TVWriter™ Top Posts for the Week Ending 9/19/14


Here they are, the most viewed TVWriter™ posts during the past week:

Peggy Bechko: 4 Great Tips on Writing to the Magic

LB: What’s Up with Troy DeVolld?

Looking for TV Pilot Scripts?

Herbie J Pilato: Bewitched @ 50: Happy Silver Anniversary to Samantha and Darrin

The People – and Secrets – Behind Reality TV

And our most viewed resource pages were:

Writing the Dreaded Outline



The Logline

The Teleplay

Big thanks to everyone for making this such a great week, and don’t forget to read what you missed, re-read what you loved, and, most importantly, come back for more soon!

Love & Money Dept – TV Writing Deals for 9/19/14

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

  • Whit Brayton & Zack Rice (ZORRO?) are developing NBC’s MANHUNT, a show that “will dramatize the mounting tension of any entire city on the hunt for a fugitive roaming the streets….” (In other words, it’s an attempt to do a homegrown version of BROADSTREET. The munchberger can get behind that, but only if it stars David Tennant. How ’bout you?)
  • Scott Silveri (GO ON) is writing the pilot for a Fox comedy with a clever logline: “The project centers on a family that’s good at handling the challenges it faces, and excellent at creating new ones.” (Jake Kasdan is also part of this deal, so if you’re a NEW GIRL fan this unnamed baby could become your very special pal.)
  • Max Borenstein (GODZILLA) is writing a TV series sequel to MINORITY REPORT in which the lead Precog will be a woman. (Probably a young woman cuz hey, it’s TV. Could be good. Or, it could be another disappointment, like – you know – Max’s version of Godzilla, which had the monster onscreen for, what? Less than 20 minutes?)
  • This just in: Mariah Carey’s womanizing toy boy, Nick Cannon is now officially a writer, having made a deal for a book of children’s poetry called Neon Aliens Ate My Homework And Other Poems. (Hey, Nick, we’re rooting for ya cuz…cuz…damnit, man, I’m sorry, but I really can’t think of one reason why this would be a good idea other than TVWriter™’s commitment to newbies. Go forth and conquer, pal. Redemption may be at hand…not to mention a viable escape route from the Missus. Kids’ poetry pays a shitload of $$$, right?)

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


EDITOR’S NOTE: You would’ve gotten this yesterday if you were on the TVWriter™ email list. Just saying.


Look! It’s Larry Brody! We mean Alan Brady! We mean Rob Reiner! No, wait, Carl Reiner! Well, he’s a TV writer and he’s just like – gulp – some of us? Maybe? Huh? A little?



Thanks to the wonderful folks who bring us global warming (um, that would be ourselves, wouldn’t it? Always good to know where the responsibility lies), Autumn up here in the Pacific Northwest rain forest has been remarkably comfortable.

High 60s to mid 70s temperatures, sunshine. Lots of neighborly street get-togethers, impromptu music, and, of course, dog walking.

I’m grateful for the fine weather, and, I’ve got to admit, mostly because when life is this beautiful I can enjoy not writing instead of feeling guilty about it.

But even if I’m not writing, I’m thinking about writing. Stories in various stages of incompletion buzzing around in my brain. And plans for TVWriter™ making a lot of noise in there too.

Mostly I’m thinking of ways to bring the 5000 or so members and regular visitors to the site more entertainment and education about writing and showbiz as a whole. And I keep coming up against the same obstacles:


And, as Bruce Campbell might say, “moolah.”

Tell deal with the time problem, we’ve increased our staff with new Contributing Editors. You probably already know their names because they’ve been appearing at beautiful downtown for a long time. But now these generous and ingenious writers have put themselves out there, committing to writing for TVWriter™ on a regular basis.

So this is an official “thank you in advance” and acknowledgement of (in alphabetical order by first names cuz that’s how we do it on the interwebs, right?) of Cara Winter, Herbie J Pilato, and Peggy Bechko. Luv you all.

A couple more potential CEs are in the pipeline. We’re still waiting to see if they’re going to spread their wings and fly. (I’d call what I just wrote “the most twisted metaphor ever,” but considering the competition I’m afraid it’s not even close.)

The money problem is another matter. The more successful TVWriter™ gets, the more it costs to run. Bandwidth is much cheaper than it used to be, but it’s still not cheap enough for an operation with no advertising. We need to generate more income, but the only way I can see us deserving more $$$ is by giving our visitors more in return.

