Larry Brody’s Poetry: ‘TV Writing Success in a Nutshell’

“Isn’t she lovely? Isn’t she wonderful?”

TV Writing Success In A Nutshell

by Larry Brody

NOTE FROM LB: 

Recently rediscovered this little epic written many years ago as I tried to put myself into the head of a writer-producer I used to work for, a man who continually surrounded himself with the latest symbols of his elevated estate. I wanted to know what the fact that he was at the time undisputably the most successful TV series creator in history really meant to him. The result taught me an important lesson: “Stay out of other people’s heads!”


TV Writing Success In A Nutshell

The limo driver hates me. He pulls

Away while I’m still on the street

Bending to slide inside the car. When he realizes

His mistake, he stops and glares, then

Makes himself apologize while he

Waits for me to get in.

The limo driver hates me, but I love the limo anyway.

Longer than a jet. And plush, with big seats facing

Front and rear, television, a bar with crystal glasses,

Champagne on ice, two different telephone lines, and a Fax.

A better stereo than in any home. Windows of

Tinted glass that let me peer out while no one else

Can look in.

I love the limo because it works so well.

The greatest construction tool a man’s ego can know,

It digs an unbridgeable chasm between roots and

Blossoms, past and future, success and failure,

I and thou.

“I Am That I am,” said the Lord, and know what? The

Limo says it too. “I am that I am,” and “Fuck you.”

My limo driver hates me, but I love my limo anyway.

It salves my tormented psyche, and keeps the

Undeniable away.


Larry Brody is the head dood at TVWriter™. He is posting at least one poem a week here at TVWriter™ because, as the Navajo Dog herself once pointed out, “Art has to be free. If you create it for money, you lose your vision, and yourself.” She said it shorter, though, with just a snort.

LB: At Last! The Real Differences Between Writing Film, TV & the Printed Word

by Larry Brody

One of my favorite blogs is ComicMix, which quite simply is the most more interesting and best written and edited sources of comics industry information on the net. (You may have noticed that TVWriter™ regularly features columns by two of Comic Mix’s glorious writers, John Ostrander and Dennis O’Neil.)

I admire the blog’s entire staff for its varied comic book work and its amazing insight into creativity as a whole. Today’s case in point is the most recent column by CM’s Marc Alan Fishman, one of the creator-partners at indie comics company Unshaven Comics and a force to be conjured with indeed.

“Game On, Comics Off,” the particular column in question is a look into the relationship between video games and their comic book spin-offs as Marc discusses why the comic book versions of hugely successful games like World of Warcraft, Assassin’s Creed et al so often end up tanking when it comes to sales.

It’s quite a perceptive analysis, but that’s not a subject that TVWriter™ has much to do with. What knocked me out, as we used to say back in the days of Frank Sinatra and the ratpack, was an absolutely spot on throwaway paragraph that positively screamed, “Epiphany! Epiphany!” and which I think all of us who write TV, film, and prose fiction of any kind should take to heart.

Here’s The Paragraph To Always Remember:

When a book becomes a movie, the movie must drop nuance and backstory for increases in action and visual exploration of settings. When a movie becomes a TV show, it drops the quality of the settings, and becomes stifled by commercial breaks interrupting story. When a TV show becomes a movie, it loses the ability to explore nuanced characterizations afforded to longer interactions across multiple episodes.

Got that? Read it again. And again. The bottom line here is that Marc has answered, clearly, succinctly, and incredibly accurately, the age old fan question: “But why isn’t the [film] [TV show] [book] more like the [book] [TV show] [movie]?” in a way that not only is easy to explain to fans but also clarifies the adaptation process for everyone involved in writing said adaptations.

In other words, if you let Marc’s words roll around in your head and become fully absorbed, the odds are very, very good that the next time you attack an adaptation project the writing is going to be not only better but easier because you’ll have a finer grasp on what it is you have to do.

