Web Series: ‘The Vamps Next Door’

NOTE FROM LB: Want to see what a web series episode with a million and a half views looks like? Click “play” on the video below.

by Larry Brody

There I was, on the back deck of the Brody home that isn’t Cloud Creek Ranch, having a fine old end of summer convo with my wife, Gwen the Beautiful, and two old friends, and suddenly the Missus of the friends, Laura Conway, casually mentions, “I’ve been making a couple of web series. They’re a lot of fun.”

And without missing a beat, the Mistah of the couple, Gerry Conway (yes, this Gerry Conway), equally casually says, “Laura’s shows have over three million views.”

“Three million views?” was all I could say.

“Yep,” Gerry said.

“And you never told me before?”

“I haven’t told very many people at all about the shows,” Laura said.

“Why not?” I said.

“She’s shy,” Gerry said.

Laura nodded. “I am. I’m shy.”

So, because I’m not so shy, let me repeat the most cogent fact here, because, well, because how can I not?

Three million views.

Fucking three fucking million fucking views!

And not only had I never known that Laura was doing this, I’d neither heard about nor seen any of her shows anywhere before.

Those of you who know me know where this is going. I have now watched Laura Conway’s absolutely mind-blowingly professional top scoring in every aspect series, The Vamps Next Door, and I’m absolutely blown away.

The episode above, “Hurt So Good,” is the most popular in the series, but the others are all just as good. Scripts, direction, acting, production values, we’re talking stuff that puts the original Dark Shadows to shame. Oh, and in case you haven’t watched the embed yet, I gotta tell you: The Vamps Next Door is funny.

To me, one of the most interesting thing about The Vamps Next Door is that Laura was a total noob when she started it, seven years ago. If you watch the earlier episodes, they’re rough, unpolished, fraught with the errors all new filmmakers make.  But she learned, and is still learning, the way a true creator does.

You can find out more about the show HERE, and you definitely should.

Thank you, Laura, for finally coming out of the closet!

Oh hell, here’s an episode of Laura’s other show, Ageless. It left me speechless when I first saw it, but I’m sure we’ll talk more about this later:

Larry Brody: TVWriter University Fall 2017 Update

by Larry Brody

It rained last night, the slow, easy, beautiful rain that’s a big part of what makes the Pacific Northwest so wonderful. This is the first real sign of Fall here at TVWriter™ Central and a sign that it’s time to plunge right into action with new classes.

So here’s what’s happening:

LARRY BRODY’S MASTER CLASS

The 33rd Master Class, AKA The Class for Pro Level Writers Who Firmly Believe They Don’t Need No Steenkin’ Classes begins next week, AKA Thursday, Sept. 28th.

The Master Class is held entirely online. It’s the one where we start off by reading the completed first draft of your current passion (or paid) project and then take it through 4 weeks of revisions to give you all the help we can to make this your career best.

The absolute max number of students for the Master Class is 3, and 2 places are still open. If you think you qualify and will have a finished first draft of your latest literary child for us to work with by Sept. 28th, let me know, ASAP, via email HERE.

For more info about the Master Class the place to visit is HERE

TVWRITER™ ONLINE TV & FILM WRITING WORKSHOP

Our 167th Online Workshop will start Wednesday, Sept. 27th.

Most students in this, our most popular offering, return time after time, but as of this writing 2 places remain in this class of 5.

The Online Workshop is the one tailored specifically for each member. If you’re new to TV or film writing we bring you through the basics via weekly assignments until you’re ready to run with a full teleplay or screenplay of your own. If you know your way around the format, then the class is all about uploading 10 pages a week for your classmates and me read and discuss and give you insight into what can make the delicious goodness of your work even tastier.

