Peggy Bechko Goes Web Surfing with the Writers

  by Peggy Bechko

Normally, I caution writers to keep a safe distance from the net for fear of flushing all their writing time down the dark hole of social media and/or just surfing to the point where they don’t actually write.

Today though, I’m just going to throw websites at you. Here’s my usual caution. First, they aren’t all related to screenwriting. We already know Larry Brody’s TVWriter.com is the best around for TV Writing. But, they’re writing related. Also, don’t get sucked into the web. Go, check out a site if it looks like it could be helpful to you, then get back to writing. Don’t let yourself get sucked into an all day info-search that only flushes that day away.

Okay, that said, here we go…

First there’s Harvard’s Writing Center’s resources 

It leans heavily academic, but much of the advice can be adapted to any kind of writing. Many writers these days work in various venues, not a single one. So these resources could prove to be helpful.

Next up is Screenwriting Info

For information and tips on writing a screen script which is, of course, different than writing a TV script or a novel or whatever. Anyway, it gives lots of tips and info and it’s up to you to sort it out and see what will help (or not) your writing.

I, personally, like Scrivener

And yes, if you click that link and actually buy a download for around $40, I’d get a few pennies in commission, but here’s the truth. I use Scrivener for lots of writing chores. It does have a screenwriting setting (I admit I don’t use that, but haven’t investigated it thoroughly either as I got hooked on Movie Magic’s Screenwriter). But it is there.

More importantly for me, Scrivener is a great software for many projects and can compile documents in a lot of different ways: a novel for Kindle publishing, a pdf, a screen script, and many others. It does have a learning curve that can be a bit overwhelming, but if you do some searches on YouTube there are a number of great instructional videos. And once I got it down it became a great help as documents can be easily imported, illustrations too, parts can be easily rearranged and, well, I just like it.

Check it out. You might like it too. And if you rummage around a bit you might find a free trial somewhere. Just be sure to allow time for that learning curve.

There’s always the basic

It has your basic dictionary and thesaurus. It also offers grammar tips and other language ideas that could be helpful like idioms, slang, your word of the day, words to avoid and a whole bunch more other tips regarding our language.

Our fearless leader, Larry Brody, is a poet as well as screenwriter.

You might like Poetry.com

Our fearless leader, Larry Brody, is a poet as well as a TV writer. I’m not saying he learned all he knows at Poetry.com, but if you’re new to that arena it’s definitely a place I’d recommend for getting your feet wet.

What Else?

I’m not going to give you a whole bunch of links to writer’s organizations, but you know they’re out there. The Writer’s Guild of America West (or East) is a biggie we all know. But if you’re also writing in different fields almost every genre has an organization. National Writer’s Union, The Author’s Guild, Romance Writers, Mystery Writers,  Science Fiction Writers, Children’s Book Writers, news associations… you get it. And no doubt you have the simple skills to do a search and find said organization for yourself. Just be imaginative with those keywords.

It’s kind of fun to wander sites like http://www.wesmirch.com/ They have all kinds of weird articles and gossip. Why would I want that particular content, you say? Well, the articles have led me to some great story ideas. And who doesn’t love a little dirt?

Okay? Done acquiring information and maybe wasting some valuable writing time? Ready to get back to it? Nothing stopping you here. Use the web wisely. It most certainly can be a friend.


Peggy Bechko is a TVWriter™ Contributing Editor. Learn more about her sensational career HERE. Peggy’s new comic series, Planet of the Eggs, written and illustrated with Charlene Brash-Sorensen is available on Kindle. And, while you’re at it, visit the Planet of the Eggs Facebook page and her terrific blog.

Larry Brody’s Poetry: ‘I Have Gone To The Mountain’

Found on the interwebs but I think I’ve lived it as well.

 by Larry Brody

NOTE FROM LB

A couple of weeks ago I posted about Nietzsche’s immortal character Zarathustra “gone to the mountain” in my uncle’s ’50s Oldsmobile. Today I’m going to close my eyes and reveal my own climb, in which no vintage car plays a part. I’m nervous about how personal what I’m revealing here is so, please be, you know, gentle…


I Have Gone To The Mountain

I have gone to the mountain, pursuing my dream.

The climb was long and treacherous,

And took many years.

My quarry was cagey and tough, with no

Desire except to elude, and its tracks

Would appear and disappear seemingly

At random. The mountainside was steep,

With few handholds, and more than once

I fell. At last I cornered my dream,

Trapped it in a blind canyon, just below

The mountain’s peak. Now I have what

I sought my whole lifetime.

Now I have Gwen.

###


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.

