Only 2 Months Left to Enter the 2014 Spec Scriptacular Contest

Public domain image, royalty free stock photo from www.public-domain-image.com

Time now for a friendly reminder:

Two months sounds like a lot, we know. But not if you’ve still got to do the writing for the contest. And what better time to start – and finish – than now?

TVWriter™’s Spec Scriptacular contest has been around for well over a decade. This year marks the 20th running. It’s for spec episodes of current and/or recent series, plus original one-shot scripts with potential as TV movies and/or specials of any length.

There are over $10,000 worth of prizes and entry bonuses, including free feedback re where your script stacks up in terms of Industry standards and contest competitors.

In just the past couple of years, Winners, Finalists, or Semi-Finalists of the TVWriter™ contests have been on the staffs of CHICAGO PD, CHICAGO FIRE, PERSON OF INTEREST, THE WALKING DEAD, RIZZOLI AND ISLES, GREY’S ANATOMY, ROME, NTSF:SD:SUV, KILLER WOMEN, ANIMAL PRACTICE, and THE LEFTOVERS. And that’s only the winners who’ve stayed in touch.

To agents and showrunners, solidly written spec scripts are the currency for getting into the TV and film business. And one of the best ways to demonstrate that solidity is for the script to finish at or near the top of – you guessed it – the Spec Scriptacular.

There’s lots more to tell about this highly respected contest, but our marketing maven says we should keep our e-mails as short as possible. So here are some links where you can find out all the rest:

More about the SPEC SCRIPTACULAR HERE.

More about the prizes HERE.

Read the Winning Scripts for 2013 HERE.

Enter the 2014 PEOPLE’S PILOT HERE.

Hope you enter!

Dennis O’Neil on Alternate Earths

One of the top writer-editors in comics gives us some sound writing advice. And by us we mean that this is valid for TV writers working on just about every science fiction series on our tubes cuz sometimes it seems like none of them can wait to go parallel universing around and mess with viewers’ minds:

Supermanby Dennis O’Neil

Good news! The angel Fettucini has just delivered a Message From On High: from this moment on, all politicians must be free of greed and egotism and be motivated solely by the desire for good governance and love of heir fellow man.

The, uh, bad news is that the above is true only on Earth 4072, which, of course, exists only in an alternate universe. These things are relative. To the inhabitants of Earth 4072, the news is not bad.

They can be useful, these alternate universes, especially, if you write fantasy or science fiction.

Consider Julius Schwartz, an editor at DC Comics. In 1959, he was given the task of reviving a character who had been dormant for most of the decade, the Flash. Instead of merely redoing the Flash comics readers (okay, older comics readers) were familiar with, Mr. Schwartz and his creative team gave the Flash a comprehensive makeover: new costume, new secret identity that included a new name, new origin story – the whole bag. But Mr. Schwartz had a potential problem: some of his audience – those pesky older readers – might wonder what happened to the original Flash. Mr. Schwartz provided an answer by borrowing a trope from science fiction: alternate worlds. In the Schwartz version, there were two Earths coexisting in different dimensions. The original, Jay Garrick, was on one Earth and the newer model, Barry Allen, was on the other Earth. It was the publishing equivalent of having your cake and eating it, too.

Take a bow, Mr. Schwartz.

The gimmick must have boosted sales because Mr. Schwartz soon applied it to other DC superheroes with similar success.

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Do You Really Want to Write?

Is success as a writer (in any medium) worth all you have to give up in order to get it? Here’s a thoughtful answer to just that concern:

"a moment of despair" by fantaasiatoid" on Deviant Art

“a moment of despair” by fantaasiatoid” found on Deviant Art

by Rita Karnopp

So you’ve received a rejection letter – and you’re in the middle of writing yet another book. Suddenly you’re in the slumps and wonder if all this work and upset is worth it.  You stop writing – and now you just don’t feel like going back to your office and continue with your work in progress.

Hmmm . . . sound familiar?  It’s not an easy profession, is it?  We have our highs – and oh so many lows.  It’s not easy to receive a rejection letter on one of our books.  It’s deflating.  It’s frustrating.  It’s depressing.  Yet, after you cry, throw a tantrum, crumple the rejection letter and toss it in the trash – you take a deep breath – and ask yourself – “Should I keep writing – or quite?”

