The TVWriter™ March 2013 E-Newsletter

Last week’s e-newsletter for those who missed it in your e-mailboxes:

 

TVWriter™ Newsletter – March 2013
TVWriter™
https://tvwriter.com
https://tvwriter.comA WORD FROM LB
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SPEC SCRIPTACULAR & PEOPLE’S PILOT CONTEST UPDATE
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TELEPLAY TIPS & TRICKS #12
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LATEST NEWS ABOUT OUR WORKSHOPS
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A WORD FROM LB
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Was it the U.S. Army that used to advertise, “We’re looking for a few good men?” I know I could get the answer with a little googling, but as I get older I find myself getting more impatient, so I’m not going to bother.

Actually, I’m becoming impatient about just about everything, even writing. Once upon a time – to use a writerly albeit hokey expression – I was content to sit at the keyboard and wait for the right word or words to come. Now, though, I get all crabbed out if the best expression of my thought doesn’t rush to my fingertips.

And when I say crabbed out, I mean it. I yell and shriek and rail about the same things I used to be grateful for. Because I don’t have time, dammit. Gotta hurry and get the ideas out while I can still remember ’em, you know?

The more impatient the act of writing makes me, the less of it I do. And while this may be a sad state of affairs for my self-image – and maybe even for my audience although I’m not going to presume – potentially it’s a good thing for all the writers who spend any time at the TVWriter™ site.

Because my current state of mind has forced me to not just want but actively need more than merely a few good writers. (And, believe me, you don’t have to be men.) I’m looking for as many good writers as I can find to fill TVWriter™ with news and opinion and unique perspectives on writing for television and the screen and books and magazines and blogs and everything else that people can watch/read/listen to.

So have no doubt about it. This is an open call for writers with the ability to sit in once place long enough to write articles that are clever and bold and filled with the kind of energy and knowledge that will not only move me but also the brilliant visitors TVWriter™ receives every hour of every day of the.

Let me say it again, before I get all grumpy and move on: I’m looking for writers who can deliver one-shots about what’s happening in the world of writing and TV and all that other stuff I mentioned above. And more writers too, who can reliably deliver weekly (or bi-weekly or semi- weekly, whatever) columns. And I’m prepared to pay…sort of.

By which I mean no, I – we, TVWriter™, et al – can’t pay money (because this site is a labor of love that just plain doesn’t make any, simple as that), but I can and will pay in services. Specifically, I’m happy to open my brain and all the experience, expertise, and just plain general knowledge contained therein, to those whose writings knock me out enough to give them space at https://tvwriter.com (and also https://tvwriter.com).

I’m happy to mentor qualified contributors to the site (that’s why we offer “Larry Brody’s 1-On-! Career Coaching” for a nominal price), and I’m hoping that so many of you will want to earn it that TVWriter™ will be the fattest daily read on the web.

One warning, though: I get just as impatient while I read as I do while I write. So write sweetly, write passionately, write provocatively, and, most importantly of all – write short.

Are you up for this? Email me and let me know.

LYMI,

LB

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PEOPLE’S PILOT & SPEC SCRIPTACULAR CONTEST UPDATE

Online contests working in the mysterious way they do, entries for our two contests are coming in steadily, preparatory to the barrage that always comes during the last week they are open for entries. That last week is the 6 days before and the day of June 1, 2013, because the PEOPLE’S PILOT & SPEC SCRIPTACULAR both will end at 11:59 a.m. that night.

A Combined $13,000 Worth of Contest Prizes Include:

  • 1 month (4 weeks) of Weekly Mentorship (by phone, e-mail, or, if possible, in person with producer-writer Larry Brody of TVWriter™
  • Individual mentorship sessions
  • Cash money
  • Free admission to the TVWriter™ Advanced Online TV and Film Writing Workshop
  • 1 year of Gold Plan Spotlighted Screenplay Posting Service at ScreenwriterShowcase.Com
  • Inclusion in the vaunted TVWriter.Com List of Recommended Writers
  • Winners will get really nice recommendations as needed (unless you act, you know, like a jerk)

And lest we forget: Free Feedback is yours for the entering. We’ll be sending out the individual scores and the criteria for those scores to all entrants after the Winners are announced. (And boy are we proud of ourselves for doing this.)

For more info:

The People’s Pilot is here.
The Spec Scriptacular is here.

Or just go to TVWriter™ and click on the contest of your choice in the righthand index.

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TELEPLAY TIPS & TRICKS #12

Conflict!
by LB

In real life human beings strive to attain warm, comforting relationships. Friendships that involve supporting each other emotionally. However, I learned early on in my career that having your characters respond to each other this way on film or tape is—boring.

In comedy, sensitive people watching out for each other is death. Humor comes out of wit, out of people trading wiseass remarks, zinging each other whenever they can. In drama, the best way to get story points across is through conflict. Nothing puts a viewer to sleep like watching two characters tell each “the plan.” But if those same two characters disagree on the nature and efficacy of the plan and argue about it, then the viewer will watch, wondering who’s going to “win.” The truth is that the writer wins, by keeping everyone’s attention.

Think I’m being negative? That I’m telling you that all your characters have to dislike each other? That’s not it at all. Think of all the buddy movies you’ve watched and loved. Have there ever been two characters who cared about each other more than Butch and Sundance? But they hid their feelings beneath their quips. The same for Kirk, Spock, and McCoy. Wouldn’t you rather watch those three friends have at each other than be in a room with Janeway and are nodding crew?

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LATEST NEWS ABOUT OUR WORKSHOPS

The next TVWriter™ Advanced Online Workshop, for writers who know a little something about teleplay/screenplay format and have either taken TVWriter™’s Basic Workshop or can show an example of their current work, starts Wednesday, April 10, 2013, at 6:00 pm Pacific (9:00 pm Eastern) Time and will meet for 4 weeks. As of this writing enrollment is wide open, but the Advanced Workshop always fills up fast so we ever-so-respectfully suggest that you hurry to:
Advanced Workshop info and sign-up form

The current version of Larry Brody’s Master Class will be over April 4th, and the next one will begin the 3rd Thursday in April. This is the online workshop for professional level writers who want to spend a very intense month perfecting your current work. 60 pages a week! Story, plot, and characterization analyzed by our Fearsome Leader, LB himself! He accepts a maximum of only 3 students at a time in this one so if you’re interested you definitely need to reserve your place ASAP.
Larry Brody’s Master Class info

Or find out more about everything TVWriter University is currently offering here.

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That’s it for now. In the words of the immortal Michael Knight of KNIGHT RIDER fame (AKA the equally or perhaps even more immortal David Hasselhoff), we’re “Outta here!”

Team TVWriter™

Learn what’s happening at TVWriter™ in real-time on Facebook.

Ditto by following us on Twitter.

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TVWRITER™ STAFF:
Larry Brody – Head Dood
Tim Muncher – Keeper of the Faith
Various Volunteers – Mucho Appreciated Scapegoats
Gwen Brody – Beautiful Dreamer
**********************************

Now a few words about folks we believe in:

SCREENWRITERSHOWCASE.COM

You’ve written your screenplay. Now get it sold. Subscribe to our promotion service and get…

  • Unlimited number of ScreenwriterShowcase.com webpages to promote ALL your screenplays.
  • Showcased on our Screenplays For Sale page.
  • View counters so you always know how many times your screenplays have been viewed.
  • Stat Blasts to announce your latest accomplishments.
  • Easy online submission so you can create and edit your screenplay webpages instantly!
  • A writer dashboard so you can easily manage all your screenplays.

Subscribe for just $9.95/month

For more information, please visit
Screenwriter Showcase

**********************************

HOLLYWOODLITSALES.COM

Daily spec script sales reports! Info on getting started as a screenwriter! Writers’ software! Literary submissions! See what’s for sale!

