Diana Vacc sees “Sully”

by Diana Vaccarelli

*Warning: this review may contain spoilers!*

sullyFrom Blockbuster/Tentpole Season to Award Season. The earth keeps turning, and Hollywood’s studios are putting out their best work as each tries to garner the top awards.

Sully tells the true story of the “Miracle on the Hudson” when  pilot Chesley Sullenberger became a hero after he made an emergency landing of his limping jetliner on the river and saved everyone on board.


  • The acting by Tom Hanks and Aaron Eckhart as Capt. Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger and his Co-Pilot Jeff Skiles kept me engaged and rooting for the characters. Their chemistry as friends and co-workers completely worked. I definitely felt that they’d been working together for years.
  • The story was particularly interesting because of one of the most controversial things about it: The addition of fictional material regarding the FAA investigation of the landing. The film has gotten some static for supposedly “over-emphasizing” the idea that the investigators were “targeting” Sully, but for me this definitely amped up the tension. Literary license in action!
  • The Direction by Clint Eastwood made me feel as though I was a part of the flight and its aftermath. This fellow knows his stuff. I foresee a big future for Mr. E.


  • The pace of the film was slow and the focus drifted all over the place. The film kept backtracking from the investigation to the flight and then back again, over and over, and at times it was way too confusing.

Overall, I give this film 3 out of 5 stars.  Interesting but unfocused. (Maybe that reminded me too much of my own life?!)

HAPPY AWARDS SEASON! Enjoy the Movies!

2016 PEOPLE’S PILOT Closes in 6 Weeks!

From Today Till November 1st – how time flies!

FREE FEEDBACK For Each Entry! 


If this post looks familiar, it’s because it looks very, very similar to one we published last week. The only differences are the timeframe its about and the countdown clock above. Because as this is being written there are only 6 weeks are left till the 2016 PEOPLE’S PILOT COMPETITION closes to entries. Which we’ve got to get very, very serious about it now.

You’ve got from now until the very last minute (11:59 PM) of November 1, 2016 to pay your (measly) entry fee of $50 and upload your pilot script for any series intended for any electronic media – including of course TV – of any length and on any subject.

TVWriter™’s PEOPLE’S PILOT COMPETITION has been running online since the year 2000 – the dawn of the 21st Century.

Winners and high placing entrants have gobbled up a ton of TV writing work, including TV movie and mini-series writing and series staff jobs on cable, satellite, interweb, and broadcast TV. We’d love to see you join them.

Find out more about all aspects of THE PEOPLE’S PILOT HERE

Not Another Love Story – Compulsory Heterosexuality on Screen


by Anansi

Mary: I’ll bet Romeo marries his Juliet.
Jimmy: They have a baby…
Mary: …and make lots of friends!
Mary & Jimmy: That’s prob’ly the way the play ends.

Here’s a story. There was a boy, and there was a girl. Can you fill in the rest? Did you think ‘they get together’? On TV and in film, most of the time, you’d be right.

The male and female leads almost always have sex or get into a romantic relationship, whether they stay together or not. You can identify those who are ‘tapped to be a part of the romance’ long before they ever cement their relationship.

If not the leads, you can be damn sure some guy is going to get together with some girl in the pool of secondary characters. It can occur with little to no previous interaction between the characters. It will occur in nearly every story you can name.

This is compulsory heterosexuality on screen.

Compulsory heterosexuality is a term coined by Adrienne Rich. It is the notion that society dictates to us that all people are inherently straight (especially women). It differs from heteronormativity in one key way: it proposes that heterosexuality is not only presented as ‘the norm’, but it is enforced as such.

How is it enforced? By presenting monogamous heterosexual relationships as natural without ever examining whether that is actually true. In other words, we are told that being attracted to the ‘opposite sex’ is natural. When feelings arise that do not fit within that mold, they are cast out, ignored, or misinterpreted in order to serve a notion whose only claim to truth is ‘because we said so’ and ‘that’s what we’ve always thought’.

