Must-Read for BUFFY Fans: The Sunnydale Press

SunnydalePress

Ever wonder what it would’ve been like to live in beautiful Sunnydale, CA back in the ’90s and, you know, read the local paper?

Well, so have the geniuses behind the Tumblr blog The Sunnydale Press. No, we can’t name them cuz, well, we honestly don’t know who they are. Ooh, a Tumblr blog veiled in secrecy? Who’d a’thought?

The premise behind this little masterpiece of satirical fan journalism is right out there, though: What would the Sunnydale newspaper have told its readers back in the day when the Hellmouth was wide open? What would its website have been like?

The first story, dated March 11, 1997 but posted on October 5th of 2014, sets the tone:

Bronze’s Troubles Resume; Owners Under Investigation

March 11, 1997

Local hotspot The Bronze has been thrust once again into the spotlight this week when at least two club-goers were killed in an apparent gang attack. This is the fourth gang-related incident in Sunnydale this year, and preliminary sources say that both victims died of neck wounds similar to the other attacks.

“We encourage all citizens to come forth with any information regarding this terrible incident,” said Chief of Police Bob Munroe. “It appears that despite earlier warnings, The Bronze has yet to install security cameras, so little is known about the attack aside from conflicting witness accounts.” Munroe also noted, “Everyone should be aware by now of the scourge of drugs and gangs in modern America. Sunnydale is not exempt from the changing times.”

More of this story HERE

The next story gives the Not-So-Big-Media view of one of our favorite BUFFY episodes:

Beloved Teacher Murdered at High School

March 26, 1997

In the latest tragedy to strike Sunnydale High School, Dr. Stephen Gregory was found dead on campus yesterday morning. Unconfirmed reports claim that Gregory was beheaded through unknown means, though the source was clear that the wounds were different from the current rash of neck traumas suffered by other local victims. Requests to speak with the student who found the body were denied, though Principal Robert Flutie did confirm that the body was found in the cafeteria.

Receiving his doctorate in biology from UC Sunnydale, Gregory was a favorite of his students, some of whom went on to become teachers and scientists themselves, often crediting Gregory with inspiring them to learn. Honor student Eric Gittleson said, “Mr. Gregory was my favorite teacher. He really encouraged all of my ideas, even the ones other people think are, like, too far out there.”

More of this story HERE

You’ve probably got the idea now, right? As of this writing, there are 9 articles on The Sunnydale Press site. If you’re an aficionado of BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER and her Scooby Gang, you’ll love ‘em all. Our favorite right now though, is the one that goes with the pic at the top of this post. It’s called “Sunnydale High Talent Show a Rousing Success,” and if you remember that show we’re sure that you’ll crack up at this one too.

Check out The Sunnydale Press

“Writing is easy!”

So says April Kelly, who is, btw, a helluva writer, even if she has retired to, um, Lynchburg, TN.

Here at TVWriter™, we’re not quite sure that it’s actually “easy.” But as LB says, “It beats working. Beats not working too.” Close enough?

Novelist, former TV writer enjoys life in Lynchburg
by Kelly Lapczynski

“Writing is easy,” former television writer and producer April Kelly told members of the Tullahoma Woman’s Club Wednesday. “Good writing is hard.”April-Kelly-

Kelly would know.  For nearly four decades, her writing has been tested in comedy clubs, Vegas acts, and on television, earning her two Emmy nominations and a current nomination for the Private Eye Writers of America Shamus award.

Her Hollywood career began in 1975, when she read that novelty Western singer Jim Stafford (Spiders & Snakes) was going to have a summer variety show on ABC. As the executive director of a Tampa, Fla. advertising agency, Kelly decided that her 30-second ads were “funnier than what was on the air,” and she took a gamble. She knew of Stafford and felt that, though he was certainly Country, he was not “hayseed.”

Fearing that Hollywood writers would take Stafford in a distinctly Hee-Haw direction, Kelly felt that she could find a more appropriate voice for him. And though there weren’t many women working in comedy at that time, she took a creative leap. She sent 100 pages of spec material – songs, sketches, monologues – to the show’s producers. When she hadn’t heard anything two weeks later, she sent another 80 pages.

On a Friday afternoon, a producer called from Los Angeles: “Can you start Monday?”

“Opportunity like that does not knock twice,” said Kelly. “I said yes. I quit my job. I gave away everything including my car, I put my books on a Greyhound bus, and I got on a plane Sunday night. Monday morning, I was at ABC and I was a comedy writer.”

“It was a 10-week job. I had $1,500 to my name and no car, but it was 10 weeks guaranteed work.”

For the next few years, Kelly wrote variety shows for John Denver, The Jackson 5, Donnie and Marie, The Captain and Tennille and Paul Lynde among others while also honing her comedic skills as a stand-up comic.

