Larry Brody’s Poetry: ‘I Tried To Write Another Lie’

Mmm, sugar coating. Good for whose soul?

 by Larry Brody

NOTE FROM LB

Time now for a writing tip you don’t usually get in Screenwriting 101. Oh, wait. It’s not a tip at all. It’s a confession. Hmm….


I Tried To Write Another Lie

I tried to write another lie.

I’d written them all my life.

“I’ll just give them what they want,”

I said. “Write about the veneer.

Take out the heart.

Forget the soul.”

But my new muse said, “No. You can’t

Do that to yourself.”

“It isn’t to myself,” I protested. “It’s for

Them. The readers. They’ll

Like everything better this way.

Always have,” I said. “Always will.”

“Let me get this straight,” my muse said.

“You’re going to write a lie because

Your readers want lies. Not because just maybe

You’re the one afraid of the truth?”

I saw myself as a child, head down

Before God, resenting His waving finger

Only because I already knew right from

Wrong. I shook my head.

“No,” I admitted. “I want to lie

Because it hurts too much to

Be true.” I tore up my pages,

And went back to work, starting over

As I already was starting over in life.

My love smiled the smile that

Has earned her my heart.

“Welcome back to the world, kid,” Gwen said.


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.

PEOPLE’S PILOT 2017 Update

This email went out yesterday to everyone on our TVWriter™ email list. If you haven’t signed up yet, you can do it HERE

tv writer peoples pilot main 1

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.

CATEGORIES

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

Prizes and bonuses for each of the two regular categories, worth over $20,000 include

$2000 US
1-on-1 Career Coaching from TVWriter™’s Larry Brody
Free admission to Larry Brody’s Online TV and Film Writing Master Class
Script Consultation from Script Pipeline
Gold Plan Spotlighted Screenplay Posting Service from Screenwriter Showcase
InkTip Script Listing
InkTip Magazine Logline Listing
Inclusion in the TVWriter™ List of Recommended Writers

BONUS PRIZE:

An international production script development-option deal with Global Saga Media Entertainment of Hong Kong for a qualifying script or scripts.

ENTRY BONUSES

FREE FEEDBACK

FREE STORYTELLING PATTERNS E-BOOK

ENTRY FEES

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

CLOSING DATE

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.

EVERYTHING ELSE

Complete PEOPLE’S PILOT 2017 info is HERE

Our Entry Page is HERE

Email me, LB, with your questions on the contest HERE

Larry Brody & Team TVWriter™
https://tvwriter.net
https://tvwriter.com

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

NOTE FROM LB

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?

Desires?

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.

Larry Brody’s Poetry: ‘I Met My Friend The Wild Indian At Dawn’

The Last Picture of the Navajo Dog

 by Larry Brody

NOTE FROM LB

D’neh, the Navajo Dog, is back in this remembrance of days far more glorious than any I’ve experienced that are part of showbiz. Who knew real life could be so shiny and bright?


I Met My Friend The Wild Indian At Dawn

I met my friend the wild Indian at dawn,

On a walk with the Navajo dog. She saw

Him first, moving toward us in the vanishing dark,

And for an instant she stood still and stiff,

Then ran ahead. The Navajo dog is a herder, though,

Not a warrior, and her way of defending me

Is to lead any possible enemies away. She has

Missed a few here and there, but on this morning

She was in fine form. She growled at the

Intruder, then started running obliquely,

Across a field, hoping to lure him after her,

Then cut back to me. The stranger stood his ground,

Spoke quietly. “Well, well, what’s your name?”

The Navajo dog was brought up short.

“You first,” she finally said,

And the two of them laughed as I reached them,

Each familiar with the other’s game.

The wild Indian held out his hand to me.

“Your dog,” he said, “is not your dog,

But you indeed are her man.”

I looked to the dog, but she said nothing

As he sat down on the still cold ground.

Told me the story of my own life, he did.

Missed not a thing. All of me was right there

In his tale. I was used to miracles by now,

Living with magic as I was, so I never thought of

“How—?” Or “What—?” Or “Huh—?”

I just nodded, and accepted, and looked again

To the Navajo dog. “It’s okay,” she said.

“I’ve always liked the Sioux. Tough people.

