More Posts TVWriter™ Wishes We’d Published 1st

Some recent articles from other websites on TV, TV writing, and the TV biz that we think y’all should know about:

War and Peace Writer Andrew Davies: Bringing Tolstoy Back to Life
by Steven MacKenzie


Over the last three decades, if a TV programme has contained cummerbunds or corsets, petticoats or pantaloons and is based on a book, chances are Andrew Davies is behind it. His list of credits covers the crème de la crème of English liter-ature: Middlemarch, Pride and Prejudice, Moll Flanders, Vanity Fair, Tipping the Velvet, Bleak House. Does he read the literary classics so you don’t have to?

“No,” Davies corrects. The 79-year-old former English teacher believes that far from dumbing us down, it encourages people to rediscover the novels. “I hope people will enjoy the dramatisation so much that they will go and read the book. I hope they feel emboldened to read it. Certainly the sales of the books go up hugely when they’ve been on TV and I’m very pleased about that.”

Today, Tolstoy is hovering in the top 20 bestsellers after Davies’ triumphant adaptation of War and Peace (trailer below) brought Pierre, Natasha, Prince Andrei and a battalion of other characters into our living rooms, and made their lives, loves and losses seem immediate and vitally up to date….

Read it all at The Guardian

“Revisiting A Classic” by Earl Pomerantz


Comedy has changed.  Once – and not as far back as you might imagine – audiences watched comedy because they wanted to laugh.  Not to learn.  Not to protest.  Not to feel superior to the people who didn’t “get it.”

Simply to laugh.

And with laughter – and only laughter – in mind, the audience was willing to suspend mountains of evidentiary disbelief.

Nobody cared if it was real.

As long as it was funny.

Current comedy is expected to reflect our collective experience.  Not a bad thing.  For the most part, I prefer it.  But the price for comedic verisimilitude is the loss of hilarious silliness….

Read it all at Earl Pomerantz Blog

The Power of Creative Cross Training
by Srinivas Rao


For most creative professionals, we have a tendency to live within the limitations of our labels: copywriter, web designer, filmmaker, illustrator, and author. Those are the things we do and we get paid for.

But if we only do things we get paid for, we’re missing out on a huge opportunity for creative growth. Our labels don’t have to limit us to just one domain. When we’re willing to play outside our primary domain, and experiment we open up a lot of possibilities that may not have occurred to us before….

What is Creative Cross Training?

In the world of athletics, cross training is working on some element of performance that will impact your primary sport….

Read it all at The Guardian

Back when TV was fun
by Ken Levine


Now that networks own most studios you have more corporate types running things, everyone answering to someone else even more corporate. But just as there used to be larger-than-life movie moguls back in the day, TV studios were once piloted by more colorful personalities.

They were blustery, opinionated, candid, and very savvy. Decisions were made on instinct not research. And they made quick decisions. You may not have liked their rulings, but I’ve always believed that the next best thing to a “Yes” is a quick “No.”

David Isaacs and I got to work with a few of these cigar chomping Foghorn Leghorns during our career. Maybe tops among them was Lee Rich. Rich had come from the MAD MEN world of NY advertising in the ’50s and early ’60s….

Read it all at Ken Levine’s Blog

Mike Gold on Insanity and the Creative Process

Forget psychologists and their debates. Here’s what a genuine creator has to say about whether artists are, um, really nuts or not:


by Mike Gold

Are all creative people insane?

By “creative people,” of course I mean writers, artists, musicians, movie makers, actors of all types… the whole enchilada of people who wake up – sometimes in the morning – and face a blank piece of paper or an empty stage or studio and have tasked themselves with filling that space up in some interesting and maybe entertaining way.

There’s a simple answer to this question: yes, they are.

If you’re not part of the creative enclave, and from time to time most people are, you might think my answer is a bit cruel. Not in the least. That blank slate is the beginning of the creative process. It’s usually starts as a solitary experience, a person with his or her guitar, or script, or computer or drawing board. That artist might have an idea where to start and/or maybe where to finish, but working out the details and polishing the nuances in a way that communicates to the world at large is a draining experience. It is not unlike severe constipation: you’ve got to get it out. Hopefully, the end result isn’t shit.

It’s not unusual for a creative type to be kind of awkward in social settings. They don’t live in the real world; they only visit it when time allows. And many are in a state of arrested development. I like to tell people I’m immature, but I’m immature for a living. As I have aged I have learned how to fake adultness, but it’s only a mask. It’s my inner-eight-year old who pays the rent.

When my daughter was a lot younger, I gave her my sage advice about dating – not that she was obligated in any way to follow it, or even likely to do so. We all need to make our own mistakes and learn from those mistakes….

Read it all at Comic Mix

Politics Trumps TV Writing


Steve Hely

The TV writer’s lament: “Who do I have to fuck to get some publicity around here?”

