Hank Isaac on Cultural Confusion – Or Is It…Time Travel?

by Hank Isaac

Is It Possible to be a Time Traveler and Not Know It?

I find what people say and how they say it both generally fascinating and discouraging.

And I wonder why, as I get older, things make less and less sense when they should really be making more and more sense. I suspect when I finally expire, I will be totally clueless.


  • I call my health care provider (name made up for, well, you know) and this is the recording I get:

“Welcome to Bayside Healthcare Associates. Bayside is here twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week to provide the best health care services available. Our doctors represent some of the finest medical professionals available and our staff is ready and willing to provide you with timely and excellent services. Please listen carefully to the following options, as our menu has recently been updated. If this is a medical emergency, please hang up and dial 911. Bayside Healthcare Associates does not offer emergency room services…”

Hold it!

Like thirty seconds into the message and NOW you tell me to dial 911?

Why aren’t those the first words out of the mouth of the professionally-recorded voice answering thingy?

  • The film permit office in the town where I’ve done some filming is essentially a one-person city department. They do have a complete permitting process and forms to fill out. Which I do. Then I hand them in.

One time, I called to check on the permit’s status. I was told, “There has been a problem with the permit.” So now my mind is racing. I have only a few days to find a new city or change the story completely and I have rented equipment which is now in the air from the other side of the country and it’s landing here tomorrow and…

So I ask, “Do we get the permit?”

And the response is, “The problem involves the use of the alley behind Nathan’s at three in the morning…”

So I ask again, “But will we get the permit by next Friday?”

“I’m trying to tell you. The alley behind Nathan’s…

This exchange continues for about a dozen more rounds. And it gets heated with me saying things like, “Can’t you just tell me if we got the permit or not?”

And the person on the other end of the call saying things like, “If you’ll stop interrupting and just let me finish…”

Bottom line: We got the permit. WE’D ALWAYS HAD the permit. It’s just that the permit person for some reason couldn’t say, “You’ve got your permit but let me tell you what we had to go through to get it.”

THEN I would be listening.

The person HAD to lay out the history in chronological order, not even considering what having or not having the permit would mean to the person who was requesting it.

  • Which would you rather hear if this happened to you (it’s made up–didn’t happen to me):

The phone rings. You answer.

“Hello, is this Mr. Jones?”


“Mr. Jones, this is Officer Melbourne from the Dayton police. Your daughter has been in a accident…,” etc.


“Mr. Jones, this is Officer Melbourne from the Dayton police. Your daughter is fine. Completely fine. She was in an accident, but…,” etc.

My point is that when a speaker buries the lead, it’s great for filmed stories but pretty bad for real life. Can generate unnecessary concern. Even panic. And for no reason.

  • Twice now in my lifetime–oddly only within the past ten years or so–I’ve come up against this sort of recorded phone answering message:

“Hi! You’ve reached Mary Smith. I can’t take your call right now but if you leave your name and number and a brief message, I’ll get back to you at my earliest convenience.”

What about my convenience? Anybody see the problem here?

It’s becoming a world where everyone seems to know the right words, just not where or when to use them.

Who do we thank for this? Parents? Schools? The Internet?

And I don’t care — I’m gonna keep using a double space after periods. I’m reading a book now where I keep overrunning the ends of sentences ’cause the first word of the next sentence is way too close to its predecessor.

Anyone know what day it is?

Hank Isaac is an award-winning indie film writer/producer/director who collects awards as easily as dogs collect fleas. TVWriter™ is always happy to see his unique contributions.

Bri Castellini Day Part 2 – @brisownworld

Today’s second article by award winning film maker, web series maker, film professor and all-around Brilliantly Talented Young Lady Bri Castellini. Enjoy!

