John Ostrander: The Digital Dog Ate My Homework. Honest.

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

TVWriter™’s Herbie J Pilato Makes News

So tell us, Herbster, which is more fun? Conducting the interview? Or being the interviewee?

“The Founder of Classic TV Preservation Society Herbie J Pilato joins Tim and Mary on CCN Sunrise to discuss the power of classic TV and self esteem seminars.”

That’s our boy!

Cartoon: ‘Method Writer’

Found on Ballard Street:

This Year’s Emmy Writing Nominees

We would brag about having some good friends of TVWriter™  in this list, but the truth is that these fine writers have been good friends to everybody, just for giving us their wonderful work:

Best Writing for a Comedy Series

Donald Glover, “Atlanta”

Stephen Glover, “Atlanta”

Aziz Ansari & Lena Waithe, “Master of None”

Alec Berg, “Silicon Valley”

Billy Kimball, “Veep”

David Mandel, “Veep”

Best Writing for a Drama Series

Joe Weisberg & Joel Fields, “The Americans”

Gordon Smith, “Better Call Saul”

Peter Morgan, “The Crown”

Bruce Miller, “The Handmaid’s Tale”

The Duffer Brothers, “Stranger Things”

Lisa Joy & Jonathan Nolan, “Westworld”

Best Writing for a Limited Series, Movie or Dramatic Special

David E. Kelley, “Big Little Lies”

Charlie Brooker, “Black Mirror: San Junipero”

Noah Hawley, “Fargo”

Ryan Murphy, “Feud: Bette and Joan”

Jaffe Cohen, Michael, Michael Zam & Ryan Murphy, “Feud: Bette and Joan”

Richard Price & Steven Zaillian, “The Night Of”

Best Writing for a Variety Series

”Full Frontal With Samantha Bee”

“Last Week Tonight With John Oliver”

“Late Night With Seth Meyers”

“The Late Show With Stephen Colbert”

“Saturday Night Live”

Best Writing for a Variety Special

”Full Frontal With Samantha Bee Presents Not the White House Correspondents’ Dinner”

“Louis C.K. 2017”

“Sarah Silverman: A Speck of Dust”

“Stephen Colbert’s Live Election Night Democracy’s Series Finale: Who’s Going to Clean Up This S—?”

“70th Annual Tony Awards”

Best Writing for a Nonfiction Program

“Amanda Knox”

“Anthony Bourdain Part s Unknown”

“The Beatles : Eight Days A Week – The Touring Years”

“Bill Nye Saves The World”


A good place to find all the 2017 nominees is RIGHT HERE

TVWriter™ congrats everyone who created anything anywhere in the past year. Or even further back because we know you worked really !@#$ing hard!

Larry Brody’s Poetry: ‘My Emptiness States Its Purpose’

It’s 3 a.m. Do you know where your mind is wandering?

 by Larry Brody


From time to time – well, okay, constantly – I engage in what I believe is a kind of self-analysis common to writers. In my case, it invariably goes like this:

My Emptiness States Its Purpose

So what’s this search all about?

What’s the point?

Do I seek truth? Beauty? Love? Life?

Is it a hunt for reality? For self?

And where do I look? Where do I go to find

What I need?

Am I in control? Or driven by demons? Compulsions?


Is it the end that’s important, the solution, the

Attainment of the goal? Or is it the search

That everything is about? Am I blessed to

Hunt forever, or damned?

I tire, I know that. I tire of the restlessness,

The constant prodding, the emptiness within my

Soul. If I long for anything, it’s for an end,

For a chance to accept whatever is,

A chance to be.

A search for the end of searching?

Too simple.

Too paradoxical.

Ironic in the extreme.

Another word game between my spirit

And my heart.

An end to this sport!

If victory is out of the question,

Attainment an impossibility,

Then all that’s left is relief.

Feel it, see what happens. Say it:

“I want relief,

An easing of this restlessness,

The loss of this urge.

I want to stop dreaming.”

I lie.



Larry Brody is the head dood at TVWriter™. He is posting at least one poem a week here at TVWriter™ because, as the Navajo Dog herself once pointed out, “Art has to be free. If you create it for money, you lose your vision, and yourself.” She said it shorter, though, with just a snort.

TVWriter™ Don’t-Miss Posts of the Week – July 17, 2017

Time for TVWriter™’s  Monday look at our 5 most popular blog posts of the week ending yesterday. They are, in order:

TV WRITING: Your First Years In The Writers Room

Looking for TV Pilot Scripts?

Everybody Remembers Floyd the Barber…and if You Don’t, You Should!

Ground-Breaking TV Writer Rita Lakin was “The Only Woman in the Room”

Herbie J Pilato: 50 Years of Dark Shadows

And our 5 most visited permanent resource pages are, also in order:

Writing the Dreaded Outline


The Logline


Student Central

Major thanks to everyone for making this another great week at TVWriter™. Don’t forget to click above and read what you missed and re-read what you loved!

Bri Castellini: ‘The Bechdel Test is The WORST’ – @brisworld

Bri Castellini, TVWriter™’s favorite starving young indie filmmaker, has a few very choice words to say about the biggest cop-out “test” in showbiz. This is something we all need to know:

As a female TVWriter™ minion who regards this post as a kind of conversation between Bri, myself, and all of you who are reading and watching this, I have a question:

Does this, our current convo, pass the Bechdel Test?

Does it pass the Castellini Test?

Thanks for challenging us, Bri. You’re PFC with TVWriter™.

More cool Bri Castellini videos are HERE