munchman: How to Pitch to Asshat Showbiz Execs

by munchman

The original title of this post was the less inflammatory “How to Approach ‘Confident-Beyond-Competence’ Executives as a Creative,” but we here at TVWriter™ made the unilateral decision to, you know, cut to the chase.

Although, as your friendly neighborhood muncher thinks about it, I don’t believe you need this whole article to know how to deal with execs who don’t know nearly as much as they think you do. You just have to know how to do what everybody else in your position eventually learns: Pucker up, drop to your knees, and plant a few on their little hipster tushies.

But what the hell. We’re in for it now, so:

supplicants

by Pen Densham

I’ve met some people in my film career who don’t know, what they don’t know. They “do” know they are not doctors. So, they don’t invite you into their office and remove your heart to see if it works better when stuffed in your rectum.  But, when it comes to story they have no qualms about asking us to do that to a script, despite not being writers.

I call people like this, Confident-beyond-Competence (C-B-C).  They seem oblivious to the finer skills that we word-toilers and scene jugglers seem to understand.  I used to have difficulty dealing with these characters. There are no tests and licenses to be in our business. If they were plumbers, all their pipes would leak and they would put a toilet in every room because they saw one in last weekend’s hit movie.

But, sometimes being C-B-C is not a bad thing. We intricate thinkers may be debating ourselves to paralysis, while the C-B-C person will blithely sweep forward with a flawed concept and succeed, course correcting as they bang off walls.  So my position is not so much sour grapes, but the seeds of a truth.

Creativity comes in layers. The act of origination may be deeply subconscious and precious but when surfaced it responds to the tests of clarifications and additional insights, even from the apparently “less” gifted.  I have heard other writer’s put  it this way- one or two opinions are just that but several prove a “fact” that must be dealt with.

At some point in every creative endeavor we will have to sell our ideas.  It is inevitable, we are dreaming up experiences that cost millions to capture. Everyone is an audience. To succeed we have to be prepared to use as much creative problem solving in selling our work to those who do not yet understand it as they are brought to the task of creating it and course correcting so they have their questions answered. Even if not by rote, but by comprehending their underlying cause which can often be a very simple clarification.

Read it all at SSN Insider

munchman: Life Lessons from Power Rangers

If you’re just reaching the neighborhood of being 30 years old, chances are that there was a time in your life when you watched the hell out of POWER RANGERS while your mother shook her head sadly and muttered something like, “Such a terrible waste of time….”

Well, we’re here to tell you that it wasn’t a waste of time at all. It was awesome prep for your future. (Whaddaya think of that, Ma? Oops, no, I didn’t say anything. Nope, not me. This guy, OTOH:

power rangersby Eric Ravenscraft

Kids shows are pretty cheesy. Power Rangers, doubly so. The idea of learning real, adult life lessons from the shows we loved as kids sounds silly, but sometimes things stick with you. Here’s what the Power Rangers taught me that actually stuck around. Seriously.

Don’t Let Other People Make You Feel Like Crap

Bullying isn’t a new trope for kids shows. In my day, though, there was no one who epitomized the nerdy stereotype more than Billy, the Blue Ranger. His role on the show was to be an egghead, despite the show’s heavy emphasis on solving problems by punching them. In the early episodes, people couldn’t even understand the way he talked. He needed someone else to translate his geek-speak into human words.

Being a nerd came with a lot of self-esteem issues, especially in the 90s, before being “geeky” became cool. The Rangers addressed this often, but it was especially poignant in an episode called Dark Warrior. In this episode, Billy gets bullied by the disgustingly lovable Bulk and Skull (again). Finally, he’s had it. He decides to learn martial arts to defend himself. At the end of the episode, though, he doesn’t use his newfound skills to take down the bullies (Trini’s invisible uncle takes care of that). Instead, he says, “I really just needed to prove to myself that I could do it.” In the end, what he felt about himself was more important than what others felt about him.

