WGAW’s Strongest Statement Yet Against the Comcast-Time Warner Cable Merger

Found on the Interwebs

Found on the Interwebs

In a statement the other day, Writers Guild of America, West president Chris Keyser got on the FCC’s case in a demand to “put a stop to this spate of merger madness,” speaking for the WGAW as the Guild submitted its formal opposition to the Comcast-Time Warner Cable, um, “madness” indeed.

The whole document is 71 pages of legalese, a language totally alien to writers and other creatives. But here’s the official gist:

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Calling All Writers—Games Are the New Frontier

We keep tellin’ ya: TV writers don’t have to just write TV. Take this teeny little opportunity, for example:

ocarina-of-time-640x360by Mary Lee Sauder

I live a strange double life, stuck between the diametrically opposed worlds of writing and gaming. When I go to an English class and mention that I’m a gamer, people treat it as a non-sequitur and the chatter moves on to the latest in an ever-growing list of efforts to get John Green to come to campus. But when I go to a game studies class, the conversation (not to mention the gender distribution) completely flips, and I get blank stares or condescending remarks if I try to defend story as an important part of games.

For all the talk of games being a burgeoning art form, these two camps just don’t seem to understand or appreciate one another. And who can blame them? Right now, there is simply no good outreach to writers from games like there is for film or television. A creative writing major graduating this year would have to work very hard and have a lot of other supplemental skills to get hired in the gaming industry, so why would it even be on the average student’s radar?

See, games and stories don’t work well together when they stick only to what they know. Pretty much any writer will tell you that a story has words and is meant to be experienced from beginning to end. But that’s not the strength of video games, so a writer needs to approach developing a game in a much different way. Today I Die has been called an “interactive poem” because it uses the player’s natural curious exploration to evolve the words onscreen in different ways, and the player’s actions reflect the subject of the story—that is, the struggle to tear oneself out of the pit of depression.

When a writer approaches a game as if it’s a film or a book—that is, a more or less linear narrative with established characters and motivations—the game won’t be stronger for it. The gameplay will probably have very little to do with the story, and the whole thing will come across as a lame knockoff of some imaginary movie or book that could’ve handled the material much better.

This isn’t to say that linear narratives and characters with actual identities have to go out the window. But the story and the gameplay should be developed together so that they complement each other, not separately so that one of the elements feels stapled onto the part that the developers actually cared about. I shouldn’t want to skip through endless cutscenes just to get to the exciting gameplay, or watch all the cinematics on YouTube because the actual game is irrelevant.

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Love & Money Dept – TV Writing Deals for 9/1/14

Latest News About Writers Who Are Doing Better Than We Are
by munchman

  • Jordan Belfort (the “inspiration” for THE WOLF OF WALL STREET) is developing a series described as “a MAN MEN-style TV show about the excess of WALL STREET in the 1980s for Brett Ratner’s company. (Cuz if there’s one thing TV needs in the 21st Century teens it’s a show projecting the values of an infamous drug consumer and convicted con artist. Nice to have such a bright light to help us get through these difficult times, eh?)
  • Justin Halpern & Patrick Schumacker (SURVIVING JACK) have sold a comedy based on a memoir by Col. Chris Hadfield, the well-known astronaut/internet video sensation. (Yeppers, it’s all about how much harder normal life on the ground is than being an outer space celeb. My enthusiasm is, um, well, how’s “nil” sound?)
  • Amy Holden Jones (BLACK BOX) is writing the drama pilot 10 BEACON HILL for ABC, described as “a medical procedural…about a brilliant team of doctors who take on the most difficult cases. (How does this differ from HOUSE? Dig it – the head of the team is an ultra-caring medical genius instead of a dick. Hmm, munchikins thinks that could be a welcome change.)
  • Andy Stern (newbie?) is writing a pilot for ABC about a female police psychologist who used to be a “real” cop herself. (And if that makes you wonder why your slightly more original ideas – whatever they are – keep getting turned down to the networks, keep this in mind: The producer of this series, and, I’m thinking, it’s intended star, is Ellen Pompeo, the star of GREY’S ANATOMY. Why aren’t I best buds with somebody who can get such a great vanity deal?)

Write in and tell me what you’ve sold today. TVWriter™ can’t wait to brag to all your friends. (And, more importantly, enemies. Hehehe….)

Peer Production: ROOMIESS

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What can we say? This new web series is just so darn cute that we can’t help but wish it the best.

And the theme song – whoa, it’s perfect ’60s TV. Or contemporary Disney Channel. They’re the same thing after all.

TVWriter™ minion prediction: This show and its creators, Edward Kiniry-Ostro and Sal Neslusan, are gonna end up in the Big Time. Soon.

Get in on the ground floor HERE.

Trying to Make Sense of ‘The Flying Nun’

Nope, sorry, impossible. Nobody can make sense out of THE FLYING NUN. Not even its loyal viewers back in the day. (None of the Team TVWriter™ minions was even born then, so we’re not responsible for this show’s unbelievable popularity. Nopers. Not even a little:

Sorry, old-timers, but TV Past ain't always better than TV today

Sorry, old-timers, but TV Past ain’t always better than TV today

by Pilot Viruet

From 1967 to 1970, ABC aired a strange little sitcom called The Flying Nun. The very existence of this show, which I discovered in passing just a few years ago, doesn’t make much sense at first. The title reads like a throwaway joke from an episode of 30 Rock, which routinely took clever potshots at NBC (and television in general) by expertly creating fake, empty programs that revolved around a hilariously straightforward title. The Flying Nun would surely fit right in with the fictional shows Tank It or, more appropriately, God CopThe Flying Nun isn’t a punchline, though. It was a very real show, and even a somewhat successful one, that spent three seasons detailing the adventures of, well, a flying nun.

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To be clear, she can’t actually fly. The premise, which is based on the book The Fifteenth Pelican by Tere Ríos, is as simplistic as it is silly: Sister Bertrille (Sally Field) is able to “fly” when the wind is right, thanks to a combination of her low weight (under 90 lbs) and her cornette. There are no explicit supernatural or divine elements at work, just Bertrille’s small frame and high wind speeds. After breaking up with her boyfriend, Bertrille decides to become a nun and moves from New York City to San Juan, Puerto Rico, where she lives with fellow nuns in a convent.

Throughout the series, Bertille converts people, solves mysteries, catches robbers, and helps orphans. Throughout the series, Bertille regularly flies around. Sometimes it’s necessary, like when she flies out to sea to help guide a lost fisherman to fish, but other times, she flies even when a simple ladder would suffice, like when she just needs to retrieve a kitten from a roof.

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