Larry Brody: Live! From Paradise! #42 – “The Angel of Arkansas”

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THE USUAL NOTE FROM LB: From the summer of 2002 to  the spring of 2010, Gwen the Beautiful and I were the proud and often exhausted owners of a beautiful Ozarks property we called Cloud Creek Ranch.

In many ways, the ranch was paradise. But it was a paradise with a price that started going up before we even knew it existed. Here’s another Monday musing about our adventure and the lessons we learned.

Oh, and if y’all detect any irony, please believe me when I say it comes straight from the universe and not your kindly Uncle Larry B.

by Larry Brody

I spent last night in Conway, at the home of Wanda Fincher, the Angel of Arkansas.

If ever a human being deserved sainthood, it’s Wanda, who would go to her death denying she deserved any honors not bestowed on everyone else.

From the very first time this tall, dark-haired, string bean of a gal wrapped her strong arms around me and gave me a typical Wanda hello I knew I was in the presence of someone special.

Raised as an orphan in the little town of Walnut Ridge, for a while Wanda took the last name of her first husband—Lovelady—and being a loving lady is what she’s all about.

The calling that took her out of Walnut Ridge was nursing. Wanda became an Air Force nurse. She’s divorced now. Never had any children. But Wanda’s raised zillions of foster kids.

Not official ones, that the county gives you. Unofficial sons and daughters. Drop-offs from shamed mothers. Babysitting jobs that ran years instead of hours.

She adopts adults as well. Through her church, Wanda became involved in an outreach program for convicts, and countless parolees have lived on her big lakeside property. Just as she’s cared for the abandoned children, so Wanda has watched over these troubled grown-ups. She’s gotten them jobs and, several times, spouses as well.

Wanda has never met anyone she didn’t love in the best way, and if you love people you’ve got to help them, right?

Need money but can’t go to the bank because your credit’s deader than a flattened rabbit? Have a drug habit you can’t shake? In pain over abuse you were afraid to report?

All you’ve got to do is run into Wanda somewhere, and the minute she finds out your problem she does what she’s got to do. Often without you even knowing.

When Gwen the Beautiful first went blind, Wanda was at our ranch every week, bringing us the next week’s worth of meals and cleaning our house.

She brought a gardener too, and plants from a nursery owned by a couple she helped get started. Why, she even tried to get Chet the Unhandyman a job!

Wanda’s not just a goody-goody. She’s smart and funny and does the kind of physical comedy that could’ve made her the Lucille Ball of the South. Why tell a story when she can act it out?

Which isn’t to say that she’s a quiet woman. Wanda knows how to talk, all right. Even Robin Williams would have to let her have the floor.

What brought me to Wanda’s last night was her standing offer of the finest in hospitality. I’d dropped Gwen off in Hot Springs for a weekend with some old friends, and just couldn’t stand the thought of the long, lonely drive home.

It was a typical Wanda evening. We had dinner with her two nieces, Sarah and Charla, who live in Wanda’s guest house while they’re going to college in town. And with her next door neighbor, Ashley.

And her best buddy Freddie and Freddie’s teenage son. And another buddy, Linda the Private Detective.

Oh, and another friend, David, who mistakenly thought this was Bible study night, but stayed for the laughter and the eats.

And there was a lot of laughter.

Especially when Gwen called and Wanda told her, “You can be proud of your husband, lady. He’s here with five women, and hasn’t hardly laid a finger on one. ‘Course the other four’re powerful tired…”

But this morning when I was leaving, Wanda looked troubled.

“Lordy,” she said. “I’ve got all these ideas. Half-written books. But the only writing I’ve been able to finish was writing I did for other people. People who’re famous authors. While I’m just the ol’ gal from Walnut Creek.

“Sometimes,” she said, “it breaks my heart, to not be known as the writer I am.”

Then she shook it off. “But not now! Lordy, not now!” and with a hug and a little kiss she pushed me into my truck.

As I drove home I thought about what Wanda had said, and how much I disagreed. She’s every bit as good with words as those people she worked for. And, books or no books, everyone who knows her—including Almighty God—knows what a brilliant author Wanda Fincher is.

We know it by the way—every moment of every day—the energy-filled Angel of Arkansas writes her loving, giving, hilarious, and utterly bodacious life.

Writers Guild of America-Association of Talent Agents Saga Continues

by Larry Brody

The latest development, per the Writers Guild of America West Board of Directors:

Dear Member,

We are happy to announce the launch of the WGA’s Weekly Feature Memo.

Every Friday, the Guild will send out a list of available specs and pitches to producers and development execs, via a subscription email.

You simply submit your logline to the Guild. The submissions will be organized by genre. Any producer wanting to read your spec, hear your pitch, or set a general meeting will be able to contact you via a link to the Find-a-Writer Database.

The Weekly Feature Memo is available to Current, Post-Current and Associate Members. Each member can make up to two submissions a month.  Submissions received by noon Wednesday each week will be sent out each Friday (except for holiday weekends). Any submission received after the Wednesday deadline will be held for the following week.

The first edition will be sent out Friday, April 26, 2019.

You can find the submission form here.

You must be logged in to MyWGA to access the form and there is also a link in the MyWGA menu to the form.

In Solidarity,

WGAW Board of Directors

And from Mary McNamara, Los Angeles Times culture columnist and critic:

In the early stages of the current war between the Writers Guild of America and the Assn. of Talent Agents, it was difficult for anyone who was not a writer or talent agent to get terribly worked up.

Screenwriters are not coal miners fighting for safety measures, and talent agents aren’t teachers who’d like to earn a decent living for once. This isn’t a strike; no one has to worry about late-night hosts ad-libbing through their scraggly beards.

But now? Now it’s gotten completely insane.

For those of you who haven’t been following, the WGA (for which, until recently, my husband worked as a magazine editor) wants the talent agencies to sign a new code of conduct to ensure the agents do their jobs — getting their clients the best deals possible — and that’s it. No using clients as part of an overall package deal or working with affiliated production companies; too often, the WGA contends, these practices result in writers getting shafted.

The ATA says the agencies will not be signing any such code because the WGA is not the boss of them and writers actually benefit from packaging, which has been going on for years.

So the WGA instructed its members to fire their agents, which almost all of them have, and announced it is suing the four major talent agencies.

In response, the ATA accused the WGA of trying to throw Hollywood into “predetermined chaos” and instructed its members to keep a list of any writers trying to get work without using an agent because, according to ATA reps, this is illegal.

So just to recap: Writers are unhappy with how major talent agencies have been repping them. When confronted with this, the agents refused to make any changes, so the writers fired them. Now the agencies are saying the writers cannot do this because, according to them, writers are legally boundto be represented by people who they believe are shafting them.

Even by Hollywood standards, this is Absolutely Insane….

Read it all at latimes.com


Let me repeat that last bit above. “Even by Hollywood standards, this is Absolutely Insane.”

As one lowlife, insignificant writer-serf to another, I gotta tell you, I’m feeling more like we’re trapped in Spartacus every day.

But our version of the film will have a much better ending. Because writers aren’t the powerless supplicant-rebels here. We’re the talent that no film or TV series can do without.

More than mere gladiators, we’re legionaries and we’re on the march.

In Solidarity,

LB & Team TVWriter™

 

 

10 Most Viewed TVWriter™ Posts of the Week – April 22, 2019

Happy Monday everybody!

Hope you’ve had a great weekend. Time now for TVWriter™’s latest look at our most popular blog posts and resource pages during the week ending yesterday. They are, in order:

How To Write The Perfect TV Series Review To Captivate Your Readers

Writing the Dreaded Outline

‘The Following’ Season 4 was Cancelled by Fox Because the TV Series Became a Victim of Lazy Writing!

WGA Files Suit Against Big 4 Agencies re Packaging Fees

8 Tips for Writing for Children’s TV Shows

Empty Promises: My experience submitting scripts to Amazon Studios

Corporal Punishment and Primetime TV

How to Write a Script for an Animated Show

SPIDER-MAN UNLIMITED SECOND SEASON ARC

PEOPLE’S PILOT Writing Contest

Big thanks to everybody for helping us have another terrific week at TVWriter™. Don’t forget to click above and read what you missed and re-read what you loved!

Technology vis a vis Creativity: We ain’t seen nuthin’ yet!

Andrew Price on “How A.I. will change the 3D industry.” And that, friends, will be happening after 3D has brought our current 2D industry to its knees.

Who is Andrew Price? Check him out HERE

The Blender YouTube channel is HERE

Last Week in Cord Cutting

More cord cutting news for all you crazy, zany refugees from the tyranny of satellite and cable TV, from Luke Bourna at CordCuttersNews. FWIW, Roku still doesn’t move us – too many mandatory add-ons, in our experience, and a service as underused as YouTube TV raising its price? Sheesh, doods, get a clue: