Frank Spotnitz on Creating Complex TV Series

frank spotnitzFrank Spotnitz
(photo by Glen Golightly)

by Kelly Jo Brick

The Writers Guild Foundation recently hosted an evening with Frank Spotnitz as he shared his experiences and insights from his time writing for a variety of TV series including THE X-FILES, HUNTED, STRIKE BACK, ROBBERY HOMICIDE DIVISION as well as taking us into the world of THE MAN IN THE HIGH CASTLE, an Amazon series he has written, executive produced and developed. TVWriter.com’s Contributing Editor, Kelly Jo Brick, was there to bring you highlights from the event.

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Love & Money Dept – TV Writing Deals for 10/19/14

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Latest News About Writers Who Are Doing Better Than We Are=&0=& (TRANSPORTER) is developing RANSOM, a series about a hostage negotiator set for international exploitation presentation.  (Ooh, a series where week after week the hero talks to crazy and dangerous people and somehow he and the hostages all manage to survive. Oh, well, seeing the titles will probably be great for insomnia. Wonder if the FDA will approve it.) Mark Cherry (DEVIOUS MAIDS) and Neal Baer (UNDER THE DOME) have partnered to create a series for The CW called CHEERLEADER DEATH SQUAD. (Honest. I swear to whatever god it is who cares that we swear. That’s the name. And no, I don’t have any more info than that although it may be available elsewhere cuz the name was enough for me to expectorate a little and call my mommy to ask if it’s okay if I move back into her womb. Sorry death squad and cheerleader fans.)

That’s it for now. Write in and tell munchilito what you’ve sold today. TVWriter™ can’t wait to brag to all your friends. (And, more importantly, enemies. Hehehe….)

Love & Money Dept – TV Writing Deals for 7/31/14

Latest News About Writers Who Are Doing Better Than We Are
by munchman

  • Frank Spotnitz (THE X-FILES) is adapting Phil Dick‘s mucho-kudo’ed masterpiece of fiction, The Man in the High Castle into a pilot for an Amazon Studios series. (There is so much wonderfulness in that sentence that I just have to sit back and taste it for a beat. If this comes anywhere near yer friendly neighborhood muncher’s expectations, I promise to stop mocking Amazon and except it as, oh, almost a genuine, professional studio-network-whatever. And who knows? Maybe I’ll toss out the “almost” bit too.)
  • Warren Ellis (currently a big deal comic book writer, don’tcha know?) has a deal with Universal Cable Productions to write an as-yet-untitled pilot about an as-yet-unspecified bunch of characters engaged in as-yet-unspecified, um, stuff. (I can hear the Warren Ellis fans celebrating already. As well that should.)
  • Taylor Elmore (JUSTIFIED) has a new overall deal with CBS TV Studios to develop and write and produce and all that good stuff that we all want to do. (And while I’m not a member of the JUSTIFIED Rave Society, I wish the Tayman all the luck and success in the world. Cuz I just can’t help meself. Y’all know how positive a nature the munchman has.)
  • Charlie Kaufman‘s (INSIDE JOHN MALKOVICH) FX pilot isn’t going to series after all. (Proving that even the A+ listers can get crapped on. Sorry, Charlie – and believe me, I mean it. Cuz if they can reject Charlie Kaufman, what chance do the rest of us writerly types have?)

Love & Money Dept – TV Writing Deals for 4/22/14

Latest News About Writers Who Are Doing Better Than We Are
by munchman

  • Frank Spotnitz (X FILES) & Nicholas Meyer (HOUDINI) have created the ultimate crime series: FREUD: THE SECRET CASEBOOK. (That’s the good news. The not-so-good news is that it’s being set up in the UK, which means that most likely the show will take its sweet time coming to where we in the U.S. can see it without doing something illegal.)
  • Pivot TV has announced a whole passel of new shows for, you know, “younger viewers,” as in the same obnoxious demo that all TV shows these days are made for but presented as though only Pivot is doing this. Yer Friendly Neighborhood munchman is especially interested in FORTITUDE, created and run by Simon Donald (LOW WINTER SUN). (Cuz it’s set in – get this – “the Arctic town of Fortitude…surrounded by the savage beauty of the polar landscape,” and if there’s one thing this munchy one loves its looking at barren wastelands for at least an hour a week.)
  • Speaking of barren wastelands, Pivot also has LEADER TOWN, an animated comedy about an American family trying to fit into a Russian town, created and showrun by THE SIMPSONS’ Jeff Westbrook. (Warning note: This particular wasteland is a moral-ethical one. The town is where “the world’s deposed ex-leaders…live out their lives in luxury using their ill-goten gains.” Oh well, if there’s one thing THE SIMPSONS writers know about it’s…yeah, you guessed it, moral-ethical dilemmas.)

Love & Money Dept – TV Writing Deals for 4/17/14

Latest News About Writers Who Are Doing Better Than We Are=&0=&(TRANSPORTER: THE SERIES) has a new overall deal with Tandem Productions for the usual development stuff. (Anyone notice how much better a writer-producer Frank has become since moving his business to London. Guess he’s just gotta work a lot harder now to pay all those Brit taxes. Whatever it is, it’s a positive for viewers everywhere.) Jeremy Dorner (THE KILLING) is developing RADIANT DOORS, based on Michael Swanwick’s short story, for WGN America. (Another “dystopian drama! Wowser, the munchie one can hardly wait – cuz fake dystopias are oh-so-much more fun than the real one we now live in.) Christian Taylor (TEEN WOLF) is the new showrunner of the upcoming MTV “cyber thriller,” EYE CANDY, based on a book by the ever-popular R.L.Stine. (Watch out, fans. This is a complete retooling of the original pilot, which can mean only one thing: The powers-that-be don’t get whatever there is to be gotten from the original series of books featuring the character Victoria Justice.)