I’ll bet everyone who has written a book, whether published or not, has asked themselves that very question.  It’s hard work to be a writer.  Life has a way of pulling at us – whether fun or work – and it take determination, fortitude, self-discipline, and most of all passion to be a writer.

So back to the ultimate question; do you really want to write?  It’s not all that easy to answer when you’re starting at a rejection letter.  Are you willing to give up the movies, TV shows, shopping sprees (great way to save money), and other activities that take up your time.

Having said that, I don’t think you have to give up anything – time management is the key.  But we still haven’t answered the question; do you really want to write?

You heard me say it before, and I’m going to say it again.  I write for me, no one else.  I’d dream of seeing my name on the cover of my book for years – and it seemed like nothing more than a dream.  When I was brave enough to share that dream with others (besides my husband – who believes I can do anything I set my mind to), most people reacted as though I’d lost my sense of reasoning.  A mother of two, holding down a full-time job and sometimes another part-time job just to make ends meet – had no right to consider the possibility of becoming a published author.

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Love & Money Dept – TV Writing Deals for 10/2/14

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

  • Scott Gold (UNDER THE DOME) is developing DEEP WEB, a drama series about a computer genius who, “with the help of his geeks gone wild posse, evolves into the overlord of the internet’s underworld,” for Spike. (Cuz BREAKING BAD. Nuff said?)
  • Tom Kapinos (CALIFORNICATION) is developing LUCIFER, yet another DC Comics-related series for Fox. (Flying in the face of the common wisdom that TV never does anything new, this time around we have a comic villain nobody’s ever heard of, a network that never does comics related material, and a dramedy creator, all working together on a series that, if it follows the not-very-popular comic book, will be about the devil deciding to abandon hell and open a piano bar in L.A. Hmm, that same old, same old starting to look a little better now?)
  • Scot Armstrong (THE HANGOVER II) is adapting the ancient film, PROBLEM CHILD, into a comedy series for NBC. (Uh-oh, now that yer munchikins reads that, I’m thinking LUCIFER won’t be so bad!)
  • Kevin Sussman (BIG BANG THEORY) has sold a comedy pilot script called WIFE OF CRIME to CBS, about “a straitlaced guy from Staten Island who marries into an Italian family with ties to the mob.” (Hey, I’m laughing already. I mean, what else can I say? Capish?)
  • Jordan Roter (newbie!) is writing the pilot for CBS’s LETTERS TO MY DAUGHTER’S FUTURE THERAPIST, a comedy in which a mother’s voiceover explains her actions to her daughter’s future therapist, confident that said daughter will blame her for everything bad in her life. (Yes, the muncher lurves this one. Especially where I got to write “newbie.” Way to go Jordan Roter!)

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….)

JOHN OSTRANDER: TV WEEK GEEK

Constantine-TV-showby John Ostrander

Once upon a time, when I was a boy, TV consisted of the three networks, one independent channel, and before long, one “education” channel. (“They actually had TV when you were a boy, Uncle John?” Yes. Quiet, you.) Every fall, each of the networks took a week to trot out their new and returning shows and they each took turns. And, if memory serves, that pretty much was it for the season.

If you were into superhero comics (and I was despite my mother), there were damn slim pickings. There was The Adventures of Superman, of course, and that was played pretty straight albeit it was considered a children’s show. Later on, there was the Batman series that was fun and interesting to me at start but got old real fast. Something along the superhero lines was Zorro. I loved that show. Guy Williams was my Zorro. Dressed all in black, masked, fighting injustice – yeah, I’d group him in with the superheroes.

But that was essentially it.

Not so today. Comics rule the cinema and they are taking over the small screen. Never so much as in the coming year and I thought I’d survey the new and returning shows and see what attracts my eye.

First up is Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. I started off last year with a lot of anticipation for Phil Coulson and his section of the Mighty Marvel Marching Society. That was quickly dissipated. Halfway through the season, I would not have bet you real money that the show would get a second season but it really picked up in the last third once they were able to tie in and elaborate on elements from the second Captain America movie. The people they’re adding to the cast and what I’ve heard of the projected storylines has me eagerly anticipating the series’ return. Please, don’t let it dissipate.

