Speaking of Troy DeVolld’s Book…

This just in from Reality Troy, whom you’ve already met many times here on TVWriter™, including in the post just below this one:

by Troy DeVolld

and another thingIn an effort to boost pre-orders for the second edition of REALITY TV, which would make my publisher very happy, I’d like to offer a free PDF copy of my book AND ANOTHER THING: A BEGINNERS GUIDE TO THE TV NOTES PROCESS to anyone who orders the book online or through their local bookseller up until the release date, June 1.  Simply order the book and then drop a line with “PREORDER OFFER” in the subject line to me at realitytvtroy[at]gmail.com so I can reply with the PDF attachment.

If you’d like a signed copy of REALITY TV, just order one through me at the full cover price of $24.95 and I’ll mail you one, shipping included, within a few days of the book’s official release.  To do so, just drop an email (with your mailing address included) reading “SIGNED COPY” in the subject line and I’ll send a PayPal invoice your way.

Finally, if you’ve been considering spending consult time with me, I’ve got an offer up at the IfOnly.comsite for a two-hour dinner consult at Hollywood’s Musso and Frank Grill (meal-inclusive up to $150/person), a one-hour follow-up call, and a signed copy of the book.  A portion of the proceeds goes to the Red Cross.


Troy DeVolld is a Larry Brody buddy and one of the masters of the reality TV genre. This article originally appeared on his Reality TV blog. And while you’re thinking about him, why not buy his book, Reality TV: An Insider’s Guide to TV’s Hottest Market?

Troy DeVolld has the Latest Reality TV Resources for Us

by Troy DeVolld

reality troyAs you may already know, the Second Edition of my book, Reality TV, is due for release on June 1.

Around that time, I’m sure to be slammed with consulting requests and loads of questions. Not that I’m complaining at all – it’s really thrilling to work with you one-on-one to develop your ideas into more commercially viable concepts, but it’s always a little disheartening when someone pays me good money for consulting, then wastes their time asking questions that are clearly answered in the book, which costs about ten percent of a single hour of consult time.

I value our time and your wallet more than that, so please – check out the book first!  I promise you’ll like it, and if you don’t, you can always use it to shore up that wobbly coffee table.

In addition to Reality TV, there are other resources available. For example, Screenwriters University offers online courses based on the book. You can click HERE to see which ones are coming up. Many people find these to be a good way to go as the course assignments come with weekly review and input from me online.  No, not a robot or another instructor.  Just me!

If you can’t make it to any of my speaking engagements, there are also a number of archived webinars available through The Writers Store HERE. Just like my seminars, I always start out with a rigid outline that quickly relaxes into much more informal back-and-forth conversation with those who participated in the initial webinars.

And, while I know I’ve put it out there often, there’s always REMEMBER, WE’RE NOT HERE, my seldom-updated podcast series interviewing other reality professionals on their experiences in front of and behind the lens.  You can find free episodes on iTunes or at Libsyn.

But wait, there’s more.  You can hear my thoughts on a number of aspects of reality television production on YouTube.  Film Courage spent several hours with me to come up with these short subjects.

Filmskills.com features a number of modules for purchase that cover specific areas of reality production.  Guided by Emmy, Telly and CINE award-winning host Jason J Tomeric, these modules, in addition to being informative, also feature my terrible attempt at a moustache.

Hope some of these are of use!


Troy DeVolld is a Larry Brody buddy and one of the masters of the reality TV genre. This article originally appeared on his Reality TV blog. And while you’re thinking about him, why not buy his book, Reality TV: An Insider’s Guide to TV’s Hottest Market?

Dennis O’Neil: The One Right Way to Write?!

Sound-Effectsby Dennis O’Neil

Splat! Splibble! Ghosh!

Uh oh, here comes another one.

KLATLAM!

Okay, let’s close the metaphorical door…no, let’s slam the door on my cutsey way of sneaking up on an answer to the question I posed last week, which was something like: If I can’t teach writing — and I admit that I can’t — why do respectable institutions pay me to teach writing?

We’ll get to that gibberish at the top of the page in a bit, but first, let’s make a distinction between writing and creativity. I don’t know of anyone who has sussed out a reliable procedure for teaching creativity and I’m sure multitudes are trying. So let’s just drop the subject.

But writing? Different thing, and that brings us to the gibberish, which is supposed to be the noise information makes when it strikes a student because that, dear companions, is what I have done while standing in front of whiteboards. No, not fabricate sound effects, but hurl information at the eager faces: give them everything I know about the subject of the day, hoping that they will remember some of it and that what they remember will be useful. I’ve found that I can talk for… oh say twenty hours over the course of a semester about facts pertaining to writing – left-brain stuff that will fit into English sentences. Then, if I allow myself a little blue sky, or bring in a guest, or have responsive students willing to enter into dialogues voila! job done and where’s the nearest Starbucks?

Note: When imparting information, I never claim to be teaching the way to do anything. We have a mantra: There is seldom any one absolutely, inarguable, unimpeachably right way to do anything. There is just what’s worked for a lot of people a lot of times and maybe you’ll benefit from knowing about it.

Can I hear an Amen?

The matter of script format is sure to arise in any comics writing discussion and at first glance this seems like a no-brainer. I mean, a format is a format and all the instructor has to do is show one to the class and then take a bathroom break, right? That would indeed be the case if the subject were writing for television and/or movies. There is a widely accepted format for screenwriting and you’d best adhere to it. (But fear not: your friendly neighborhood software dealer will supply you with all you need.) Comics, though? I can’t show you the standard comics script format because there isn’t one. Every prolific writer seems to find, or evolve, a format that suits them and these range from the minimalist to the dense and detailed and I say blessings upon all. If it’s okay with your editor and with your collaborator(s), it’s okay.

