Diana Vacc sees ‘Fifty Shades Darker’

Not sure about this pic. Maybe it’s Ms. Vacc holding on the gun this film?

by Diana Vaccarelli

No spoilers here because it’s already spoiled!

On February 10, 2017  Universal Pictures released the sequel to Fifty Shades of Grey, the not-so-cleverly-titled Fifty Shades Darker.  This film follows the continued relationship of Anna Steele and Christian Grey and their constant struggles to be completely honest with one another and how sex drives their relationship.      


  • After the battles behind the scenes of Fifty Shades of Grey director Sam Taylor Johnson and screenwriter Kelly Marcel were not asked to return for the sequel.  Instead the writing went to novelist and writer of the Fifty Shades trilogy E.L James’ husband Niall Leonard.  Leonard has written several television series and films such as Horatio Hornblower.  I mention this because this change from the first film to the sequel was a great success.  Leonard has shown that the characters have a relationship outside of intimacy. Better yet if you’re into this sort of thing, he also gives us some very real-seeming B &D. 
  • Director James Foley of House of Cards and Billions, brings the book more to life then Taylor Johnson did.  I was pleasantly surprised by how much Fifty Shades Darker film followed the book. Looks like sometimes it pays to leave control of a property in the hands of the creator.
  • The music continues in this franchise to be excellent.  It shows Christian Grey’s inner darkness and how his emotions change when he is around Anna.


  • The main issue I continue to have with this series of films is the casting of Anna Steele. Dakota Johnson is, in a word,  drippy and doesn’t give the character one single ounce of personality.  On top of that, she speaks in the kind of monotone that would make anybody want to tie her up, preferably in another room…or city…or country.
  • It’s based on one of the most justifiably reviled novels of this century, which means that no matter how well made this film may be it still may make your skin crawl.


  • If you’re a fan of the books you will definitely appreciate the changes from the first film to the sequel.  If you’re a fan of films that have great music this film might make you smile…but a copy of the soundtrack would be a better choice. For my part, I give Fifty Shades Darker an overall two stars out of five, but my friends have always said that I’m generous to a fault.

    Diana Vaccarelli is TVWriter™’s Critic-at-Large and one of the best people we know. Find out more about her HERE


Pixar Tells Us All We’ll Ever Need to Become Animation Mayvens

The greatest and most educating series on film and video-making evah!

There’s whole lots more where this sweet and salty goodness comes from. Find out more HERE

Cartoons: ‘Adventures of the Ampersand

A tip of the TVWriter™ cap to the phenomenal Grant Snider for consistently providing the world with cartoons like this:

Hie thyselves HERE FOR MORE Incidental Comics Genius!

Blame How Bad Being Rejected Makes You Feel on Your DNA

Rejection gotcha down, bunky? Looking for the secret of not giving a shit?

This very serious little article gives us the lowdown on the kind of person we need to be to live our lives without feeling the pain inflicted by being denied/unaccepted/kicked out/mocked/younameit by others.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t tell us how to transform ourselves into the necessary mental state.

Or would that last sentence me more correct if we took out the opening “un”?

I Asked a Psychopath How to Stop Caring About Rejection
by Julian Morgans

I recently went on a date with a beautiful and smart girl who laughed at all my jokes and then never replied to my texts. I walked away from the date thinking nailed it! while I guess she walked away thinking he didn’t nail that. I mean, who knows what she actually thought—but I spent the next few days wondering.

Wondering what other people think is a classic problem, and rejection sucks. When the phone doesn’t ring, the invitation doesn’t arrive, or you get cut from the team or the job, it’s only natural to feel hurt. But I should say that it’s natural for most people, not everyone. Because for psychopaths, caring what others think isn’t an issue—which is why I decided to ask one for advice.

Dr. James Fallon is a neuroscientist at the University of California. In 2006, he was studying the brain structures of serial killers when he realized his own brain fit the same profile. Amused, he started telling his friends and family, who all confirmed it was something they’d long suspected. As James described in the Guardian, “I started to ask people close to me what they really thought of me… and tell me they did.”

When I read this, I knew I’d found the guy. Fallon scores as a “pro-social” psychopathic, meaning he’s empathetic enough to be married and enjoy a social life, but lives without the worry or hurt most of us feel constantly. So I called him to ask how he does it. How does he go through life untouched by insult? And could I learn to do the same?

VICE: How does rejection feel for you?
Dr. James Fallon: It feels absolutely fine. As my two psychiatrists say, my biggest problem in life is that I don’t give a shit. They tell me, “You just don’t care.” And it’s true.

Why not?
I just know that I can do anything I want, and something better will come along. I guess that absurd swagger is most of it….

Read it all at Vice

Peggy Bechko’s World of the Innocent, the Eager & the Doomed

“My hopes, dreams and aspirations were no match against my poor spelling, punctuation and grammar.” Red Red Rover

Okay writers, is that you? It might be, even if you aren’t aware of it. Yeah, yeah, I know, it’s the STORY that counts, right?

