Optioning My TV Series From Outside of L.A.

At last! The info all of us who haven’t yet been able to relocate to the “land of fruits and nuts,” AKA Los Angeles have been waiting for.

We know, we know. For two decades TVWriter™ has been saying, “Ya gotta live in L.A. if you want to make in showbiz.” And throughout those two decades new writers have been emailing us with the plea, “Say it ain’t so.”

Well, we aren’t going to go quite that far. You do need to be in L.A. in order to become the grand success we all dream of. But here’s a heartwarming video that gives some good news to those who are uprooting-challenged: There’s hope after all!

See more informative videos from Stage 32

Video Interview: This One isn’t Just for ‘Beetlejuice’ Fans

This TVWriter™ minion has to proclaim the truth for all to hear:

I am a huge Beetlejuice fan and think y’all should be too!!!

That’s why we’re so delighted to have found the following recent interview with Beetlejuice producer and co-writer Larry Wilson. As we’ve said a time or two before, “Watch and learn, kids. Watch and learn!”

Yeppers, this time we really mean it.

As one of the YouTube commenters put it, “Larry [Wilson] is the friend every screenwriter wants to have.”

To which Larry Brody and TVWriter™ say, “Amen.”

InkTip.Com is More Than Just a Catchy Name

EDITOR’S NOTE: InkTip.Com and TVWriter™ have been associated for almost 20 years, but this is the first time the site has been reviewed here in over a decade. How’s the place holding up? Dawn McElligott tells us all about it:

by Dawn McElligott

From the “About” section at InkTip.Com:

InkTip was born in 2000 after witnessing the difficulties associates and friends in the industry have had in getting exposure for their works, let alone getting their scripts sold. The mission of InkTip.com is threefold:

  • Help the producer easily find a good script
  • Save time for the agent and manager in locating the right people for their clients’ scripts, or new clients
  • Greatly increase exposure for the screenwriter

InkTip seems more to this writer like Q-Tip, since it has a soft touch. Wary of scams but compelled to try a service that connects writers and producers, I registered two screenplays with InkTip at the end of February. As of this writing, the loglines for my works have been viewed 50 times by producers.

To register a script, the writer completes a questionnaire so that InkTip can categorize it for prospective producers. The survey asks about the genre, possible sub-genre, locations, etc. The writer must also be able to supply proof of prior registration with a creative works protection organization such as the Writers Guild of America, in order to list a script or a book on their website, https://www.inktip.com/.

After registering a script, I received an email from InkTip about loglines. The web service has a logline lab that gives practical guidance for a crucial ingredient in marketing: the logline. Writers can easily revise their loglines, synopses and scripts at no extra charge from InkTip.

After eight production companies read my loglines and went no further, I consulted the website’s loglines lab. Revising the logline caused me to re-think the essence of my work. The experience made me feel better prepared for an eventual sales pitch.

If I had a question, I was advised to email the company’s President, Jerrol LeBaron, at jerrol@inktip.com. Within 24 hours, either Jerrol or one of his employees would politely respond to my question. The website does publish a Writers’ Protocol, admonishing writers to first, wait three to six weeks before contacting production companies who’ve viewed their scripts and to do so only by snail-mail letters.

The company also advises writers to contact only those producers who have viewed their books, treatments or scripts. Contacting producers or production companies after a view limited to the logline and/or synopsis, is prohibited.

A non-refunded removal from the website is a published consequence of breaking these rules so writers are encouraged to play nice. As of this writing, at least one producer has assigned my script to a reader. InkTip notified me by email and the producer’s physical address was given.

The website states that viewing scripts is limited to members only and producers hoping to join are thoroughly scrutinized. Two of the criteria for membership as a producer are proof of funds and a perceived ability to make a film.

The website boasts that since its establishment in 2000, over 350 movies have been made through its services. The cost for listing a script is $60 for four months with discounts for multiple listings. The website also offers many other goodies, such as listings of networking events.

Receiving worldwide exposure from vetted producers makes InkTip.com a sound investment. Being treated politely and fairly will keep me coming back.

Dawn McElligott is a an award-winning writer and filmmaker in Los Angeles by way of Philadelphia and other points East. You can learn more about her HERE

Mistakes Too Many New Screenwriters Make

That’s right, genius, we’re talking to you. Listen up:

Thanks to Film Courage and Eric Edson!


THE STORY SOLUTION: 23 Actions All Great Heroes Must Take


Peggy Bechko on Writing: To Backstory or Not to Backstory

by Peggy Bechko

Okay folks, this time around we’re going to talk about Backstory…or not, your choice. If you’re not

A nice, simple backstory to put things into perspective, yeah?

interested you can skip away, and I know you will.

But, for the interested, here’s the facts. First, we, as writers, love to get into the story, we love the detail in our heads and all the little things that make our characters tick and the story move. And, we’re often told as we learn writing that backstory is vital.

Well, sometimes it is. Sometimes it’s not.

Basically here’s what backstory is: “As a literary device backstory is often employed to lend depth or believability to the main story. The usefulness of having a dramatic revelation was recognized by Aristotle, in Poetics.

Backstories are usually revealed, partially or in full, chronologically or otherwise, as the main narrative unfolds. However, a story creator may also create portions of a backstory or even an entire backstory that is solely for their own use.

Backstory may be revealed by various means, including flashbacks, dialogue, direct narration, summary, recollection, and exposition.”

Got all that? Okay so what does that mean, really? In plain speak backstory is that vital information that lends oomph to the main story.

So, how do we determine whether to include it or not. Seems like it should always be included, right? Wrong. Backstory information can be overwhelming to the point of smothering the main story if the writer isn’t adept.

Think about this. Whatever scene you’re writing, whether in novel or script – does that backstory tie directly into the action of the scene you’re creating? Backstory is everything that happened to the characters and world in your story before you brought the readers in to experience that world.

But, if your readers (or watchers) don’t need the information to go deeper into the tale and experience what is truly at stake, then it’s not needed. At least not in that scene.

There are basically two main ways to plug some backstory into your tale. It can be slipped in, little by little, revealed as the story moves on. It can also be simply explained outright leaving no doubt you’re plugging in some backstory to enlighten the movie goer or the novel reader.

These two main methods are very different and create very different effects in a story. As in a movie, if the watcher learns gradually about what’s happened to the characters before, it adds to a slow understanding of what underlies the characters motives for doing what he does.

If the backstory is laid out as so much information, telling the reader (if in a novel) what happened and how the character was effected by it or the world changed, it can jerk the reader out of his reader’s trance (the same in a movie).

Even so, both methods can, and have been used effectively. It’s up to us as writers to determine the best way of delivering backstory…and deciding if it’s appropriate and where.

And that brings us to another ‘qualifier’. Ask yourself, if the information is left out, will this particular scene be much less. Will it leave your reader or movie goer wondering just why the heck someone did or did not do something and why the world you’ve created is what it is?



But considering backstory in your novel or script, and taking time to decide how to use it wisely will result in a gripping tale not to be forgotten. It’s one of those ‘underpinning thing’ that simply can’t be ignored.

Peggy Bechko is a TVWriter™ Contributing Editor. Learn more about her sensational career HERE. Peggy’s new comic series, Planet of the Eggs, written and illustrated with Charlene Brash-Sorensen is available on Kindle. And, while you’re at it, visit the Planet of the Eggs Facebook page and her terrific blog.