Troy DeVolld tells us what TV credits really mean

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Understanding Credits
by Troy DeVolld

Prompted by a recent discussion with Andy Dehnart at realityblurred.com, here’s the key to understanding credits in reality television:  Stop trying to make sense of them and start relying on context in relationship to the credits as a whole if you want to understand who’s who.

When you see nine Executive Producers listed on a show, a few could be network execs overseeing the show, a few could be owners or execs at the production company, and still others could be showrunners or even talent and their managers.

The difference between a Co-Executive Producer and a Supervising Producer? Sometimes none.  A show may have one or the other or both (in which case the Supervising Producer is likely supporting the Co-EP), and each title can stand without the other.  I’m aware of a few companies that don’t issue Co-EP credits for some reason, so the Supervising Producer is overseeing some part of production and/or post and reporting to an EP.

The difference between a Story Editor and a Story Producer?  Whatever the company decides to call the members of its story team.  In cases where both titles exist on a show, the Story Producer title is likely reserved for the more experienced / senior of the two.

There’s also the Senior Story Editor or Senior Story Producer title, which denotes senior members of the story team in field or post.  A Supervising Story Producer, when one is titled, oversees the story team and reports to either a Supervising Producer, Co-EP, or directly to the EP if there is no Supervising Story Producer or Co-EP on the show.

Remember that experienced writers on traditionally covered scripted shows can often negotiate a producer credit based on experience and seniority on the show. Screenwriter John August explains all of that here.

In short, it’s all negotiable.


Troy DeVolld is a longtime LB buddy and one of the masters of the reality TV genre. This article originally appeared on his Reality TV blog. And while you’re thinking about him, why not buy his book, Reality TV: An Insider’s Guide to TV’s Hottest Market?

Writing, Motherhood and…wait for it…Happiness!

Yeppers, kids, it’s possible to have a baby and still love writing. (All it takes is a nanny.) How a bestselling Irish author survives thrives:

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BLONDE, beautiful, happily married mother-of-two and bestselling author Cecelia Ahern has had the private and public success many of us dream about.

The Dublin-born daughter of former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern was just 21 when she penned her first novel, PS, I Love You, which became a bestseller and saw her life change in 2007 when the movie adaptation, starring Hilary Swank and Gerard Butler, became a box office hit.

Now Hollywood is knocking at her door again, as Warner Bros has already optioned the movie rights to her forthcoming young adult series, Flawed And Perfect, due out next March.

“It’s very exciting,” she enthuses. “It feels like a new beginning and a fresh start, as it’s a whole new audience. Getting the film deal was a real boost. It’s the same team that made PS, I Love You.”

Ahern, 34, has plenty to smile about. She is published in nearly 50 countries and has sold more than 25 million copies of her novels worldwide. Yet she has had dark times too, and recently spoke publicly about the panic attacks she suffered for years.

“I don’t know how many panic attacks I actually had, but I think the fear of having them is greater than the attack, because you’re afraid of having one, and so that fear is constant and it’s always there,” she told Gay Byrne on his show The Meaning Of Life this year.

Today, she is more reluctant to talk about the issue.

“It’s a story I don’t want to keep going on about. I was trying to explain where I was at when I wrote PS, I Love You. People couldn’t understand how I could write a book like that at 21. At that time, I was at a vulnerable stage and very much trying to figure out who I was.

“It was something that I struggled with for a couple of years that made me very introspective and really made me think about what’s going on in other people’s minds — but everything’s fine now.

“I don’t get the panic attacks any more, but if somebody has them, the anxiety of having them is quite terrifying. It’s more about being anxious about having panic attacks than actually having them.

“I’ve never had a character in my novels who’s had panic attacks, but as a result of the experience of going through them, I’ve been able to put what you go through when you have them into my characters,” she adds. “I always want to take them from somewhere dark and bring them to a lighter place….”

Read it all at Irish Examiner

Recipe for Getting Ideas

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by Lew Ritter

One of the most asked questions that most new writers ask is ” Where do you get ideas for your scripts?” The answer is simple, but often elusive. They come from out of the blue. Ideas are all around us like air. The important thing is to be aware of them.

First you add : READING

I wanted to write a police procedural spec script. Where would I get the ideas? Every city has a tabloid newspaper like the New York Daily News or New York Post. Scanning these tabloids can provide dozens of juicy conflict situations that are fodder for a script. An Iraq War veteran not getting appropriate care from his local V.A hospital. A politician going to jail for embezzling money. A neighbor who was abducted as a child and now has reunited with loved ones. Any situation where people are in conflict can be the basis for a story.

Stir in : OBSERVATION

Sometimes just being aware of a situation can provide the start of a story. You are rushing to catch a flight. You rush into the terminal and spot a large line waiting to get through security. Maybe you see a person being taken aside by TSA and wonder why. Could this moment be the beginning of a potential terrorist script?

