Hank Isaac’s LILAC Wins 3 IndieFEST Awards!

Kudos to frequent TVWriter™ contributor for making a very big score!


He’ll be back on the site later this week with more about the making of this selfsame LILAC.

Who loves ya, baby?

Edgar Allan Poe – Demon Hunter

Aw, c’mon, think about it. Swirl that concept around in your brain for awhile.

Then add Idris Elba to the equation and think again.

Idris isn’t starring, but he is producing – a project that was first devised back in the 1970s. If that isn’t inspiring enough for even the most impatient unproduced writer, what is?

Not Edgar Allen Poe but a genuinely cool guy!

Not Edgar Allen Poe but a genuinely cool guy!

by Victoria McNally

Once upon a midnight dreary, Elba pondered, weak and weary, over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore—and then he found an old book about Edgar Allan Poe doing battle with the devil and thought, “I would absolutely pay to see that movie.” So his company, Green Door Productions, will be overseeing a three-part film adaptation.

While it sounds like an unholy concoction of supernatural nonsense devised by the guy who came up with Pride and Prejudice and Zombies or Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter—both of which also have their own adaptations too, by the way—Poe Must Die was actually written in 1978 by the late Marc Olden. Here’s the synopsis from Olden’s website, where you can also read a sample chapter if you’re so inclined:

Against a backdrop of New York City in the 1840’s, a hellhole of crime and squalor, Edgar Allan Poe plays out a deadly game, fighting not only the demonic forces waged against him, but also his personal demons, the memory of his beloved wife and the alcohol he consumes in order to forget her.

Pierce James Figg, a renowned ex-bare knuckle fighter, has arrived in New York from London carrying with him a letter of introduction from Charles Dickens to Edgar Allan Poe. Figg is pursuing Jonathan the sorcerer and spiritualist. The man who brutally murdered his wife.

Jonathan seeks the Throne of Solomon which will grant him immortality and dominion over Lucifer, Asmodeus and all the demons of the upper air. His search has led him to New York.

Frail, gallant Edgar Allan Poe and the grieving, brilliant boxer unite in a perilous mission to find and destroy Jonathan before he can achieve his goal of controlling Lucifer and thereby change the destiny of the world.

POWERPUFF GIRLS Reboot Scheduled for 2016


by Team TVWriter News Service

This is important news to us cuz we grew up with these tough little bitches, a word we’re using in – we swear! – the absolutely best, most positive sense it can have. The original show was awesome, and we’re counting on this to be even better.

Here’s what its P.R. team has to say:

Slated for a 2016 launch, The Powerpuff Girls reboot will include an all-new television series produced by Cartoon Network Studios and a full licensing program slated to roll out across all regions.

One of the network’s most enduring original series, The Powerpuff Girls, which debuted on Cartoon Network in 1998, earned two Emmy Awards, five nominations and countless animation honors throughout its 78-episode run.

The Powerpuff Girls centers on three sugar-coated superheroes — Blossom, Bubbles and Buttercup — whose mission in life alternates between going to school, fighting crime, winning at hopscotch and saving the world before bedtime. Emmy and BAFTA award winner Nick Jennings (Adventure Time) is on board as executive producer.

What’s that? You’re wondering about the writing? Oh, well, erm, uh…hey, look, it’s the Powerpuff Girls! At Cartoon Network! With a producer who runs the hell out of ADVENTURE TIME. Nothing to worry about here, right?

RIP: PARKS & RECREATION Writer-Producer Harris Wittels

Unfortunately, it isn’t just the old pros we sometimes have to say good-bye to. Our friend Harris was only 30. Damn….

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by Aziz Ansari

There are so few people that you meet in life that give you that feeling that you’ve found a real unique, original person. Harris Wittels was one of those and we lost him yesterday. He was 30 years old. I’ve been devastated.

I’m still waiting for the other phone call to let me know that Harris is okay and this was all a horrible misunderstanding. I don’t know when my brain is going to be able to process the terrible feeling that fills my heart with dread and my eyes with tears every 20 seconds when I realize this very special person is really gone.


So, I wanted to write something to share my stories about Harris and what he meant to me.

I first knew Harris as a standup. I’d have him open shows quite a bit, and he was always fantastic. As his career as a writer took off, he got busy. He’d say that he didn’t have time or wasn’t working on standup at the time. Sadly, he had just started back working his standup, which made me thrilled as a fan. His standup, like he his real life personality, was open, honest (way more honest than how most people refer to “honest” in their standup) and hilarious.

As a writer, we worked on two films that never saw the light of day. The first was Olympic Sized Asshole. The premise was Danny McBride and I were two best friends who lived in SC who’s girlfriends had a three way with a super handsome star Olympic athlete (think Channing Tatum). We did a rough outline of it together and then Harris went off to write the script.

