Posts TVWriter™ Wishes We’d Published First

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This week’s collection of recent articles from other websites about TV, TV writing, TV biz, etc., etc. is as diverse as its disparate origins can make it.

As usual, the plan here is for you to click on the headlines over the excerpts below and visit the site to read the posts in full…and if anybody asks, tell ’em TVWriter™ sentcha, okay?

TV Is Using Social Media Poorly, But We Have Ideas</>
by Steve Safran

As we look at the fall TV season, one thing is clear: The networks are largely failing at using social media to promote their shows and to interact with their audiences. Social media is a critical tool, especially for new shows hoping to find an audience. But very few programs are going beyond the bare minimum of having a modest social media presence. That’s not enough….

Writing the Next Chapter in Cuba’s Television History
by James O’Neal

Television broadcasting is nothing new here; actually it dates back to the time of the big post-World War II U.S. TV launch. Two Havana stations took to the air in the fall of 1950 and additional stations soon followed, providing coverage to most of this island nation. And just as in the States, national networks were established and eventually color television became a reality….

17 Resources For Writing About Troubled Fictional Characters
by Amanda Patterson

If you want to write about mental health issues, we encourage you to research the subject thoroughly and to approach experts in the field for advice. We are not experts, but we do have resources and articles on the site that you may find helpful when creating troubled characters in fiction….

From “Buffy” Extra To Creating An “Empire”: The Unlikely Journey Of Danny Strong
by Joe Berkowitz

Danny Strong started out frequently typecast as a nerd on shows like Saved by the Bell: The New Class and the Clueless TV series. Around the time of his low-key breakout moment on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, though, he began honing an entirely different skill set: screenwriting. By the time Gilmore Girls was wrapping up in 2007, he had sold his first screenplay….

That’s it for now. Seeya next week!

Web Series: ‘Whatever, Linda’

Not a web series for kids. Or by kids either, for that matter. This is BigTime pro stuff, all the way:

We found Whatever, Linda in large part through one of our favorite new websites, Stareable.Com.

Stareable’s avowed goal is to be the TV Guide of web series, and the site has the largest collection of shows of all genres, lengths, shapes, and sizes we’ve ever seen on the interwebs. If you’re a true believer in the future of indie TV, the site definitely is one to check out.

And even if you aren’t a big indie fan, we think you’re really going to like Whatever, Linda and its website HERE

  • Created and Written by
  • Hannah Cheesman
  • Julian De Zotti
  • Directed by
  • Matt Eastman
  • Executive Producers
  • James Milward
  • Kevin Saffer
  • Supervising Producers
  • Kathryn Rawson
  • Sabrina Saccoccio
  • Co-Executive Producer
  • Mackenzie Donaldson
  • Producers
  • Hannah Cheesman
  • Julian De Zotti
  • Creative Director
  • Pietro Gagliano
  • Technical Director
  • Ryan Andal

Cast

  • Linda Thoroughbred
  • Hannah Cheesman
  • Annabelle Nascimento
  • Terra Hazelton
  • Didi De May
  • Cara Ricketts
  • Pepper Bannerman
  • Martha MacIsaac
  • Drew Cashton
  • Mike Shara
  • Henry Sullivan
  • Brendan Gall
  • Aloysius Finkle
  • Julian Richings
  • Edie
  • Graydon Sheppard
  • Sheila Hardy
  • Sheila McCarthy

Peggy Bechko’s First Appearance on TVWriter™

by Team TVWriter™

It has come to our attention that 2016 has been Peggy Bechko’s fifth year of writing for TVWriter™. Her first appearance here was September 23, 2012, and inasmuch as we’ve already missed four anniversaries of  one of our 3 most popular contributors, we’ve decided to rectify that situation right now, before we, you know, forget.

Here then is something we think everybody will enjoy: Contributing Editor Peggy Bechko’s first TVWriter™ column, almost exactly as it appeared on what was for LB, Munchman, and so many thousands of TVWriter™’s regular visitors, a singularly wonderful day.

Happy Anniversary(ies), Peggy!


Peggy Bechko: Writing Tips From One of TVWriter™’s Favorite Writers

My good friend Larry Brody, head honcho here at TVWriter™ seems to think my input on writing might be a welcome thing – so I’m happy to oblige.

