And Now, Some Good Words About Rewriting

We don’t know Jay McKinnon, but we’re rooting for him, thanks to this:

Batman Begins A Screenwriting Rewrite, by Jason McKinnon

I was channel surfing the other day and I stopped the second I spotted The Dark Knight. One of my favorite movies of all time…

I was instantly reminded of two things. First, Christopher Nolan’s brilliant film is still on of the best comic book movies ever made.  Second, it reminded me of a page one rewrite the film inspired way back when it first debuted in theaters.

I was in in college studying Broadcasting and an unfinished feature length screenplay was weighing heavily on me.  I started it in high school and it was painfully obvious when I saw all the rookie mistakes.  The characters came across as immature and there was a glaring plot hole in my story.  Yet, I wouldn’t allow myself to write anything new until I finished it.  This caused a problem because I couldn’t find the motivation to work on it.  In those days, it was easier to just go out and have fun then stay home and write.  Procrastination can be a dangerous habit to break.

The story was called Behind Max and it was about a high school basketball star desperate to find the support he needed to go for his dreams.  When I finished the first draft I really rushed to the end and this resulted in a very weak final act.  But really, the entire screenplay needed work.  What I needed was a spark.

That spark was Batman Begins.

Christopher Nolan’s incredible interpretation of Batman taught me a very important lesson. It taught me to step back and look at my own films in different ways.  To open my eyes to new approaches and different directions to take my screenplays.

I distinctly remember humming that unbelievable theme all the way home.  That night, I stayed in, printed out my script and read it start to finish.  I find you resist stopping to rewrite and tweak your script when it’s on paper.

Once I was finished reading the screenplay, I got out my notebook and got to work.

What is my story about?  What am I trying to say?  What have I said already?  How can I say it better?

By the end of that night, I had outlined a much better approach to Behind Max and I felt alive.  Things changed for me that day….Two days after that magical night, I…saw Batman Begins again and it had the same effect on me…. I sat down with my outline and my old script and started from scratch.  It took two weeks to finish the screenplay…. I was proud of what I had accomplished.  Proud to be a screenwriter.

[Re]Writing that screenplay taught me how much I loved to write.

Read it all

And the moral of this story?


It should be a screenwriting meme. Thanks, Jay!

Buy Me, Use Me

Ever Hear of Ernie Kovacs?

No? Then we’re glad to introduce you:

Looking back at Ernie Kovacs
by Neil McNally

“Television. A medium. So called because it’s neither rare nor well done.” Ernie Kovacs

More than fifty years ago, with a flick of his trademark cigar, Ernie Kovacs took a proverbial sledge hammer to the new medium of television. Amid the wreckage, he pushed television further through ground breaking visual effects, music videos, and surrealistic comedy. Along for this wild ride were a stable of nutty characters like Percy Dovetonsils, The Nairobi Trio, Chef Miklos Molnar, Eugene, Wolfgang Von Saurbraten, and Auntie Gruesome. His influential footprints still reverberate in places like the mad worlds of The Muppets, Monty Python, David Letterman, The Simpsons, and Terry Gilliam. In fact, Gilliam allegedly told the other Pythons “This is a guy you stole everything from, but never heard of before!”

Generations in the United States always seemed to find their way back to Ernie. “Best Of” television specials, museum retrospectives, and home videos were there to help guide a new crop of fans to Kovacsland. However, rather than eliciting strong laughs and fond memories, Ernie Kovacs’ name over the past fifteen years has elicited blank stares and quizzical looks. It seemed his large body of work had begun to fade into the world of television’s past. How do you re-introduce a television icon who at one time needed no introduction?

Enter Josh Mills. As the son of famed entertainer Edie Adams, Mills knew of Kovacs, not just by his wild reputation, but as his mother’s first husband. During our recent conversation, he spoke of his mother’s passing in 2008, and the realities of Ernie’s reputation “It was very hard to inject Ernie into conversations. I realized right around the month that she died, there was something on PBS about the history of comedy and Ernie wasn’t included.” He continued “I just realized I had to really make an effort to kind of bring him back in a way that we hadn’t done in a really long time.”

Read it all

LB made us read this article, but, armed with our new knowledge, we watched every Kovacs video we could find on YouTube. All we can say is, “Awesome.” Brilliantly funny stuff, and the foundation of so much of the humor still riding the airwaves today.

Welcome to the Wonderful World of Paying It Forward.

What’s Holding Back Your Career?

So far, everything TVWriter™ has posted about improving creativity/concentration and increasing chances for success (as a writer or just about anything else) has had all the impact the MPAA has stopping movie downloads, but we’re not giving up. (Because all the articles say not to, dammit.)

How to hack the beliefs that are holding you back
by Daniel Tenner

We all have beliefs that are holding us back. Sometimes we’re aware of them, sometimes not.

One entrepreneur I know…admitted (after quite a lot of wine) that he has a block around sending invoices. He was perhaps exaggerating when he said that before he could send an invoice he had to down a bottle of wine and get drunk so he could hit the send button, but even so, it was clear that he had a serious block around asking people to pay him.

