Diana Vacc sees “The Greatest Showman”

by Diana Vaccarelli


December 20, 2017, Twentieth Century Fox released the The Greatest Showman, a rare foray into the movie musical genre (even after the success of a certain little film called LaLa Land.  The Greatest Showman tells the tale of P.T Barnum, celebrates the birth of show business and the visionary man who brought the curious to life.


  • I was truly impressed by the original songs written by Justin Paul and Beji Pasek.  The music in this films is represented of today and can easily play on pop radio.  It makes you want to get up and dance. My favorite number is This is Me performed the Keala Settle.  This song recently won the Golden Globe for best original song.  It is about accepting, loving yourself, and that you are worthy of love in return.  The scene in which this song is performed is powerful to watch.
  • Hugh Jackman performance as P.T. Barnum is superb.  He not only acts, he sings and dances.  He truly amazed me in this role.  I’m glad others can see how talented he is.
  • I did enjoy the love story between Philip Carlyle (Zac Efron) and Anne Wheeler (Zendaya).  The interracial relationship during this time period was difficult but this doesn’t affect the couple as they manage to come together in the end.
  • Lets chat about the script, it was definately entertaining story.  A tales the masses will love since its doing so well at the box office.


  • I was disappointed that the film neglects to show the relationship P.T. Barnum had with James A. Bailey and how they teamed up.


If you’re a fan of the movie musical and pure fun then this film is for you.

Diana Vaccarelli is TVWriter™’s Critic-at-Large and a student in the TVWriter™ Online Workshop. Find out more about her HERE

Indie Video: MY TOP 6 TIPS That Can Make You a Better Writer

We here at TVWriter™ are in agreement on two things about this video. The tips are sound, kids, and when you watch this video you’ll learn even more about attitude.

More Tim Knox tips on creativity, writing, and probably buried in their somewhere the secret of the universe as well are HERE

The Ultimate Flowchart to Using Apostrophes

Infographic by Jennifer Frost

The Ultimate Flowchart to Using Apostrophes (Infographic)
Source: www.grammarcheck.net

Hey, we said it was the ultimate flowchart on using apostrophes, not the easiest one to use, right?

But we’re still fans of Grammarcheck!

Bri Castellini: ‘Buy In: a reflection over a year in the making’ – @brisownworld

by Bri Castellini

In November 2016, after a conversation I can’t fully recall, my friend Colin Hinckley and I decided to write a horror short film together. He’d just finished a stint as Carl in season 2 of Brains and as Kevin in Ace and Anxious and we knew we enjoyed working together and that we were both writers. He was a big fan of horror and I’d been wanting to try my own hand at it, so it was decided: a short film in the horror genre with an idea of our production restrictions in mind as we developed the script.

We knew we wanted to keep the cast small, the location singular, and the horror psychological, and within a month we’d written the first draft of what would become Buy In, following a charming young salesman and a strange, lonely traveler who find themselves locked in a struggle for control over their own destinies.

Colin and I wrote and produced the script together, with him starring as Roger (the “strange, lonely traveler”) and me directing. This is my thank you blog to everyone involved in making our most involved project to date come to life.

First, to Colin, my co-writer and fellow executive producer. I could not have asked for a better partner in this absolutely insane endeavor. We’re the perfect balance, you clear-headed and genre smart, me insane and hyper paranoid. I’ve learned so much from working with you this past year, about writing, about horror, and about teamwork, and I can’t wait to show the world the amazing thing we made together.

This project straight up would not even be a spark in my brain without you, let alone this phenomenal series of clips in my hard drive. Plus, as an actor, you know I love working with you. Your ability to go from sweet to sinister in a millisecond is both impressive and terrifying.

Next, to my ever-patient DP Brandon Smalls, who has been my DP in every directing endeavor I’ve attempted. Your eye for frame and your ability to communicate camera ideas to me in spite of my complete ignorance about terminology is truly next level. Your job is hard enough, with how physically demanding hoisting that massive camera rig can be, and yet you’re always quick with a smile and a joke to diffuse the pain and general stresses of being on set. You make my vague visions into something concrete and beautiful, and our first dramatic project together is going to look great almost entirely because of you.

