Game Streaming Services – Just like TV Streamers, but with Games

A look into the future of gaming. All new in its way, and yet so familiar. (But writing games is cool, yeah? And a very viable market.)

by Michael Crider

The future of game streaming is an open road. But we already have some markets we can use to draw a map: online video streaming services. If we’re not careful, game streaming will hit the same speed bumps.

As Microsoft, Sony, NVIDIA, Google, and others start to ramp up their game streaming subscription services, we can already see what the biggest problem for gamers will be: an increasingly fragmented selection. As platforms and consoles fight to get the biggest and best games on their streaming service, and only their streaming service, gamers will find that it’s impossible to play all the titles they want on just one of them. Not that this is anything new for the gaming industry, of course: it’s the good old-fashioned platform exclusivity problem, now spread out among more and more platforms.

Streaming Looms On The Horizon

To be clear about our terms: the “game streaming” in this article refers to playing video games in your home over a broadband connection, where the actual hardware that hosts the game (the PC or game console doing the number-crunching) is on a server somewhere.

Current examples include PlayStation Now, which streams a selection of PS2, PS3, and PS4 games to either a regular PS4 or a program running on your computer, NVIDIA GeForce NOW, which can stream full-power PC games to either the NVIDIA SHIELD set-top box or PCs, and Google’s Project Stream, which used a single PC game in a test run earlier this year.

We’re not talking about streaming video of someone else playing a game that you watch on a service like YouTube or Twitch.

If you’re not familiar with it: game streaming is very cool. It enables someone with minimal hardware, like, say, a $200 SHIELD, to play games that are otherwise limited to a $1000 gaming PC. It doesn’t need local media or massive 50GB downloads, and a relatively small monthly charge can give you access to hundreds of games, a la the Netflix setup. Regarding pure hardware, the only real downer is that you need a solid broadband connection: most of these services recommend 25 Mbps, but I’ve found that they tend to stutter on anything less than 50….

Read it all at HOWTOGEEK.COM

Gerry Conway on the Superhero Comics Crisis Part 1

by Gerry Conway

So I’ve been reading rumors (and had a recent conversation with a top exec at one of the Big Two) about the potential end of Marvel and DC as publishers of original comics, and I Have Thoughts.

These thoughts are the product of fifty years experience working in and around the superhero comic book business, writing and editing for both Marvel and DC. I’m no business expert. I’m not a student of publishing. I can’t analyze a spreadsheet or write a business plan. I’m not an MBA. The closest I’ve come to owning and running a company was helping my second wife develop her small business (though I believe some of the lessons we learned about the perils of expanding a business are relevant here).

No, what I’m about to discuss isn’t the result of a deep understanding of big business, market share growth, the realities of corporate politics, or any of the realpolitik aspects of modern day publishing as understood by the people who’ve brought both companies to this moment of near collapse.

I’m just a long-time observer who’s worked in the superhero field almost since its modern inception in the 1960s.

Perspective: when I started writing comics professionally, Marvel was publishing about 12 titles a month, and DC (then National Periodical Publications) was publishing about 30. Comics cost 15 cents and offered between 20 and 25 pages of story. (I’m not going to work with exact numbers because for my purposes here exact numbers aren’t relevant; like I said, I’m no MBA, and this is based on personal observation, memory, and experience. If I get a precise number wrong, sue me, it doesn’t matter.)

Background: How the 1960s and 1970s got the business to where it is today, and how that era reveals possible ways out of the current crisis.

It was during the 1960s, a period of modest output (compared to today), that almost ALL of the roots of modern superhero comics mythology were created. Modern incarnations of The Flash, Green Lantern, Batman, Robin, Batgirl, Aquaman and Mera, Wonder Woman, the Teen Titans, the Fantastic Four, Spider-Man, Black Panther, X-Men, Daredevil, Captain Marvel, Black Widow, Thor, Captain America, Iron Man–

The list of characters and storylines and mythology created in the 1960s (with overlap from the 50s and into the early 70s) is just flabbergasting– especially when you consider the size of the companies and the number of creators who accomplished it.

