Joss Whedon on “How to be Prolific”

In the snarky world we call the interwebs, you seldom see such a touching and educational tribute:

joss whedon directing much adoHow to be Prolific: Guidelines for Getting It Done From Joss Whedon
by Ari Karpel

The writer-producer-director who made Much Ado About Nothing while editingThe Avengers, and who’ll return to TV this fall with Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., knows a bit about “getting things done.” In fact, he cites David Allen’s book of that title as an important guide–even if he never finished reading it.

Few people get things done in as consistent and impressive a fashion as Joss Whedon. His Avengers was the rare superhero movie to break box office records as it garnered critical acclaim. And while he was editing that Marvel-Disney monster, he secretly shot a version of Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing at his own house with friends from many of his previous movie and TV projects, including Clark Gregg (The Avengers), Nathan Fillion (Firefly), Amy Acker (Dollhouse), Fran Kranz (A Cabin in the Woods), and Alexis Denisof (Buffy). Meanwhile, he’s the man behind the much-anticipated Marvel TV series, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., also starring Gregg.

In other words, get specific. When I asked Whedon to share some tips for being prolific, he had one question: “So do you want to go macro or micro?” I chose micro. Here’s what he said:

Micro is about the moment and it’s about having an idea, or having writer’s block and just trying to get through those moments. For me, it boils down to specificity, knowing exactly what I’m trying to accomplish, because if I have three projects, it’s ‘Oh, maybe I’ll work on S.H.I.E.L.D. or maybe I’ll work on this or this.’ You know, it’s so easy to just get nothing done, but you’ve got to rock a little David Allen out to be able to get things done and break your list down into next actions. And this is true of producing and directing but even of writing. It’s like, Okay, today I am going to figure out this action sequence. Today, I am going to watch a shit ton of other action sequences, whatever it is, but that would be the other side of it after the specificity of knowing. Don’t just say, ‘Oh, I need to work on that.’ Say, ‘I need to work on this element of that.’ Absolutely eat dessert first. The thing that you want to do the most, do that.

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Leesa Dean: Guess Who’s Coming to Chilltown

Adventures of a Web Series Newbie - Chapter 19:  Five (More) Things


Adventures of a Web Series Newbie: Chapter 19 – Five (More) Things
by Leesa Dean

So, another week of being absolutely swamped and not attending a cool YouTube seminar. I have so much coming up–the TOP SECRET PROJECT, working on the relaunch and getting the whole Lele expansion into place, I literally don’t have the time for nearly anything.

And…I’m prepping for the Chilltown Season Finale. Yes, it’s coming up next week and it’s wonderful and sad and scary all at once. This has been an unbelievable six months (feels like I’ve been at this for years.) In July, I’m taking a few weeks to just write and put plans together and then hitting the ground running in full production mode.

Since the Season Finale’s coming up, a lot of people have been asking me what the biggest takeaway has been. I thought about it and realized: there is no one thing. So I decided to add to the list I already put together. Presenting:


1- You will never ever leave your house, becoming a virtual prisoner of the endless cycle of work slash promotion. Working harder than you ever even imagined. Even if you’ve an A-type personality extreme workaholic. No, I’m not talking about me. Ok. Yes, I am. It’s kinda like being in jail. But with better food and (probably not) better sex. No judgements.

2-Nearly everyone you meet will say, “AWESOME!” really loudly, whether in person or by commenting and using tons of exclamation points (!!!!!) Always. Especially, and embarrassingly, if they’re 45 year old dorky men attempting to sell to the tween market (which, sadly, is nearly everything in the YouTube universe.) The worst part? They also, inevitably, post inane aphorisms all day long on Facebook as if it’s somehow going to save them (see #4.) It won’t. P.S. I am now saying Awesome! all the time.

3- On the face of things, everybody’s crazily happy. Like you’re trapped in some inaneUp With People universe. Nobody, I mean NOBODY, is happy all the time. Especially if you’re slogging it out in the web universe. Yes, a large part of it *is* thrilling and fun and exciting but, unless you’re deluded, wildly successful from the beginning (i.e., experienced and/or funded) or annoyingly lucky, it’s usually a non-poetic mixture of highs and lows. Kinda like being bi-polar. But without the meds.

4- Rejection. Everybody knows it’s not an if, it’s a when. But with a web series, there’s a twist: you also have insane trolls on top of the regular soul-crushing variety. And it’s all, humiliatingly, in public. You don’t just fail. You fail big. 50 Shades of YOU SUCK, YOU F’ING LOSER!! big. Here are a few coping methods:

–laughing it off in public, crying your eyes out at home
–writing nasty comments/letters back and ultimately getting banned from YouTube (the bright side: if you get banned, at least it won’t affect your income cause you’re probably not making anything to begin with.)
–ultimately developing a thick skin.

