Writing Gig: Lifehacker Needs a Senior Tech Writer

Lifehacker.Com, one of this TVWriter™ minion’s favorite sites that occasionally writes about tech as well as, um, life problem kinds of things, is looking to hire a “senior tech writer/editor.” According to a PR blurb on the site:

Lifehacker is hiring a senior tech writer/editor. This is full-time position with competitive salary and good benefits, working out of Gizmodo Media’s New York City mothership. You’ll be pitching and writing stories, helping shape the vision of tech coverage on Lifehacker, totally geeking out on the fastest, smartest, easiest and best ways to get things done. This is not a job reporting tech news or reviewing gadgets—this is a job for a MacGyver type who wants to engage with tech, to figure out how our global audience of more than 24 million can use it to make their lives happier, more productive and more fun.

Sounds like fun to me, but what do I know? I work for free from the darkest, coldest depths of Alaska because TVWriter™ doesn’t accept advertising and therefore doesn’t pay anybody and – true confession here – I’m damned if I’m relocating down to the U.S. during its current state of disrepair.

But if you have bigger balls than I have, your next move is to get thyself over HERE, where you can learn all about the job and its rewards and requirements.

Good luck! And, please if you give this a shot, write us a comment about how it all goes. (And no, we aren’t recommending this job, just reporting its existence. Ain’t going down that slippery slope!

Everything you need to know about creating great villains – in only 7ish minutes

Good versus evil can be a hell of a lot of fun…when it isn’t in real life. This video by Daniel Whidden gives us a quick insight into how to set up the kind of conflict that sells gets viewers to the edge of their chairs.

(EDITOR’S NOTE: Sorry, my leetle babushka of a minion, but I had to change that second sentence above because nobody knows what %$#! sells. Yer Friendly Neighborhood Munchman.)

Villains play an integral role in storytelling. In this video essay, I look at how the ideologies of heroes and villains clash to create great stories.

Subscribe and follow “Think Story” at: https://twitter.com/daniel_whidden

The Ultimate Writing Mixtape

Never let is be said that TVWriter™ doesn’t give you all the important stuff when it comes to writing, creativity, and all those other great hashtaggy things:

by Robert Lee Brewer

Recently, I had iTunes on random and a couple songs played back-to-back that had lines about writing. It didn’t take long for me to wonder, “What are the best songs for writers and about writing?” So I started making my own list, and I put out a call on Facebook and Twitter (find my handles below if you love being part of such conversations).

Anyway, this post puts together my ultimate writing mixtape of the best 20 songs for and about writers and the process of writing. Sure, there are many other great songs about the subject, and please share them in the comments below. But this is the mix I’m going to start rocking on my way to and from writer conferences, open mics, and writing retreats.

20 Best Songs for Writers and About Writing Mixtape

Track 1: “I’m Gonna Sit Right Down and Write Myself a Letter,” by Fats Waller

This is the perfect intro track with a bit of an instrumental opening before getting into the lyrics, which include, “I’m gonna sit right down and write myself a letter and make believe it came from you.” The song was composed by Fred E. Ahlert and Joe Young in 1935 and made popular by Waller. But it’s been covered by a range of artists, including Billy Williams, Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby, Nat “King” Cole, Willie Nelson, Anne Murray, Linda Scott, and Paul McCartney–just to name a few.

Track 2: “I Could Write a Book,” by Dinah Washington

There are two ways to make a transition on a mixtape: smooth or jarring. Both are effective, but I prefer smooth early on in a mix. Enter this wonderful version of “I Could Write a Book,” which was a tune in the Rodgers & Hart 1940 musical Pal Joey. I first heard Harry Connick’s version from When Harry Met Sally…, but a range of artists have performed this song as well, including Ella Fitzgerald, Rosemary Clooney, and Miles Davis.

Track 3: “Dancing in the Dark,” by Bruce Springsteen

According to the Boss, “you can’t start a fire without a spark.” So here we go. The biggest hit off the bestselling album (Born in the U.S.A.) of Bruce Springsteen’s career, “Dancing in the Dark” includes the line that he’s “sick of sitting around here trying to write this book.” Musically, this song jump starts the mix with synths, quick beats, and that fade out sax.