Television and film contribute to the continuation of compulsory heterosexuality. Television is reflective of the world around us and projects what it could be. It’s a feedback machine. We learn from television and television learns from us.

Television and film present what is expected of us as the ‘norm’ (often unthinkingly). Everything that does not conform to that supposed ‘norm’ is ‘deviant’ and therefore an undesirable reaction to ‘the norm’.

In this way, compulsory heterosexuality is self-perpetuating. You don’t need to explain to anyone that heterosexual relationships, and all that come with them, are deemed normal when you are consistently bombarded with them since birth.

What’s the problem?

It creates lazy storytelling and actively detracts from storylines that otherwise would be better off without it.

It enforces gender roles (that disproportionately harm women) because heterosexuality as a construct has these built in.

It undermines friendship and cooperation between men and women and contributes to a more adversarial relationship between sexes.

It erases, isolates, and hurts LGBT people by painting them as ‘deviant’, ‘abhorrent’, or ‘non-existent’ against a false and artificially constructed ‘normal’.

It disallows people from getting to know themselves and their desires organically.

We begin with WHIP IT. This is an example of how forcing heterosexual romances into every story is bad for storytelling and undermines other relationships.


Who thought this was a good idea? Is there no chlorine in this pool?

This is an older example, but one which I recently watched, so we’re going with it. Make no mistake, this type of thing is showing no signs of dying off in the current time, I just have no patience for it nowadays.

WHIP IT is about a southern girl named Bliss whose mother wants her to be a beauty queen. Bliss goes along with it for a while until she discovers roller derby in all of its knockdown tattooed glory. Bliss joins the worst team in the league: the Hurlscouts.

She toughens up and finds her power in the rink. She is eventually able to assert her own identity and desires without destroying her loving relationship with her mother.

What does a boy in a band have to do with this? Nothing. But he’s there anyway.

Bliss meets a boy to whom she is immediately attracted. We know right away that they will get together. Notice how we assume a love interest will reciprocate. We know where things are going right off the bat. They date. He may or may not cheat on her. She eventually leaves him after burning his clothes.

The trouble with this is that it has absolutely no bearing on Bliss’s character arc. In fact, it detracts from the story because it takes up time that could have been dedicated to where the story’s focus should have been: Bliss’s gradual ascent to being more assertive with her family through her relationships with the Hurlscouts.

This story would have been better off without a romance, but compulsory heterosexuality dictates that we must always have a heterosexual romance or we’ve failed to reinforce its regime. We’re so focused on this type of relationship that we shoehorn it into every story we make. We can’t conceive of a single story with it.

This line of thinking has produced a number of terrible and poorly constructed on screen couples that are simply there for their own sake. These romances are easy to predict, don’t affect the main story in any meaningful way, and in cases like WHIP IT, they harm the overall narrative by taking time from more important relationships.

Next Article…. ‘Love Interests’.

Anansi is the pseudonym of a writer who knows that if she uses her real name to talk about subjects like this he’ll get his head handed to him faster than Vito Corleone put the horse’s head in that idiot pervert producer’s bed.


Congratulations to the new members of the Board of Directors of the Writers Guild of America, West:


TVWriter™ Don’t-Miss Posts of the Week – Sept. 19, 2016

In case you’ve missed what’s happening at TVWriter™, the most popular blog posts during the week ending yesterday were:

Peggy Bechko’s World: Writers, Get Out of Your Creative Rut!

Looking for TV Pilot Scripts?

LB:”Star Trek” storyboards? Oh my!

Indie TV: Here’s a Scene from “Sangre De Cristo”

Empty Promises: My experience submitting scripts to Amazon Studios

And our most visited permanent resource pages were:

Writing the Dreaded Outline


The Logline



Major thanks to everyone for making this such a great week. Don’t forget to click above and read what you missed. re-read what you loved, and while you’re at it do yourself a favor and ENTER THE PEOPLE’S PILOT. (Yeah, we’ll be saying this till November 2nd cuz we really want you to get your careers soaring!)

