John Ostrander: Fame


by John Ostrander

I’m famous. Kinda. Sorta.

I’m comic book famous. I get invited to conventions and the convention organizers pay my expenses. While I’m at a con, I sit at a table and autograph comic books, maybe speak on a panel or two (where my opinion seems to matter) and chat with various fans who come up.

While I’m at the convention, I’m sorta famous. I leave the convention hall, take off my badge, and nobody outside really knows who I am or cares, which is cool. I can go to the store or a restaurant or, really, do most anything short of dancing naked in the street. No one cares. I’m not famous. I’m just another person and that’s great.

I won’t pretend that it’s not an ego-boost to be sorta famous. The attention is flattering and I’ve seen parts of the world as a result of being invited to a con that I might not otherwise ever visit. Mind you, unless I make arrangements to stay a day or so after the Con I don’t actually see much of the city I’m visiting. Cons are working weekends for me; I’m there to meet with the fans.

One thing that comes with the semi-famous territory are requests for interviews. They’re usually connected to some work I’ve done. Nobody is asking for my political opinion about the current presidential race. (Two words describe it: Trump. Yech.) Right now, with the Suicide Squad movie about to debut, there’s been a spate of interview requests regarding my work on the Squad.

Interviews can be funny critters. I want to answer honestly but I also want the answers to be entertaining. Certain questions, such as how it began, are part of every interview and if you’ve read my answer once, you’ve probably read it several times. I feel like the old codger who is telling his tales over and over again to an audiences whose eyes are increasingly glazed. Still, I’ve had nice experience doing interviews and I give good blather. Point me in a direction and I can talk for a long time.

The interviews I’ve been doing about the Squad have generally been fun. One or two are with people who have interviewed me before so there’s an easy rapport.

Two interviews in the batch stand out for me. On one, I video taped some answers that may be included as bonus supplemental material when the Squad movie eventually goes on blu-ray. The other was an audio tape interview for NPR and it focused mostly on the work that my late wife, Kimberly Yale, did with me on the Squad.

I will admit, the video tape interview was very cool and I’m excited about being part of the Squad blu-ray (if I am; you never know what they’ll decide when it comes to picking material). It was done in Detroit at an industrial setting. The electricity had gone out for the whole neighborhood (hey, it’s Detroit) so it was shot mostly in natural light. The guys were friendly and knew their stuff and it was a lot of fun.

The NPR interview focusing on Kim was very different and I was very gratified that it happened. It gave Kim her due and I can hear her delighted giggle in my mind’s ear. As I told the interviewer, if Kim had been there, I wouldn’t have gotten more than three words in. She would have been ecstatic about the Squad movie and would have wanted to be in it and to direct it. Mostly, I was just happy to remind people what a good writer she was and how important to the Squad. Kim wasn’t part of the book from the beginning but she was a big part of it as we went on.

All this attention will probably dissipate very soon. The movie will come out and do enormously well (I have really good feelings about this) and my semi-fame will go back into hibernation, as it should, at least for now.

And we will all be much relieved.

John Ostrander is one of LB’s favorite writers in any medium. Don’t forget to read his most excellent blog at ComicMix.

Herbie J Pilato’s New Book Will Be In The Stores TOMORROW

13716055_1040046389406384_6051592490385733318_nThat’s right, gang. TVWriter™’s own hunk of a Contributing Editor, Herbie J Pilato, Golden Age TV Expert Extraordinaire, has a new book for us to glom onto.

It’s called Dashing, Daring, and Debonair: TV’s Top Male Icons from the 50s, 60s, and 70s, but between us you can call it DD&D, and it’s chock full of all that full-bodied, full-blooded, full steam ahead Herbie flavor. 

The book drops tomorrow, but you can, of course, get a headstart on learning all about your favorite TV doods and order it from Amazon today!

Congrats, Herbie J, on another gem.

And, speaking of cabbages and kings, what are you going to find time in your busy schedule to write a little something for your frantic TVWriter™ fans?

Job Op Ad of a Lifetime – “Television Series Showrunner”

For all the unemployed animation show runners who visit this site. (Actually, we know there are quite a few:)

Television Series Showrunner
7ate9 Entertainment
Los Angeles, CA


Tell 'em TVWriter™ sent ya. Maybe they'll hire you anyway!
Tell ’em TVWriter™ sent ya. Maybe they’ll hire you anyway!

Position Summary We are seeking a fabulously creative while extremely organized Show Runner for a new kids animation series. The Show Runner is considered to be the master strategist for physical production and is responsible for the timely delivery of the TV Series, while meeting creative and budgetary goals. He/she ensures that the schedule, budget, and scope are all aligned while managing studio directives and initiatives. Is this you? Primary Function

  • Manage and partner with creative team to meet the creative and logistics goals of the series.
  • Responsible for the master schedule and budget.
  • Create and contribute to a culture that creates an environment where the crew can do their best work.
  • Manage complexity by presenting core creative group with options and allowing them to prioritize their wishes.
  • Manage the vendors working globally to collaboratively put the show together.

Creative Essential Job Responsibilities

  • Act as Head Writer while manage staff writers, and assistant writers to develop story ideas, concepts and scripts.
  • Partner with EP and Supervising Director to create proven scenarios and schedules that accomplish creative and budgetary goals, and seek appropriate approvals from studio senior leadership.
  • Responsible for getting creative inventory in the pipeline. Work with staff to ensure approved scripts are ushered through the production pipeline on schedule and on budget. Ensure that alternate plans exist in the event that changes to the production occur.
  • Ensure key creative leadership team works well together and manage them toward reaching and delivering the creative goals of each episode, and the series.
  • Facilitate the Director’s creative vision via production strategy.
  • Partner with the EP to manage priorities for the creative feed and seek appropriate studio approvals.

Budget And Schedule

  • Create and manage the overall show budget and schedule. Work closely with the Executive Producer and Production Accountant to ensure that the budget and schedules are accurate and up-to-date.
  • Meet and work with Production Accountant on a regular basis to ensure cost report is accurate and timely.
  • Develop and maintain complexity plans and their impact to the budget. Work with Director of Production on a complexity plan that works within the framework of the budget and schedule.
  • Create an approval structure and offer support and advice to Production Staff to help solve production issues as well as manage deadlines.
  • Strategize how to maintain the budget while facilitating the Director’s vision.
  • Collaborate with external partner studios to discuss options regarding scope challenges, i.e., length, creative appetite, execution, etc.


  • Supervise the key creative leadership team of the show (i.e. Storyboard Directors, Supervising Producers, Production Staff, Editorial and, for CG series, Animation Director and Comp Supervisor, many of which are in separate offices Globally).
  • Complete and deliver the reviews for the key creative leadership team of the show.
  • Ensure communication channels are open within the show and that all departments are functioning to its full potential.
  • Help liaise with the Post coordinator to ensure edits and sound mixes are on schedule.
  • Work with the EP on employee relations issues involving the key creative leadership team and other issues elevated to her.
  • Keep communications with the studio during the weekly updates meeting regarding all issues and concerns with the series.
  • Oversee the credits process.
  • Work with the Post Supervisor to manage workflow and requirements for a vigorous delivery schedule.

Tone and Culture

  • Foster an environment of “how” vs. “no.” Create “laundry lists” and options for the creative team to choose from so they are figuring out “how” to accomplish a request vs. “no” it can’t be done.
  • Ensure that the show culture is one of timely feedback, including positive and developmental.
  • Foster an environment of collaboration as opposed to one of blame.
  • Foster an environment where mistakes are an opportunity for growth.
  • Be fair and neutral in conflict management issues.
  • Manage expectations around the schedule and creative goals so the crew is not surprised.
  • Inspire and support the crew on a daily basis to get the series done.
  • Remember to start from the place, “what is best for the show” not “what is easiest for the show.”
  • We’re a happy bunch; we want you to be too. The workplace, while stressful should be enjoyable.
  • We make kids content, so if you loathe children, this may not be the place for you.

Required Skills

  • Proficient computer skills; MS Word, Excel, Movie Magic
  • Strong leadership skills
  • Solid project management skills
  • Excellent organizational skills, strong written & verbal communication skills
  • Excellent interpersonal skills, ability to interact with all personality types
  • Proven ability to work effectively in a high-pressure, fast-paced environment

Required Experience

  • 3-5 years as Executive Producer / Show Runner in animation

If the above sounds like you and an environment you’d like to work at, please cover letter, references and résumé to address below

Job Type: Contract

Job Location:

  • Los Angeles, CA 90038

Yeah, we know. There is no “address below.” Tells you something about how this job market thing works, doesn’t it? Here’s what some quick Googling found for you:

7ATE9 ENTERTAINMENT 740 N. La Brea Avenue Los Angeles CA 90038
Phone: 323.936.6789   Fax: 323.937.671
Inquiries to

LB’s Poetry: “Kid Hollywood”

kidhollywoodcovercoyoteCaptureNOTE FROM LB: A Hollywood poem by a Hollywood guy.

About what it felt like to be this particular Hollywood guy.

For those who want to know more, there’s a longer note after the main attraction.

Kid Hollywood
by Larry Brody

Kid Hollywood used the living room’s dark, the

TV tube’s glare, and the glittering stars with whom

He made friends

To hide who he was, what he wanted, and all he

Could be.

