New, Improved PEOPLE’S PILOT Opens March 1st

tv_writer_peoples_pilot_smby Larry Brody

Last week we announced that we were postponing the opening of the 2016 PEOPLE’S PILOT by a month, and I promised to explain soon. I figure that 8 days pretty much qualifies as “soon,” so here comes the ‘splaining.

First, the Good News:

We’re re-organizing and enlarging and otherwise improving everyone’s favorite online contest – well, mine anyway – the PEOPLE’S PILOT.

As the opening page of the PP site now says, “New Categories – More Prizes – Longer Entry Period.” The contest now will have three categories instead of two, be open for almost a year instead of just a few months, offer larger dollar amounts for First and Second Prize winners, and if all goes according to plan we’ll have not one but two helpful bonuses for all entrants.

How about some specifics?

  • Categories now include:
    1) Scripted Series 1/2 Hour or Less
    2) Scripted Series Longer than 1/2 Hour up to 1 Hour long
    3) Scripted Series Longer than 1 hour
    In other words, entries anywhere from, oh, a few seconds to several hours long are cordially invited!
  • Genres are totally unlimited. We’re really hoping to receive not just broadcast and cable pilot scripts but a substantial number of entries for web series and console game series. Shows that could play on any electronic media you can think of via major websites like Netflix, Amazon, and their ilk, YouTube and Vimio, and personal sites as well. We all know that “TV” isn’t really TV anymore, so let’s go for the alternate gold.
  • First Prize in each category is now $500. Second Prize is $100.
  • We’re whipping up a new entry bonus to join the Free Feedback and should be announcing it soon.
  • This year’s PP, our 26th running of the contest, will open March 1 and close November 1. 8 months in which to perfect and then finish your work.
  • We’re also creating a new entry fee schedule so that those who enter two or more scripts can get a discount even if they aren’t “Early Birds.”

What we’re really trying to get at here is an emphasis on creativity. We want to see scripts that are innovative and unique. And we’re wide open to input from all of our visitors. If you’ve got an idea for how to ratchet up the wildness, please, please, please lay it on us in the comments, okay?

Time now for the Bad News:

TVWriter™’s SPEC SCRIPTACULAR for this year has been cancelled, for three reasons.

  1. The number of entries in the Spec Scriptacular have been steadily declining over the past few years.
  2. Almost twenty-five percent of this year’s entries were, in effect, series pilots entered as specials or screenplays.
  3. The TV biz on the whole has become much less interested than it used to be in seeing spec scripts for current series.

The Industry is changing quickly, and the current currency for finding new writers to represent and hire for staff jobs and individual episodic assignments has become pilot scripts. Overwhelmingly so.

The powers that be seem to finally recognize that pilot scripts are a much better way for a writer to demonstrate his or her creativity and skills than spec episodes. Combine that with the fact that they’re also a hell of a lot more fun to write, and it becomes clear that the SS has lost much of its original purpose and usefulness.

And why in the world would TVWriter™ and I want new writers to spend time, effort and moolah on anything but that which will help them and their careers the most? I.e., pilot scripts?

Will the SS return? Sure. As soon as it mean something again. Showbiz is nothing if not cyclical. That time is bound to come.

Meanwhile, I’m eager to get your reaction to this new plan. And even more eager to read your next PEOPLE’S PILOT scripts. I’m feeling excited. And ambitious. And ready to take part in making what so many people are calling TV’s new “Golden Age” shine even more brightly.

And I’m hoping, for the sake of storytelling and storytellers and their audiences everywhere, that all of you are too.

More PEOPLE’S PILOT info is HERE

LYMI LB

LYMI
LB

 

 

Plagiarism? Or Coincidence? You Decide

One of TVWriter™’s superheroic researcher heroes discovered this little dispute that could be – mind you, we said “could be” – a very big deal not only ethically but pragmatically as well.

