Bri Castellini: You Are Not A Failure – @stareable

You Are Not A Failure
by Bri Castellini

When you’re self-funding and self-producing passion projects, things not going well hits hard. Between film festival rejections, watching creators in your genre get picked up by HBO, and burning through every favor you had to make a single short film, a single setback can feel catastrophic. But I’m here to tell you that no matter your level of past, present, or future success, you are not a failure; rather, in the words of legendary philosopher Jason Mendoza, you’re “pre-successful.” So take heart, and reread this article whenever you need to remind yourself that not all creators are created equally, and that’s 100% ok.

The number of projects you’ve completed is not a measure of your worth as an artist

Whether you have five completed web series under your belt, or maybe just a web series pilot, or maybe just a web series idea, it doesn’t matter. A robust portfolio doesn’t make you more or less of a filmmaker as anyone else, it just means you’re at different stages of your careers. There are so many reasons you could be without many finished products, be it lack of money (#relatable), lack of cast and crew, or even lack of an idea that you feel passionate about. Similarly, there are a billion reasons why someone else had no problem racking up their IMDb credits, reasons that have absolutely nothing to do with you and have absolutely no effect on your current or future potential.

If you’re serious about being a filmmaker, either as a hobby or a full-time gig, then just work a little every day and eventually, something will connect. Give yourself permission to build up a body of work at your own pace.

How quickly you produce projects is not a measure of your worth as an artist

In a similar vein, how quickly you create, produce, and release content is by no means an indicator of your overall talent or worth. Some people come up with ideas very quickly, or have a cast and crew at their fingertips, ready to pick up and film at a moment’s notice. Those people aren’t better writers or producers or filmmakers. They’re just different people, with different brains and different circumstances, and their work is not inherently better or worse than yours because of the rate at which they churn out content.

Think of authors like James Patterson, who writes approximately 15 books an hour, and then George RR Martin, who writes about one a century. I’m not here to make a case for either/or, but I am saying that both men have found tremendous success in spite of their very different creative speeds. It’s not a race, so making things slower than other people doesn’t make you a failure, the same way making things faster than other people doesn’t make you a winner.

A [insert film role here] failure isn’t the same thing as being a failure

This is something that comes up a lot in web series, when people are forced into as many roles as they can muster due to smaller crew sizes and lack of budget. Often, the people forced into these roles aren’t actually skilled in them, and if a project is slowed down or stopped by this fact, they’re branded as failures, but that’s not fair or true.

For the same reason that I shouldn’t be a biologist, some people shouldn’t be producers, or actors, or directors, or sound recordists. That doesn’t make me a failed biologist, or you a failed director, it just means our success lays elsewhere.

If you find yourself forced into a role you’re uncomfortable or struggling with, you are not the problem. You’ve been set up for failure, a markedly different thing than being a failure. Sometimes people are able to limp by in roles they’re not fit for, but sometimes they aren’t, and neither of these example people are better or worse than the other. They’re people doing their best, so don’t beat yourself up if you discover producing isn’t for you. All you can conclude from not being a great producer is that you aren’t a great producer. Who cares? Find what you’re great at, and what you love to do, and do that instead.

Finding financial, mainstream success does not inherently make someone else better than you

This is the big one, folks, because it’s the one we all have: career envy. Especially as more digital creators get promoted to mainstream, like High Maintenance, Brown Girls, The Misadventures of an Awkward Black Girl, and Broad City, it can get disheartening when you’re still fighting for your first 100 pilot views. But the thing about art is that the path to success isn’t linear, and the end-game is different for every person. Some artists get discovered early, some don’t find a sustainable creative career until well into their fifties, some start as PAs and work their way up, and some win a fellowship and enter the industry that way.

It’s always a waste of time to compare yourself to other people, because people are so varied and diverse in their circumstances, but it’s even more of a waste to compare careers in entertainment. Almost no one has the same story of how they found success, because again, there is no standard path. We’re not lawyers or doctors; we don’t go through a series of pre-set steps until we reach our ideal career. We flounder and network and make things and cry a lot and contemplate quitting and then network some more. Give yourself a break; this isn’t an easy path, but you’re on it, and that’s further than a lot of people get.

Repeat it and believe it: you are not a failure. Indie filmmaking is hard and expensive and terrifying, but it’s also rewarding beyond measure, because otherwise, why would we bother? Remind yourself every day why you’re doing this, then get out of bed, stop tearing yourself down, and get out there.

For further reading, here are some great articles about people who were half a step from quitting before they made their big break:

Bri Castellini is an indie filmmaker and Community Liaison at Stareable, our favorite web series hub. Watch Bri’s award-winning web series, Brains, HERE

Cartoon: The ‘Zits’ About Binge-Watching

From March 16th, a topic that, for us at least, marks the high point of this strip…ever.

