Diana Vacc Sees THE SHANNARA CHRONICLES

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by Diana Vaccarelli

MTV original programming adapts the SHANNARA CHRONICLES, a series of novels written by the late Terry Brooks from 1977 through 2015.
The TV version begins with the world in great danger because the Ellcyrs tree, which is the only piece of magic that is protecting the world from Demons, is dying. Will our little band of warriors succeed in saving the day?

THE GOOD:

• The best parts of SHANNARA are the special effects and the set designs. You really feel like you’re a part of a fascinating new world. The series is visually stunning. And let’s not forget the Demons. Their appearance is simply brilliant.
• The acting is topnotch. Especially that of Manu Bennett, who plays Allanon, a Human Druid with magical powers.

THE BAD:

• The writing just doesn’t make it for me. Storywise, it was like revisiting THE LORD OF THE RINGS. The hero, Wil (yes, that’s how it’s spelled), even has to go on a quest (for stones) way too similar to a certain quest for “the one ring to rule over all.”
• The writing is off in other ways as well. Especially the dialog, which is, in a word, cheesey. Come on, Hollywood, let’s use our brains. OUTLANDER manages to keep us in suspense while remaining true to the basics of the story and the setting in the books by giving us fascinating characters and plot twists…and dialog that never makes us wince.

OVERALL:

Diehard fans of the SHANARRA books probably will be more than satisfied with THE SHANNARA CHRONICLES simply because it brings them to life. But if you’ve never read the books, the similarities to THE LORD OF THE RINGS may turn you off. If you’re unfamiliar with both series of books and are one of the three people in the world who haven’t seen the LOTL films, the look and acting just might hook you into sticking around to see how the story ends. As for me, I’ll continue to watch because…well, because it’s Shanarra! In the “flesh!”

Guess I’m just one of those diehards.


Diana Vaccarelli is a TVWriter™ Contributing Editor. Learn more about her HERE

2016 Disney/ABC Writing Program Participants Chosen

Disney helps noobsby Team TVWriter™ Press Service

The Disney/ABC Television Group in association with the WGA West have chosen eight 2012 participants for its annual writing program.

The participants on the comedy side are directors’ assistant Dayo Adesokan (Lagos, Nigeria), writers’ assistant Amanda Idoko (Bronx, NY) and reality segment producer Andrew Mathieson (Burke, VA).

Drama writers are financial consultant Ron McCants (Springfield, MO), USC Law School graduate and showrunners’ assistant Miguel Ian Raya (Los Angeles), playwright and Occidental College Adjunct Professor Janine Salinas Schoenberg (Lima, Peru and Walnut Creek, CA), writers’ production assistant Christina Walker (Virginia Beach, VA) and engineer and writers’ assistant Jeffery Wang (Monterey, CA)

The writing program has helped launch the careers of several TV scribes including George Mastras (Breaking Bad), Veena Sud (The Killing) and Maria Jacquemetton (Mad Men).

Learn more about the program HERE

Get Ready for the New PEOPLE’S PILOT

Nu PP-SS Capture

If you went to our site for the PEOPLE’S PILOT COMPETITION yesterday you probably noticed that, nope, unlike in previous years, we weren’t ready to open up the 2016 running of the contest on February 1st.

You may also have noticed some new verbiage on the home page as well:

Over $20,000 in prizes and bonuses!

Coming March 1 – the All-New 2016
PEOPLE’S PILOT
(& Spec Scriptacular too)

Followed by:

New Categories – More Prizes – Longer Entry Period

We don’t want to give everything away just now – mainly because we haven’t finalized all the changes yet – but yeppers, LB has us TVWriter™ minions working our patooties off preparing for big changes to TVWriter™’s core contest.

So please, be patient. All will be revealed come the 1st of March.

And be happy too.

Cuz we really think you’re going to like what’s coming every bit as much as we do.

Bear with…

munchman

munchman & Team TVWriter™ 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MORGAN’S ORGANS NEED(S) YOU!