TVWriter™ Don’t-Miss Posts of the Week – October 9, 2017

Good morning! Time for TVWriter™’s  Monday look at our most popular blog posts of the week ending yesterday. They are, in order:

Kelly Jo Brick: The Write Path With SUPERNATURAL’S Davy Perez, Part 2

Looking for TV Pilot Scripts?

11 TV Writing DON’Ts!

WGAW October 2017 Calendar

David Perlis: WRITE CONFLICT THAT COUNTS

Larry Brody’s Poetry: ‘We All Aspire To Be Assholes’

And our most visited permanent resource pages are, also in order:

Writing the Dreaded Outline

PEOPLE’S PILOT 2017 Writing Contest

The Logline

THE PEOPLE’S PILOT: Rules

THE PEOPLE’S PILOT: Prizes

TVWRITER™ EMAIL LIST & CONTACT INFO

Major thanks to everyone for making this another great week at TVWriter™. Don’t forget to click above and read what you missed and re-read what you loved!

Networking With Web Series Buyers – @stareable

Our favorite web series site, Stareable, scores again with this very informative column by Alex LeMay. Presented as a homage to the ever-present showbiz reality known as “No mater what your job title, you’re a salesperson!” >sigh<

by Alex LeMay

A lot of you ask me how you get in the room with buyers, so I’ve created a sort of checklist for you to follow. These are things I do every day and it has become a matter-of-course whenever I want to to get my work in front of a busy studio exec or acquisition & development person (the person in a studio who looks for and buys content)

So why reach out to these people? Yes, you want them to screen and buy your work, but it can’t just be that. People in Hollywood (short for the world of commercial media) who only form transactional relationships quickly get named ‘mooch” and before you know it, the phone goes silent and your inbox will only have spam emails for Russian nutritional supplements. Be sure you are bringing value to them and their studio. In many cases, it’s about developing relationships that make you better as a person by surrounding yourself with people who are great at what they do. These kinds of two-way relationships usually culminate in doing business together, but the best and most profitable relationships I have are about exchanging ideas. Money is a byproduct.

A couple things to note before you start your outreach. You are attempting to contact SUPER busy people who have email inboxes that are full of other people asking them for things. In addition, reaching out and immediately asking them to do something for you, especially asking them to look at your work, in the first email is a big no-no. Unless it is coupled with an offer to do something for them with no expectation of them reciprocating.

So, here we go. This is how I have met the head of Spotify, the Executive Producer on THE OFFICE, a bunch of execs at YouTube Red and Maker and so on. This requires that you do research and send out a ton of emails. Remember, it’s a numbers game.

  1. Everyone’s email is on the internet somewhere:: You’ll need to dig, but they’re out there, there is also a digital tool that will create every version of that person’s email in the most commonly used email address conventions, but you’re on your own there. I prefer the old fashion way. Also- look to your contacts. Can anyone you know make an intro?
  2. Know what distinguishes you from other creators: Successful people don’t have time to meet everyone so they tend to interact with interesting people. Know what you’re good at, know what you have to offer. What obstacles have you overcome that would be interesting to that person?
  3. Look to see if they have a blog or have written articles: Have they commented on blogs? This will let you know what they are interested in. Also, one of my favorite hacks to find out how they think is to check if they have a metafilter1 or newsvine account. These are social bookmarking sites that are popular with media people. They allow the user to bookmark news stories or links they find interesting (a gentler Reddit). This is a powerful tool to get inside their head. Mentioning these things in your intro email is a huge way to get in with them.
  4. Start a blog and ask to interview them: Now, don’t just start a blog to meet people. Try to add value to the world with what you write, but, this is such a non-threatening way to meet busy buyers. Do a Skype call, an email interview, or see if you can meet for coffee.
  5. Follow-up if you haven’t heard from them: These are busy people (did I mention that?), so don’t expect them to get back to you right away. Give it a couple weeks and then shoot them another email.

Here are a couple email scripts that should get you going….

Read it all at Stareable


Alex LeMay’s latest project, DARK JOEY. DARK JOEY is a collaboration between LeMay and writer Jim Uhls, who wrote the major motion picture, FIGHT CLUB, as well as his writing partner Ric Krause. This article was first published on Stareable’s Creator Community Blog, which any reasonable web series devotee would be visiting daily!

Troy DeVolld on TV Writer-Producer Career Stages

EDITOR’S NOTE: A few words from reality show honcho to the stars, Troy DeVolld, that if you read just right – you know, a little squint here, a slight raising of the chin there – will give you hope.

Or, as LB put it: “Spiritual Xanax! Just what the medicine man ordered!”


Career Stages
by Troy DeVolld

Fan:

All is magic

Anticipation (film school?)

