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Larry Brody: Live! From Paradise! #58 – “Billionaires in Paradise?!”

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THE USUAL NOTE FROM LB: From the summer of 2002 to  the spring of 2010, Gwen the Beautiful and I were the proud and often exhausted owners of a beautiful Ozarks property we called Cloud Creek Ranch.

In many ways, the ranch was paradise. But it was a paradise with a price that started going up before we even knew it existed. Here’s another Monday musing about our adventure and the lessons we learned.

Oh, and if y’all detect any irony, please believe me when I say it comes straight from the universe and not your kindly Uncle Larry B.

by Larry Brody

There are billionaires among us.
I first found out about some of my more better off neighbors shortly after I moved to Paradise. My old acquaintance Phil the Film Financier called me excitedly.

“Whoa!” he said. “Did you ever score!”

“I know,” I said. “It’s beautiful here.”

“I’m not talking about beauty,” Phil said. “I’m talking about money. Did you know that five of the ten richest people in the world live within forty minutes of you? You’ve got it made.”

Since then, no matter how much I say I’m not interested, Phil has called regularly with updates on the fortunes of those he calls “The Paradise Five.”

Last week he was pushier than ever. “This Old Billionaire who practically lives around the corner from you just made a deal that puts him in striking distance of Bill Gates. Call him right now and make something happen.”

After Phil hung up I looked at the name and number he’d given me, and the local area code kicked my indifference in the pants.

I called and talked to the Old Billionaire, a soft-spoken man with a slight drawl, and could hardly believe it when he said, “When do you want to get together?”

I came up with a time and place. The Old Billionaire countered with another. Finally we agreed. “I’m happy with this if you are,” the Old Billionaire said. “One thing I’ve learned about life is that both sides always have to be satisfied with the deal.”

Yesterday the two of us sat down together in the Mexican Restaurant across from the Paradise County courthouse.

With his short gray hair, rumpled jeans, and “Go Razorbacks!” T-Shirt, the Old Billionaire looked like just about every man over fifty out here. But I spotted him immediately—because he was the one person in the place I’d never seen before.

As we sat down together he looked me over.

“You look okay to me,” he said. “I was a little worried about you being a friend of Phil’s. But when I heard that you live here I knew you couldn’t be all bad.”

He smiled and picked up the menu. “What’s good?”

Lyndie the Waitress came over and suggested the lunch special. “Twenty-five cents less than if you order everything separate,” she said. “Plus rice and beans.”

The Old Billionaire nodded his approval. After Lyndie left the table, he turned back to me. “What can I do for you? I’m happy to help however I can, but tell me now so we can get it out of the way and go on to other things.”

“There’s nothing you can do for me,” I said.

“Nothing?”

“Well, you can enjoy the lunch. And maybe we can swap a story or two.”

“I don’t have much to say,” he said. “I was born in the next county. Started my first little business there. Watched it get lucky. Put some money into another business. Saw that get lucky too.”

“You sure it’s that easy? There’s nothing else that you did?”

He started to shake his head, then stopped. “Well, maybe one thing. Not only have I been lucky, I’ve been able to recognize my luck. I can tell when the good things are happening. And go wherever they lead.”

An hour and a half—and about a hundred stories—later, the Old Billionaire and I shook hands again out on the street.

“I want you and your wife to come over to our place sometime soon,” he said as he got into his mud-spattered panel truck. “We’ll take my plane to Tunica and let the ladies pull the levers on some slots. My wife’s lost so much money there I bought a casino just to stay in the game.”

The Old Billionaire pulled out onto the highway. Behind me I heard a familiar voice. “Man! I didn’t know you had such rich friends!”

I turned and saw Brannigan the Contractor walking toward me from the barbershop. “How do you know he’s rich?” I said.

“I was up at the Chevy dealer last week. Saw that old boy’s truck get towed in. Sucker needed a whole new suspension! Five hundred bucks! When they told him he just nodded and said, ‘If that’s how it is, reckon you’d better go ahead.’”

Brannigan put an arm around my shoulder. “Between you and me, bud, if anybody around here can afford to repair his vehicle when he needs it – that’s rich!”

LB: New Shows I’m Looking Forward to This Fall

by Larry Brody

From where I sit as a guy who’s been playing the “Should I or Shouldn’t I Cut the Cord” game for about six years, the vast number of new series awaiting my eyeballs – and yours – has turned the much ballyhooed “Golden Age” contemporary TV into a “Time of Terror.”