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by Daniel Brodie

The short story is this. My Kickstarter campaign launches today to fund the first issue of my comic book series, Morgan’s Organs. If adult comedy is your thing, check out the Kickstarter here. Now, for the long story…

I’ve always been a creative person, and I’ve always been someone who wanted to create something in this world. But I never would have guessed that would lead to my dream of becoming a screenwriter. Well, to put my aspirations that lightly is to over-generalize. See, I don’t really want to be a screenwriter, or even a storyteller. Not yet, at least. What I really want is one thing: to create Morgan’s Organs.

My goal is the equivalent of one’s aspirations to be an astronaut ONLY IF they can travel to Mars. I don’t want to see the Moon, float in space, or eat vacuum-sealed yoghurt. Not yet, at least. I just want to kick around red rocks on Mars.

My idea first came to me over two years ago during a Euro backpacking trip. I was strolling around Amsterdam one afternoon, people-watching, sight-seeing, and generally, just thinking (read: in a coffee shop-induced haze), when I first got the idea for what has grown to be much more than that. It has grown to be my life dream.

The premise to Morgan’s Organs is simple: what if tiny micro-beings live within us who are responsible for the functions of our internal systems? As I’ve come to learn, it’s not as wholly original as I first thought, with the recent movie Inside Out or the cringe-worthy Herman’s Head of the 90’s. But who am I kidding, most things in this world build off what’s been done before, and while I did not know these titles existed when I started writing my first screenplay, I know my concept is still different from the rest.

But I don’t intend to try to validate my concept here (that’s what my Kickstarter is for). I want to show you how my path changed cause of one thing I learned playing basketball – to pivot.

In the world of basketball, pivoting means to keep one’s foot fixed in place while moving the other foot in any direction. And like when I would pivot to make space from my defender and find the open teammate, I am now pivoting beyond the crowded space of screenwriting, to something more feasible – an indie comic book creator.

When I first started writing Morgan’s Organs, my intentions were clear – to create the next great adult comedy television series. My early attempts were bold, almost naïve, definitely reckless. After developing my first draft, receiving the validation of just a couple friends, and entering it into several screenwriting competitions, that is when I received my first good smack in the head that I would need to work a lot harder than that.

So over the next year or so, I got to work. I found an online community of dedicated writers, where I helped them with their writing, and they helped me with mine. A few major reconstructions, several moderate revisions, a couple side gigs as diversions, and thousands of minor edits later, I got to a point where I felt confident in the execution of my concept, and was ready to network and re-enter in competitions again.

And that was when I got my second kick in the a$$. It was good, and received some recognition, but still wasn’t good enough – not to the gatekeepers at least. Not to the people who open the floodgates to the real decision makers in Hollywood. No one was willing to take a chance on me.

I was left with two options: quit or adapt. But what was I adapting to? I already had an audience of people, both offline and online, who loved my idea and its execution. If an audience likes what they read, why should I listen to what the gatekeepers want? Do I appeal to the masses, or to the few? And that’s when I decided I was ready to create for an audience, instead of relate to an industry.

Pivoting has got me to where I am today. The flag at the top of the mountain remains fixed in stone. My path to get there is what is now different.

My Kickstarter campaign will be the true test. Is there really an audience out there that loves what I do? One thing is for sure – I won’t know if I keep trying to fit the Hollywood mold. This is the moment I see if the world wants to embrace what I offer. Hopefully is all I can hope for.

If you’ve taken the time to read this much, help me just a little more and check out the Kickstarter campaign HERE

You’ve Got to Stay Hungry to Survive (as a Writer)

Time now for the most depressing news since the last most depressing news. An informal poll of TVWriter™ minions – and our Most Beneficent Boss, Larry Brody – confirms that the following article about entrepreneurs also applies to writers (and probably everybody else in showbiz, for that matter). Not for the faint of heart:

stayinghungry

Be Hungry or Starve as an Entrepreneur
by Grand Cardone

When you win the Super Bowl, in life or in business, you cannot ever win again if you do not immediately go back to training — you must stay hungry, win or lose, success or failure. Whether the Panthers or the Broncos win the Super Bowl this year if they stop training they will never win another Super Bowl. Success requires constant attention and the moment you stop hunting for it, it will escape you. You must approach the creation of success as a must-have obligation, do-or-die mission, gotta-have-it, hungry-dog-on-the-back-of-a-meat-truck mentality.