NYR 2019: A Reflection
by Bri Castellini

  1. Write 5 new projects. Partial completion. I have a lot of valid excuses for not completing this resolution, but at the end of the day: I made too many non-writing commitments this year and didn’t make writing a priority like this FIRST RESOLUTION implied I wanted to. Next year, hopefully other things will get more stable.
  2. Host 3 table reads. Partial completion. If you’ll remember, this was on the list because I was allegedly “stepping back a bit from producing this year,” which absolutely did not turn out to be true. I directed Better With You, I released and promoted Sam and Pat season 2, I completed post-production on and began the festival run for Buy In (my latest award-winning project, coming soon!), and I produced and edited 2 podcasts (with 1 still ongoing, which I’m editing as I write this blog). Honestly, I’m glad I did these other things, so I’m not overly upset this one didn’t go to plan.
  3. Post one blog and one YouTube video a month. Failure. Listen.
  4. Cook dinner at least twice a week. Failure. I did better than could be expected, but I also didn’t live up to this. This year was… hectic.
  5. Start or end my day active at least three times a week. Failure. Listen.
  6. Release and submit for festivals both projects I have in post. Was done as of July!
  7. Leave New York at least 4 times. Final tally:
    1. January- Los Angeles (for family)
    2. January: Washington DC (to see my mom)
    3. March- Los Angeles (for Stareable)
    4. March- Oregon (for Stareable/visiting)
    5. April- Washington DC (for Stareable)
    6. April- Northhampton, MA (for Stareable)
    7. May- Utah (to shoot Better With You)
    8. June- Denver (for LIU-Brooklyn)
    9. July- New Jersey (for the Buy In premiere)
    10. August- Los Angeles (for Stephens College)
    11. September- Los Angeles (for Seed&Spark)
    12. September- Utah (for the Better With You premiere)
    13. September-October- Colorado (to watch my mom’s house)
    14. November- San Diego (for my cousin’s wedding)
    15. December- Los Angeles (for Seed&Spark again)
    16. December- Colorado (for Christmas)
  8. Save $2k. After my financial scare and my loss of income for a few months and my dipping into my savings to pay rent… I actually ended up managing to save $2760.74! Since Quinn and I are moving across the country in early 2021 and we’d also like to take at least one vacation, this is a huge success and one sorely needed. After a year of financial panic and insecurity, it feels good to have gotten back on track, prepared for whatever 2020 has to throw at me.
  9. Pick my battles. Based on my wording for this resolution, I think I did this. I’m still a person with zero chill to her name, but I like to think I’ve aimed my lack of chill better than I had previously.
  10. Be a better adultPartial completion. I’m still dragging my feet on enough things that I can’t in good conscience call this a complete success, but I’m definitely better off than I was in January.
  • Complete: 4
  • Partial completion: 3
  • Failed: 3

Not bad! Especially given the absolute insanity that was this year. I mean, just look at the travel tally! 2019 was not, by any means, a good year, but it was certainly an interesting one. Here’s to accountability

Bri Castellini is an indie filmmaker and Film Community Manager for Seed&Spark, a film crowdfunding platform, as well as an adjunct professor for two MFA programs. Watch the remarkable Ms. Castellini’s award-winning web series, Brains, HERE. See Sam And Pat Are Depressed HERE. This post first appeared on Bri’s wonderfully refreshing blog.

Bri Castellini Day Part 1 – @brisownworld

Award winning film maker, web series maker, film professor and all-around Brilliantly Talented Young Lady Bri Castellini has been absent from TVWriter™ (and her own blog, brisownworld.com, for way too long.

So it’s with great joy that we at TVWriter™ proclaim this day, “Bri Castellini Day” and present not one, not two, but her three most recent articles. All settled in, amigos? Then here we go:

Cool 2019 Things In Chronological Order
by Bri Castellini

So it’s safe to say that this year didn’t go to plan at all. In January 2019 I was fresh-faced and insistent that my motto was going to be “Boundaries and Balance.” I was going to take a step back from production and producing, I was going to take a real vacation or two, and by god, I was going to write. I had a day job at Stareable as their Community Director (starting year 3 of my employment there), a new side hustle in teaching once a week at my old grad program, and was looking forward to a less hectic year ahead.

