20th Spec Scriptacular Winners

For contest ending December 1, 2014

Public domain image, royalty free stock photo from www.public-domain-image.com


1st Place: RICK AND MORTY: CRIME AND PUNISHRICK by Michael Kellner




1st Place: HANNIBAL: BREAD & WATER by Angela Berliner


3rd Place: SCANDAL: THE GOOD SHEPHERD by Jeane Wong


1st Place: CONSEQUENCES by Robert Frostholm

2nd Place: ERASED by Scott M. Richter

3rd Place: DRIVEN by Gerald Cote

The only way to describe these nine scripts is: Wonderful. Fully five of them scored over 9 points on our 10 point scale, and the others were in the very high 8s. All three of the 1st Place finishers, in fact, and two of the 2nd Placers, finished in the top ten All-Time Spec Scriptacular Top Scores. Which makes them part of the ten best in the decade and a half this contest has been held.

A showbiz old pro might give a little smile and say, “Not bad” to all this. But that would be because they were masking the absolute awe such an achievement brings.  To put it another way, LB and the rest of the TVWriter™ Gang consider every one of the scripts above to be, simply, brilliant. And brilliance is what they needed in order to finish ahead of another remarkable pack of entries which, overall, has been the best yet.

In the next few days LB will be contacting all the Spec Scriptacular Winners to tell you how to claim your prizes, and he swears that in about a week (well, maybe a bit more depending on, you know, all the things meeting deadlines can depend on) he’ll post his personal observations about the results.

After that, all entrants should start receiving your free Feedback, but please remember that the operative phrase here is “start receiving” because of the volume of people to be contacted. Please give us a few weeks before emailing TVWriter™ in panic because your Feedback hasn’t arrived yet, okay?

Speaking of timetables, we’d like to remind you that the 2015 People’s Pilot will be opening for entries in mere days. The exact date is February 1st, and if you’d like to receive a substantial discount on your entry fee – 30% – February would be a very good time to send in that fee. You can always finish and polish and upload your People’s Pilot script any time after that till the Dread Deadline date of June 1st.

Congratulations to all the Winners for their outstanding work and to everybody who entered for coming so very, very close. Your friends here at TVWriter™ want you to know that you’re the best!

5 Questions with a Writers’ PA on a network drama

Amanda, the Aspiring TV Writer, gives us some insight into the most desired entry level job for writers on the planet. Well, her anonymous source does. But without Amanda and her blog, none of this would be here. Muchas gracias, Amanda!

by Amanda

I interviewed a Writers’ PA on a network drama (who wishes to stay anonymous). I can relate to her story of a winding path: a career is more than just one job or one opportunity!

1. What’s your background?

I went to film school at USC, majored in Critical Studies (Film Studies). I did a wide variety of internships from production companies to TV shows and even in TV I dabbled…I worked in the art department on Mad Men but then also worked in writers’ offices on shows like Smallville and Brothers and Sisters. I also at one point worked with an executive coordinating animation events which was interesting. And then if I don’t sound career ADD enough, on weekends, I was doing film makeup and working as a production designer on music videos and student projects. I was all over the place, but honestly I think a lot of the moving around came from fear. I knew I wanted to write and was trying to find everything and anything to replace what seemed like a far-fetched dream but then a few years later decided to actually take a chance on myself.

2. How did you finally get the writers’ PA job?

Oh god. I honestly thought after school I was golden, I had done so many internships, I thought I’d easily land back on a show after graduation but it didn’t happen that way, not for 3 more years. I sort of had to take every step possible to get there which frustrated me beyond belief. I ended up temping / PAing at a studio which then got me assistant experience. With that assistant experience I was able to land a desk at a management company where I also worked for a film / tv producer in development. While I was there, I was trying to take advantage of building up my network which ultimately helped me finally move back into TV where I landed a gig as a production PA. I was on a few Showtime shows as a production PA before I was able to finally hop over into the writers’ office as a writers’ PA on a network drama.  My friend worked on the sister show and let me know about the opening.

3. What are the typical duties and hours of your job, and how long did the job last?

I was pretty luck that this writers’ PA gig lasted from March to the holidays — but the catch is that because it’s a new show and wouldn’t air until a couple months after, if we did get picked up, we wouldn’t work until June so then you’re on the search all over again. While on the show, the hours depended on where the writers were on the deadlines.

Read it all

Cargo 3120: The Making of a Sci-Fi Franchise #15

CARGO3120Entry 15 – Juggling Life and Passion Part II

by Daymond C. Roman

(EDITOR’S NOTE: The Story So Far starts HERE)

So, last week I said that I would delve a bit deeper into the tasks we all face while making our dreams come true. And, I can’t think of a better way to do that than to start from the beginning.

You see, for this New Year, I decided to reprioritize my life by figuring out what’s important to me and shredding away anything that wasn’t. And, that process lead me to four areas of major importance: health, family, work, and passion. Now, it’s worth mentioning that I am a man of faith and believe that these four areas alone could never provide personal fulfillment. However, I believe that through God’s grace I can be successful in all of these areas to a degree that I will be personally fulfilled.

So, when creating a daily schedule for myself, I needed to include all of these areas so that each could receive an appropriate amount of my attention. But how? There are only so many hours in the day.