Know why TVWriter™ features TV writers in as many of our articles – and headlines – as we can? One big reason is that even now, in the era of the Star Showrunner-Writer, most media still turn their backs on our beloved wordsmiths.

Today we spotted a truly interesting article about Steve Hely, who has written for shows like 30 Rock, The Office US, The Late Show With David Letterman and American Dad. An enjoyable and educational article by Alex Casey crammed with facts and opinions and insights about the whole TV writing and production process.

But what headline did The Spinoff, the New Zealand website that published it, use?

This one, referring to a very small part of the article:

Where is Steve Hely

Way to support writers, Spinoff!

But even though it pisses us off, we still think you should take a look at what Ms. Casey and Mr. Hely have to say. You can find it RIGHT HERE

Oh, we just noticed something else not cool. The post contains 8 images and 4 videos…and absolutely none of them show us Steve Hely. Trump is there though. Oh yeah.


DOCTOR WHO spinoff starts this October

The class of Class

The class of Class


Can’t help it. News this important needs to be posted PRONTO!

According to the usual reliable sources, the new Doctor Who spinoff, called Class, will be airing on Old Media TV – BBC and BBC America – starting in October.

For more info, click on over to the go-to Doctor Who site, Doctor Who TV

And/or check out this interview with creator Patrick Ness

Tell ’em TVWriter™ sentya. (Or not. No biggie here.)

Wonder what RTD will think of the show.

Diana Vacc sees “Suicide Squad”

suicide squad

by Diana Vaccarelli

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

The villains of the comic book age have now become the heroes in Suicide Squad.  The U.S Government gives a team of supervillains the chance to do some good in the world.  Lead by Deadshot (Will Smith), the villains are tasked to save the world from an evil, ancient power.


  • The performances and characters are very well done. Will Smith as Deadshot brings a humanity to the character through the tenderness of Smith’s interaction with Deadshot’s young daughter. We see what he fights for and why he chose to accept the government’s offer. I also absolutely loved Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn.  She brings humor and honesty to the crazy and made me wish I had a bit more Harley in me. Way to go, Margot!
  • The characterization in general is so well written and directed by David Ayer that I found myself relating to all of them on some level.
  • Similarly, the chemistry between the actors is fantastic.  You feel as though they are becoming a real family.
  • The visual effects are top notch.  One scene with Diablo (Jay Hernandez) and his transformation into a fire demon is truly chilling to see. (Sort of pun sort of intended.)


  • In case you are wondering why I haven’t said much about the plot, it’s because that’s the one place the writing lets us down. I have no idea what the plot really was, or why the aforementioned “evil, ancient power” is doing what it does.
  • Jared Leto as the Joker.  Sadly, instead of coming up with a new take on the character, Leto essentially mimics Heath Ledger’s performance from The Dark Knight. I found this quite disconcerting. It seems to me that if you are going to mimic a performance you should also have the same look. But Leto is a clean cut Joker who doesn’t have the scarred appearance and sense of horrific insanity that Ledger had.

If you’re a comic book and superhero film fan, who can forgive a couple of unfortunate lapses, Suicide Squad should be right up your alley (especially since the Joker is barely in it, and let’s face it, we all know just about every comic book-based plot anyway.


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

Web Series: “Women Over 40 Be Like”


Just wow!

This indie series hits it out of the park. See for yourself:

And again:

Tyree Elaine’s YouTube Channel!

Read this interview about how Tyree Elaine’s videos, in which she imitates her mother and her aunts, have amassed millions of views in mere days – on Facebook, for crying out loud!

TVWriter™ Online Workshops – Late Summer/Fall 2016

EDITOR’S NOTE: From yesterday’s TVWriter™ gang email. (Not on the list? Join the in-group HERE.)


Summer is “a goin’ oot,” to badly damage an old Scottish poem, so here’s how things stand as we head for Fall, 2016:

The next Advanced Workshop will start in 2 weeks, on Wednesday, Sept. 7, 2016 and end Sept. 28th.

The Advanced Workshop is for writers who understand the fundamentals of storytelling (plotting, characterization, that kind of thing) and screenplay format but don’t yet have the finesse required of professionals. Enrollment for the 158th Advanced Workshop is wide open, and I’m looking forward to working with, at most 4 or 5 talented writer/students.

The next Master Class will start in mid-September, probably Thursday, Sept. 15th, 2016 and continue for a total of 4 weeks.

The Master Class is for professional, or pro level, TV and screen writers. 3 students per session is the absolute top limit, so if you think you qualify, get in touch with me and we’ll talk further.

As I said in our Spring and Summer emailing, no Foundations of TV and Film Writing Workshop has been scheduled for 2016. I apologize for this, but I’m totally booked with work that, try as I may, I just can’t seem to avoid, postpone, or just plain shirk.

You can find a complete overview of TVWriter™ University with links to all its classes, including their amazingly reasonable (and highly affordable) prices, HERE

And if you want to talk to me personally about it, that’s totally cool. Just drop me an email HERE.