Deadline.Com seems to think that negotiations re a new deal between the WGA and Alliance of Motion Picture and TV Producers are all but finished. Sure hope they’re right:
WGA & AMPTP “Very Close” To New Labor Deal
by Dominic Patten
Four days after returning to the negotiating table, the WGA and the Alliance of Motion Picture and TV Producers are near an agreement on a new three-year contract, I’ve learned. “We’re not there yet and there are still a few more I’s to dot and T’s to cross, but we’re very close,” one insider told me today. With many of the bulky points already coming together in the first two weeks of talks, the two sides spent some of their two-week temporary recess fine-tuning the agreement, sources on both sides say, before sitting down again at AMPTP’s Sherman Oaks HQ. An official announcement could come as early as the beginning of next week. If you take out the downtime, this year’s talks pretty much follow the timeline of the placid 2011 negotiations, which started on March 3 that year and were all done by March 20.
As widely expected, under pattern bargaining, the final deal this time round between the WGA and AMPTP will be similar to the agreement the DGA made with the studios and networks late last year with measured increases in minimums, residuals, pension and health contributions.
- David O. Russell (you know who he is) has left ABC’s THE CLUB, a series his presence helped sell, but co-writer Susannah Grant will remain. (You gotta ask yourself: If a guy like Russell can get dumped from a TV series, how rough must the politics of the medium really be? If yours truly had a mind, it’d be boggling!)
- Rick Eid (DARK BLUE) is showrunning the new Lifetime drama series, THE LOTTERY, about stuff that happens in, you know, a “dystopian future.” (Sorry, Lifetime, but there’s a show the muncher won’t be watching cuz let’s face it, those of us living in the dystopian present really could use a change.)
- Hallmark Channel has picked up THE GOOD WITCH, a series based on its TV movies of the same name. No writer or showrunner has been listed, so excuse me while yrs truly calls his agent. (Not that muncho expect her to answer, but that’s another (sad!)story.)
- Marco Pennette (KIRSTIE) is out as showrunner of TV Land’s comedy of that selfsame name and is working as a consulting producer on MOM instead. (Cuz the talented writer/creator/sonofabitch is so goddamn rich already why work full-time?)
Even in the world of games, where this not-so-startling (to us cuz…flawed, you know?) factoid just recently came to light:
Game characters are better when they gossip and lie
by Olivia Solon
Getting characters to lie, gossip, and manipulate could help to create more realistic video games, according to Jenny Brusk, a lecturer in computer science at the University of Skövde.
Brusk has been working on models to introduce socially competent non-player game characters who can understand natural language, rather than characters using goal-driven dialogue where the player is limited to a number of predefined response alternatives.
In order to create socially intelligent characters, Brusk has studied gossiping. “Gossip is a type of dialogue that defines our moral compass, and without it, we don’t know what’s socially accepted. Gossip is also a way to get to know each other, and it signals closeness. We learn to master social codes through gossip,” she explains.
Brusk’s research is based on sociolinguistic science with complex dialogue systems. The dialogue models she has developed can be implemented using standard technology, meaning they could be implemented in today’s games.
Brusk has presented a number of ways to create NPCs or “embodied conversational agents” with the ability to manage social situations, varying characters’ behavior according to their perceived interpersonal relationships. To do this she introduced an algorithm for calculating the social threat presented by the person the character is speaking to. The model took into account the NPC’s current emotional state and personality type. The idea of “threat to face” or threat to one’s personal reputation was introduced as a mechanic.
Brusk and colleagues have developed a method for managing NPC dialog through the creation of adialog manager in State Chart XML, a newly introduced W3C standard. They built a trading model for a shopkeeper, which allowed for natural language negotiations. The plan is to introduce an emotional aspect into the model at a later date, perhaps influencing the price based on how happy or sad the shopkeeper is.
Here they are, the most viewed TVWriter™ posts for the past week:
And our most viewed resource pages were:
Thanks for making this another great week here at TVWriter™, and don’t forget to read what you missed, re-read what you loved, and, most importantly, come back for more soon!
by Peggy Bechko
And not surprisingly they want them to keep reading.
So what is it that might make a prized reader just stop reading, set the book aside, give up? Fantastic to hear your book kept a reader up all night, okay to know they stick in a bookmark and take a break, just awful and nightmarish to think that reader won’t pick the book up again.
So why don’t they pick it up again?
There can be many reasons, but here are a few basic ones you might consider while writing.
Is there too much description? Do you go on and long with long, flowery descriptions and narrative that just doesn’t move the story forward. The days of the writing of the classics is long past and the reader today want succinctly written scenes with few details allowing their own imaginations to take over. It’s a fine line to walk, but there you have it. Too much, too long on the description, narrative and wandering dialog and the reader is, well, bored into putting the book down.
Are your characters realistic? Are they so bland they’re boring? Do they have quirks and problems that are unique and unusual? If your characters don’t come across a real people with real problems odds are your reader is going to slap that book down and not pick it up again.
Did you hear somewhere sex sells? Offensive language gets attention? Violence rivets the eye? Well, yes, to a point. However, in general, readers don’t appreciate all that. If ‘all that’ isn’t key to a character or essential to moving a plot forward, don’t just write gratuitous sex, violence and filthy language scenes because the feeling is they’ll ‘sell’. There are moments where those things belong in a story, but make sure they do BELONG before you put any in. If it seems to your readers that you’re just waving it before their faces for shock value, odds are they’re going to put that book down. And they’ll look for your name on another book – so they don’t buy it by mistake.
Have you got firmly held beliefs? Moral codes of your own? Your own way of seeing the world?
Use them to move readers with a powerful theme, but don’t preach to them. Readers hate preachiness. If instead of being drawn in by an engrossing tale your readers feel you’re trying to force your own agenda on them, to cram a message down their throats, they’re going to turn on you.
Keep in mind not everyone shares your values and point of view. There are many world views out there. They may well be hooked by a well-written story based on a viewpoint at a one hundred and eighty degree flip from their own, but that doesn’t mean they’ll tolerate being told they have to share that perspective. Preaching is a big turn off and frequently the reason a book is cast aside. If you want to get a ‘message’ across, be more subtle. Make it into a powerful, positive theme in your book and let the readers come to their own conclusions.