Killed Custer, you know.” I sat down beside

My new friend the wild Indian, and we watched

The night finish its fade. “Tomorrow we find some

Red willow,” he said, and when he spoke

I heard the jangling of bells. “After

We’ve gathered enough we start building

The sweat lodge.” The jangling grew louder,

Bringing with it the rhythm of the dance,

And every word he said seemed a prayer.

“You need to sweat,” said my new friend. “You need to

Meet your God face to face, and hold Him to account,

Even as He holds you. The lodge will take time, and

Care, and when it’s done, the fire will be hot, at first

More than you can bear. But in the end, He will speak.

He will show Himself, and you’ll know

What of your life has been your doing,

And what was simply God’s will. Maybe you’ll be off

The hook for some big stuff. More likely, not.”

Before I could speak, the Navajo dog shook her

Head. “Call Him the Great Spirit,” she said,

“And I’ll agree. Oh, and no flesh offerings. The Kid

Isn’t ready for that.” She nosed the wild Indian’s

Shoulder, which was covered with small scars.

Each one, I learned later, had been made with a

Quick scrape of the knife during a sweat. His God

Wanted meat more than tobacco for the pipe.

The negotiation continued, two Indians negotiating

How best to save my soul,

And because it was a new day,

In a new world,

I ran dirt through my fingers, and felt a hope

That has filled me with strength

And purpose I never will lose,

A hope that I really could become a

New man.

 

 


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.

Larry Brody’s Poetry: ‘I Wish I Had Loved As I Was Loved’

The man in the velcro shirt!

 by Larry Brody

NOTE FROM LB

Short and bittersweet, or so many people may say. But if “art” means being totally honest in one’s work, then this is my acme of artistry. (Or maybe just my bad imitation of wisdom gained by reaching an unexpectedly old age?)


I Wish I Had Loved As I Was Loved

I wish I had loved as I was loved.
I wish I had returned all the fire.
But I was desperate for ten thousand wrong things,
And they were all that could feed my desire.


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.

Larry Brody’s Poetry: ‘What About Mrs. God?’

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 by Larry Brody

NOTE FROM LB

For reasons I don’t know, I’ve been dreaming about my high school days lately, and this has put me in mind of all the wonderful discussions only teenagers nearing their twenties can acceptably have. Which in turn reminds me of two elements pretty much missing from my life these days – my mother and God. Which of course leads to the probably-not-anywhere-near-immortal question:


What About Mrs. God?

When I was in high school, in the days before
Anything was P.C., Tiersky the tenor sax man
And I would throw around our ideas about God.

One day, Tiersky said, “What about Mrs. God?
What’s the story on her? I mean, if we’re made
In God’s image, and marriage is part of our lives,
Shouldn’t God be married too? And what’s
She like? Our fathers’ wives? Our mothers?
My Aunt Dorothy? Well? What do you think?”

At the time, I didn’t think much. I was too busy
Feeling God’s new teenage chemistry surging
Inside. I was too busy suffering the slings and
Arrows of adults, too busy wondering not about
Women but girls, and why I had to chase
Them when in the Beach Party movies they were
Always throwing themselves at the guys. So Mrs. God
Meant no more to me than, say, Mrs. S. Claus, living in a
Heaven no nearer—and no father—than the
North Pole.

Recently, though, while counting my misfortunes
(It took a math co-processor, an equation editor,
And an Intel Inside with a Pentium chip)
I found myself considering not only God,
But the whole God family: God’s Son, of whom
We all know; His daughter, of whom we do not;
God’s dog, and cat, and maybe His turtle or
Goldfish. (God’s goldfish, what a life!)

And, of course, God’s wife. If she is like the
Wives of our fathers, then I understand Him a
Pretty well and assume He is constantly assailed
Not by unbelievers but by homey talk, and that
To keep the peace he pretends to listen now and again.

If she is like the wives of our fathers, then God
Makes no decisions (perhaps never did)
Once he leaves His Tabernacle, and in all
Likelihood harbors strange, indecent urges and
Needs. Hey, let’s face it: If God’s wife is the
Inspiration for the wives of our fathers,
Then God probably is thinking
Divorce.

Hmm, the more I consider, the more
I understand. And the more I understand, the more
I too can forgive.

