommending that everyone reading this post run out and see the film. But if you need further incentive (oh hell, even if you don’t), you should watch this interview with Tarell Alvin McCraney, the writer whose play of the same name is the basis for the film.

McCraney’s been there. He knows.

LB: Fox’s New Show – ‘APB’

Have you seen this video? The show looks genuinely promising to me. And I say that as a guy who doesn’t know any of the writers or producers.

At least, I don’t think I do. Truth is, I have no idea who’s on the show.

I’m going to watch it anyway, when it premieres February 6th. Hey, from me, that’s a big endorsement.

UPDATE! Okay, I just IMDB’d the staff of APB. I do know someone on it, Matt Nix. But he’s just an acquaintance and hasn’t talked to me since another show he did, a little thing called Burn Notice, hit it big. Hmm…looks like this is an even bigger endorsement now.

Spidey Memories

Posted on Facebook by bestselling mystery author Robert Gregory Browne, a frequent collaborator back in my TV animation writing days and still an occasional contributor to TVWriter™.

Let’s hear it for Spider-Man Unlimited!

Weirdly, SMU, which has become a cult fave, was a show I ran at pretty much the end of my career, not at the beginning, which was a more usual route for TV writers back in the day. Now it’s a highly respected arena all its own, a niche where top writers can have long and rewarding careers…as it should be.

Larry Brody’s Poetry: ‘I Live in a Haunted House’

by Larry Brody

NOTE FROM LB: 

I’ve decided to move on from Kid Hollywood and the Navajo Dog to the next, equally unsuccessful book in the series, called, not so oddly, The Return of the Navajo Dog. The picture above is, in fact, that dog, about halfway through the lifetime she spent with me.

We’re in Colorado there, and Dineh – the Navajo name for Navajo, which was the only name Dineh would respond to – had just growled the kind of growl that would terrify any being, alive or dead, sending a poor, out-meaned, full-blooded coyote slinking away from its kill.

The following poem is about events a bit earlier in our time together, and Dineh doesn’t figure into it. But she lived in the house I’m talking about, and I wish she lived in the one I’m sitting in now. 


I Live In A Haunted House

I live in a haunted house in New Mexico,

On the east side of Santa Fe.

It’s an adobe so old that none of

The old-timers in the neighborhood can’t remember

When it wasn’t here. The last structure

I heard of with that same

Timeless past was Tintagel, in Cornwall,

Although I don’t believe my house is in the

Same league. No Merlin to abduct no baby

Arthur here, although there is a story about

Billy the Kid. This house, I’m told, is where

He stayed when he came to meet with

The governor, Lew Wallace, for a pardon.

But Billy’s not my ghost. Why would Billy the Kid

Open locked windows, light candles, turn

Pictures, and move knickknacks around?

That takes a different kind of mind.

All my life I’ve been haunted, but not like

This, and while it has its picturesque side,

I miss my privacy. Ghosts know no boundaries,

No walls, no locked doors,

And no matter how much I open myself,

I keep finding there’s more to hide.

I live in a haunted house in Santa Fe.

What do you suppose my ghost

Will do when I move away?


Larry Brody is the head dood at TVWriter™. Although the book whose cover you see above is for sale on Kindle, he is posting at least one poem a week here at TVWriter™ because, as the Navajo Dog herself once pointed out, “Art has to be free. If you create it for money, you lose your vision, and yourself.” She said it shorter, though, with just a snort.

Larry Brody: TVWriter University Update for 2017

The University of Tomorrow - Today

The University of Tomorrow – Today

by Larry Brody

Brace yourselves, online learning-about-writing fans, because I’m here to announce some changes in the TVWriter™ Online Workshop, um, thing.

Our various workshops, operating under the collective name of TVWriter University, have been up and running on the web, with occasional forays into the Real World (remember the various Brodystock Summer Intensive Seminars and the Secrets of the Writers Room held at the original Cloud Creek Ranch in Southern California, in Las Vegas, and even in Arkansas?) since 1999 or 2000. (Guess I should keep better records.)

Over the years we’ve altered the formats and added some activities from time to time, and this year the big news can be expressed in one word:

Consolidation.

As of this month, there no longer is a Fundamentals of TV and Film Writing Workshop. Nor is there an Advanced TV and Film Writing Workshop.  At least, not by those names.

