Tomorrow is the Last Day to Get the People’s Pilot Early Bird Discount

Sunday, May 1, 2016, is the last day you’ll be able to get the $35/entry price for the 2016 People’s Pilot. Cuz after that, we’re in normal, fifty-buck mode.

The really cool thing about the Early Bird Discount is that you don’t have to upload your entry by that date. You can hold onto your script, or finish it, or revise it – or even start it – up to the very last minute entries will be accepted, and that last minute is 11:59 pm Pacific Time, November 1, 2016.

Sign in for your 2016 PEOPLE’S PILOT Early Bird Entry HERE.

Find out more about the People’s Pilot, one of the oldest and most respected writing contests on the web – including its rules, prizes, et al – HERE

Your future is, you know, IN YOUR HANDS.

Team TVWriter™

John Ostrander: Radical TV Surgery

Castle-TVby John Ostrander

It was announced this week that Stana Katic, who plays Detective Kate Beckett on the ABC seriesCastle, was not going to be asked back IF the series is renewed for a ninth season. The reason cited was cost cutting which also accounts for the shortened 13 episode season planned IF the show comes back.

The premise of the show is that mystery writer Richard Castle, played by Nathan Fillion, worms his way onto the NYPD and helps the detectives solve actual murder mysteries rather than the fictional ones he creates. Central to the series has also been his relationship with Beckett; he started by annoying her but, after as many complications and delays that the writers could conceive, they fell in love with each other, acknowledged they were in love, and finally married.

Which makes the loss of Katic/Beckett difficult to understand for me. The show may have been titled Castle, but its core was that relationship between the two leads. Yes, I originally tuned in the show because I had really enjoyed Fillion on Firefly (and the movie that concluded that series, Serenity) but it wasn’t the sometimes predictable mysteries or the often interminable story arcs that made me a big fan of the show. It was the relationships between the characters and central to it all was that relationship between Castle and Beckett. That WAS the show so far as I was concerned and has been since the first episode.

Look, I get the idea that the longer a show is on the more it costs to produce and ways need to be found to cut those costs. I would think that going to a 13 week season would do that but evidently not enough to suit the suits at ABC. However, it’s a big risk.

ABC and Fillion have both expressed confidence that the show can continue without Katic/Beckett but I’m not sure. One thing I have learned in comics over the years is that every time you make a big change in a title you run the risk of alienating the fans. The general reason for the gamble is that, hopefully, you will gain more new readers by making the change than the ones you will most certainly lose by making it. You don’t want to give readers a reason to stop reading.

Some titles seem immune to this for some reason. It almost doesn’t matter which creators are doing Superman, for example. The title is going to be there so long as DC keeps publishing. That’s less true for most comics, however, and even less true for most TV shows.

Could it work? Could ABC drop Katic/Beckett from Castle and hope for it to go on? Conceivably. There will be a curiosity value for some fans, at least for a few episodes. Might that bring in new viewers and/or old viewers who have been away? Conceivably. Much will depend on how they handle it starting with how they explain and then deal with the loss of Beckett. I don’t know how they’ll do it. I’m not privy to their thinking. It seems likely to me, however, that they will kill off the character. I suppose they could put her in an off screen coma but I suspect there will be a desire to close the door.

Given this great love the show has established between Castle and Beckett, Castle would have to grieve her death as part of Season 9. If they have him just go out and start romancing and/or bedding a flock of new ladies, that will be a problem for many viewers, myself included. I personally know what it’s like to lose someone you deeply love and that doesn’t get resolved in an hour minus commercials. That takes time. Castle himself would be changed by Beckett’s loss and, if he isn’t, that just trivializes the love affair that has been at the center of the show for eight seasons. It might even undercut the revenue that the reruns of the show generate on other channels.

ABC hasn’t definitively announced one way or the other if Castle is even renewed for that ninth year. My suggestion – don’t. If in order to bring the show back even for a shortened season they have to destroy the central relationship in the show, then don’t do it. Do something else. Let everyone involved go on to other work.

When Tom Mandrake and I were doing The Spectre at DC, we knew about a year ahead of time that the series would be ending due to slowly eroding sales. DC gave us the opportunity to end the book on our own terms and we were able to put a cap on it that made the entire run one story. The ending completed it.

