LB’s Poetry: Kid Hollywood Acknowledges His Co-Opting

by Larry Brody

NOTE FROM LB: 

In a way I didn’t realize when I first wrote it, the following poem commemorates the moment of my baptism as Kid Hollywood. So brave I was! So bold! So proud!

But, as I didn’t even think to ask myself at the time, of what? 

Kid Hollywood Acknowledges His Co-Opting

Kid Hollywood got his first fan letter

One day in ’72. It was an angry letter,

And its fury impressed him. “How dare you

Say a woman who’s pregnant and almost

Certain to have a baby with the same thing

Woody Guthrie had not have an abortion? How

Dare you write a script where she chooses to

‘See it through?’ Don’t you know what it’s like

To be a condemned one? Someone should

Come to your house in Hollywood and abort you!”

Immediately, Kid Hollywood wrote back an apology. He

explained that to his great shame and embarrasssment

Every word in his script had been rewritten

By the show’s producer, changing every line,

Of dialog, every idea, even the theme.

He explained that when he saw the result he

Had burned the producer’s version of the

Script in the fireplace of his new home

And sent the ashes back to the show.

A year later, after another TV series, violent and

Known for being chockablock with crime, aired a different

Script with the Kid’s name on it, a copycat crime was

Committed within a few nights. Every word, idea,

Concept, and meaning had also been rewritten,

But this time Kid Hollywood felt very proud.

His crime had been committed!

He had influenced behavior! He’d made a mark!

Still, there was one regret. He wrote his own angry

Letter, (yes, its fury impressed him)

To all the networks, asking, “How dare you not

Give me my credit, when you condemned the

Show on the Eleven O’Clock News?”


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 to me, ‘Art has to be free. If you create it for money, you compromise your artistic vision by trying to please those who are paying. If you don’t accept money, you can be yourself. Like your art, you too are free.’”

Who is the Navajo Dog? Keep coming back and you’ll see.

So How’s the 2016 Fall TV Schedule Shaping Up, Mrs. Lincoln?

A couple in love? Or are they holding on to each other for dear life?

A couple in love? Or are they holding on to each other for dear life?

by Rogelio Charles

EDITOR’S NOTE: Rogelio Charles, the Luis Miguel of wordsmithing, watches some Fall premieres so you don’t have to. Take it away, Rogelio:

My goal last week was to watch the complete opening episodes of at least four broadcast network shows.

I didn’t make it.

Here’s how far I got…and why.

Big Bang Theory:

It wasn’t funny. If that is the trajectory , then they have jumped the shark. Weird, mean, and stupid. Or, in case I haven’t been clear: This show has been shooting the same episode over and over with new details plugged into it for years. If they jumped the shark this time it’s no big deal because they’d already skinned it.

NCIS:

With the addition of new guy Wilmer Whatever, NCIS has come up with yet another television Latino stereotype seemingly designed to antagonize us. (By which I mean the Latin-American Community).

Also, I found myself wondering if there were new cameramen? The lighting, the shot set-ups and even Gibbs’ house and basement looked different than in previous seasons even though physically the sets were the same.

I also have to say that I believe the decision to focus on the new agents instead of on McGee and Bishop does a disservice to two stalwart regulars. Last season’s finale implied that McGee will be filling DiNozzo’s shoes, but he’s still chained to the computer while we get newbies Quinn and Torres.

As for poor Ducky, he wasn’t merely watered down, his presence was totally unnecessary. And Palmer and Sciuto seemed far too perky under the circumstances. And – oh hell, man, the only thing I liked in this episode was the JAG scene. So disappointing to this long time fan. Looking like the last season for my favorite Mark Harmon-fest.

NCIS New Orleans:

Watched the opening scene – sort of. I glanced at it as I left the room. Which proves how much I was trying to stick to my vow. God knows that’s more than I’ve ever been able to do before.

Bull:

This one’s a Maybe for me. My reaction to the opening was that Bull reminded me of the old Tim Roth show Lie To Me. That isn’t meant as praise.

