Web Series: ‘Geoffrey the Dumbass’

Geoffrey the Dumbass made this TVWriter™ minion laugh. Maybe even more importantly, not only is this web series by HeadGum Productions funny, its episodes are short. Bite-sized, you could say, which makes them perfect for watching while you’re taking a short break from writing the masterpiece that’s going to set your career on fire. (In a good way, I mean. Not, you know, burn it up.)

Thanks, HeadGum, for coming up with the perfect slacker candy!

Stareable, our fave website devoted to web series, gives Geoffrey the Dumbass 3 stars out of 5. I’d give it 4. What do you think?

Geoffrey the Dumbass on Stareable is HERE

HeadGum’s oeuvre is HERE

TVWRITER™ NEWSLETTER – Summer 2017

TVWRITER™ NEWSLETTER – Summer 2017

TVWriter™
http://tvwriter.com
http://tvwriter.net


A WORD FROM LB

As this is being written, it’s the first day of summer. All around the country, heat-related events are the order of the day.

Except here at TVWriter™ Central, at the northern tip of Washington state’s Olympic Peninsula. Where we are, the temp today is 55 degrees fahrenheit, and the time of year is known as “Juneuary” because this month inevitably is cooler than May and we won’t be getting much warmer till July.

The good news for Larry and Gwen is that at least it’s not raining. The better news for TVWriter™ is that we’re in the middle of a server upgrade that should make good ole http://tvwriter.net and its trusty referrer site http://tvwriter.com load twice as quickly as in the past and, probably more importantly, be more efficient and stable.

Oh, and we’ve added what’s called an “SSL Certificate” that means we’re all safe and secure from – well, I’m not sure what we’re protected against, but the people whose pockets now are semi-filled with our folding money say TVWriter™ visitors can breathe even easier than before about clicking and scrolling here at the World’s Foremost TV Writing Website.

On the actual Learning-All-You-Can-About-TV-Writing-Front, we’ve also made some changes to make hanging here more worthwhile. Here’s what’s going on:


PEOPLE’S PILOT 2017

The 26th edition of our PEOPLE’S PILOT Competition opened for entries June 1st and will be open until the very last minute of November 1, 2017.

This year we’ve continued our tradition of updating the PP to match recent changes in the entertainment scene and make the contest not just a “television writing” thing, but one for shows intended for any and all electronic entertainment media.

Whether the series you are creating is intended for broadcast TV, cable and satellite, TV, home entertainment/video game consoles, Big Media interweb outlets like Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu, or indie web channels and venues like YouTube, Vimeo, Funny or Die, or the show’s own website, it’s eligible for the new PEOPLE’S PILOT.

Similarly, we’re open for entries regardless of what length you envision the episodes being or how many episodes you foresee it having.

Genres also are entirely open. Whether you’ve written a drama, comedy, action, dramedy, anthology script for adults, for young adults, for children, or, what the hell, for opossums, the PEOPLE’S PILOT wants to see it. Is your pilot intended for live action? Great. And just as great if you see what you’ve written as being animated, or starring puppets, or little balls of clay, whateves. Are you hoping for your series to last forever? Envisioning it as a mini or limited series? It’s all good to us. We welcome everything you can think of.

Category-wise, we now have two primary categories:

1) Scripted Comedy Series of any length
2) Scripted Action/Drama Series of any length

Plus, and this is new:

Special Bonus Category
3) Special International Production Award to be given to the entry or entries that the judges find especially suitable for the global TV market and production by our new Chinese co-sponsor Global Saga Media Entertainment. AKA a paid option that any suitable entry, regardless of its placing in the two primary categories, can win.

Prize money has improved as well. As in previous running,  TVWriter™ and our longtime Hong Kong based co-sponsor Manner Movie Ltd. are offering over $20,000 in prizes and entry bonuses, with the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners in the primary categories taking home $700 US, $200 US, and $100 US respectively, plus free feedback on all entries, a free Storytelling Patterns e-book, and all the usual goodies from TVWriter™, yours truly LB, Script Pipeline, ScreenwriterShowcase, and InkTip.Com.