And anything that makes the world’s most difficult creative endeavor (AKA writing) easier is to me as important and sacred as the most revered pronouncementfrom, yeah, God.

Thank you, Marc Alan Fishman, from the bottom of my creative soul.

And as long as we’re talking about it, why not check out the full column HERE ?

Larry Brody’s Poetry: 2 Short Poems

For reals! Custom made armor at http://dragoonslaircosplay.deviantart.com/

by Larry Brody

NOTE FROM LB: 

2 poems today because I got a deal on them. (That short introduction was based on an old joke about why Moses came down from the mountain with two stone tablets instead of one.) Truth is that coming up with two poems instead of one is no bargain brain move by a longshot. For their creator, it’s double the feelings in at least double the time. Hope you enjoy:


If We Prepared For Life As We Prepare For War

If we prepared for life as we prepare for war,

What wonders would we miss,

Blocked out by our armor?

What strategies would protect our souls?

If we prepared for war as we prepare for life,

What victories would be lost

While our hearts were won?


You Don’t Die Unless You Want To

You don’t die unless you want to.

Anyone who’s come close knows it’s true.

You don’t die unless you want to,

And have nothing else to do.
You can’t live unless you want to.

Those who’ve come close know it’s true.

You can’t live unless you want to,

Or are damned to be one of a sad, sad few.

Larry Brody’s Poetry: ‘We Played The Game Of Who Loves Who More’

No, this isn’t a love poem to a dog. But some feelings are too intense for me to expose as anything but metaphor.

by Larry Brody

NOTE FROM LB: 

As a TV writer, I once worked for a studio head who absolutely forbade the verbal expression of positive emotion (although he loved people shouting “I hate you!”). As a poet, I have no such boundaries:


We Played The Game Of Who Loves Who More

We played the game of who loves who more.

I vowed eternal troth.

She countered with her complete devotion.

I parried with memories of a life together long ago.

She went right to total admiration

For not only my looks but my brain.

I told her she had my adoration, and

That I loved when we talked even more than

When we made love.

At this she paused, and smiled the smile

I loved more than my life.

“Prove it,” she said, and that smile so widened

I knew it would be better to lose.


Larry Brody is the head dood at TVWriter™. The poem above is from his second book of poetry, The Return of the Navajo Dog, which is available…well, nowhere but on this blog, actually, because it’s long out of print. LB is posting at least one poem a week here at TVWriter™ because, as the Navajo Dog herself once pointed out, “Art has to be free. If you create it for money, you lose your vision, and yourself.” She said it shorter, though, with just a snort.

Larry Brody’s Poetry: ‘Of Dreams, And Treasures, And Needs

by Larry Brody

NOTE FROM LB: 

It’s recurring dream time! We all have them. All I’ll say about this one is that over a great many years and a great many illuminating night visions, it has proved to be the most powerful of them all.


Of Dreams, And Treasures, And Needs

Last night I dreamed the treasure trove dream,

You know the one. Usually, I’m walking some

Exotic street, filled with spiced smells and fringed gowns.

Then I spy a little shop off the road, dark, maybe even

Closed. I peer through the window, and gasp, because all

That I want is waiting for me inside.

In the usual dream, I bang on the door ’til a strange

Man or woman arrives. He or she grumbles, and pouts,

But my urgency speaks, and soon I’m grazing

The shelves. Secrets untold! Mysteries solved! Puzzles

With explanations galore! Judge Crater’s lostabouts

Found, the Kennedys’ killers, and more. Why is there

Evil, why is there good, is God or ain’t He—all there.

I gather my treasures, go to the counter, find my wallet

Is bare.

