|This email went out yesterday to everyone on our TVWriter™ email list. If you haven’t signed up yet, you can do it HERE
Yes, it’s that time again, when I remind everyone that:
1) PEOPLE’S PILOT 2017 is up and running and wants your entry!
2) Although the contest doesn’t close to entries until November 1st, we’re getting perilously near to the August 1st deadline for discounted Early Bird sign-ups.
In other words, you’ve got less than 2 weeks to save 30% off the regular entry fee of $50 and enter as many pilot scripts as you want in this year’s 26th PEOPLE’S PILOT for only $35 each.
And you don’t actually have to complete and submit your entries till August 1!
I think this is a great deal, and although we get a good many takers for it each year – about 15% – I’m still always surprised that more of our entrants don’t take this route.
Now, truth to tell (as Roy Thomas used to say back in the dim past when he was Editor-in-Chief at Marvel Comics), Early Bird entrants aren’t only for your benefit. (Yeah, you’re shocked, right?)
They also help us here at TVWriter™. Because early submissions mean we’re able to get a headstart on the judging and relieve a bit of the pressure we’re under when the avalanche of entries hits us in the closing days.
This year, I’m going to sweeten the Early Bird pot. In addition to a lower fee of $35/entry, each early submitter between now and August 1st will receive a Special Gift – a free pdf copy of my classic book TELEVISION WRITING FROM THE INSIDE OUT.
That’s 375 pages of TV writing goodness, knowledge designed to prepare you for a successful television writing career in a way no other book can.
So there it is, right on the table. All you have to do is enter HERE
Complete PEOPLE’S PILOT 2017 info is HERE
And, if by some weird mischance you have absolutely no idea what I’m talking about, here’s a not-so-brief summary of what this year’s PEOPLE’S PILOT is all about:
PEOPLE’S PILOT 2017
PEOPLE’S PILOT 2017, one of the oldest and most highly regarded writing competitions on the interweb is now open!
The future of entertainment and those who create it is open and varied. Whether the series you are creating is intended for broadcast TV, cable and satellite TV, home entertainment/video game consoles, Big Media interweb outlets like Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu, or indie web channels and venues like YouTube, Vimeo, Funny or Die, or the show’s own website, it is eligible for the PEOPLE’S PILOT Television and Electronic Media Pilot Script Competition.
PEOPLE’S PILOT 2017 is divided into 2 prize-giving categories plus a Special Bonus Category with its own unique award – a paying development deal starting with an option. To be more specific, the categories are:
Scripted Comedy Series – intended for any electronic platform (including broadcast and premium cable series, internet series, cell phone series et al) of any length of any length required for telling your story
Scripted Drama & Action Series – intended for any electronic platform (including broadcast and premium cable series, internet series, cell phone series et al) of any length required for telling your story
Episode length, number of episodes in the series, specific genre and just about everything else is entirely up to the creator. We do, however, require that the script be written in English and that is use standard teleplay/screenplay format so our judges can read it!
Special Bonus Category – All entries in this year’s competition automatically will be considered for the Special International Production Award, sponsored by Global Saga Media Entertainment of Hong Kong, which will be given to the entry or entries that the judges deem especially suitable for the global television market.
Prizes and bonuses for each of the two regular categories, worth over $20,000 include
An international production script development-option deal with Global Saga Media Entertainment of Hong Kong for a qualifying script or scripts.
FREE STORYTELLING PATTERNS E-BOOK
June 1 – August 1 PEOPLE’S PILOT EARLY BIRD ENTRY $35
August 2 – November 1 PEOPLE’S PILOT SINGLE ENTRY $50
August 2 – November 1 PEOPLE’S PILOT DUO DISCOUNT ENTRY $85
PEOPLE’S PILOT 2017 closes at midnight November 1, 2017. You can enter and upload your entries any time until closing. As in past years, we urge you to take advantage of the Early Bird Discount even if your entry or entries won’t be ready until after the discount period ends. Once you have paid, you can upload your submissions at any time until the contest closes.
Complete PEOPLE’S PILOT 2017 info is HERE
Our Entry Page is HERE
Email me, LB, with your questions on the contest HERE
Wow. It’s gotten so that you can’t tell the pros from the ams when it comes to web series. There is nothing, we repeat, nothing amateur about this series. The North Pole is, well, it’s perfect. Writer-producer Josh Healey and his team, with encouragement in the form of $$$ via a successful Kickstarter campaign, are this TVWriter™ minion’s new heroes.
