Indie Video & Film: ‘Division’

by TVWriter™ Press Service

DIVISION is a short film about a young, interracial couple who find themselves in a long-distance relationship… even though they live in the same city.  In the sprawling city of Chicago, Michael and Camilla’s connection is tested by everything from Cubs traffic and Uber driver road rage, to OCD and work-life balance issues.

Cara Winter & George Ellzey Jr. are the co-Writers, Directors & Producers of DIVISION, working in collaboration with Director of Photography Leonardo Fallucca, and Alex Molnar, Associate Producer. As a team of Chicago-based filmmakers, they share an interest in telling compelling, authentic stories, with an eye towards inclusion and diversity.

Cara Winter  is a writer, director, and producer, and, back in the day, she was a frequent contributor to TVWriter™.  As a screenwriter, Cara’s original TV pilot, Evolution, won 1st Prize in the 2015 People’s Pilot, and is now represented by the LA-based management firm Bohemia Group.  Cara was also named one of ISA’s Top 100 Emerging Screenwriters of 2017.

George Ellzey, Jr. is an actor, writer and producer. Credits include Wait, I’m a Racist? (Rogue Shark Pictures), Off the Rails (Artigianale Films), the critically acclaimed Hellcab at The Den Theater, and producing Desperate, the TV series (RGE Entertainment).

Here at TVWriter™ we think very highly of Ms. Winter and Mr. Ellzey, and our confidence in them as creators is the reason we are recommending that TVWriter™ visitors “hie themselves over” (as LB used to say) to Indiegogo to learn more about Division and contribute what you can to help this dream project come true.


NOTE from Cara Winter: In just under three weeks, thanks to donations that ranged from $5 to $1,500, we’ve raised 30% of our total budget! Plus, award-winning editor Scott Jacobs has agreed to consult on Division. And both the Parent Artists Advocacy League and Moms In Film want to partner with us! We would love for all of you to be involved too!

“Cocky” Trademark Rescinded!

Remember a couple of weeks ago when we wrote about the author who trademarked the word “cocky” and demanded that all books that included it in the title be removed from the country’s bookshelves.  Here’s the latest on the situation and the furor it caused:

In other words, “Denied, denied, denied!”

Judge Denies Author Attempt to Trademark ‘Cocky’
by Jim Milliot

In a decision handed down late last week, Judge Alvin Hellerstein of the Southern District of New York denied a motion by an author requesting that a preliminary injunction be issued to prevent publication a number of books that include the word “cocky” in the title.

This spring, author Faleena Hopkins obtained a trademark registration of the word “cocky” in connection with her series of self-published romance novels, each featuring one of her Cocker Brothers characters. Before filing suit, Hopkins sought to block the sale of other romance books that included “cocky” in their title, and sent letters to authors telling them to change the title of their books. Hopkins also asked Amazon to pull other books featuring “cocky” in their titles from sale.

Although Hopkins had obtained her trademark, the law only allows trademarks in limited cases. The law prevents individual titles from being trademarked, only series titles, and allows that common words cannot be trademarked at all, unless they develop an association in the minds of the public with a particular source.

Following Hopkins’ letter-writing campaign and contact with Amazon, the Authors Guild and the Romance Writers Association separately requested that Amazon place the removed books back on sale….

Read it all at publishersweekly.com

LB’s NOTE: Modern culture is saved! I feel so much more secure now. Whew.

Tony Gilroy, writer of ‘The Bourne Identity,’ Schools Us About Using Our Imaginations

Wikipedia on Tony Gilroy:

Anthony Joseph Gilroy is an American screenwriter and filmmaker. He wrote the screenplays for the first four films of the Bourne series starring Matt Damon, among other successful films, and directed the fourth film of the franchise.

Don’t you just love people who not only know what they’re talking about, they fucking love it?

You’re gonna love Tony Gilroy:

More from BAFTA Guru

You can also find an interview with Mr. G on TVWriter™ HERE

What TV Can Teach You About Lazy Writing

The negativity inherent in the title of this article definitely captured our attention. After we read it, we felt that it would attract that of our visitors as well.

Bottom line: Yes, the writer of this article dishes on TV writing pretty well. But what she says is true. And what she recommends for writers is, well, absolutely on the proverbial money. (Yeah, using that old phrase was a fine example of “lazy writing.” But, well, you know….)

by Noelle Sterne

As a writers, you are sensitive to words. After all, they’re your currency. Even when you’re taking a break to watch TV, you may unconsciously be evaluating—with disdain or grudging admiration—the words you encounter. Developing sensitivity for lazy language can help you assuage any lingering guilt for taking breaks, especially with TV shows.

Admittedly a rationale for marathon TV watching, I discovered that television shows can teach valuable lessons in our writing, especially to spot those standard scripted sentences like “I want my lawyer,” “Crash cart, STAT,” and “We need to talk.” Once we recognize the penchant for too-easy language, we can learn from and avoid it in our writing.