Tai Collins is a sound magician, and a major contributor to our wrapping production so early in 2018. You pushed us to make this project in this timeline, and I’m glad you did, because holy crap it looks and sounds awesome. Thank you for somehow holding that massive boom pole steady, helping us gaff and grip that tiny, insane hotel room, and literally always having a solution when our wheels are spinning out of control. Even though I had very little to do with it, I’m really honored to have been your first film set as a sound technician (on Ace and Anxious) and I’m so glad we got to work together again.

Marshall Taylor Thurman, I don’t think I’ll ever be done saying nice things about you. You’re one of the most captivating actors to watch, and I can’t believe this is my third time having the honor to direct one of your performances. One of my favorite things about working with you is how you challenge me- you don’t just let me say things, you ask questions, and force me to justify my tweaks as they integrate with your character’s overall motivations. I can’t get away with being lazy around you, and your attention to character detail makes me a better director. Thank you.

Mae Mitchell and I didn’t meet until our first Buy In table read, but I’d seen her in a play a few weeks prior and fell immediately in love. It’s no secret I have a tendency to craft a very particular kind of female character, and Mae captures that sensibility perfectly. Not only were you perfect in your part, Mae, but you were an absolute joy to work with. You were always able to tweak performance and blocking to fit the needs of the film without missing a beat, and without losing the core of your character’s needs and motivations. You also don’t take anyone’s shit, which worked on a performance level and a general level, due to our kind of bro-y set. This was the first time we’ve gotten to work together, but I sincerely hope it won’t be the last.

Tai e-introduced me to Kelly Robinson, because we knew we needed a gaffer (lighting person) for our first dramatic project, especially since it was horror and horror has very particular lighting needs. Kelly was only on set on Friday, to help us test and set the looks we’d use the rest of the weekend, and her help was absolutely invaluable. Lighting is one of those things that seems like it’d be simple- point lights at actor, film scene, done- but it never, ever is.

With Kelly’s help, we managed to make a tiny, weird hotel room into a perfect, dramatic staging area, letting the light play off the characters in subtle and visually fascinating ways, making it almost a fourth character. Plus, I’ve never seen someone on any of our sets pin up a blackout curtain so effectively and efficiently. Ours always fall down at least five or six times a day, and yours fell only once, after staying up for 36 hours straight. Are you a sorcerer?? We’ll revisit that later, because I hope our professional and artistic paths cross again soon.

A few shout outs are definitely in order for Aidan Wallace, Jonathan Kaplan, and Garrett Brown, who each donated a bit of money to help offset some of the costs of production (in this case, tape, snacks, and extension cords). You three, all from different parts of my life, are some of my most supportive artistic champions, and I love you all.

Finally, thank you to Quinn Ramsay, my partner, who let me mooch off his office printing privileges to get hard copies of my shot lists and scripts and who made me food after set each night after I collapsed on the couch, to Lauren Wells and Chris Cherry and Rebecca McDonald who all contributed thoughts and love early on in the development of this film, and to Hotel RL in Bed-Stuy, who had no idea we were filming a movie in one of their rooms and whose cleaning crew was weirdly loud sometimes but whose space allowed us to make this little film without completely going broke.

This is my first truly dramatic piece of film, the most challenging project I’ve ever completed, and I honestly can not think of a better way to start 2018. I hope to have something to show you all soon.

Bri Castellini is an indie filmmaker and Community Liaison at Stareable, our favorite web series hub. This article was originally published on Bri’s most excellent blog, the eponymous Bri’sOwnWorld. (Complete with the pics we left out in our oh-so-clever attempt to encourage you to click over to Bri’s world. Oh, and while you’re surfing, watch Bri’s award-winning web series, Brains, HERE


Podcasting for Fun and Profit

There’s a whole new world of opportunity out there, gang. Agents, managers, studios, and networks are looking for new talent in places they never would have considered before.

No longer do you have to scrimp and save and borrow and – ulp – steal to shoot your own indie film and hope for the best. You don’t even have to scrimp, save, borrow and steal slightly less and make your own web series.