Hollywoodlitsales.Com is a full service website you don’t want to miss. Check it out here.

**********************************

Television Writing from the Inside Outhas been revised and updated. What more could any screen or television writer ask for?


Buy LB’s Book! (Every penny that comes in goes right back into TVWriter™)

**********************************

Be sure to check out TVWriter™ at https://www.tvwriter.com for all the latest news, products, and a wealth of info on screen and TV writing!

**********************************

The TVWriter™ February E-Newsletter

Yesterday’s e-newsletter for those of  you who missed it in your e-mailboxes:

TVWriter™ Newsletter – February 2013
TVWriter™
https://tvwriter.com
https://tvwriter.com

A WORD FROM LB
**********************************
SPEC SCRIPTACULAR & PEOPLE’S PILOT CONTEST UPDATE
**********************************
TELEPLAY TIPS & TRICKS #11
**********************************
TVWRITER UNIVERSITY UPDATE
**********************************

A WORD FROM LB
**********************************

Like everyone else in the world, I’m a regular visitor to websites that cover my interests. One of those interests is drumming (I’ve been playing for over 50 years. Ouch.)

On a recent visit to my favorite drumming site, I saw a forum post about television that, stripped of its specifics, boils down to, “Why is television so bad?” Considering how often I’m asked that question, I couldn’t resist answering. Now, though, I realize that it’s been awhile since I addressed that issue here on TVWriter™, so here’s my latest update on the state of the medium everybody loves to hate.

The best kept secret in showbiz in general is that it’s a business. It’s not about entertaining/informing/enlightening, it’s about entertaining/informing/enlightening at a profit.

Understanding U.S. television becomes easier when you know its business model. With the exception of HBO and Showtime, which make their money from viewer subscriptions, that model boils down to the fact that the advertisers are the customers, the viewers are the products being sold to those customers, and the shows are simply the bait used to lure the viewers to their sets which are, of course, the traps.

So for the networks and cable/satellite channels it’s never about how well the shows perform their proclaimed function – you know, the entertaining/informing/enlightening thing – but their real function, which is to bring in viewers and get a ton of money out of the advertisers.

Just as interweb tracking ability has increased over the past decade, so has the ability to track TV viewers. Nielsen can and does give networks and sponsors minute by minute breakdowns of shows so that analysts can see exactly what specific events/scenes/performers etc. attract the most eyes and what attract the least.

Armed with that info, the various “reality”, documentary, and news shows can be “optimized” to give the advertisers the biggest possible bang for their buck. Fiction can be done that way too, but so far most writers and directors have refused in that arena have refused to play ball. Well, that’s not totally true. We play it in a general way, following orders about what types of material to emphasize and what to omit (otherwise we’re, you know, collecting unemployment), but tailoring scene by scene breakdowns in police procedurals, sitcoms, et al, doesn’t happen much – yet.

The way I see it, the best thing that’s happened to American entertainment is the web because it allows for niche viewing that’s independent of advertisers. Whether that will become a stronger or weaker situation, of course, depends on how well sites like Netflix and Hulu and, soon, Amazon, can monetize interweb shows via direct viewer/visitor support instead of advertising.

So here’s why TVWriter™ pays so much attention to web series and peer production. It may or may not be what the future of entertainment is all about…but I sure as hell hope it is.

What do you think? Email me and let me know.

LYMI,

LB

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PEOPLE’S PILOT & SPEC SCRIPTACULAR CONTEST UPDATE

The big news here is that the Early Bird Entry thing is coming to an end. Right now, the entry fee for both contests is $30 per entry instead of the usual $40. That, however, ends at 11:59 pm Pacific Time on March 1st, which is only a few days away. FWIW, we think the $30 fee is the best deal in town and that it’s worth it to pay now even if your spec pilot/episode/movie script isn’t finished because we’re absolutely cool with you submitting/uploading your masterpiece any time between making your payment and the June 1 entry deadline for both the People’s Pilot and the Spec Scriptacular.