Track 4: “Write About Love,” by Belle and Sebastian

Anyone who has participated in either my April or November poem-a-day challenges knows how I feel about love poems. So of course, Belle and Sebastian’s song “Write About Love” from the album titled Write About Love had to make the cut. In addition to the writing theme, it keeps the upbeat momentum of the early mixtape.

Read it all – complete with videos of all the songs – at WritersDigest.Com

Why Even The Best TV Storytellers Need To Know When To Call It Quits

Yeah, yeah, we know. There you are, barely having gotten started on your TV writing career, and what are we doing over here? Yep, we’re bringing you info on knowing when it’s time to cash out. But if you think about it a minute, what we’re doing makes sense. Cuz if we can persuade just one of you to leave your staff gig, that’s one more slot that’s open to…yeah, hehe…us.

Evil, thy true name is desperation!

pic found at pickthebrain.com

by Andy Crump

Knowing when a story no longer needs to be told matters as much as knowing whether it’s a good story in the first place.

Take “Transparent,” Amazon Studio’s first major original programming success, which is in its fourth season with a fifth waiting in the wings. Jill Soloway’s evolving narrative, encompassing a family’s mundane travails against the backdrop of its patriarch’s transition from male to female, has no visible ceiling, but begs for a conclusion. “Transparent” is, according to Soloway, a series about the quest to find selfhood through God and spirituality. That’s a search that, at least in theory, never ends.

But that doesn’t mean the show shouldn’t end. (Though if it does go on, it will be without Jeffrey Tambor, who announced he may leave the show amidst sexual harassment allegations against him.)

In our golden age of prestige television, the line between sticking around for just the right number of seasons and drastically overstaying one’s welcome is as thin as our patience for tips about our favorite show’s premiere date. For every “Mad Men” or “Breaking Bad,” there’s a “Grey’s Anatomy” that threatens to go on forever.

In a roundabout way, those mainstays let us appreciate the creative labor that goes into higher quality content like “Transparent.” Banging out episodes of “Law & Order” and adjacent spinoffs doesn’t take much beyond daily perusal of newspaper headlines and negotiation of guest star cameos. Crafting a chapter in “Transparent,” on the other hand, demands its authors commit to personal soul-searching while also striving to understand trans American experiences enough to qualify for authenticity.

The same can be said of shows in the key of “Mad Men” or “The Leftovers,” and perhaps most of all “Game of Thrones,” which has outpaced George R.R. Martin’s source material and continues to outmatch direct competitors in scope and scale.

But maybe these are unfair comparisons; easily digested network fare doesn’t care about competing with television in the likes of Amazon, HBO, AMC or Netflix. Besides, to say that self-recycling network shows are lesser than their premium channel rivals isn’t to say they’re not worth watching. …

Read it all at Wbur.Org

You’ll Never Guess Who the Highest Grossing Actor in the World is!

Don’t ever let anybody put writers down!

Found at Cracked.Com. If this doesn’t convince you to check out the site, nothing will.

Cartoon: ‘The Search’

Our favorite artist/philosopher, Grant Snider, reminds us of what this whole “creative thing” really is about:

More of Grant Snider’s sensitive perception at Incidental Comics, HERE

Buy Grant’s wonderful new book HERE

Herbie J Pilato: Goodbye to a Trio of TV Angels

by Herbie J Pilato

If there’s a television heaven, then it now has one heck of an additional cast.

Della Reese, David Cassidy, and Jim Nabors have passed away.

Three times the charm, this troika of actor/singers were gone within days of one another.

Reese had developed Type 2-diabetes, but no formal cause for her death was revealed when she passed away at age 86 on November 19, 2017.  Cassidy succumbed at 67 to liver failure on November 21, 2017, and Nabors died at 87 of after struggling with various health issues for a lengthy period of time.

Best known for indelible roles which will be embedded in the psyche of adoring viewers for TV time immemorial, Reese, Cassidy, and Nabors leave behind their own unique brand of angel voice and image.

On Touched by an Angel (CBS, 1994-2003), Reese sang the opening theme for a show on which she portrayed Tess, the loving-kind but strict supervising angel.  Off-camera, Reese was equally strong-willed, and stood firm in her convictions.