I think as writers we all hear a lot of ‘tips’. How to do this, that and the other. You know, kind of nuts and bolts sort of thing. I also believe writers get a lot of that basic advice everywhere, so I think I’ll take a different direction and use broader strokes. We’re going to skip the grammar, punctuation, spelling thing and hit on other topics. I mean, English is the basic tool of communication. I hope you’ve learned it. If you haven’t, then do it. Lots of classes and information online and at local community colleges. Enough said on that subject.

So what am I going to talk about here in the way of tips?

1. A writer writes. Sounds simple? It is. It’s also hard. But the fact of the matter is, if you’re a writer you’ll be writing…a lot. I don’t care what kind of a writer you are. This is one size fits all. So don’t talk about it. Do it.

2. Don’t be afraid to shock. Okay, your Mama taught you good manners, you don’t like to make a scene, yadda, yadda, yadda. But, as a writer that needs to be set aside – at least some of the time. In fact, quite a lot of the time. Writing a story, creating fiction, whether screen script, novel or short story, is a condensation of life. There’s lots of stuff in life that’s just shocking naturally. And, really, it gets attention. Doesn’t have to be big shocks, can be small shocking. But to keep eyeballs firmly attached to your work, well, something startling needs to happen. Lunch at the kitchen table with no zip doesn’t cut it.

3. Go to the dark side. Dig deep into your own psyche and uncover the characteristics and traits you really don’t want to show the world. Then put them on full display in your book or screen script. Oh, and you don’t need to let folks know that’s really you.

4. Keep yourself physically fit. Really. No kidding. Get exercise. Move. Do other things you love that involve getting your butt out of your chair in front of the computer. Seriously. If you’re fit you feel better. If you feel better you write better. Try a stand-up desk. Do something! Get moving. If you don’t, you’ll pay the price. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

5. Rethink Normal. I mean what the heck is normal anyway? What was ‘normal’ some time back is no longer normal now. It’s kind of like trying to define crazy. Crazy really is in context to the society in which one lives. Normal is along those lines, but a bit broader. “Normal” weather isn’t ‘normal’ in many places any more. Societal views change with the passage of time. Don’t think you have to be stuck with normal or even that you really know what normal is. Be curious, open, and ready to use whatever you discover to keep your writing fresh and original.

6. Be yourself. Yes, you. Write in your voice. Don’t think you have to imitate someone else. Yes, at times you’ll write parallel to someone else. It’s a weird phenomena that happens. Keep writing and never, never give up.

Now I’m going to take my own advice and go work on my novel, or was that script…whatever…I already took my morning walk.

About Peggy Bechko:

I’m a freelance writer with a special love for fiction by day and jewelry creator by night I share my home in Santa Fe, New Mexico with my husband, three dogs and a bird. You can see my new young/new writer help book called “Out of Thin air” online at http://amzn.to/OUuwT3 and check out my jewelry creations at my etsy shop at
http://www.etsy.com/shop/SilverStreak

Web Series ‘Charles, By the Way’

Here’s one of the best ways we can think of for anybody to spend just under a minute:

Did you watch the video above? Then you know the truth of that leadoff sentence.

Some words we would use to describe our new favorite web series:

Fascinating

Real

Funny

Sad

Touching

Beautiful

Frightening

Wow

In other words, without stretching from its basic premise of being the story of “a curly-haired boy looking for love at the bottom of an empty coffee mug” Charles, By the Way manages to encompass the entirety of young adult human existence.

It may even be bringing us “old adult human existence” as well, but since this TVWriter™ minion isn’t at that point in life there, I can’t really say.

CLICK ON THIS SENTENCE to see more

John Ostrander: Siddown and Shut Up!

cyberbully-fist-springsteen

by John Ostrander

There has been a bit of tension since the surprise victory of Donald Trump on election night. There are many on the Left who are vociferous in not liking or accepting the outcome, and there are plenty (not all) on the Right whose attitude appears to be “We won, you lost, get over it.”

A couple of incidents stand out. Vice-President Elect Pence attended a performance of the musical Hamilton on Broadway. Some of the audience booed him and, during curtain call, the cast read a (I thought) polite letter explaining their concerns about the upcoming Trump/Pence Administration. I’ve seen objections that doing so was rude, out of place, and (in the opinion of the President–Elect) it needed an apology. There are those on the Internetverse who evidently believe that politics have no place at a Broadway musical; Pence was there to be entertained, not lectured, and the cast should just sing their little ditties and behave themselves.

Some Trump supporters declared they were going to boycott Hamilton, a feeble threat in that a) it’s theater and they wouldn’t be caught dead in a live show, b) it’s sold-out for the next two years, and c) Hamilton is already a political statement, using a variety of musical styles (including hip-hop) and color-blind casting.

I’ve seen different artists have also made statements either on Facebook or Twitter, including Sarah McLaughlin and Bruce Springsteen, and have been verbally pummeled by trolls. I saw one posting regarding Springsteen that said he should just sing his little songs and shut up. Did this person ever listen to Springsteen? There are those who think that the song Born In The U.S.A. was a nationalistic or even jingoistic anthem. They might have listened to the chorus, but they ignored the verses.

Art is not merely there to entertain you. Art is meant to challenge, to show different perspectives, to introduce new ways of thinking and feeling. The best way to open a mind is through the heart and art is the best way to do that. A closed mind comes from a closed heart.

A song, a drawing, a story, a dance, a touch of theater – these can all open heart and mind. It’s why authoritarian regimes always look to control and dictate the arts, to turn it into propaganda; the arts are dangerous. They should be. That’s part of their value to society. They can challenge established notions and perceptions, in small ways as well as large.

Some of the more virulent responses to artists dissent on Trump that I’ve seen are disdainful. They denigrate the artist and the work. “Siddown and shut up!” they seem to say. “Our side won and we don’t want to hear it! We don’t want to put up with whining little babies!” Some even go misogynistic suggesting those that don’t support the manly Trump are bitchy little girls. (Yes, I’ve seen that, too.)

These are all examples of cyber-bullying. They seem to believe they can make others shut up. They’re predictable, they’re pathetic, and it won’t work. The bullies don’t get it; this is what artists do – they speak up, they challenge, they question. It’s in the DNA. Donald Trump will need to grow a thicker skin and not get into Twitter wars with musicals, Saturday Night Live, and stand-up comics. He won’t win and he won’t look good losing.

The next four years are going to be interesting.


John Ostrander is one of LB’s favorite writers in any medium. Don’t forget to read his most excellent blog at ComicMix, where this piece first appeared.

Cartoon: ‘Personal Space’

Grant Snider’s insights keep getting deeper and deeper:

personal-space-by-grant-snider

 

Do You Know What Your Screenplay Option Contract Really Says?

Time now for some hardcore advice on the business of show business. And we can think of no better source to turn to than Stage 32:

third-party_option_key

Understanding The Option Agreement For Your Screenplay
by Wallace Collins

Many writers dream that someday their story or script will garner interest from someone who wants to develop it into a film or TV project. Usually, the first step is when that someone, maybe a producer or a production company or even a studio, offers the writer a contract known as an option agreement. As with all such matters where art meets commerce, I always advise that if you are asked to sign anything – other than an autograph – you should have your lawyer review it first. Every writer should have a literary agent and a lawyer advising them about their business dealings once they get to this stage of the process, where the creative spills over into the business world.

An option agreement at its most basic is a contract whereby the writer grants someone, for a period of time and for a payment, the right to make a film of the writer’s screenplay. The three main material issues that usually arise in negotiating such a deal are the length of the option period, the amount of the option payment and the purchase price if the project comes to fruition. How each of these issues will be resolved will vary depending on the negotiating leverage of the respective parties (i.e., whether the writer is a beginner or has had prior success in the industry and whether the producer is an experienced player or just a fledgling production company trying to get traction).

An option agreement will designate an ‘option period’ or length of time granted to a producer or studio to commence production of the project. It can range from six months to two years, or longer, depending on the negotiations. Such agreements frequently include additional periods of time for the producer to extend the length of the agreement in consideration of additional payments to the writer….

Read it all at Stage 32