Well, for those of us at TVWriter™ who are over a certain age, anyway.

ZITS,by Jerry Scott & Jim Borgman is all over the web and newspapers. (You remember newspapers, right?) Y’all definitely should check it out.

Is This the Future of TV?

TNT honcho Kevin Reilly weighs in on where TV may be going. Except that he leaves out the “maybe” because, you know, he’s Kevin Reilly. However you look at it, this is an important analysis because when you get down to it, the future of TV is, in fact, the future of everyone who follows TVWriter™:

TNT Boss Kevin Reilly on ‘The Alienist,’ E-Sports and Transforming TV for an On-Demand World
by Scott Roxborough

Kevin Reilly has some experience with disruption.

The veteran TV executive came up through the ranks of NBC in the late 1980s and early 1990s during the heyday of the “Must-See TV era,” helping to usher in iconic series such as ER and Law & Order that raised the bar for network drama and arguably set the stage for the current golden age of small-screen fiction.

As president of entertainment for FX in the early 2000s, Reilly commissioned The Shield, launching a new era in cutting-edge cable drama. And in his second stint at NBC, as president from 2004-2007, he pushed the channel where no network had gone before, with series such as The Office30 Rock and Friday Night Lights, fighting for these ground-breaking shows in the face of weak ratings. It was a battle he would eventually lose, as NBC, in Reilly’s words, “invited me to leave” before his three-year contract was up.

As president of TBS and TNT and chief creative officer for Time Warner’s Turner Entertainment Networks, a job he’s held since 2014, Reilly is again at the center of a seismic shift in the industry. Since taking over, he has pushed to radically change programming at TNT and TBS to make two of the oldest (and most profitable) brands in cable fit for the world of on-demand TV.

“When I took over at NBC, I realized we were going over a cliff, [but] the situation at Turner was very different,” Reilly said Monday at industry conference INTV in Jerusalem. “[TNT and TBS] were massively profitable, the profit margin was incredible. Almost to my surprise. [But] the outward-facing part of these brands were not very successful.”

TNT had become known as the network of Rizzoli & Isles and Major Crimes — mid-range crime dramas that drew strong ratings (Rizzoli & Isles averaged 6.8 million viewers for its seventh and final season in 2016), but which skewed old (60-plus) and had zero zeitgeist buzz.

Phasing out the old procedurals, Reilly placed his bets on younger-skewing stars like Samantha Bee and Conan O’Brien, whose talk shows play big online. The exec pushed Turner to partner with agency IMG in the launch of the ELeague, a video-game sports competition that goes out on both TBS and online platform Twitch. And he bet big on The Alienist, the most expensive series in TNT’s 30-year history. The Gilded Age-period mystery, based on the Caleb Carr best-seller, stars Daniel Bruhl, Luke Evans and Dakota Fanning and premiered Jan. 22 to solid ratings and, perhaps more importantly, critical acclaim[although not here at TVWriter™]….

Read it all at HollywoodReporter.Com


Hank Isaac’s TV Series Project Gets Underway

from Grays Harbor Talk

NOTE FROM LB: I’m always happy to announce Hank Isaac’s projects and awards. His latest is especially close to my heart because, hey, kids, teaching, the future of media. Great topics all. Go, Hank, go!

As of Saturday morning, March 17, six talented young writers ranging in age from ten to thirteen started learning how to write a television series and ultimately actually write that series into production.

Writing will take place from now through the Summer with filming tentatively scheduled to begin in August.

The series is about a precocious 10-year-old female Sherlock Holmes.

The head writer is Ocean Shores, Washington resident and screenwriter, Hank Isaac, who has a track record of having his films be official selections in over 100 international film festivals and awards competitions. His film projects have earned more than 50 awards with additional nominations.

Additionally, Hank’s screenplays and teleplays have been finalists in a multitude of writing competitions, with several wins. He is the only two-time finalist in the Sun Valley Film Festival’s Screenwriters Lab. Hank’s work has been seen by audiences in 87 countries, on six continents, and in nine different languages.

The series “writers room” is being hosted at an independent school in Olympia, WA, and all the writers reside in the surrounding counties.

Kathryn Graham Sees Netflix’s ‘Everything Sucks’ (And Loves It)

All I knew about Netflix’s Everything Sucks going in was that it contained a hefty dose of 90’s nostalgia. And boy does Everything Sucks love the 90’s. Especially its music.

Anything after that was a surprise for me, and I love that, as it’s increasingly harder to walk into a show and not have a good idea of what’s going on. So let me give you the vague review first.

If you love: the 90’s, heart-warming content, sincere storytelling, humor, fun characters with good hearts, adorable actors, and queer stories, then put Everything Sucks at the top of your queue.