Her stint as a comic was relatively short-lived. “If you’re a singer and you go out, you can stink and at the end they’ll all applaud politely. If you’re a comedian pitching jokes and you don’t hear laughing, you know you suck. You can’t pretend they like you.”

So, because writing paid “actual money,” where stand-up did not, in 1978 Kelly accepted a position as the only female writer on the quirky ABC television series Mork & Mindy.

Read it all

TVWriter™ Top Posts for the Week Ending 10/24/14

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Here they are, the most viewed TVWriter™ posts during the past week:

Are You Ready for CARGO 3120?

Peggy Bechko: Rewriting is Hell

Herbie J Pilato: The “Doors” on TV – and the importance of creative consistency

Writing TV is Far More Dangerous Than You Might Have Thought

Looking for TV Pilot Scripts?

And our most viewed resource pages were:

Writing the Dreaded Outline

THE SPEC SCRIPTACULAR: Enter

THE SPEC SCRIPTACULAR

THE SPEC SCRIPTACULAR: Rules

THE PEOPLE’S PILOT

Big thanks to everyone for making this such a great week, and don’t forget to read what you missed, re-read what you loved, and, most importantly, come back for more soon!

Writing the Genre Show Script

The devil’s in the details when you’re trying to make it as a writer. And so’s the success. Which is why these details are here for you:

zombiehationscriptpage

by Craig Engler

In the last installment of How to Make a Genre Show I took you up to the point in the show-creation process where you had detailed outlines (approved by the network!) for the episodes of your series. Now it’s time to take that outline and turn it into a script — which I did, when I wrote episode six of Z Nation, which airs tomorrow night.

I’ve previously co-written two TV movies from relatively scant outlines and those scripts were painful to write. The ideas were solid but when it was time to flesh out our meagerly detailed acts into 100 pages of compelling writing, the gaps and shortcomings of our story structure became hideously evident. Thank god I had an awesome co-writer to help sort it all out.

By contrast, working from the detailed outlines created in the Writers’ Room makes writing a TV script much easier. Since we’d already broken the plot, character arcs, themes, etc., I knew exactly what I needed to do and could actually focus on just writing the sucker, which was utterly refreshing. In TV you generally spend way more time preparing to write than actually putting fingers to keyboard. And if you do run into problems, a quick chat with our showrunner or a fellow writer could solve the issue.

That’s not to say it was a breeze. Interestingly, writing my first script for Z Nation was tricky because of the unusual fact that we didn’t have a pilot script…or any other scripts for that matter. I was in the strange position of writing episode six in a series where episodes 1-5 hadn’t been written yet. That made for some unexpected challenges. For instance, while I knew the continuity for the season-long plot and the broad strokes of the character arcs, the nuances of our characters’ lives hadn’t been developed yet.

I couldn’t reference, say, a running joke between our gang that started in episode two because there was no episode two. And if the writer in episode five got to the end of his script and suddenly decided to leave one of our gang with a bullet wound, I wouldn’t know about that until after I’d written mine. Sure, we talked ahead of time about all the stuff we planned to do, but one of the joys of writing is that you find new, interesting moments as you go along. And your characters are often revealed in those moments.

Read it all

Cargo 3120: The Making of a Sci-Fi Franchise

CARGO3120Entry 2 – From Ambition to Film School… to the U.S. Army?

by Daymond C. Roman

(EDITOR’S NOTE: The Story So Far starts HERE)

So, we finally realized that ambition can only go so far; we needed a film school. And after researching all the schools that were accessible to us we decided to go to The Academy of the Arts in San Francisco. I was sold when they said they had everything at their facility to make Jurassic Park! Only, there was no way that me or Aaron could afford it. And neither of us qualified for financial aid, each of our families made a little more than what would qualify. Again, like our last blog states, we just missed the cut.

But like I said, we really aspired to create our stories and had serious ambitions about making our dreams come true, which is why we made the decision to join the U.S. Army. They had a college fund that would more than pay for our tuition.

Sadly, Aaron and I did not keep in contact while we served in the military. I misplaced his home number (1996, no cell phones) and our leave dates never lined up. Also, I did little to nothing in the pursuit my show biz goals. I allowed myself to get side tracked, until screenwriting was only a notion in the back of my mind. I kept telling myself, “I’ll do it when I have time”. But, I never did.  And as time went on, I met the mother of my kids and even reenlisted for another term. All the while, I was still feeling unfulfilled and continued to feel that way until I decided to write again.

After film school was a bust, and allowing life to distract me I ultimately realized the important thing I should have done all along was write. It’s like they say: writers write, all the time. So, keep writing.

Next Week: Picking up as adults where we left off as kids