Habits that ruin your happiness

Writing is difficult enough in and of itself, so the last thing we need is to sit down at our desks (or coffee shop tables) and feel miserable before we even think of the first word. Here’s some good advice on being positive from…aw, you guessed it, The Positivity Blog.

7 Small Habits That Will Steal Your Happiness
by Henrik Edberg

“Simply put, you believe that things or people make you unhappy, but this is not accurate. You make yourself unhappy.”
Wayne Dyer

“Very little is needed to make a happy life; it is all within yourself, in your way of thinking.”
Marcus Aurelius

It is usually pretty easy to become a happier person.

It is also quite easy to rob yourself of your own happiness. To make yourself more miserable and add a big bowl of suffering to your day. It is a common thing, people do it every day all over the world.

So this week I’d like to combine these two things. I want to share 7 happiness stealing habits that I have had quite a bit of trouble with in my own daily life (and I know from the emails I get that many of you do too).

But I’d also like to add what you can do instead if you find yourself being stuck in one of these destructive habits.

1. Going for a daily swim in a sea of negative voices.

This one can be quite subtle.

You just go around in your daily life like you usually do. Hang out with the same people. Listen to the same podcasts or radio shows, watch the same old TV-shows and read the usual blogs, books and magazines.

But what influence do these things have over your thinking and the limits you set for yourself and what you feel you deserve in life?

What to do instead:

Make a list of the 5 people you hang out with the most and the 5 media sources you spend most time on during your week.

Then ask yourself this for each of these 10 things/people: is this one dragging me down or lifting me up in life?

Consider spending less time with the ones that drag you down (or cut them out completely) and to spend more of your time with the people and sources that lift you up and make you feel good, motivated etc.

If you have trouble getting started with this one, then go smaller. Take a few minutes to think about what one person or source that has the biggest negative impact on you. And how you can start to spend less time with it/him/her this week….

Read it all at positivityblog.com

The Unsung Father of Pop Art

Possibly the most influential American artist of the second half of the 20th Century died two weeks ago, and just about nobody – zip, zilch, nada – knew his name.

We’re talking about Russ Heath, a true master of comic book – and strip – art, who lent his brilliant touch of exaggerated realism to pages published by every major comics house in the U.S. including EC, DC, Marvel, Warren, National Lampoon, and many more including Playboy.

The thing about Heath is that although he wasn’t a big star under his own name, his work affected hundreds of thousands of comics fans and millions of members of the general public…because one of the fans of Heath’s comics was Roy Lichtenstein, who based much of his groundbreaking pop artwork on Heath’s panels…never acknowledging their source publicly or financially.

We meant to write about the situation along with an “RIP Russ Heath” piece in August, but two things prevented us.

One was that the past month has been filled with the deaths of talented artists, writers, actors, musicians, and although our editor, Munchman, isn’t known for his sensitivity, he just couldn’t face so many losses.

The other reason we didn’t say anything about Heath and his career is that Heath himself did it better than we ever could in the following piece for Hero Initiative,  an organization that supplies financial and other aid to “comic creators in need.” Here’s Heath’s short remembrance of the way he was fucked over…and also the way he survived:

More about Russ Heath’s life and work is HERE
The New York Times insightful obituary is HERE
Find out more about Hero Initiative and how you can lend your support HERE

Audio Drama and the Invisible Wall

It’s podcasting! It’s radio! It’s audio drama! And audio comedy too! Whatever you call it, radio style fictional series are having a very big year on the interwebs. Big enough, in fact, so that our very own PEOPLE’S PILOT 2018 Writing Competition has a category (and special prizes and discount entry fees) for the writers working their butts off in this glorious revival.

Which brings us to this post sent to us by good friend Bob Tinsley about how to write your audio comedy, audio drama, radio, or podcast better than you’re probably writing it or them now:


by Gabrielle Watts

The idea of the fourth wall in theatre is a result, in part, of the writing of 18th century French critic and philosopher Denis Diderot – and the contribution his writing made to the rise of theatrical realism. Diderot advocated for a more natural style of acting – as if real events were happening in front of an audience that could be observed through a transparent fourth wall of the room in which they’re taking place. This notion led to the more ‘traditional’ set up of Western theatre we’re used to now – in which the fancifully termed proscenium arch is the frame through which a play is often observed, and there’s a clearly defined stage area emphasized by things like curtains and lighting.