As for initial character development, the little scene between juror Beth Johnson, and psychologist, jury consultant, hero Jason Bull (our recently so beloved NCIS hero Tony DiNozzo) where she analyzes him and tells him to stop analyzing people just so that he can get them to do what he wants and then he says he can’t stop – well, talk about a shocker!  [/sarcasm]

But it is Michael Weatherly/Tony Dinozzo up there on the screen, so I’ll probably watch the show a few more times just to make sure I’m justified in hating it. As Roberta (you don’t know her but that’s your loss) said, “I hope Weatherly doesn’t keep dressing in blue.”

6 Cartoons That Nail TV

And here they are, straight from the wonderfulness of the interwebs:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

See more cartoons by Mark Anderson and Randy Glasbergen

Only 5 Weeks Left to Enter the 2016 People’s Pilot!

FREE FEEDBACK For Each Entry! 

FREE STORYTELLING PATTERNS E-BOOK With Each Entry!

This is important, so let’s say it again: As this post is being written there are only 5 – that’s right, only 5 – weeks left till the 2016 PEOPLE’S PILOT COMPETITION closes to entries.

You’ve got from now until the very last minute (11:59 PM) of November 1, 2016 to pay your (measly) entry fee of $50 and upload your pilot script for any series intended for any electronic media – including of course TV – of any length and on any subject.

TVWriter™’s PEOPLE’S PILOT COMPETITION has been running online since the year 2000 – the dawn of the 21st Century.

Winners and high placing entrants have gobbled up a ton of TV writing work, including TV movie and mini-series writing and series staff jobs on cable, satellite, interweb, and broadcast TV. We’d love to see you join them.

Find out more about our prizes, rules, and all aspects of THE PEOPLE’S PILOT HERE

And if you have any questions, send ’em HERE

TVWriter™ Don’t-Miss Posts of the Week – Sept. 26. 2016

In case you’ve missed what’s happening at TVWriter™, the most popular blog posts during the week ending yesterday were:

Looking for TV Pilot Scripts?

Indie Video: Southeast Asia Animation Wants Your Opinion

Peggy Bechko’s World: Writers, Get Out of Your Creative Rut!

Kelly Jo Brick: The Write Path with VJ Boyd

Cassandra Hennessey: Why I Stopped Watching Fear The Walking Dead

And our most visited permanent resource pages were:

Writing the Dreaded Outline

THE PEOPLE’S PILOT

The Logline

THE PEOPLE’S PILOT: Enter

THE PEOPLE’S PILOT: Rules

Major thanks to everyone for making this such a great week. Don’t forget to click above and read what you missed. re-read what you loved, and while you’re at it do yourself a favor and ENTER THE PEOPLE’S PILOT. (Yeah, we’ll be saying this till the contest is over November 2nd cuz we really want you to get your careers soaring!)

Cassandra Hennessey: Why I Stopped Watching Fear The Walking Dead

boat

Sinking ship?

by Cassandra Hennessey

Oh, it pains me to write this, it really does; but I have not watched Fear the Walking Dead since its return in August.

Yes! Me; The Champion of the show since Season One, Episode One! Me; The one who was giving people grief on Twitter to have patience and let the show develop before judging it as “boring” or “not having enough walkers to make it interesting”! To be honest, I haven’t had the interest or the unction to continue as an avid audience member.

I know, it’s shocking to me, too.

And for the passed few weeks, I’ve wondered why I’m not setting the carpet on fire on Sunday nights, running to turn on the TV and tune in.

The elusive “why” hit me just now, as I was mulling my malaise towards the series over my second cup of coffee.

It’s characterization– or the lack thereof– that has made me so antipathetic toward this show.

Fear the Walking Dead’s characters HAVE NO CHARACTER!

Wait. Hear me out.

I understand that the show has no source material to draw upon like its predecessor; but that’s no excuse. With as popular a genre as zombie fiction is, there’s more than enough material out there to siphon from.

In Season One, the story was gripping in its realism with what I like to call the “small touches of 21st Century Tropes”– the YouTube video of the walker attacking the EMS worker; police shootings of walkers causing civil unrest for being mistaken instances of “excessive force”; missing children posters gradually appearing near the playground at the onset of the outbreak. These drew the viewer into the story with that sense of “What If?” realistic circumstances…

…And then they got to the boat. Once they got the cast onto the Abigail, I believe it was all bets off.

