It’s been quite a summer. Busy, busy, busy with new projects at a time in my life when I fully expected to be winding down. And all that personal “life” stuff. Holy crap!

Houseguests! Freak rain storms! Adventures in China and Thailand! Interweb service interruptions! Yikes!

Now that Fall is here, I’m not seeing any let-up. With the closing date of this year’s PEOPLE’S PILOT less than two weeks away, the contest is taking up more and more of my time, a situation that will continue for another couple of months of reading and judging and critiquing and arguing and…well, you get the idea.

Then there’s the politics thing. A Presidential election campaign with a tone straight out of a Philip K. Dick short story, a Douglas Adams novel, or what now strikes me as the most prophetic film I’ve ever seen: Idiocracy.

But stress and anxiety are basic parts of life, right? Why else would God have given us Xanax? And why rest now when there will be so much more time – absolutely guaranteed – to do nothing later on?

So I’ll be pushing myself for awhile, doing my best to clear current obligations in order to take on future ones.

My main obligation, be it past, present, or future is to continue to poke and prod and push everyone who comes to TVWriter™ to work your butts off to make your writing dreams come true.

In other words, don’t just sit there – write, dammit! Create!

The world needs your artistry and idealism now more than ever. Don’t ever give up on the magical effect of your words.




The 2016 PEOPLE’S PILOT opened for entries March 1st and will be open until the very last minute of November 1, 2016.

In other words, it’s closing pretty damn soon. In less than two weeks!

If you’ve been coming to TVWriter™ for any longish amount of time, you almost certainly know that the PEOPLE’S PILOT is one of the web’s premier TV writing competitions. But must in case you’re a newbie, or haven’t been keeping track of the changes, here’s a brief synopsis:

This year we’ve updated the PP to match recent changes in the entertainment scene and make the contest not just a “television writing” thing, but one for shows intended for any and all electronic entertainment media.

Whether the series you are creating is intended for broadcast TV, cable and satellite, TV, home entertainment/video game consoles, Big Media interweb outlets like Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu, or indie web channels and venues like YouTube, Vimeo, Funny or Die, or the show’s own website, it’s eligible for the new PEOPLE’S PILOT.

Similarly, we’re open for entries regardless of what length you envision the episodes being or how many episodes you foresee it having.

Genres also are entirely open. Whether you’ve written a drama, comedy, action, dramedy, anthology script for adults, for young adults, for children, or, what the hell, for opossums, the PEOPLE’S PILOT wants to see it. Is your pilot intended for live action? Great. And just as great if you see what you’ve written as being animated, or starring puppets, or little balls of clay, whateves. Are you hoping for your series to last forever? Envisioning it as a mini or limited series? It’s all good to us. We welcome everything you can think of.

Category-wise, we’ve expanded from two to three. These are:

1) Scripted Series 1/2 Hour or Less (no matter how much less)
2) Scripted Series Longer than 1/2 Hour (up to 1 Hour long)
3) Scripted Series Longer than 1 Hour

In other words, scripts for shows about anything. intended to be broadcast anywhere, and with a playing time from, oh, a few seconds to several hours long are cordially invited!

Especially welcome in the “Scripted Series Longer than 1 Hour category are series deliberately designed to be binge-watched. (Can any other contest say the same?)

UPDATE! Especially welcome in all categories are screenplays that present characters and situations that would make terrific ongoing shows. Yes, we know that pretty much applies to any well-written screenplay, but, hey, that’s the point.

Other changes include:


TVWriter™ is now offering over $20,000 in prizes and entry bonuses, including:


We’ve had free Feedback for awhile now and are constantly hearing how valuable it’s been. We think the Feedback alone is worth more than the price of admission and believe you’ll agree!


All entrants will receive a PDF file of Larry Brody’s Storytelling Patterns in Genre Films booklet. Available nowhere else, Storytelling Patterns is a guide to outlining your scripts by using timeless story patterns and scenes that have proven time and time again to be invaluable to successful storytelling.


You’ve missed the Early Bird Special fee, but the regular entry fee is $50 for each submission, with a new Duo Discount that eases the pain by allowing you to pay for 2 entries at the same time for a total payment of only $85. As in past years, you don’t have to upload your submission immediately upon paying the fee. You can send it at any time until the contest closes.

