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. Because we really want you to get your careers soaring!
FFITBFE (don’t worry, we promise never to use that acronym again) already has quite a few views on YouTube, but greedy bugger that our Beloved Leader is, he wants more, more, more!
So give it a click and SURF AROUND THE SITE while you’re there. Lots of bright, fresh, original, interesting, and totally off the wall stuff!
EDITOR’S NOTE: The actual web page devoted to the show is HERE
EDITOR’S WARNING: We feel called upon to remind everybody that our own Munchman (yes, now he wants us to capitalize his name after all these years) is the Executive Producer of this show, so prepare your pure little eyeballs and innocent ears for an assault of demented, immature, and totally bizarre humor, the likes of which hasn’t been seen anywhere since the last time Adam Sandler was funny. (Um, there was a time, right? We kinda remember a time…oh well.)
EDITOR’S 2nd NOTE: Um…in case your haven’t clicked to the video yet – and why not? It’s short, only a tad over 5 minutes long so no danger of too much brain damage, maybe – or if you did watch it once but aren’t quite sure what you saw, here’s the synopsis that got the whole ball rolling:
When a group of young, hard-partying, lifetime nerds accidentally eat radioactive chili cooked in a broken microwave oven, they find themselves with unusual ultramegapowers, including the ability to travel through time (and at least one that’s possibly too gross to mention).
This week’s collection of recent articles from other websites about TV, TV writing, etc., etc., etc. The plan here is for you to click on their headlines and visit the sites and read the posts in full…and is anybody asks, tell ’em TVWriter™ sentcha, okay?
The Guggenheim brothers have formed their own TV dynasty.
The trio, eldest brother Marc Guggenheim (The CW’s Arrow, Legends of Tomorrow), middle child Eric Guggenheim (CBS’ Hawaii Five-0)and youngest David Guggenheim (ABC’s Designated Survivor), together oversee four hours of broadcast television every week.
So where did their love of the small screen come from? The brothers stopped by The Hollywood Reporter for a Facebook Live this week to open up about their different paths to primetime as well as their dream collaborations….
The death of Geoffrey Hill this summer put one of his more astringent declarations back into circulation: “Accessible is a perfectly good word if applied to supermarket aisles, art galleries, polling stations and public lavatories, but it has no place in the discussion of poetry and poetics.” Characteristically for Hill, this sounds imperious, but you can’t deny that it’s funny. And it’s funny because the statement embodies the difficulty it’s arguing for – “difficulty” not necessarily in the literary sense, where it’s conflated with “obscurity”, but in the sense pertaining to human beings, as in “She’s quite difficult”, where the word is synonymous with peculiarity, intransigence and eccentricity….
There’s a superstition among novelists that the things you make happen to your characters might happen to you. This goes far toward explaining why I wrote a novel called Younger about a middle-aged mom escaping the suburbs for a new life in the city in the arms of a 26-year-old tattoo artist. Wishful thinking or prophecy? Maybe both….
There are some writers who are gifted and amazingly prolific. David E. Kelley, Aaron Sorkin, and Matthew Weiner can pretty much write an entire season of television themselves. I don’t know how they do it. If I tried that I’d be dictating the last six episodes from ICU.
There are also very strong showrunners who perform extensive rewrites on every script that comes across his or her desk….
Last weekend I was at the Geek’d Con in Rockford, Illinois. It was a small first time con and it had some things to work out, but over all it went okay.
I really enjoyed the fans but, for me, the big moment was when my niece, Julie Adams, showed up with her husband Rob and their three kids, Rachel, Hailey, and Ryan. They even sat in on the Q&A panel I did on Saturday and, bless ‘em, asked some questions themselves. And, as is typical with kids and especially kids who are relatives, a question or two were tough to answer.
The big one I was asked (by Hailey, as I recall) was, “Which of your characters is your favorite?” Deceptively simple, that question. “That’s like asking a parent which is their favorite child,” I replied, glancing at Julie and Rob. Both grimaced.
I’m not sure that answer completely satisfied Hailey (or her brother and sister) so I did explain a little more. “This may sound like a cop-out but it’s whatever character that I’m working on right now. It has to be that way. I need to be that excited about the character I’m working on if the story is going to be any good.”
Okay, I admit it was a bit of an evasion but it’s true; I really can’t pick just one of my characters as my favorite. That said, I can name several of the characters that I’ve worked on as among my favorites. One, obviously, is Amanda Waller of the Suicide Squad. There was no-one like her when she first showed up some thirty years ago and there’s really been no-one like her since. She doesn’t mess around; she has a vision and she goes after it. She uses people (villains mostly but not exclusively) and if someone has to die to get the job done, she’ll sacrifice them without a second thought. As Deadshot in the movie says of her, “That is one mean lady.”
Thing is, I’ve never thought of her as an outright villain. An anti-hero, certainly, but she does have something of a conscience. She’s kept people around to call her on her bullshit. What they say may not change what she does but, as she has said at least once, “Just because I don’t do what you say doesn’t mean I’m not listening.” She’s more of an interesting character if she has a sliver of a conscience; otherwise, she’s a sociopath.
Two others on the Squad also qualify among my favorites – Deadshot and Captain Boomerang. With Boomerang, it’s that he’s actually well-adjusted (more or less); he knows he’s scum and he’s happy being that. He has no desire to be better than who he is. Every time you think he’s sunk as far as he can go, he finds another level to which he can fall. Deadshot just doesn’t care – period. I don’t see him as having a death wish. I think he just doesn’t care if he lives or dies and that, IMO, gives him a lot of power.
I also really enjoyed working with Father Richard Craemer, both in the Squad and in The Spectre. He’s a good man, a good counselor, with a good sense of humor (useful when dealing with nigh omnipotent Spectre). My late wife, Kim Yale, and I created him and based him on religious people we knew in our respective families who also were good people.