More info about the Advanced Workshop is HERE

It’s always a joy for me to work with fresh, eager new writers. I’m more than happy to answer any Online Workshop questions HERE

LYMI, LB

Larry Brody’s Poetry: ‘Guys With Ties’

Found on the interwebs although I saw my tie fighters on the interstate

 by Larry Brody

NOTE FROM LB

No showbiz in this one. No Navajo Dog either. Just, well, you’ll see soon enough. (Alternate titles: LA Life, Life in the Slow Lane, Real Suits…)


Guys With Ties

Years ago, when I was another me—

Striding giant-like over the withering

Turf of L.A.—I saw a fight on the

Side of the freeway. Two businessmen had pulled over

—For what reason I can’t say—and were whaling

At each other, ties flapping in the wind. Guys with

Ties fighting! Not just yelling, or swearing, or pushing

But using their fists just like they had seen on TV.

Traffic was at a standstill, so I watched for a time,

And I realized I was seeing something so important

That it had actually made me feel. Never would

I be able to understand, or communicate with, the

Tie-tacked gladiators, but I could sense their

Frustration and their outrage, their dissatisfaction, and

Their need to draw blood. My pulse quickened,

And my temperature soared. My chest

Tightened and squeezed. I was wearing

Levi’s, and an Armani T-shirt, one of a dozen

I had bought at a hundred dollars a pop, but

At home I too had ties. Hand-painted, silk,

Gorgeous works suitable for framing. Never

Had any of my ties been worn.

When the freeway finally started moving again,

I drove straight to the house, and went to my tie drawer,

Put on a ‘Forties antique. Just wrapped it

Around my Armani, and looked at myself

In the mirror.

Sure enough, I was dangerous. Dangerous

As could be. Ready to tackle the whithering

Dithering road.

But then I put away the tie. I was a wealthy

Man then, and didn’t need such a sign.

Business was for fighters, and while I was a

Warrior of words, they were wasted ones,

Filled with knowledge alone. Without the

Fighters to watch, I felt nothing. A few days

Later, I gave away all the ties. They had become

Nothing but symbols of need.


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 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.

LB: If This Series Doesn’t Become a Hit I’ll – erm – um – uh-oh…

by Larry Brody

All I’ve written is part of the headline and I’ve already buried myself? If that isn’t the definition of real trouble for a writer, what is?

Well, I wrote myself into this mess, so let me try and write myself out of it.

What I’m trying to say is that considering the subject matter and the presentation in this trailer, I’ll be very, very surprised if Glow, featuring the writing and producing talents of Liz Flahive, Carly Mensch, Jenfi Johan, and Tara Herrman, who have brought us some little entertainments likeHomeland, Nurse Jackie, Orange is the New Black, and Weeds doesn’t become one of Netflix’s biggest successes.

Will it kick the butt of all of Netflix’s Marvel projects? I of course can’t be sure, but just between us, I think it should. Because the most fascinating thing about the following trailer is how shockingly tasteful, perceptive, and genuinely dramatic it is.

Especially considering the subject which shall go unnamed here, but you’ll catch on fast once you click below:

Bottom line: Glow is trash. But it’s trash written by real writers – good writers – and it’s so far above audience expectations I can’t really predict if it will be the biggest trash success ever, or a total fail.

Or which of those two results I think would be the right one.

New, Improved 2017 PEOPLE’S PILOT Opens in 2 1/2 Weeks

tv_writer_peoples_pilot_smby Larry Brody

Get ready, gang, because we’re coming soon!

The 2017 PEOPLE’S PILOT contest, TVWriter™’s 26th running of what may well be the longest running TV pilot competition on the interwebs, as of this writing is a mere 17 days away.

As usual, we’ve done some tweaking based on things we learned from last year’s contest.

I’m not going into specifics now because the PEOPLE’S PILOT means so much to me that it’s very likely the tweaking will continue right up to the new opening date, June 1, 2017. 

The closing date remains the same as last year, November 1…but in 2017 as opposed to, you know, 2016.

You can get a not-so-secret preview of where we heading on the PP landing page, conveniently located RIGHT HERE. Please accept my cordial invite to check everything out…and also to write to me personally, HERE, to let me know what you think.

Or, to put it in a more mobile-friendly sort of way:

More PEOPLE’S PILOT info is HERE

Email me with your thoughts on the contest HERE

Hope you like where we’re going. The PEOPLE’S PILOT and everything we’re keeping and changing in regard to it is all about our hopes for your successful career!

LYMI LB

LYMI
LB