Congratulations to the new members of the Board of Directors of the Writers Guild of America, West:


LB’s Poetry: Two People Who Died By Their Own Hand

by Larry Brody


The following poem has nothing to do with showbiz…except that it owes its existence to the fact that it tells, as compactly as possible, the kind of story I always wanted to tell on TV but never could.

There were rules back in the day, about what topics you could touch and how you had to stroke them. Life and and the danger of losing one’s life were beloved by network execs. But there sure as hell weren’t any I ever met who wanted to read a script or watch a show about suicide. (Not even if it was action-packed.) Poetry, however, knows how to welcome:

Two People Who Died By Their Own Hands

I knew a woman who killed herself.

We met through mutual friends.

Her name was Harriet, and

She was impossible to deal with,

Always asking questions from nowhere,

And saying irrelevant things. Her husband Arnie

Survived by ignoring her, and so did her

Kids. Then, one day, the little ones came home from

School, and found a note on the refrigerator door.

Inside, said the note, was dinner. All they had do to

Was heat it up. “I love you,” said the note. “Good-bye.”

The house had been cleaned immaculately. Everything

Seemed perfect. Except the kids heard the car’s

Engine in the closed garage, and found Mommy

Slumped at the wheel. When I spoke to Arnie

About it, he shook his head. “Inappropriate,” he

Said, “to the end.”


I knew a man who killed himself.

His name was Phil, and he and his wife Betty

Owned a small jewelry shop. When he was

Young Phil had been an outlaw biker,

And his face still bore the white trails of

Hundreds of fights. Everyone who knew Phil

Loved him, as a man who did everything right.

One day, after Betty got out of the shower,

Phil didn’t answer her call. She found his body

In the basement, 9 mm pistol in his hand.

Later, Betty learned he had a brain tumor,

And had wanted to spare her his pain.

At the funeral, we all celebrated his

Selflessness, but the truth is, Phil didn’t even

Make Betty a snack.

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.’”

Who is the Navajo Dog? Keep coming back and you’ll see.

TVWriter™ Don’t-Miss Posts of the Week – Sept. 19, 2016

In case you’ve missed what’s happening at TVWriter™, the most popular blog posts during the week ending yesterday were:

Peggy Bechko’s World: Writers, Get Out of Your Creative Rut!

Looking for TV Pilot Scripts?

LB:”Star Trek” storyboards? Oh my!

Indie TV: Here’s a Scene from “Sangre De Cristo”

Empty Promises: My experience submitting scripts to Amazon Studios

And our most visited permanent resource pages were:

Writing the Dreaded Outline


The Logline



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. (Yeah, we’ll be saying this till November 2nd cuz we really want you to get your careers soaring!)

3 Script Development Truths Nobody Ever Reveals

Can you guess who the writers are here? Yeppers, thought so.
Can you guess who the writers are here? Yeppers, thought so.

by munchman

Gleaned by your fave munchamaniac from the mouths of experienced writer friends who actually pay attention to what works for them when trying to make a deal (and what doesn’t):

  1. Execs say they don’t care about our writing style but just want to read a “good” script. They’re lying – to themselves as well as to you and your agent
  2. True Hollywood definition of a “good script” – “One my boss will like”
  3. Alternate but equally true Hollywood definition of a “good script” – One that has a concept or storyline that will fill a gap in our development schedule and get me promoted”

Any other old pros out there with more to add? Yer friendly neighborhood munchman is eager to know!

John Ostrander Gets Trumped!


by John Ostrander

I’m almost ready to give up. Throw in the towel.

I’m a writer of fantastic fiction. That’s been my bread and butter for over 30 years. Folks that fly. Folks that travel through time. Folks that live in multi-dimensional cities. Bad folks doing bad things for ostensibly good causes. And so on and so on.

For all that the stories and characters have been fantastic, I have to keep them in some ways real. I don’t want to have the readers say, “Oh, that could never happen.” I don’t want to have an editor say, “Oh, that could never happen.” Or “That’s ridiculous.” Or “Who do you think you’re kidding?” The stories need to be at least plausible in some way.

Or so I thought until this political season.

Yes, I’m going to use the T word. Trump.

If Trump did not exist, if I had simply made up him and his candidacy, I could never have sold his campaign for president. I don’t think I know an editor who would have bought it except as some wild political satire. It would probably have been dismissed as a product of my fevered liberal brain.

Reality has… trumped me.

That happens now and then. When I first proposed my idea back in the 80s for a Suicide Squad revival, of saying that the government would get supervillains to do covert missions is (supposedly) in the National Interest, there was some concern that the premise was a little too out there. In between the time when the Squad proposal was accepted and the first issue was published, Irangate hit.

(For those who are too young or too old to remember, Irangate or The Iran-Contra Scandal occurred during the second Reagan administration where the White House sold some weapons to Iran (which was under an arms embargo) and used the money to fund the revel Contras in Nicaragua which had been prohibited by the U.S. Congress.)

In short, reality trumped me back then as well.

When Donald Trump declared himself a candidate for President, I thought it was a joke. I thought he was a joke. After all, he ran before and went nowhere.

Now? Now he’s the Republican nominee for the highest office in the land and the most powerful person on the planet.

I think that’s a notion that American Horror Story could do a whole season on.

He has done and said things that would have sunk any other presidential candidate in memory. Just this week he praised Vlad Putin, the dictator of Russia, and even went on Russian TV to praise him and disparage President Obama. That was too much even for Bill O’Reilly.

I’ve watched countless Republicans in high positions who had to answer questions about it and looked like they were going to vomit in their mouths. They usually mumbled something along the lines of “I support the Party’s candidate.”

Look, I make no bones and no apologies for what I am – liberal and decidedly anti-Trump. I’m not nuts about Hillary Clinton and, frankly, I think if it had been almost any other person who was the Democratic candidate, they would be crushing Trump. I think, and hope, that she will in the end.

All that said, I cannot conceive that Trump will win this. I keep telling myself it’s not possible but, on the other hand, I never thought he would get this far either. I do not understand the appeal. I understand there’s a lot of anger out there and a lot of people are fed up with Washington but – c’mon! You seriously want the nuclear launch codes in Trump’s hands?

If this wasn’t what we laughingly call reality, there’s no way I could have sold this concept, this story, to an editor.

If The Donald wins the election, we’ll have an additional definition for the word, “trump.”


As in, we’ve all been well and truly… trumped.

John Ostrander is one of LB’s favorite writers in any medium. In addition to writing a zillion great Suicide Squad comic book stories, he also is the creator of Amanda Waller. Don’t forget to read his most excellent blog at ComicMix.