Web Series: ‘Sam and Pat are Depressed’

Frequent (but not frequent enough) TVWriter™ guest columnist Bri Castellini has a new web series on Seeka.TV, and, spoilsports that we are (to Seeka.TV and its ilk anyway), we’re here to give you a glimpse into its darkness, despair…and humor.


Episode 1 is also out and about…but you’ll have to go here, to Seeka.TV, to see it. Which reminds us:

WARNING! Seeka will make you join in order to watch. It’s free, and the show’s worth more than that, but still, it kinda bugs us, you know?

The Facebook page for Undead Burrito Productions, Ms. Castellini’s production company, is HERE in case you want to post your praise, or your disapproval, or whatever as long as it isn’t bullying. That’s saved for President Donny (although not by Bri, who ain’t the type to tolerate no nonsense from anybody, you here?)

Steven Spielberg Gives Us Some Advice

And now a few words from Steven Spielberg on filmmaking, success, directing, success, writing, success, living an authentic life, and, hmm, what’ve we left out? Oh, right – success.


Indie Video: Creating Powerful Themes & Great Characters

The last time we featured a Microbudget Film Lab video was back in October, and as good as that one was, we think this will be even more helpful. The info here isn’t just about indie film-making, it’s what everyone who writes just about anything (except maybe Ikea furniture assembly directions) needs to know.


The Microbudget Film Lab Channel is HERE

Herbie J Pilato wants us to get ready for his new book

Coming in the Summer of 2018!

We loves us some Mary Tyler Moore and some Herbie J Pilato as well, so we here at TVWriter™ are ready as all get out for what promises to be a great read.

In fact, we’re looking forward to this so much that it’s all we can do to keep from foaming at our mouths. (Mouth? My mouth? His mouth? Her mouth? Damn, why didn’t Miss Grundy teach us anything instead of just messing with us back in the day?

Apologies for the CW in-joke.

How to be a good showrunner

One of the most knowledgeable writers on the web hits one out of the park…again.

We thought we had a showrunner pun when we uploaded this pic, but now we can’t remember what it was. Yikes!

by Ken Levine

Here’s a Friday Question that became an entire post.  I know the WGA has seminars on this and some colleges offer courses in this, but the following points are pretty much everything you need to know.   (Reminder: Whenever I can’t think of an appropriate picture I always post Natalie Wood photos.)

The question is from Brian Hennessy.

Hey Ken – can I ask you what are mistakes that first time showrunners make?

1. Not communicating with your staff. It’s not enough to have your vision for the show; you need to clearly share it with your other writers. Don’t just assume. It’ll be hard enough for them without trying to figure out what’s in your head. Same is true with your editor and directors.

2. Be very organized. Time will go by much faster than you think. From day one lay out a plan. You want so many outlines by this date, so many first drafts by that date, etc.

3. Don’t squander that period before production begins. It’s easy to knock off early or move meetings back. But this is golden time before the crunch when actors arrive, cameras roll, and a thousand additional details require your attention.

4. Accept the fact that the first draft of the first script you receive from every staff member will look like a script from the last show they were on. It will take them time to adapt to your show.

5. Remember that every writer is not a “five-tool player” as they say in baseball. By that I mean, some may be strong at story but not jokes, or punch-up but not drafts. Not everybody is good at everything.  Consider that when putting together your staff.

6. Hire the best writers, not your best friends.

7. Hire at least one experienced writer. Otherwise, on top of everything else you’re doing, you’re re-inventing the wheel.

8. Don’t show favoritism to some writers over others. It destroys morale and no one loves a teacher’s pet.

9. Pick your fights with the network and studio. Don’t go to war over every little note. Antagonizing everyone all the time is a good way to ensure this will be your only showrunning gig. Yes, you’re an artist and you’re trying to protect your vision. And yes, a lot of the notes are moronic, but you have to hear them out. You have to consider them. You have to do the ones you can live with. The best way to get your way is to get them on your side.

10. Don’t overwork your staff. This goes back to being organized. There’s only so many times you can whip the same horse. Your people are dedicated to the show but not to the extent you are.

Read it all at Ken Levine’s great blog

Everything You Need to Know About Writing for Actors

Yeppers, kids, here’s another amazingly helpful video from a genuine showbiz Insider. If anybody knows how stars feel about scripts, it’s Emma Thompson. Watch and learn, gang, watch and learn. (Cuz it’s easier than having read and learn, yeah?)

Found on the BAFTA Guru Channel

The First ‘Doctor Who” Christmas Trailer is Here for You

Speaking of Doctor Who, this is without a doubt the most important thing you’ll see on the interwebs this week.

Unless you aren’t a Doctor Who fan.

But you are, aren’t you? We mean – you’ve gotta be, right? Cuz otherwise, what’s the point of – yikes! -being alive?