LB: TVWRITER UNIVERSITY Update for September 2012

Time now to reach out to everyone about what’s happening with the TVWriter™ Online Workshops. No time to waste, so:

I’m hoping to hold the Basic Online TV and Film Writing Workshop in October, which, yep, is next month.

The 8-week long (one meeting a week) TVWriter.Com Basic Online Workshop covers just that, the basics of TV (and film!) writing, from how to present your idea via loglines and leavebehinds, to character creation and story structure, to the writing of the 1st draft and revisions. We do this via my book (here comes the pitch) Television Writing from the Inside Out,weekly writing exercises, and of course weekly video (and text if you don’t want to do video) chat meetings.

I’m not going to schedule the class until it’s full, which is why all I can say now about when I’ll be holding it is “next month.” The good news about that is that if you enroll soon we’ll get everything sorted and you won’t be left out. The not so good news about it is that my definition of a full class is 6 students, so if you don’t enroll soon there may be a place for you.

The price is $299. Details and the sign-up page, as we like to say in the e-newsletter mailings, are HERE.

For those of you who are ready for the Advanced Workshop, it’s already up and running, as it has been continuously for about a dozen years. The next session of 4 weekly meetings starts September 26, 2012. Your job is to write 10 pages a week on the project you’re most invested in and to read 10 pages a week by each of the other students. My job is to read and make copious notes so we can do the video/text chat thing. Again, the maximum number of students is 6 and there are liable to be several carryovers from the current session, so my advice is to hurry.

The price is $140. For this one, the details and sign-up page are HERE.

I’d also like to take a minute to talk about a class that I give on a kind of “as-needed” basis. It’s called the Larry Brody Master Class and it’s for writers who are working pros, former working pros, or who really, really, really, no kidding, we absolutely mean it, qualified to be working pros and are actively working toward their break.

Up to now, the 4-week long Master Class has been by invitation only, but something penetrated my normally thick skull just the other day: I really don’t know every writer in the world who’s qualified to be in this class. So, as a kind of trial run, I’m throwing this out there to everyone. If you have a finished, or almost finished half-hour or one-hour script and think it’s ready to roll in the Major Leagues, there may be room for as many as 2 of you in the Master Class session that starts next week, September 11, 2012.

Specific info and the sign-up form are on a password-protected page here at TVWriter™. To find out if I agree that you’re ready for the intensity of this particular experience email me HERE and send a sample of your current work. If I fall in love and the 2 remaining places in what is, at most, a 3-student class aren’t filled, I’ll send you the URL and the password. The price, meanwhile, is $279.

I’m really serious about this “Better writing means better TV” business that appears in various places on this site. And even more serious about the “Achieving your dreams means a better life” concept that is the focus of so much of my thinking these days. If these things appeal to you, hey, c’mon, get in touch.

LYMI,

LB

Be Bold Dept: Take on New Things!

No kidding around here. This is the most inspiration video we’ve ever seen, especially if you’re all about being creative:

Don’t know who Paula Scher is, but she’s all about asking questions, going where you haven’t gone before, and the reinvigoration of your work, your life, and the lives of everybody and everything around you, just by taking the risk of being daring.

This lady knows her stuff. In fact, we’re severely crushing on Paula right now. (Is it a crush when you wish somebody was your mother? Have we revealed too much? Uh-oh…)

What Does It Mean To “Know How To Write?”

We’re moving onto The New Yorker’s turf now. Watch out, Sports Illustrated, you could be next!

EVERYTHING IS FICTION – by Keith Ridgway

I don’t know how to write. Which is unfortunate, as I do it for a living. Mind you, I don’t know how to live either. Writers are asked, particularly when we’ve got a book coming out, to write about writing. To give interviews and explain how we did this thing that we appear to have done. We even teach, as I have recently, students who want to know how to approach the peculiar occupation of fiction writing. I tell them at the beginning—I’ve got nothing for you. I don’t know. Don’t look at me.

I’ve written six books now, but instead of making it easier, it has complicated matters to the point of absurdity. I have no idea what I’m doing. All the decisions I appear to have made—about plots and characters and where to start and when to stop—are not decisions at all. They are compromises. A book is whittled down from hope, and when I start to cut my fingers I push it away from me to see what others make of it. And I wait in terror for the judgements of those others—judgements that seem, whether positive or negative, unjust, because they are about something that I didn’t really do. They are about something that happened to me. It’s a little like crawling from a car crash to be greeted by a panel of strangers holding up score cards.

