Saying Goodbye to TV Writer Frank Barron

Death notices very seldom are occasions of joy (we at TVWriter™  know, in theory they never are, but we also have lived for awhile in the real world, where things are different), but all we could think when a friend showed us this one was, “Wow, there definitely are worse lives out there, and worse ways to have lived.”

In other words, we hope our own obits show half as much accomplishment as this one, for a writer who clearly was much too unsung:

Mr. Barron is the figure on the right in this 1950s pic. On the left is Pinky Lee, the star of one of the many shows Barron wrote for.

Frank Barron, the eclectic writing career of a Hollywood character

Not every character in Hollywood becomes famous, but they make their contributions. Writer Frank Barron tried his hand at all sorts of show business gigs, and over the years became one of the threads that connects and enlivens the Hollywood tapestry.

Barron, who died of natural causes on Monday, Oct. 23, 2017, at the age of 98, wrote cartoons, radio shows, a primetime TV series, and worked as an industry journalist and rock promoter, according to his obituary in The Los Angeles Daily News.

He was married in the living room of “The Partidge Family” star Shirley Jones, and “Breaking Bad” star Bryan Cranston stopped by to wish him a happy 97th birthday in 2016.

His wife, Margie Barron, described him as, “a remarkable man – journalist, comedy writer, and a true Hollywood character.”

Barron was born in Elizabeth, N.J., and was a published author by his teens, having submitted articles to magazines like “This Boy’s Life.” He covered sports for The Newark Evening News before serving overseas in the Medical Corps during World War II. After the war, he ran Air Force base newspapers in Japan for a year. He then made his way to Hollywood.

He teamed up with partner Ray Brenner and began writing comedy. They got work writing on the radio for Red Skelton, Edgar Bergen, Martin & Lewis, and “Fibber McGee and Molly.”

He wrote scenarios for Woody Woodpecker cartoons for his friend, Joseph Barbera, founder of Hanna-Barbera cartoon studio. He also created a primetime TV western, “The Man from Blackhawk,” about an insurance investigator in the wild west.

There were bumps in the road along the way. “The Man from Blackhawk” fell victim to a writers strike, and Barron lost out on a chance to direct local TV variety show “Komedy Kapers,” when Jerry Lewis needed experience for his Directors Guild of America card.

However, he remained open to the opportunities that did come his way. He had two stints as an editor for The Hollywood Reporter, and spent time working for Gibson & Stromberg, a rock ‘n’ roll PR company….

Read it all at Legacy

Speaking of the website, here’s a link we saw embedded in the middle of this article that left us, well, let’s call it, “bemused.” You’ll see what we mean:

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Local Hero Department: Francis Moss

Dunno about you, but each and every one of us here at TVWriter™ would be proud to be the subject of a local newspaper article like this:

Local writer once penned kids’ favorite cartoons
by Sara Kernan

YUCCA VALLEY — “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles,” “Fantastic Voyages of Sinbad,” “Sonic the Hedgehog” and more have all featured the animation writing of Francis Moss. Moss has called the Hi-Desert home for the past four years and is continuing writing after an illustrious career of working for beloved animation shows.

Starting in 1980, Moss’ career started with episodes of “Buck Rogers in the 25th Century.” His work ground to a halt thanks to a writers’ strike, but found a job with an animation company that had just started making “She-Ra, Princess of Power.”

He eventually found a job as staff writer and story editor for a company producing cartoons including “Care Bears” and “Ghostbusters.”

Another writers’ strike in 1988 found him marching in solidarity with the Writers Guild members, and that landed him an opportunity to write for “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.” After a serendipitous conversation on the picket line, Moss started writing.

The show took off after season two and Moss quickly had to learn to work under the pressure of delivering two scripts a week.

“That was my writing university in many ways,” he said.

For Moss, writing has always been a part of him. From writing on his parents’ typewriter, to writing in college to freelancing for a newspaper and magazine, written means of expression have been his creative outlet….

Read it all at Hi-Desert Star

This Podcast Network May Have What It Takes To Compete With Hollywood

Have you ever said to yourself, “What the world needs now is a professional, commercial podcast network?” Neither has this TVWriter™ minion. But now that I think about it, what a great idea! (Provided that don’t bar the door to newbies, like everything else calls itself a network seems to do.)