Here I describe two types of lazy language and suggest lessons we can learn from them and remedies to apply in your own work.

Explicit, Ethan!

In an episode of “Raising the Bar,” a (belated) TV series about public defenders, a lawyer defends elderly twin brothers who have illegally cashed a deceased friend’s Social Security check. Instead of acknowledging the seriousness of their case and listening attentively, the brothers (played by actual old-time comedians) barrage the attorney with a constant stream of jokes.

One brother rattles off a story about an old man who goes to the doctor. When the doctor asks for samples of bodily substances, the patient replies, “Doc, just take my underwear.” The other brother shouts, “No, stupid! Underpants! Underpants! Specific is always funnier.”

Lesson: He’s right. Specific is also, well, more specific. How can you sharpen your language?

Remedy: Say you’re writing a mystery set in winter in Chicago about a man in dire circumstances. You’ve supplied enough of the backstory to show him believably forced to rob a shipment of expensive fur coats. You write, “Jeffrey pulled on his jacket and headed out the door.”

Given Jeffrey’s poor circumstances in a freezing Chicago night and his motive for his choice of robbery, the story is enlivened and our sympathies deepened when we know what kind of jacket he pulled on. His personal situation contrasts radically with what he’s robbing: “Jeffrey pulled on his windbreaker, much too thin in the brutal weather, and headed out the door.” Or, better: “Jeffrey pulled on his thin windbreaker, threading his hand into the torn left sleeve, and headed out the door.”

One Sentence Fits All

Today’s trendy colloquialisms show up in many television shows. A ubiquitous offender I’ve heard on almost every primetime show is a question with particularly annoying tortured syntax.

One example: In a series of TV movies adapted from Robert B. Parker’s Jesse Stone mystery novels, a Los Angeles homicide cop fired for drinking becomes sheriff of a small New England town. With recurring regulars and often absorbing plots, at some point almost every character asks another that same question….

Read it all at thewritepractice.com

Top TV Drama Showrunners Ruminate on Life, Death, and Their Workloads

How do you spot a successful TV drama showrunner? Look for somebody “on the verge of bad health and insanity.” We’re guessing that isn’t what the folks who bring us “Writers on the Verge” mean. Or is it?

by Lacey Rose

A gathering of top showrunners can quickly devolve into a type of therapy session about dealing with audience pressures and network demands. But when this sextet — The Looming Tower’s Dan Futterman, 50; Power’s Courtney Kemp, 41; The Crown’s Peter Morgan, 55; The Handmaid‘s Tale’s Bruce Miller, 53; The Good Doctor’s David Shore, 58; and The Chi’sLena Waithe, 33 — gathered on a late-April morning for The Hollywood Reporter‘s annual Drama Showrunner Roundtable, it managed to avoid the usual subjects of writerly angst, save some musings from Morgan, who lamented a U.K. system that doesn’t nurture writers rooms as well as U.S. shows do.

“You can’t find people in the U.K. [to write on your show]; everybody’s got their own show,” he explains. “And we’re in this era now of boom TV, so the most inexperienced, fledgling writers have got two or three shows on, and it’s like, ‘But he’s only 18.'” When it’s suggested, somewhat tongue-in-cheek, that by the time The Crown reaches the season about Meghan Markle, he’ll have had time to groom a room of writers, Morgan laughs: “I give you my word. I will not get to the Meghan Markle season.”

Over the course of an hour, the group talked instead about the value of writers room debates, the politics of who can tell what story, the future of pay parity and the lengths each of them is willing to go to for the sake of a truly safe set.

BRUCE MILLER The one that comes to mind is when I had a pitch that we were going to do a female genital mutilation story on Handmaid’s Tale. You don’t even know how to word anything, I’m just dancing around it as much as my upbringing would allow — and then you realize you’re doing it to Rory Gilmore! [Alexis Bledel starred in The Gilmore Girls before Handmaid’s.] But it was fine for them [at Hulu]; they loved it. I still haven’t recovered. I’m turning bright red just thinking about it.

COURTNEY KEMP I was very, very fortunate because the first show I ever pitched was Power.

LENA WAITHE Overachiever!

KEMP Yeah, I walked into the room with 50 Cent and, at that time, [the late music executive] Chris Lighty. It was like a hundred dudes and me. There were no other women. Everyone would sit down, and the people on the other side would go, “OK, so who am I listening to?” And I’d go, “Me, the girl from Connecticut, I’m going to pitch you the drug-dealing show.” It’s not a funny story, but it does speak to how much has changed, even in the past five years.

PETER MORGAN There isn’t such a culture of pitching in the U.K., so I pitched The Crown but really only to one or two people. [Of course,] when I wrote Frost/Nixon for the screen, I had a dozen unsuccessful pitches. Everybody thought it was a catastrophe….

Read it all at hollywoodreporter.com