I have heard it that 9-5 is for your day job and 5-10 is for your passion. So, I decided to use that model as a foundation and work from there. But, that still left health and family. What to do, what to do? I mean, I am willing to work as hard as needed to accomplish my goals. But, I don’t want to work so much that I’m unable to enjoy my accomplishments…

Well, for years now, I’ve already been waking up a few hours early to workout. It’s a great way to start the day, because after, you feel ready to tackle any situation that presents itself. And, since I primarily work from home anyway, I’ll always be available to my family, which works out great. Next time, I’ll let you know if this schedule is indeed working out or not. So, until then…

Next Week: Juggling Life and Passion Part III


by John Ostrander

theriflemanI was not always a big fan of Westerns. My knowledge/memory of them were largely drawn from TV shows of my childhood – and not always the best ones. They were dominated by The Lone Ranger, Roy Rogers, Gene Autry (although I was never a big Autry fan) and shows like them. Westerns dominated TV in those days in ways that I don’t think any genre dominates any more.

It was my late wife, Kimberly Yale, who really schooled me in movie Westerns and the difference between a John Ford Western, ones by Howard Hawks, and Budd Boetticher’s Westerns. I finally learned and grasped what powerful movies they were, Just a few years ago, I got to see John Ford’s masterpiece The Searchers on the big screen and it was only then that I really understood how powerful it was and why its star, John Wayne, was such an icon. In the close-ups, where Wayne’s face is two stories high, he seems like a figure off Mount Rushmore. And the famous final shot, where his character is framed by a closing door, is haunting. It’s also interesting to note that both here and in Howard Hawks’ Red River he plays something of a bastard.

It’s only been in recent years that I’ve returned to some of the Western TV shows and rediscovered them. What I discovered was some very good writing and acting, especially in the half hour shows.Have Gun, Will Travel, starring Richard Boone, featured him as a traveling gunslinger, Paladin, and a memorable and haunting title song. Wanted: Dead or Alive starred a young Steve McQueen right around the time that he broke out in films in The Magnificent Seven.

Of all of them, my favorite discovery has been The Rifleman starring Chuck Connors. Connors was a 6’6” former athlete, playing basketball for the Celtics and baseball for the Brooklyn Dodgers and the Chicago Cubs. In the show he played Lucas McCain, a homesteader who was fast with a special rapid fire Winchester. McCain was a widower although he had a son, played by Johnny Crawford. His best friend was the Marshall of the town of North Fork, Micah Torrance, played by Paul Fix. (Trivia note: Mary and I so liked the name “Micah” that we gave it to one of our cats.)

The show was also a proving ground for actors, writers, and directors who would later go on to other things. Sam Peckinpah directed several episodes and wrote a few, too. Budd Boetticher directed an episode, as did Ida Lupino. Richard Donner, who would later direct the first Superman movie with Christopher Reeve,directed seven episodes.

A number of famous (or to be famous later) actors also appeared – Agnes Moorehead did a turn, as did Martin Landau, Buddy Hackett, and Harry Dean Stanton. Sammy David Jr. acted in the series twice, once as a gunslinger. There was a time that I would have questioned the probability of that but my later researches into the history of the West revealed that there were a number of black gunslingers in the Wild West.

Connors was a better actor than I remembered and the stories were varied and almost always interesting. His Lucas McCain was a stern father but a loving one and usually reluctant to be drawn into a fight. The stories weren’t the simple good/bad confrontations I knew from shows like Roy Rogers. The characters were more complex which made the stories more interesting.

You can catch the shows on DVD and I would guess on Netflix or Hulu. They’re worth a shot. So to speak.

Cartoons: “Lost Ideas”

So this is why we can never seem to write them!


See more of Grand Snider’s cartoon brilliance at Incidental Comics!

Mark Zuckerberg Calls the ‘A-Ha!’ Moment a Myth

Funny, we like to think of Mark Zuckerberg as the myth. Oh well:

mzuckby Geoff Weiss

During Mark Zuckerberg’s first-ever trip to Bogota, Colombia — where he touched down yesterday to herald the launch of Internet.org — the Facebook founder made a rather surprising admission: “I’m a big fan of Shakira. A really big fan,” he blushed. “I don’t speak Spanish, but I like her Spanish music.”

Zuckerberg, who seems more visible than ever of late after kicking off avirtual book club and rolling out a series of public town hall-style discussions, spoke of his love for the pop star — among more serious topics — during the third-ever installment of Q&A with Mark, which can be viewed in full right here.

In his latest talk, Zuckerberg took the time to share some fascinating thoughts about entrepreneurship, including common misconceptions that surround founders. When asked about the ‘exact moment’ that he came up with the idea for Facebook, Zuckerberg paused quizzically and said, “I don’t think that’s how the world works.”

“Ideas typically do not just come to you,” he said. “It’s a lot of dots that you connect to make it so that you finally realize that you can potentially do something.”

Read it all

There’s more, but we think this is the part that matters to writers.

Oh, and we also think Marky is, you know, wrong. (As in he hasn’t delved nearly enough into the details. Hmm, kinda like Facebook, now that we think about it….