munchman: “munchman’s Outrageous Music Video?”


by (yeppers) munchman

A few months ago, TVWriter™’s Beloved Leader Larry Brody bobbed when he should’ve weaved, reaped what he shouldn’t have sown – whatevs – and became part owner of a start-up animation studio called Southeast Asia Animation because it’s headquartered in Bangkok and if that isn’t southeast Asia then what the #@!$ is?

LB’s first step as Co-CEO was to put the Thai Team of animators to work on some projects that he and his partners Steve and Pace Encell hoped would become solid proofs of concept, that concept being that SEAA could make magic moving pictures happen for media companies and individual creators that needed ’em.

This is sound business, and This Particular TVWriter™ Minion joined other friends and business associates of LB’s in applauding it. But being the greediest of munchers, This Particular TVWriter™ Minion, AKA munchelito AKA munchado AKA munchman meself, also took it upon himself to go a tad farther.

What yer friendly neighborhood munchman is getting at here is that yers truly has taken on the role of supervising muse of SEAA’s Very First Completed Project, created by the very talented Encell per and fils. (Yikes! foreign words! better look ’em up if you don’t know what they mean!)

Hope y’all enjoy what one damnfool critic has already called “munchman’s fucking lunacy!” and another cultural philistine has referred to as, per the title above,”munchman’s outrageous music video.”

Here it is, and remember: You can’t say I didn’t warn you.

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How vibrant is your “interior life?” Compared to Grant Snider’s, for example:

interior-lifeMore Great Grant Snider Visual Musings HERE

What do your characters really, really, really want?

A casual but very important lesson in writing for the screen, whether that screen is big, small, or, you know, even smaller, from one of TV’s comedy writing masters:

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by Earl Pomerantz

A while back, I mentioned the primary lesson I learned while attending “The Actors’ Workshop”, which I later applied – when I remembered to – to my writing.

The lesson involved the actor’s pre-determination of their character’s “intention.”  Before you begin, if you first identify your character’s – or characters’ if you are writing or playing numerous parts – intention, articulated in a single, declarative sentence, you are productively off to the races – completing the horseracing analogy – right from the starting gate.

It turns out there is another equally important lesson, which I was reminded of when I saw Brooklyn, which I enjoyed primarily for its writing.  (Although less so for its directing, which seemed disservicingly sanitized.)

The screenplay for Brooklyn, based on a novel by Colin Toibin, was written by novelist Nick Hornby (High Fidelity and About A Boy, to name just two, both of them made into enjoyable movies.)

The lesson I was reminded of watching Brooklyn – and I do not recall for certain where I originally learned it – was…


This directive seems obvious in acting since, at the very least, unless it’s a Howard Hawks movie, the actor has to listen for the other actor to stop talking before they begin talking.  Otherwise, the audience will be unable to understand what either of them is saying.

But listening, for actors, means more than just waiting for your theirto speak.  It involves listening, to interpret the words they are hearing’s underlying intent.  It helps a lot if the script’s dialogue, rather than saying it all, leaves actors something to interpret.

And in Brooklyn, it does….

Read it all at Earl Pomerantz’s blog


The following analysis of television showrunners and how they operate, for better and for worse, has been making the interweb rounds. It’s a hell of an educational read, and we’re pleased to jump on the bandwagon with important info. (But if you think this TVWriter™ minion’s going to include his name here and get blackballed by all the VIPs who think this is about them, welp, no way, dudes!)

Check it out, gang. A perfect running shoe...erm, show...oh, wait. Crap....

Check it out, gang. A perfect running shoe…erm, show…oh, wait. Crap….

by Javier Grillo-Marxuach

Upon finding this essay, any number of showrunners with whom Ihave worked in the past will assume it is a personal attack inthe language of a management lesson. No matter that what followsis a distillation twenty years of experience – and has been inthe works since I ran my first show,  The Middleman.

I expect to be excoriated by some who will believe I am writing out of envy,or to avenge some perceived slight, or was just too cowardly to say it to their faces. It takes that level of ego to be a television writer/producer: the conviction that what you have to say matters so much that it is worth not only mastering the tropes of an entire medium, but also the risk that all the intermediaries required to create the finished product will ruin it all with some fatal blend of incomprehension, or incompetence.

For many, the undeniable triumph that is pitching a series idea,having a pilot ordered, successfully producing it, and then having it ordered to series is nothing less than a validation: not only of their voice and talent, but also their Way of DoingThings. This often translates to an intractable adherence to the notion that “my creative process” is so of the essence that all other concerns must be made subordinate lest the delicate alchemy that made success possible be snuffed. This often leads to incompetent and – whether through ignorance or ego – abusive senior management.

I’m not talking about “the lack of experienced showrunners” currently written about in industry publications, but rather that the management culture of television shows as represented by both experienced and novitiate showrunners is beset by a cult of idiosyncrasy overprofessionalism, and tolerance of toxic behavior; all enabled by the exigencies of getting the show on-air, and keeping it thereby any means necessary.

This is exacerbated by there only being two sins for which a showrunner pays with a pink slip: wasting time and squandering money. However, these contingencies are amply prepared for in studio plans and budgets; and an entire army of dedicated professionals stands beneath the showrunner day in and out to ensure neither occurs….

Read it all at Scribd

TV Writer-Playwright writes a play about writing TV

If TVWriter™ had a series called “Getting There,” or maybe “Making It,” this is exactly the kind of informative as all hell post you’d see from us:

Tanya Saracho Has No Plans to ‘Fade’ Away
by Rob Weinert-Kendt


Tanya Saracho 

In less than a decade, playwright Tanya Saracho has skyrocketed from Chicago storefront theatresto that city’s and the nation’s mainstages, and then quickly to a television career in Los Angeles, where her credits include “Devious Maids,” “Looking,” and the current Shonda Rhimes hit “How to Get Away With Murder.” Saracho’s recent stage credits have included The Tenth Muse at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival and Mala Hierba at New York City’s Second Stage Theatre. Currently running:Fade at Denver Center Theatre Company, Feb. 5-March 13.