The PEOPLE’S PILOT website, with more general info (including our entry fees and discounts) is HERE

The full list of Prizes is HERE

The Enter Page is HERE

Email LB personally with any questions HERE

Winners, Finalists, and Semi-Finalists of TVWriter™’s past contests are or have most recently been on the staffs of WESTWORLD, LETHAL WEAPON, NARCOS, MOM, SNEAKY PETE, TIME AFTER TIME, THE SARAH CONNOR CHRONICLES, PRIVATE PRACTICE, CHICAGO PD, CHICAGO FIRE, PERSON OF INTEREST, THE WALKING DEAD, RIZZOLI AND ISLES, COLONY, GREY’S ANATOMY, ONCE UPON A TIME, SMALLVILLE, ROME, THE LEFTOVERS, MELROSE PLACE, THE BASTARD EXECUTIONER, and the upcoming SNOWFALL, to name just a few. We’d love to see you join them!


TVWRITER UNIVERSITY SUMMER SCHEDULE

The next TVWriter™ Online TV and Film Writing Workshop starts July 12th, with the last weekly class wrapping things up August 2nd.

Larry Brody’s next Master Class starts July 6th, with the last weekly meeting skedded (as the old-time H’wood trade magazines used to say) for July 27th. Only one opening left!

LB’s upcoming Hong Kong/Macao TV and Film Writing Seminar is zeroing in on its debut date. Featuring a delightful live, in-person Weekend Writing Room Experience, look for it this winter as your go-to Christmas Writing Retreat.

More TVWriter University deets are HERE


That’s it till next time. Keep those stories spinning!

LB and Team TVWriter™


TVWRITER™ STAFF:
Larry Brody – Head Dood
Gwen Brody – Head Muse
Munchman – Keeper of the Flamethrower, we mean Faith
Peggy Bechko, Kelly Jo Brick, Kathryn Graham, Douglas Snauffer – Contributing Editors
Herbie J Pilato, Cara Winter – Contributing Editor Emeritus
Diana Vaccarelli – Critic-at-Large
Dawn McElligott – Writer-at-Large
Lew Ritter- Contributing Writer
Various Volunteers – Mucho Appreciated Scapegoats

Rejection: A Wilderness Guide for Writers

Mark Evanier, a fan favorite writer of – and about – television, film, comics, theater, news and – yikes! – politics, is one of the brightest lights of the interweb. He’s been writing about the trials, tribulations, and joys faced by writers, actors, and other living creatures for years. This is the most recent of a series on dealing with rejection:


Rejection, Part 20
by Mark Evanier

If you want to have a career as a writer, it is very important that you not look desperate. If you are, do what you can to conceal it…and yes, I know that might not be easy, especially if you’re really, really desperate.

This applies to the wanna-be writer who hasn’t sold much, if anything. It also applies to the once-established writer who’s hit a career lull and hasn’t sold anything in a while. It’s probably more important for the latter. If you’re new in the business, you have more of an excuse for appearing desperate. People who might hire you or buy your work can think, “No one’s given this kid a chance.” If you have some credits then what they’re going to think is: “Gee, people have given this guy a chance and if he’s now this desperate, maybe his work isn’t that good lately.”

Desperate people make others uncomfortable. We try to avoid them for the same reason we sometimes give money to homeless people on the street so they’ll go away. But in The Arts, we don’t usually give jobs to desperate people to lessen their desperation because they may not be able to do those jobs. In fact, we often suspect the reason they’re desperate might be because they just don’t have it in them to do those jobs. And if we give them those jobs and it turns out they can’t do them, that creates bigger problems for us.

And unlike the homeless guy outside the CVS Pharmacy who went away after you gave him a buck, these people tend not to go away. They come back again and again begging for another chance.

So you don’t want to look desperate and one good way to achieve that is to not be desperate, at least financially. We’ve discussed that in previous installments of this column.