When I started writing for DC Comics in 1968, their offices consisted of half a floor in a modest office building on Lexington Avenue in Manhattan. Eight editors (or maybe seven, I’m not sure) and one editorial assistant worked under one editorial director and one publisher, with a production department headed by one production manager, one assistant manager who doubled as a colorist, one proof reader, and two or three production assistants, and a receptionist. Each editor was responsible for five or six books and only one editor had enough pull to have an assistant. (Mort Weisinger, who edited the highest selling range of books, had Nelson Birdwell “helping” him with the Superman line– in fact, Nelson did all the hard editorial work while Mort snarled at people.) Four of the editors shared a single office; two others shared an office; and the two most “important” editors had an office each. That’s how I remember it– I may be off on the specifics but the general picture is accurate. This was how the company that controlled the largest market share of the comic book publishing world, possibly more than seventy percent of sales, looked in 1967-68.

Marvel Comics was an even more bare bones operation. With most of its business operations handled by Magazine Management, Martin Goodman’s main publishing operation, Marvel Comics itself in 1968 operated out of a small office on Madison Avenue barely the size of a large modern conference room. The company had one editor and one assistant editor, one production manager, one assistant production manager, a part-time art director, a couple of production assistants, and a receptionist. The receptionist had a cubicle; the production staff shared a “bullpen”; the assistant editor and production manager split an office that wasn’t really an office, more of an alcove; and the editor (Stan) had a private office not much larger than an average editor’s today. This was the company that was revolutionizing storytelling in modern comics– and while its individual titles were selling extremely well, its market share, due to an onerous distribution deal with its chief competitor, National Periodical Publications, was much less than it might have been.

That’s how the superhero comic book publishing business looked in 1967-68. Prosperous but culturally insignificant (at least, not obviously significant). A pair of modest small enterprises, family owned and operated (NPP was bought by Kinney in 1967; Goodman retained ownership of Marvel until 1968), with rigidly controlled costs and a decent, relatively predictable profit margin.

Five years later, in the early 1970s, EVERYTHING had changed. Both companies were now controlled by larger businesses, and both were under pressure to expand market share and increase profits. Simultaneously comic book readership was dropping as the baby boomer audience aged out. The superhero comic book business was in a crisis– and each company responded in hysterical counter-productive ways. Marvel, no longer hampered by its distribution deal with its competitor, worked to expand its market share with an explosion of new titles in multiple genres– without proportionately expanding its editorial support structure and production staff. DC Comics experimented with new titles and new formats, without an overall publishing strategy or company-wide creative approach, continuing its tradition of independent editorial fiefdoms….


Join us tomorrow for Part 2!


Gerry Conway is one of the Kings of TV and film and comic book writing and also one of our Beloved Leader Larry Brody’s longest-lasting and closest friends. Everybody who comes to TVWriter™ should be reading his insightful blog, where this article first appeared. Learn more about Gerry HERE.

Want to Score a Fellowship to TheOffice?

by TVWriter™ Press Service

Attention, TVWriter™ visitors. Here’s a peek into the kind of email we love to receive…because of the way it can benefit YOU:

Hi there,

I’m Jordan, and I help run theOFFICE, a quiet, communal workspace in Santa Monica. We’ve just launched our 2019 Fellowship where we award one up-and-coming writer a FREE 6-Month Premium Membership to our space. It’s completely free for writers to enter. I thought this could be a great opportunity for your community.

theOFFICE is one of the country’s premiere coworking spaces, serving writers for over 15 years. Current and past members include J.J. Abrams, Joss Whedon, Clark Gregg, Matthew Carnahan, Jen Celotta, Victoria Strouse and a whole host of others. With this fellowship, we’re able to open up the space to an up-and-coming writer who might not yet be able to afford a membership. This is the 6th year we’ve offered this.

If you’re looking for a great writing space in the L.A. area, TheOffice definitely should be on your list. And right now, for the seventh straight year, you have a chance to get your space absolutely free for six months. Here’s how:

You send us a sample of your best piece of writing along with a short email explaining why this fellowship is right for you. Our judges select a winner who will receive 6 months of free 24/7* access to the space. This is equivalent to a Premium Membership, the highest level of membership we offer, worth upwards of $2700. Winner gets their own door code to access the space even when staff isn’t here. You want to write at 2AM on a Wednesday night? The space is yours. You also get all the other perks of membership including unlimited coffee/tea, a locker for storage, Wifi, ergonomic Aeron workstations and all the peace and quiet you need to get the job done.

This year’s fellowship starts May 1st and runs through October 31st, 2019. It is completely free to enter. The winner will be announced the last week of April. Open to all up-and-coming writers who are looking to kick their productivity into overdrive. Think of this as your own writer’s retreat right here in the city!

We love the sound of this situation. If you do too, the place for more info is HERE.

Why I Live in Port Townsend, WA

LB’S NOTE: People keep asking why Gwen the Beautiful and I moved all the way up to the Northwestern Tip of the United States after so many years in L.A. Mainly, it’s because both of the following articles are true:

Full of Wander: Small-town bliss in Port Townsend
by Clara Yardley

You and I both know that city life can be tiring. Whether you were raised in a big city or are a small-town transplant who came to Seattle for college, we all get annoyed with certain aspects of city life: incessant traffic, tiny but outrageously priced apartments, the lack of familiar faces in the grocery store.

For me, the light pollution in cities is another downfall. Even on the rare, clear days, you can’t really see the stars in Seattle.

One thing that I do really appreciate about Seattle, however, is how it is relatively easy to get out of the city. Sure, you have urban sprawl for about an hour toward the north, south, and east, but west of Seattle is an entirely different story. You can hop on a ferry and within two hours be in the type of small town where you can’t avoid seeing familiar faces at the grocery store.

Port Townsend is just a couple of hours northwest of Seattle, has all the charms of a small town, and is surrounded by amazing scenery and recreation.

There are a couple of ways to get to Port Townsend from Seattle. All of them require a car, so rope in a friend who can double as a chauffeur. You can take one of two routes: the Edmonds to Kingston ferry or the Seattle to Bainbridge Ferry. They have comparable amounts of car time, and are priced the same — $12.05 for a car and driver and $8.50 for each additional adult — so base your decision off northbound (Edmonds) or southbound (Seattle) traffic reports. As per any day trip, try to get an early start.

If you get into town in time for a late breakfast — or lunch or maybe even dinner, for that matter —  check out Better Living through Coffee. Yes, it’s really called that; and yes, coffee really can lead to a better life. This place is amazing. Some other great food options are Khu Larb Thai and Howell’s Sandwich Co….

Read it all at DAILYUW.COM

And here’s another perspective:

Port Townsend ‘Most Boring’ Town In Washington: Report
by Travis Loose

PORT TOWNSEND, WA – Without offering much in the way of an explanation, BestLifeOnline.com last week identified Jefferson County’s Port Townsend as the “most boring town” in Washington State.

Reportedly using data on “the highest median ages, the fewest number of things to do, and the lowest population density,” BestLifeOnline.com editors selected the most boring towns in all 50 states. However, BestLifeOnline.com — a men’s lifestyle and entertainment publication — only offered basic statistics on Port Townsend to justify its assertion.

Noting Port Townsend’s population of 9,315 residents, BestLifeOnline.com suggested the city’s meager offering of only eight “entertainment spots” and 74 hotels and restaurants are what makes it such a lackluster place in the Pacific Northwest.

Conversely, the city of Port Townsend’s tourism website, EnjoyPT.com, refers to the city as “one of the coolest small towns in America.”

“With its maritime heritage, artist spirit, and a touch of urban chic, Port Townsend is an easily accessible base camp to the Olympic Peninsula and beyond,” the website asserts. “Whether on land or sea; indoors or outdoors — Port Townsend has activities for every taste.”

Likewise, the website referenced a 2010 National Geographic blurb that called Port Townsend “one of the most sophisticated places west of Seattle,” thanks in large part to its “Victorian architecture, art galleries, and wine bars,” the author noted.

The variance in entirely subjective opinions has been nothing short of comical to Port Townsend Mayor Deborah Stinson, who on Wednesday called Patch to discuss the city’s latest claim to fame….

Read it all at PATCH.COM

 

WGAW March 2019 Calendar

Here’s what going on at the Writers Guild of America West this month. One of the best ways to network is to hang with the working writers there, plus there’s a ton going on that can help all of us, including non-members, in so many ways. So, for your edification:

 

March 2019

Saturday 02

WGF: WGFestival 2019

Sat., 3/2. 10 a.m.-9 p.m.; Sun., 3/3. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. – Pickford Center for Motion Picture Study.

Category: Writers Guild Foundation

Tickets/Info: WGFoundation. WGFestival is a two-day writing conference presented by the Writers Guild Foundation in partnership with the Academy Education and Nicholl Fellowship Programs. Through keynote conversations, breakout sessions, and special events, our goal is to create an interactive and educational experience for emerging and working writers in film and TV. Visit wgfestival.org for schedule, ticketing, and speaker updates.

Monday 04

Meeting: Writers with Disabilities

7–9 p.m. – WGAW 2nd Floor, Room 2A

Category: Inclusion and Equity Committee Meetings

Info: (323) 782-4589. The Writers with Disabilities Committee is looking for ways to aid disabled writers in pursuing their careers in Hollywood and to encourage accurate portrayals of the disabled in film and television. Please come, shake hands and talk about expanding opportunities for all of us.

Tuesday 05

WGF: Fay Wray & Robert Riskin: A Hollywood Memoir Book Signing & Reception

6:30-8:30 p.m. – SAG-AFTRA Foundation Screening Room

Category: Writers Guild Foundation

RSVP: WGFoundation. Join author and former WGAW President Victoria Riskin and the WGF for a special evening commemorating two Hollywood legends, actor Fay Wray and screenwriter Robert Riskin. A discussion between Riskin and screenwriter and former WGAW President Howard A. Rodman immediately follows the book signing and reception. Copies of Fay Wray and Robert Riskin: A Hollywood Memoir will be available for purchase at the event.

Tuesday 05

In Her Words: Spotlight on Women Writers in Film & TV – Launch Event with Barbra Streisand

7 p.m. Yentl screening; 9:15 p.m. Conversation with Barbra Streisand – ArcLight Hollywood, 6360 Sunset. Blvd., Hollywood

Category: Communications

Info/Tickets: In Her Words. Use password WGAWIE for member discount. Kicking off a special screening series honoring the accomplishments of women film and TV writers to coincide with Women’s History Month in March, the WGAW is proud to present a screening of 1983’s acclaimed Yentl, followed by a rare, in-person conversation with the film’s legendary co-screenwriter/director/producer/star Barbra Streisand. Subsequent screenings at the Arclight will salute the powerful, authentic, and unique talents of women writers who’ve created memorable works while shattering industry barriers in the process. Presented by Women in Entertainment and WGAW, in conjunction with WGAW’s Publicity & Marketing Committee and WGAW’s Committee of Women Writers.

Thursday 07

This Changes Everything Screening & Panel Discussion

7 p.m. – Writers Guild Theater

Category: Inclusion and Equity

Info: (323) 782-4589. RSVP: Changes The Inclusion and Equity Group invites you to “This Changes Everything Screening & Panel Discussion.” This new feature documentary by CreativeChoas vmg and New Pilot Films uncovers what is beneath one of the most confounding dilemmas in the entertainment industry—the underrepresentation and misrepresentation of women behind and in front of the camera—showcases gender bias, and serves as a call to action for radical change towards an equitable industry and society. Panelists include: Geena Davis, Wendy Calhoun, Marg Helgenberger, Ligiah Villalobos, and Tom Donahue.

Tuesday 12

Meeting: Latino Writers Committee

7:30-9:30 p.m. – WGAW 1st Floor Room 1A

Category: Inclusion and Equity Committee Meetings

Info: (323) 782-4589. This committee actively represents the professional, creative, social and economic interests of Latino Guild members. Its mandate is to encourage Latino writers to become more active within the Guild; and to raise the profile and perception of Latino writers in the industry at large by creating forums that foster networking, collaboration, education, information exchange, employment opportunities and creative expression.

Wednesday 13

Meeting: Career Longevity Committee

7-9 p.m. – WGAW 4th Floor Boardroom

Category: Inclusion and Equity Committee Meetings

Info: (323) 782-4589. Formerly the Age Awareness Committee, the mission of the Career Longevity Committee is to assist writers of all ages in planning for long and successful careers by giving them the tools and knowledge to adapt to changes in the marketplace. WGAW members of all ages are encouraged to attend. Special guest: Frank Crim (director, 40 and Over Film Festival).

Friday 15

Call for Entries: Maison des Scénaristes (2019 Cannes Film Festival)

Submission deadline 11:59 p.m. (French time)

Category: Other agencies

Info/Entries: WeFilmGood. The 8th Annual Maison des Scénaristes (aka International Screenwriters’ Pavilion) is offering 20-25 screenwriters a unique opportunity to pitch to French and international producers. Accommodations for the selected screenwriters will be available at a reasonable price at the “Villa des Scénaristes.”

