Big Production dreams? No $$$? Read This

The people over at Stage32.Com are so smart they sometimes scare us. Here, as Rod Serling might have said way back when, is a “case in point.”

How to Create a Web Series with Literally Zero Budget
by William Joseph Hill

The funny thing about coming up with a web series is that sometimes it’s better to not try and create a web series. What do we mean by that? Well, if you’re looking for a big picture to start from, chances are you won’t be satisfied with anything less than a big idea.

The saying goes “Write what you know.” That’s true — we had a lot of ideas that weren’t related, so we started making short films in our apartment, using just us as the cast and crew. A few of our early films consisted of taking a nursery rhyme and turning them into sketches. The Muffin Man was our first short we did together, and we followed up with Itsy Bitsy Spider which had some visual effects thrown in for good measure.

Our third short film together was based on a song that Pamela had come up with years before…That Darn Girlfriend. The song was based on a rant Pamela had about relationships, but the song morphed into something that sounded more like a 1960s sitcom. So we shot it as if it was a sitcom, with an old TV 4:3 aspect ratio and Technicolor-style color grading. Vic, the boyfriend, came home from a business trip to tell his girlfriend Valerie that she got his plane ticket for the wrong destination. With an added laugh track, and cartoony end credits that reminded us of the old “Bewitched” title sequence, we had our classic TV parody.

Audiences who watched the episode on our YouTube channel loved it and kept asking us when the next episode was coming out. At that point, we realized that we actually had a web series! The short film became the pilot. The great thing about this project is that because it is completely episodic, where each episode stands alone and isn’t really serialized, we didn’t need to plan out the entire season before going into production. Sometimes the big picture starts with a sketch…!

Read it all at

Have a Movie Idea? Netflix is Now Looking for Aspiring Writers

Speaking of opportunities (as we were yesterday) here’s a piece about Netflix’s latest search for new writers.

To be honest, after the way Netflix closed out noobs in favor of going to old pros for its streaming shows, we aren’t sure how genuine their interest is.

On the other hand, Ron Howard and Brian Glazer are involved, and LB’s wife, Gwen the Beautiful, met Ron and his wife at a party a few years ago and was impressed by how real they were, so this could be the Real Deal. Here’s the deets.

via Project Casting

Imagine Impact from Ron Howard and Brian Grazer’s production company, is looking for submissions as part of their deal with Netflix. The open submissions are looking to identify and help develop feature film ideas in four different genres, over the next year. The first four genre-specific application windows open Wednesday. The first round of projects is considered “large scale action-adventure movies for all audiences.” Applications will be accepted now until July 6th.

What is Imagine Impact?

Imagine Impact is founded by Brian Grazer, Ron Howard, and Tyler Mitchell in 2018. It is a content accelerator program, which has held three sessions so far. Content creators apply in an open application process and those admitted to the program take place in an eight-week program that looks for unknown unrepresented writers with unique stories and get their projects to be sold by partnering with experienced mentors.

Since 2018, Imagine Impact has helped develop 62 TV and film projects, with 22 sold or set to be in production.

Imagine Impact and Netflix 2020 Program

This year, Imagine Impact partnered with Netflix. The goal is to give more opportunities to those in the film industry. A group of finalists selected by Impact will present their project directly to Netflix. If Netflix likes the pitch, the streaming company will sign an agreement with the writer and will be paid a WGA-set fee, and then paired with an Impact mentor, who will help the writer deliver the first draft to Netflix. Selected writers will not need to relocate and can work remotely….

Read it all at

What does a theater company do when it can’t make theater? Make a film.

If there ever was a time that demanded that we put our actions where our mouths were and do what we do best, this is it. Here’s a fine example of truly positive thinking.

by Peter Marks

The idea struck Molly Smith, Arena Stage’s artistic director, on a morning of the pandemic when she was reading the newspaper and reflecting on what a theater company might make when it can’t make theater:

Capture the moment, in the manner of a news crew.

“Newspapers do really well with thumbnail sketches, and I thought, ‘Why aren’t we doing this?,’ ” she recalled. “What if we interviewed 10 diverse people in one day, with really good writers. A real snapshot in time. A love letter to this area. Something to say: ‘This happened here.’ ”And so, a renowned theater company has taken a novel turn — into moviemaking.

In short order, Arena found 10 actors, 10 playwrights and 10 ordinary people from in and around Washington — among them, a nurse on a covid-19 ward; a high school senior; a pharmacist; a police detective; a climate change activist. On a single day — May 22 — each writer contacted their subject, spent two or three hours in conversation, and then set about the task of turning their words into five-minute monologues. All of which, too, would be filmed on a single day.

The result is titled, crisply and dramatically, “May 22, 2020.” It debuts online Friday for those who have signed up for Arena Stage’s Supper Club — a dine-and-watch experience — and then it will be available free to the general public beginning Saturday on Arena’s website,, for the immediate future. The project includes such accomplished actors as Holly Twyford, KenYatta Rogers, Edward Gero, Rachel Zampelli, Dawn Ursula and Nancy Robinette. They were hired to recite speeches by such writers as Psalmayene 24, Karen Zacarias, Caleen Sinnette Jennings, John Strand and Annalisa Dias. It is all meant to evoke the style of Studs Terkel, the Chicago journalist who in his book “Working,” and other works, catalogued the verbatim accounts of average Americans….