Want a little more? Here’s the basic start:

It takes place in Boring, Oregon, which is, this is true, a sister city to Dull, Scotland. World’s cutest high school freshman, Luke O’Neill, develops a crush on the principal’s daughter: Kate Messner, and he pursues her with the help of his mad A/V skills.

Now let’s get into **spoilers!**


Turns out that Kate’s a lesbian, and navigating this, and her friendship with Luke forms the backbone of the first season. Both Luke and Kate are a breath of fresh air in the high school dramedy scene in just how realistic they both are, as well as the fact that Luke is a nerdy black boy and Kate is unapologetically gay.

Luke, Kate, and Luke’s friends Tyler and McQuaid team up with drama king and queen Oliver and Emaline to produce Romeo and Juliet in space. Which is exactly as amazing as it sounds. Kate’s dweeby sweetheart of a father, Mr. Messner, gets closer to Luke’s mother, Ms. O’Neill, and Luke, aspiring director, deals with the fact that his father abandoned him so many years ago to chase a Hollywood dream.

When it comes to the supporting cast, there’s so much to love. Like the fact that Tyler is a nerd who has trouble in school. Yes, that’s right, not all nerds are super smart! Leslie, Kate’s sort-of-friend, is an especially realistic kind of awkward and judgemental. McQuaid’s confusion about social cues is played with greater depth than is most often seen. Kate’s crush, Emaline, is at first a ‘psycho drama chick’, but by the end, I’ll bet you love her almost as much as Kate does.

At first, I wasn’t sure how to feel about the nostalgia. It hits you pretty hard up front. But very quickly I found myself singing along to every song. So if you remember jamming out to artists like Oasis, Tori Amos, and Ace of Base, or if you still do, then I’ll meet you at the living room karaoke bar.

And that finale? It made me so happy I was smiling all damn day.

This show is like a glamorized version of my high school years. I had a Luke and an Emaline. I knew a McQuaid and a Leslie. I wore the flannel. I had the dumb posters of guys up in my room until I realized I didn’t give a damn about any of it and tore them down. And yes, my name is Kate. (Though I went by Kat most often back then). It makes it so much more personal than any high school show I’ve ever seen, and so it holds a place in my heart like very little else.

Thank you, Everything Sucks. You’re my wonderwall.

If we get a second season, here’s my wishlist/predictions.

**Bonus Mega Spoilers!**


Even if Kate’s dad is okay with who she is (if he isn’t at first for some reason, he will be), Emaline’s might not be. I get the sense that Emaline’s family is not particularly supportive or kind given the way that she so desperately needs attention and love.

In season two (should we be so lucky), I want to see them address the fact that Emaline feels the need to tailor herself to her partner. Kate-Emaline is infinitely sweeter than Oliver-Emaline, but she’s still making herself into the person she’s dating. She’s still trying on an identity that she thinks will appeal to a person she needs to love her. Frickin’ cute as that is with Kate, because Kate actually adores her, it’s definitely something that she needs to work through. If that leads us back to Emaline’s home life, I will personally be riveted.

I’m sure Leeroy’s return will be a major storyline. Although it doesn’t grab me initially as a concept, especially since Luke seems to have already dealt with his father issues/rejected his father’s philosophy, I trust that they can do something interesting with it. Perhaps it’ll be much more about Leeroy growing as a person than his son.

They’ve thrown out threads for Leslie’s utter isolation. A potential return of Oliver (hopefully he’ll get his for being such a jerk). Tyler still can’t read. There’s plenty to explore, and if there’s a second season, above all, I hope that they don’t fall into the trap of a lot of second seasons: please introduce new storylines instead of re-treading old ones, let the characters grow and deal with new issues. Past that, give me the same sincerity, lots more lesbian romance, compassionate characters, and an f-ton of 90’s songs, and I’ll stand by you.

And I’ll never desert you. I’ll stand by yoooooouuuuu…

Kathryn Graham is a TVWriter™ Contributing Editor and a Fine Writer Of All Things. Learn more about Kate HERE

How To Replace Your Cable, From A Network Executive Who Cut The Cord

Ooh, genuine information from a genuine TV pro. We here at TVWriter™ love being able to bring you this look into how to get more for your money when it comes to indulging in what we assume is your second favorite pastime, watching TV.

We’re assuming, of course, that your fave is actually writing TV. Anyway:

by Michael Schneider

Garth Ancier is one of the few TV execs to have run three different networks, having headed up entertainment at Fox, The WB and NBC. He also spent time at Turner and BBC America, and was behind one of the biggest syndicated hits of the 1990s, “The Ricki Lake Show.” Traditional TV was once Ancier’s livelihood — but he’s not nostalgic when it comes to the changing ways we watch TV.