Something, obviously, is going on. I manage, every few years, to generate a book. And of course, there are things that I know.

Read it all

LB: How to Practice So It Really Does Make Perfect

A Better Way to Practice – by Noa Kageyama

While it may be true that there are no shortcuts to anywhere worth going, there certainly are ways of needlessly prolonging the journey. We often waste lots of time because nobody ever taught us the most effective and efficient way to practice. Whether it’s learning how to code, improving your writing skills, or playing a musical instrument, practicing the right way can mean the difference between good and great.

You have probably heard the old joke about the tourist who asks a cab driver how to get to Carnegie Hall, only to be told: “Practice, practice, practice!”

I began playing the violin at age two, and for as long as I can remember, there was one question which haunted me every day.

Am I practicing enough?

What Do Performers Say?

I scoured books and interviews with great artists, looking for a consensus on practice time that would ease my conscience. I read an interview with Rubinstein, in which he stated that nobody should have to practice more than four hours a day. He explained that if you needed that much time, you probably weren’t doing it right.

And then there was violinist Nathan Milstein who once asked his teacher Leopold Auer how many hours a day he should be practicing. Auer responded by saying “Practice with your fingers and you need all day. Practice with your mind and you will do as much in 1 1/2 hours.”

Even Heifetz indicated that he never believed in practicing too much, and that excessive practice is “just as bad as practicing too little!” He claimed that he practiced no more than three hours per day on average, and that he didn’t practice at all on Sundays.

It seemed that four hours should be enough. So I breathed easy for a bit. And then I learned about the work of Dr. K. Anders Ericsson.

Read it all

In a nutshell, this perceptive article compares different kinds of practice and comes up with a very sensible conclusion: Deliberate practice, in which you are totally involved, works the best. It’s all about making sure that you are working with your full consciousness and actively embracing what you’re doing, whether it be playing an instrument, working on your golf swing, or writing.

The way I look at it is this:

I’ve never practiced anything. But I love the doing of the things I do. So I write and write and write with the idea that everything I put down is going to be golden and useful and, most importantly to me, read by others. Much of it is. Some isn’t. But by doing I learn/hone/shape.

I concede that others may call this practice, but for me it’s the ultimate expression of my craft because, hell, I don’t express anything until I do it “ultimately.”

Know what I think? I think that even when he was five or six and sitting at the piano 10 hours a day, he never “practiced.” When the other kids came over and asked, “‘Sup?” he replied, “I’m playing.”

That attitude makes a huge difference in the result. Try it. You’ll see.

How to Help Yourself Finish What You Start

…You know, like a spec script or a pilot presentation or a video. The important things in life:

Having Trouble Finishing Your Labor Of Love? – by Mark McGuiness

Everyone thinks they have a book inside them, but not so many make the time and effort to bring it to birth. For ‘book’ you could substitute ‘screenplay’, ‘album’, ‘startup’, or ‘crocheted iPad case for your Etsy shop’.

All of these are self-started creative projects – labors of love that we feel inspired to do in spite (or maybe because) of the fact no one is pressuring us to get them done. If you can actually see a project like this through to completion, it’s one of the biggest creative buzzes you will ever experience.

But getting it done – without a boss or client told you to account, and with precious little spare time or money – is one of the biggest challenges you’ll ever face.

This was brought home to me recently when I decided to write a book, in the middle of running my own business and being responsible for two blogs and two toddlers. I’ve now finished the draft, and am in the process of revising it for the editor. So with in the end in sight, I thought I’d share a few of the principles that helped me get this far.

1. Make it worth the sacrifice.
Unless you have more spare time and resources than most of us, you will have to sacrifice something to make room for your project…

Read it all

This is worth reading for its pragmatic sensibility. Of particular importance for us was the writer’s Tip #4: “Make yourself accountable.” At first we thought, “Duh…’ but then realized that without a boss or a salary it has been all too easy for us to let things slide in the past, even though we really wanted to do them. So now we’re telling you, so you can hold us to it: “Got a pilot script to finish, dammit! By the end of next week. We’re gonna go, go, go…”

But then what’ll happen to everything we wanted to put on this blog in the next 10 days? Uh-oh…