The story I’m about to tell you is is not about a writer. It’s about a guy who was doing (or trying to do) cartoon voices but it’s the same situation. Because I was casting voices for a cartoon show I was writing and producing, he came after me seeking work. He came after me at conventions, via e-mail, and then when that didn’t work, he started phoning me.

He was not without talent. He had enough that he’d landed an agent…but there are agents and there are AGENTS. He had an all lower-case agent, one of those who has limited clout or connections to sell anything. There are agents like that who represent writers, too. They’ll take on almost anyone who looks competent enough to maybe someday get a job, then they do almost nothing to make that happen. If the client somehow manages to get a gig through his or her own contacts and campaigning, the agent will step in, close the deal and take their commission.

(What kind of agent do you want? The one who is in touch with the people who do the hiring, be they producers, directors, casting people or whatever. You want the agent who can and will get those people on the horn and say, “Trust me. You’ve got to meet with [YOUR NAME HERE] because this kid has really got something!” And then the hiring person thinks, “Gee, that agent represents some really good people. It probably won’t waste my time to take a meeting with that client!” If it’s an agent of the “anyone who looks competent” criteria…well, that agent probably can’t get that buyer on the phone and if they do, their recommendation means very little.)

In the world of voiceover in Hollywood, there are about fifty-five agencies. About nine of them represent about 90% of all the actors who work a lot. They’re the top agencies that represent the top people. I won’t list these agencies but if you go to voicebank.net, you can browse the demos of most voice actors and find out who their agents are. There, you can easily look up the superstar cartoon voice actors and see which agencies represent a significant number of them. You can also hear the demos….

Read it all at Mark’s blog, NewsFromMe

Writing Memes: For Mature Audiences

But not necessarily for mature audiences only:

Found on the interwebs. If you’re the creator, c’mon forth and tell us how this meme came to be. We’ll shower you with, erm, gratitude. (Hey, this is a site manned by volunteers. Gratitude’s all we got. But it’s really well meant!)

Cartoon: ‘A Cure for Writer’s Block’

Grant Snider illuminates the creative soul:

More of Grant Snider’s sensitive perception HERE

Buy his wonderful new book HERE

Dennis O’Neil: Après View Wonder Woman

Looking at Wonder Woman from a new angle

by Dennis O’Neil

So all hail, Princess Diana! For the second week in a row, she has conquered the all mighty Box Office!

You commerce-and-finance majors might consider declaring a holiday. Liberal arts dweebs like me will be satisfied with being grateful for a genuinely satisfying movie-going experience.

There’s a lot to be said for the film and no doubt a lot of it is already being said, with, again no doubt, more to come. It’s the kind of flick that prompts après theater discussion, which is kind of rare these days, especially among those of us who have logged a load of birthdays. We were so happy with the afternoon’s entertainment that we didn’t mind not remembering where we left the car.

I’d like to focus on only one aspect of it and maybe get in some opinions about superhero movies in general. And it affords a chance to blather about something that’s been bothering me for years.

Somewhere in the mists, when I was first creeping into the writing dodge, someone must have told me about the storytelling virtues of clarity. In order for the story, whether you’re experiencing it on a page or on a screen or by hearing it on a recording device, to be fully effective you must know what’s going on: who’s doing what to whom and if we’re pushing our luck, why. Where are the characters? How did they get there? Where are they in relation to one another? How did they get whatever props they’re using? How did they get the information they’re acting on?

Et cetera.

I’m particularly annoyed at lame fights. Surely, way out west, the movie crowd is aware that there’s entertainment value in well-choreographed kickass. If there’s any doubt, let them unspool some Jackie Chan or Bruce Lee, the patron saint of cinematic brawling. Many modern action movies – or maybe most of them – render action in quick cuts, blurs, blaring sound effects. Not my idea of amusement, at least not in mega-doses.

Back to Wonder Woman (and maybe we can, please, have an end to complaining?) None of what I’ve bitched about applies to WW. While in the darkness, I never found myself wondering what was happening on the screen. This, the director was kind enough to show me and thus allow me to relax into her work.