The PEOPLE’S PILOT website is HERE

The full list of Prizes is HERE

The Enter Page is HERE

Email LB personally with any questions HERE

Winners, Finalists, and Semi-Finalists of TVWriter™’s past contests are or have most recently been on the staffs of WESTWORLD, LETHAL WEAPON, NARCOS, MOM, CHICAGO PD, CHICAGO FIRE, PERSON OF INTEREST, THE WALKING DEAD, RIZZOLI AND ISLES, COLONY, GREY’S ANATOMY, ONCE UPON A TIME, SMALLVILLE, ROME, THE LEFTOVERS, and THE BASTARD EXECUTIONER, to name just a few. We’d love to see you join them!


LB’s schedule has been a real killer so far this season, with the result that for now all online classes are on hold. (Blame it on his involvement with Thai animation studio startup Southeast Asia Animation. But how could he say no when one of the initial investors was also one of his first students during sabbatical he took from writing-producing way back in the early 1990s?

LB assures us that as soon as things calm down he will be resuming both the Advanced Online Screen and TV Writing Workshop and his Master Class. But if you’re really Jonesing for his open, honest, and very professional tutelage, it couldn’t hurt to get in touch with him HERE

Meanwhile, if you’re curious, you can find out more about everything TVWriter University is currently offering HERE

That’s it till next time. Keep those stories spinning!

Team TVWriter™

Larry Brody – Head Dood
Gwen Brody – Head Muse
Munchman – Keeper of the Faith
Cara Winter, Herbie J Pilato, Peggy Bechko, Kelly Jo Brick – Contributing Editors
Diana Vaccarelli – Critic at Large
Kathryn Graham, Cassandra Hennessey – Contributing Writers
Various Volunteers – Mucho Appreciated Scapegoats

Munchman: “Red Oaks” is Back!

by Munchman

It is with great glee that I inform one and all that Red Oaks, that cute little web series about a teenage boy and his privileged, country club life back in the halcyon days of 1986 will be back on the interwebs November 11th.

Not familiar with the series? Here’s some blurb verbiage:

For assistant tennis pro David Meyers it’s been a year of upheaval. In a freefall following his parents’ divorce, forced to drop out of NYU and forego dreams of becoming a filmmaker, his one silver lining has been his budding romance with Skye, the daughter of club president Doug Getty. But when Skye returns home from a year abroad in Paris with more worldly ways and a newfound independence, David finds himself caught in the middle between his strong-willed girlfriend and her equally stubborn father….

The series is written by Gregory Jacobs, Joe Gangemi, Karey Dornetto, Shawn Harwell, Tom Papa, Max Werner and Daisy Gardner.

Lightweight, meaningless, and derivative as Red Oaks may be, it’s as solid a series as you’ll find on the web and a good escape from contemporary conflicts, and Yer Friendly Neighborhood Munchadorio recommends it whole-heartedly–

Wait. What?

Red Oaks isn’t a web series? It’s a presentation of Amazon Studios with Steven Soderbergh and David Gordon Green? You sure about that?

Shazbot! Munchy’s been snookered!

My apologies to all. Judged by professional standards, which I wasn’t doing because Indie TV and all, Red Oaks is bottom of the barrel slime. Stay away! Stay away!

Dammit, I gotta start watching my TV on a bigger screen than an elderly iPhone 5 so I can actually, you know, see the damn credits.

How to get the top job in TV: showrunner

Speaking of articles originally posted elsewhere, this look into how to become a TV showrunner is one of the best:


by Jethro Nededog

One of the most coveted jobs in television is that of the showrunner, but the career path to that gig isn’t always clear-cut.

In short, a showrunner is the top dog on a TV show. He or she is responsible for approving everything from casting to scripts, from budgets to set designs. All the while, the showrunner has to protect the creative vision for the show.

“You have to be an advocate for the creative aspect of the show, and that’s harder than it looks sometimes, especially when I have to sign the budget every week,” veteran showrunner Remi Aubuchon recently told Business Insider. (Aubuchon has written or produced on “Caprica,” “Falling Skies,” “Powers,” and “24.”)

Typically, showrunners are writers who have worked themselves up the ladder in writers’ rooms for several television shows (that’s a whole other “how to” article). Julie Rottenberg — whose writing and producing credits include “Sex and the City,” “SMASH,” and “Love Bites” — is a first-time co-showrunner on Bravo comedy “Odd Mom Out.” Rottenberg understands what it takes to get the job.