But last night was different. Last night was unique, the

Blue Plate Special of dreams. I was home, in my

Living room, sitting amid the mundane souvenirs of

The day, Time Magazine, TV GUIDE, People, the

Literature of my parents and friends. Then, on the

Arm of the couch there it was. A small book, and

Old, worn from a thousand hands, and eyes, and

Years, title gone from its burnished brown cover,

Glue worn from the crumbling spine. I opened the

Book, and discovered my life’s quarry, the Answers

To all that was, is, and will be. No shop, no

Man or woman, no shelves, no need for my wallet,

This was between the slim volume and me.

I put the book back between Sports Illustrated and

Newsweek, told myself I’d have to catch up on my

Reading some time. The joy is the walk, and

The gasp, even the failure, not in the knowledge

In mind.


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, “Art has to be free. If you create it for money, you lose your vision, and yourself.” She said it shorter, though, with just a snort.

Larry Brody’s Poetry: ‘Kid Hollywood Returns To The Scene Of The Crime’

The real Mulholland Drive

by Larry Brody

NOTE FROM LB: 

After over two decades of taking – and giving – abuse as a television writer and producer, I left my Hollywood life behind and trekked (by SUV, of course) to the Southwest, tracking the magic I’d long believed in but never been part of. Thanks to the Navajo Dog, I found a path that was good and true. But sometimes a man needs a break, you know? The following happened during a short visit to – well, the title tells it all:


Kid Hollywood Returns To The Scene Of The Crime

Three of us drove up toward Mulholland that night,

My friend the wild Indian, the Hopi elder, and I.

It was just before dusk, and we were going to

See a TV writer whose career I had started

Some years ago. We wanted dinner, and a place

To sleep. A spigot would have been nice. We

Needed neither of those things, because by then

Even I had learned to fend for myself, and sneaking

A meal, or three into a motel room for one was

Something we all could accomplish with ease.

As we reached Mulholland, my friend the wild

Indian pointed, and shouted out. A deer was

Clambering up from the side of the hill, followed

By a full dozen more. I stopped as bucks and does

And fawns circled our borrowed car. My friend the

Wild Indian and the Hopi elder gazed at the deer

Intently, their bodies seeming to vibrate with

Concentration, and a full ten minutes passed

In the most natural silence. Then the first deer turned and

Ran back out of sight down the slope, the others

Following quickly. In mere seconds, it was as if the

Deer had never been with us. The Hopi elder turned

To me. “Did you hear them?” he asked.

I shook my head.

“But you know they were speaking?” the elder said,

And I nodded. “There was power here,” said my

Friend the wild Indian, Hopi and Lakota sharing the

Strength. “They were sent as messengers to speak

For the Great Spirit, to offer their counsel and their

Advice.”

“I heard nothing,” I admitted.

“But you felt?” they both said.

“Oh,” I said, feeling it again, “I felt.”

The elder and the wild Indian nodded,

And were silent the rest of the

Way. After dinner with the TV writer and his

TV producer wife, I told them about the deer

Appearing in the middle of the Valley like ghosts

from the city’s long-forgotten past.

“There’s a preserve about half a mile away,” the

TV Producer wife said, “and when they’re

Hungry the deer come over here at sunset

And nibble on people’s bushes.” It was all very

Mundane, and unimportant, and about as real

As the blacktop they’d just put on their driveway.

My friend the wild Indian looked at the Hopi Elder
,
and the two of them shrugged. I did the same.

Magic is where you find it,

Even in the concrete canyons of L.A.


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, “Art has to be free. If you create it for money, you lose your vision, and yourself.” She said it shorter, though, with just a snort.

LB: ‘Moonlight’ Writer Shuts Down the Hollywood Bullshit

by Larry Brody

As I said on Twitter last week, my Oscar favorite for this year is Moonlight. I’m rooting for it for Best Picture, Best Screenplay, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actor, you name it.

In other words, I’m absolutely recommending that everyone reading this post run out and see the film. But if you need further incentive (oh hell, even if you don’t), you should watch this interview with Tarell Alvin McCraney, the writer whose play of the same name is the basis for the film.

McCraney’s been there. He knows.