Bri Castellini’s New World – @brisownworld

by Bri Castellini

NOTE FROM LB: For a couple of fine years, Bri Castellini (and her thoughts as communicated by her Bri’s Own World blog) was so popular that for all practical purposes it owned Fridays here at TVWriter™. Recently, a new job with more responsibilities – and at least one other personal bit of business –  caused her blogging to slow down.

What was that personal business thing? Glad you asked, ‘cuz she’s here (at last) to tell us now.

I’m going to attempt to deconstruct two things today: the fact that I, Bri Castellini, am engaged to be married, and recent discoveries in therapy. Because it’s not a Bri’s Own World blog if it isn’t multitasking!

Thing the first: I am engaged! To my partner of 7 ½ years! I’m very excited, even though marriage is functionally meaningless in modern society aside from some archaic tax laws. I don’t care, though. I wanted to be married, and now I will be, to the person in the world I love and treasure the most.

Thing the second: I have discovered that I have an intensely hard time being sincere, everywhere but particularly in person, and becoming engaged has brought a lot of that to the surface because I realized I was dreading having to tell people in a way that genuinely conveyed my excitement without attempting to minimize the vulnerability through jokes and glibness. Even the title of this blog is glib!

Thing the third: the featured image on this post is a TIE fighter pancake my FIANCÉ and I made on our first date.

Thing the fourth: black lives matter, defund & demilitarize the police. This post will live on as evergreen content but it would be disingenuous of me to not acknowledge the day in which it is originally being posted. Educate yourself and donate what you can to relief efforts and bail funds to support the incredibly brave frontline revolutionaries. For education, I recommend this very thorough resource, and this one, as well as this video and this other video.

I will delete any comment about thing the fourth that is anything but 100% supportive. I am not interested in your both sides nonsense today or any day.

Over the years, I’ve gotten more comfortable with earnestness and honestly, but have continued to run scared from sincerity because of the symptom of vulnerability. I hate being vulnerable; emotionally, mentally, physically, professionally, [insert thing]ally. I hate it so much I’d buried the fact that I hate it, thinking for years that I was perfectly well adjusted, aside from all the anxiety and depression.

TURNS OUT! A lot of my anxiety stems from how hard I am on myself, which stems from doing so much work internally and externally so as never to be (or even be perceived as) vulnerable. I’m incredibly defensive, I’m argumentative, and I think my back muscles have been in the same knot since high school. Just one big knot. With vulnerability comes the possibility of failure, and thus the possibility of loss (of a job, of a friend, of an opportunity) and shame. To admit vulnerability would be to admit that sometimes I need help, which in my head makes me a burden, which makes my position in a professional or personal sense even more tenuous. I desperately don’t want to fail or be abandoned. I am, if you long-time readers will remember, in the business of losing best friends.

All this has trained me to keep my own emotions (I have emotions, apparently, and I’m supposed to feel them instead of repressing or solving them. News to me!) buried so deep that when I have something vulnerable to say, I shroud it in jokes and sometimes in overly academic blog posts to use them as productivity; proving I’m funny (I want to work in comedy) or thoughtful (I want to be impressive, so I have more professional opportunities to work in comedy) or on brand (audience is currency, audience prefers consistency, and I want to work in comedy). I have seemed to lose the muscle to be sincere because of this training. IS THIS BLOG POST MORE OF THE SAME? Yes. Leave me alone. It’s how I process, and change doesn’t happen overnight….

Read it all at

Bri Castellini is TVWriter™’s favorite indie web series maker in the world, period. She also does a lot of other things, or as Bri puts it, she’s a “Writer, filmmaker, adjunct prof, and human bulldozer from NYC.” Learn more at Oh, and congrats to Bri and Quinn from all of us here at TVWriter™! (Don’t screw this relationship up now, kids!)

Brighten Your Life with ‘Doctor Who’

It’s been a terrible week in a terrible year, but sometimes distractions can be a good thing, and today we believe we’ve come up with one that will rank with the best:

Doctors Assemble is a new episode made by fans of Doctor Who, co-starring not one or two or even three, but thirteen different Doctors, and you don’t have to feel guilty about watching and enjoying it because it’s legally licensed from the BBC.

Here’s how the folks at the Doctor Who: LOCKDOWN YouTube Channel put it:

Planet Earth is in terrible danger. Trapped inside the TARDIS, the Doctor calls upon some familiar faces to help save the day…

#DoctorsAssemble was home-produced remotely during the ‘lockdown’ period of the COVID-19 outbreak in May 2020.

All involved in the making of this video contributed their time and talent for free. If you enjoyed it, it would great if you could consider making a donation to The Film and TV Charity’s COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund, to support the creative community which has been affected by the Coronavirus pandemic.

To learn more and make a donation, the place to go is here:

Time now to acknowledge the team that put this together:


Written by JAMES GOSS

The First Doctor – DAVID BRADLEY
The Third Doctor – JON CULSHAW
The Fourth Doctor – JON CULSHAW
The Fifth Doctor – JON CULSHAW
The Seventh Doctor – WINK TAYLOR
The Ninth Doctor – PETE WALSH
The Eleventh Doctor – JACOB DUDMAN
The Twelfth Doctor – JONATHON CARLEY
The Thirteenth Doctor – DEBRA STEPHENSON

VFX & Video Editing – ROB BAINES
Audio Editing – SCOTT HANDCOCK

Produced by EMILY COOK

#DoctorWho is licensed by the BBC. All rights belong to the rightful copyright holders.