And the winner for the absolutely best medium for presenting well-grounded but outrageous and biting satire is:

The interweb!

Check out this brilliantly painful short short by Duncan Elms and you’ll see what we mean.

Duncan Elms on Vimeo

Understanding How Comedy Works

what are you laughing at…Which is, you know, kind of important if you’re writing it. Recently, several of TVWriter™’s comedy writing friends (industry biggies, baby!) independently recommended this book as well for fledgling humorists/writers to get a handle on what it is exactly that they’re supposed to be doing. So we thought we’d pass it on:

The book is called What Are You Laughing At? and it’s written by Dan O’Shannon, MODERN FAMILY producer who knows his away around the funny, as somebody who prefers to remain anonymous for obvious reasons (but is otherwise a funny dood himself) has said to us. The Amazon description gets to the heart of the matter:

If you’re looking for a book that will teach you how to write comedy, we suggest you keep moving. You still have time to pick up a copy of Writing Big Yucks for Big Bucks before the store closes. However, if you want to understand the bigger picture — what is comedy, why do we respond to it the way we do — then you’ve come to the right place.

What Are You Laughing At? presents an entirely new approach to comedy theory. It challenges long-held beliefs and shows how the three main theories of comedy (incongruity, superiority, and relief) are not in conflict; but rather, work as parts of a larger model. There are many examples pulled from the author’s own experiences, writing for shows such as Cheers, Frasier, and Modern Family. By the end, you’ll have an understanding of just what happens when man meets comedy. It will change the way you hear laughter.

The theory of comedy! What could be more worthwhile? Check it out! (And no, TVWriter™ isn’t gonna get a pfennig if you click “Buy.” Not our style, gang, as you know.)

Guys Mills first-grader wins national writing contest

Speaking of young writers, we think this is awesome news:WCLogo_Mag_forAbout STAFF REPORTErie Times-News 

A first-grader from Crawford County has won first place in a national contest sponsored by PBS.

Ethan Mattocks, of Guys Mills, won the top prize in the first-grade category of the annual PBS Kids Writers Contest.

WQLN-TV, the local PBS affiliate, announced Ethan’s honor at a news conference at its Summit Township studios on Thursday.

Ethan was chosen as a winner from thousands of submissions from 365 PBS stations throughout the country, WQLN said.

His winning story is called “Once Upon a Pencil.”

Major congrats to Ethan! When’re you gonna turn pro? (We need you!)

Advice for young writers

We’re talking to you, kids!

babywritingby Nathan Bransford

I often receive e-mails from young writers in high school and even younger, and I’m always so impressed with them and even a little bit jealous. I had no idea I wanted to be a writer when I was in high school and I rue all those years I could have spent honing my craft. And even if Ihad known I wanted to be a writer, I didn’t have the Internet to reach out to other authors and learn more about what it takes to write a novel.

These young people are getting such a head start on their careers, and I can’t wait to see the incredible books they produce.

There’s a long tradition of writers offering advice to young writers, perhaps none greater than Rainer Maria Rilke’s Letters to a Young Poet.I can’t top that, but here’s my own modest contribution to the genre.

Here’s my advice for young writers:

Don’t write for the writer you are now. Write for the writer you’re going to become.

Writers aren’t born, they are made. It takes most writers years and years to hone their craft, and it’s helpful to have had years and years of reading experience now. By the time you’ve reached high school you have lived enough to have tasted the world and it may feel like you’re ready to channel it all into a novel, but don’t expect that your writerly success will come immediately.

Yes, there are occasional wunderkinds that defy this rule. But even S.E. Hinton, who published The Outsiders when she was sixteen, had already written several novels before that one.

Within the publishing industry, you won’t be judged based on your age, you’ll be judged against other writers who have spent years and even decades writing. Being good for your age isn’t enough. You have to be good period, and it’s difficult to achieve that level with limited experience.

Don’t judge your writing success by whether you’re able to find publication immediately. Instead, write to get better, write for catharsis and practice and fun. Your future self will be thankful for the time well spent.

Read it all

OMG! Bruce Campbell will Star in EVIL DEAD TV Series

The Bruceman Himself

The Bruceman Himself

The only thing that could possibly be as exciting as Bruce Campbell’s announcement on Twitter that he’s going to star in the TV series he, Sam Raimi, and Ivan Raimi are developing would be the return of FIREFLY (with Alan Trudyk in the cast).


Here’s the tweet:


Leesa Dean: Having a Hard Time Finishing a Script? This Might Be Why

Adventures of a Web Series Newbie – Chapter 69
by Leesa Dean

perfect1I am a perfectionist. You might not know it from my work, but it’s a trait that I and a lot of other writers/creatives share. Being a perfectionist can drive you crazy and can set up situations where you never ever finish anything. Which will also drive you crazy cause never finishing is like failing. Argh.

It is not atypical for me to write over 20 drafts of a script and continue to pick at it, even after I’ve submitted it or started production. Some people never finish. They’re like Sisyphus. Pushing that script up a hill and never getting there.

Luckily, when you’re writing for the web, because everything is short form and sorta disposable with insane deadlines and an unquenchable thirst for content, it forces you to just finish and not look back. Which, trust me, is the healthiest thing to do.

Even so, it’s easy to get stuck drafting and redrafting till you’re nowhere. Here are five things that have worked for me, helped me finish and move on more quickly:

1 -Don’t take yourself or your project too seriously – The more you feel obligated to do the Very.Best.Thing.You’ve.Ever.Written, the greater the chances are you’ll never finish and spend the rest of eternity tweaking. Bottom line, there’s less pressure and it frees you up a bit.

2- Have a TON of irons in the fire – I can’t stress this enough. When you put all your eggs in one basket it becomes the Most Important Project in History. Do you really want to be responsible for screwing that up? I don’t. Juggling a bunch of projects takes some of the pressure off each individual one and, because you’re so busy, you literally don’t have time to over-tweak. This year I’m working on Season 2 of the Lele Show, two brand new series, a short plus my weekly radio show which I write, record and produce. I literally don’t have time to agonize over every word.

3 – Set time limits – I do this all the time. Give myself, say, a week to finish a script. Even if I’m a little late, it forces me to see the endgame and finish quickly.

4 – Outline Outline Outline – I write everything down as an outline first. Yes, even for 2 -3 minute web pieces. Then slowly build the outline into a script. If you have an outline, you know the beginning middle and end of your script and it’s a lot easier to fill in spaces with juicy dialogue and not get caught up with specific lines.

5 – Make sure you write a minimum of five days a week – I try and write every day. In the summer, I take weekends off, unless I have a deadline. It might seem counter intuitive, but the more you write, the less invested you become in every single word and the more likely it is you’ll finish.

Hope these tips are helpful. See ya next week everybody.