Troy DeVolld: How to be a Great Exec

troy devolldby Troy DeVolld

Before we get started, let me share that I’m well aware that your job is not easy.  You’re only as good as your last hit in the execuverse, and there’s a load of pressure on you to deliver the goods.  I feel you.  I understand.  This isn’t one of those “smartass producer bashes the network execs” kind of things, because man oh man, do I get what you’re up against.  Plus, I’ve worked with some pretty damn sharp execs in my day.

But you other folks…some of you don’t know what the f*ck you’re doing.

Many among you are brilliant and magical and when you exercise your authority or make a suggestion, and I marvel at how you so often provide insight, perspective, and practical solutions.  Long may you reign, you lovers of the medium who know what works and what doesn’t and what makes it go.  But for every one of you, there’s two young sprites fresh from the desks who run roughshod over experienced producers, spouting demands like “This show has to be a hit, you guys” and meaningless non-directions like “This needs to be better.”   If the head of your network knew how far over budget you’re gonna put your project with your lack of understanding, you could be cruising for a professional bruising. read article

Would Anyone Hire Ricardo Montalban Today?

by Herbie J Pilato

ricardo4I recently caught an episode of the classic TV show, The Name of the Game, which originally aired on NBC from 1968 to 1971.  It was one of the more unique programs of its time.  The series was like an anthology show, but it wasn’t.  There were three different main stars:  Robert Stack, Gene Barry and Tony Franciosa, each of whom had their own storyline, but yet all were connected by a Los Angeles publishing company.

The segment that I viewed featured Robert Stack as the editor of this one particular publication that was linked with the main organization.  The same episode also featured the multi-talented Ricardo Montalban in a guest-starring role.

As I’m watching the segment, I’m thinking, “Mmmm…there’s the great Ricardo Montalban, years before he found fame on TV as the mysterious Mr. Roark on ABC’s 70s/80s Saturday night hitFantasy Island; and right around the time he was also guest-starring in his original incarnation as Kahn on the first Star Trek TV episode, ‘Space Seed – decades before he reprised the role for the hit 1982 feature film, Star Trek: The Wrath of Kahn.” read article

Love & Money Dept – TV Writing Deals for 1/17/14

Latest News About Writers Who Are Doing Better Than We Are=&0=&Tom Schnauz (BREAKING BAD) has a new writer-producer gig on BETTER CALL SAUL, the BREAKING BAD “prequel” and a 2-year overal deal with Sony Pictures TV. (Cuz, like BREAKING BAD! Maybe it’s time for true believers like us to relax. Looks like BB is never really going away.) Mike Sikowitz (RULES OF ENGAGEMENT) has signed a new overall deal with Sony Pictures TV guaranteeing him seven figures worth of dinero. (Love and kisses to Mike. Our people will be calling your people…soon.) ABC is set to develop a comedy series about the life of rapper Eve and is looking for a writer. (So if you have whatever qualifications it takes to write about a beautiful African-American rap star – whom we’ve never heard of, but then let’s face it, rap is sooo old now – and her “interracial relationships” it’s time to reach for the phone.)

And the 2014 Screenplay Oscar Nominees Are…

Oscars2-600x250

Not that we care about movies. Oh no, not TVWriter™. It’s TV writers we want to glorify. But still, cuz the nominees were announced this morning and it may interest a viewer or three:

ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
Eric Warren Singer, David O. Russell – American Hustle
Woody Allen – Blue Jasmine
Bob Nelson – Nebraska
Craig Borten, Melisa Wallack – Dallas Buyers Club
Spike Jonze – Her read article

LB: Some Musings on the Silver Surfer (the greatest muser of all time)

Glad You Asked Dept. 1/16/14

That's Jack Kirby's version on the left, with Earl Norem's variation on the right.
That’s Jack Kirby’s version on the left, with Earl Norem’s variation on the right.

About a year ago I started what I intended to be a weekly column answering your questions about TV writing and the TV biz in general. I would’ve gladly answered questions about a ton of other things, but TV writing and TV biz aren’t just areas I know a lot about, they’re probably the only areas I know anything about.

The weekliness of said column didn’t last long because I didn’t get enough questions. Which, btw, was very disappointing. Recently, however, I’ve received a couple of inquiries that I think might be of interest to others, so here we go with the latest Glad You Asked.

Today’s question is about one of my favorite topics, the animated SILVER SURFER series that I ran back in the waning days of the 20th Century. It’s from JB (writing from France, which of course proves the wonderfulness of the interwebs when it comes to expanding our communication horizons). Where was I? Oh, right. JB’s question: read article