By February, that  was completely out the window. It’s still a little too soon to talk about the rough stuff of the year, some of which you can probably guess based on context clues and my new years resolutions posts (my 2019 final tally post goes up in a few days), but I would be lying to act as though my year wasn’t creatively and personally fulfilling. So in order, as best I can, here are the cool things that happened:

  1. January 2019
    1. Started recording a DnD actual play podcast. Didn’t end up going anywhere, but was a lot of fun while it lasted!
    2. DM’d my first DnD campaign session, set in post-apocalyptic Oregon
    3. Taught my first class in LIU-Brooklyn’s MFA for Writing and Producing for Television program
    4. Celebrated 6 years with Quinn, the best person I know
    5. Had the best birthday party ever that lasted somewhere around 8 hours that was filled with games, friends, laughter, and my first shotgunning of a beer.
  2. February
    1. Was officially hired as the director of Apple Juice Production’s first original web series Better With You
    2. Resumed editing Sam and Pat season 2 after too long a break
  3. March
    1. Launched my first independent podcast, Bri and Chris Are Depressed, a companion podcast to our web series Sam and Pat Are Depressed
    2. Launched season 2 of Sam and Pat Are Depressed
    3. Went back to Oregon/ Pacific University for the first time since I graduated, got to see my favorite professors, my best friend, and do a big stupid presentation about my career since graduation that I’m super proud of
  4. April
    1. Played a lot of DnD
    2. Traveled for work, always fun
  5. May
    1. Got a second teaching side hustle, to be a thesis mentor for web series writers in the Stephens College MFA in Screenwriting program
    2. Went to Utah for 2 weeks to shoot Better With You!
    3. Interviewed remotely for a job at Seed&Spark in between shooting days for Better With You
  6. June
    1. Saw the first web series I ever produced/ the smartest one out there become a live stage play (Relativity)
    2. Went to Denver for Series Fest, met great people, saw great pilots
    3. Started working part time for Seed&Spark, reviewing crowdfunding campaigns
    4. Watched Fleabag for the first time, sobbed uncontrollably, watched it a second time immediately
  7. July
    1. Premiered my second (and still ongoing) podcast, Burn, Noticed, about the USA Television series Burn Notice
    2. Enjoyed the premiere of the podcast Burn, Noticed Noticed, a recap podcast of Chris and I’s podcast Burn, Noticed
    3. Premiered my latest short film Buy In, which I directed and co-wrote, at the Northern Horror Fest
    4. Helped produce and host the second annual Stareable Fest, even presenting on the main stage
    5. Officially signed on to help my former student finish the first series of the web series she developed in my class
  8. August
    1. Went to LA to meet my new students from the Stephens College MFA program, presented for the whole program on web series creation and marketing
    2. Put in my two weeks notice at Stareable, as I was offered a full time position with new responsibilities and challenges and opportunities at Seed&Spark
    3. Ace and Anxious hit 50,000 views on YouTube (but I’m giving you the Amazon link because despite us getting fewer views there, we actually make money from the good reviews/views/purchases there)
  9. September
    1. Started my new full time job at Seed&Spark
    2. Went to LA again to meet my new coworkers at Seed&Spark, a truly unparalleled group of people
    3. Started my second semester of teaching at LIU-Brooklyn with a new cohort of students
    4. Went to Colorado for 2 weeks while my mom was abroad to watch her house. Quinn came for 1 week of it and it was our first time away from New York together since we moved there and it was amazing
    5. Drove almost 500 miles in two days to attend the Better With You premiere in Salt Lake City.
    6. Better With You premiered online and off to rave reviews and immediate shipping
  10. October
    1. Wrapped up season 1 of Burn, Noticed
    2. Got early access to the first 4 episodes of a new USA television show because of the Burn Notice podcast
    3. Celebrated our DnD party’s 2 year anniversary
    4. Went to The Adventure Zone live show in Brooklyn for free because our friends had extra tickets at the last minute
    5. Celebrated Buy In winning its first award, from the Stephenville Fright Fest
  11. November
    1. Watched my cousin (who’s not actually my cousin but is functionally my cousin) get married
    2. Saw Hadestown on Broadway
    3. Acted as director of photography for my former student’s latest web series episode (coming soon, once we can figure out why I can’t use her hard drive!)
    4. Hosted Thanksgiving again, complete with two full roast chickens, fancy napkin folding, and friends
  12. December 2019
    1. Went to LA for the fifth and final time this year to attend Seed&Spark’s LA Creative Sustainability Summit, met tons of people, and stayed up until 2am with my fellow out of town coworkers talking about cults and relationships
    2. Came home for my first truly restful/non-working vacation in over 2 years

Bri Castellini is an indie filmmaker and Film Community Manager for Seed&Spark, a film crowdfunding platform, as well as an adjunct professor for two MFA programs. Watch the remarkable Ms. Castellini’s award-winning web series, Brains, HERE. See Sam And Pat Are Depressed HERE. This post first appeared on Bri’s wonderfully refreshing blog.