Nevertheless, if there is a Mrs. God,
And she is like all the Mrs. of my parents’ generation,
Why isn’t she doing her job? We’ve all
Seen God’s handiwork lately, right?

So why isn’t she being a good little woman
And secretly saving the world, screwing new bulbs

In the Old Man’s
Burned-out Logos of a Light?


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.

Larry Brody on “When Do We Decide We Did Our Best & Give Up On Writing?”

Evolution of a Writer
by Larry Brody

Nothing and No One Stays the Same

Don’t believe me? Have a look at…sigh…a certain Beloved (or not) Leader over the past 25 years:

Hmm…that latest version looks kind of shellshocked, huh? And that’s the retired me. The earlier three are all writin’ fools, oh yeah.

Careers start, grow, wane (and if you’re lucky grow again), finally – ulp – die. Some version of this happens not only to those of us who leave our homes and come out to Hollywood to roll the dice but to all of us, no matter what we do and where we are.

I, however, don’t get a lot of questions from chiropractors in, say, Butte, or architects in Iowa City. Mostly, this page is visited by men and women preparing to embark on, or embarking on, careers in TV and film writing. Young, old, anywhere in between, working their buns off and hoping to become the next Aaron Sorkin, Shonda Rhimes, Judd Apatow, Tina Fey, whatever.

Some succeed – in fact, a startlingly large number (see this for some shows they’re working or have worked on). Some get tantalizingly close. Others…fill in the blank.

Which brings me to the point of this post, a question I received last week, which I’ve been thinking about long and hard.

DP asks:

LB–

I’ve watched this clip of you many times: https://youtu.be/TjfkuN73EtM

And I feel as though you’re speaking about/to me. As I approach the one year mark in Los Angeles, I feel my ambition to break into writing is making me focus so much on the goal that I’ve forgotten to live.

The obsession has gotten to the point where I hate writing when I’m writing, and all I want to do is write when I’m not writing. Perhaps I’m just chasing validation in the one area I’ve felt myself best suited for so many years, but I feel trapped: Do I keep chasing a dream that may no longer be my passion, or do I leave, always wondering if I was just a day away from breaking into the big time and finding my purpose.

Seeing my work on the screen sounds amazing. Millions of dollars sound amazing. Hearing how my work has affected others sounds amazing. But when do we decide that we did our best and move on to new things? And once we’ve made that decision, how do we follow it?

Do you or the Navajo Dog have any wisdom to impart?

Dear DP,

The Navajo Dog never really saw herself as imparting wisdom. Like all good medicine people, she simply spoke the truth. She was the first one to let me know how pointless allowing ambition to guide me was because even if I achieved my goal I would still be only a partial human being. To the Navajo Dog, being was what life was all about. It was an end in itself, with the doing thing merely a part of it.

In other words, long before “being in the moment” was popular, D’neh was seeing our individual human awareness as more than merely individual at all because it exists within the context of the wholeness of life.

Which helps you not a bit, so while you mull over the philosophy of it all, I’m going to completely blow off any attempt at being wise and try to give you some more practical advice.

Anyone pursuing a showbiz writing career in L.A. needs to be aware of a couple of Basic Truths.

Basic Truth 1: No one in the biz feels an affirmative duty to discover or help new talent. Their major duty is keeping their jobs, which more often than not conflicts with the use of new talent because new obviously means “untested,” and if the new talent fails the test of any new job whomever hired him/her is one big step closer to a big slide down their own career ladder.

Basic Truth 2: The absolutely most important part of starting a showbiz career is networking. Yes, in spite of the fact that you can’t count on anyone to help you. Because you have to do everything you can to help yourself, it’s an absolute must to get yourself out there and interact with every human being who can take you from being an outsider to a member of the creative community we call showbiz.

I’m not talking about using people but about making them genuine friends. Because friends do hire friends, especially those they have learned can deliver – not necessarily to help them but to make their own lives more enjoyable and their jobs easier.

Bottom line: If you’re as shy as most writers are, you need to blast through that or things probably won’t go well. More writers are hired to be on TV staffs because they’re “good in the room” (meaning they’re fun to hang with and sometimes come up with good ideas) than because they can write the hell out of anything. Being able to do both is, of course, a great career bonus.