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Yep, what we have here is a contretemps between a famous dood name of Robert DeNiro and a not so famous doodess name of Stefania Grassi. Now that you’ve watched the above comparison, read what Ms. Grassi has to say about it on her YouTube post:

Published on Oct 11, 2015

COMPARAZIONE MONOLOGHI VOCE OFF A CONFRONTO
ELLIS
1) I REMEMBER THE SOUND OF THE WIND AS I WAS FALLING ASLEEP—
THE TREE BRANCHES SCRAPING THE ROOF—
LIKE PEOPLE WHISPERING.
2) I HAD ONLY ONE THING IN MIND, ONLY ONE PLACE TO BE—
3) LIKE YOU CAN FLY IF YOU HAD THE WINGS
4) THERE WERE ALL THOSE MILLIONS OF PEOPLE WHO COME TO HERE AND I SEE THEM ALL—
PEOPLE OF EVERY COLOR, SHAPE AND SIZE—
AND I THINK ABOUT TO ALL THOSE THAT MADE IT—
THEY MADE IT IN SOME DISTANT SHORE, WHEN THEY COME UP THE BEACH, ALL OVER A BRIDGE, AROUND TO A ROAD—
5) AND THEY START TO WALK, THEY START WALKING FASTER AND FASTER–AND THEY’RE RUNNING—
THEY MADE IT—THEY WERE LAST HOME.

L’UOMO IN FRAC
WHAT WAS THAT? NEITHER DO I KNOW TO DEFINE, IF A LIGHTLESS TRIP ON A CROWDED HIGHWAY, I JUST DON’T KNOW. MYRIADS OF VOICES,
5) CAUSE THEY’VE BEEN A LOT OF VOICES, VOICES ON THE RUN.
ALL TOGETHER ASKING ME ABOUT THE MEANING OF LIFE, BARE OF ANY ILLUSION. AND I WAS REFLECTING THINKING ABOUT MY SEA, AT HOW THE WAVES BREAK ON THE BEACH—
3) AS IF I COULD FLY WITHOUT HAVING WINGS—
1) AND I REMEMBER THE SOUND OF THE WIND, AS I WERE CONSTANTLY FALLING ASLEEP, AND THE TREE BRANCHES AGAINST THE WINDOW—
PEOPLE WHO WERE TRYING TO GET IN,
CLIMBING MY SOUL TO THE HART.
4) PEOPLE OF THOUSAND OF FACES, SHAPE AND SIZE—
2) AND I HAD ONLY ONE THING IN MY MIND, MUTE, EMPTY, TASTELESS AND SORE, ONLY ONE PLACE TO BE—
AND I WAS WONDERING: IF THAT GOD EXISTS, WHY HE MADE ME TOUCH THE ETERNAL LOVE AND THEN TEAR IT SO? WHY HE GAVE ME A VOICE IF HE HAD TO SHUT ME DOWN THAT WAY? AND I KEPT THINKING ABOUT THE AIM AND THE MEANING OF WHY WE’RE BORN AND DIE.

Under my responsibility I declare the following: in June 2014 the first script of my work entitled “L’Uomo in Frac” was sent to Mr. De Niro. In the following months my lawyer has made contact with CAA, Tribeca, the Canal Production and the lawyer of Mr. De Niro, and my lawyer sent him the script of 05/12/2014, from which the actor, who wrote, who produced and who directed “The Ghost Of Ellis Island” has drawn: characterization of the character, literally “excerpts “of monologue and the total staging of my creative effort lasted almost three years.
To you the comparison.

Sorry for my english, i’m Italian.
Stefania Rossella Grassi
________________________

Sotto la mia responsabilità dichiaro quanto segue: in Giugno 2014 è stata consegnata la prima stesura della mia opera dal titolo “L’uomo in Frac” al Sig. De Niro. Nei mesi successivi uno studio legale da me incaricato ha preso contatti con CAA, la Tribeca e la Canal Production oltre all’Avv. del Sig. De Niro, inviando fino alla stesura del 05/12/2014, dalla quale chi interpreta, chi ha scritto, chi ha prodotto e chi ha diretto “The Ghost Of Ellis Island” ne ha tratto: caratterizzazione del personaggio, letteralmente “stralci” di monologo e la totale messa in scena del mio sforzo creativo durato quasi 3 anni.
A Voi il confronto.

Thoughts?

More videos from Stefania Grassi are HERE

Writers Guild of Great Britain Honors Russell T. Davies

Russell-T-Daviesby Team TVWriter™ Press Service

…As well it should, and not only because of his work bringing DOCTOR WHO back to our screens. Mr. Davies is one of TVWriter™’s major heroes. We stand in awe of his amazing career.

Here’s the story, direct from the WGGB:

Acclaimed writer and producer Russell T Davies was presented the coveted Outstanding Contribution to Writing Award at the annual Writers’ Guild of Great Britain Awards at RIBA, in London, on 18 January 2016.