Right now, the ones still watching Castle are the fans. Do the right thing, ABC. Don’t piss all over them. End the show and do it with some style.

It’s not always about the money.


John Ostrander is one of LB’s favorite writers in any medium. This post originally appeared in his most excellent blog at ComicMix.

We are the Writers of our own Lives

…Which behooves us to put at least as much thought into our very real choices as we do into the fictional choices of our characters. Think about it, as you watch this:

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Another well-crafted Ted Talk

A Few Words About Salesmen

Time now for an important public service message…hehe.

Ever wonder why the world seems so, erm, shitty these days? Politics? Entertainment? The arts? Mike Gold, editor-in-chief of one of our favorite sites, Comic Mix has been pondering. And when Mike Gold ponders….

hoverboardThe Future is Behind Us
by Mike Gold

A well-timed survey indicates two out of every three people do not trust self-driving cars. Amusingly, this survey was released just as a Google self-driving car in California became the first of its ilk to cause an accident in traffic. It hit a bus; thankfully, nobody was injured.

Well, gee. When we started our space program, a whole lotta rockets went blooie either on or shortly after leaving the launch pad. We’ve mostly worked that out, although statistically space travel remains just about the least safe way for humans to travel.

One of the top-selling gifts of the recently concluded holiday season (screw you, Donny Trump, itis the “holiday season”) was the hoverboard. This was a locomotive device that did not actually hover. However, it did have a tendency to burst into flames. Retailers pulled the product, and some refunds were offered.

Americans who are all to willing to buy a pig in a poke (screw you, Donny Trump; quoting Mussolini and not rejected the support of white separatists were the most honest things you’ve done sinceHector was a pup) rapidly created a nice black market for hoverboards. They still do not hover. They still burst into flames. And they’re still selling like hotcakes – particularly now that they are sold tax-free.

Then again, so are Donny Trump piñatas.

[The most recent] Academy Awards broadcast was the lowest-rated in eight years. According the the early demographics, this is because of a significant drop in white viewers. Hello? Is that because all of a sudden a lotta white people decided they no longer like Chris Rock? Maybe. Is that because they’re tired of hearing about dealing with racism?…

Read it all at Comic Mix

JJ Abrams Tells Us About His Mystery Box

In other words – some outstanding writing/directing tips here!

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Another Ted Talk

Procrastination, Impulsivity, TV and Thou

Yes, it’s true. All the problems we have not getting our work done – postponing, and postponing, and postponing again – would be solved if the TV and film writers who do indeed finish what they start would stop oversimplifying everything, dammit!

But don’t believe just us….

Now-Later-2532203You Don’t Have a Procrastination Problem, You Have an Impulsivity Problem
by Eric Ravenscraft

Procrastination is like bad signal or crappy Wi-Fi. Everyone deals with it, but most of us don’t understand how it works. Here’s the key: It’s not that you have a problem saying yes to the thing you’re supposed to be doing right now. The problem is you can’t say no to everything else.

Procrastination manifests itself in a variety of ways, but they all have one thing in common: they come from an impulsive tendency to do what feels easier, rather than the thing you know you should be doing. Some people get distracted by unimportant to-dos like cleaning the bathroom or doing the dishes instead of focusing on the important thing you should be doing right now. Others spend hours reading pointless stuff on Facebook, rather than being productive. Some even procrastinate because they have perfectly reasonable fears about the thing they’re putting off!

Whether it’s focusing on the important work, closing the Facebook tab, or dealing with a big looming problem, the procrastinator avoids the thing they know is better for them in the long run. The reason this happens is found in how your brain handles impulsivity.

Thanks to TV and movies, you probably think of an impulsive person assomeone who’s dangerous or takes a lot of risks. While risky behavior can be a symptom of impulsivity, the truth is more subtle. In reality, impulsivity simply means that you act immediately on your impulses. When the mood strikes you to do something, you do it. Your actions are largely dictated by whatever your most immediate desire is, regardless of the long-term consequences of that action.

As behavioral researchers Martial Van der Linden and Mathieu d’Acremontdetailed in a 2005 study, published in The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, impulsivity is generally characterized by four broad characteristics:

Read it all at Lifehacker