Stir in: THE WHAT IF? GAME

What if such and such happened? Why did it happen, or what would happen after that? According to screenwriting legend Sylvester Stallone watched the fight between a relative unknown fighter and a heavyweight champion. From that observation, he was inspired to create the story of ROCKY. He has used that one situation for five or six sequels and become wealthy and world famous. We should all be that lucky or observant.

A few years ago, I was taking a boat trip aboard the NY Circle Line. It is a pleasure boat that circles the island for three hours. As we cruised around the island, I realized that Manhattan was a very large piece of real estate. It was not all skyscrapers. The Northern tip of the island contains some forested areas. As I stared up at the midtown, I thought, what if someone owned all or even part of the island of Manhattan? They would be wealthy beyond belief. What if someone unearthed an unknown deed to the island?

 

One day I as I was taking a walk I saw a group of young girls playing an innocent game of hopscotch. What if I’d paid more attention and perhaps heard that what they were saying wasn’t as innocent as what they were doing. What if they were spawns of the devil? Voila, the basis for horror script.

Stir In: EXPERIENCE

A few years ago, I was hired to teach at an elementary school in a tough urban school district. Dealing with many of the students on an on-going basis was downright unnerving. At the end of the year, I was relieved when I was not rehired due to budget cuts, but I was inspired to do what every good writer does. I made it the basis of a script about problem students that I’m still fiddling with as a potential TV pilot.

CONCLUSION

It’s like a good recipe for a cake. Take the incident and figure out how you can embellish it. Sometimes, the dough will rise and you have a juicy story or script. Other times, the recipe will fall flat and be tasteless. Discover which it is by letting the idea marinate in the back of your mind. Give it the time it needs to become a really fine entree…or a great script.

munchman: “munchman’s Outrageous Music Video?”

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by (yeppers) munchman

A few months ago, TVWriter™’s Beloved Leader Larry Brody bobbed when he should’ve weaved, reaped what he shouldn’t have sown – whatevs – and became part owner of a start-up animation studio called Southeast Asia Animation because it’s headquartered in Bangkok and if that isn’t southeast Asia then what the #@!$ is?

LB’s first step as Co-CEO was to put the Thai Team of animators to work on some projects that he and his partners Steve and Pace Encell hoped would become solid proofs of concept, that concept being that SEAA could make magic moving pictures happen for media companies and individual creators that needed ’em.

This is sound business, and This Particular TVWriter™ Minion joined other friends and business associates of LB’s in applauding it. But being the greediest of munchers, This Particular TVWriter™ Minion, AKA munchelito AKA munchado AKA munchman meself, also took it upon himself to go a tad farther.

What yer friendly neighborhood munchman is getting at here is that yers truly has taken on the role of supervising muse of SEAA’s Very First Completed Project, created by the very talented Encell per and fils. (Yikes! foreign words! better look ’em up if you don’t know what they mean!)

Hope y’all enjoy what one damnfool critic has already called “munchman’s fucking lunacy!” and another cultural philistine has referred to as, per the title above,”munchman’s outrageous music video.”

Here it is, and remember: You can’t say I didn’t warn you.

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Cartoons: INTERIOR LIFE

How vibrant is your “interior life?” Compared to Grant Snider’s, for example:

interior-lifeMore Great Grant Snider Visual Musings HERE

What do your characters really, really, really want?

A casual but very important lesson in writing for the screen, whether that screen is big, small, or, you know, even smaller, from one of TV’s comedy writing masters:

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by Earl Pomerantz

A while back, I mentioned the primary lesson I learned while attending “The Actors’ Workshop”, which I later applied – when I remembered to – to my writing.

The lesson involved the actor’s pre-determination of their character’s “intention.”  Before you begin, if you first identify your character’s – or characters’ if you are writing or playing numerous parts – intention, articulated in a single, declarative sentence, you are productively off to the races – completing the horseracing analogy – right from the starting gate.

It turns out there is another equally important lesson, which I was reminded of when I saw Brooklyn, which I enjoyed primarily for its writing.  (Although less so for its directing, which seemed disservicingly sanitized.)

The screenplay for Brooklyn, based on a novel by Colin Toibin, was written by novelist Nick Hornby (High Fidelity and About A Boy, to name just two, both of them made into enjoyable movies.)

The lesson I was reminded of watching Brooklyn – and I do not recall for certain where I originally learned it – was…

Listen.

This directive seems obvious in acting since, at the very least, unless it’s a Howard Hawks movie, the actor has to listen for the other actor to stop talking before they begin talking.  Otherwise, the audience will be unable to understand what either of them is saying.

But listening, for actors, means more than just waiting for your theirto speak.  It involves listening, to interpret the words they are hearing’s underlying intent.  It helps a lot if the script’s dialogue, rather than saying it all, leaves actors something to interpret.

And in Brooklyn, it does….

Read it all at Earl Pomerantz’s blog