Cartoon: “Opportunity Knocks”

Another brilliant Grant Snider cartoon:

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More Grant Snider Genius is HERE!!!

Peggy Bechko’s World: What are writers most afraid of?

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by Peggy Bechko

What’s anyone afraid of? Everyone is afraid of something whether they want to talk about it or not. It might be the dark, spiders and snakes, heights, guns, crowds…something! There is something that sets your nerves to jangling and teeth on edge, not to mention raises a cold sweat.

Just thinking about whatever that is can make the hair stand up on the back of your neck, your heart pound and the breath hitch in your lungs if you get into the zone closely enough.

Reason. We all try to use it at such moments, but reason can be at war with that fight or flight we’ve all got so deeply embedded within us. The urge to run or do battle is something hard to deny. So what’s all this about?

The writer’s muse.

A writer’s best work can stem from connecting with that moment, getting inside yourself to pull out those deep-seated fears and expose them to daylight in the service of harnessing the power those emotions and channeling them onto the blank page.

Writers want to reach inside the reader’s head and feel things. The gamut of human emotions and dark thoughts. It’s so easy to ‘make it up when we go along’ when writing, but the fact is the best writing stems from the gut. The best writers reach deep to plumb their own experiences and inject that into characters. Remember and regurgitate those emotions in order to really bring a character to life.

Terrified of walking alone in the dark on a city street? Think of all the nuances as my mother did when she was a young woman and had the night shift at a switchboard. She walked home on the dark sidewalks of a Chicago night with every other street lamp blown out. She hugged the building side when a car came past and hugged the curb side when passing alleys. She walked fast…very fast. Sounds, common and unfamiliar were all around. Strangers on the street with her; were they as she, walking home from work…or a threat? Adrenaline. Inject the fear. Inject the urgency. Clip the sentences and paint a vivid picture. Hurry. Pause. Confront the dark fear of an unlit alley as a garbage can lid bangs within the blackness.

That was one reality. There are many others, and they aren’t always in the physical realm. A character doesn’t always have to worry about being stalked by a murderer.

It can be much closer to the heart, much more emotional. Is there fear a marriage is failing? Is a student an outcast at school afraid of one more indignity? Will a friendship end with betrayal? Will a job be lost to a character charged with supporting siblings after their parents die? Nightmares. All of it. Emotional wrench and perhaps destruction.

Either way. Emotional or physical – what do you fear? What can you hand a character that will give him the cold sweats?

Think about it. Feel it. Write it.


Peggy Bechko is a TVWriter™ Contributing Editor. Learn more about her HERE. This post originally appeared on her sensationally helpful blog. Peggy’s new comic series, Planet of the Eggs, written and illustrated with Charlene Brash-Sorensen is available on Kindle. And, while you’re at it, visit the Planet of the Eggs Facebook page

Diana Vacc sees Outlander Episode 11 “Vengeance is Mine”

Outlander Season 2 2016

by Diana Vaccarelli

This episode of Outlander, entitled “Vengeance is Mine,” covers so much ground that it’s hard to know where to begin.

After several victories, Bonnie Price Charlie (Andrew Gower) and his Generals argue over whether to storm London. After much debate they decide to turn back to Scotland for the winter and to their ultimate defeat in the future. While in Scotland, our band of merry men are trapped in a church by English Soldiers. To save them, Claire (Caitriona Balfe) comes up with a plan all too appropriate to the world of 2016.

If you haven’t viewed this episode yet be warned this review may contain spoilers.

THE GOOD:

  • The writing of the episode was once again brilliant.  Author of the beloved series Diana Gabaldon herself pens this episode. As a reader of the novels this episode brings me back into the books. Of course. things had to be changed or left out due to time, but the viewing was still a wonderful experience. A scene in particular was when Jamie (Sam Heughan) is praying in Gaelic over a sleeping Claire. This scene’s power comes from its foreshadowing, making me fear of what’s to come.
  • The Acting in this show never ceases to amaze me. Showrunner Ron Moore and his team have done an amazing job with casting.  This week’s guest stars are particularly strong.  Andrew Gower, our Bonnie Prince Charlie, shows us a man of both determination and weakness who at last comes into his own as a leader by following his better judgment instead of his instincts. Rosie Day as wallflower Mary Hawkins brings both the innocence and the strength needed for the character when she gets avenges her rape by killing the rapist. The revenge made me squeal with joy. WAY TO GO, MARY!

THE BAD:

Once again, there is not one thing I didn’t like about this episode. Never before have I felt this way about any TV series or film based on a book or series of books I’ve loved.

CONCLUSION:

You probably already know what I’m going to say: If you haven’t watched this show you truly need to start!

Happy TV Watching!


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

What the Consumer Shift to Streaming Video Really Means

The consumer shift from watching TV on, you know, our TV sets to on our phones, tablets, and last but not least PCs, means that the entire look and feeling of being online is going to change dramatically, not necessarily for the better (although it’s good to know that interweb audience tastes are actually being considered).