This was one of the hardest things to learn once I started writing professionally. Writing for the internet is extremely public. For a long time, I wanted to write, but I was terrified of putting myself out there. Best case scenario, my work would be read by a lot of people, many of whom would probably hate and mock it. Worst case, it wouldn’t get read at all. Neither felt like it would be good for my self-esteem. It would be a lot safer to just do my boring office job and keep my work to myself.

Billy never would’ve done that, though. Billy wanted to be part of the team, to make himself better and take chances. For a shy, scrawny nerd, he did rather well for himself. As the show went on, Billy became a better fighter and a better communicator. Oh, and he invented all kinds of gadgets the team needed, including their communicators, teleporters, and a freaking flying car. Rather than let the opinions of other people push him around, he used his skills to make the team better. Sitting out the fight wasn’t an option.

This lesson took on an even more sombre note when I became an adult and found out why David Yost, the actor who played Billy, eventually left the show. Off screen, David was bullied for his sexuality by producers and other crew members. Knowing that he was bullied off screen just as much as on screen hurt the child in me. At the same time, it made the lesson I learned from him all the more powerful. Despite the abuse, he stuck around for nearly 200 episodes and a movie. He was the only ranger to appear in every single episode of the Mighty Morphin series, and he was the second-longest running ranger ever. Being pushed around, insulted, and mocked never convinced him to stop doing his best work.

Read it all

WGAW March 2015 Calendar of Events

MUNCHMAN’S NOTE: Here ya go, WGAers, all the ways the Writers Guild of America, West can come up with to keep you happy, healthy, and wise this month.

Whoa, munchikins almost wrote “…this mouth” instead of “month” above. What can that mean?

Anyway:

wgaw-march-calendar

Read the clickable version HERE

munchman: The Best Batman Image Evah!

Can’t help myself. I love this gif:

BatmanNo

Dunno what anybody else thinks it’s about. Or what the artist intended, but to me this is Bats as God, both caring and vengeful. I mean, I think that’s a tiny smile there at the corners of his Bat Mouth – but I can’t be sure.

The ambiguity is okay, though. Cuz when you’re searching for God you aren’t really supposed to understand what you find. Just ask Camus. Or Sartre. Or David Bowie. Or the doods that produced LOST.

While we’re at it, if anybody out there can tell us who created this masterpiece, let us know. You never know: You just might get a prize. (You definitely will get one. For reals.)

And now, back to the usual fare at TVWriter™!

About James Garner

A lot has been written in the past week about James Garner and his illustrious career. But probably the most complete – and completely entertaining – obit/bio the TVWriter™ minions have seen appeared last weekend from the sometimes hemorrhagic but always magical keyboard of Our Favorite Brit Blogger, Keef Telly Topping Himself:

