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.

Read it all

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.


All these writers and many more!
All these writers and many more!

Ah, Netflix. How I love thee. Although you’re far from perfect and need to a) offer more current streaming options and b) not wait so long to release new seasons, I can’t complain because you bring me gems like this: Tales from the Script. 

I love documentaries and biographies. Netflix is full of them. Somehow this ended up on my recommendations list and when I saw that it featured not one, not two, not even three but 50 Hollywood writers telling their stories I pounced on it. Honestly, I expected it to be soundbites and superficial interviews of just a few writers who made it and a bunch more writers who were trying to break in. Not so. If you’re a writer–any writer but especially a screenwriter–you MUST see this doc.

No spoilers here. No details here because you HAVE to watch it. But I will say this: you will find a lot of truth, inspiration, discouragement, encouragement, and advice.

There’s also a companion book, which may or may not have more insights than the documentary. But I’ve read a lot of books on craft and the business, so for me it was nice to see and hear the writers discuss their personal stories. This is definitely a repeat documentary for me. I might even take notes on the next viewing.

Love & Money Dept – TV Writing Deals for 6/25/13

Latest News About Writers Who Are Doing Better Than We Are

  • Austin Winsberg (GOSSIP GIRL) is writing the pilot for an untitled Showtime comedy about “high-profile music managers, which will be produced by music, um, guy John Legend. (Proving that if you call yourself a legend Showtime will buy into it and make you a big deal. Hey, it’s worth trying.)
  • Bob Boyett & Robert Horn (FULL HOUSE) are writing an as yet untitled FX series set to star Kelsey Grammer and Martin Lawrence. We say that they’re writing the series because FX has already given a go to 10 episodes, with a back end of 80 to come if things work out. (So if you or your agent know Bob and Robert (?), now’s the time for him to talk to them about your future.)
  • Frank Spotnitz (THE X FILES) is developing SAM HUNTER, a spy drama with a female lead, for Cinemax. The series is a spinoff of Cinemax’s HUNTED, a show we’re supposed to know about but don’t. Sorry. (We were very cool with the “female lead” thing till we read this patronizing description of the character as “a gutsy agent…who must work as a freelance spy to find out who wants her dead – and how it connects to the murder of her own mother.” How original. Ugh.)
  • The TV adaptation of Locke & Key, a comic book series written by Joe Hill & Gabriel Rodriguez, has been passed on, but it’s no biggie: Universal has picked up the premise as a feature film to be written by its go-to team of Alex Kurtzman & Robert Orci, whose credits we won’t bother mentioning because they’ve already became household names in writerly households. Sigh…

If You Can Be Talked Out of Your Dream, You Don’t Deserve for It to Come True

Or to put it another way:

Ostrander-Art-130616John Ostrander: Conviction

My very good friend, William J. Norris, is an excellent actor, a wonderful director, an inspiring playwright (I wrote my first play because I really admired a play that he wrote and that led, in turn, to my writing career), and one helluva teacher. I should know. I’vestolen cribbed borrowed applied so many ideas and concepts from his teaching into my own attempts.

I met him one night for drinks after he taught an acting class and he told me that a student came up to him after a session and asked Bill if he thought the student could act. Bill said, “No.” William J. says that every time a student asks him that question, he gives the same answer. That seemed a little brutal to me in this nurturing, everyone-wins-an-award-for-showing-up era we live in. Bill said he was being kind; the life of an actor – of any artist, actually – is hard enough and if someone can be talked out of it, they should be.

He was, and is, right.

In my own theater days one of sidelines I pursued, on occasion, was that of a freelance actor coach, focused on helping someone with their auditions. It was surprising how many actors (and I include myself overall in this) let their sense of self-worth hinge on whether or not they got a call-back or were cast in the part. The whole artistic process is too narrow a reed on which to hang so weighty an existential question – do I have worth?

I encounter a variation of this at the lectures on writing.

I do. At the onset, I ask who is interested in writing. Some hands go up. I ask the hands, “Are you a writer?” You’d be surprised at how many people equivocate. “Well, I’m trying to be. . .I don’t know. . .Maybe. . .” All those answers are wrong.

If someone says that yes, they are a writer, I then ask, “Are you a good one?” Again, I often get equivocation – they want to be a good writer, they hope someday to be a good writer, and on and on. I slap the buzzer. Errnk! Again, wrong answer.

There’s a right answer but it’s also a trick answer: “Yes, I’m a writer. I’m a good writer. Not as good as I want/going to be yet.” That’s the right answer.

Here’s the trick part: you have to mean it. You have to believe it. If you don’t, why should anyone else? You have to have conviction.

I’ve sometimes compared writing – or any creative, artistic endeavor – to a circus. Sometimes you are on the high-wire, working without a net. You put one foot in front of the other and you don’t look down.

Sometimes it’s like being on the trapeze, and then the spotlight goes out. You let go of one trapeze and reach out into the darkness, believing that there is another trapeze bar and that there is another set of hands that will grab yours. You have to believe.

Sometimes it’s like being the clown car; you putter into the central ring and then all of these strange, absurd, maybe wonderful beings come out of you. If they don’t then you’re just a stupid little car in the spotlight. You have to trust in your inner clowns.

You don’t ask whether or not you can write. If you have to ask, then you can’t and won’t. It doesn’t matter if it’s the best thing anyone has ever written or even if it’s the best you have ever written. You put the words down and you decide later if you like them. You have to believe in your talent. You’ll figure out later if the writing is good, bad, or indifferent. For now, you’re writing and that’s what a writer does. A writer writes.

In the belief – not the hope, not the wish – in the belief that they can.