Leesa Dean: Adventures of a Web Series Newbie

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Chapter 79 – YouTube News! I’m Excited!
by Leesa Dean

Wow.  So YouTube finally is close to opening their brand new New York studios and I am officially excited.

The production facilities are supposed to be much bigger/better than the previous ones. Before, there were two small green screen studios and, truthfully, I took a few classes in those studios and they were big enough for my purposes.  In fact, I thought they were great.  I’m hearing the stages in the new place will be bigger, including three enclosed sound stages (!!) and state-of-the-art post facilities.  Just.  Wow.

Production is really expensive in NYC and to have the opportunity to not only use a professional studio for free (I’m assuming here), is incredible.   Before, the only requirement was being a YouTube partner and submitting a proposal for your project (that they have to accept). I’m hearing that you now need to have over 5,000 subscribers to participate, which is barrier for many indie creators (including me), but we’ll see how that plays out. I applied and was accepted into a few free workshops and I don’t have 5,000 subscribers (yet). I suspect the 5,000 cut-off is for some of the production stuff but, once they open, the picture will be clearer.

Like before, they’re having workshops and events.  The difference?  This time around there’s a bigger offering and there are more networking opportunities with screenings, happy hours and more.  In fact, they’re started some of the workshops/events and I’ve been way too busy to attend but I’m planning on it.  I can’t stress enough how valuable taking those free YouTube workshops have been for me. I imagine they’ll only be better.

If you’re planning on becoming a web series creator or just starting out and are in the NYC area, I strongly urge you to sign up and take advantage of these great resources.  The workshops/events alone are worth checking out. Things are changing so quickly in this world who knows how long all of this will continue to be free.

Writing the Genre Show Script

The devil’s in the details when you’re trying to make it as a writer. And so’s the success. Which is why these details are here for you:

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by Craig Engler

In the last installment of How to Make a Genre Show I took you up to the point in the show-creation process where you had detailed outlines (approved by the network!) for the episodes of your series. Now it’s time to take that outline and turn it into a script — which I did, when I wrote episode six of Z Nation, which airs tomorrow night.

I’ve previously co-written two TV movies from relatively scant outlines and those scripts were painful to write. The ideas were solid but when it was time to flesh out our meagerly detailed acts into 100 pages of compelling writing, the gaps and shortcomings of our story structure became hideously evident. Thank god I had an awesome co-writer to help sort it all out.

By contrast, working from the detailed outlines created in the Writers’ Room makes writing a TV script much easier. Since we’d already broken the plot, character arcs, themes, etc., I knew exactly what I needed to do and could actually focus on just writing the sucker, which was utterly refreshing. In TV you generally spend way more time preparing to write than actually putting fingers to keyboard. And if you do run into problems, a quick chat with our showrunner or a fellow writer could solve the issue.

That’s not to say it was a breeze. Interestingly, writing my first script for Z Nation was tricky because of the unusual fact that we didn’t have a pilot script…or any other scripts for that matter. I was in the strange position of writing episode six in a series where episodes 1-5 hadn’t been written yet. That made for some unexpected challenges. For instance, while I knew the continuity for the season-long plot and the broad strokes of the character arcs, the nuances of our characters’ lives hadn’t been developed yet.

I couldn’t reference, say, a running joke between our gang that started in episode two because there was no episode two. And if the writer in episode five got to the end of his script and suddenly decided to leave one of our gang with a bullet wound, I wouldn’t know about that until after I’d written mine. Sure, we talked ahead of time about all the stuff we planned to do, but one of the joys of writing is that you find new, interesting moments as you go along. And your characters are often revealed in those moments.

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Cargo 3120: The Making of a Sci-Fi Franchise

CARGO3120Entry 2 – From Ambition to Film School… to the U.S. Army?

by Daymond C. Roman

(EDITOR’S NOTE: The Story So Far starts HERE)

So, we finally realized that ambition can only go so far; we needed a film school. And after researching all the schools that were accessible to us we decided to go to The Academy of the Arts in San Francisco. I was sold when they said they had everything at their facility to make Jurassic Park! Only, there was no way that me or Aaron could afford it. And neither of us qualified for financial aid, each of our families made a little more than what would qualify. Again, like our last blog states, we just missed the cut.