The pic is the network. Here’s the podcast: https://soundcloud.com/deadlymanners/deadly-manners-trailer

by KC Ifeanyi

Podcast dramas have bubbled in the recent past as a modern resurgence of the radio serials of yesteryear. Shows like Homecoming and Welcome to Night Vale became must-listens more so because it was a welcomed breeze in the sometimes stale landscape of topical or non-fiction podcasts  in general. However, as novel as audio dramas may seem, it hasn’t necessarily translated into an abundance of advertisers–a familiar plight of podcasts at large. But Alex Aldea is set on changing that.

Aldea is the founder of the podcast network The Paragon Collective, home of the Reddit-born anthology series NoSleepDarkest Night, and its most recent entry in the audio drama space Deadly Manners, a whodunnit murder mystery starring Kristen Bell, Anna Chlumsky, RuPaul, Denis O’Hare, and narrated by LeVar Burton.

“I think it’s a really cool a growing medium,” Aldea says. “I started Paragon about three and a half years ago and there’s been a big shift with me of trying to find a place where I felt I belonged. And the second we started working with NoSleep and getting into the fiction space, it just kind of clicked–and there’s really a hardcore fan base out there.”

Deadly Manners started as a pitch from TV writer Ali Garfinkel (Burn NoticeHand of God) who had previously written two episodes of Darkest Night. Tonally speaking, Garfinkel says she wanted to make a show that would live somewhere between the 1992 black comedy Death Becomes Her and Clue–the challenge being that she couldn’t write Deadly Manners in the vein of either of her inspirations.

“I’m a TV writer so I’m very used to just writing for visuals. And so writing for an audio podcast, there’s no subtlety. You can’t have a scene with a bunch of actors looking at one another and sharing feelings with a glance–you have to describe everything because people are just listening,” Garfinkel says. “The thing about audio drama is that it seems like it would be less immersive than a TV show or movie, but when it’s recorded the way that Alex does it with the binaural headphones, you’re literally surrounded by sound and it’s a 3D experience. And I think for some people it has more of an impact than just watching a video.”

Creating that immersive experience is what Aldea hopes will pull in listeners beyond the fanbases his podcast network of shows has already accrued. And Aldea’s attention to production detail in order to execute his creative vision is something he’s not willing to shortchange–even if that means driving for hours just to use one microphone….

Read it all at Fast Company

NBC Picks 8 “Writers on the Verge”

NBCUNIVERSAL EVENTS — Writers On The Verge Program — Pictured: (l-r) — (Photo by: Paul Drinkwater/NBC)

by David Robb

NBC’s Writers on the Verge, the network’s program to develop aspiring television writers from diverse backgrounds, has named eight writers to its class of 2017-18. This year’s crop includes comedy writers Nick Bouier, Octavia Bray, Eugene Garcia-Cross and Felicia Pride, and drama writers Celena Cipriaso, William Garroutte, Amy Lambert and Eileen Shim. They were selected from a pool of more than 2,600 applicants.

Founded in 2005, Writers on the Verge is an annual program for talented, aspiring writers of diverse backgrounds who are “on the verge” of breaking out, but need a final polish of their writing and pitch presentation skills to equip them for staff writer positions on television series

Over the course of 12 weeks, they’ll learn how to develop spec and pilot scripts and how to pitch their ideas in front of television executives, and receive feedback on their scripts and pitch styles from industry professionals, including network executives, showrunners and agents. The class will also receive individual mentoring from NBCUniversal programming executives. At the end of the program, which is now in its twelfth year, the writers will be considered for available writing assignments on NBC series.

Read it all at Deadline

Another Web Series is Heading For TV

The biggest news we’ve heard from CBS in quite awhile (yes, even bigger than that Star Trek thing they’re streaming in terms of what it means to new writers) is that I Mom So Hard, a web series presided over by Kristin Hensley and Jen Smedly has been picked up as a multi camera comedy series on real CBS TV. The big Eye itself.

The web series is about a couple of moms – Hensley and Smedly – learning the hard way about what being a mother entails. Here’s a sample:

We’re excited as all hell to see any web series go from YouTube to what used to be called the Boob Tube until “boob” became a politically charged word. The only negative here is that – yeah, you guessed it – some actual CBS TV type people will be involved. Talking about you, Michelle Nader and Rob Thomas. Don’t screw this up!