Let your customers know you are hungry. Don’t act like you don’t need their business. There is an old saying that tells people to “fake it ’til you make it.” Well, this doesn’t apply here! Instead, you want to “act hungry to make sure you don’t end up hungry.”

I challenge you today to do two things:

1. You must change your mindset.

No one likes people who act like they are better than others and never act so important you don’t need people’s business. If you didn’t need their business you wouldn’t be in business. Everyone appreciates someone who goes the extra mile and really shows others that he or she wants, needs, and values others’ business. You will never create a powerful, solvent, prosperous, and abundant economy with an attitude of arrogance.

In almost every seminar I conduct, someone will say to me, “I’m afraid I might seem weak if I act like I want the business too much.” My response is always the same: “The biggest mistake you can make is not to act like you’re hungry for the business!” Let’s face it: You need clients more than they need you in any economy. An attitude of, “they need me more than I need them” always fails; treat your customers as though they’re more valuable than you and your company—because they are….

Read it all at Entrepreneur

Peggy Bechko on Writing “Experts”

expert babyby Peggy Bechko

Writing, screenwriting, copywriting – just plain writing.

There are experts everywhere. There are articles coming out of our ears. There’s so damn much! And I’m writing one right now – see the little letters skipping across the page?

So, who do we, as writer, listen to? Well me, of course. Seriously, listen to everyone and no one. That’s helpful right?

Well here’s the thing. You read, you write, you read some more. You absorb and let it all stew around inside your head. You get a great mentor (nods to Larry) and you write some more. BUT and it’s a big but, as any master writer, mentor and expert can tell you, it doesn’t matter how much you learn, you’ll never create exactly like that guiding star. You just won’t. And that’s okay, what YOU create shouldn’t be exactly like what’s been created before. If for some strange reason it does come out exactly like theirs, then you’ve messed up and not allowed your own muse to step into that web of learning and come up with something new and fresh.

Writers are artists. They learn the basics, then start adding and allowing their own person views and tastes come through. Basically there is no set of rules. Well, only one. It’s imperative when writing (anything) that the reader is grabbed by the throat so firmly that that reader must keep turning the page of your script or manuscript or advertising copy. If you’re a writer it doesn’t matter how you get to your final destination. All that matters is what you’ve finally created and how intensely you’ve grabbed that throat.

So where does all this take us? Simple. If some ‘expert’ tells you there’s only one way to do it that expert is one of many things. Stupid, overbearing, full of him or herself, untutored, probably unpublished and/or unproduced…you name it. What resources a writer chooses to integrate into his or her process, whether it’s books, personal contact, classes, or online resources, it’s a method that belongs to that writer alone.

Most writers who mentor others in any way don’t expect a clone or even want one. Really. On the other hand, they’re no doubt honored when a writer they’ve attempted to help and guide has taken their advice, added to it, played with it, and came up with something fresh and original. Go ahead, ask an established writer if this is true for them.

Whatever resources you employ as a writer, allow yourself to be inspired, uplifted and propelled forward. Whatever the source, that’s what expert advice should do for you as a writer. Inspiration, not lock down. Write with reckless abandon. There’s the road that lies before you. Fear of failure can take you down. Don’t let it. If in all your explorations, in person, in books and online, you garner just one lovely nugget of information you can turn round and round and benefit from then it’s worth the journey.

And remember, what speaks to one, may not speak to another. What works at one time, may not do so another. It all depends on the project and on the evolving skill level of the writer.

Oh, and before I go for this round – remember opinions that differ, approaches that may seem strange to one should all be embraced. Don’t listen to the naysayers, the web trolls or self-appointed reviewers who always find the negative. The behavior we see frequently on the web is junior high school, unprofessional and just downright unacceptable. It’s amazing how afraid people are to disagree, especially with some ‘expert’ with a huge following. Stand up. Disagree. Move forward.

That’s it. Pat yourself on the back. You’re a writer.


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. Grab your copy of Book 2 now! And, while you’re at it, visit the Planet of the Eggs Facebook page