Over time, the fourth wall has come to represent, metaphorically speaking, the line between fiction and non-fiction. The fourth wall is the barrier between our world and the world of wizards, zombies and time machines. When we forget about it, by our own choice or otherwise, these worlds can feel as close as the other side of a wardrobe. When we remember it, they’re as distant as a galaxy far, far away. The fourth wall simultaneously allows us to go wherever our minds can carry us, and reminds us that what we’re imagining isn’t real.

This is the difference between more and less realistic theatre in almost any format. Some podcasts thrive on reminding their audience that they are in no way meant to be believed (see for example, Wait, Wait, Don’t Kill Me), some relish a format which mimics realism as closely as possible whilst continuing to be definitively surreal (see Limetown). Ultimately, these are variations on a theme which can be used to create any number of results.

One of the many brilliant things about audio drama is that you do not need a Hollywood blockbuster’s budget in order to take your listeners thousands of years into the future, into a different dimension, or into a world of magic. It is perhaps for this reason that science fiction and radio have enjoyed such a long and successful partnership, from The War of the Worlds and The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy to Wolf 359 to Ars Paradoxica.

In podcasting, and radio in general, perhaps more so than in any other medium, it’s easy to ignore the fourth wall – or specifically, the need to constantly convince your listeners to suspend their disbelief.

First and foremost, this is because often the fourth wall as a physical framing device: whether it’s the edge of a stage or a television screen, simply isn’t there. If someone is listening to a radio, they do not need to keep physically interacting with the device through which they’re experiencing the fourth wall….

Read it all at internationalpodcastmonth.com


Building Your Creative Confidence

All of us are creative, but not all of us have enough confidence to let those powerful inner juices flow. Here’s some advice to put you on the right path:

The TED Channel strikes again! (“Talks” again? Which is more, um, creative?)

More about good ole reliable TED is HERE


It’s Humanitas Prize Time!

Our  second favorite favorite TV and film writing contest. (You all know what the first placer is, right, wink, wink?) The only drawback to the Humanitas Prize Awards is that they’re for produced material only.

Have at it, all you deserving pros!

from TVWriter™ Press Service
via Writers Guild of America West

HUMANITAS is pleased to announce a Call for Entries for the 44th annual HUMANITAS Prize Awards. The winners will be announced at the HUMANITAS Prize Awards held in February 2019 in Beverly Hills, California.

Submissions open: September 1, 2018
Deadline: October 15, 2018
*Teleplay or film must air or be released between January 1, 2018 and December 31, 2018.
*Episodes that air AFTER submission period are eligible for consideration and will be kept confidential.

The winners receive both a trophy and a cash prize at our annual HUMANITAS Prize Awards. Winners designate a non-profit engaged in nurturing the next generation of storytellers to receive their prize money. Past beneficiaries have included Young Storytellers, The Writers Guild Foundation, Rosie’s Theatre Kids, Film2Future, ARC, The Remix Project, P.S. Arts, IDA, Reporter’s Committee for Freedom of the Press, Sundance Institute, Inside Out Writers, We for She and The Heidelberg Project.

Eligible categories

  • Comedy Feature Film
  • Drama Feature Film
  • Family Feature Film
  • Independent Feature Film (New for 2018)    
  • Feature Documentary
  • 60-minute Drama
  • 30-minute Comedy
  • Children’s Teleplay (animated or live action)

Submission Guidelines

  • Teleplay or film must air or be released between January 1, 2018 and December 31, 2018.
  • Teleplay or film must be written in the English language. If original script is written in a foreign language, English-translated version will be accepted.
  • Teleplay must have had a national release on television (Broadcast, Cable, Internet or Satellite).
  • Feature films must have had a U.S. theatrical release.
  • Independent Feature films must have had a festival release.
  • Documentary entrants must submit digital content through web-based award judging portal.
  • Credits must be redacted from script.
  • $100 entry fee per submission.
  • No limit to the number of submissions.

For over four decades, the HUMANITAS Prize has empowered writers to tell stories which are both entertaining and uplifting. HUMANITAS encourages writers who create contemporary media to use their immense power to:

  • Encourage viewers to truly explore what it means to be a human being.
  • Challenge viewers to take charge of their lives and use their freedom in a responsible way.
  • Motivate viewers to reach out in respect and compassion to all their brothers and sisters in the human family.

“HUMANITAS exists to recognize, encourage and empower writers who teach us how to embrace our common humanity by way of their unique and powerful voices. These storytellers help us to consider our place in the world, and examine our own moral compasses. In this day and age, now more than ever, it is a noble mission.”
-Cathleen Young, HUMANITAS Executive Director

Submissions will be accepted on our website www.humanitasprize.org starting September 1, 2018.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us at info@humanitasprize.org or 310-454-8769.