TVWriter™ sends Big Congrats to the Moms!

Web places to learn more about this show include:

FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/imomsohard/

WEBSITE: http://imomsohard.com/

And of course:

YOUTUBE CHANNEL: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC4WkCbmrDECI9u4Ug-T6WBA

NOTE FROM LB: I honestly believe that you can do this to. Web series are a great way to turn pro. Which is why TVWriter™’s PEOPLE’S PILOT 2017 Writing Contest has a special. low entry fee for web series pilots this year. Check it out!

WGAW 2017 Officers & Board Of Directors Election Results

The Writers Guild of America West has announced the results of its 2017 Officers and Board of Directors election.

The following members were elected to serve as Officers: President – David A. Goodman; Vice President – Marjorie David; Secretary-Treasurer – Aaron Mendelsohn.

The following eight members were elected to the WGAW’s Board of Directors for two-year terms, effective immediately: John AugustNicole YorkinAndrea Berloff (inc.), Meredith Stiehm (inc.), Angelina BurnettLuvh Rakhe (inc.), Michele MulroneyZak Penn (inc.). *Editor’s Note: (inc) denotes incumbent.

The ninth finisher, Patti Carr, was elected for a one-year term on the Board of Directors to fill the vacancy created by Marjorie David’s election as Vice President.

NUMERICAL VOTING RESULTS

President: David A. Goodman (1,952)

Vice President: Marjorie David (1,962)

Secretary-Treasurer: Aaron Mendelsohn (1,322), Carleton Eastlake (553).

Board of Directors: John August (1,634), Nicole Yorkin (1,561), Andrea Berloff (inc.) (1,510), Meredith Stiehm (inc.) (1,436), Angelina Burnett (1,337), Luvh Rakhe (inc.) (1,337), Michele Mulroney (1,284), Zak Penn (inc.) (1,172), Patti Carr (1,096), Spiro Skentzos (920), Francesca Butler (734).

A total of 2,142 valid ballots were cast. The ballot count was supervised by Votenet Solutions.

The Writers Guild of America West (WGAW) is a labor union representing writers of motion pictures, television, radio, and Internet programming, including news and documentaries. Founded in 1933, the Guild negotiates and administers contracts that protect the creative and economic rights of its members. It is involved in a wide range of programs that advance the interests of writers, and is active in public policy and legislative matters on the local, national, and international levels. For more information on the WGAW, please visit: www.wga.org.

2017 Emmy Winners that Mean the Most to TVWriter™

Stars? Directors? Producers? Necessary evils, sez this TVWriter™ minion. Here are the Emmy Award winners we love most – the WRITERS!

Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series

Joel Fields and Joe Weisberg, The Americans – “The Soviet Division”
Gordon Smith, Better Call Saul – “Chicanery”
Peter Morgan, The Crown – “Assassins”
WINNER – Bruce Miller, The Handmaid’s Tale – “Offred”
The Duffer Brothers, Stranger Things – “Chapter One: The Vanishing of Will Byers”
Lisa Joy and Jonathan Nolan, Westworld – The Bicameral Mind”

Outstanding Writing for a Variety Series

Full Frontal with Samantha Bee
WINNER – Last Week Tonight with John Oliver
Late Night with Seth Meyers
The Late Show with Stephen Colbert
Saturday Night Live

Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series

Donald Glover, Atlanta – “B.A.N.”
Stephen Glover, Atlanta – “Streets on Lock”
WINNER – Aziz Ansari and Lena Waithe, Master of None – “Thanksgiving”
Alec Berg, Silicon Valley – “Success Failure”
Billy Kimball, Veep – “Georgia”
David Mandel, Veep – “Groundbreaking”

Outstanding Writing for a Limited Series, Movie, or Dramatic Special

David E. Kelley, Big Little Lies
WINNER – Charlie Brooker, Black Mirror: San Junipero
Noah Hawley, Fargo – “The Law of Vacant Places”
Ryan Murphy, Feud: Bette and Joan – “And the Winner Is…”
Jaffe Cohen, Michael Zam, and Ryan Murphy, Feud: Bette and Joan – “Pilot”
Richard Price and Steven Zaillian, The Night Of – “The Call of the Wild”

Okay, okay, we really don’t want to leave out anybody. You can find a solid review of the show and all of last night’s winners HERE