In other words, there are so many possible new loves out there on so many delivery systems that I’m afraid to get my hopes up because:

  1. Like so many demanding lovers idealists, I’m afraid no show will meet my not exactly high but certainly demanding (and eccentric) standards
  2. Like everyone I know who has limited electronic means and/or a limited budget (which means everyone I know except, maybe, the Old Billionaire), I’m pretty sure that I won’t be able to watch all the shows I should because I either won’t be able to find them or I won’t be able to afford them, or both.

Eternal optimist that I am, I try to be pragmatic. (I was going to say “realistic,” but if you know me you also know that’s not possible with my brain) so here are several shows I’m pretty sure I’ll be able to both find  and ante-up for (unless I go bust) in the upcoming 2019-2020 Season.

    • Carnival Row – Amazon. This one combines two of my favorite genres, Victorian Supernatural and Political Metaphor (you know, like good ole 1984).  Plus the creators are René Echevarria? and ?Travis Beacham, and while I’m not sure who Mr. Beacham is (apologies, dood), everyone knows Mr. Echevarria was the real secret weapon in the Law & Order writers rooms.
    • Evil – CBS. The trailers tell me this is a Procedural/Supernatural combo, and that combined with creators Robert King and Michelle King makes this a must-try. Well, actually, the Kings are the real draw here, but the genre helps.
    • On Becoming a God in Central Florida – Showtime.  I love anything that plays with the concept of God or even “god,” and George Clooney once held an elevator for me, so I’m looking forward to this one…and hoping it’s even better than Clooney’s Catch-22.
    • Penny Dreadful – Showtime. Okay, this isn’t really a new series. It’s season two of an older one. Or is it? How can I resist the the chance to see more of John Logan’s writing…and the off-chance of seeing more Eva Green?
    • Picard – CBS All Access. Because Picard! The world’s best father figure rejuvenated into the best grandfather this side of, erm, well, me.
    • Sunnyside – NBC. Michael Schur, Kal Penn, the best serio-comedy writing staff this side of The Good Place. C’mon!
    • The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance – Netflix. I loved the film way back when. I still love everything that bears the slightest impression of Jim Henson’s stamp. And Javier-Grillo-Marxuach is one of the creator-writers. No way this can fail. You hear me? No damn way!
    • The Stand – CBS All Access. One of my favorite books, as in, yes, this baby is in my Top Ten. Adapters Josh Boone and Ben Cavell know what they’re doing, and this has to be better than the last couple of versions, right?
    • Watchmen – HBO. I’m not a big Damon Lindelof fan – neither Lost nor The Leftovers made much of an impression on me, but dammit, Jim, this is Watchmen and I’m just about positive that even if I hate it I’ll love it!

That’s it for my future TV watching. What about yours?

Oh, and coming later this week – maybe even tomorrow: New Shows I’m Never Going to Watch This Fall No Matter How Much Other People Love Them.

Seeya!

10 Most Viewed TVWriter™ Posts of the Week – August 12, 2019

Happy Monday morning everybody!

Hope you’ve had a great weekend. Time now for TVWriter™’s latest look at our most popular blog posts and resource pages during the week ending yesterday. They are, in order:

‘The Following’ Season 4 was Cancelled by Fox Because the TV Series Became a Victim of Lazy Writing!

Writing the Dreaded Outline

Corporal Punishment and Primetime TV

How To Write The Perfect TV Series Review To Captivate Your Readers

Herbie J Pilato’s Classic TV Dream

8 Tips for Writing for Children’s TV Shows

SPIDER-MAN UNLIMITED SECOND SEASON ARC

PEOPLE’S PILOT 2019 Writing Contest

Empty Promises: My experience submitting scripts to Amazon Studios

What is Audio Drama Anyway?

Big thanks to everybody for helping us have another terrific week at TVWriter™. Don’t forget to click above and read what you missed and re-read what you loved!

Stephanie Bourbon on Surviving – and Thriving! – at a Writing Conference

When it comes to writing conferences Stephanie Bourbon’s our go-to, um, person. She knows more about the ins and outs of the conference scene that anybody else we know.

Almost as much, in fact, as she knows about writing and illustrating and editing. And that’s one Acme Hella Lot.

Stephanie’s YouTube Channel is HERE

And her website chock full of further instruction is HERE


Former Larry Brody student Stephanie Olivieri Bourbon has found great success as a writer and illustrator. Now she’s branching out into video with a series of extremely helpful ones about – surprise! – writing and illustrating.