Bri Castellini Day Part 3 – @brisownworld

Today’s third article by award winning film maker, web series maker, film professor and all-around Brilliantly Talented Young Lady Bri Castellini. Enjoy! (Um, you might enjoy more if you scroll down and start with Part 1. Just saying.)

NYR 2019: A Reflection
by Bri Castellini

    1. Take at least 2 actual vacations, where I don’t work (except for maybe on writing projects, but you’re on thin ice, kid), outside of New York City. You might not know this about me because I keep a pretty chill exterior, but I’m extremely bad about taking breaks and setting boundaries and not overcommitting. Right now it’s 10pm on a Friday during which I’m still technically on vacation and I’m editing a podcast WHILE writing this blog and planning a DnD session for Sunday. Before this most recent Christmas break, I hadn’t had an actual, honest-to-god no-work no-stress vacation for 2 years. In another 2 years I will be 30 and maybe I’d like to live to see 31 before I have a nervous breakdown!
    2. Write every week. Not even every day- don’t be crazy. Some days I’m very busy or very tired or need to rewatch Outlander again. But didn’t I say a while ago that I’m a writer? Who wants to write as a career? Maybe I should actually do that more.
    3. Save $3500. Quinn and I plan to move to Los Angeles in early 2021, which is not going to be cheap. I also am apparently going on two vacations in 2020, and that ain’t cheap. Also, I’m making more money than I made last year because I have three jobs and a better paying main job, and I need to get my financial shit together because I’m 2 years away from 30 oh my god mortality/adulthood.
    4. Make and stay consistent with a budget. Now that I have three jobs and eighteen streaming video subscriptions and an impending move and a laptop battery that apparently needs servicing, once again, my financial shit needs to be together.
    5. Make one YouTube video a quarter. Once again I’m pretending like I’m going to step away from production a bit and that may or may not hold true but in either case it’s been like two years since I’ve made a YouTube video on my own channel, something that used to be a really big part of my life which I kind of miss.
    6. Make a healthy choice twice a day. This could be two healthy meals, one healthy meal and a workout, two workouts (lol ok Rocky), or a salad and a therapy session. Resolution modifier: I can stack healthy choices, so if I have a randomly amazing day where I work out, eat three healthy meals, and go to therapy, then the day after I can be a complete garbage monster and eat cake for every meal. This makes it a fun game rather than a slog. C-C-Combo!
    7. Order out fewer than three times a week. This is both a financial and a health imperative, especially my last year in New York. I know my kitchen sucks and in the summer was so infested with bugs we could not eradicate that we had to buy new shelving units that are wire and open air and we can’t use our cabinets anymore, but also airplane seatbelts have started to get dangerously tight and I travel for work a lot and that’s not gonna fly. (get it)
    8. Read all the books I’ve bought but haven’t read prior to January 3rd, 2020. Kinda speaks for itself. Books I’ve bought but haven’t finished/started (it’s a lot of memoirs): Obviously by Akilah Hughes, Bad With Money by Gaby Dunn, The Greatest Love Story Ever Told by Nick Offerman and Megan Mullally, This Will Only Hurt A Little by Busy Phillips, Feed by Mira Grant, the rest of the Outlander books (I actually didn’t buy these, I’m sharing a Kindle account with my mom and she already bought them and I read three and a quarter over Christmas break and I MUST FINISH THEM for SCIENCE).
    9. Stop over-explaining. I have this habit of feeling like people need way more information than they actually need (especially in work situations) and so in an effort to be thorough I end up rambling, which has the opposite effect that I want (that effect being ‘to be an efficient and valuable collaborator and teammate’). In 2020 I’m going to make an effort to be more concise with my language, requests, and general communication styles, especially when my impulse to over-explain comes from insecurity.
    10. Don’t go to your 10 Year High School Reunion. You don’t want to go, but you do want a tenth New Year Resolution for 2020.