As an entrepreneur, that’s obviously a deadly flaw. In terms of “holding you back”, struggling to ask people for money for work that you’ve done is like wearing blocks of cement as boots. It won’t just slow you down, it will probably stop you dead in your tracks.

Myself, I have – or used to have – similar blocks. Generally, many geeks early in their entrepreneurial career tend to have a general dislike of things like marketing and sales, that, in my opinion, often are rooted not only in fear of an unknown activity, but also in beliefs about money. For example, I used to believe (subconsciously) that money was bad. I would spend money as quickly as (or more quickly than) I earned it. If your first thought when you’re given £10,000 is how to spend it (rather than how it adds to your wealth), you probably have a similar belief that money is something to be gotten rid of, to push away – that’s not a belief that’s conducive to making money and becoming comfortably well off, because you have to have a saving, wealth-building mindset for that.

Another would-be entrepreneur I spoke to recently was afraid to quit his job. He hated the work passionately. His wife supported his decision to quit,…yet he couldn’t bring himself to actually quit, because he couldn’t quite make the leap to believe in himself, even though he knew he should…

Now, perhaps the beliefs holding you back are of a different nature, but…[c]hances are there are other beliefs rooted deep inside you that are holding you back…So, if you’re aware of such a belief and want to “fix” it, what can you do to hack your brain?

Having gone through the process, here are the handful of techniques I’ve found that…help in a tangible way.

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munchman and LB are phone conferencing:

So whatcha think, Boss? Anybody gonna read the article?

Read the article? You kidding? Dood, nobody’s even going to click on this post.


Please. Don’t let LB be right…again.


LB: Actors Have Feelings Too

by Larry Brody

Actually, actors have Very Deep Feelings, so much deeper than those of writers that we can’t possibly fathom what’s going on. Yes, years of experience being overwhelmed by the stars and not-stars I’ve worked with have taught me this. Which is why the following makes me so sad:

Rachel Ward Reveals She Left Acting After Bad Reviews for ‘Thornbirds’
by Marisa Guthrie (The Hollywood Reporter)

Rachel Ward — who starred in the wildly popular 1983 miniseries The Thornbirds with Richard Chamberlain — appeared at the semi-annual Television Critics Association press tour Sunday and admitted that it was the critics that drove her out of acting.

Although The Thornbirds was wildly popular, Ward received excoriating reviews for her performance.

“When I got slaughtered, I really took it to heart,” she said. “I never really got my confidence back after that.”
Ward appeared at TCA to support the PBS special Pioneers of Television along with Chamberlain, Louis Gossett Jr. (Roots), Michele Lee (Knots Landing), Cloris Leachman (The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Raising Hope) and Ward’s husband, Bryan Brown (who met her on Thornbirds).

Ward, who still does occasional acting, moved to Brown’s native Australia, where she has directed television series.

“As an actress, obviously you need a bit of talent,” she continued. “I think you need enormous guts to have a got at it.”

“Or tits,” chimed in Lee.

“I think you need self-confidence, which I didn’t have,” Ward said. “I feel honored to have been part of [The Thornbirds], but I didn’t want to repeat the experience.”

Come to think of it, I do know writers who’ve reacted to comments about their work by leaving the profession too. But for them it wasn’t comments by critics, it was comments at all those %#@! meetings.

For All The Rebels

It isn’t about violating the law, it’s about, um, erm…principle?

How to Pirate Movies, Music, TV Shows, and Books Without Getting Caught
by Kyle Wagner

Last time we did this, we were talking about software. This time, let’s talk media. That is movies, music, TV shows, and everything else the copyright lawyers scream about.

Before that, though, let’s talk about the ground rules here. You should not pirate things you don’t own. But ownership is a murky subject in content these days. Let’s say you bought a DVD in 2002, and now your new laptop doesn’t have a DVD player. You’re screwed—unless you want to buy the same movie, in a different format. Or you can pirate it.
Technically, you’re breaking the law. No way around that. But moralistically? It’s harder to say. But this guide isn’t here to debate morals. That’s on you. This is just a toolbox for how to pirate stuff without getting caught.

Low-Tech Hacks

This is really about the path of least resistance. And often, that is just using what’s available to you. Let’s go to the Game of Thrones argument. HBO won’t shut up and take your money for HBO Go a la carte. Right. Well, if your dad subscribes, or your Great Aunt Betty who loves her talkies but doesn’t work the computer so good, then you can take advantage of their subscription on HBO Go.

All you’ve got to do is log in with a subscriber’s cable service online information. So: call your dad and ask for his password. Problem solved. Same goes for Amazon Prime. If you don’t have the service, an account is permitted to cover multiple family members.

For books, there is the little-used Public Library ebook lending option. And also, Project Gutenberg has an expansive collection of free public domain works. Many of the more obscure works aren’t in the marketplaces, while some more popular books cost a nominal fee of $0.99 elsewhere.

Now on to the real stuff.

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Yeah. Principle. That’s our story and we’re sticking to it.