The move / job / apt search

First gig:

Spend too much

First gig ends

Panic

Second gig:

More panic

Third gig :

Hey, this is working

The stripping of illusion

Fourth gig:

So this is the real business

Fifth gig:

The getting of the membership card

Fleeting sensation that this will last

First dry spell (90-120 days):

The fiscal bailout

Brief thought about doing another thing

The realization that nothing pays like this

Name excluded on a nomination

Gigs 6-20:

The dulling of the spirit

Listed on nomination no win

No friends outside of the business

First major car or home purchase

Marriage or pet acquisition

That one show

Despair/resignation to fate

Membership in peer group feels phony or unrewarding.

Downsizing

Unexpectedly awesome show

Restoration of faith in business

Decision to do some version of this forever

Realization that aw, yeah

Aw yeah

Death of ego

Simple pleasures / managed expectations

Membership in peer group is excuse to have fun at parties and meet nice people, also give back /

create opportunity for next gen

Good times

Limited recognition

More good times

Lame gig, but not internalized

Unexpected dry spell #2, but feeling great

Find a hobby or passion

Awesome gigs all in a row (or leave showbiz with no regrets)

Bliss

(This space reserved)


Troy DeVolld is a Larry Brody buddy, former senior story producer of Dancing with the Stars, and all-around true master of the reality TV genre. This article originally appeared on his Reality TV blog. And while you’re thinking about him, why not buy his book, Reality TV: An Insider’s Guide to TV’s Hottest Market?

Why TVWriter™ Loves The Onion

Yes, it’s true – we found this on munchman’s refrigerator door:

David Perlis: WHO AM I?

Q. Which of these gents is the real David Perlis? A. In a very real albeit artistic way, we at TVWriter™ say “All of them.”

by David Perlis

This blog was never supposed to be about screenwriting.

Well, maybe a bit. Because I write screenplays. But when I first created davidperlis.com, my goal was to write wandering David Perlis thoughts, and post David Perlis photos, and talk about David Perlis art and ideas and experiences.

Instead, it somehow turned into a full-force commentary on dramatic structure in screenplays. And I think that explains to a great extent my anxieties and self-doubt and overall directionless feeling these days. By the way, I’ve been filled with anxiety and self-doubt and directionless these days.

Somewhere along the way, I decided I was going to be a screenwriter. Beyond that, I started defining myself as a screenwriter. What do you do? I’m a screenwriter. What do you do for fun? I write screenplays. Wanna go to a concert this weekend? Can’t, working on a screenplay. This blog seems to be pretty good evidence of how singly I started viewing myself.

So it’s no wonder I’m feeling lost and down all the time. I’ve defined myself as something that has hardly panned out at all. No work. No pay. No WGA card. I don’t really understand dramatic structure (I don’t believe anyone who says they do), and what’s more—my enthusiasm for writing has waned considerably! I mean, I love it yes, but these days I’m far more likely to stress over a scene doesn’t work than celebrate those that do. And if these things have just become a symbol of myself, then it’s no goddamn wonder that I’m in such a rickety place.

I’ll be thirty in a few months. The twenties are a great time to explore paths and opportunities and fail…but thirty! Those who are older than I are sure to say, “Pah! You never stop learning or failing or trying new paths!” Thanks guys. But I’d still like to get some stuff figured out. Lemme tell ya, when you leave a comfortable job with wonderful people making decent money with benefits to move to Los Angeles and live out of your car eating green beans from a can for six months, you kinda question if you made the good choice.

I wonder if this whole idea of defining yourself by your job is an “American” thing. Isn’t there some old saying about American’s live to work, and everyone else works to live? Is that the problem? Anyway, I’m going to stop saying I’m a screenwriter, because the first person I need to convince is myself. That’s a literal statement. I have convinced myself I’m on a track that is my only track. I’m going to start with this blog. I’m going to post my nightly musings, and talk about my swing dance classes, and rage against the political madness going on right now. I’ll post essays and paintings, and I’ll remind myself that I like doing lots of things.

I’m not going to stop screenwriting—in fact, as soon as I hit publish on this post, I’m going to open up Final Draft and work on another project that I’ve got cooking. But it’s got to be for me. Even as I write this, I know I haven’t convinced myself of a word I’ve said, but it will be here, just a click away, for me to come back to and read if I need a reminder. Maybe you all need reminders, too.

I’m going to hit publish now. I haven’t looked back over this posting at all to revise or edit. That makes me cringe. But it’s time to let go and get on with things. So let’s get on with it.

Not David Perlis but another talented guy who stopped doing his thing way too soon. In other words, David – nooooooooo!


David Perlis is a screenwriter and former People’s Pilot Finalist doing his best to break into the even Bigger Time. This post first appeared on his very helpful blog.