And lest we forget: Free Feedback is yours for the entering. We’ll be sending out the individual scores and the criteria for those scores to all entrants after the Winners are announced. (And boy are we proud of ourselves for doing this.)

For more info:

The People’s Pilot is here.
The Spec Scriptacular is here.

Or just go to TVWriter™ and click on the contest of your choice in the righthand index.

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TELEPLAY TIPS & TRICKS #11

More About Editing Yourself
by LB

Beginning writers, accustomed to thinking of all stories in terms of the three act structure of beginning, middle, and end, often make the mistake of believing that the scenes within their teleplays and screenplays must also have beginnings, middles, and ends. While it’s certainly true that scenes need to build to a specific point or effect, don’t forget to make use of another old homily: Less is more!

The human mind is a wonderful thing, and generations of film and TV have taught all of us to accept film shorthand so that our brains can fill in big blanks. Start your scripts as close to the middle as possible, and end them as soon as you can. Start your scenes the same way. Don’t show two people meeting on the street and saying, “Hello.” Instead, cut to them with their conversation already underway. And don’t have anyone say “goodbye” either. End the scene as soon as it has made its emotional or story point. And please don’t tell us what’s going to happen next. Just let us see it. Our minds will immediately make the connection better than any written dialog ever could.

Speaking of not telling us things, whenever possible avoid repeating information. Show the audience what the characters are learning. Then, once it has been seen, don’t let the characters stop and tell each other what we already know. That’s for off camera, for the moments between the scenes. You’ve got a limited number of pages to use to tell a story to an audience with a limited attention span. Don’t waste them!

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TVWRITER UNIVERSITY UPDATE

The next TVWriter™ Advanced Online Workshop, for writers who know a little something about teleplay/screenplay format and have either taken TVWriter™’s Basic Workshop or can show an example of their current work, starts Thursday, February 28, 2013, at 6:30 pm Pacific (9:30 pm Eastern) Time and will meet for 4 weeks. As of this writing enrollment is wide open, but the Advanced Workshop always fills up so we ever-so-respectfully suggest that you hurry to:
Advanced Workshop info and sign-up form

Larry Brody’s Master Class will be start meeting again on March 13th. This is the online workshop for professional level writers who want to spend a very intense month perfecting your current work. 60 pages a week! Story, plot, and characterization analyzed by our Fearsome Leader, LB himself! He accepts a maximum of only 3 students at a time in this one, and there may or may not be 1 opening left. Yes, we know that sounds vague, but we’re waiting for final confirmation (translation: the money) from the third writer who reserved a place.
Larry Brody’s Master Class info

Or find out more about everything TVWriter University is currently offering here.

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That’s it for now. In the words of the immortal Michael Knight of KNIGHT RIDER fame (AKA the equally or perhaps even more immortal David Hasselhoff), we’re “Outta here!”

Team TVWriter™

Learn what’s happening at TVWriter™ in real-time on Facebook.

Ditto by following us on Twitter.

**********************************
TVWRITER™ STAFF:
Larry Brody – Head Dood
Tim Muncher – Keeper of the Faith
Various Volunteers – Mucho Appreciated Scapegoats
Gwen Brody – Beautiful Dreamer
**********************************

Now a few words about folks we believe in:

SCREENWRITERSHOWCASE.COM

You’ve written your screenplay. Now get it sold. Subscribe to our promotion service and get…

  • Unlimited number of ScreenwriterShowcase.com webpages to promote ALL your screenplays.
  • Showcased on our Screenplays For Sale page.
  • View counters so you always know how many times your screenplays have been viewed.
  • Stat Blasts to announce your latest accomplishments.
  • Easy online submission so you can create and edit your screenplay webpages instantly!
  • A writer dashboard so you can easily manage all your screenplays.