The above advice is predicated on the idea that you’re searching for a BigMedia career. That you want to do national/international broadcast work, have films you’ve written be made or distributed by major companies, etc. Which means I have to give you another tip you might not expect.

The big successes in BigMedia I’ve known have pretty much all been assholes, and becoming a major success often means that you too have to be an asshole. It’s likely that any employer you deal with will be at least as difficult to be around as Donald Trump. Trump, in fact, is actually at the low end of the showbiz asshole spectrum that I was part of for so long.

Is devoting your entire life to making it given what I’ve told you so far worthwhile? While I was doing it, it seemed worth it to me. But as I got older I more and more realized something was missing – a genuine home life with genuine love, a relationship with someone who demonstrated true tenderness toward me and life in general, an ability to face reality and allow both my emotions and my intellect to react to it, et al.

In the early ’90s, guided my desire to find these things, I severed all ties with my showbiz life and went off with the Navajo Dog to search for what I jokingly called magic but which was, I think, a deeper reality. A reality that didn’t involve sacrificing everything on the altar of writing.

It all worked out for me. I’ve been happy and content and easy in my own skin. I realize, though, that I’ve always been an extremist, and over the last couple of decades, I’ve learned that I probably didn’t need to make such a clean break. There was at least one other direction I could have gone in that eschews many of the pitfalls of narcissistic bosses (and coworkers) and financially based creative decisions that usually end up not being creative at all.

If I had it to do all over again, knowing what I know, I most likely would avoid BigMedia from the get-go and instead plunge into Indie Prod.

Shocking, yeah?

See, here’s the thing. Over the last 20 years I’ve helped hundreds of people start BigMedia careers and careers as indie creatives. I’ve watched them climb their ladders and been part of many of their lives as well as their work, and generally speaking it seems to me that in the long run filmmakers who concentrate on indie production are happier with their lives than those doing the H’wood thing, no matter how much or how little success those in either group attain.

More students, friends, and even family members than I ever expected have made fortunes writing and producing TV shows, running major and minor studios, being A-listers or just a notch or two below, and so many of them in shared moments of reflection have ranted and raved and even cried about how totally unfulfilled they feel, how unfaithful to their original talent and purpose they see themselves as having been.

Know what their daydreams are? They’re of chucking it all and doing web series and what used to be called “art films.” To a man and woman, they don’t care if anyone ever sees the films they daydream about but express the hope that if they at least make them they will be putting their talent and skills to genuinely good use.

Meanwhile, students, friends, and you guessed it, family members who have avoided BigMedia and gone indie instead seem in large part to lead lives of genuine joy. Some took that route from the beginning, others headed that way later (some much later). Instead of daydreaming, they now are making shows and films (and museum installations!) that they find meaningful and exciting.

Almost all of those in the indie group are far from household names and don’t have many fans. Many of them, to their frustration, haven’t made a penny through their oeuvres. But most seem to have more time for living “real,” grounded lives and are proud of the intrinsic value of what they’re doing. If having to work day jobs is what gets them to this point, “Well, hell,” they’ve told me time and time again, “it’s worth it.”

This reply is taking forever so I’ll cut to the Big-City-Destroying-Superhero-Fight-That-Ends-this-Career-Discussion. Take it from a guy who thoroughly enjoyed every moment – every argument and knock-down-drag-out creative difference – of a very successful TV career but has enjoyed my current lifestyle of being with my family and working with talented newbies and rooting from the sidelines even more: Making my definition of success “doing what I love, with those I love, instead of throwing myself away in search for fame, fortune, and a couple of interviews at TheWrap.Com has given me a far better life than any I could have imagined before.

So here’s my overall answer to your questions. It doesn’t matter what you do or where you do it. Commit yourself to a process that fulfills you and makes you proud…and enables the rest of your life instead of crippling or even destroying it.

EDITED TO ADD: One final thought. I’m glad you’ve seen that We, The Screenwriter clip. It was 50-year-old me, a few years after returning from various adventures, and misadventures, tracking the magic with D’neh and my wonderful and magical wife. I don’t fully recall what that version of me said, but you’re getting the absolute, most recent update right here, right now.