Love & Money Dept – TV Writing Deals for 10/23/13

Latest News About Writers Who Are Doing Better Than We Are

  • Heidi Niedermeyer & Elena Crevello (SHIT PEOPLE IN L.A. SAY) have sold their spec pilot FIFTH WHEEL, a comedy about a young woman who is the only single person in her group of friends, to NBC.
  • David Hornsby (HOW TO BE A GENTLEMAN) is writing an untitled NBC comedy pilot about NASA in the fun-filled ’60s. The decade, we mean, not the age.
  • Craig O’Neill (BURN NOTICE) is writing the pilot for the CBS drama, REAL DEAL, about an ambitious female FBI agent who teams up with a wildly uncontrollable woman informant. This one’s based on an article in “Glamor” written by Emily Benedek.
  • Simon Beaufoy (SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE) has written the 10 part miniseries TELEMARK for FX.
  • Chrissy Pietrosh & Jessica Goldstein (COUGAR TOWN) are writing LET’S PRETEND THIS NEVER HAPPENED, an ABC comedy pilot based on a book by Jenny Lawson.
  • Lisa Addario & Joe Syracuse (PARENTAL GUIDANCE) are writing another comedy pilot called RELATED for ABC. It’s about “a working-class New Jersey community where the saying ‘it takes a village’ takes on new meaning with shared mothers-in-law and unique family loyalties.”
  • Mark Levin & Jennifer Flackett (newbies!) are developing the CBS comedy THE MAN’S GUIDE TO LOVE, which is based on, um, their website of the same name.

Whew, made it through our second day of snarkless writing deal announcements. Gotta admit that it was touch and go there for awhile, especially when we had to keep our face straight about a title like LET’S PRETEND THIS NEVER HAPPENED, and a writing credit like HOW TO BE A GENTLEMAN. Not that we mean any disrespect to the writer, or to any gentlemen out there. It’s just that this is yet another credit announced with great fanfare that we, well, that we’ve never heard of.

Our Big Question today, though, is how’re we doing? Are y’all pleased with our new-found journalistic sobriety? Or are you dying for us to go back to our bad old ways? Drop a line and let us know!

“Screenwriting Tips” is a Hot Blog

…In fact, it’s become one of our favorites. Highly recommended.

Here’s why:


The man behind this site is Xander Bennett. According to our googling, he hasn’t made it big yet as a screenwriter. But if we were Big Time producers we’d change that.

Oh, he also has a book out. It’s like the blog only expanded. Check it out HERE.

50 Redundant Phrases Writers Should Avoid

This whole article feels redundant to us, but that doesn’t keep it from being necessary:


by Mark Nichol

We get the point; no need to say it twice. Eliminate duplication for concise writing.

In conversation, it’s easy in the midst of spontaneous speech to succumb to verbosity and duplication. In writing, redundancy is less forgivable but fortunately easy to rectify. Watch for these usual suspects:

1. Absolutely certain or sure/essential/guaranteed: Someone who is certain or sure is already without doubt. Something that is essential is intrinsically absolute. A guarantee is by nature absolute (or should be). Abandonabsolutely in such usage.

2. Actual experience/fact: An experience is something that occurred (unless otherwise indicated). A fact is something confirmed to have happened. Actual is extraneous in these instances.

3. Add an additional: To add is to provide another of something. Additional is extraneous.

4. Added bonus: A bonus is an extra feature, so added is redundant.

5. Advance notice/planning/reservations/warning: Notices, planning, reservations, and warnings are all, by their nature, actions that occur before some event, so qualifying such terms withadvance is superfluous.

6. As for example: As implies that an example is being provided, so omit for example.

7. Ask a question: To ask is to pose a question, so a question is redundant.

8. At the present time: At present means “at this time,” so avoid the verbose version.

9. Basic fundamentals/essentials: Fundamentals and essentials are by their nature elementary, so remove basic from each phrase.

10. (Filled to) capacity: Something filled is done so to capacity, so describing something as filled to capacity is repetitive.

11. Came at a time when: When provides the necessary temporal reference to the action of coming; at a time is redundant.

12. Close proximity/scrutiny: Proximity means “close in location,” and scrutiny means “close study,” so avoid qualifying these terms with close.

13. Collaborate/join/meet/merge together: If you write of a group that collaborates or meets together, you imply that there’s another way to collect or confer. To speak of joining or merging together is, likewise, redundant.

14. Completely filled/finished/opposite: Something that is filled or finished is thoroughly so;completely is redundant. Something that is opposite isn’t necessarily diametrically opposed, especially in qualitative connotations, but the modifier is still extraneous.

15. Consensus of opinion: A consensus is an agreement but not necessarily one about an opinion, so consensus of opinion is not purely redundant, but the phrase of opinion is usually unnecessary.

Read it all

Our favorite part of this article is the opening: “We get the point; no need to say it twice. Eliminate duplication for concise writing.” Because, you know, it shows such a great sense of humor, by saying everything, um, twice.

Joss Whedon’s Guide to Avenging Screenwriting

Yeah, the title’s a stretch, but…you know.

Joss Whedon’s Top 10 Writing Tips
by Catherine Bray

Joss Whedon is most famous for creating Buffy the Vampire Slayer, its spin-off Angel and the short-lived but much-loved Firefly series. But the writer and director has also worked unseen as a script doctor on movies ranging from Speed to Toy Story. Here, he shares his tips on the art of screenwriting.

Actually finishing it is what I’m gonna put in as step one. You may laugh at this, but it’s true. I have so many friends who have written two-thirds of a screenplay, and then re-written it for about three years. Finishing a screenplay is first of all truly difficult, and secondly really liberating. Even if it’s not perfect, even if you know you’re gonna have to go back into it, type to the end. You have to have a little closure.

Structure means knowing where you’re going; making sure you don’t meander about. Some great films have been made by meandering people, like Terrence Malick and Robert Altman, but it’s not as well done today and I don’t recommend it. I’m a structure nut. I actually make charts. Where are the jokes? The thrills? The romance? Who knows what, and when? You need these things to happen at the right times, and that’s what you build your structure around: the way you want your audience to feel. Charts, graphs, coloured pens, anything that means you don’t go in blind is useful.

This really should be number one. Even if you’re writing a Die Hard rip-off, have something to say about Die Hard rip-offs. The number of movies that are not about what they purport to be about is staggering. It’s rare, especially in genres, to find a movie with an idea and not just, ‘This’ll lead to many fine set-pieces’. The Island evolves into a car-chase movie, and the moments of joy are when they have clone moments and you say, ‘What does it feel like to be those guys?’

Everybody has a perspective. Everybody in your scene, including the thug flanking your bad guy, has a reason. They have their own voice, their own identity, their own history. If anyone speaks in such a way that they’re just setting up the next person’s lines, then you don’t get dialogue: you get soundbites. Not everybody has to be funny; not everybody has to be cute; not everybody has to be delightful, and not everybody has to speak, but if you don’t know who everybody is and why they’re there, why they’re feeling what they’re feeling and why they’re doing what they’re doing, then you’re in trouble.

Read it all

This was first published in 2009, and we found it by a lucky accident while web-surfing the other day. And, no, we’re not about to get snarky with or about anything the Jossman has to say. Because there’s absolutely nothing to get snarky about.