The award was presented by Paul Abbott – celebrated writer and creator of numerous TV hits such as Shameless and State of Play – to Davies in honour of his illustrious body of work for TV, including critical and popular successes such as the seminal Queer as Folk, the hugely successful revival of Doctor Who, and recent innovative drama trilogy, Cucumber, Banana and Tofu. Davies and Abbott are both members of the Writers’ Guild of Great Britain (WGGB).

Of his win Davies said: “For me, this is the greatest of honours, coming from fellow writers, and I’m enormously grateful to the Writers’ Guild – for this, and for the work it does for writers everywhere.”

And here’s the full list of winners:

Writers’ Guild Awards 2016 winners (and nominees)

Outstanding Contribution to Writing
Russell T Davies

Best Radio Comedy
Winner: Deborah Frances-White Rolls The Dice by Deborah Frances-White
Shortlisted: Ed Reardon’s Week by Andrew Nickolds and Christopher Douglas, Boswell’s Lives by
Jon Canter

Best Radio Drama
Winner: Quill by Tony Jones
Shortlisted: Fragments by Laura Lomas, Orpheus & Eurydice by Linda Marshall Griffiths

Best Long Running TV Series
Winner: River City, Series 13, Episode 8 by Louise Ironside
Shortlisted: Holby City, Series 17, Episode 50 “At First I was Afraid” by Julia Gilbert, Emmerdale, Episode 7188/89 by Maxine Alderton

Best Writing in a Video Game
Winner: Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture by Dan Pinchbeck
Shortlisted: Her Story by Sam Barlow, Sunless Sea by Alexis Kennedy, Richard Cobbett, Amal El-Mohtar, Chris Gardiner, Meg Jayanth and Emily Short

Best Children’s TV Episode
Winner: Eve, Final Episode “Control, Alter, Delete” by Emma Reeves
Shortlisted: The Dumping Ground, Series 3, Episode 10 “Dragon Slayer” by Julie Dixon, Katie Morag and the Worst Day Ever by Sergio Casci

Best Long Form TV Drama
Winner: Not Safe for Work by DC Moore
Shortlisted: Banished by Jimmy McGovern, Wolf Hall by Peter Straughan

Best First Screenplay
Winner: X + Y by James Graham
Shortlisted: ’71 by Gregory Burke, The Falling by Carol Morley

Best Play for Young Audiences
Winner: Three Wise Monkeys by Mike Kenny
Shortlisted: Bird by Laura Lomas, Muddy Choir by Jesse Briton

Best Play
Winner: Jefferson’s Garden by Timberlake Wertenbaker
Shortlisted: Liberian Girl by Diana Nneka Atuona, Temple by Steve Waters

Best Screenplay
Winner: Paddington by Paul King
Shortlisted: Wild by Nick Hornby, Ex Machina by Alex Garland

Best TV Situation Comedy
Winner: Veep Season Four by Simon Blackwell, Jon Brown, Kevin Cecil, Roger Drew, Peter Fellows, Neil Gibbons, Rob Gibbons, Sean Gray, Callie Hersheway, Armando Iannucci, Sean Love, Ian Martin, Georgia Pritchett, David Quantick, Andy Riley, Tony Roche, Will Smith
Shortlisted: Catastrophe by Sharon Horgan and Rob Delaney, W1A by John Morton

Best Short Form TV Drama
Winner: Code of a Killer by Michael Crompton
Shortlisted: The Casual Vacancy by Sarah Phelps, The Gamechangers by James Wood

TVWriter™ congratulates one and all!

I-don’t-really-like-the-product-I-sell Department

Yesterday, our Beloved Leader Larry Brody wrote on this very site about his experience attempting to cut the, in his case satellite cord. And shortly after one of our stalwart minions saw that particular post, she found this view of the cord-cutting situation. So of course we just had to share:

Verizon Exec In Charge Of TV Services Admits She Cut The Cord
by Karl Bode

VZ_GOOGLE_ProPic_WhiteStrokeWhen the executive in charge of your company’s traditional television services publicly admits she’s a cord cutter who no longer watches traditional TV, it might be time to reconsider the future of pay television. By and large most cable and broadcast executives have responded to the cord cutting phenomenon by either denying it exists, claiming it’s the domain of losers, or insisting it’s a fad that will magically evaporate once more Millennials procreate. But at a recent TV industry conference, Verizon’s director of FiOS TV services, admitted she’s been a cord cutter for a while:

“Maitreyi Krishnaswamy, director of FiOS TV, has a confession, and it doesn’t bode well for the future of Verizon’s fixed-line video business. “I’ve pretty much cut the cord,” Krishnaswamy admitted on a panel at the TV of Tomorrow event in New York City. Krishnaswamy is bullish on Verizon’s new Go90 mobile video service, but she readily acknowledges there are major challenges in the traditional pay-TV business.

