…And, in spite of being one of the biggest Who fans you’ll ever hear from, all I can say is:
“What an asshole.”
Think about what I just said. A guy writes his life story, deliberately trying to show himself in the best light possible, glossing over this, that, and the other thing, and still comes out as a weak, back-stabbing, self-aggrandizing weasel. What does this say about him?
If Pete were with me right now, here’s what I’d say to him:
Dood, never writing a simple declarative sentence in which you say you felt bad about Keith Moon’s death but instead telling us how freeing for you his death was because now your guitar playing could “take up more room” in your performances isn’t really a way to get people to love you, y’ know?
And going on to tell us that John Entwhistle’s death meant you – and Roger Daltry – would make more money from the tour you were doing because now you’d get his share…whoa, that is not a saving grace to an otherwise bad experience, pal, sorry.
To be fair, Pete’s got a solid writing style, and I was fascinated by everything he said about the history of the Who. He definitely made me feel like I was part of the band, in on its formation and its secrets.
That, however, just made reading about his selfishness (some avowed by him, some seemingly unknown to him) even more painful. We are told over and over again about how much he loved his wife Karen, and how bad he felt whenever he cheated on her. And how much he regretted all the drinking and drug-taking he did. But feelings of guild and regret don’t change the fact that he consistently behaved in a way that hurt those who loved him.
And Pete’s biggest excuse, the “I’m an artist and I can’t help myself cuz artists are crazy” argument, well, c’mon, setting oneself up as superior to other human beings simply because you have a certain amount of talent – or for any reason, for that matter – is a classic symptom of sociopaths everywhere. If there’s one thing my life in showbiz has taught me it’s that no one is above the normal concept of human decency.
Sorry, but I just can’t cut Pete as much slack as he thinks he deserves. Because I know the hell that can lead to. For everyone.
Want to know about the early Who and its personality clashes and sound? Read Who I Am by Pete Townsend.
Want to watch an egomaniac in action, lying to himself and making himself and all those around him miserable? Read Who I Am.
But if you want to feel, really feel, the emotions behind some great music, and get to know a couple of people you might have liked – or even loved – if you’d had the chance, try these videos instead:
…And, as a huge VENTURE BROTHERS fan, I have only one word to describe this, um, “very Halloween” event:
So boring that I almost wish it’d been terrible because a terrible VENTURE BROTHERS would’ve been much “better” than a dull one. (As in, it would do what good entertainment should: make me feel something, even though that something would be anger)
Dean Venture learns that he and his brother Hank are clones many generations removed from the original/first Dean and Hank.
The phantasmagorical art for Dr. Orpheus’s magical gathering (see pic above).
Um, there’s no story here, doods. Just some bridging material paving the way for next season.
Also, as is common these days on this show, there’s no Brock. Why anyone would take the post popular character on a series out of the mix when there isn’t even a salary dispute utterly astounds me.
The next season of the series itself is scheduled to start in the spring of ’13. Out of respect for the excitement this show generated its first couple of seasons, I’ll try to remember to watch. But it’s kind of like having to remind myself to read any Marvel Comic, or remember that DC Comics still exists.
…And, frequent TVWriter™ visitor that he is, Bob has a few questions (as well as an opinion or three):
LB and Munchman seem to believe that web series are, if not THE future, one of the major elements of the future of TV (is that term even relevant anymore? More later.) writing. I decided to force Monkey Mind into investigating this phenomenon.
First up is *Ark*, a science fiction web series created and written by Robbie Thompson, most recently, I think, story editor on *Supernatural*, before that on the late, unlamented *The Cape* and staff writer on *Human Target*. The first (and only, so far as I can tell) season of Ark is made up of 9 episodes, each running between 3 and 10 minutes, for a total series running time of 47 minutes. I watched the whole series in one block on Hulu and have to say that, overall, I was impressed. But I will say that if I had to wait a week or more between episodes, I don’t think I would have stuck it out. The episodes are just too short to be watched on an individual basis. While each episode ends on a compelling cliff-hanger, I think they are too short to develop a strong enough connection between the characters and the viewer to survive a long intermission.
Aside from episode length, the only other fly in this ointment is in the final episode when Thompson makes the main character, a woman, behave in a way that defies logic and causes her to act out of character. Threw me right out of the story, reminding me of that lamentable horror movie trope where you are screaming at the screen, “Don’t go down those stairs, you thrice-damned idiot!”
That said, the ending made me want to see the next season, which will likely never happen.
I’ve also been watching some originals on You Tube from Wigs and MachinimaPrime channels. These episodes tend to run 7 to 12 minutes on the Wigs series and 16 to 20 minutes on the MachinimaPrime series. I think the 7 to 12 minute time range is pretty much the minimum you need to establish a character that the viewer will remember long enough to wait a week between episodes, while the 16 to 20 minute range is much more likely to bring a viewer back.
So what do you guys think? What is the minimum episode length that would allow you to develop a character and story line that the viewers would want to wait a week or more to see again? And what about the wait between episodes? Given the shorter viewing time, is a week too long to wait for the next episode?
As for the term *TV writing* as applied to web series (see, I told you there would be more), I think we need to redefine this as *video writing* (or something similar) to distinguish this from that antiquated legacy form, television. Again, any other nomenclatural suggestions?
EDITED BY LB TO ADD: I have some thoughts about Monkey Mind’s issues, which boil down to:
3 minute episodes definitely work for me as a viewer (and writer), and I’ve read several studies that show that today’s web video audience (think “millennials”) is happiest with videos that are shorter than 5 minutes. That being the case, it’s the longer episodes of ARK that I’ve had problems focusing on. (Oh, and I think it’s a real sign of the future that a real production company – marginal as it may be – has put up the money to hire a real writer and real actors as well. Really.)