Learn more. See more. Feel more…HERE
by Diana Vaccarelli
—SPOILER ALERT—SPOILER ALERT—SPOILER ALERT—SPOILER ALERT–
Last weekend, The House, starring Will Ferrell and Amy Poehler, opened in theaters all around the U.S. This film follows Ferrell and Poehler as Scott and Kate Johansen, who find out that their daughter Alex has lost the town scholarship that has made it possible for her to pay for her college tuition.
Since Will and Amy can’t afford said tuition, they get to work raising the money. Hijinks ensue as they decide to open an underground casino.
- The concept is relevant to today. The struggle to pay a college tuition and the hardship it can bring into a family’s life are are part of our current middleclass crisis. Millions of Americans can and, unfortunately do, relate to it.
- Writer/Director Andrew Jay Cohen script can’t seem to pull off the laughs that we are used to from his previously work on Neighbors and Neighbors 2. As I entered the multiplex I was expecting to find myself rolling on the floor laughing when the film bagan. However, as you can tell reading this review – and from the fact that you probably haven’t found many other reviews of this, um, well, a disaster is what The House is – I never fell down laughing. Not once. In fact, I didn’t laugh at all.
- Probably the worst part of the whole thing was when Ferrell character Scott transforms into a butcher and cuts someone’s finger off… and then promptly chops off the arm of another character. The blood shoots everywhere, and while I would like to believe that was an attempt to establish that this is comedy and therefore fake and acceptable, you know what? It wasn’t, and isn’t acceptable. Not one bit.
- I’ll spare you more details because I don’t want The House to ruin your day as much as it ruined mine.
If you want to enjoy a new film, The House is not for you. In fact, it isn’t for anybody, for any reason whatsoever. To put in the simplest of terms, this film is a redefinition of the word “awful.” I definitely do not recommend it.
Diana Vaccarelli is TVWriter™’s Critic-at-Large and a student in the TVWriter™ Online Workshop. Find out more about her HERE
by Diana Black
Hint: It’s the theme of this particular article. And that is simply this:
“Compelling Characters Make a ‘Real’ World.”
By which I mean:
A great story idea, well-written script, skilful cast and crew with an intelligent Director and Showrunner at the helm – surely the recipe for a winning TV Series, but what ‘essential ingredient’ compels us to ‘tune in’ religiously?
Lulu: “Honey, so sorry, can’t make it tonight… no, it’s not my, ‘I’m washing my hair’ night … I’m just busy…. No, you’re wonderful but…”
Is it the hooks and plot twists, the lighting, sound, mis-en-scene? What makes the fantasy drama, Game of Thrones (David Benioff & D.B. Weiss, HBO 201 –) now going into its 7th Season apparently SOOO interesting and compelling to watch? And this is across the board – no longer the purview of adolescent, voyeuristic nerds.
Well, according to A.G. Walton – a contributor to Forbes, who in turn is commenting on the findings of Josue’ Cardona of “GeekTherapy.com”, it’s a range of elements that include the following attributes: intellectually challenging and multiple plots; unpredictable twists;; an intricate and elaborate story world, and dramatic events that border on the visceral.
But what of character? In this epic panoply of political manipulation; one which would be right up there with Rome under Caesar, it is according to Walton, the creation, destruction and resurrection of archetypes. So what is an archetype and why, having been ‘done to death’ long before Shakespeare took up a quill, are they still so useful?
Aspiring screenwriters of teleplays may think long and hard before referencing them – the Queen, the Trickster, disgruntled Prince, foul-mouthed washerwoman etc. But they work, precisely because they’re ‘character’ in a neat package. We instantly ‘get’ them. They come into ‘our space’ with their over-night bag stuffed with accoutrements that we instantly recognize – greedy, debauched, vile, manipulative, pure, sweet etc.
Is that it, then? All there is to the Game of Thrones characters? Are they merely just a bunch of one-dimensional archetypes? No – in our jaded world of hardened, cynical ‘little box watchers’– it requires more than that; as the revolving door of short-lived TV shows attest.
The secrets to these guys is that they not only shamelessly embrace their archetypal nature – to the hilt, they each have a level of complexity that make them seem real AND accordingly hated, feared, loved, reviled etc. We’re left seriously wondering what word or deed they’re going to express next. ‘Warts and all’ they reflect us mere mortals – who will no doubt have to deal with the same, albeit modern-day equivalent conundrums, issues and angst, tomorrow or next week, come Tuesday.