We’ll probably revisit this topic, maybe not next week, but soon. For now, another amen and I’m off to play hooky.


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.

Diana Vacc Sees AMERICAN CRIME STORY: THE PEOPLE vs. OJ SIMPSON

 by Diana Vaccarelli

the-people-v-oj-simpson-american-crime-storyTwenty years later and the OJ Simpson trial still fascinates so many.   Executive Producer Ryan Murphy, creator of Glee, Nip/Tuck, and American Horror Story, decided to produce a series based on Jeffrey Toobins book The Run of His Life. The show starts at the murder scene and continues through the trial.

THE GOOD:

  •  The best part of this series is the acting. Everyone fits their roles perfectly. John Travolta as Robert Shapiro, Courtney B. Vance as Johnnie Cochran, Sarah Paulson as Marcia Clark, David Schwimmer as Robert Kardashian, and Cuba Gooding Jr. as OJ Simpson. Each actor gives the viewer the most poignant performance. It is almost like watching the trial all over again.
  • The cinematography by Nelson Cragg is nothing short of brilliant. The colors and the scenery bring you into the scene.
  • The writing makes the characters come alive. We experience the emotional toll that the case has on them all…and, man, is there ever a toll.

THE BAD:

  • The humor element to the writing.  The Writers Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski seem to me to all to often be making light of frighteningly serious matters. I like humor when the moment calls for it, and I realize that Alexander and Karaszewski are known for their use of humor to make serious issues more entertaining. But there are times in this script when their style seems totally inappropriate. One scene is particular is when Robert Kardashian is reading OJ Simpson’s suicide note and you see the Kardashian children cheering “KARDASHIAN.”  This particular scene took me completely out of the show.
  • The racist language. The use of racial slurs makes it difficult for me to watch. I understand that this was the time after Rodney King and LA racial tensions were high, but as a “sheltered millennial” I’m just not used to hearing such things. The language actually made me so tense at times that I had to pause the show and take a breather from it in order to psyche up for more. Can that really be what those behind this series had in mind?

OVERALL:

If you are feeling nostalgic for true crimes of yesterday, or have always wondered what the O.J. Murder case was all about, this show answers a great many questions. Just be prepared for the stress and pain that accompany these real and painful issues.


Diana Vaccarelli is a TVWriter™ Critic-at-Large. Learn more about her HERE

The Week at TVWriter™ – March 21, 2016

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In case you’ve missed what’s happening at TVWriter™, the most popular blog posts during the week ending yesterday were:

The 100 and the Power of Story

Peggy Bechko on the Writer’s Curse: Overthinking

Looking for TV Pilot Scripts?

Donald Bellisario Talks About Donald Bellisario

New, Improved 2016 PEOPLE’S PILOT Opens Today!

And our most visited permanent resource pages were:

Writing the Dreaded Outline

THE PEOPLE’S PILOT

The Logline

The Teleplay

Advanced Online TV and Film Writing Workshop

Major thanks to everyone for making this such a great week. Don’t forget to click above and read what you missed. re-read what you loved, and, most importantly, come back for more soon!

Larry Brody has yet more to say about characterization

Did you know that John Huston called Jean-Paul Sartre "the ugliest man alive?"

Did you know that John Huston called Jean-Paul Sartre “the ugliest man alive?”

The TV Writer on TV Writing
Characterization Part 3
by Larry Brody

F. Scott Fitzgerald, not exactly known as an action writer, said it best: “In movies, characters are what they do, not what they say.” This is the most important thing you can keep in mind when writing any script for film or TV, and believe me I know how hard it is to remember. After all, we’re writers, aren’t we? Eschewers of the deed who live and die by the word.

In a novel, we get into our protagonist’s mind. We know his or her thoughts. In a stageplay, the flow of spoken dialog is designed to both propel the story forward and illuminate the psyches of the speakers. But in a teleplay or screenplay the only way we can know what a character is thinking is by how he behaves. We never hear his thoughts, and the only time we hear him talking is when he’s in conversation with other people, to whom he could easily be lying.

Action, then, is what gives us our characters’ states of mind. An angry character throws a chair, breaks a mirror. A loving character holds a dear one tenderly. A character who can’t face life literally turns away. Whether the action is large or small, it has to come from within, driven by the needs of the character and therefore illuminating them at the same time.

The next time you sit down to plot out a script, think of yourself as a supreme Existentialist. Sartre wrote that “Existence precedes essence.” Your job as a writer for the visual media is to make Sartre’s words come true. Create events that will give your characters their existence, so that the audience will understand the essence that makes the entire piece come alive.

LYMI LB

LYMI
LB


Larry Brody is the Big Boss here at TVWriter™. Learn more about his storied career.

The Week at TVWriter™ – March 14, 2016

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In case you’ve missed what’s happening at TVWriter™, the most popular blog posts during the week ending yesterday were:

Peggy Bechko on the Writer’s Curse: Overthinking

Looking for TV Pilot Scripts?

It’s CARGO 3120 Day

IT’S A BIRD, IT’S A PLANE, IT’S A GIRL!

Donald Bellisario Talks About Donald Bellisario

And our most visited permanent resource pages were:

Writing the Dreaded Outline

THE PEOPLE’S PILOT

The Logline

The Teleplay

THE PEOPLE’S PILOT: Rules

Major thanks to everyone for making this such a great week. Don’t forget to click above and read what you missed. re-read what you loved, and, most importantly, come back for more soon!