Instead – it’s time to start podcasting. With minimal equipment and moolah, you can record your own audio dramas (which we’ll be talking about a lot more on TVWriter™ in weeks to come). And with even less than that you can go straight into the podcasting business and earn some income while you wait for lightning to strike.

Or so Forbes tells us. And those rich bidness-type folks over there wouldn’t lie, would they? Gotta be honest to work as closely as they do with, you know, bankers, right? Anyway:

Dammit, munchman, we said podcasting, not pod!!!

How Aaron Mahnke Makes A Living Podcasting (And How You Can, Too)
by Sarah Rhea Werner

Confession time: I don’t know how to feel about the whole “podcast monetization” conversation.

On the one hand, I think creators should be paid fairly for their work. And if you’re a podcaster, you know: podcasting is a ton of hard work.

On the other hand, there’s supply and demand. I didn’t create any of my podcasts because people were clamoring for them. I created them because I wanted to share a positive message and learn about audio production. I’m not sure it’s reasonable to enter a market with a product no one has asked for (and which is being given away for free en masse) and feel entitled to payment for it.

So I’m torn. I’m well aware that this is Forbes (a business and finance magazine), but I also know that money doesn’t always make things better. In fact, it can easily distract, consume, and corrupt us, and get us into a clickbait-y, content-factory mindset—where the need for revenue-driving clicks outweighs the need to say something important.

 Getting into podcasting “for the money” is like getting into animal rescue or becoming a nun for the big bucks. If all you want is money, there are a thousand better ways to go about getting it.

That being said, many podcasters dream of leaving their day job(s) and podcasting full-time. So I chatted with Lore‘s Aaron Mahnkeabout how he managed to do it. Turns out it takes (brace yourself) a lot of careful planning and a ton of hard work….

Read it all at Forbes

How-to-be-good TV: “The Good Place”

There was a time not all that long ago when a network executive could leap up on his or her high horse, throw down a script and scream to those assembled below: “Every scene in this is about something! We can’t do a show like that!”

But now:

by Melanie McFarland

he Trolley Problem” is type of episode a person recommends to demonstrate to an uninitiated potential viewer what’s best about the series in question —“The Good Place,” in this case — and, just maybe, to call attention to their own cleverness. It refers to a thought experiment that asks a person to choose between saving five people in danger of being killed by a trolley by switching tracks and killing one person on the other side, or allowing the train to continue on its course.

In this comedy set in the afterlife a former professor of moral philosophy, Chidi (William Jackson Harper), attempts to explain the concept to the otherworldly architect of The Good Place, Michael (Ted Danson), as the central point of an ethics lesson.

The question illustrates two ethical viewpoints: utilitarianism, doing the greatest good for as many people as possible, and deontology, doing as much good as possible while being conscious of the actions taken to do it. This is not a concept I knew off the top of my head, by the way. My husband the philosophy buff had to explain it to me while we watched it.

I tuned him out, though, because I was more delighted by the all-powerful Michael’s reaction. Professing to be unclear on the lesson he created a reenactment of the problem for Chidi, himself and Chidi’s soul-mate Eleanor Shellstrop (Kristen Bell) to experience in all its variations. The trolley would kill five, spare one, and reset. The trolley would kill the single person, save the five, and reset.

Then Michael spices it up: What if he knew the guy on the other track? How about if it were five Shakespeares? Each time the simulated victims would explode a shower of blood and guts all over a Chidi shocked into silence. It was a tremendous sight gag that would have gone on forever if Eleanor hadn’t figure out that Michael wasn’t learning any lessons about being good at all. He was torturing Chidi and figuring out how long he could push it until he got caught.

In that a single broad stroke “The Good Place” thrilled the philosophy nerd sitting next to me while incapacitating me, a couch potato for whom Jean-Paul Sartre’s play “No Exit” in high school represents the extent of my philosophy education, with belly-bruising laughter….

Read it all at Salon

The Drunk Guy’s Guide to Every Hollywood Movie Ever Made

Found on Twitter:

Ed Solomon has had a hell of a career. We think you should follow him on Twitter – @ed_solomon – just like we do.