As her close friend, and Angel co-star Roma Downey recently revealed to Peoplemagazine, while filming Angel, Reese’s daughter, Deloreese Daniels, passed away.  Shortly after, Reese took Downey into her arms and said, “God is so amazing, baby. I always knew that he brought me into your life because you needed a momma. I just hadn’t realized he brought you into my life because I was going to need a baby girl.”

“We all love her and we will all miss her, and of course we mourn for her,” Downey said. “But we are also so grateful for the time we shared with her. She achieved so much and she touched the hearts of everyone who knew her.”

On The Partridge Family (ABC, 1970-1977), Cassidy played and sang as Keith Partridge, as both the actor and the singer became a pop-star “teen angel.” Cassidy fought hard to distance himself from his iconic Partridge portrayal but eventually came to terms with that persona, and embraced his place in pop-culture history, if only for a short time before he was diagnosed with dementia.

Actor Danny Bonaduce, one of Cassidy’s younger Partridge co-stars, shared his thoughts in The Hollywood Reporter, writing, in part, “When it came to his own career, though, David got robbed. When he decided he didn’t want to be Keith Partridge anymore, he quit The Partridge Family. He wanted to go on tour and be a real rock ‘n’ roll star.

“But the road he chose to go down after the show, it didn’t go as far. He became the Partridge Family theme song, he became the act of looking like David Cassidy, with the same thousand fans coming to every show. He never did get the life he wanted. It really was a tragedy. I was in Europe when he died, but I heard he was surrounded by his family – Shirley Jones, Shaun Cassidy, Patrick Cassidy. And I heard his last words were, ‘So much wasted time.’”

TVWriter™’s “Beloved Leader,” Larry Brody, has another perspective on Cassidy:

“In 1974, when I was producing the series POLICE STORY, David starred in an episode I wrote that not only was one of our highest rated shows but also was spun off into its own series, MAN UNDERCOVER,” LB told me recently. “For me, the best thing about working with him was his reaction when I brought my then 5-year-old daughter, who’d been watching PARTRIDGE FAMILY reruns most of her short life, to the set.”

Larry continued. “She saw David and stared and stared and stared. After the scene, he came over, hunkered down, and said hi, and still she stared and stared and stared. It wasn’t until he’d left the stage that my daughter finally spoke, throwing her arms around me and saying, ‘Thank you for the best day of my life!'”

LB’s bottom line on David Cassidy? “He was more than a star. He was a mensch.”

On The Andy Griffith Show (CBS, 1960-1968) and Gomer Pyle, USMC (CBS, 1964-1969) Nabors embodied a character with a heart of gold and on and off-screen possessed the true singing voice of an angel.

Nabors’s warmth-factor ranking on the Richter scale of appeal was off the charts.  His down-home portrayal of Pyle may have prevented him from playing other roles, but like Cassidy, Nabors was ultimately at peace with his most identifiable recognition.  As reported by The New York Times, when not on camera, Nabors imbued a measure of Pyle’s innocence.

At the height of his fame in 1969, Nabors admitted, “For the first four years of the series, I didn’t trust my success. Every weekend and on every vacation, I would take off to play nightclubs and concerts, figuring the whole thing would blow over some day.

Nabors is survived by his husband, Stan Cadwallader, who was by his side.

Besides Jones, and brothers Shaun and Patrick, Cassidy, who was married three times (to actress Kay Lenz, 1977-1983; horse breeder Meryl Tanz, 1984-1985; Sue Shifrin, 1991-2014), is survived by his youngest brother Ryan, a daughter, actress Katie Cassidy (born in 1986 from a relationship with fashion model Sherry Williams), and a son Beau, a musician (born in 1991, with Shifrin).

Reese, who was also married three times (Vermont Taliaferro, 1951-1958; Leroy Gray, 1959-1961; Franklin Lett, 1983-2017), leaves behind Lett, and children Dominique Reese, James Reese, and Franklin Reese.


Herbie J Pilato is the Founder and Executive Director of The Classic TV Preservation Society, and the author of several classic TV companion books.  He is practically a founding father of TVWriter™ and is a Contributing Editor Emeritus. This article first appeared on Emmys.Org Learn more about Herbie J Pilato HERE.