Anyone Remember “Confessionals?”

It was a genre, way back in the day. Fallen out of favor now. Replaced by Exploitative Memoirs. But the following, by a Utah man, may bring ’em back…with a vengeance:

Dead man confesses all in self-written obituary
by Sun News

A Utah man took his secrets to the grave – but confessed them in his obituary.

Val Patterson, of Salt Lake City, died of throat cancer on July 10, at the age of 59. The death notice he wrote for himself appeared in the Salt Lake Tribune this past Sunday.

“Now that I have gone to my reward, I have confessions and things I should now say,” Patterson wrote.
He starts out admitting to a crime.

“As it turns out, I AM the guy who stole the safe from the Motor View Drive Inn back in June 1971. I wanted to get it off my chest.”

Then he reveals that the PhD on his wall was mailed to him as the result of a paperwork error. In fact, he never even graduated.

“For all of the electronic engineers I have worked with,
I’m sorry, but you have to admit my designs always worked very well, and were well engineered, and I always made you laugh at work.”

In the lighthearted letter, which runs nearly 900 words long, Patterson describes a fun and fulfilling life, and thanks his friends, family and pets.

Patterson’s wife of 33 years, Mary Jane, told KSL News every word of it is true.

In a final act of contrition, Patterson tells Disneyland and SeaWorld San Diego they can throw away the “banned for life” files they have on him.

“I’m not a problem anymore.”

Read it all

Now this is writing! Brilliant. We absolutely are going to do this. We have to.

But not for a very long time.

We hope.

Starting Your Own Series on a Shoestring

Yes, it can be done. Check out this mucho helpful article from CliqueclackTV on various types of interweb video series and how to start them:

Drinking is the new writing…just ask these drinkers writers

Tired of TV? Create your own web series! – Monthly Musings
by An Nicholson

Although I think today’s TV is pretty good, it can improve. If you aren’t satisfied with network/cable shows, create your own! With today’s inexpensive technology and the multiple opportunities available through the internet, public access TV, campus TV, and local radio, you have NO excuse to NOT contribute to the creative TV landscape.

To provide suggestions for the fledgling web creator or student producer, I tapped the awesome Joe Wilson, writer/director of the kickbutt web series Vampire Mob and our own Katie Schenkel, who runs the movie review vlog, Just Plain Something.

Click on page two for Joe’s suggestions for starting your own web series, page three for Katie’s suggestions regarding creating your own vlog, and page four for my five cents on starting your own campus/public access TV show.

Read it all

Writing for Children’s Shows

Writing for Kids’ TV
by Danny Stack

It’s odd that the genre of kids’ TV is often overlooked by screenwriting events, seminars and the so-called gurus. It’s also rare to meet a writer who aspires to write for kids’ TV.

Why is this the case? Perhaps it’s because kids’ TV is for, well, kids. And maybe there’s a misplaced notion that writing for kids must be simple compared to primetime drama or feature films. Or that there’s not much kudos involved in writing for the genre.

If this is the case, then it’s an erroneous point-of-view. Writing for kids’ TV is challenging, fun, and profitable. It also requires the same amount of screenwriting skill and craft as writing any other drama. In some instances, it’s actually much harder because you’ll often be expected to write a funny script. No post-modern cultural references, intellectual quips or self-reflective wit, just make the script funny through the characters and story. No pressure.

Writing for kids is the purest form of storytelling because it’s free of ego and cynicism. Kids don’t care if you’re Russell T Davies. They only care if Russell T Davies tells them a good story. An idea that grabs. A story with a sense of urgency. Characters who we really care about. A plot with unpredictable twists and turns. Think kids aren’t sophisticated and can’t see a twist from a mile away? Think again.

Read it all

Not only are we glad to have found this, we’re happy to have made the acquaintance of Mr. Stack’s most excellent blog!

Taking Back Kickstarter

What’s that, bunky? You say you’re feeling tired, defeated even because media pros like Charlie Kaufman, David Lynch, Paul Schrader, and way too many others are monopolizing Kickstarter and getting the funding you know should have been earmarked for you?

You need to learn how to work it, dude. How to make Kickstarter your bitch. And Michael Cavna and Keith Knight are here to tell you just what to do:

HOW TO KICKSTARTER: Cartoonist Keith Knight’s 14 Tips for a More Successful Funding Campaign
by Michael Cavna

IT’S ONLY NOW, more than a month later, that Keith Knight fully realizes he didn’t quite know what he was doing.

“I went into it rather naive on what to do,” Knight tells Comic Riffs of his successful $40,000 Kickstarter funding campaign for his comic “I Was a Teenage Michael Jackson Impersonator.” Fortunately, “It was with the help of several readers who wrote and said: ‘I know you don’t wanna be rude bugging people about this, but [here’s] something you gotta do if you wanna make it happen…”

So that all fund-seeking creators and generous fans might benefit from his wisdom and missteps — from the finances to the psychology — here are Keith Knight’s 14 Tips for a More Successful Kickstarter:

1. I’D HAVE a countdown on my website saying, “10-9-8 [etc.] days till the launch of my Kickstarter Campaign!!”

2. A FEW FOLKS said I put the funding goal too high. They said the way to do it is to set it at the lowest level that you’d do it for, because it’ll definitely get reached, and most likely surpassed, and then people get all giddy and throw tons more money on top. People love a winner.

3. BE SURE that your campaign launches ends during the week, not the weekend. Weekends are where Kickstarter campaigns go to die.

Read it all




The Rules of Joke Court

Our not-so-tame Saskatchewanian, Anil, has spent his entire L.A. lifetime in the local comedy club scene. Time now for a short report on  what he’s learned:

by Anil

To save aspiring comedians and comedy writers a lifetime of awkward silence from their sensitive comedy brethren, TVWriter.Com presents the simple rules for navigating the minefield of Joke Court. Take these rules to work-out rooms, smokey patios and dive restaurants full of funny people assured justice will always be served.

The Rules of Joke Court

  1. Make sure you’re in court. Even if it seems like a fellow comedian is asking for help, s/he may not be. Sure, s/he just said, “I really need help fixing this joke” out loud, but the subtext was “I’m dying on stage and the universal panic move of all comedians is to narrate their own act. I know I’m in the toilet, but I’m thinking out loud. Don’t interrupt me.” Always ask if you can make a suggestion, and only when the performer seems ready and receptive.
  2. Listen. Nothing helps less than notes on material no one heard but you.
  3. Don’t confuse style with mechanics. Sometimes a joke falls flat because it doesn’t fit a comedian’s POV, or has meandered structure. Don’t offer your version of the joke. Focus on the mechanics, and help shape their version of the joke. It will help your writing immensely.
  4. All records are sealed. A spitballing session can quickly turn into a heated, explicit debate about politics, sexual deviancy, criminal behaviour or religious beliefs. Don’t get offended. Don’t judge. Don’t take the transcript out in public. Some of the best material comes in the worst mess, but you’ll never find it without a safe place to do the digging.
  5. Everything is on the record. If you want to use something funny that came up in conversation, ask. Let it be known you’re interested in developing the gag. If there’s a dispute over who’s ‘brilliant idea’ it is, drop it. There’s no shortage of funny in the world. Something else will come along.
  6. Don’t hold grudges. The people who give you the best notes are the ones who genuinely want you to be your funniest. Consider all options.
  7. The judge’s ruling is final. Even if the jury hates it, the comedian who wrote the bit passes the final sentence. If s/he wants to stick with it, don’t push prosecution after the gavel’s been dropped.


EDITED BY TVWriter™ TO ADD THE FOLLOWING 2nd THOUGHT: Okay, so you might not want to use these rules in this particular workout room/club: