Time to Get Your Script in for the Humanitas Prize Competiiton

The Writers Guild of America wants us all to know that “HUMANITAS is pleased to announce a Call for Entries for the 43rd annual HUMANITAS Prize Awards. The winners will be announced at the HUMANITAS Prize Awards held in February 2018.”

Well, not exactly all of us. The Humanitas Prize has been a profoundly important contest over the years, but it has a catch. A production based on the submitted teleplay “must have had a national release on Television (Broadcast, Cable, Internet and Satellite),” and a screenplay must have been released theatrically in the year of the contest, in this case, 2017.

So, yikes!, yeah, to enter you’ve got to be some kind of a pro. While you’re mulling that over, here are the full deets:

Submissions open: September 1, 2017
Deadline: September 30, 2017
*Teleplay or film must be aired or released between January 1, 2017 and December 31, 2017.
*Episodes that air AFTER submission period are eligible for consideration and will be kept confidential.

The winners receive both a trophy and a cash prize at our annual HUMANITAS Awards Ceremony, which will be held in February 2018. The total annual amount of the awards is $70,000 and is divided among the following seven categories:

Feature Film Screenplay
Sundance Feature Film Screenplay
60-minute Teleplay
30-minute Teleplay
Feature Documentary
Children’s Animation
Children’s Live Action

Submission Guidelines:

  • Teleplay or film must be aired or released between January 1, 2017 and December 31, 2017.
  • $100 entry fee per submission.
  • No limit to the number of submissions.
  • Credits must be redacted from script.
  • Teleplay must be written and produced in the English language for U.S. Television (Broadcast, Cable, Internet and Satellite).
  • Teleplay must have had a national release on Television (Broadcast, Cable, Internet and Satellite).
  • Feature film screenplay becomes eligible in the year in which it receives a U.S. theatrical release.
  • Documentary entrants must submit digital content through web-based award judging portal.

For over four decades, the HUMANITAS Prize has empowered writers with financial support and recognition to tell stories which are both entertaining and uplifting. HUMANITAS encourages writers who create contemporary media to use their immense power to:

Encourage viewers to truly explore what it means to be a human being.
Challenge viewers to take charge of their lives and use their freedom in a responsible way.
Motivate viewers to reach out in respect and compassion to all their brothers and sisters in the human family.

“HUMANITAS exists to recognize, encourage and empower writers who teach us how to embrace our common humanity by way of their unique and powerful voices. These storytellers help us to consider our place in the world, and examine our own moral compasses. In this day and age, now more than ever, it is a noble mission.”
-Cathleen Young, HUMANITAS Executive Director

Submissions will be accepted on our website starting September 1, 2017.

If you have any questions, contact those in the know at info@humanitasprize.org or 310-454-8769.

Oh, and as long as we’re talking about contests, don’t forget – even if your television script hasn’t been produced this year, it’s totally eligible for TVWriter™’s very own PEOPLE’S PILOT 2017 Writing Contest. As long as the script will work as a pilot for any of the currently available electronic media that all of us are so addicted to as viewers.

The place for People’s Pilot 2017 info is HERE

Who luvs ya, baby?

Nielsen’s TV ratings now include Hulu and YouTube TV

The end of “real” TV is, um, nigh. Very nigh:

by Anthony Ha

Nielsen is taking a big step in measuring streaming TV today with the addition of Hulu and YouTube TV to its ratings.

Nielsen’s President of Product Leadership Megan Clarken said that the company’s ratings (the best-known measurement of TV viewership) have included some streaming data before, but it was usually when “traditional networks … distributed their content onto digital platforms” — like when CBS launched its streaming service CBS All Access.

“This is the first time the biggest digital-first, TV streaming companies have come into the fold in terms of being included in TV ratings,” Clarken said.

She added that this move reflects how viewership has moved beyond the traditional “TV glass.” It also comes just a few months after Hulu and YouTube launched their live TV services.

More specifically, Clarken said data about Hulu and YouTube TV will be incorporated into Nielsen’s C3/C7 numbers, which are used by TV ad-buyers and reflect viewership during a three- and seven-day time window….

Read it all at Techcrunch.Com

The Ongoing Search for Great Women’s Roles in TV

When this TVWriter™ minion took Larry Brody’s Online Workshop some months ago, he was always yakking about how we should “write roles that actors will want to play.”