Around this time in my career, I was very puzzled by film scripts. None of the ones I read ever made me laugh. I figured that I must not know how to read scripts properly. Maybe these things were funnier in person than on the page.

Then I got Harris’ first draft of Olympic.

Every page had a huge laugh. I couldn’t believe it. Jody Hill and I called each other and were just rolling about our favorite jokes.

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Bring Joy to Your Alma Mater by Becoming a Successful TV Writer

People from our pasts really are rooting for us to make it. Even people we don’t know.

(Yeah, they probably just want to use us to get into the biz, but, hey, isn’t that the supreme sign of success?)

For example:

The Shipley brothers, Justin and Jordan (or Jordan and Justin, who can be sure?)

The Shipley brothers, Justin and Jordan (or Jordan and Justin, who can be sure?)

This Shipley has sailed: Kenyon alum hits the small screen
by Claire Oxford

Justin Shipley ’11 is in the Caribbean, but not for a vacation. “I’m actually down in Puerto Rico shooting for the next two weeks and my days are pretty jam-packed,” he wrote in a Facebook message to the Collegian. A drama major while he was at Kenyon just four years ago, Shipley has already made remarkable strides in the television industry — he co-wrote the pilot for the upcoming television show Wrecked and is currently overseeing its production in sunny Puerto Rico.

“My brother [Jordan Shipley] and I are a writing team; we primarily write comedy for TV,” Shipley wrote in an email. “We sold a half-hour comedy pilot to TBS in early 2014, and this past fall we got [the] green light to go into production. We’re currently … shooting the pilot, which follows a group of survivors trying to survive on a deserted island after their plane crashes.”

In marketing this idea to potential buyers, Shipley highlighted its humor. “We basically sold it to the network asLOST with jokes,” he wrote.

Humor isn’t anything new to Shipley, according to his former professors. “He had a wacky streak, particularly in his playwriting,” Professor of Drama and Playwright-in-Residence Wendy MacLeod said.

Associate Professor of Anthropology Sam Pack, who had Shipley in his course “The Anthropology of Borat,” wrote in an email, “He quickly distinguished himself as somebody who understood and appreciated the power of satire. One of the course assignments involved the students producing their own Borat-esque mockumentaries. Justin decided to play the role of a renegade professor based not-so-loosely on me. It hit a little too close for comfort at the time, but I can laugh at the memory now.”

In addition to Shipley’s quick wit and distinct voice in his writing, Assistant Professor of Film Jonathan Sherman spoke to Shipley’s affability. “He’s just very personable, very charming, very funny and very talented,” he said. “I’m sure he’ll go into feature films eventually, but you could kind of tell that it was gonna be TV to start. Just based off his sense of humor and style of writing. … [It’s] kind of shorter, funnier.”

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Uh-oh, Now Publishers are watching us read

As if our privacy wasn’t being violated enough by television, the interwebs, and various governments that shall go unnamed here at the moment. It turns out that now, thanks to ebooks, metrics about our reading habits are everywhere.

This could be embarrassing.


ebookspyingby Joseph Bernstein

Millions may have held their suspicions, but last month the Canadian e-reader company Kobo confirmed it: Most people who buy The Goldfinch don’t actually finish it. According to the company’s data, less than half of Canadian and BritishKobo readers in 2014 made it to the end of Donna Tartt’s behemoth novel, one of the best-selling of the year.

How did Kobo know this? Like every e-reader and reading-app maker today, the company, a subsidiary of the Japanese e-commerce titan Rakuten, has access to a comprehensive suite of data about the reading behavior of its users. In a white paper titled “Publishing in the Era of Big Data” and released this fall, the company announced that “with the onset of digital reading … it is now possible to know how a customer engages with the book itself — what books were left unopened, which were read to the very last word and how quickly.” In other words, if you read books digitally, the people who serve you those books more than likely know just what kind of reader you are, and just how little effort you made with Infinite Jest.

The paper was a rare peek into the nascent world of reader engagement analytics, which have been a staple of web publishing but which the big legacy book publishers have been slow to embrace. It was fascinating, not just for the insights it offered into reading behavior (Did you know the industry standard finish rate for mystery books is 62%? Now you do!) but because the enormous corporations — Amazon and Apple — that know the most about how you read are ferociously silent about that knowledge. Both Apple and Amazon declined to comment for this piece.

The findings precipitated a now-predictable response from the loftier perches of the publishing world. In a leery New York Review of Books blog post, titled “They’re Watching What You Read,” the novelist Francine Prose wrote, “…writers (and their editors) could soon be facing meetings in which the marketing department informs them that 82 percent of readers lost interest in their memoir on page 272. And if they want to be published in the future, whatever happens on that page should never be repeated.”

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