But like I said, we really aspired to create our stories and had serious ambitions about making our dreams come true, which is why we made the decision to join the U.S. Army. They had a college fund that would more than pay for our tuition.

Sadly, Aaron and I did not keep in contact while we served in the military. I misplaced his home number (1996, no cell phones) and our leave dates never lined up. Also, I did little to nothing in the pursuit my show biz goals. I allowed myself to get side tracked, until screenwriting was only a notion in the back of my mind. I kept telling myself, “I’ll do it when I have time”. But, I never did.  And as time went on, I met the mother of my kids and even reenlisted for another term. All the while, I was still feeling unfulfilled and continued to feel that way until I decided to write again.

After film school was a bust, and allowing life to distract me I ultimately realized the important thing I should have done all along was write. It’s like they say: writers write, all the time. So, keep writing.

Next Week: Picking up as adults where we left off as kids

Love & Money Dept – TV Writing Deals for 10/24/14

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Latest News About Writers Who Are Doing Better Than We Are
by munchman

  • Not one, not two, but three failed movies intended to be long-running franchises are moving to TV even as we speak: RESIDENT EVIL, THE MORTAL INSTRUMENTS, and PERFUME. (No writers are attached, so if you want to write some crap that will get you into the WGA and maybe even make you some royalties, it’s time to call your agents, fast. Tell ‘em Timothy J. Muncher sez to get him – as in moi – a gig too. There, I just cut you for a big career move. Whatcha gonna do fer me?)
  • David & Alex Pastor (THE LAST DAYS) are writing a Syfy pilot called INCORPORATED about the bad shit multi-nationals do. (Sounds like a winner to me. Well, except for that Syfy connection. Now if this was going to AMC…)
  • Josh Safran (once a big honcho at HBO) is writing a U.S. version of a Swedish legal thriller which is scheduled to emerge as the crowd-drawing CBS jewel called BLACK WIDOWS. (Why is a suit writing it instead of a writer? C’mon, y’all know the answer to that. Cuz every suit reaches the point where s/he is abso-fucking-lutely certain s/he can write better than any of the writers s/he’s worked with, and it’s my munching guess that’s what happened here. Dood’s wrong, of course. They always are. Contact your agent for the rewrite gig – ASAP.)
  • Oliver Goldstick (PRETTY LITTLE LIARS) is writing the pilot for a drama to be called THE TOWN over at The CW. This one’s based on a UK series created by Mike Barnett where a guy looking into his parents’ death discovers that their whole town was, as the press release says, “culpable.” (But if we know that going in, why do we want to watch the show? Huh, The CW? Nuh? Huh?)

That’s it for now. Write in and tell munchilito what you’ve sold today. TVWriter™ can’t wait to brag to all your friends. (And, more importantly, enemies. Hehehe….)

Another Reason Why Every Good TV Idea Turns to S**t

How many times as LB told his students, “No matter what your job title, you’re a salesman?” Thousands of times, that’s how many. Still, many talented and hard working writers refuse to accept that basic tenet. Okay, salesperson deniers, whaddaya say about this:

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AMC Network Narrows Field Of Drama Pilot Contenders With Producer Meetings
by Nellie Andreeva

With a renewed focus on original dramas as AMC  just exited the unscripted space, the network is ramping up development. It had been an AMC tradition to hold annual script showcases, called by the network producer meetings, where the writers/producers of scripts that had been identified by network brass as top pilot contenders, lay out their vision for the shows beyond the pilot. Those producer meetings, which continue to be referred to as “bakeoff” in agency jargon, have traditionally been taking place in the spring, followed by pilot pickups. Sometimes, there has been a second round of producer meetings in the fall, which is what happened this year.

I’ve learned of seven projects from AMC Studios that were featured at the meetings held this week. Their settings span from present-day Birmingham and Mumbai to 1950s Argentina, and they tackle issues ranging from civil rights and pandemic to alien contact.

Additionally I hear that Preacher, Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg and Sam Catlin’s adaptation of Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon’s controversial 1990s comic book series, from Sony TV, was not part of the presentations but also is heating up for a potential pilot order.

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