What could have really played as a “Twelve Angry Men” dramatic scenario with a ragtag group of perfect strangers in the confines of a vessel out to sea surrounded by unknown threats fizzled. I believe there could have been more tension on board– especially between Strand, Maddie and Salazar, who have the Type A personality traits of the cast.

This takes me back to my original thought about how characterization has been handled on both The Walking Dead and Fear the Walking Dead. Let’s examine the subtle and not-so-subtle nuances, shall we?

On The Walking Dead, we know Michonne is a badass with an eclectic appreciation for the arts. Remember the multi colored cat statue she just had to go back for, or the house where she removed the tarps from the hanging paintings, to peruse the artwork? We know she has a silly side and a penchant for Crazy Cheese.

Or how about Andrea’s  moral dilemma of taking the mermaid necklace from the mall to give to her sister, Amy? We found out three things in that scene very subtly; A) Andrea was tentative about taking the necklace without paying for it B) Rick realizing that on any other day, it would be considered larceny to simply take the necklace, but now in the Zombie Apocalypse, all societal norms have been cast aside and condoned Andrea’s taking it for her sister; and C) Andrea has a sister who really, really likes– and at one time collected– all things mermaid-related.

Or how about Carl? Growing up in the Zombie Apocalypse must suck. This kid has had to learn to shoot efficiently to survive while still being a kid enough to enjoy chocolate pudding and read comic books.

We could go on to discuss at great length Daryl’s relationship with his brother Merle, his dysfunctional childhood, and finding a sense of family in Rick’s group.

These nuances, these sprinklings of humanity are what Fear the Walking Dead sorely lacks.

We do know a few things; Daniel Salazar has a dark, sordid past. So does Strand. And that Travis is a pretty good mechanic in a pinch.

But do we care about these characters? About what happens to them? No, not really.

It’s disappointing, because I really was intrigued by Nick in Season One. I was like, “Wow, what an interesting angle; a junkie in the Zombie Apocalypse. Someone who’s wily and streetwise, manipulative and self-destructive. It’ll be interesting to see how he redeems himself and others during this ultimate test of endurance and struggle to survive…”

…And then, it seemed the writers simply FORGOT that Nick was a junkie. Gone were the withdrawals, the trawling for a fix. Not only that, but it seems that lately, they’ve tried to morph him more into Murphy from Z Nation. They’ve made him into the Walker King.

And can we talk about Maddie? You know what– never mind. Maddie spent most of Season Two berating Strand about what to do and where to go with HIS OWN BOAT after he was gracious enough to let her and her family come along to escape L.A.

So, there’s a two-fold problem here– not enough characterization and not enough likability. I know I wouldn’t want to be trapped anywhere with any one of these characters. Okay, maybe Travis. But that is it. I think that’s because Cliff Curtis is doing an incredible job portraying the Every Man character the best he can despite the material he’s been given and well, Travis for some odd reason reminds me of Chief Brody from Jaws. Just saying. He’s got a “Roy Scheider circa 1975” vibe going.

The other day when discussing the show, I couldn’t remember Ophelia’s name. I literally blanked on it. I’ve never done that with The Walking Dead. Even with minor characters.

And therein lies the problem. That’s HUGE. Not to remember a name of a character that has been there since Season One.

I remember Carol’s husband’s name. Ed was a piece of trash. Shane pummeled said piece-of-trash how many seasons ago? And how many episodes was Ed in?

That’s what I’m saying, folks. Characterization. Believe-ability. In Ed’s case it wasn’t likability– because he was a wife-beating, belligerent scumbag– but it was the sympathy for Carol and Sophie and giving the nod to Shane meting out an appropriate punishment that made him memorable.

If you’re wondering why I haven’t touched on the metamorphosis of Carol as a character– THAT is for an entirely different article. Actually, I would write about that in an entire chapter of a book!

As viewers, we were told that we were going to witness how a “21st Century Family Unit” was going to weather the storm and survive the Zombie Apocalypse.

But, by the Season Two mid-season finale, the family had been split up– Madison and Alicia escaped with Strand, Travis decides to stay behind with a gone-off-the-deep-end Chris, and Nick– who ventured off on a solo adventure in the wilds of Mexico, covered in entrails, masquerading as King of the Walkers …

That was the mid-season finale. And frankly, I wasn’t intrigued enough to watch what happened next upon its return. It wasn’t as gut-wrenching or emotional to provoke a “OMG, I can’t wait to see what happens next!” reaction. In fact, after Daniel Salazar’s apparent fiery demise, it was almost anti-climatic.

