Ken Levine on How to Make Stupid Money in Television

We love Mr. Levine because not only does he demonstrate great insight into the TV world daily, on his blog, “…by Ken Levine,” he also can rant like a son of a bitch.

And so, without further ado…

How to make stupid money in television — at this moment of time
by Ken Levine

Let’s see how long it takes for this business model to implode. Because it will.

TV is undergoing more changes now than it has in decades, perhaps five decades.

In the old days, here’s how the few lucky talented (but still fortunate) writers got rich:

Networks couldn’t legally own shows. So studios would make development deals to tie up the best talent. That resulted in multi-year seven-figure deals. The idea was that those writer/producers were exclusive to that studio and if they created a hit show everyone stood to cash in.

Additionally, writer/producers owned part of the shows they created. And in those days the goal was to make at least 100 episodes to sell into syndication. A smash hit like CHEERS or SEINFELD could be worth hundreds of millions to the writer/producer.

Once networks could own shows those development deals began to dry up. A few high-end deals still remained but the parameters of those deals were different. At one time writers only created shows and produced pilots. Under the new model, the network or studio (often the same thing) could assign you to work on whatever show it wanted.  You don’t have a pilot?  Guess what?  You’re Co-EP of THE NEIGHBORHOOD. 

Now we’re in a totally different universe. Streaming services are the future. Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon are getting competition from Warners, Disney, Apple, CBS, and more to come. They don’t need 100 episodes. They don’t want 100 episodes. Syndication is drying up. Soon there won’t be shows with 100+ episodes.  Series used to go seven years; in the future they’ll go three.  Producers once produced 22 episodes a season.  Now they produce 12.  Or 8….

Read it all at kenlevine.blogspot.com

Listen to Ken’s podcast!

LB: Richard Thompson, ‘Cul de Sac,’ & the Writer’s Place in Society

by Larry Brody

I’ve said it before, and now I’m saying it again. Richard Thompson was one of the finest cartoonists to ever put ink onto a newspaper cartoon strip.

He also was a man who understood the massive importance of creativity and creators to human existence and demonstrated it often in his classic comic strip Cul de Sac.

For example:

The entire run of Cul de Sac is HERE

Get the book The Art of Richard Thompson at Amazon.Com

Only 2-and-a-Half Weeks Left to Enter PEOPLE’S PILOT 2019 Writing Contest

Lest anybody out there forget–

Over $20,000 in prizes & entry bonuses!

FREE FEEDBACK! 

FREE STORYTELLING PATTERNS E-BOOK!

SPECIAL DISCOUNT for Web Series & Audio Fiction Series Pilots – See ‘Enter’ Page for Details!

SPECIAL BONUS PRIZES for Web Series & Audio Fiction Series Pilots – See ‘Prizes’ Page for Details

“INFINITE REVISIONS!” Replace Entry Draft With Rev Version Any Time till Final Closing! 

Winners, Finalists, & Semi-Finalists of TVWriter™’s contests are or recently have been on the staffs of:

STRANGER THINGS
WESTWORLD
MOM
STATION 19
NARCOS
TIME AFTER TIME
GREY’S ANATOMY
THE LEFTOVERS
BASTARD EXECUTIONER
ANIMAL PRACTICE
KILLER WOMEN
NTSF:SD:SUV
GIRLFRIENDS
FILTHY PREPPY TEENS
MELROSE PLACE

THE GOOD DOCTOR
THE WALKING DEAD
CHICAGO PD
CHICAGO FIRE
LETHAL WEAPON
SNEAKY PETE
PERSON OF INTEREST
RIZZOLI AND ISLES
COLONY
ONCE UPON A TIME
THE SARAH CONNOR CHRONICLES
SMALLVILLE
ROME
PRIVATE PRACTICE
SNOWFALL

Plus various TV movies & other one-offs!

You’ve got from now until the 10 p.m. November 1, 2019 to pay the entry fee of $40 (20% lower than last year!) and upload your pilot script for your own original series, of any length and in any genre, intended for electronic media – broadcast TV, cable or satellite TV, the internet, you name it.

ENTER HERE

or HERE

Learn all about PEOPLE’S PILOT 2019 HERE

Have questions? Send them HERE

How Hollywood Writing Credits Really Work

This should be required reading for every aspiring film (and to a lesser extent TV) writer. The smart ones will read this before coming to L.A.

Meet the Writer of ‘Gemini Man’ (Who Didn’t Actually Write ‘Gemini Man’)
by Borys Kit

Sitting near the back of the Chinese Theatre, in between his wife and his parents, Darren Lemke watched the big Imax screen light up, Gemini Man unfolding before his eyes.

He was at the Paramount-Skydance movie’s Sunday night premiere and had walked the red carpet not too far from star Will Smith and director Ang Lee. And why not? He had his name in the credits, right next to David Benioff, the famous co-creator of the Game of Thrones TV show, and Billy Ray, who was nominated for an Oscar for writing Captain Phillips.

But Lemke was having a vortex of emotion and in the midst of a surreal, almost out-of-body experience that was also tinged with a bittersweetness.

Because despite having his name in the credits, despite walking the red carpet, Lemke had nothing to do with the movie currently playing onscreen.

But the fact that the movie exists at all has everything to do with him. And that’s because Gemini Man is a quirky example of how no idea is truly dead in Hollywood, shows that every movie has its own road to the screen and reminds people that the 1990s spec script market was its own wild animal.

In the mid-1990s, Lemke was working at a grocery store, pushing carts and pushing 27, writing murder-mystery theater in North Jersey. A graduate of New York City’s School of Visual Arts, he had seen his classmates enthusiastically rush to Los Angeles after graduation, then slowly return like soldiers from the warfront. He stayed behind, tapping away at the keyboard on spec scripts, all action and thriller.

In a weird only-in-Hollywood confluence, only in this case it was only-in-Jersey, he went out to the movies one night, giving a script to a friend of a friend’s brother, who gave it to an assistant to a movie producer, who then gave it to said movie producer….

Read it all at hollywoodreporter.com

Every Marvel Fan Needs This Stan Lee Action Figure

At last! The world’s consciousness awakens and gives a WRITER his due!

Gotta admit it. This TVWriter™ minion can’t imagine continuing living in our wonderful world of the future without this 6″ “Marvel Universe”Stan Lee figure on top of his PC case. Or crammed in my knapsack next to my iPad.

I mean, look at this:

Available wherever profound esoterica is sold. (I found it at the Target store in Seattle’s Pike Plaza.)

Just Between Us Department: We also need a Jack Kirby Action Figure, but that’s highly unlikely because let’s face it, the universe just plain isn’t big enough to contain such Kirbyesque grandeur.