Subscribe for just $9.95/month

For more information, please visit
Screenwriter Showcase

**********************************

HOLLYWOODLITSALES.COM

Daily spec script sales reports! Info on getting started as a screenwriter! Writers’ software! Literary submissions! See what’s for sale!

Hollywoodlitsales.Com is a full service website you don’t want to miss. Check it out here.

**********************************

Television Writing from the Inside Outhas been revised and updated. What more could any screen or television writer ask for?


Buy LB’s Book! (Every penny that comes in goes right back into TVWriter™)

**********************************

Be sure to check out TVWriter™ at https://www.tvwriter.com for all the latest news, products, and a wealth of info on screen and TV writing!

**********************************

The TVWriter™ January E-Newsletter

For those who missed this in their e-mailboxes yesterday:

TVWriter™ Newsletter – January 2013
TVWriter™
https://tvwriter.com
https://tvwriter.com

A WORD FROM LB
**********************************
SPEC SCRIPTACULAR & PEOPLE’S PILOT CONTESTS ARE ROLLING ALONG
**********************************
TELEPLAY TIPS & TRICKS #10
**********************************
TVWRITER UNIVERSITY UPDATE
**********************************

A WORD FROM LB
**********************************

The beginning of a new year seems to me to be the perfect time to thank all of you who have supported TVWriter™ during the past year. Our site visits/viewers have shot way up, and since I have this huge, neurotic need for an audience I’m, well, thrilled.

TVWriter™ is a labor of love for me. The site’s been active for almost 20 years, and the only thing we’ve ever advertised is ourselves so that we can stay honest and – ahem – pure. Okay, since you’re pressing me about it, the real reason I have this site and do it the way I do is because I know what it’s like to have a creative dream and how amazingly wonderful it feels to achieve it. So I want to do all I can to help others feel that too.

Just as we don’t take in much money, we try not to spend too much too. That means that everyone who works on this site – assistants, editors, writers, designers – has been donating their time and talent. So I’d like to give special thanks to the following, without whom TVWriter™ couldn’t exist:

Gwen the Beautiful, munchman, Dan Davison, Kevin Shuster, Chuck Fox, Anil Sthankiya, Kathy Fuller, Lauren Ferebee, Peggy Bechko, Bob Tinsley, Robin Reed, Josh Hudson, Anthony Medina, Robin Walsh, Jenny Reed, Frank Lee and many more who are going to be mad as hell because I’ve just spaced them out. Thanks! Apologies! Blahblah!

Speaking of help, we’re always looking for more volunteers, especially when it comes to contributors. Yes, it’s true, I’m asking you to write for us. Articles of all lengths, on all topics related to writing (TV/screen/print), television, films, and web media.

I can’t pay in money, but TVWriter™ contributors definitely get the chance to pick my brain on all things related to – well, I was going to say writing and showbiz, but sometimes you can get a little “real life” out of me as well. Email me and we’ll talk.

Here’s to a fulfilling and peaceful New Year!

LYMI,

LB

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PEOPLE’S PILOT & SPEC SCRIPTACULAR CONTESTS ARE ROLLING ALONG

The contests opened just 2 short weeks ago, and we’re off to a great start. Entries in both contests are ahead of where they were at this point last year, and, interestingly to us, are running neck and neck with each other.

The early Bird Entry thing is still in force, making the price $30 per entry instead of the usual $40. And, we’d like to point out that it’s worth it to pay now even if your spec pilot/episode/movie script isn’t finished because we’re absolutely cool with you submitting/uploading your masterpiece any time between making your payment and the June 1 deadline.,

And before we forget: Free Feedback is yours for the entering. We’ll be sending out the judges’ scores and the criteria for those scores to all entrants after the Winners are announced. (And boy are we proud of ourselves for doing this.)

For more info:

The People’s Pilot is here.
The Spec Scriptacular is here.

Or just go to TVWriter™ and click on the contest of your choice in the righthand index.