For all its faults, Verizon executives have been considerably more progressive than its industry counterparts when it comes to cord cutting, at times being actually able to admit a massive change is on the wind. And Verizon has responded by being one of the only companies to embrace more flexible TV channel lineups, including its recent launch of a so-called skinny bundle that takes the most expensive part of the cable lineup (sports, ESPN) and places it outside of the core channel offering. Such a move was TV industry heresy, and Verizon was sued by ESPN for its efforts….

Read it all at TechDirt

Writers Guild of America, West Honors John August

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by Team TVWriter™ Press Service

Screenwriter John August (Big Fish, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory) has been named the recipient of the Writers Guild of America, West’s 2016 Valentine Davies Award in recognition of his humanitarian efforts and civic service, as well as his pivotal role in fostering a community of writers. August will be honored at the WGAW’s 2016 Writers Guild Awards West Coast ceremony on Saturday, February 13, at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza in Los Angeles.

“John is the writer we’d all want to be: wildly intelligent, deeply practical, effortlessly inventive, and generous to a fault,” said WGAW President Howard A. Rodman. “Whether he’s creating apps, campaigning for marriage equality, mentoring younger writers, podcasting with Craig Mazin, sitting on our Negotiating Committee, or constructing a school in Malawi, John has made service to the larger community a part of his second nature. Protip: when you find yourself in difficult straits, ask yourself ‘What would John August do?’ The times you’ll regret are the times you fail to act accordingly.”

Motivated by a desire to share his wealth of experience and knowledge gained over the course of his screenwriting career, from Go to Frankenweenie, August first launched his own screenwriting blog, johnaugust.com, in 2003, which over the last decade-plus has since grown into a vital, go-to resource on the craft and business of screenwriting for industry professionals and aspiring writers alike. In fact, the sheer volume of his widely read screenwriting-centric columns – over 1,500, all written by him – illustrates his influence and impact on both next-gen and seasoned writers around the globe. In addition, August maintains a complimentary website of interest to budding screenwriters, screenwriting.io, providing clear, concise answers to a wide range of questions relating to the craft of screenwriting, from form to formatting.

Along with his friend and fellow WGAW member Craig Mazin, August co-hosts Scriptnotes, his highly rated weekly podcast which explores the art, craft, and business of screenwriting, offering practical info, indispensable knowledge, and lively banter to over 40,000 listeners each week, not only via digital platforms, but at frequent “live” Scriptnotes shows, which are routinely SRO.

Sensing an untapped market and increased user interest, August founded his own tech company, Quote-Unquote Apps, which creates an array of useful screenwriter-centric apps, including the screenwriting app Highland (for writing scripts in plain text using the Fountain screenplay syntax he co-created, which all major screenwriting apps now support) andWeekend Read, designed for reading scripts via iPhone. He also managed to find time to develop and create the Writer Emergency Pack, an educational tool which recently expanded to more than 2,000 classrooms this fall.

As a result, an increasingly vital and empowering social – and social media – hub has developed around August’s range of screenwriter-friendly resources and tools, creating a contemporary community of writers, both working professionals and novices alike, where he has emerged as a major, influential voice for an entire generation of new and established writers. In the film festival arena, he also frequently serves as an advisor and mentor at the Sundance Screenwriting Lab.

August’s community engagement extends beyond the entertainment industry: He continues to work with FOMO Malawi, a charity organization which cares for over 4,000 orphans in the country, providing food, clothing, and education to the children of Mulanje in the southern region of Malawi. Over the years, he has provided logistical support to the program, as well as aid in the construction of school buildings, among other civil projects to bolster the local African community.

Back at home, August has been strong vocal proponent for gay marriage equality in the U.S., personally involved in the nation’s recently successful effort to formally legalize gay marriage on the federal level.