I even enjoyed the cannon fodder in the Squad – characters brought in to be killed off. I had to invest something in them in order to make those deaths mean something and have an impact on the reader. One of my faves among these was Shrike (Vanessa Kingsbury); an innocent mass killer, she felt she was Born Again even though she couldn’t help killing more people as she went on. She weirded the heck out of Father Craemer.
Minor characters like Punch and Jewelee also among our faves. More than a little nuts, they were like criminal yuppies from hell.
I could go on at great length about some of the other characters in the other series that I’ve done over the years but this column is long enough (and late enough) as it is. However, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention one very big name – John Gaunt. GrimJack.
You could say in a way that he was my first born. I had written four 8 page back-ups in Warp and one full length story in Starslayer when GrimJack debuted in the back of the latter title. He was my first original creation in comics, influenced in equal parts by Robert E. Howard and Raymond Chandler. A hard-boiled barbarian working out of the multi-dimensional city of Cynosure, I could place him in almost any setting and make it work. We even did a time traveling Western.
He was also a scar-faced Cupid. Kim and I knew each other before GrimJack but we were just friends. She was also a big fan of the book and it was one particular issue, “My Sins Remembered,” that really got to her. She wrote to me (although at the time she lived less than a mile away) and we went out for coffee and we talked about the issue and what had affected her so much. She opened up to me and I found myself connecting to her in ways I hadn’t before. About seven months later, when I proposed, Gaunt was a part of that presentation (including a GrimJack teddy bear). So, I guess, gun to my head (which Gaunt is certainly capable of doing) maybe he is my favorite. Along with his supporting cast. And his next incarnation.
See how difficult this is?
Right now, my favorite characters are Kros (from Kros: Hallowed Ground which I’m doing with Tom Mandrake) and Hexer Dusk (which I’m doing with Jan Duursema) because those are the ones I’m working on at the moment. You can find samples of both on Indiegogo and even pre-order the books if so inclined.
I’m also starting a new love affair for a project I’m working on with Mike Gold. It’s not announced yet so I can’t really tell you much about it but my enthusiasm is mounting.
I just can’t help myself!
John Ostrander is one of LB’s favorite writers in any medium and the writing brain behind the most successful run of Suicide Squad in comics. Don’t forget to read his most excellent blog at ComicMix.
Ah, more recollections of the wonders of Indian Country. The Lakota Reservation in Pine Ridge, South Dakota, where, accompanied by the Navajo Dog, I started my lessons on the meaning – or it it the magic – of life:
It was after my vision quest, the three days in the pit,
When, full of the freshness of my new name,
And the animal power it held, I made my way
To the trailer where my friend the wild Indian lived.
(I sing of the Bear—the Bear sings of me.)
His arms went around me, and he offered me a
Beer and stew, for this was Pine Ridge,
And while the power was strong,
The pickings were slim.
(I sing to the Bear—the Bear sings to me.)
Later, after a sweat, my friend, who had
Already done so much toward showing me
the way, gave me a gift he had prepared.
It was a single eagle feather, wrapped in
Red thread, and blessed by the seven most
Sacred of medicine men. Not just Lakota,
They were all tribes, all kinds, and they had
Given him the feather as a sign. Now he wanted
to give it to me.
(I sing like the Bear—the Bear sings like me.)
When I touched the feather, my hand tingled
And burnt, and I was embarrassed, feeling
Unworthy. But the eagle had allowed its death, and its
Use, and the old medicine men had given their
Power. Who was I to deny? To say no? To
Refuse? I had to accept the honor.
I have kept the feather, and talked to it, and
Heard it. I have slept with it beneath my head,
And I’ve dreamed.
(I sing of the Bear, my spirit, my soul—the Bear
Has already sung its songs to me)
With the feather, I have made liars speak truly,
Vanquished old evil and new. With the feather,
I have made friends of enemies, and sent messages,
And healing, but never has it been easy to use.
It flies, you see, this eagle feather does. It refuses
To stay on the ground. It vanishes from where I put
It, and tries to escape, searching ceaselessly for
the Freedom it deserves.
(With the eagle’s feather, I become the Bear—
The Bear has already become me.)
I have lost the feather a dozen times, and found
It a dozen more. Every time, it speaks, in the
Eagle’s screech, and, more quietly, in the
Chant of the medicine men. I hear the feather
The way I hear my own heartbeat, and its message
Is ever the same.
Be the Bear, it tells me. Learn. Teach. Heal.
Be the Bear of your vision, or be nothing, be no
One. Be the Bear of the sky, and fly from this earth.
Fly beyond the Bear—sing of it—sing to it—
Sing like it, with the most melodious of roars.
Be the Bear as you saw it, and were it in the
Mountains, half-buried, half-starving, but more
Than twice new.
Be the Bear—
For the Bear has already—
How long? Try forever—
The Bear has already been you.
It was after my vision quest, the three days in the pit,
When, full of the freshness of my new name,
And the power it held, Talking Bear received
A single eagle feather, wrapped in red thread.
The thread is gone, spun off in mid-flight,
And the feather is torn, worn, and bare.
But still I hold on and sing of the
Bear, and listen as it sings of me,
And still my hand tingles as I learn,
Teach, and heal,
As I try to be worthy of the vision
And all those who need so much to believe.
Larry Brody is the head dood at TVWriter™. Although the book whose cover you see above is for sale on Kindle, he is posting at least one poem a week here at TVWriter™ because, “As the Navajo Dog herself once pointed out to me, ‘Art has to be free. If you create it for money, you compromise your artistic vision by trying to please those who are paying. If you don’t accept money, you can be yourself. Like your art, you too are free.’”