And the moral of the story is….drum roll…invest like hell in your character/s if you expect your actors to lift them off the page. As an actor, the quickest, surest path to having those words and deeds appear perfectly natural and justified is to get under the skin of the character; to become that character – for better or worse. The old adage still and will forever apply, “You can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear.”
by Team TVWriter™ Press Service
Or Die Trying is a web series about women in film, by women in film. The show’s creators, like its characters, are creative females living and working in various aspects of showbiz in Los Angeles. Here’s a taste of how that works:
Written by Myah Hollis, who along with Sarah Hawkins also is an executive producer, and directed by Camila Martins, Or Die Trying takes a slice of life approach to the unique highs and lows, failures and successes, of being young millennial women working in the L.A. film industry. In a concentrated effort to systematically change the statistics on gender inequality within the film industry, the producers of OR DIE TRYING have committed to hiring 85% or more of their team to be filled by women.
This TVWriter™ minion enjoyed the show thoroughly, and after the trailer the lighthearted sitcom music pretty much vanished and the constant hitting of empowered women!!! talking points faded into the background, allowing the show to become what Hawkins says has been what it intended to be all along:
“At its core, this show is about people. It’s about figuring out what you want in life, going after it, and learning to deal with your personal obstacles along the way,” says Hollis, the show’s creator/writer. “I hope that people take what they need from our series. Whether it be inspiration to create their own work and tell their own stories, or just the reassurance that it’s okay to be imperfect and to not have everything figured out.”
It ain’t GLOW, but then it isn’t trying to be. Or Die Trying works its butt off to be itself, and thanks to its authenticity it definitely shines.
Check out the series’ episodes at: odtseries.com/episodes and youtube.com/ordietrying.
Enjoy behind the scenes content at odtseries.com.
Found on the web via John Ostrander’s Facebook wall thing:
by John Ostrander
When doing my writing lectures/classes, near the start I always ask who in the class would consider themselves to be storytellers. A few raise their hands and then I tell everyone to raise their hands.
We’re all storytellers. We all use story in our daily lives. They’re the atoms of our social interactions. The example I give is if you’re a student and you’re late with your homework assignment you should have a good reason why. Make it a good story. “My dog ate my homework” no longer qualifies – if it ever did. In fact, given how much everything is done on computer these days, it would have to be “My digital dog ate my homework.” It’s not any more compelling than the old version, but it might be considered moderately clever.
Deadlines remain a factor long after you leave school and nowhere is that truer than in comics. In his editorial capacity, my good friend Mike Gold once warned me I had moved past deadline and was approaching the funeral line. He also once rang the doorbell of a truant artist (he happened to be in the artist’s home town on other business). Editors showing up on your doorstep can be unnerving.
In my earliest days as a pro writer, I did everything on typewriter (first manual and then electric; rumors that I chiseled them on stone tablets are just mean). I didn’t have a computer until later and, even when I did, some companies (including DC) were not equipped to receive them electronically. So that meant printing them up on my dot-matrix printer and then rushing them off to FedEx for overnight delivery.
Unless you called in your package by a certain time, usually much earlier than you had the work done, you had to take the package to the nearest FedEx office. If you didn’t hit the office by closing time (usually around 6 PM), you had to make the Midnight Run to the main FedEx office out by the largest airport around. More than once, Kim was the driver while I finished collating the pages, stuffing them in the envelope, and addressing the delivery slip. Let me tell you, Speed Racer had nothing on Kim. She’d run stoplights and take stop signs as suggestions to be ignored. Often, we’d meet other local freelancers also making the death defying Midnight Run. It almost got to be a club.
It was something of a step up when I could fax the script in; that could be done at any time. It still wasn’t completely convenient. These days it’s all done electronically. For instance, this column will never see paper. As soon as it’s finished, it’s a rush to Hotmail and then to the hallowed halls of ComicMix. It doesn’t have quite the same romance as the Midnight FedEx Run but, on the other hand, there’s a lesser chance of a traffic fatality. And fewer chances for an alibi although the possibility that my steam-powered computer (a.k.a. the digital dog) ate my column is potentially truer than the classic excuse.
Of course, all this could be avoided by simply buckling down and doing the work on-time but, hey, where’s the fun in that?
John Ostrander is one of LB’s favorite writers in any medium. Don’t forget to read his most excellent blog at ComicMix, where this piece first appeared. You can learn more about John and his masterworks HERE