Beginning with his acclaimed screenplay adaption for 2003’s Big Fish (Based on the Novel by Daniel Wallace), for which he received BAFTA and Broadcast Film Critics Association Awards (BFCA) nominations, August has maintained a long-term creative partnership with director Tim Burton, collaborating on a string of successful live-action and animated feature films, from 2005’s Corpse Bride (Screenplay by John August and Caroline Thompson and Pamela Pettler) and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, their bold reimagining of Roald Dahl’s children’s classic, to 2012’s Frankenweenie (Screenplay by John August), for which he received an Annie Awards nomination (Writing in an Animated Feature Production) and Dark Shadows(Screenplay by Seth Graham-Smith, Story by John August and Seth Graham-Smith, Based on the Television Series Created by Dan Curtis).

August made his big-screen debut with the quirky rave dark comedy, Go (1999), which he also served as co-producer and second unit director, followed writing or co-writing both films in the Charlie’s Angels blockbuster action franchise, 2000’sCharlie’s Angels (Written by Ryan Rowe & Ed Solomon and John August, Based on the Television Series Created by Ivan Goff and Ben Roberts) and its 2003 sequel, Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle (Screenplay by John August and Cormac Wibberley & Marianne Wibberley, Story by John August), as well as the futuristic animated film Titan A.E. (Screenplay by Ben Edlund and John August and Joss Whedon, Story by Hans Bauer and Randall McCormick).

In 2007, August made his feature film directorial debut with the indie drama The Nines, which he also wrote, premiering at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival. He also served as executive producer on 2010’s big-budget action-adventure, Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time.

On the small screen, August co-created the TV drama series D.C. with Dick Wolf, which he co-executive produced. He has created series for The WB, Fox, and ABC.

On the theatrical stage, August adapted his own screenplay to pen the book for the 2013 Broadway musical production of Big Fish (with music and lyrics by Andre Lippa), chronicling the poignant relationship between a traveling salesman and his adult son and exploring what’s behind his father’s tall tales.

A WGAW member since 1995, August has served on the Guild’s Committee on Professional Status of Writers (Screen) since 2010, as well as the 2014 MBA Negotiating Committee and 2014 Board Nominating Committee.

Born in 1970 and raised in Boulder, CO, August earned a degree in journalism from Drake University and an MFA from USC School of Cinema-Television’s Peter Stark Program.

He lives in Los Angeles with his husband, Mike, and his 10-year-old daughter.

The WGAW’s Valentine Davies Award honors Guild members whose humanitarian efforts and service have brought dignity and honor to writers everywhere. Past Valentine Davies recipients include Phil Alden Robinson, Norman Lear, Neal Baer, Larry Gelbart, Tom Schulman, Carl Reiner, Susannah Grant, Phil Rosenthal, Sam Simon, and, most recently, Ben Affleck.

For press photo of 2016 Valentine Davies Award honoree John August, click here.

The Writers Guild Awards honor outstanding writing in film, television, new media, videogames, news, radio, promotional, and graphic animation categories. Competitive awards will be presented at both the Los Angeles ceremony at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza and the New York ceremony at the Edison Ballroom. The Los Angeles and New York ceremonies take place concurrently on February 13, 2016. For more information about the 2016 Writers Guild Awards, please visit www.wga.org or www.wgaeast.org.

88th Oscar Screenplay Nominees Announced

wide oscar

A lot of people think movies are dying, or maybe already dead. We at TVWriter™ are much more into TV than film, regardless of whether we’re watching actual broadcasts on actual TV sets or interweb presentations on our iPads, but the Motion Picture Academy has just released its list of Academy Award nominees for films released in 2015 and we’re passing on the important ones.

So here they are, the not-dead-yet for Best Screenplay. See ’em, read ’em, and learn from ’em, gang:

Best Adapted Screenplay

  • “The Big Short” Screenplay by Charles Randolph and Adam McKay
  • “Brooklyn” Screenplay by Nick Hornby
  • “Carol” Screenplay by Phyllis Nagy
  • “The Martian” Screenplay by Drew Goddard
  • “Room” Screenplay by Emma Donoghue

Best Original Screenplay

  • “Bridge of Spies” Written by Matt Charman and Ethan Coen & Joel Coen
  • “Ex Machina” Written by Alex Garland
  • “Inside Out” Screenplay by Pete Docter, Meg LeFauve, Josh Cooley; Original story by Pete Docter, Ronnie del Carmen
  • “Spotlight” Written by Josh Singer & Tom McCarthy
  • “Straight Outta Compton” Screenplay by Jonathan Herman and Andrea Berloff; Story by S. Leigh Savidge & Alan Wenkus and Andrea Berloff

What do you think? Hollywood film writing: Dead or Still Very Much Alive?