I’m currently aiming for the last one and, surprisingly, partially succeeding. And finally,

5-Remember when you felt a mixture of pity, sadness and yeah, a little annoyance at the homeless musicians you saw over and over and over again on the subway (notable exception: the wildly talented & dope b-boys who took over the subway car I was on yesterday;  or her), doing the perp walk through the aisles begging for money? That is now YOU. But on the internet. The worst part? Getting chastised for “promoting” by people who turn around and do NOTHING but promote.

Cartoons: When You Are Gone…

From IncidentalComics.Com and the brilliant Grant Snider

Broadcast Networks Want FCC to Lighten the Fuck Up

Yeah, right. Lotsa luck:

Networks to FCC: No One’s Watching Our Shows, So Stop Being So Uptight About Decency Standards
by Chris Morran


Remember the days when basic cable was considered a joke and all the real shows were on the broadcast networks? Back in those days, it sort of made sense that the FCC might care about things like bad language, nudity (and supposedly violence, though that never really seemed to be an issue) on network TV. But now, with the majority of viewers spending their TV-watching time glued to basic cable shows featuring loudmouthed, obnoxious, hateful, “real” people shouting at each other in between commercials, the networks are asking the FCC to lighten the heck up.

Deadline reports that recent FCC filings by the networks try to make the case that, between cable and the Internet, the Big 4 are not really the cultural influencers they once were.

“Americans today, including children, spend more time engaged with non-broadcast channels delivered by cable and satellite television, the Internet, video games and other media than they do with broadcast media,” reads a filing by FOX.

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WGAW 2013 Board Candidates

wgawsmallYep, it’s that time of year again, when the Writers Guild of America, West, nominates members to run for its various offices, from Prez to Veep to Secretary-Treasure to the Board of Directors.

These won’t be the only candidates when the electioneering starts because the process includes outside nominations by petition. Still, it’s dismaying amusing interesting to see that the current President, Christopher Keyser, has been renominated and, unlike the other offices, as of now is unopposed.

Here, courtesy of their press release, is the WGAW’s side of the story:

The Writers Guild of America, West’s Nominating Committees have announced the initial list of candidates for the 2013 WGAW Officers and Board of Directors election.

The Officer candidates are as follows: President* – Christopher Keyser (inc.); Vice President – Timothy J. Lea, Howard A. Rodman (inc.); Secretary-Treasurer – Dan Wilcox, Carl Gottlieb (inc.). (*The second nominee designated by the committee declined the nomination.)

There are 16 candidates nominated to run for eight open seats on the WGAW’s Board of Directors as follows: Thania St. John (inc.), Andrew Goldberg, Cynthia Riddle, Ari B. Rubin, Carleton Eastlake (inc.), Nancy Miller, Jonathan Fernandez, Henry Alonso Myers, Patric M. Verrone, Billy Ray (inc.), Alfredo Barrios, Jr. (inc.), Flint Dille, Lee Aronsohn, David Maples, Karen Harris, David S. Goyer (inc.).

Editors’ note: WGAW internal rules require candidates to be announced in an order determined by lot; (inc.) denotes an incumbent candidate.

In addition to the candidates selected by the Nominating Committees, eligible members may also be nominated by petition. Members seeking nomination for the office of President, Vice President, or Secretary-Treasurer must obtain 50 member signatures in support of their petitions. Members seeking nomination for the Board of Directors must obtain 25 member signatures in support of their petitions. The deadline for submitting signed petitions to the WGAW is Tuesday, July 23, 12:00 p.m. (PDT). Members may submit online nomination petitions by visiting the members-only section of the WGAW’s website at:

The WGAW will host its annual “Candidates Night” town-hall forum, where Guild members may meet and pose questions to their Officer and BOD candidates, on Tuesday, September 3, at WGAW headquarters in Los Angeles.

Guild members will receive candidate, non-candidate, and rebuttal statements, if any, with their ballots prior to the election. Candidates may mail additional campaign materials at their own expense. The voting period concludes at 12:00 p.m. (PDT) on Monday, September 16. Members may vote by mail or in person from 9:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. (PDT) at the Guild on September 16. In accordance with labor law, proxy voting is not permitted in Guild elections of officer or Board members. Ballots will be counted on Tuesday, September 17, and election results announced pending final tally.