The other returning show is Arrow. To be honest, I like the show without loving it. It gets a little too sudsy for me at times and it can stretch my suspension of disbelief to the breaking point – but they also have a version of Amanda Waller and the Suicide Squad in it. I loves me some Amanda Waller showing up, whatever her size, because she generates money for me every time she does.

Arrow is also generating a spin off with The Flash and I think I’m looking forward to it more than its parent. It seems lighter and brighter and that’s appropriate given the subject matter. I like the look of the costume although it seems a little dark; he’s more the Maroon Speeder than the Scarlet Speeder. One small touch, however, really appeals to me; they cast John Wesley Shipp as Barry Allan’s father. For those who don’t know, Shipp played the Flash the last time they tried to make a TV series out of the comic. It was a good show but ahead of its time and so lasted only a season. Bringing back Shipp is, IMO, a class act. That speaks well of the producers and makes me hopeful for the series.

The show with a lot of expectations on it is Gotham, the long prequel to Batman. Like Smallville, the series that told Clark Kent’s story before he became Superman, Gotham will presumably end when Batman actually shows up. However, at the start, Bruce is ten years old and his parents have just been murdered. The producers have a lot of hope for the show’s longevity.

I’m not so sure. Smallville at least had Clark Kent as its center. The city itself appears to be the center. Gotham has always been a major character in the Batman mythos, but the central character? We’ll see; I intend to tune in. I hope its great.

The show I’m most interested in, however, is Constantine. John Constantine is a great character, a charismatic anti-hero, a magician in a trench coat who drinks too much, smokes too much, a conman who is going to hell unless he can figure how to trick his way out. Yeah, that sounds like a show right up my alley. I think it’s also a good premise for an ongoing TV show. If it does nothing else but eradicate the stink Keanu Reeves made of the character, it will be a great thing.

That’s my list; tune in next summer and we’ll see which shows made it and which did not. I’m betting on Constantine.

An Argument Against the “Copyright Monopoly”

Soapbox time, gang! Lissun up!

And, yeah, we find a lot of good points in this argument. And a few we think fall flat. Let us know what you think in the comments:

mahler_letters_5_33

“THE LETTER” IS STILL THE BEST STORY TO EXPLAIN WHY COPYRIGHT MONOPOLY MUST BE REDUCED
by Rick Falkvinge

People are still getting distracted by the silly question of “how somebody will get paid” if the copyright monopoly is reduced. It’s irrelevant, it’s a red herring. What this debate is about is bringing vital civil liberties along from the analog environment into the digital – and that requires allowing file-sharing all out.

As I travel the world and speak to people from all professions and walks of life about the copyright monopoly, “the letter” is still the story that causes the most pennies to drop about why the copyright monopoly must be reduced. It’s by far the angle that makes the message come across to the most people.

“How will the artists make money” is basically just a distraction from the real and important issues at hand, and this story helps bring them there.

The story of “the letter” deals with just how big and vital civil liberties have been sacrificed in the transition from analog to digital at the tenacious insistence of the copyright industry for the sake of their bottom line. The analog letter was the message sent the way our parents sent them: written onto a physical piece of paper, put into an envelope, postaged with an old-fashioned stamp and put into a mailbox for physical delivery to the intended recipient.

That letter had four important characteristics that each embodied vital civil liberties.

That letter, first of all, was anonymous. Everybody had the right to send an anonymous message to somebody. You could identify yourself on the inside of the message, for only the recipient to know, on the envelope, for the postal services to know, or not at all. Or you could write a totally bogus name, organization, and address as the sender of your message, and that was okay, too. Not just okay, it was even fairly common.

Second, it was secret in transit. When we talk of letters being opened and inspected routinely, the thoughts go to scenes of the East German Stasi – the Ministerium für Staatssicherheit, the East German National Security Agency (yes, that’s how Stasi’s name translates). Letters being opened and inspected? Seriously? You had to be theprimary suspect of an extremely grave crime for that to take place.

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