A word about the lead actress Gal Gadot: she’s extraordinarily beautiful (duh!), but her face is not only gorgeous, it is expressive – it seemed to change from shot to shot. And that quality is a blessing for a performer.

So, yeah, all hail to Wonder Woman, I don’t expect to see a better movie this year.


Dennis O’Neil is one of the top writer-editors in comics, having guided the careers of just about every superhero the world has ever heard of. He’s also a damn fine writer of TV. LB still remembers that time he and Denny collaborated on a series created for the BBC, without ever knowing they were doing so. Or knowing each other either. Ah, the magic of TV! This post was first published in Denny’s column at ComicMix.

Now What? 10 Steps For Film Festival Premiere Prep

Last week TVWriter™ brought you “The Indignance of ‘Indie’ Film Festivals,” a rant about the way indie film fests are run,  wriltten by award winning filmmaker Bri Castellini. Bri’s points certainly are valid, but we thought that this week we would show you a different angle – how to prepare for your first film festival so you can get all you want from it.

No, we aren’t even pretending to be “fair and balanced.” Just tryin’ to be helpful, is all:

by Jared Ian Goldman

I repeatedly ask myself one question as I ready for a festival premiere: What’s my goal at the festival?

What am I looking to get out of the festival?

As you get to know the festival organizers and begin preparing for a premiere, the answer to that question may change or even have multiple answers. If you’re going to a festival with a film looking for distribution, for example, your priorities may and will likely differ than if your film already has distribution. You’d be surprised how many filmmakers I encounter who assume that the work is done once their film gets into a festival. However, the festival premiere simply marks a next phase in the life of the film, one that requires just as much focus and attention to detail as any phase in bringing the movie to life.

Step One: Caucus

Once accepted into a festival, I arrange a call with my filmmaking team, which includes the financier(s). This not only ensures that our group strategies and expectations are aligned, but also lets us check in with one another if we haven’t been in regular touch in a while.

Inevitably, this will lead to the question of who from the team is attending the festival—and how is that getting paid for? Production budgets don’t usually account for festival expenses, and not all festivals provide subsidies, so check in with your festival contact to find out what the festival will cover and what relationships they have. (I’ve found that regularly checking in with the festival staff is always beneficial.) Some festivals may cover director and cast travel and housing, while others may be able to provide a sponsor for a party. Some will only provide the platform to premiere.

This initial team strategy call is also the time to discuss a domestic sales agent, a foreign sales agent and a publicist.

Step Two: Hire Sales Agents

If you have a sales agent prior to getting into a festival, then they’ll likely have coached you on which festivals to be submitting to. If you don’t, once the festival makes its line up announcement, sales agents will likely reach out to you—but it’s OK to be proactive and reach out to a company if there is an agent that you think is especially well-suited for your film. If you secure a domestic sales agent, you’ll want to consult with them on who they partner well with for foreign sales and vice versa. When shopping for a sales agent it’s valuable to know how many other films they’re representing so you can ensure you’re being prioritized.

Step Three: Hire an Entertainment Lawyer

If you don’t have a sales agent (or can’t afford a publicist—more on that below), then it’s critical that you have an entertainment lawyer who can help coach the festival process and introduce you to sales agents and/or distributors. I can’t emphasize enough the importance of having an attorney with a depth of entertainment experience. That experience can translate into a significantly better sales deal—and may mean the difference between making any deal whatsoever. Just because you have a friend who is a lawyer and will do you a favor does not mean they can actually help you. Some entertainment lawyers will want to charge hourly, whereas some may work for a percentage of the sale, so be prepared for either….

Read it all at Moviemaker


Producer Jared Ian Goldman’s credits include Brother’s Keeper starring Rose Byrne, The Skeleton Twins starring Kirsten Wiig, Kill Your Darlings starring Daniel Radcliffe, And So It Goes starring Michael Douglas and Diane Keaton.