Yesterday we brought you 20 tips on successful writing courtesy of Stephen King. Today we’re going a bit further with a video of J.K. Rowling giving us her POV of success. (She is, after all, the writer of the best-selling series of books in history.)
When in doubt, blame the writer.
Even though in TV, not one word, one idea, one storyline or arc, ever makes it to the screen without being approved (and many times demanded) by a menagerie of executives.
Read it and weep, future scapegoats:
by Kazem Sedighzadeh
Season 4 of the American thriller drama TV series “The Following” starring Kevin Bacon was cancelled by Fox just days after its Season 3 finale aired on May 18 last year.
Based on its two-hour Season 3 finale, “The Following” actually reflected how it squandered its assets, with the end coming two years and many dozens of killings, which was a bit too late.
The mind games between Kevin Bacon’s Ryan Hardy and James Purefoy’s Joe Caroll may have been the lifeblood of the show, but “The Following” overstayed its welcome among many of its viewers and had a grim streak beginning in Season 2 all the way to Season 3.
The series should have ended with the cat-and-mouse game between Hardy and Caroll but the show’s modest first season success necessitated a new season and new wrinkles as well, thus unleashing several rival sets of psychopaths to sustain the program in the next two seasons.
Eventually, everyone realized that the show was using a very tired formula so it wandered off from its basic premise as Ryan begin to go a bit crazy himself especially when his nemesis Caroll was finally executed.
With Purefoy’s character gone, there was not much for the show to move forward to because of the apparent lazy writing as the writers no longer want to think outside of the box, thus confining the show to its own walls.
While “The Following” had a solid cast of supporting actors including Shawn Ashmore, the TV show actually wasted great talents like Zuleikha Robinson and Jessica Stroup, who became mere footnotes in the TV series….
munchman’s NOTE: OTOH, dude got this article exactly right. Go figure. ‘Graceland’ Was Cancelled by USA Network for Season 4 Because It Does Not Own the Series
…And the gist of what he says is, “Put your name in all your titles and write faster than a sumbitch. Here’s what ABC News says he said:
“Very early on when I started doing these plays and live shows I would travel from city to city and there were a million shows out there … so I wanted to step out among it and I started putting my name above the title,” he told a room full of reporters today in New York City.
Perry said he struggled to keep his name on the marquee early on when producing stage plays and recalled one argument he had with a promoter before a show.
“We had this argument about it. He said, ‘Who do you think you are?’ But even then when nobody knew my name, I had an idea to build a brand,” he said. “And if you’re going to build a brand, they have to get what they expect from that brand.
“So it’s never been about ego,” Perry, 46, continued. “I want this brand to be identified with this kind of entertainment.”
Want more wit and wisdom from Tyler Perry? Check it out, including a GOOD MORNING AMERICA video, HERE.
Do we sound snarky? We don’t mean to sound snarky. Everybody knows we love it when networks and reporters and all those mighty folk have to suck up to writers. It’s better than hearing an actor like, oh, Johnny Depp try to talk, yeah?
The Big Man of sitcom and baseball announcing strikes again!
by Ken Levine
Let’s say I’m given a pilot to write. And for whatever reason, this has to be my first scene: Young guy brings the girl he’s recently dated back to her place. She invites him in the for the first time. He’s excited because he figures he’s going to get laid. But when they step inside he learns that her ex-fiancé is on the couch. He still lives there.
Okay. That could be funny.
Actually, it better be. Pilots are much harder to write than normal episodes and the first scenes of pilots are the hardest of all. Why? Here’s what you have to do: Establish the premise, introduce the characters, begin a story, forge the tone, and make it really funny. As the expression goes: You only have one chance to make a first impression. That first scene has to hook the audience. Viewers have to feel they’re in good hands; that they will be rewarded for spending their precious time sampling your pilot for thirty minutes.
So that’s my assignment.
First, a disclaimer. I realize I’m old school, retro, out of touch, whatever. My approach is based on experience, a certain sensibility, and principles I believe to be universal and timeless. Feel free to seek other approaches.
My initial thought is: who are these characters? How can I make them interesting? How can I give them traits or behavior that is fun, identifiable, and sets up an intriguing dynamic between them? For now I’ll call the young couple Matt and Colleen.
And in concert with that, how can I make the situation as funny as possible? Not just amusing, not just wry – this is the opening scene of my pilot, maybe the only scene a viewer will watch – I can’t afford for it to be anything other than laugh out loud funny. It’s always best to give characters strong attitudes or goals and for this particular situation I would think it would heighten things if Matt really needs to get laid. He hasn’t had sex in awhile so he is champing at the bit. Guys will go to great comic lengths to get sex (so I’ve been told). Now the scene becomes one of frustration and my job is the construct the funniest cock blocking scenario.
So I consider possibilities. What if…?
What if they get in the house, the ex-fiancé is there, and he’s really belligerent? “This is the ferret you left me for?” The couple get into a fight and the poor Matt is in the middle, all the while being belittled. Maybe. Matt could be somewhat insecure and this feeds into his neurosis. But he still tries to work things out and get the ex-fiancé to leave.
Or they get in the house and the ex is crying? Matt has to console him.
Or the ex goes on an on about what a bitch Colleen is. He shatters any illusion. Matt is torn between wanting desperately to sleep with her and to run.
Or the ex is not there when they get to the house. Things heat up quickly. Matt is practically undressed on the couch when the ex comes home. Puts Matt in the most compromising position possible. (Comedy writers are evil, aren’t we?)
It’s Worldwide TV Writing Weekend here at TVWriter™ so let’s get started with this excellent advice from India:
Sushmita Ghosh, Anuj Shukla and Aastha Dass
Writing for kids is one of the best and simple forms of storytelling as it is free of any incredulity. However, it is not an easy task, it requires the same amount of scriptwriting skill and craft as writing any other drama does. If you are able to write a script of a kids’ TV show, with a good turning point and meet the children’s requirement, then the kids are waiting eagerly to watch your show.
Here are eight tips suggested by Mr. Aviram (Content Director, head of creative team at Ceasikaletet, a company specializing in the production and distribution of videos and books for children) on scriptwriting for kids television series:
1. Be childish: If you are childish enough then you always enjoy doing things that kids do. You do not require any inspiration for writing for kids, you just need to be a child yourself to understand their level of needs and understanding.
2. Create a world of fantasy: Creating a magical world is a common denominator. It depends on what all characters you are introducing to the children, fantasies are larger than life things, which enamour and enchant the kids.
3. Understand the capability of kids: There are certain rules of conversation which kids don’t understand. To be able to comprehend this, you need to have their level of understanding. For instance, if the kids understand just 900 words, then, you should use few words and inculcate various other aspects and activities in your script.
4. Provide real answers to the real needs of children: Kids have a lot of diverse needs, and if you know those needs you will be able to give an answer because there are a lot of different things that hold their interest.