Dammit, We Missed IndieReCon!

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Indie ReCon, an interweb conference for self-publishing writers and their support groups, ended yesterday, and from all reports was a worthwhile event chock full of info for what are now called – and rightly so – indie writers and publishers.

We meant to write about this last week, when you could have, you know, actually attended the event. But what with one thing and another, the post got lost in the scheduling shuffle. (Maybe cuz it wasn’t about TV writing per se, but hell, writing’s writing, no?)

The good news, however, is that the Indie ReCon site is still up, and on it are the most helpful articles we’ve ever read for self-publishing indie writers et al. For example:

  • Indie Publishing Then and the WOW of Now by LM Preston
  • Indie Authors Selling eBooks in Bookstores by of Kobo
  • Your Book as an App by Richard Smith of Bowker Identifier Services
  • Top 10 Tips for Successful Self-Publishing by Barbara Freethy
  • Chat with Steena Holmes and her agent, Pamela Harty from TKA (the Knight Agency)
  • Partnering with an Agent by Steena Holmes
  • All about Audio by Stacey Wallace Benefiel
  • Breaking into International Markets by Orna Ross of ALLIi
  • The Double Life: Walking the Fence in Publishing by Nancy Holder
  • Measuring Success by Susan Kaye Quinn
  • The Magic of Awards and Reviews by Amy Edelman
  • Creative Book Launches That Command Attention by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi
  • 12 Steps to Blog Tour Success by Joel Friedlander
  • Building an Author Brand by Ali Cross
  • Build Your Mailing List! 5 Ideas That Really Work by DuoLit
  • Reaching Your Readers Online by Brittany Geragotelis
  • How Can You Use Social Media to Your Advantage? by Jason Letts of the Kindle Fire Department
  • Building a Sense of Community by Melissa Foster of World Literary Cafe
  • Importance of SEO and Metatagging Part 2 by Lori Culwell
  • Importance of SEO and Metatagging, Part 1 by Lori Culwell
  • Marketing Plans Made Easy! by S.R. Johannes
  • How to Sell a Million Books (Vlog Joanna Penn interviews CJ Lyons
  • Capturing the Magic of Self-Publishing Middle Grade with Sybil Nelson & Laura Pauling
  • Releasing Singles and Listening to the Audience by Hugh Howey
  • Secrets to a Successful Series by Addison Moore
  • The New Adult Wave in Indie Publishing by M. Leighton
  • Building a Bestselling Publishing Team by Miral Sattar of BiblioCrunch
  • 10 Ways to Make Your Cover Stand Out in the Crowd by Alicia Kat Dillman
  • An Editor Reveals Her Best Secrets by Cheri Lasota
  • Setting the Foundation for Your Writing Career: A Business Plan by Denise Grover Swank
  • Self-Publishing Basics: Part 2 by Heather McCorkle
  • Self-Publishing Basics: Part 1 by Heather McCorkle
  • Costs of Self Publishing by Miral Sattar of BiblioCrunch
  • 7 Worst Mistakes Indie Authors Make by Joanna Penn
  • Sidestepping the Stigma of Self-Publishing by Colleen Hoover
  • Entrepreneurial Authors Wear Many Hats by S.R. Johannes
  • The Honest Inside Scoop or the Pros and Cons of Indie Publishing by Jessie Harrell

And more, all of it HERE.

Speaking of Oscar Nominated Shorts…

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…This is a my-T-fine one:

Further proof that animation of any kind no longer is a kiddy format. And surprising news that somebody who could get this made in, you know, “Hollywood” actually understands mature relationships, Timothy Reckart’s HEAD OVER HEELS makes this a smiley, optimistic day.

Love & Money Dept – TV Writing Deals for 2/22/13

Latest News About Writers Who Are Doing Better Than We Are

  • George R.R. Martin (GAME OF THRONES) has signed an overall deal with HBO to continue on THRONES and also develop and produce new series. (We admit it. We love this guy. Everything he writes perfectly justifies our, you know, paranoia worldview.)
  • Want to write an animated TV series based on FarmVille? (We didn’t think so, but if you do, have your peeps get in touch with Brett Ratner’s peeps cuz he’s all gung-ho about such a project and doesn’t have a writer – or network – for it yet.)
  • Justin Herber & Adam Hoff (no credits, which is cool) are writing the pilot for THE EDGE, a thriller type drama about dark goings-on at a hot financial institution for USA. (Music legend John Legend looks like the guy who made the deal…but he doesn’t have any TV credits either, does he?)
  • Frank Spotnitz (THE X-FILES) is adapting Philip K. Dick’s muy heavy novel The Man in the High Castle into a Syfy TV film. (We know Frank’s a Big Writing Gun, but how do you get good science fiction past the Syfy Gateskeepers of Crap? Even with Ridley Scott on board to produce?)