So here’s today’s question: How does a paid, bonus add-on to TVWriter™ sound? I’m not talking a lot of money here at all. Maybe a couple of bucks a month. $1.99, say…which could make a lot of improvements and expansion possible if enough people joined.

What kind of improvements? Well, the way I look at it, the greatest asset any creator/artist has is his or herself. In our case, that means myself. What I’m thinking of doing is making myself more personally available, using my trusty webcam to broadcast writing tips and TV series reviews on video that can be accessed only at the bonus site. And having monthly live and recorded question-and-answer sessions with bonus subscribers.

That’s just off the top of my head. I’m sure that with a little concentration we can all come up with more.

I want to make one thing very clear: If we add the Bonus Annex (or whatever we end up calling it) nothing that we currently do would be minimized or eliminated. This would be all about increasing the communication and interaction.

(Of course, another way we could improve our financial status would be for more of you to take classes at TVWriter University and enter the People’s Pilot and Spec Scriptacular contests and buy my books, but I’d never be so crass as to suggest anything like that.)

Bottom line: I’m asking everyone who reads this to give my proposal some thought. I welcome any and all suggestions at the usual place.

And while your thinking, please remember this: Your dreams once were my dreams, and I’ll do all we can to help you make them come true.




As y’all know, the 2014 People’s Pilot Competition has passed on to TVWriter™ history and is closed till January 1, 2015 – at which time we hope you’ll enter, enter, and then enter again cuz the future’s going to belong to somebody why not…you?

The 2014 Spec Scriptacular, on the other hand, is roaring toward the far turn. Early Bird Entry time is over, but for a measly fifty bucks per you not only get a chance to Win, Place, or Show in one of the premier online writing competitions, with a total of over $10,000 worth of prizes and bonuses being given away, you get Free Feedback from our Beloved Leader, LB, with each entry.

Considering the going rates at other places on the interweb, entrants are in essence getting 2/3 off retail for both the Feedback and the Competition even by paying full price. (Good thing TVWriter™ has such deep pockets, huh? Oh, wait–)

The Spec Scriptacular is open to spec drama and action scripts, spec sitcom scripts, and spec screenplays and scripts for specials.

Past Winners, Finalists, or Semi-Finalists of TVWriter™’s two contests are or have most recently been on the staffs of CHICAGO FIRE, CHICAGO PD, PERSON OF INTEREST, THE WALKING DEAD, RIZZOLI AND ISLES, GREY’S ANATOMY, NTSF:SD:SUV, ANIMAL PRACTICE, ROME, KILLER WOMEN, and THE LEFTOVERS.

To join them, or find out more about becoming one of that glorious in-crowd, click HERE.

Or just go to TVWriter™ and scroll down the right hand index to the Spec Scriptacular link.


The next TVWriter™ Advanced Online Workshop, which will be – wait for it – the 144th! – starts Thursday, October 2, 2014 and considering how quickly it fills up, there’s no better time to sign up than right now.

This is the workshop for writers who already know the basics and have a specific project to workshop with LB. The Advanced Workshop is limited to 5 students, so if you’re interested in getting in on the fun, you really should have a look-see at the Advanced Workshop info and sign-up form

And if all goes according to plan Larry Brody’s next Master Class will begin Wednesday, October 8, 2014.

The Master Class is the online workshop for professional level writers who want to spend an intense month perfecting your current work. That means you have a draft of 60 pages ready to be read and tweaked. Or revised, or, who knows, maybe thrown away, but we don’t want to scare ya. Let LB himself analyze your story, plot, and characterization just as he would if he were producing your masterpiece.

LB accepts a maximum of only 3 students at a time in this one so if you’re interested you definitely need to get more info and reserve your place ASAP.

Or find out more about everything TVWriter University is currently offering HERE.


The Importance of Good Dialog

by LB

One of the paradoxes of television writing is that although story is king, writers in television are judged by their dialog.

That’s because the plots for each series episode are usually constructed by the entire staff, with input from the stars, stunt co-ordinators, network personnel, and various assistants as well. But the dialog as it first appears on the page is up to the writer, and, in subsequent versions, a possible rewriter. The way to make an impression and stay on the project is to write good–make that “great” dialog.