“For so long, we were writers on shows or producers, writer/producers on a number of shows,” Rottenberg said. “And I realized comparing that to being a showrunner is basically like babysitting versus parenting. Because suddenly the baby is yours, you can’t just leave at six o’clock when it’s time. And you’re pretty much responsible for every aspect of the show.”

Childhood friends Julie Rottenberg, left, and Elisa Zuritsky serve as co-showrunners on Bravo’s “Odd Mom Out.” Andy Kropa/Invision/AP

You might believe that if you create a great show, write a killer pilot script, and then get your show bought at a network, then you’ve earned the right to be its showrunner. The truth is that many show creators don’t end up running their own shows. In some cases, the show creator has very little day-to-day involvement in their own show….

Read it all at Business Insider

Posts TVWriter™ Wishes We’d Published Instead of These Other Guys

This week’s collection of recent articles from other websites about TV, TV writing, etc., etc., etc. The plan here is for you to click on their headlines and visit the sites and read the posts in full…and is anybody asks, tell ’em TVWriter™ sentcha, okay?

Turning Pages: How to write for television and get it on screen
by Jane Sullivan0


Benjamin Law’s book The Family Law has been adapted for TV

Want to write a great television drama series? Simple: there are just 13 rules. Start with an anti-hero (usually a man, could be a woman). Give him a family. Set your show at the end of an era. Give your hero a mentor or protege. Add a nemesis with a problem of his own.

Write a bottle episode (between just two people). Put a drug at the centre. Include sex. Parcel out the violence. Include one of the following: health scare, corpse disposal, party scene, huge explosion, demonstration of hero’s superpower. Hit the books (literary references). Let nobody be safe. And don’t forget the comedy….

If INSIDE OUT Got A Round of Reality TV Network Notes
by Jeez Jon



Hello! Thanks for turning our notes around so quickly.  As it stands, the show is really making some progress but it’s really not there yet.  What you’ve given is so immensely creative and thrilling, which is great… and is also a huge concern. The problem is we kept getting lost in what’s going on.  A clarity pass is absolutely necessary.  Bites, bites, bites! If we’re going to ask for the audience to take the leap to go into someone’s mind, we need to spell things out for them very clearly so they don’t get nervous.  Once you do this with a very thorough bite pass, then we’ll give time coded notes.  Please address the following (and if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to call my assistant to set up a time for a call.)…

Survival Watching: The Pros And Cons Of Trying To Keep Up In The Era Of Peak TV
by Jessica Toomer


 Have you ever had a panic-inducing moment of TV FOMO? You know, that feeling when the rest of your friends are talking about the latest Game of Thrones episode and you feel completely out of the loop because you just never got into dragons and white walkers and George R.R. Martin’s homicidal writing tendencies? For you, R+L=J could just as easily be some weird algebra equation, not the foundational theory of Jon Snow’s parentage….

Warrensville Heights native makes it big after losing everything
by Danielle Wiggins


Everyone struggles.

Everyone has hard times.

What separates the successful is their answer to the struggle.

It was Ricky Smith’s response to his trials that has catapulted him to success.

We know the Warrensville Heights native as the man behind the social movement Random Acts of Kindness Everywhere, known on social media as #RAKE….

“Fargo” Showrunner Noah Hawley Speaks


When the creator/showrunner of a series as highly regarded as “Fargo” speaks, we TVWriter™ minions are eager to listen. And now, thanks to the miracle of interweb video, we can gaze upon his super successful countenance in awe and delight as well.

(What? No, that wasn’t irony or sarcasm at all. This particular minion remembers the days before YouTube became the Font of All Knowledge and appreciates its most excellent existence.)

Writers! ManuFixed is Here for You!

EDITOR’S NOTE: TVWriter™ is continually barraged by with requests from people asking us to recommend a solid, reliable editorial service to help writers prepare their teleplays, screenplays, literary manuscripts as such. We’ve never stepped into that trap because such recommendations are fraught with peril.

Now, though, we’ve found a service we’re happy to step up to the plate for. It’s called ManuFixed. Here’s what its creators have to say:

Scripts! Manuscripts! Plots! Queries!

Scripts! Manuscripts! Plots! Queries! Not only does ManuFixed do stuff, it’s a real word!

by Samantha Bohrman & Cristina Pippa

Sometimes your family won’t read an eighteenth draft of your script, even though it has a stunning, epic love story and a vivid WWII backdrop. (Some of us may know this from experience.) Perhaps you realize that your current circle of readers doesn’t have the expertise to offer you useful feedback anyway.