It’s been a while since we spoke. You’re like a superstar now.
No, sir, that’s not true.

You’re doing well, though.
Doing well is different than being a superstar. I’m in a town full of superstars and I feel like such a hag. I mean, in L.A. you meet a 29-year-old who’s already had two development deals and is working on a movie, and you’re like: Why did I get started so late? I spend a lot of time thinking: God, I don’t get it! The inner monologue you have every day—that’s the exhausting part. I can see why people jump off bridges. That may sound extreme, but at the beginning, I was on the phone with my agent saying, “Get me off this show, get me on a plane back to Chicago, I’m the worst one here.” He had to play therapist for me. I was like, “I’m a fraud,” and he said, “Let me let you in on a secret: Everyone here has that fraud syndrome. Everyone. Just go back to work.”

There’s been a learning curve, obviously, but you seem to have picked it up quickly.
It’s like a video game: I achieved Level One, and there’s brrrring sound, and you get more guns—a little bit more in your armory. I’m well into Year Three. But it’s like, outlines still stress me out. I don’t write outlines when I write a play. I just light a candle, put on some incense and go! But first of all, you can’t have a candle in your office here, and also they’re like, “You have an hour!” I’m like, “But I need to pray to my muse…”

And everything has to be vetted at every stage. So I couldn’t see the alchemy here at first, like you have in the theatre, where something goes from words on the page and actors and designers take it and make it something onstage, and there’s a magic you can’t explain. But there is alchemy here too, especially in the reach. That was something I was not prepared for. It’s even more than film. Especially on “Looking,” where I had more agency to shape characters and I was on an episode—more people watched that one episode than have seen all my plays combined. Memes started happening, and it wasn’t just that there were memes; it was that people were listening. Suddenly you’re like, Oh, shoot, you have a responsibility in what you’re saying….

Read it all at American Theatre

New, Improved PEOPLE’S PILOT Opens March 1st

tv_writer_peoples_pilot_smby Larry Brody

Last week we announced that we were postponing the opening of the 2016 PEOPLE’S PILOT by a month, and I promised to explain soon. I figure that 8 days pretty much qualifies as “soon,” so here comes the ‘splaining.

First, the Good News:

We’re re-organizing and enlarging and otherwise improving everyone’s favorite online contest – well, mine anyway – the PEOPLE’S PILOT.

As the opening page of the PP site now says, “New Categories – More Prizes – Longer Entry Period.” The contest now will have three categories instead of two, be open for almost a year instead of just a few months, offer larger dollar amounts for First and Second Prize winners, and if all goes according to plan we’ll have not one but two helpful bonuses for all entrants.

How about some specifics?

  • Categories now include:
    1) Scripted Series 1/2 Hour or Less
    2) Scripted Series Longer than 1/2 Hour up to 1 Hour long
    3) Scripted Series Longer than 1 hour
    In other words, entries anywhere from, oh, a few seconds to several hours long are cordially invited!
  • Genres are totally unlimited. We’re really hoping to receive not just broadcast and cable pilot scripts but a substantial number of entries for web series and console game series. Shows that could play on any electronic media you can think of via major websites like Netflix, Amazon, and their ilk, YouTube and Vimio, and personal sites as well. We all know that “TV” isn’t really TV anymore, so let’s go for the alternate gold.
  • First Prize in each category is now $500. Second Prize is $100.
  • We’re whipping up a new entry bonus to join the Free Feedback and should be announcing it soon.
  • This year’s PP, our 26th running of the contest, will open March 1 and close November 1. 8 months in which to perfect and then finish your work.
  • We’re also creating a new entry fee schedule so that those who enter two or more scripts can get a discount even if they aren’t “Early Birds.”

What we’re really trying to get at here is an emphasis on creativity. We want to see scripts that are innovative and unique. And we’re wide open to input from all of our visitors. If you’ve got an idea for how to ratchet up the wildness, please, please, please lay it on us in the comments, okay?

Time now for the Bad News:

TVWriter™’s SPEC SCRIPTACULAR for this year has been cancelled, for three reasons.

  1. The number of entries in the Spec Scriptacular have been steadily declining over the past few years.
  2. Almost twenty-five percent of this year’s entries were, in effect, series pilots entered as specials or screenplays.
  3. The TV biz on the whole has become much less interested than it used to be in seeing spec scripts for current series.

The Industry is changing quickly, and the current currency for finding new writers to represent and hire for staff jobs and individual episodic assignments has become pilot scripts. Overwhelmingly so.

The powers that be seem to finally recognize that pilot scripts are a much better way for a writer to demonstrate his or her creativity and skills than spec episodes. Combine that with the fact that they’re also a hell of a lot more fun to write, and it becomes clear that the SS has lost much of its original purpose and usefulness.

And why in the world would TVWriter™ and I want new writers to spend time, effort and moolah on anything but that which will help them and their careers the most? I.e., pilot scripts?

Will the SS return? Sure. As soon as it mean something again. Showbiz is nothing if not cyclical. That time is bound to come.

Meanwhile, I’m eager to get your reaction to this new plan. And even more eager to read your next PEOPLE’S PILOT scripts. I’m feeling excited. And ambitious. And ready to take part in making what so many people are calling TV’s new “Golden Age” shine even more brightly.

And I’m hoping, for the sake of storytelling and storytellers and their audiences everywhere, that all of you are too.