Hmmm, well, yes. BUT, if you can’t get anyone to read your story because you just can’t handle the basics then your STORY won’t mean much.

People are busy… editors and producers even more so. They don’t have time to mess around with your work if it’s littered with spelling errors, grammar that makes no sense and punctuation that throws everything into a tailspin.

You can sit there at your computer and argue with me all you want in your head, but facts are facts (no, there are no ‘alternative facts’). If your material is all but unreadable it won’t get read.

Readers for screen scripts don’t have the time to mess with it and it sure won’t reach a producer’s hands (unless you know him personally and put it in his hands, in which case he won’t read past the first few pages). An editor will pitch a fit.

So, what to do if your skills are lacking. You can take some courses, not a bad idea in any regard. But there are helps out there.

You can try Grammarly.  Sign up for an account and get the free version to test out. If it’s really helpful and you really like it, there’s a fee-based version you can go with

No, I’m not associated with Grammarly in any way. I don’t get paid. Your choice. I have used it and found it helpful. Be careful not to take what it tells you too literally as you’re writing fiction, not staid business correspondence.

There are some of my favorite books as well. They’re small, slim volumes by Karen Elizabeth Gordon. Picked them up while working in a college bookstore so mine are kind of old and battered hardcovers:

The New Well-Tempered Sentence: A Punctuation Handbook for the Innocent, the Eager, and the Doomed

The Deluxe Transitive Vampire: The Ultimate Handbook of Grammar for the Innocent, the Eager, and the Doomed

Both of these books are amusing and helpful and have been on my writing shelf for years. Yes, you read that correctly. I can still get myself into a corner when it comes to spelling, punctuation and grammar.

Despite the fact that it’s obvious and a lot of you reading this will groan, pay attention to whatever writing software you’re using.

MS Word, Scrivener (you can get a 30 day free trial on this one!) and most dedicated script softwares have features that highlight errors in some way.

I’ve just begun using Scrivener and despite the learning curve I’m coming to love it. And it even has a ‘script’ writing element. Check it out if you’re interested. (Again, I’m not profiting from mentioning it).

These are the tools I use. You may have discovered equally wonderful, or even more wonderful ones you use. If you have suggestions go ahead and post them in the comment box. It never hurts any of us to have new tools in the tool box!

Peggy Bechko is a TVWriter™ Contributing Editor. blog. 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. And, while you’re at it, visit the Planet of the Eggs Facebook page and her terrific blog.

Larry Brody’s Poetry: ‘TV Writing Success in a Nutshell’

“Isn’t she lovely? Isn’t she wonderful?”

TV Writing Success In A Nutshell

by Larry Brody


Recently rediscovered this little epic written many years ago as I tried to put myself into the head of a writer-producer I used to work for, a man who continually surrounded himself with the latest symbols of his elevated estate. I wanted to know what the fact that he was at the time undisputably the most successful TV series creator in history really meant to him. The result taught me an important lesson: “Stay out of other people’s heads!”

TV Writing Success In A Nutshell

The limo driver hates me. He pulls

Away while I’m still on the street

Bending to slide inside the car. When he realizes

His mistake, he stops and glares, then

Makes himself apologize while he

Waits for me to get in.

The limo driver hates me, but I love the limo anyway.

Longer than a jet. And plush, with big seats facing

Front and rear, television, a bar with crystal glasses,

Champagne on ice, two different telephone lines, and a Fax.

A better stereo than in any home. Windows of

Tinted glass that let me peer out while no one else

Can look in.

I love the limo because it works so well.

The greatest construction tool a man’s ego can know,

It digs an unbridgeable chasm between roots and

Blossoms, past and future, success and failure,

I and thou.

“I Am That I am,” said the Lord, and know what? The

Limo says it too. “I am that I am,” and “Fuck you.”

My limo driver hates me, but I love my limo anyway.

It salves my tormented psyche, and keeps the

Undeniable away.

Larry Brody is the head dood at TVWriter™. Although the book whose cover you see above is for sale on Kindle, he is posting at least one poem a week here at TVWriter™ because, as the Navajo Dog herself once pointed out, “Art has to be free. If you create it for money, you lose your vision, and yourself.” She said it shorter, though, with just a snort.


TVWriter™ Don’t-Miss Posts of the Week – February 20, 2017

…Aaand here we are with TVWriter™’s  latest look at our 5 most popular blog posts of the week ending yesterday. They are, in order:

Looking for TV Pilot Scripts?

Want to Read This Year’s Oscar Nominated Screenplays?

John Ostrander: TV ‘Flash’

LB: Where Did THE FALL GUY Live?

David Perlis reviews ‘Rogue One’

And our 5 most visited permanent resource pages were, also in order:

Writing the Dreaded Outline

The Logline


Online TV and Film Writing Workshop

Student Central

Major thanks to everyone for making this another great week at TVWriter™. Don’t forget to click above and read what you missed and re-read what you loved!