Tuesday 19

Meeting: LGBTQ+ Writers Committee

7:30-9:30 p.m. – WGAW 4th Floor Boardroom

Category: Inclusion and Equity Committee Meetings

Info: (323) 782-4589. This committee seeks to represent the interests of its constituency as a resource, to provide cultural and educational opportunities and to nurture an understanding of how sexual orientation affects the lives of all writers seeking to portray gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgendered people in their work, and create a greater awareness within the Guild of sexual orientation as a minority and to articulate instances of homophobia and/or discrimination within our industry. Special guests: Ashley Whitaker and Lauren Tuck (creative executives, Harpo Films).

Wednesday 20

Owning Your Power: Staying Resilient, Relevant, and Visible in Your Writing Career

7:30-9:30 p.m. – WGF Library

Category: Inclusion and Equity

Info: (323) 782-4589. RSVP: YourPower. WGAW Members only. Space is limited. The Career Longevity Committee presents “Owning Your Power,” an interactive workshop led by Career Coach and Television Packaging Agent Jim Arnoff. Get the insider’s take on how to remain empowered, energized, and proactive no matter where you are in your writing career. Learn coaching tools to network with results, embrace change, and take charge of your career. Hear strategies to reinvent yourself, gain access to decision makers and make your writing projects more viable. Reception follows.

Saturday 23

WGF: Volunteer Opportunity with 826LA’s Scholarship Day

9-2 p.m. – Manual Arts High School

Category: Writers Guild Foundation

Info/RSVP: WGFoundation826LA‘s Scholarship Day is designed to help students make their academic dreams that much more attainable. You will work one-on-one with a student from the greater LA area and help them write polished essays for scholarship prompts. Students will each arrive with a folder of scholarships selected by their college counselors, as well as their personal statement responses to help guide the writing process. If you have not volunteered with 826LA before, you will need to obtain a Live Scan background check no later than 3/4 in order to participate. Contact Libbie Anderson for more info.

Monday 25

Meeting: Native American & Indigenous Writers Committee

7-9:30 p.m. – WGAW 2nd Floor, Room 2B

Category: Inclusion and Equity Committee Meetings

Info: (323) 782-4589. 7 p.m. “Happy Half Hour” (networking, snacks, and beverages), 7:30 p.m. meeting. This Committee represents the professional and creative interests of Native American & Indigenous writers. It works to mentor, encourage, empower, and increase the visibility and employment of writers of Native American & Indigenous heritage, and serves as a cultural and educational resource for all Guild member-writers seeking to portray Native American & Indigenous Peoples in their work.

Wednesday 27

Meeting: Writers Education Committee

7:30-9 p.m. – WGAW 4th Floor Boardroom

Category: Writers Ed

RSVP: WritersEd. Eligible members only. This WGAW committee brainstorms and develops events and programs, which provide WGA members with practical, inside knowledge, about how the industry works and how it is changing, emphasizing tips and tools to help writers succeed. We strive to provide “working knowledge for writers” and invite you to contribute your ideas.

Friday 29

WGF: Inside the Writers’ Room with Jane the Virgin

7:30-9 p.m. – Writers Guild Theater

Category: Writers Guild Foundation

Info/Tickets: WGFoundation. Before you dive into Jane the Virgin‘s fifth and final season, join showrunner Jennie Snyder Urman and the writers for a look inside the craft behind The CW series. Moderated by show star Jaime Camil. Check the WGF events site for more panelist announcements. This is the kickoff event for WGFestival 2019.

Saturday 30

WGF: WGFestival 2019

Sat., 3/30, 10 a.m.-9 p.m.; Sun., 3/31, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. – Pickford Center for Motion Picture Study

Category: Writers Guild Foundation

Info/Tickets: WGFestival.org. WGFestival is a two-day writing conference presented by the Writers Guild Foundation in partnership with the Academy Education and Nicholl Fellowship Programs. Through keynote conversations, breakout sessions, and special events, our goal is to create an interactive and educational experience for emerging and working writers in film and TV. Visit WGFestival.org for schedule, ticketing, and speaker updates.


Events listed are current at time of publication. Dates and details are subject to change during the month. To see the live calendar, click here. (Member Login required for that, sorry.)