If RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK Got a Round of TV Network Notes

Jeez Jon strikes again, and you know we’re helpless to resist!

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by Jeez Jon

NOTE: The following contains spoilers for one of the most beloved action films of all time.  If you don’t want to be spoiled, please stop now. If reading network notes make you jittery, please have a martini.

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INDIANA JONES 101 “Raiders of the Lost Ark” FC1 NETWORK NOTES

Hello, team!  Great job turning our notes around so quickly.  While we are definitely making progress, the ship hasn’t been completely righted just yet.  We really need to bear down and focus on our strengths.  Right now, Dr. Jones is not as compelling as he should be. He has a history with Marion, but it isn’t fully explained. If we cannot be explicit about their relationship, how can our audience fall in love with them and tweet about them incessantly? Remember, if we tell the audience everything, they’ll be on our side! A bite pass is absolutely necessary. Also, the audience needs more take-away information from all of these places Indiana is visiting.  Right now, all we know of Nepal is one dive bar that gets destroyed; is there anything else to his mountainous country that our unsophisticated demographic could easily digest?  (In Episode 102, we at least learn that some people in India eat monkey brains.)  Let’s wring out as much drama and information for our audience to enjoy.  Once this happens, then we can give time-coded notes.

SOUTH AMERICA

While the location looks beautiful, we have a long section where we don’t even see Indiana Jones’ face, much less hear from him at all.  When the flunky tries to shoot Dr. Jones and gets unarmed by Indy’s whip, this is a great opportunity for a great big intro package.  Let’s kick it off with a bite like “Hi, I’m Dr. Indiana Jones. You can call me Indy.  I’m a college professor and a lover of antiquities.  I’m currently in South America looking for my next big discovery.”  Let’s cover this with home movies, photos of him as a child, etc.  If we don’t completely spell out who are main character is in the first 30 seconds of air, the audience will feel confused and worried.  That could lead them to change the channel and that is NOT what we want!

Why does Indy fill a bag with sand?  He doesn’t explain this; add a bite please.

Wow, so many booby traps in this tomb! I feel like I’m watching Wipe Out (but better)! Why are there so many booby traps here? This would be a great opportunity for a lower third infographic about how many ancient tribes loved trying to kill people who tried to steal their treasure.  We need to inform the audience without overwhelming them with information.  We can’t get too brainy; that’s what PBS is for!

Oh, THAT’S why he filled up the bag with sand. I completely forgot! Let’s add a flashback of Indy filling up the bag. Constantly reminding the audience what is happening is what we do best as storytellers!

Who’s Belloq? Why is he stealing the idol from Indy?  Again, we need another intro bite about him. If this is our big villain, let’s set up with with a big bite so the audience knows who to hate.  Even though it’s extremely obvious that Belloq is not a good person, we can’t assume that the audience will pick this up.  Add a bite and it will help immensely.

COLLEGE

Please make sure that the girl who wrote “LOVE YOU” on her eyelids has signed a release….

Read it all at Jeez Jon’s blog

Peggy Bechko’s World: Writers, Get Out of Your Creative Rut!

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by Peggy Bechko

Writers have problems unique unto themselves. Not that other professions don’t’ have unique problems, but have you ever heard of ‘lawyer’s block’ or maybe ‘surgeon’s block’?

Sometimes writers can just get stale. Or maybe everything around them seems stale. Location, people, inspiration – can all seem like the same ol’ same ol’.

When I was very young and just starting out writing I was delirious to set up a corner in my room with shelves, desk and typewriter ( I know, I know, back in the stone age).

It was a dedicated space, and it was wonderful. Then I was able to use funds from book sales to enclose a small porch and deem that my dedicated writing space – even more wonderful as it overlooked a lagoon. You know, birds, trees, fish splashing.

But even the best situations can become boring or so familiar as to be not inspirational. When that happens the creativity spark can be endangered or even snuffed.

Bad news.

What to do?

Things have changed considerably over the years ( I’ll come back to that) but at the time it was as simple as reorienting the furniture in my small office. Shuffling things around, creating a new view.

Orient the desk so a glance up from the typewriter was a glance at a scene from National Geographic nature. Then the new view – rolling mullet, blue herons, tall slash pines, people swimming…..

All right! Toss on the swimsuit and go join them – and even that was great as I came back about an hour later with my head in a different place. So back to work, enjoying new view from time to time.

These days things are even better. With the arrival of computer – laptops – portability has certainly made things easier.

Stuck? You might simply move to a different room where you never write and work there. Or you could head out to a coffee shop or just to your own back yard. Parks are nice too, especially during week days when they’re sparsely populated. Another bonus, you probably can’t connect to the internet at a park and that keeps you on track with your writing with fewer distractions at your fingertips.

Or, if you’re not heavily into a story already and you’re casting about for ideas, go back to that coffee shop or restaurant idea. Hang out, watch people, pay attention to details. Then let your mind wander.

Consider what kind of lives the people around you might have. How are they dressed? What food or drink do they choose? Does the place have china or is everything on paper plates and in paper cups?

Is someone refusing a china cup and asking for a ‘to go’ cup, then sitting down at a table? What’s with that? Does he or she think a necessity for swift escape could be imminent?

When writing novel or script it’s the details that make the writing come alive, to jump off the page.

Maybe your brand of stuck is in need of those interesting people mentioned above, but if you don’t want to leave your comfy desk where you can write in jammies, maybe get yourself a social media account.

There are all kinds. Facebook, Twitter, and a whole bunch of others. Connect with other writers, readers, reviewers, filmmakers – whoever. You might even run across another writer close enough to where you are to suggest meeting for coffee somewhere to talk shop.

There are lots of ways to mix it up. Maybe a writer’s conference or a screenwriter’s workshop if you can swing it to get away entirely for a few days. Maybe write something different than you usually do.

Scriptwriter? Try a short story. Novelist? Try a short script (or a long one). Write at a different time of day than you normally do. Just change what you usually have for lunch. Do something! It’s amazing how the little shifts can affect creativity.

So what do you do to shake things up a bit? What are your tricks? Comments are always welcome and your tips could help someone else. Share them!


Peggy Bechko is a TVWriter™ Contributing Editor. For more like this, you really should visit Peggy’s blog. Learn more about her HERE. Peggy’s new comic series, Planet of the Eggs, written and illustrated with Charlene Brash-Sorensen is available on Kindle. And, while you’re at it, visit the Planet of the Eggs Facebook page.

TVWriter™ Don’t-Miss Posts of the Week – Sept. 12, 2016

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In case you’ve missed what’s happening at TVWriter™, the most popular blog posts during the week ending yesterday were:

Looking for TV Pilot Scripts?

Indie TV: Here’s a Scene from “Sangre De Cristo”

Doug Snauffer sees “Major Crimes”

Empty Promises: My experience submitting scripts to Amazon Studios

LB: Where Did THE FALL GUY Live?

And our most visited permanent resource pages were:

Writing the Dreaded Outline

THE PEOPLE’S PILOT

The Logline

The Outline/Story

THE PEOPLE’S PILOT: Enter

Major thanks to everyone for making this such a great week. Don’t forget to click above and read what you missed. re-read what you loved, and while you’re at it do yourself a favor and ENTER THE PEOPLE’S PILOT. (Subtle, huh?)