We started ManuFixed to offer just those services– professional editing and coaching for writers. We are writers ourselves, and we love helping other writers bring their visions to life.

A professional editor with experience writing script coverage will help you take your work to the next level. And if you’re looking for inspiration or someone to pitch your ideas to, you can call on an enthusiastic and thoughtful writing coach who has worked with screenwriters for television and film.

We first met a few years ago at our writing group’s holiday party. We like to call the coffee shop where we write “the office” and host summer BBQs and holiday parties as if we’re a Fortune 500 Company.

One of us was on maternity leave from writing sessions at “the office” when the other one joined the group, so the holiday party was the first chance we got to sit down and find out why everyone thought the other one was so great.

There was German pretzel bread. Writers offered to watch each other’s dogs while they were out of town. And we must have arranged a writing date, because we’ve been meeting once a week since then.

After chatting and exchanging work, we found that:

  • We had worked for the same boutique New York literary agency, and
  • We never got more useful feedback on our work than we did from each other. We had been providing editorial services to writers separately for years, and we had so much fun comparing notes and honing our work together, we decided to go into business.

ManuFixed offers:

  1. Coaching: Focus on your writing goals, pitches, and specific challenges and strengths. Perhaps you’re deciding what to work on next or you would like feedback on an early draft. Hop online or on a phone call with us, and let’s dig in.
  2. Developmental editing for scripts and manuscripts: We’ll read your work multiple times and present you with 2-3 pages of notes, focusing on overall character development, plot, pacing, dialogue, and structure.
  3. Copy editing and proofreading: This is a line edit for that final polish.
  4. Query, plus 10 pages: Refine your query and first 10 pages to help snag an agent.

If you’re interested, check out, connect with us on Twitter (@ManuFixed), or send us an email at

Our pricing for coaching and editing is competitive and is listed on our website. We love talking with writers and discussing their writing. Even if you’re sick-to-death of working on your latest project, we can’t wait.

ManuFixers’ Bios: Samantha Bohrman’s first book, Ruby’s Misadventures with Reality, came out with Entangled Publishing in 2014, and two more titles will be released in the next year. Cristina Pippa is a published playwright and filmmaker, and she received an Artist’s Initiative grant for her novel.

E-Book Publisher Opts for Writers’ Rooms Not Authors

An intriguing idea, this writers’ room in publishing thing, but also dismaying to all the writers who are trying to leave the TV writers’ room environs and proudly and solitarily produce work that’s all theirs.



by Charley Locke

MATTHEW CODY BEGAN his new book ReMade with a premise sure to be a hit with fans of dystopian YA fiction: In a post-apocalyptic future, 23 teenagers wake up to look for answers in the wreckage of human civilization, all while being hunted by machines. But beyond its initial chapter, he didn’t write the details of the rest of the book. He didn’t have to—he’s just the showrunner.

ReMade, which debuts today, is the fifth series from Serial Box. The company is essentially a book publisher, but instead of releasing whole novels by lone authors, it rolls out stories like a TV network: one “episode” a week, each penned by a different writer. Every installment, much like every episode of The Night Of, will take a little under an hour of your time, and for those who keep up with their shows on iTunes, the options to buy will be familiar. Readers can purchase an episode at a time for $1.99, subscribe and get each of the 13-15 episodes for a discounted $1.59, or buy a season pass for $19-22. For subscribers and pass holders, a new episode arrives in their Serial Box app each Wednesday, in both written and audio form.

Other companies—Wattpad, Crave—have experimented with serialized digital storytelling, but Serial Box hews much more closely to the TV model than anything that’s come before it. That’s intentional. Co-founder Molly Barton, who was previously the global digital director at Penguin, wanted to start an ebook company that borrowed not only from television’s release schedule, but from its marketing and creative process, too.

“When I was at Penguin, I was going to more and more dinner parties with literary agents who were just talking about TV,” Barton says. “With TV, I can figure out where you are, but if we’ve read the same novel, it’s a more dense thing to access.” Through episodic release, Barton hopes to offer a reading experience that’s easier to speculate and obsess about, through books that you can read in sync with your friends.

Writing Novels Like TV Seasons

Serialized book publication, of course, requires a quick turnaround….

Read it all at Wired