Summer TV Hit “Stranger Things” was Rejected “10 to 15 Times”

Further proof that nobody knows anything:

In other words, girls and boys, all those people (like us) who keep telling you not to give up know what we’re talking about. We may not all be speaking from our own experience, but anecdotal advice can still be valid, as the above case in point shows.

Keep writing!

And keep fighting too. The world needs entertainment, maybe now more than ever!

Dennis O’Neil: Superman – What Do We Really Know?


Art by Shawn Van Briesen

by Dennis O’Neil

“Someone has just thrown Lois Lane from an airplane and she’s plummeting Earthward. But today is Humtyglumf Day, the most sacred day in the Kryptonian calendar – a day on which it is absolutely forbidden to rescue falling females. But if I do nothing, in about a nanosecond Lois will squish…”

Full disclosure: I don’t really know if Kryptonians celebrate Humptyglumf Day. On the other hand, I don’t really know if they don’t. Superman seems to have a lot of information about his shattered home world – he seems to knows a lot more about Krypton than I know about, oh…McCausland Avenue where, I have it on reliable authority, I spend the first four years or so of my life. But nothing about politics or religion.

The profit motive partly explains this. I’m thinking of one of my favorite novelists, now deceased. His name was John D. MacDonald and his best known character was/is Travis McGee. McDonald and McGee were, for me, buy-immediately-upon-sighting as I checked out the fresh paperbacks. I don’t know how many McGee novels I read before I realized how little I really knew about our hero. McDonald gave us what seemed to be a heap of personal data about his creation – his friends, his houseboat, his car, his workouts, his opinions of certain cities, his party-timing, all this and more well covered. Yessir, after reading two or five of the books you knew ol’ Trav. But did you? Tell me about his parents, his siblings (isn’t a brother mentioned somewhere?), his home town, the schools he attended, his political preferences, where, if anywhere, he worships…You might be tight with Trav, but you couldn’t fill out his census questionnaire.

I think what McDonald was doing, consciously or not, was employing a bit of literary legerdemain – what Penn and Teller might call “misdirection.” He gives you lots of detail and maybe you don’t notice that he withholds anything that is crucial – anything that might prejudice you against the character. (You don’t like Presbyterians? Well, he’s no Presbyterian!) It’s fair to say that most, if not all, writers of mass-consumption worked a similar dodge. The radio programs and television shows and movies were populated by…well, Americans! Probably ate white bread. Probably went to church (though which church we didn’t have to know.) Probably voted. (But which lever they turned is really none of our concern.)

Comic books? Let’s see…there’s Clark Kent and Bruce Wayne and Peter Parker and Tony Stark and Steve Rogers…Nope – not an ethnic name in a truckload. And none of these guys have lapel pins indicating political preference, either.

I can’t decide if this pop culture homogenization has been helpful or harmful to the general welfare. Maybe a bit of both? I have a hunch that its time is almost past, but that’s not today’s topic. Nor is Humptyglumf Day.

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, 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.

Crowdfunding: “Circus Town”

Love TV? Love the circus? Love puppets?

We here at TVWriter™ do, which is why we were so attracted (hopefully, not fatally) to this Kickstarter project called Circus Town, a kids’ TV series created by “Gina, Aaron, and Annie – two professional puppeteers and a film director/producer.”

You guys already know how much we lurves puppeteers – even more than enough to overcome our natural wariness of writers’ traditional enemies – producer-directors!

Check out this down-to-the-wire funding project on Kickstarter HERE

Read the sensational writer-up on the show in PhillyVoice HERE

Peggy Bechko’s World: Changing Directions of a Writer’s Life

by Peggy Bechko

mary-poppins-weather-vaneNamely – mine!

Some writers pretty much stick with what they began with whether it’s novel writing or scriptwriting or journalism for an entire career. That’s great for them, or, if you’re a writer and that’s the way you go, for you.

For me, things keep on a’changin’. It’s not that I move away from one type of writing to another and leave the ‘old’ behind, it’s more like I add to what I’m doing. That can get a bit crazy, but it’s the way I Iike it. Spices things up for me, keeps the fresh and the new ideas rolling.

I began with novels, published with Doubleday, Harlequin and others.

Then I added script writing and I loved it. Had a wonderful mentor in Larry Brody of (for whom I’m a Contributing Editor), sold a script, optioned some others and am still working with scriptwriting having completed one a short time ago. All I had to do was know how to type and be creative…and learn the formatting.

But that’s not where it stops for me. I’m also creating a novel from a previously written script. Its great fun and I intend to publish.  I have a romance novel I’m working on finishing up as well. Still typing, still milking the creative juices.

What’s the newest? Comic books. Kid’s books. Yep, an unusual undertaking for me. I’ve partnered up with a great friend and we, together, write and illustrate the comic series Planet Of The Eggs with five adventures published so far and more in the works.  As an off-shot we’re now creating our first ‘read-to-me’/’young readers’ picture book based on the fun characters ofPlanet Of The Eggs. The first is celebrating the differences in us all, as well as what brings us together, and is as yet untitled, but that’s coming!