Posts TVWriter™ Wishes We’d Published

This week’s collection of recent articles from other websites about TV, TV writing, etc., etc., etc., including a couple about writing for television in places we in the U.S. don’t normally think about.

The plan here is for you to click on their headlines and visit the sites and read the posts in full…and is anybody asks, tell ’em TVWriter™ sentcha, okay?

What’s it like being a sought-after TV writer in Pakistan?
by Sadaf Siddique & Sadaf Haider


When Faiza Iftikhar describes her lead character using an unprintable term and terms men ‘oxygen masks’, you know she’s a writer who won’t stick to the script.

Though we suspect that is mostly because she has trouble with total recall. She claims she is especially prone to forgetting the names of dramas that launched her career.

One would think that as a famed novelist and drama writer, she would have her every success on the tip of her tongue but in a lively, no-holds barred conversation Faiza Iftikhar proved that while she takes her work seriously… herself, not so much….

Natalie Dormer: ‘Writing my own film was illuminating’

Women In Film Los Angeles Celebrates The 2016 Crystal + Lucy Awards Presented by Max Mara and BMW Featuring: Natalie Dormer Where: Beverly Hills, California, United States When: 15 Jun 2016 Credit: FayesVision/WENN.com

he 34-year-old actress is most famous for her roles in movie franchise The Hunger Games and TV series Game of Thrones. But she has explored another talent in writing, after working with her film director fiance Anthony Byrne on new project In Darkness.

Resorted to ghost-writing to survive in showbiz
by Indervesh Yogee


Mumbai, July 3 (IANS): “Love Ke Funday” writer-director Indervesh Yogee, who hails from Haryana, says to survive in the rat race in Bollywood, he even had to ghost-write and direct some projects. Now his debut film, a romantic comedy, is set to release on July 15.

The romcom “Love Ke Funday”, a film on today’s youth, is produced under FRV Big Business Entertainment Private Limited banner by Faaiz Anwar and Prem Prakash Gupta.

It was after he was appreciated for writing plays during his college days in Rohtak that Yogee thought about joining the film industry. He first tried his luck in Delhi, but when he saw there were people fleecing the gullible ones, he decided to make the shift to Mumbai….

Writing an Episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer for the Toronto Screenwriting Conference 
by Greg David


A full-day experience in a television writers room taught me one thing: there is no such thing as a bad idea. My fascination with what occurs behind closed doors on a TV series was realized when I was given the opportunity to attend the Writers Guild of Canada’s Writers Room Intensive for this year’s Toronto Screenwriting Conference.

In a sunbathed room on the seventh floor at Entertainment One’s Toronto office last Friday, I watched as Wynonna Earp showrunner and executive producer Emily Andras welcomed participants Laura Ashley Seaton, Tim Kilby, Priscilla M. White, Keri Ferencz, Matt Doyle and Blain Watters, who worked together—fuelled by coffee, water and food—to break a spec script of Buffy the Vampire Slayer….

Diana Vacc sees “Pete’s Dragon”


by Diana Vaccarelli

*If you haven’t viewed this film yet be warned this review may contain spoilers!*

With the summer blockbuster season coming to an end I had the opportunity to see Pete’s Dragon.  Pete’s Dragon tells the story of orphaned boy Pete and his Dragon Elliot and the true meaning of family.


  • The writing was flawless.  How David Lowery and Toby Halbrooks show the relationship between Pete and Elliot is amazing. Even though one is human and the other a Dragon you get the full sense that they are a family and love one another.
  • The performances by Bryce Dallas Howard as Grace and Oakes Fegley as Pete tug at heart throughout the whole film.
  • The special effects create the most original take on a Dragon that I have ever seen.


  • This film in my opinion is flawless.  There is nothing bad to say with regards to this movie.


If you want a great family film that shows the true meaning of family then this film is for you.

Go, Pete and Elliot!

Diana Vaccarelli is the TVWriter™ Critic-at-Large and, in case you haven’t noticed, a HUGE Outlander fan. Learn more about her HERE