Peggy Bechko Recommends….

by Peggy Bechko

bbc-co-uk-scienceI don’t recommend too many websites in my column here on TVWriter™ (although I’ve been known to post Writers Websites Wednesday on my own blog) but this time around here I’m offering up one that really rocks: The BBC Science web page.

BBC’s Science page is a great resource for idle perusing and even more so for anyone looking for an interesting idea to develop for a script or trying to further research an idea that’s already occurred.

Why do I like the site so much? Well, it’s clear, concise, and offers even more links to more sites. Right now, BBC Science is offering such topics as “Are Beards Good For Your Health?” And “Nine Science Ideas to Make You Look Smart,” “How Do You Pee in Space?” And a whole bunch of other topics including a fascinating “iWonder” section.

You can explore the future, the weather, the earth, nature, and what the site calls Bitesize science, which is a sort of a mini treasure trove of entertaining information.

BBC Science isn’t tidily organized with an index or table of contents, so it’s pretty much up to the ‘explorer’ to ferret out what info there’s an interest in. Which, if you’re in the right frame of mind, contributes to the fun.

So far I’ve found it most helpful in the get fun ideas department more than the actual research department. That remains more of a focus on a question and dig kind of thing.

But when we stumble across a cloud that looks like a fireball in the sky it becomes a sort of Independence Day scenario of thought process. Come on, wouldn’t that trigger some ideas for you?

Then there’s the place on earth that gets the most sunshine. Think it’s Brazil, or Florida or somewhere in Africa or Australia? Think again. It’s actually Eureka and Alerg on Ellsmere Island, Canada. Yep, more than 15 hours a day of sunshine in May, but daily average temperatures are about 14 degrees Fahrenheit. Seriously.

Wow, something else I didn’t know about. Wonder what I can do with that. Especially since few people live there, it lies within the Artic circle and there are two research stations there.

I could go on, but I don’t want to spoil all the surprises. If your goal is to find out some fascinating facts, some quirky weirdness to spark a story, or work into one then this just could be your go-to place. It certainly works for me when my brain wants to wander.

Go ahead, take a look, let your brain take a fun vacation. Just don’t let it suck you down the rabbit hole to the point where you forget your goal is to actually write something. Oh, and if you have a kid, be sure to tell him or her about this as well. Much better than most children’s sites.

Exercise your brain with a smile.


Peggy Bechko is a TVWriter™ Contributing Editor. Learn more about her HERE. Peggy’s new comic series, Planet of the Eggs, written and illustrated with Charlene Brash-Sorensen is available on Kindle. Grab your copy of Book 2 now! And, while you’re at it, visit the Planet of the Eggs Facebook page

What to do After You Finish Your 1st Draft

Hmm, does the word “rewrite” ring a bell?

But how do you know when you have to rewrite? Or when you don’t?

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by Pen Densham

You got to the end of your first draft!  Congratulations.  You just gave birth!

Er, thanks…   Is my child any good?  I hope it’s a genius.  Maybe it’s an idiot?  How can I find out?

Truthfully, a first draft is probably a little bit of all of the above.  But it is a genuine achievement to finish a script. A hallowed one; we have harnessed the magic of our minds to create something that never existed before.

You must celebrate this, in whatever way feels good to you.  It conditions the mind to take on the unknown. To aim high and long.  A good reward trains you to stay with your task through the dark hours of literary pregnancy – the gloomy ‘what have I done to myself?’   of page 20 – the horror of page 50 telling you you have to go back to page 10 and fix things, etc.  It is a mental marathon.   You are a champ just committing to the process – not really knowing quite what kind of child your labor will bring out of you.

Yeah yeah, but is it any good?

The Eskimo sculptor says he discovers and releases the creature in the rock as he whittles away at it.  I think writing is a bit like that. The job of our first draft is to get a grip on the big picture.  Discover our themes, find the hearts of our characters – hopefully lay in some great plot discoveries, long before your freshly minted vision gets near any buyer. Now it is the time to get some good feedback and sense how others see your work.

At Trilogy we call these Trusted Reads, and the people we seek out to take our new baby and check it over, we call, Story Midwives.  These are people who understand the pain of literary birthing and encourage you to push.  You probably know who these people are in your life.

“Oh… That’s called burping – they all do that!”

Stay away from the bullies – the arrogant know-it-alls – people who have no sensitivity. You need your first feedback to come from caring readers who are trying to help you with your own creative child, not those who are looking to imprint their own mark on it.

Read it all at SSN INSIDER

The Week at TVWriter™ – February 8, 2016

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

2015 SPEC SCRIPTACULAR Winners

Get Ready for the New PEOPLE’S PILOT

Peggy Bechko on Writing “Experts”

Looking for TV Pilot Scripts?

A Table Read of Joss Whedon’s WONDER WOMAN Script

And our most visited permanent resource pages were:

Writing the Dreaded Outline

THE PEOPLE’S PILOT

THE SPEC SCRIPTACULAR

The Logline

The Teleplay

Who sez TVWriter™ doesn’t treat ya right?

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, most importantly, come back for more soon!

John Ostrander: TV Superheroes Come and Go

by John Ostrander

Barbara-Gordon-Oracle(SPOILER ALERT! SPOILER ALERT! Spoiler spoiler spoil spoil spoilery spoilers. I’m chatting this week about the events on some of the superhero TV shows last week. If you recorded them and intend to watch them later, give this a pass. Here endeth the warning.)

It was an interesting week in superhero TVland – specifically, DC superhero TVland. At least for me. I had a personal connection to some of them.