Now, I’m not going to merely bash the show without offering some thoughts of how to resolve this glaring problem with the writing, so here it is: MAKE US CARE ABOUT THESE CHARACTERS. Let us be able to identify with them more. You don’t have to show us the skeletons in their closets; just let us in on what makes them tick.

So far, they haven’t really had to struggle for food or water. Hell, they’ve been on a YACHT for a whole season. Alicia is a privileged, spoiled brat who appears freshly styled and caked with cosmetics; Chris is an emo-turned-psychopath. Madison is a bossy shrew. And Ophelia is underused and uninteresting. Have I missed anything?

Evidently not, because its viewership has been steadily on the decline since its return from Mid-Season Break. I’m not the only one who has opted out. Fear the Walking Dead has gone from premiering with 7.61 million viewers in 2015 to only 2.99 million viewers (September 4th, 2016’s episode). They’ve got to step up their game. The numbers should be a startling eye-opener to AMC that something is very wrong.

Some have speculated that it’s because there is no definitive “villain” on the show, but I don’t think that is necessarily the case. The problem goes much deeper than the introduction of a “discount Governor” or “Dime Store Neagan” could resolve. Again, if we don’t care about these characters, we won’t root for them as they struggle against whatever or whoever the obstacle is.

I’m not saying that we should know what Alicia’s favorite color is (though, in a purely psychological character-study sense, it might have embellished in the scene when they were rummaging through the luggage from the doomed Flight 462 to show some preference for color or style). It would have added to the “teenager” aspect of her character and maybe sparked some telling dialog between her and her estranged brother, Nick.

We see that Maddie’s a heavy drinker. Have her mention what her favorite beverage of choice is. Maybe mention that she used to raid her dad’s liquor when she was Alicia’s age. We get the feeling of her being unconventional and on the cusp of being inducted into the Hall of Badassery, but we’ve got no backstory to base our intuitions upon.

We’re fast approaching the conclusion of Season Two and have not gotten to truly acquaint the main characters to appreciate their personal plights.

I’m not going to be crass enough to suggest that there needs to be a change of command at the helm of this ship, but perhaps AMC would do best to find another showrunner who may correct the course and steer this vessel into better waters.

That being said, AMC has greenlit the show for Season 3 to air in April of 2017.

If you’re a fan of the show, what’s your take? How do you feel the show could be improved? Do you feel there’s a need for improvement at all? I’d love to know your thoughts!


Cassandra Hennessey is a TVWriter™ Contributing Writer. You can learn more about her HERE

Web Series: DAVID

Now this is what we call goddamn fucking funny:

Yeppers, kids, it’s true. We luvs us our disgusting decomposition.

In the series premiere of ‘David’ starring Nathan Fielder, David is told he has five weeks to live. Watch all five episodes here: http://sprdlx.co/David-Series

Super Deluxe is a community of creative weirdos making videos that are (we hope) more substantial than much of what you see on the internet today.

Written & Directed by: Dean Fleischer-Camp
Starring: Nathan Fielder, Jenny Slate, Chris Jonen, Nelson Cheng, Brandi Austin, Sally Berman, Noel Arthur, Tony Cronin, Savannah Zapata, Raquel Bell, Victor Carrera, Bill Walton
Production Company: MEMORY
Executive Producers: Riel Roch-Decter, Sebastian Pardo, Dean Fleischer-Camp
Produced by: Rachel Nedervel
Director of Photography: Lowell A. Meyer
Production Design by: Almitra Corey
Costume Designer: Natasha Noor
Original Music by: Will Wiesenfeld
Sound Design: Tim Korn & Keller McDivitt

FACEBOOK: http://sprdlx.co/1lMtTTs
INSTAGRAM: http://sprdlx.co/1YWKySU
TWITTER: http://sprdlx.co/1YWKHFW
TUMBLR: http://sprdlx.co/1Uk5jaQ
SNAPCHAT: https://www.snapchat.com/add/superdel…