    Happy New Year, what’re your arbitrary passing of time goals?

Bri Castellini is an indie filmmaker and Film Community Manager for Seed&Spark, a film crowdfunding platform, as well as an adjunct professor for two MFA programs. Watch the remarkable Ms. Castellini’s award-winning web series, Brains, HERE. See Sam And Pat Are Depressed HERE. This post first appeared on Bri’s wonderfully refreshing blog.


by Bob Tinsley

Why should you as a visitor to TVWriter™ be interested in making audio fiction? Why should you be interested in making podcasts? Discoverability, that’s why.

The meaning of the word podcast is evolving to include any episodic, audio-only production whether nonfiction or fiction. Agents and major studios have started trawling through podcasts and their creators for new content and talent. 

So here’s the latest news to help you and your podcast get discovered: 

Music from https://filmmusic.io
“The Builder” by Kevin MacLeod (https://incompetech.com)
License: CC BY (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/)


  • More about ‘Rejection’ from Mark Evanier.

In Mark Evanier’s latest blog column on rejection, referenced earlier this month on TVWriter.com, he gives the best reason why you, as a budding TV writer, should write and/or produce your own audio fiction podcast. He said, “One of the reasons that credits and experience matter is that they provide a dandy excuse for those who hire you.”

Imagine a development executive or agent going through piles of spec scripts. When he comes upon yours, he reads in your cover letter that you have written, cast, and produced a 12-episode audio fiction series that is garnering 250 downloads a month and gives the link to go listen. Now, granted, 250 downloads a month is miniscule when compared to TV numbers, but — when he looks at all those other scripts in his pile written by people who have never done anything except write unproduced, unpurchased scripts, who’s going to stand out in his mind? 

THIS is what we mean by discoverability. Be discoverable.



  • A Map For Social Media & Your Podcast.

This article gives you Technical Tips and Etiquette Tricks along with a guide for which of four social media sites are best for what you want to accomplish. Elena Fernández Collins leaves us with this bottom line: “Use social media for its intended purpose: to be social. [Don’t] isolate yourself in a bubble of self-promotional advertising and shouting into the void.”



  • November 2019 Audio Drama/Fiction Podcast Debut Releases.

The Cambridge Geek’s list of new releases in audio fiction for the month of November has some interesting stats: out of 56 total podcasts the largest percentage was represented by RPG podcasts (29%), with science fiction in second place with 16% and urban fantasy at 13%.



  • Podcasting 101.

If you want to get a really quick overview of getting a podcast started, this series of YouTube videos from Google Podcasts and PRX is the way to go. Ten videos, each less than five minutes long, take you through the process of starting your own podcast from concept to going live. To be honest, this series is only good for introducing you to the process and showing you the steps. On the other hand, it ain’t rocket science, folks. Each video has some accompanying text info. The most valuable is the budgeting spreadsheet. The series was made with nonfiction podcasts in mind, but the info is so generic that it is equally applicable to fiction. Watch it. Do it.



  • How “Tip Jars” Can Tip the Balance for Podcast Creators.

This Canadian study shows how individual contributors can boost your bottom line. The study indicates that 23% of the people who listen to podcasts at least once a month have contributed direct monetary support through crowdfunding, attending live events, or buying merchandise. Among power listeners that number grows to 40%.



  • The Dark Tome.

From the website: “What if there was a book that literally opened up doorways to other worlds? Where would it lead, and could you handle what you found on the other side?

Cassie, a teen that’s having trouble fitting in at school, is about to find out. One day, after she wraps up community service at a local hospital, she stumbles out of the basement of a spooky bookshop and into a story set on a devil’s staircase in a remote Italian village.”

The Dark Tome is produced by Fred Greenhalgh and directed by William Dufris, two of the 800-lb gorillas in audio fiction. Have a listen. Hear how it’s done right.


Until next week, same Pod-time, same Pod-channel, keep listening and keep creating.