Arrow had a few events, some minor, one major. The character Felicity who is their computer geek expert recently got shot and it appears she has nerve damage to the spine and now has resumed her place with the team in a wheelchair. Sound like anyone we know? Yup – Oracle, whom my late wife and writing partner Kim Yale and I created from the remains of Barbara Gordon. Oh, they’re not calling her that but that’s who she is, wink wink, nudge nudge, say no more.

They also had Felicity dealing with a hallucination of her younger self, perhaps brought on by pain medication or even an aftereffect of anesthesia. What’s interesting is that younger Felciity is the spitting image of Death from the Sandman series – pale skin, raven dark hair, dressed in black, with an ankh necklace. However, they don‘t reference Death at all. They just grab her look. Guess Felicity was really into the Goth scene back then.

The major event was – they killed off their version of Amanda Waller. Bad guy just suddenly shot her in the head without warning. That was startling, I will admit, as it was no doubt intended to be. Since I get a little bit of money every time Amanda shows up on Arrow (or anywhere), her death was not a terribly pleasant surprise.

OTOH, this was a young, pretty, skinny Waller which is not how I saw the character. When I created the Wall, I saw her as a certain age and a certain heft for a variety of reasons. The bulk made her more physically intimidating. Also, I wanted a character who was unlike other comic book characters. Being black, middle aged, and plus-sized did that. I understood that this was the CW and that’s what the CW does – young and gorgeous is the rule of the day, every day. I did nott and do not object to their interpretation. And we have Viola Davis playing Amanda in the upcoming Suicide Squad movie and I’m looking forward to that. (The second trailer came out for the Squad movie as well recently and it’s looking real hot, IMO.)

There was another unexpected death in DC superhero TV-land this week and it was in the second episode of the new DC’s Legends Of Tomorrow. On the team is the CW version of Hawkman and Hawkgirl (you couldn’t call her Hawkwoman, CW?) and, lo and behold, they offed Hawkman this week. Well, boy howdee, that was a stunner.

I didn’t create Hawkman but I’d written him for a while (although it was alien Katar Hol rather than Carter Hall) so I did have a personal attachment to him. I’ll continue watching for now just to see where they go with all this but I’m not sure of its longevity.

The last event happened for me on Supergirl over on CBS rather than the CW. The main character is alright but, for me, the real draw is the Martian Manhunter, J’onn J’onzz. Tom Mandrake and I did a series on JJ in which we explored more of his society and culture. For example, it had been long established that, on Mars, J’onn had a wife and daughter who died. No one, however, had ever given them names, so I did. The daughter I named K’ym as a tribute to my late wife. On last week’s Supergirl episode, J’onn went into some of his past. He mentioned two daughters, one of whom was named K’ym.

That pleased me a lot. It was just a small thing but I know Kim would have been very pleased. I can almost hear her giggling and see her bouncing up and down with glee. Most pleasant.

So that was my week in Superhero TVland. How was yours?

Hypable.Com Needs a New TV Writer

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Hypable, a site dedicated to in-depth coverage of various genre fandoms uses volunteer writers to cover TV, movie, and book series in their chosen arenas, and right now they’re looking for a writer who can…oh, wait, let them tell it:

Today we’re looking to bring on a writer who can cover at least three of the following television shows: Scandal, American Horror Story, The Catch, The Vampire Diaries, and Quantico.

By agreeing to cover these, please know that we will ask you to write at least three original articles per week, per show while it’s in-season. While the show is not airing there are far fewer requirements. We also ask that each writer covers at least one in-season show all year (in other words: when your usual shows are off in the summer, we’d like you to write about a show that airs over that summer).

While this is a volunteer position (we pride ourselves on being run by fans and not a corporation), we’ll help you get the experience you need if you’re pursuing a career in writing about TV. What’s more: if you’re in college and looking for the coolest internship ever, Hypable can offer internship credits! (Staying at home to write about TV? What could be better!?)

We think this is a good opportunity – almost as good as, you know, volunteering to write for a certain even cooler (as in ubercool, ya hear?) site called TVWriter™. Details on how to apply for the Hypable gig are HERE

While we’re at it, for details about becoming a writer or even a Contributing Editor (if you have the cred) email us HERE

Why TV Needs More Women

Oh, teacher, call on me to answer that! Please! Please! I know why TV needs more women. Cuz TV is just like, erm, Mars! Dry, barren, and aching to be regenerated.

Here’s the cheat sheet. Let’s see if I came close:

This is not a sexist image. This is not a sexist image. This is not a sexist image...it's just funny.

This is not a sexist image. This is not a sexist image.
This is not a sexist image…it’s just funny.

THE EXPANDING ROLE OF WOMEN IN TELEVISION
by Kathleen Morris

Television hasn’t always been kind to women. Their roles have most often consisted of being two-dimensional space fillers and compliments to the men they shared airtime with. But it seems that things are taking a turn for the better. One indication of this is the amount of shows on-air at this time that have females playing the lead role. Shows like CBS’s Supergirl, ABC’s Scandal and HBO’s Veep. Prime-time television isn’t the only medium showcasing female lead characters who have genuine relatability. Netflix has its own share of original shows that offer that, such as Marvel’s A.K.A. Jessica Jones,The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, and House of Cards. These shows, along with others like them, are changing television, marking a new era of entertainment.

Shows like these are making a point of depicting women as they really are: people who have real complexity, depth and emotions. This is a stark contrast to shows of the past where, on male-dominated screens, the few females featured had little or no character development. This is such an important thing. Television is a staple of American culture, shaping our views and opinions. And whether you choose to watch shows on an actual television, on your laptop, or on your phone, they’re affecting you. Having exposure to these progressive shows can have a good effect on viewers in the long run, helping to bridge the gap between men and women.

That’s not the only benefit of these shows. Women now have people on television who they can better relate to….

Read it all at Springfield College Student Media