Deadlines & Other Hardships…

Ken Levine knows all about ‘em – having learned the hard way, you betcha:

rookie-570x250Rookie mistakes
by Ken Levine

Everyone has to start somewhere. For me and my writing partner, David Isaacs our first paid writing assignment was for an episode of THE JEFFERSONS. Prior to that we had been writing spec scripts, schlepping down to the Writers Guild to register them for protection, and then we peddled them to anyone who would read them.

Our spec MARY TYLER MOORE SHOW (which had already been rejected by THE MARY TYLER MOORE SHOW and RHODA) found its way into the hands of Gordon Mitchell, one of the story editors of THE JEFFERSONS. He liked it well enough to invite us to come in and pitch story ideas for the show. One hit the mark and we got the assignment.

Now came the hard part. Not the writing – but covering the fact that we were both utterly clueless of the process.

Step one was breaking the story. We met with Gordon and his partner, Lloyd Turner and worked out the beats of the story. Gordon then asked how long we needed to write the outline?

The outline? You have to write an outline?

I didn’t say that, but that’s what I was thinking. David and I wrote outlines for ourselves but they were usually handwritten scribbles on a couple pieces of notebook paper. I didn’t think that’s what he meant.

So we were on the spot. We didn’t want to say a week and have them say, “A week? It should take you two days.” Or we say two days and they say, “What? You’re just going to dash it off? It should take a month.”

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Top UK TV writer, Chris Chibnall tells us a bit about the theater

Chris Chibnall (DOCTOR WHO, BROADCHURCH, much more) is one of TVWriter™’s favorite UK television writers. In fact, we’ve been rooting for him to be the new showrunner whenever that Moff guy gives up the DOCTOR WHO reins. (We’re also rooting for that to happen soon, but we probably shouldn’t go there – now.)

Recently, Chris spoke out about his love for more than just TV as a medium, and believe us when we say, we’re listening:

‘Broadchurch’s Creator Chris Chibnall Gets Theatrical with a New Play
by Leah Rozen

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A thoughtful moment in BROADCHURCH

After scoring an international success with his mystery thriller TV series, Broadchurch, writer Chris Chibnall has turned his pen to a stage comedy.

His latest play, his first in a decade, begins performances March 27 at a British regional theater. Called Worst Wedding Ever, Chibnall’s new work focuses on a young couple whose low-key wedding plans are commandeered by the bride’s mother, who decides the occasion requires an extravaganza. Carolyn Pickles, the actress who played newspaper editor Maggie Radcliffe on Broadchurch, has been cast as the domineering mother.

The play is being mounted at the Salisbury Playhouse, a theater located in Salisbury, Wiltshire. Chibnall chose the theater partly because he has a past association with its artistic director, Gareth Machin, and also because it’s not far from his home in Dorset. The close proximity means that Chibnall can pop over to theater for rehearsals in between writing Broadchurch’s second season, which is expected to go into production later this spring. (There’s no word yet from ITV on when the show’s new episodes will air on the network in the U.K.)

In an interview with a local paper, the Salisbury Journal, Chibnall said of the Salisbury Playhouse, “I love the feel of the theater and the way it’s connected to the community.”

Discussing his planned theatrical foray last November, Chibnall told The Independent, “It’s the first play I’ve written in 10 years and I’m very excited and utterly terrified about it. I wanted to make sure I did something very different and challenging between writing Broadchurch series 1 and 2.”

In addition to scribbling away at Broadchurch’s second season, Chibnall is serving as executive producer on Gracepoint, the American version of the show. He also wrote the U.S. remake’s first episode.

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Peer Production: ALONE, TOGETHER

For web series afficianados – and everyone else who knows what relationships are really like:

YouTube Preview Image

Written & Created by Rosa Handelman
Starring Rosa Handelman & Brooks Morrison
Directed by Patrick Wymore
Director of Photograph Alex Parker
Edited by Lindsay Morrison
Theme song by Brooks Morrison & Kush Mody
Sound by Ben Olson
Like us on facebook – www.facebook.com/AloneTogetherTV
Follow us on twitter @ alonetogethertv
www.alonetogethertv.com

Funny, real, no? And get this: ALONE, TOGETHER is a web series, kids. On YouTube. And you know what that means.

Right. It means there’s more.