LB: A Few Words from the Man Who Taught Me How to Write for TV

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I moved to L.A. in the spring of 1968. I was 23 years old, had had half a dozen short stories published in various science fiction and fantasy magazines, a deal with Ace Books for a science fiction novel, and so many hopes and dreams that my heart pounded excitedly all day and all night, no matter what my body was – or wasn’t – doing.

My first deal in L.A. was with a production company headquartered at MGM. The late and legendary Sam Katzman (he may not have been great, but he sure as hell was fascinating), read the only spec script I’ve ever written in my life and promptly optioned a TV series idea I’d written up. Even better, the same deal made me the co-writer of a feature film he was planning. I would be working with the writer-director,  Arthur Dreifuss, on the script.

I’d been in sunny Southern California for all of 3 months.

Arthur already had written a detailed outline. I did all the writing on the screenplay. It took 3 weeks, after which I joined the WGAw, sat back, and said, “Now what?”

“Now you go to work in television,” my agent, Silvia Hirsch (of the William Morris Agency) told me, and she set up a shitload of meetings with television people who never would have looked in my direction if I hadn’t already had the film under my belt.

The first of the TV people to hire me (although far from the first to meet with me) was Bill Blinn. Bill was 7 years older than I was and at the time was the entire writing staff of a series called HERE COME THE BRIDES. He wasn’t the only writer for the show, just the only one who got a weekly salary. Everyone else was freelance, chosen by the producers and Bill.

And, that summer, Bill and the producers chose me. My first assignment never made it into teleplay. I was cut off at story, for which I was paid 1/3 of the total fee. My second assignment went better. I wrote the story and 2 drafts, and it went on the air to great applause at the then quite small Brody household.

I stopped clapping pretty early on, though, and when the show was over I barely recognized it. The shape of the tale was the same, but not one line of dialog was mine. It was all Bill’s. If I said I despaired, I’d be lying. Larry Brody didn’t work that way in those days. Instead I was just plain pissed off. Hated the show. Hated my agent for putting me together with it.

Most of all I hated Bill Blinn. Hell, why not? He must have hated me too, right? Or my work, which to me in those days was the same thing. Why else would he have rewritten it?

For the next week I stayed awake nights engineering gruesome deaths for Mr. Blinn.

And then he called me and asked me to write another episode. Actually, he said, “you’ll be rewriting it. We bought it from our production supervisor. He’s a good production supervisor, but he’s not a writer. You are, though, so what do you say?”

What could I say? Bill was asking me to rewrite someone else because he didn’t have the time to himself. He loved my work after all! He loved me! Of course I took the gig…

And when I was done, Bill told me how much he liked the rewrite. And then instead of rewriting all of my version, he rewrote most of it and put it on the air.

Over the years, Bill went on to create, write, story edit, or produce a ton of television, including THE INTERNS, THE NEW LAND, THE ROOKIES, STARSKY AND HUTCH, EIGHT IS ENOUGH, FAME, and PENNSACOLA. He also wrote and supervised the writing of a little miniseries called ROOTS, and wrote the original version of BRIAN’S SONG. Oh, and the Prince film, PURPLE RAIN. Along the way, he won the Humanitas Prize for ROOTS, the Writers Guild Award for THE BOYS NEXT DOOR, Emmys for BRIAN’S SONG and ROOTS, the Peabody Award for BRIAN’S SONG, and the Laurel Award for TV Writing Achievement for his whole damn career.

I worked on several of the above projects with my distinguished friend, but then I started getting my own story editor and producer gigs and moved on, to a place not quite as distinguished as his, but hell, I liked where I was…and knew I wouldn’t have been there without him.

See, the way Bill taught me was by not even trying to teach me. By treating me the way he would treat any other “good writer.” The way he saw it, he could fix mistake another good writer made, and as soon as I realized that I was able to learn from what he did. I’d see the changes he had made, character, dialog, and storywise, in my work, in each script. And I’d look closer and think and think and think until I figured out why he made those changes.

And the next time I wrote anything for him I’d make sure he wouldn’t have to make any of the same kinds of changes again. It became a kind of game (a death match, maybe, because he still pissed me off) for me to anticipate what Bill would do in any one scene and head him off by going that way by myself. After a few years, I didn’t have to deliberately second-guess him anymore. Thinking the way he did just became natural. It became the way I thought as well.

I really enjoyed working with him toward the end there, before I started producing. Because it felt so good to no longer be angry. To be able to relax and let what I’d learned flow out my fingers to the keys.

Which brings us to the main part of this post, all the above merely being an introduction to the following video interview in which a fine writer and even finer man gives us some insight into both those elements of his being.

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An Oscar nominated short, available legally. Who’d a’thunk?

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This is the kind of animation that starts some people thinking, “What do we need writers for?” because there’s no real dialog.

But it took a writer to come up with the story, beat by beat, physically and emotionally moving moment by moment. So hat’s off to writers Clio Chiang and Kendelle Hoyer.

And, yeah, director John Kahrs did a pretty damn fine job here too.