‘Latvia: Europe’s Nation of Introverts’

Latvians are often self-deprecating about their culture’s tendency towards introversion, but could this personality trait be the key to their creative identity?

LB’s NOTE: I fully intended to have another post about tips for PEOPLE’S PILOT 2018 entrants today, but a funny thing happened on my way to my keyboard: The Brodys got a new puppy.

More likely than not, considering how popular dogs are in the Western world. (I hear they’re popular in the East as well, but not necessarily as friends or pets…) you know what that does to the best of intentions.

It’s – Layla, Queen of Digestive Services. Oh yeah!

Right – it turns them into grist for the real purpose of puppy owning life: Cleaning up pee and poo. So instead of writing anything, here I am, hysterically living the life (read, “breaking in the pooper scooper and buying newspapers by the half ton”  for the adorable little creature on the left.

All is not lost, however. Compensating for my new servitude is a new kind of liberation.

The following substitute post has nothing to do with writing at all. But inasmuch as I’m of Latvian descent (you didn’t know? For shame…on me for not revealing it before) I’m fascinated by the observations here.

Well, more than fascinated. This nonjudgemental justification for my particular brand of lifelong anti-social behavior has freed me from guilt at last. And given me a whole new insight into what may well be the true nature of my creativity.

And maybe yours as well.

So, please, read on:

by Christine Ro

In a comic book produced by the organisation Latvian Literature for the recent London Book Fair, the main character gives a rare smile on realising that the weather outside is perfect. That is, it’s heavily snowing, and thus he’s unlikely to meet anyone out on the roads. As he says, “below zero = below average risk of random encounter”.

The comic is part of Latvian Literature’s #IAMINTROVERT campaign to celebrate – and affectionately make fun of – a kind of social reserve that Anete Konste, a Latvian publicist and writer who devised the campaign, sees as very representative of her nation. “I don’t think our campaign is an exaggeration at all,” she said. “In reality it’s even worse!”

I understood what she meant as soon as I arrived in the Baltic state. My first day walking through Riga, Latvia’s capital city, was unlike walking through the capital of any other European country. It was more serene. The sun shone brightly as I strolled towards Kronvalda Park, and at times it seemed like the only sources of noise were passing cars and chattering tourists. When I did see some Latvians walking together, they often did so silently and with plenty of space in between. I sensed that these aren’t the most gregarious of people.

This feeling was confirmed on an hour-long train trip from Riga to Sigulda. As we whizzed north-east through thick pine forests, my friends and I alternately admired the scenery and played a film trivia game. We were getting excitable, shouting out answers, when it dawned on us that we were the only ones in the train compartment speaking.

But why are Latvians often so reserved, at least at first? There is no cut-and-dried answer, but studies have shown a link between creativity and a preference for solitude. Konste has seen this first hand in her line of work; in fact, she believes that introversion is especially heightened among those in creative fields, such as authors, artists and architects. Meanwhile, Latvian psychologists have suggested that creativity is important to Latvian self-identity, so much so that creativity is a priority in the Latvian government’s educational and economic development plans. The European Commission has reported that Latvia has one of the highest shares of the creative labour market in the European Union….

Read it all at the BBC

Larry Brody sees ‘Upstart Crow’

It’s from BBC! It’s about Shakespeare! It’s funny in a way the Shakespeare we all had to read in school never was!

And it’s oh oh oh so true!

In other words, Gwen the Beautiful and I have just finished re-binging Upstart Crow,  the Shakespeare sitcom, and every two minutes my wonderful wife groaned at a line or two spoken by David Mitchell as Shakespeare and gave me The Look.

You know which look. The one writers’ loved ones give them when they’re trying to say, as nicely and lovingly as possible, “Holy crap, dood, that’s what you sound like. Now do you understand why you don’t have any friends?”

I love this show. So does everyone I’ve recommended it to, even non-writers. (Or so they say. Hmm…)

Oh well, instead of wasting time and money by getting thyself to a nunnery (which didn’t mean to Shakespeare what it means to us, oh no!), get thee to Britbox or YouTube and watch as much of you can and in so doing, “To thine ownself be true.”

Whoa. Never thought I’d be quoting Polonius. At least, not here.


How Recent Pilot Scripts Managed to Make Hurtful Choices Empathetic

The EVERWOOD and 13 REASONS WHY pilots show how to make hurtful choices empathetic
by The Bitter Script Reader

The three best ways to learn more about writing for TV are to read more professional TV scripts, watch more successful TV show episodes, and last but definitely not least, write your own episodes. Here, via one of the most underappreciated writing blogs on the interwebs is an example of how this works:

I’ve been preparing to address the notes on my teen drama pilot and it brought to mind two pilots that were touchstones for me as I wrote: Everwood and 13 Reasons Why. And I hadn’t noticed before they not only share similar scenes, but they’re KEY similar scenes.

13 Reasons Why’s pilot has two moments that I think are essential to getting the audience invested in the story. The first is an interaction between Hannah and Clay at the basketball game. There’s a little bit of banter exchanged that halts when Clay realizes she’s there to check out one of the players. “Don’t be jealous, Clay” she teases. It’s clear on the page he’s pining for her, but the way the scene is played is essential. Hit just the wrong note, and her teasing seems mean-spirited. Instead, it’s a cute moment.

The second moment is when she seeks refuge with him at lunch when rumors spread lies about her being promiscuous. Instead of being supportive, he’s cold and hits her with a jealous barb about how “maybe it’s better to wait.” Clay looks like a dick there, but THAT was the moment that made me lean forward and say, “Go on…”

You get a lot of notes in a pilot warning how you need to keep your characters “likable” but having someone be clearly wrong for human reasons is often more effective. He’s not a bad guy, but he’s having a teenage boy reaction. he was rejected, he’s hurt, he’s jealous, and in a moment he instantly regrets (also an important component), he does what a lot of boys would do in the same situation: act like an immature dick….

Read it all at The Bitter Script Reader’s Blog

More about the 13 Reasons Why pilot HERE

More about the Everwood pilot HERE

How to Beat Your Creative Block

What can we say other than, “Hey! We were blocked and we tried what this writer is talking about. And it fucking worked!”?

Hoping it’ll work for you as well:

How to Break Through a Creative Block
by Patrick Allan

Whether you like to draw, paint, write, choreograph, or play music, you’re probably familiar with the creative block, where you just can’t seem to do anything despite your motivation. To escape that rut, try doing what you do best, only terribly.

This past weekend, I attended the Los Angeles Times Festival of Booksand saw several enlightening panels. One of them was a panel on graphic novels, called “Working Twice as Hard,” that featured graphic novelists MariNaomiPamela Ribon, and Tillie Walden. Eventually, the conversation turned to creative ruts when the host, Los Angeles Times’ Tracy Brown, asked about their productivity.

Everyone on the panel had something interesting to say, but Walden immediately jumped in with a useful tip that really stuck with me. She said that when she felt stuck, she would intentionally try to draw something as poorly as she could (she mentioned drawing Bart Simpson with her non-dominant hand, among other examples)….

Read it all at Lifehacker.Com

Why TV & Film Writers have to – gulp – Network!


No matter our job title, we’re all salespeople. So it goes….

Damn. Whatever happened to the obsessed writer sitting alone in a room, safe from worldly harm while exposing her soul?

MORE VIDEOS WITH RICHARD “RB” BOTTO http://bit.ly/1LBYgrD BECOME A MEMBER OF STAGE 32 https://www.stage32.com


And the moral of this story is: Even being a genius isn’t enough if enough of the right people don’t love you.

LB’S NOTE: Speaking of networking, here’s an interesting article on the subject that we found while looking for networking images. At first glance, it’s totally unrelated to TV writing and showbiz…but look closer: http://www.thestarta.com/articles/scaling/7-reasons-attend-networking-event/