In the context of a teleplay, good dialog means dialog that is concise, witty, and revealing of human character and emotion. It must be essential to the development of plot or “person” with nary an extraneous word. On the screen people always sound as though they’re saying more than they are which the writer has to make sure they say less.

Dialog should seem realistic, but the writers who rise to the top are those who know how to edit “reality” so that their characters are much more intense, much more clever and more expressive than real people usually are.

Know how sometimes after an emotional confrontation you wake up the next morning and think, “I should’ve said THIS instead of THAT?” Well, all your characters, especially your leads, should say what you would if second-guessing yourself.

Take your time and create exciting new turns of phrase, express things in a way you’ve never
heard them expressed before. The pot of gold is there for you if you deliver.

That’s it for now. Our work here is done. The rest is up to you.

Team TVWriter™

Larry Brody – Head Dood
munchman – Keeper of the Faith
Cara Winter, Herbie J Pilato, Peggy Bechko – Contributing Editors
Various Volunteers – Mucho Appreciated Scapegoats
Gwen Brody – Beautiful Dreamer

Love & Money Dept – TV Writing Deals for 9/18/14

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

  • Ann Biderman (RAY DONOVAN) is out as showrunner of her own creation, RAY DONOVAN, but will still get a salary as a “creative consultant,” and of course there’s that royalty thing. (Showtime isn’t saying why Ann was dumped, but word is that she let costs get too high and will be replaced by another member of the show’s writing staff, David Hollander. (Budget? Yer friendly neighborhood munchman don’t need no steenkin’ budget! Put me in there, coach. C’mon!)
  • Judah Miller (PLAYING HOUSE) is developing a comedy for ABC about two smart parents who learn the hard way that it takes more than intelligent to be a good parent to their child. (Now that I can relate to cuz…genius, yeah, baby, that’s munchie me! No wait, in real life I was the screwed up kid. Not that you’d be able to tell today. I mean, look how well I’m doing, why don’tcha?)
  • Jermaine Fowler (stand-up comic) is developing a semi-autobiographical comedy for ABC based on his life as a college dropout living with his estranged grandmother, who just happens to be an ex-cop. (Incredulity follows. No, I mean hilarity. No…sadly, I mean incredulity. What the hell, ABC? You ran out of Marvel comics to fill your air time with?)
  • Aaron Blitzstein (FAMILY GUY) is writing the pilot for KIDS IN AMERICA, an NBC comedy about – yes, it’s true – family life seen through the eyes of an aspiring rock star. (This one’s got Adam Levine aboard, instead of the Weezer dude I wrote about a couple of days ago, but still…)

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

Love & Money Dept – TV Writing Deals for 9/16/14

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

  • Mike Lisbe & Nate Reger (HOW TO BE A GENTLEMAN) have sold THE ONE THAT GOT AWAY, a comedy in the tradition of FRIENDS, to NBC. (So if you always wanted to write for FRIENDS, it’s time now to dust off your old specs and your kneepads to prostrate yourself before the NBC powers that be. I know that I am cuz it’s about time el munchero sold out, don’tcha think?)
  • John Glenn (EAGLE EYE) is developing an NBC drama series called THE POSSESSION OF MAGGIE GILL about, you know, weird shit involving a teenage girl not unlike the one we all remember so fondly from THE EXORCIST. (Hands in the air now. Who thinks this will go to a shot pilot? Who thinks this will make the schedule? Who thinks it’ll last longer than 6 episodes? If you raised your hand for any of the above, I’ve got a bet to make with you cuz gambling is better, ethically, than selling out, don’tcha know?)
  • Greg Mottola (who may or may not be related to Tommy cuz how many Mottolas do you think there are running around LA?) is adapting Conn & Hal Iggulden‘s comic guidebook THE DANGEROUS BOOK FOR BOYS for a comedy series at, yet again, NBC. (I’d love to have a snark or two about this project, but since I’ve never heard of anybody involved, nor the source material, all I can do is put my head in my hands and mumble, “Why? Why? Why?” Which means that I’d love to hear from anybody who knows more about this project than yer friendly neighborhood, oh, you know.)
  • Ted Gold is the new dude in charge of scripted series programming over at Spike. (And although I don’t know him, I’m going to google up on the guy and then give his office and say I do. A little creative mutual history can go a long way in this town. Who else is up for playing this game?)

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