Our Most Read Posts of the Week of May 16-May 22, 2015


The posts visitors viewed most on TVWriter™ during the past week were:

Five Reasons Why DANGER 5 is the Best Show on Netflix

A Glossary of Bullshit Hollywood Terms

Peggy Bechko: How Talented are Your Characters? How Skillful?

Looking for TV Pilot Scripts?

A Short History of L.A. BEER: The First Live Audience Web Series Sitcom

And our most viewed resource pages were:

Writing the Dreaded Outline





Big thanks to everyone for making this such a great week. And, speaking of THE PEOPLE’S PILOT, the interwebs’ supreme spec pilot writing contest closes in just a tad over a week…which means if ever there was a time to enter it’s NOW.

Don’t forget to read what you missed, re-read what you loved, and, most importantly, come back for more soon!

Another Cartoon About Television

Cuz it’s TVWriter™’s “TV Cartoon Saturday.” But you already know that, right?

So here’s another one for today:

Cul de Sac

Cul de Sac

Cul De Sac
See more on GoComics


A Couple of Cartoons About Television

Welcome to TVWriter™’s “TV Cartoon Saturday.” No, not animation, cartoons. About, you know, TV, found in recent daily newspaper strips. Remember those?

Anyway, here’s the first one for today:

Long Story Short

Long Story Short
See more on Arca Max

And a second one:

the meaning of lila

The Meaning of Lila
See more on GoComics

Louis C.K. Reminisces About Writing for Conan O’Brien

Louie C.K. on late night TV writing Capture

Writing TV is at its heart guerilla warfare, with writers doing their best to sneak their best work past executives and censors. Here’s Louis C.K.’s take on the subject:

YouTube Preview Image

How a Writing Contest Launched the Career of EXTANT’s Creator

Why should you enter TVWriter™’s currently running (and only a week or so away from closing) People’s Pilot competition? Well, here’s some food for thought:

Mickey Fisher of EXTANT

by Jacob N. Stuart

I first met Mickey Fisher back in September of 2014. We were both scheduled to speak at the Cincinnati Film Festival‘s screenwriting panel. Mickey, however, was scheduled a few hours before me. Usually when I’m speaking at a film festival, I use the time before my slot to network, exchange information, and form new industry relationships. But with Mickey, that all changed. I found myself fascinated by his amazing story, and how over night, through a screenplay contest, his life changed drastically. Still to this day, I can’t figure out why I would be scheduled after Mickey; who in the world would want to listen to ME after hearing Mickey speak first!

So who is Mickey Fisher? Mickey is a native of Ohio, who is the writer and creator of the popular CBS series, EXTANT, staring Hale Berry, and executive produced by Stephen Spielberg. Need I say more?

But what makes Mickey’s story even more inspiring? He was discovered (and so was EXTANT) through a screenplay contest (trackingb)!

So I caught up with Mickey, who is one the nicest people you will ever meet, and asked him for an interview. For those who don’t know, I’m the Screenplay Contest Director for this year’s Cincinnati Film Festival (Screenwriting Staffing is the official sponsor). That’s why I thought it would be fitting to have Mickey share his thoughts on screenwriting contests on ‘The Backstory’!

Screenwriting Staffing: What is your overall thoughts and opinions on screenplay contests?extant poster

Mickey Fisher: A contest led me to having my own show on CBS so of course I’m a bit biased, but I think for someone who is outside the industry like I was, they’re a great way to get your material into the right hands.  Even the ones I didn’t win paid off in some way.  I was a semi-finalist in the Nicholl Fellowship back in 2006 and even though I didn’t win, a student in a graduate producing program tracked me down and asked to use my script for her thesis project, which led to a friendship and professional relationship that exists to this day.

Screenwriting Staffing: What should EVERY screenwriter look for when choosing and submitting to screenplay contests?

Mickey Fisher: You have to do your research and find out which ones are really kicking off careers or opening doors for people.  When I entered the TrackingB TV Pilot contest I had been reading about it for a year or two and knew that it was a viable option for getting scripts in the hands of people who could do something with them.  Shortly before I was a finalist there I won a contest held by The Writer’s Store and I entered because I knew one of the prizes was a lunch meeting with Susannah Grant.  I had read about The Nicholl Fellowship for years before I entered that back in 2006.  Now there’s The Blacklist website, which isn’t a contest, but it’s got a real track record for launching writers.

Read it all at Screenwriter Staffing

How the Pilot Process Can Make You Crazy

You know you’ve made it when you join the ranks of those bitching about the horrors of pilot season. What’s there to bitch about? Ask the man who knows:

pilot-seasonby Ken Levine

Now we’re getting down to it, pilot-wise. The last pilots have been delivered and networks are cobbling together their upcoming season. It used to be exclusively their Fall season but now they pretty much order all the shows they plan on rolling out throughout the course of the year – Fall, Mid-season, Early March (slim chance of renewal), Late March (no chance – just schedule fodder), and Summer.

The scene shifts to New York where all the big decisions are made. A highly respected agent once said, “Everything turns to shit over Mississippi.” He’s right. Shows that network execs were excited about in LA seem to lose their luster. The testing has come back. Someone higher up doesn’t like it.  Other pilots have now come in they like more.  The network wants to shoehorn an actress into the show, the showrunner balks, quits or is fired, and now there’s a mad scramble for a new showrunner. Negotiations for license fees get complicated. Power agents, showrunners with clout, and studios lobby for the best time slots. Networks waffle on what direction they want their Fall season to take. Add another hour of comedy? More drama? Move comedy out of Wednesday night?

How do the new pilots mesh with existing shows? What’s a compatible lead in? And then there’s counter-programming. Is this the year you can topple THE VOICE? And if so, with what? Is THE BLACK LIST vulnerable? Have they run out of cities to tack onto NCIS?

If you’ve got a horse in this race it can make you CRAZY. Rumors swirl hourly. You read the on-line industry trades and shows are on the schedule, then dead, then a strong candidate for mid-season, then maybe another network is interested if the first one passes, then that option flames out, then they’re alive again at the first network.

Read it all at Ken Levine’s superlative blog