The writer’s main job, LB stressed, was to “write to service the actors. Good roles are what good actors live for. Not only are great characters good for the script and the show and the stars, they’re also good for the writers because when you get down to it, being loved by actors is like having an all access pass for your burgeoning career.”

So, with that in mind, here’s a little ditty about just how much good new writers are needed. (Armed with this info, we’re sure it’s just a matter of time till you push your way to the front of the line.)

Brit Marling, creator, co-showrunner and star of THE OA has taken her career into her own hands.

by Randee Dawn

Katy Colloton, one of the six executive producer/writer/stars of TV Land’s “Teachers,” has an ongoing problem: She’s so good at separating her writing duties from her acting duties that more than one script she’s penned has left her dismayed on filming day.

“A lot of times I’ll get to set to do a scene and go, ‘Wait, I have to do this on camera?’” she says. “I forget I’m the one who’s going to have to have something squirted in her face, and I’m like, ‘I know I wrote that — but do I really have to do it?’”

First-World problems for a writer-star of any TV series, to be sure. But Colloton (along with her fellow “Teachers” multi-hyphenates Caitlin Barlow, Cate Freedman, Kate Lambert, Katie O’Brien and Kathryn Renée Thomas) is part of an intriguing “auteur” trend in television — a trend that is being led mostly by women (not necessarily all named some form of Kate).

Bored and turned off by the lesser two-dimensional (often) male-written roles available, a large number of women (more often in comedic roles than not) are writing their own tickets by creating their own series — consider Amazon’s “Fleabag,” the CW’s “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend,” Netflix’s “The OA” and HBO’s recently ended “Girls” and Hulu’s soon-to-end “The Mindy Project.” And what they’re putting out there is turning heads and causing executives to rethink what it means to put women in charge of their own TV destinies.

“When you’re beginning as a young woman [in Hollywood], the parts available to you require some kind of moral or political compromise,” says Brit Marling, creator and executive producer (with Zal Batmanglij) and star of Netflix’s “The OA,” one of the few female penned-and-starring dramas. “You have to be willing to wade through the muck to get to meaningful stories….”

Read it all at Los Angeles Times

Pay-TV Subscriptions are Falling, Falling, Falling

To misquote a legend: Is this the end, my friend?

Pay-TV Subs to Drop by 10 Million Viewers by 2021
by Daniel Frankel

S&P Global Market Intelligence’s Kagan is the latest research company to come out with bearish subscriber-growth projections for the traditional pay TV industry, predicting that U.S. cable, satellite and IPTV operators will lose another 10.8 million customers by 2021.

The total U.S. pay TV subscriber base will stand at only 82.3 million at that time, off about 20% from its peak.

Concurrently, Kagan predicts virtual services such as Sling TV and Sony PlayStation Vue to evolve into “mainstream” consumer choices and garner around 11 million users collectively by 2021.

Households relying entirely on aggregated over-the-top video choices, meanwhile, will grow to 18 million, Kagan predicts, accounting for 14% of households.

“Changing viewing habits point to mounting losses for traditional video services, and challengers are lining up to capitalize,” said Ian Olgeirson, research director for S&P Global Market Intelligence. “However, the operators are not without significant fortifications enabling expectations for preserving a majority share in the five-year outlook.”

After shedding more than 700,000 subscribers in the first quarter, the pay TV industry could post collective losses of more than 1 million linear customers in the second quarter, UBS analyst John Hodulik told investors earlier this month….

Read it all at Fierce Cable

The Real Reason Saturday Morning Cartoons Disappeared

A still from one of my favorite episodes of ye olde Silver Surfer Animated Series

NOTE FROM LB: People often ask me why The Silver Surfer animated series went off the air (leaving the ultimate cliffhanger – the destruction of the universe) – um, hanging, and I give them all the answers I was given at the time:

“We got creamed in the ratings.”

“The network thought the show was too mature.”

“Marvel went into bankruptcy and couldn’t pay its share of the production costs.”

All of these responses engender a fair amount of discussion, and most of those discussions end with the immortal question: “But what happened to Saturday morning cartoons in general? Why did the networks dump them in the early ’90s?

I’ve never been able to give a knowledgeable reply – till last weekend, when an Will Meugniot, animation director, artist, writer, and cool guy indeed, showed me this:

Muchas gracias, Will!