Hid because there’s no audience, not for


And no money. And no


Hid because to be was to feel,

Was to reveal,

Was to be at the

Mercy of those who found truth in the tube

And the dark, and the glitter.

Kid Hollywood stood guard, donned 60-page armor,

Brightly outfitted, perfectly formatted, immaculately conceived

Scripts that delighted, and corrupted, and spun

Truth into straw.

(Not that Kid Hollywood knew.)

Kid Hollywood wrote,

Turned out word after word, all dingy disagreements, all

Confrontations, all

Car chases and screams. He wrote and he sat in that

Living room’s black hole, and he stared at that

White-washed screen.

The Kid wrote, and he sat, and he stared,

And he bought, how many dinners for how many

Constellations, how many configurations of Sirius and

Orion and the Big Bear?

How many luminous experiences with

Luminaries who could remember

Neither their lines nor

His name?

(Not that Kid Hollywood knew.)

Kid Hollywood wrote, and he sat, and he stared, and he bought,

Because he feared. He feared that

To know him was to push, was to prod,

Was to maim and permanently impair

The talent

He’d already

Darkened from all the glare.

Or was it really the Kid’s own

Wounds Kid Hollywood so feared?

Is that why his last series

You remember, the unsold one,

The one he called, “Despair”—

Found no audience, no money, no friends?

(Not that Kid Hollywood knew.)

NOTE FROM LB: While living in Santa Fe back in the early ’90s, I got into the habit of writing at least one poem a day, starting before breakfast and ending…whenever. Over the years, various individual poems won the usual poetry awards (because prize certificates are a lot cheaper to give out than money?), and on special occasions I would compile them and make my own physical book versions to give to friends and family.

A few years ago I turned a volume I called Kid Hollywood and the Navajo Dog into a Kindle book that sold one, count ’em, one copy to someone I actually didn’t know. It’s still available on Amazon.Com, but if you want to read the contents for absolutely free! free! free! all you have to do is come here to TVWriter™ once a week because starting today I’m posting selections.

No, not to get people to buy. Just the opposite, in fact. As the Navajo Dog herself once pointed out to me, “Art has to be free. If you create it in order to get money, you always end up compromising  your artistic vision by trying to please those who are paying. If you don’t ask them to pay, you can be yourself. When you, the creator, the visionary, take that road, you automatically free yourself.

The work above is the first piece.


For, I hope the benefit of you and me. 

Diana Vacc sees OUTLANDER Ep. 13 “Dragonfly in Amber”

Outlander Season 2 2016

by Diana Vaccarelli

*If you haven’t viewed this episode yet be warned this review may contain spoilers!*

The finale of season 3 of Outlander, entitled “Dragonfly in Amber,” flashes forward to the 1960’s and finds Claire and her daughter Brianna visiting Scotland where Claire reveals the truth about Brianna’s father.


  • The performances were the best part of the finale. The Actors continue to totally inhabit their characters – or maybe it’s the other way around. Caitriona Balfe delivers her best performance to date as our heroine Claire, exhibiting all the passion and guilt Claire feels about leaving her husband Jamie so subtly yet intensely that you can’t help but feel her pain. Sam Heughn pushes himself as Jamie. As he faces the fact that he has to let her go for her safety and the safety of their unborn child, you experience his readiness to give his life for them on any kind of battlefield, real or meteaphorical. The introductions of Brianna (Sophie Skelton) and Rodger Wakefield (Richard Rankin) are perfection. Skelton and Rankin are just as they appear in the Outlander books, and as a devoted fangirl I couldn’t help but be glad of the casting.


  • As much as it pains me to say this, the writing of this finale did not live up to that of last season. Written by Matthew B. Roberts and Toni Graphia, the episode felt rushed, especially during the main emotional moment of our two leads saying goodbye to one another. The going back and forth between times was also confusing because there was no clear visual transition.
  • One of the most touching emotional parts of the book was left out of the episode. It’s when Claire and Jamie carve each others initials into their thumbs to forever remember each others touch. I really missed that part. I know I’m being a little too picky because of course scenes have to be cut (no pun intended) for time, but to me that’s a key moment in the books and I was looking forward to seeing it.


Like all shows, Outlander had its ups and downs this season, but over all I found it far more moving and emotionally complex than any other show on TV. Starz recently announced that it has given full season orders for books three and four in the Outlander series, so instead of saying a weepy goodbye to the show, I’m already excitedly preparing to say hello to all the fine episodes to come!

Happy TV Watching!

Diana Vaccarelli is the TVWriter™ Critic-at-Large and, in case you haven’t noticed, a HUGE Outlander fan. Learn more about her HERE