Only 6 Weeks Left to Enter the 2014 People’s Pilot

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If you’re on the TVWriter™ e-mail list, this message popped into your inbox this morning. If not – well, here ya go:

Well, actually it’s 6 and a half. But that’s a lot less time than it may seem cuz – ya gotta write, you know?

TVWriter™’s People’s Pilot contest has been around for years. In fact, this is the 23rd running. It’s for original series pilots, natch. As in your unique creations. Your television dreams.

There are over $5000 worth of prizes, and every entry receives free feedback on where it ranks in terms of both professional standards and its competitors this year.

In just the past couple of years, Winners, Finalists, or Semi-Finalists of the TVWriter™ contests have been on the staffs of CHICAGO PD, CHICAGO FIRE, PERSON OF INTEREST, THE WALKING DEAD, RIZZOLI AND ISLES, GREY’S ANATOMY, ROME, NTSF:SD:SUV, KILLER WOMEN, ANIMAL PRACTICE, and the upcoming HBO series THE LEFTOVERS. And that’s only the winners who’ve stayed in touch.

You too can be in this elite company. But first you have to write. Win or lose, that effort alone puts you ahead of 99% of the pack. And a finished spec pilot script is the currency of TV writing today. It’s the favored writing sample of showrunners and agents. The only thing better is a finished pilot script that’s scored at or near the top of – you guessed it – the People’s Pilot.

There’s lots more to tell about this highly respected contest, but our marketing maven says we should keep our e-mails as short as possible. So here are some links where you can find out all the rest:

More about THE PEOPLE’S PILOT HERE.

More about the prizes HERE.

Read the Winning Scripts for 2013 HERE.

Enter the 2014 PEOPLE’S PILOT HERE.

Hope you enter!

Larry Brody & Team TVWriter™

LB Sees SILICON VALLEY

SV series

The Good:

  • I’m thinking, I’m thinking….

The Not-So-Good:

  • The writing, acting, and general production values here are so atrocious that this series should simply be called SILLY VALLEY. Although, come to think of it, that would insult genuinely wonderfully silly people everywhere.

Conclusion:

My inner nerd really wanted to like this. Or to at least hate the show so much that it could “love” it with a gleeful sneer. But, um, no way. SILICON VALLEY just takes all the classic (as in cliche-ed) smart tropes and makes them dumb, dumb dumb. It amazes my how a new show could present us with material that’s so damn old.

The Most Edifying Analysis of the Horrors of a Comcast-Warner Cable Merger Yet

When Consumerist.Com tells you something is bad/scary/OMFG!, you know there are a few problems with it. And, boy, are they telling us a lot about this deal.

Read on…if you’re brave enough:

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The Comcast Merger Isn’t About Lines On A Map; It’s About Controlling The Delivery Of Information
by Kate Cox

Comcast and proposed merger partner Time Warner Cable claim they don’t compete because their service areas don’t overlap, and that a combined company would happily divest itself of a few million customers to keeps its pay-TV market share below 30%, allowing other companies that don’t currently compete with Comcast to keep not competing with Comcast. This narrow, shortsighted view fails to take into account the full breadth of what’s involved in this merger — broadcast TV, cable TV, network technology, in-home technology, access to the Internet, and much more. In addition to asking whether or not regulators should permit Comcast to add 10-12 million customers, there is a more important question at the core of this deal: Should Comcast be allowed to control both what content you consume and how you get to consume it?

QUESTIONABLE COMPETITION

This week, Comcast and Time Warner Cable executives testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee about why they think their merger is such a great idea.

In their joint testimony [PDF], the execs made a point of giving hearty shout-outs to anyone they perceive as a competitor, in order to claim that the merged company won’t be a monopoly. That list of competitors repeatedly named AT&T, Verizon, DirecTV, Dish, Amazon, Apple, Sony, Google, Netflix, and Facebook as chief concerns.

Some of those are easy to understand: the satellite companies directly compete with Comcast to get TV networks into peoples’ homes, for example, and the fiber companies do that plus broadband, too. But Apple and Sony? Amazon and Netflix? Facebook?

If Comcast is the company that plugs the broadband wire into your home, then why are they so concerned about whose devices and services you might use once you’ve got that connection?

Comcast is so concerned about all those other products explicitly because they aren’t just the company that plugs the broadband wire into your home. Comcast is already not only your carrier but also your content — and if they get their way they’ll become your gatekeeper to everyone else’s content, too.

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