Recently, Ancier decided, like many consumers, that it was time to cut the cord — using social media to crowd source his choices. After plenty of research, he came up with a mix of over-the-top subscriptions to replace his old school setup: YouTube TV (with unlimited Cloud DVR), Netflix, Hulu (no commercials option) with Live TV, Amazon Prime, CBS All-Access (no commercials option), HBO Now, and Showtime.

Prior to the switch, Ancier was paying $142.97 a month for cable service, including HBO and Showtime (but not including equipment charges). The new total is $92.95, but includes Netflix 4k and Hulu with no commercials. (“I’m not including Amazon Prime in that because I’m an Amazon addict, and I’d get it for the free shipping alone.”)

The exec chronicled what he learned, and the pros and cons of how he did it, on Facebook. Most notably: He found that the video quality on video over IP was far superior to switched digital video via cable — another troublesome point for legacy multichannel video programming distributors as they lose customers to the Internet.

Ancier agreed to share some of those thoughts with IndieWire, as a bit of a primer for others who might also be considering a change.

“Honestly, I love that I can watch all of this anywhere on any device,” Ancier wrote. “The legacy MVPDs never understand the value that creates for a customer like me.”

Every consumer is different, and Ancier’s needs were very specific. He had previously been subscribed to Spectrum Cable in Los Angeles for his home’s 10 screens, in addition to Netflix and Amazon Prime service. But Ancier frequently travels and watches TV on the road via an iPad, and he found that Spectrum’s “out of home” offerings were lacking.

Add in Spectrum’s “crazy equipment costs” and he realized the only reason why he hadn’t canceled the service earlier was because of its live TV options (including HBO and Showtime).

Still, “I’m paying for the same networks on multiple services for just me,” he wrote, explaining why it was time to say goodbye to the old system.

In cutting the cord and switching to so many streams, Ancier said he depended on a “rock solid Cisco Meraki IP network powered by a Fixed IP Spectrum broadband modem.”

That was important, because Ancier noted he’s very picky when it comes to picture quality. Here was one early surprise: The video quality is better on over-the-top services, because they can use better compression schemes and present a better picture….

Read it all at IndieWire

LB: Untold Tales of the Animated SILVER SURFER TV Series Ep. 16 Script

by Larry Brody

Over the past two weeks I’ve posted the scripts for Season 2 Episode 1 and Episode 2 of the FoxKids Network The Silver Surfer animated series for those who wondered what all of us involved in the show back in 1998 intended to come if we hadn’t been cancelled.

Today it’s the turn of Season 2 Episode 3, Soul Hunter: Part Two.  This one’s a “Rev. Final Draft,” which means that everyone involved in the prep for Season 2 was satisfied that it was ready to shoot.




NOTE: If you’re new to TVWriter™ and/or to the original animated SS series, you have some backstory to catch up on. Fortunately, TVWriter™ just happens to have a section dedicated to The Silver Surfer. To reach it, CLICK HERE!

And now it’s time for:







MARCH 24, 1998






Outlined against the blackness of space.

I am the Watcher…

As we HEAR the name, the Watcher RIPPLES out of existence,
and in his place we SEE the SILVER SURFER and his board
WARPING INTO space above the planet Zenn-La.

Since his creation, often has the
destiny of the Silver Surfer
seemed inextricably linked to my


As the Surfer soars joyfully toward Zenn-La — and is sent
in space before it.

At no time has that conjunction
been more evident than when the
former Norrin Radd finally located
his long-sought homeworld…

The Surfer FIRES A SERIES OF COSMIC BOLTS at the barrier —
and they EXPLODE against it and then CAROM backward at him,
sending the Surfer CRASHING into an asteroid belt.

And found that it had been placed
in another dimension of time and
space, inaccessible to him…


SEEING the various VIRALS oozing along their way.


Only with the aid of the Virals,
devolved remnants of my own once
noble race, could the Silver
Surfer pierce the barrier that
kept him from Zenn-La…

Suddenly, MORG and his SARQ troops come hurtling down,
destroying the landscape with their FIREBALLS AND WHIRLING

They, however, were under
attack — by the Sarq, space-
faring barbarians dedicated to the
destruction of all knowledge…!


Where the Surfer is trapped in the Sarq ENERGY NET, its LINES
OF FORCE STRETCHING DOWN to the Library Planet, while THIRAN
leads them in a ceremony of destruction.

Entrapped, the Silver Surfer
seemed helpless to prevent the
Sarq from using his own power to
annihilate the Universal Library…


Where the planet is being BLASTED BY THE LINES OF FORCE. The
Virals — united as one — SEND OUT A FORCE OF THEIR OWN.

Until he and the Virals joined


the Sarq and forcing them to flee!

Their combined energies scattering
the Sarq to the universe’s very