But don’t take our word for it. Here’s what the experts have to say:

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by Sean Galligan

What device are you reading this on? A laptop, a smartphone, a tablet or something else?

Similarly, when it comes to streaming video these days, including full-blown HD content, you’re not locked into a particular device or delivery method. In fact, many viewers have completely cut their cable cord—or taken down the satellite dish—and are watching their favorite shows via streaming services, some affiliated with traditional networks, others independent. As Over The Top (OTT) services grow, you might be wondering what these changing viewing habits mean for advertisers.

We took a look at how and why consumers are flocking to OTT services, plus the ad formats they prefer. Our latest study signals a sea change in video consumption, but one in which advertisers can adapt and thrive. When it comes to consumers embracing OTT services, we found:

  • More than one-third of respondents don’t have a traditional cable TV provider or have reduced their reliance on one.
  • 16 percent plan to cut or reduce their cable/satellite service in the next six months, mainly due to the high costs.
  • On average, 77 percent of OTT consumers subscribe to more than one service….

Read it all at Ad Week

Jeane Wong wins 1st Universal Cable Productions Pitch Fest

by TVWriter™ Press Service

jeane-wong-jpegProving that some execs really do know their shit a good thing when they see it, Jeane Wong, a script coordinator for ARROW and a 3rd Place Winner in TVWriter™’s 2014 Spec Scriptacular and Semi-Finalist in the 2014 People’s Pilot is the overall winner of Universal Cable Productions’ first Pitch Fest.

UCP recently opened its doors to undiscovered storytellers looking to pitch the next great television series to studio executives. Dubbed “Pitch Fest,” the first annual event attracted more than 500 submissions, with 22 finalists given 10 minutes to pitch their idea to UCP’s development team. The winning pitch, “The Thin Line,” was submitted by Jeane Wong and is slated for development later this year.

Wong is a graduate of UCLA with a degree in English literature. She was a semifinalist in Disney’s ABC Writing program and is an alumna of the Producer’s Guild Workshop. Her winning submission, “The Thin Line,” is a revisionist history series set in present-day America where segregation still exists after an unsuccessful 1960s civil rights movement. Against the backdrop, a man goes undercover for the FBI, setting himself on a collision course with his estranged brother, who happens to be the leader of a violent underground group.

According to Dawn Olmstead, Executive Vice President, Development, the UCP team was impressed with Wong’s original pitch and further intrigued by her talent after reading the script.

“The theme of Jeane’s script immediately caught our attention because it’s compelling, timely and its themes resonate with what’s going on in our world today,” said Olmstead. “We look forward to helping her bring her vision to life.”

 

Wong is repped by Gotham.

Yay, Jeane!!!

The One Question Every Writer Needs to Answer

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by Kathryn Graham

“Am I a real writer?”

There are lots of memes that float around facebook about what makes something ‘real’. They say things like ‘real women have curves’ or ‘real men wear pink’ usually typed over photographs of what some dingbat with Photoshop or MS Paint thinks represents reality.  It’s all hogwash. A ‘real’ woman or man simply is because they feel they are. There is no prerequisite to becoming what you already are.

The same goes for asking if you’re a real writer. It can be worthwhile to ask yourself just how passionately you feel about writing, in what venue, if you care about creating great television, being published, or any other number of things that come along with the business of writing. It’s worth it to ask yourself how much writing means to you because it will require a lot out of you. But asking if you’re a real writer?

I asked myself this question during a time in my life when I wasn’t writing as much as I would have liked. The conventional wisdom always came back to: “Real writers write. Period.” This bit of wisdom sounds all tied up with bow and a tag that reads “This is the final word”. In actuality, it’s probably just as worthless as ‘real men wear kilts’.

Let’s put it this way. If Stephen King stops writing for months, even years, and doesn’t put a word down on paper – is he still a ‘real writer’? Does he only become a real writer again once he commits to sit in front of a blank page on a computer screen and tap tap tap away at the keys?

I’d like to tell you that if you ask yourself if you’re a ‘real writer’ and you feel like you are, poof, that’s all you need. But the fact is you can think that you’re not a real writer and still be one. You can also believe that you’re a ‘real writer’ and spend your entire life never actually writing anything.

So you want to know if you’re a real writer? If asking yourself that question makes you feel good, reassured of your identity, and ready to follow through on your choices, that’s great. If not, try re-framing the question. How much do you care about writing right now? What are you willing to do or sacrifice to get it done? What kind of impact does writing have on your life and your well-being? Whatever the answers are now, you can always come back at another time and find out if your feelings or your circumstances have changed. The only thing being ‘real’ requires is being honest with yourself and making choices you can live with.


Kathryn Graham is a Contributing Writer to TVWriter™. Learn more about Kate HERE