Is this the future of TV writing?

Of course television writers’ relationship with Zoom is love-hate. So’s our relationship with television! And writing! And…

But we digress. Here’s the video:

And a well done related article too:

TV writers, like all of us, are developing a love-hate relationship with Zoom
by Nathan Mattise

Every week now seems to bring news of another Hollywood project being delayed. Sometimes this is because you can’t make money in an empty theater, but it’s just as often due to production halts in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. While most of that industry hits pause for now, one crucial segment has not—the writers. Like many of us, they’ve instead become intimately familiar with the inner workings of on-the-job Zoom calls.

“I kind of feel for every aspiring TV writer at home right now due to the pandemic,” said Sera Gamble, showrunner of Netflix’s You (formerly of Supernatural and The Magicians), during this year’s online-only edition of the ATX TV Festival. “They’re trying to write while doing a bunch of other stuff; well, congrats, you’re now in showrunner training. I’ve frequently had to sit down in the past and rewrite a script in a moment that felt like a severe crisis, and sometimes it was a severe crisis. But it feels like that times 10. I have to reset expectations every morning: I wake up, wait a minute before checking my phone, check in with loved ones, and then take the problems of the day as they come… [I tell my writers] ‘You can’t solve what you can’t solve, so what can we get done in the next hour?'”

For this late-addition panel to this year’s ATX TV Festival, Gamble (virtually) joined Dan Goor (Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Parks and Rec), Melinda Hsu Taylor (Nancy Drew, Lost), and Beth Schwartz (Sweet Tooth, Arrow) to take streamers “Inside the Writers’ (Zoom) Room.” For some, the change came abruptly. Hsu Taylor and her staff had nearly completed both writing and production on the latest season of Nancy Drew when suddenly they had to convert everything to be remote-friendly (she credits doing a Zoom birthday for her son around that time for helping her grasp the basic logistics and experience). Other writers started wholesale in a digital world, like the staff of Brooklyn Nine-Nine. They were five weeks into story-breaking at the time of this panel and hadn’t been together in person at all while working on the upcoming season eight….

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Best Showbiz Cartoon of the Month So Far

NOTE FROM LB: This strip  from Thursday, May 7, 2020’s Funky Winkerbeat, may appear to be just another showbiz cliche, but in fact you’re looking at ans absolutely real, non-apocryphal situation.

I know because I’ve lived through at least half a dozen similar meetings, all with the same punchline.

You can find Funky at Comics Kingdom, among many other online places and offline ones too. (The latter are known as newspapers.

Film Making Doesn’t End with the Writer & Director

There are those – including our Beloved Leader, Larry Brody – who believe that cinematographers are every bit as responsible for the creative success of a film (or TV show) as writers and directors. Hmm, come to think of it, this TVWriter™ minion cant’ come up with the name of anybody in the biz who disagrees.

Here’s all you need to know about what Oscar winning cinematographers do and how they do it.

From Collider’s YouTube channel

For ‘Fleabag’ Aficionados

Why should you read this article about the hottest comedy in the world right now? Here’s how the author, John Lahr, puts it:

In other words, Phoebe Waller-Bridge may well be the person so many of us are hoping to become, so let’s try and find out what, exactly she’s all about:

Illustration by Paul Davis

Louche Cannon
by John Lahr

Roseanne used to end her stand-up act this way: “People say to me, ‘You’re not very feminine.’ Well, they can suck my dick.” Phallic fun used to be the province of men—a mission broadcast by the totemic Fool in cap and bells, whose scepter is actually a penis, that emblem of transgression, the source of panic and elation. In earlier, primmer days, the great American comediennes—Fanny Brice, Judy Holiday, Lucille Ball—got away with mischief by ditzy indirection; nowadays, in our unabashed, newly liberated times that echo with the impudence of independence, when facing down the male gaze, comediennes increasingly prefer the headbutt to the velvet glove.

The latest recruit to the bumptious tribe of phallic women is Britain’s Phoebe Waller-Bridge, who tonight brings the curtain down on her sold-out limited engagement at London’s Wyndham’s Theatre, based on the 2013 Edinburgh Festival Fringe one-woman show from which her now internationally famous TV series was minted.

Anarchic Pedigree

“I wanted to see someone who was never relenting, who was furious—furious—and not even for good reason,” Waller-Bridge said about inventing Fleabag. (“Flea” also happens to be her family nickname.) The Eureka! moment—an outlandish semaphore of Waller-Bridge’s anarchic pedigree—comes at the end of Fleabag’s first-ever TV episode. As she leans back in the seat of a taxi, in the midst of an over-share with the cabdriver, Fleabag hoiks up her skirt, gropes in her underpants, and pulls out the stolen golden statuette from her hated stepmother’s studio. In her fist, she clutches the headless female torso, which looks nonetheless like, well, you know. Instinctively, unconsciously, in one startling, outrageous gesture Fleabag has goosed her audience and, at a stroke, also pronounced her priapic comic mission. She’s a louche cannon….

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The Death of the All-Male Writers Room & What It Means

LB’S NOTE: For the past few years, it has seemed to me that most of the changes in our culture have been negative ones. (Gee, where could I have gotten that idea?) But here’s a positive change that I’m sure will make the culture of storytelling the world over better than it’s been since, oh, let’s say the Renaissance.

by Radhika Seth

On 18 June, ITV made headlines when it announced it would no longer commission shows by all-male writers. Saskia Schuster, ITV’s head of comedy and founder of the gender equality initiative Comedy 50:50, hoped the move would create more opportunities for women in an industry and genre that has long been dominated by men. What she didn’t expect was a backlash: op-eds condemning box-ticking quotas, viewers applauding shows that wouldn’t exist without all-male writing teams (Peep Show, Dad’s Army, Blackadder) and critics on Twitter labelling her a militantly feminist member of the #GalQaeda.

“The focus was never on banning male teams,” Schuster tells Vogue. “The goal is inclusivity. The current number of female writers in comedy is woefully low and before I started Comedy 50:50, I was being pitched very few scripts by women.” Determined to change the culture, she rewrote her contracts, asking comedy shows to aim for equal representation and scripted commissions to demonstrate their best endeavours to include female voices. She also created a database of more than 500 women writers to help producers find new collaborators.

Some women are going further, arguing that the antidote to decades of TV shows penned by all-male writers’ rooms is the rise of all-female equivalents. Netflix’s black comedy Russian Doll, the brainchild of Natasha Lyonne, Amy Poehler and Leslye Headland, is one such example. Written and directed by women, it centres on a whip-smart 30-something who finds herself stuck in a Groundhog Day-style loop. For Lyonne, the makeup of the room was purely coincidental. “The best people for the job just happened to be female,” she says. “It certainly wasn’t a diktat,” adds Headland. “I’ve been in male-dominated writers’ rooms before, and it’s not that I prefer one to the other, but for Russian Doll, which was so deeply emotional and personal, this felt right.”

The experience was revolutionary. “The tone of the show relied on us being vulnerable,” explains Headland. “Our room was a place where I felt comfortable discussing trauma. What was the darkest day of my life? What day would I never want to live all over again?” It was a shift from being the lone woman on a male team. “In those cases, you have to advocate for your female characters and justify their decision-making,” she says….

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