by Keith Telly Topping

The TopsterThe film and TV legend James Garner has died at age eighty six, TMZ has reported. The star of The Rockford Files and The Great Escape was found dead when an ambulance arrived at his Los Angeles home around 8pm on Saturday evening. Amiable and handsome, James Garner obtained success in both films and television, often playing variations of the same charming anti-hero or conman persona he first developed in Maverick, the offbeat Western series which shot him to stardom in the late 1950s. ‘I’m a Spencer Tracy-type actor,’ he once noted. ‘His idea was to be on time, know your words, hit your marks and tell the truth. Most every actor tries to make it something it isn’t looks for the easy way out. I don’t think acting is that difficult if you can put yourself aside and do what the writer wrote.’ Born James Scott Bumgarner in Norman, Oklahoma in April 1928, James was the youngest of three children. His two older brothers were the actor Jack Garner (1926 to 2011) and Charles Bumgarner, a school administrator who died in 1984. Their mother, who was said to be of part Cherokee descent, died when James was five years old and James grew to hate his stepmother, Wilma, who allegedly beat all three boys. When he was fourteen, Garner had finally had enough and after a particularly heated battle, she left for good. James’ brother Jack commented, ‘She was a damn no-good woman.’ Shortly after the break-up of the marriage, James’s father, Weldon, a carpet layer, moved to Los Angeles, while Garner and his brothers remained in Norman with relatives. After working at several jobs he disliked, at sixteen Garner joined the Merchant Marine near the end of World War II. In 1995, he received an honorary doctorate from The University of Oklahoma, in his home town. When speaking at the event he took the opportunity to remind the officials who had invited him to speak, of the circumstances of his original departure. ‘It’s nice to be invited back as a VIP after being run out of town on a rail!’ At seventeen, he joined his father in LA and enrolled at Hollywood High School where a gym teacher recommended him for a job modelling bathing suits. ‘I made twenty five bucks an hour,’ James recalled. ‘That’s why I quit school. I was making more money than the teachers. I never finished the ninth grade!’ He never did graduate, explaining in a 1976 Good Housekeeping magazine interview: ‘I was a terrible student, but I got my diploma in the Army.’ He served in Korea for fourteen months with the Fifth Regimental Combat Team. He was wounded twice, firstly in the face and hand from shrapnel fire from a mortar round and secondly in the buttocks due to ‘friendly fire’ from US fighter jets as he dived head first into a foxhole. James was awarded the Purple Heart for the first injury (and not, as often inaccurately reported, for ‘getting shot in the arse’, a story which James himself reportedly enjoyed telling gullible journalists). Jim Rockford AKA the Rockman (or not)He did, finally, receive a second Purple Heart in 1983, thirty two years after his injury. Garner was a self-described ‘scrounger’ for his company in Korea, a role which he later played in The Great Escape and The Americanisation of Emily. In 1954 a friend, Paul Gregory, whom James had met while attending school, persuaded Garner to take a non-speaking role in the Broadway production of The Caine Mutiny Court Martial, where he was able to closely study Henry Fonda in the lead role. Garner subsequently moved to television commercials and eventually to TV drama roles. His first movie appearances were in The Girl He Left Behindand Toward The Unknown both in 1956. After several further minor movie roles, includingSayonara with Marlon Brando, Garner got his big break on TV playing the part of the professional gambler Bret Maverick in the comedy Western series Maverick. James was earlier considered for the lead role in another Warner Brothers Western series, Cheyenne, but that role went to Clint Walker because the casting director reportedly couldn’t reach Garner in time (this, according to Garner’s autobiography).

For more about James Garner in what may be the interweb’s longest paragraph, ya gotta go HERE.

munchman: I miss the “Plot Robot”

Admit it. You know you want one:

plot.robot.tvwriter.netFound in Wasn’t the Future Wonderful

munchman: Ain’t No Such Thing as Job Security for Writers

The Evil Capitalist Villain who fired our Jay!

The Evil Capitalist Villain who fired our Jay! BOO!!!

Ye Munchie One has just confirmed that Jay Gibson, the head writer for the WWE (that’s a huge wrestling network in case you don’t know) has been axed due to “budget cuts.”

I can’t imagine that anybody reading this is surprised to learn that wrestling uses writers, but did you know that Jay is in fact an Emmy winning writer for his work as both a writer and producer on the daytime serial THE YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS? In other words, the dude’s the real deal when it comes to TV writing and he’s been discarded, at least twice, like a piece of used kleenex.

munchman appreciates this message from what clearly is The Hand of God and will heed its meaning. In other words, I’m saving my $$$ and am encouraging everybody I know who’s in the occasionally wonderful world we call the show biz to do the same.

And now it’s time to hoist one in commiseration with the Jayster, who hath given moi so much emotional – and bloody – pleasure with the way he plotted the twists and turns of TV wrestling’s saga!

(What? It’s only 8 o’clock in the morning? That’ll do.)

munchman

munchman

 

 

 

Wait! I just had a thought! (Yeppers, that happens once in awhile.) What if this is just another WWE scripted moment? An edgy breach of the 4th wall? Way to go, Jay baby!