Inside, we’re combining both of them into the new TVWriter™ Online TV and Film Writing Workshop. All the reasons for this are presented on its web page (which used to be the Advanced Workshop page) HERE.

Thanks to the current volume of electronic entertainment available to so many more people than ever before, and a more open and respectful attitude from institutions of higher learning, those who are interested in learning the fundamentals of scriptwriting, whether they want to use them for pleasure or profit or, of course, both, have much greater access to the knowledge they need than ever before.

I’m thrilled with this development, and just as contemporary scriptwriters can now take advantage of the fact that the viewing audience is so knowledgeable about video and film “language” and construct stories that shorten or bypass what used to be the standard Act One, now those of us devoted to helping the next generation of writers learn the craft/art/business thereof can jump into more advanced and, I think, interesting storytelling techniques.

I’m not abandoning complete newbies. The new Online TV and Film Writing Workshop is structured so that those who need that info will get it, not only from me but also from their more advanced classmates. And the more advanced writers will also benefit by getting the reactions and opinions of classmates who can remind them that not every viewer – or showbiz executive for that matter – loves, or even understands, the latest in experimental entertainment.

Bottom line, after a fascinating hiatus from teaching for most of this year, in which I re-entered the trenches of production and became far more aware of what’s happening in both the creative and business ends of The Industry here and now, I’m once again ready to pass it all on.

To “play it forward” in, I’m hoping, a more successful way than it was in a certain underachieving film by the same name.

The next TVWriter™ Online TV and Film Writing Workshop starts a 4-week session January 11, 2017. It’s limited to 5 students, so I suggest you shift into gear and check out the details ASAP HERE.

And, while you’re at it, why not take a look at our other offerings, including Larry Brody’s Master Class, which will also be ready to rock in January? Those details are HERE.

That’s it for now, kids.

LYMI

LB

 

 

Larry Brody’s Poetry: ‘The Witch With The Green Face’

by Larry Brody

NOTE FROM LB: 

Today is my birthday. No, I won’t tell you what one, but if you follow me on Facebook my birthdate is right there. In honor of reaching this particular advanced state, I’ve chosen what probably is the most revealing thing I’ve ever written because, well, isn’t revelation one of the main things poetry is all about?

The Witch With The Green Face

When my daughter was six,

The Wizard Of Oz made a comeback,

The latest in a long string.

Wanting her to have everything I never did—

So that I could have it now instead—I bought her

The Marx Brothers playset. It was the

Emerald City itself, complete with Yellow

Brick Road, and they even threw in an

Eight-inch Wizard.

I got all the other figures as well,

And gave them to her,

And heard her cry out, saw the tears well up

In her eyes. My daughter’s body shook, and I

Realized she was staring at the Witch

With The Green Face. The only way I

Could get my daughter to calm down was to

Throw the Witch in the garbage outside.

She even had to go with me to see that such a

Scary being was in fact gone.

That night, when my daughter slept, I recovered

the Witch, and brought it to my office.

Everyone I worked with was impressed.

Eighteen years later, I wrote something real,

Filled with the rawness of the life I had led,

And the rage and the frustration

And the helpless feeling that life always

Seems to provide.

I blamed no one but myself, and showed no

Mercy, and asked no mercy in return.

I took no prisoners, and refused to give up.

“Death before dishonor,” say the boys in uniform, but

“Death by dishonor” was the rule of the piece.

I gave it to some friends to read, and heard them cry out.

Saw the tears well up in their eyes.

Their bodies shook, and I realized they were

All staring at the Witch With The Green Face.

The only way my friends could calm down

Was to get that manuscript back to me as soon

As they could. They even had to shove it in my

Mailbox to see that such a scary being was

Gone.

Eighteen years ago, I betrayed my six year old

Daughter by taking the Witch from the Trash.

Eighteen years later I refused to betray

Myself and created my own Witch instead.

I cannot feel guilty,

But I cannot feel proud,

Because, in eighteen years,

This was the first time I had ever been

True.


Larry Brody is the head dood at TVWriter™. Although the book whose cover you see above is for sale on Kindle, he is posting at least one poem a week here at TVWriter™ because, as the Navajo Dog herself once pointed out, “Art has to be free. If you create it for money, you lose your vision, and yourself.” She said it shorter, though, with just a snort.