I don’t know if the way to achieve clarity when discussing web series’ writing is to change the term from “TV writing” to something else (hey, “video writing” is fine with me) or if it’s to change our definition of TV/television. BigMedia and its flunky, Mainstream News, seems to be headed in that direction, redefining TV as any video content available anywhere that can also be shown on a television set. On one hand, that in itself is a good reason to go Bob’s route because who wants to agree with BigMedia? OTOH, the last time I used BigMedia’s commonly accepted term for a New Media development (“peer production” for “user-made content”) I found myself the only one. Yeah, I’m still using it here on TVWriter™ but that doesn’t keep me from feeling lonely.
Speaking of “What is TV and where do we watch it?” we just happen to have a choice little article on said topic right here on TVWriter™. Posted today, in fact. HERE.
So, in the words of Bob Tinsley, “What do you guys think?”
Back in the Dark Ages also known as the early ’90s, yours truly woke up one morning and thought, “I hate this. I hate this television writing and producing thing. I’m doing everything I always wanted to do and I hate it.” And, since the last time I’d had that thought when I woke up in the morning, about 15 years earlier, I had a heart attack later that afternoon, I decided a pre-emptive strike was in order.
So I quit.
I quit my job (also my then wife and family, but if I go into that who knows what veins might start spurting) and moved to Sante Fe, New Mexico, where I found myself a comfy little ranch on the South side, a nubile friend, a medicine person/spiritual mentor (who also happened to be a red-tailed hawk), and a gig teaching screen and TV writing and TV production at The College of Santa Fe.
I loved teaching, but the production class was brutal. I had an idea for a children’s series for local (Albuquerque) TV, so I wrote a pilot script, convinced the station manager to do it, and set up the class as the writing/production/acting crew. Everyone worked 3 jobs. Above the line, they were the actors and the writers. Below the line, they were the carpenters and camera and sound people and set designers, etc.
There was, of course, no money to do this with. The local station would only take the show if it didn’t cost them anything, and the College of Santa Fe would only give the station the show if it didn’t cost them anything either. The good news was that the student geniuses/laborers were gratis. The not-so-good news was that all the costumes and sets and the materials that went into making them had to be paid for.
That payment came out of my pocket. I didn’t mind though, because, hell, I was in Santa Fe, New Mexico with a nubile friend and a medicine person/spiritual mentor, and the sky was blue and beautiful, and the pressures that had made me flee from L.A. didn’t exist. But shortly after we got started I did find a couple of things that drove me crazy:
There was no way I could get the student geniuses/laborers to work fast and hard enough to finish all the physical construction in time to start shooting even a simple, half-hour local series
There was no way I could get anything resembling a script worth shooting even if things had been ready
With one exception. An upperclassman named Joe Wiseman, who was quite simply one of the funniest writers I’d ever read. The kid got it. I’d tell him what we needed a script to be, and clue him in as best I could re how to achieve that goal, and, wham! he was on it. After the usual false starts any beginner would make, Joe fell into a terrific comedy rhythm. Wrote like a pro.
When I looked at Joe Wiseman I barely saw the real him. Instead, I saw Garry Marshall with an aw shucks smile. That’s how good he was. He made the whole project worthwhile.
After a couple of years in Santa Fe, I felt rested and vigorous – oh, and madly in love with the woman I’ve written about in so many places as Gwen the Beautiful, AKA my wonderful wife . I came back to L.A. with Gwen and veered off into a new career direction – animation instead of live action. THE SILVER SURFER and SPAWN instead of POLICE STORY and MIKE HAMMER.
And as I was delighting in writing and producing material that kids, including my own could watch (first time I’d ever done that), Joe Wiseman was also in L.A., writing and producing material that, as they used to say in the circus “kids of all ages” could watch. Series like:
JUST SHOOT ME
THE IT CROWD
LAST MAN STANDING
And a ton of pilots as well. Today I read – in the “Today’s TV Writing Deals Dept” on this, my own site, that Joe and his partner, Joe Port, are hard at work on another pilot, one that’s guaranteed to be shot or else NBC, which won a massive bidding war, has to pay them 7 figures of $$ as a penalty. It’s called JOE & JOE & JANE and is based on the lives/relationship of the two Joes and Jane, the wife of one of them. Or, as TVRage.Com puts it, a series in which “A conflict-avoidant children’s book author named Joe is caught in an ongoing tug of war between two needy, flawed people: his wife Jane and his co-author/ best friend, also named Joe.”
I love this idea. I love NEW GIRL and the success it’s had.
And I love that as a writer and executive produceer Joe Wiseman has had so much to do with NEW GIRL’s success. And that he’s busting his butt to do the same with JOE & JOE & JANE.
I love that he took his natural talent and intelligence and applied it so diligently and brilliantly, and that it’s working out so well for him.
FWIW, Joe, the Brode is very proud of you.
And glad – oh so very glad – that your career didn’t turn out like that College of Santa Fe children’s show. (Sadly DOA.)
But if you ever want to do that one, hey, it’s yours. Keep the change.
Nope, sorry, it’s neither her singing nor her songwriting nor her dancing. It’s something far more meaningful than all that. It’s thing like this comment about Nicki Minaj on The Daily.Com:
How dare this little girl! … If I had been Mariah I would have walked over to Nicki and strangled her to death right there….I would have killed her in front of all those people and had to go to jail for it.