The learning curve was pretty steep on comic creation. We’re still using a combination of photoshop, powerpoint and comic life software. Now we’ve also thrown in the free photo manipulator from and got a couple of special effects packs so we can create cool pen sketches and other kind of amazing effects.

The results so far is the near completion of the first volume (six issues) of thePlanet Of The Eggs comic book series. But wait, there’s something afoot!  The series is about to find itself in a reboot as we evolve from the very young adventurous eggs to the more confident, determined Superhero eggs and their friends, companions and arch enemies. We’re on the very cusp as we complete the first picture book and dive into plotting for the sixth adventure to complete our first volume.

Oh, and the fifth, Planet Of The Eggs-Eruption 2, Saving Dot has just released in Kindle format and paperback will follow in the next couple of weeks.  Want to keep up with it all?

Go to our facebook page for Planet Of The Eggs, tell us your thoughts, which heroic egg is your favorite, what villains you would like to see, whatever comes to mind. We love to hear from fans. Oh, and there’s a monthly newsletter as well – just click the sign up button near the top of the page and get access to the first adventure in PDF FREE! Or sign up directlyhere.

So, my personal writing career has become a fantastical juggling act and I love it. Yep, I’ll be finishing that romance novel, probably creating more novels from scripts and the reverse as well as finding new and exciting things to pursue with my writing.  I’ll let you know what I come up with next.  Meanwhile, happy reading and writing.

Peggy Bechko is a TVWriter™ Contributing Editor. 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 don’t forget Peggy’s wonderful blog, where this article first appeared. Whew! Busy woman!

Diana Vacc sees “Bad Moms”

by Diana Vaccarelli

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

From the keyboards of Jon Lucas and Scott Moore, writers of The Hangover, among other gems, comes a story of three overworked Moms who have had enough.  Bad Moms follows these three moms as, led by Mila Kunas, they decide to get as drunk as they can and live a life full of debauchery. What could possibly go wrong? 


  • Mila Kunis as Amy brings humor and reliability to the film as the main bad mom.  Watching her go through the day-to-day tribulations of her life you feel for her and definitely agree that she does need a break.
  • The chemistry between Kunis, and the other bad moms, Kathryn Hahn, and Kristen Bell, comes sweeping out as us from the screen.  Watching the way they play off each other is almost as much fun as actually being them seems to be. I was absolutely convinced that they are truly lifelong friends. (And if they aren’t, I think they should be!)


  • Sorry, but we have to start with the writing. I consider The Hangover to be a classic comedy film and when I learned that Lucas and Moore were writing Bad Moms I had high hopes that they would be able to write women who were as funny as The Hangover‘s men. This film has its funny moments, to be sure, but overall the humor misses. The laughs are generic and unoriginal, as though they were working with a director who told them, “It isn’t a joke unless I’ve heard it before,” which is especially strange since they’re the credited directors themselves! This certainly does not live up to The Hangover.

If you’re a mom who needs a break then this film may bring you laughs. A more likely result, however, is that it will send you to the nearest bar.

Happy Summer Blockbuster Season!

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

Money or Control – Pick One if You Can

What kind of creator do you want to be? Which element of the creative life is more important to you? Money for your work? Control over your work? Major insights along these lines await here:

About Yuko Shimizu:

Yuko Shimizu is an award-winning Japanese illustrator based in New York. Her work has appeared on the pages of the New York Times, TIME, and Newsweek, on the covers of DC Comics, Penguin, Abrams and Random House books, on the Gap and Nike T-shirts, and on Pepsi cans.

Her monograph Living with Yuko Shimizu will be published this spring. A Wild Swan, her collaboration with Pulitzer-winning author Michael Cunningham, came out in 2015. She was chosen as Newsweek Japan’s “100 Japanese People World Respects” in 2009.

About 99U:

The 99U delivers the action-oriented education that you didn’t get in school, highlighting real-world best practices for empowering the creative community.

LB: Speaking of Herbie J Pilato’s New Book

Herbie-J-autographed-book-smallLook what just came via snail mail! Herbie J’s Dashing, Daring, and Debonair.

I’m digging the autograph as well as the book.

Favorite chapters so far – those about not the actor-stars but the writer-creators of the era, such as:

  • Rod Serling
  • Gene Roddenberry
  • Norman Lear

Between us, though, the big Do Not Miss chapters include those on:

  • Clayton Moore
  • George Reeves
  • David Carridine

Then again, I always enjoy reading about Bobby Sherman and Desi Arnaz, Jr.

Bobby starred in the first series I ever wrote for, Here Come the Brides, and Desi in the first one I ever Executive Produced, the classic Automan.

With 70 chapters, each one featuring a different dashing, daring, and debonair male star of the ’50s, 60s, and ’70s, I’m pretty damn sure everyone’s bound to find a favorite…or ten.

Thanks for thinking of me, Herbie!