**********************************

TELEPLAY TIPS & TRICKS #10

Edit Yourself
by LB

One of the most difficult tasks for any writer, new or old, is editing. In TV and films, the ability to edit your teleplay or screenplay is crucial. That’s because part of the magic of movies is that they expand time.

By that I mean that scenes invariably seem to have taken longer to play than they really did—even well-written scenes. In television, two minutes of talk usually feels to the viewer like ten. And a couple of minutes of action can seem like an entire military battle.

In order to make this work for you instead of against you, the writer must learn to delete any word or sequence that is not absolutely necessary. Speeches that do not simultaneously reveal character and attitude and also forward the story should be the first things to go. Extra words in speeches, such as “I think that maybe we can…” should be changed to, “We can…,” with the writer relying on the actor and the situation to supply the missing “personality.”

One of the ways I know I’m reading a really good script is that there’s a slight sensation of something missing. Not a lot, just the little extra oomph that, say, a novel would have. If you get that feeling when you read over what you’ve written, don’t despair. Instead, be joyful. It means you’ve left something for the production to supply.

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TVWRITER UNIVERSITY UPDATE

The next TVWriter™ Advanced Online Workshop, for writers who know a little something about teleplay/screenplay format and have either taken TVWriter™’s Basic Workshop or can show an example of their current work, starts Thursday, January 24, 2013, at 6:30 pm Pacific (9:30 pm Eastern) Time and will meet for 4 weeks. As of this writing enrollment is wide open, but the Advanced Workshop always fills up so we ever-so-respectfully suggest that you hurry to:
Advanced Workshop info and sign-up form

Larry Brody’s Master Class will be meeting in a couple of weeks as well. This is the online workshop for professional level writers who want to spend a very intense month perfecting your current work. 60 pages a week! Story, plot, and characterization analyzed by our Fearsome Leader, LB himself! He accepts a maximum of only 3 students at a time in this one, and there’s 1 opening left. For specifics, hie thy way to:
Larry Brody’s Master Class info

Or find out more about everything TVWriter University is currently offering here.

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That’s it for now. Thanks for your support for the “new” TVWriter™ throughout this past year. Have a very Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and Happy and Prosperous New Year!

LYMI,

LB & TEAM TVWRITER
https://tvwriter.com
https://tvwriter.com

Learn what’s happening at TVWriter™ in real-time on Facebook.

Ditto by following us on Twitter.

**********************************
TVWRITER™ STAFF:
Larry Brody – Head Dood
Tim Muncher – Keeper of the Faith
Various Volunteers – Mucho Appreciated Scapegoats
Gwen Brody – Beautiful Dreamer
**********************************

Now a few words about folks we believe in:

SCREENWRITERSHOWCASE.COM

You’ve written your screenplay. Now get it sold. Subscribe to our promotion service and get…

  • Unlimited number of ScreenwriterShowcase.com webpages to promote ALL your screenplays.
  • Showcased on our Screenplays For Sale page.
  • View counters so you always know how many times your screenplays have been viewed.
  • Stat Blasts to announce your latest accomplishments.
  • Easy online submission so you can create and edit your screenplay webpages instantly!
  • A writer dashboard so you can easily manage all your screenplays.

Subscribe for just $9.95/month

For more information, please visit
Screenwriter Showcase

**********************************

HOLLYWOODLITSALES.COM

Daily spec script sales reports! Info on getting started as a screenwriter! Writers’ software! Literary submissions! See what’s for sale!

Hollywoodlitsales.Com is a full service website you don’t want to miss. Check it out here.

**********************************

Television Writing from the Inside Out has been revised and updated. What more could any screen or television writer ask for?


Buy LB’s Book! (Every penny that comes in goes right back into TVWriter™)

**********************************

Be sure to check out TVWriter™ at https://www.tvwriter.com for all the latest news, products, and a wealth of info on screen and TV writing!

**********************************