Winners, Finalists, & Semi-Finalists of TVWriter™’s contests are or recently have been on the staffs of:
STRANGER THINGS WESTWORLD MOM NARCOS TIME AFTER TIME GREY’S ANATOMY THE LEFTOVERS BASTARD EXECUTIONER ANIMAL PRACTICE KILLER WOMEN NTSF:SD:SUV GIRLFRIENDS
FILTHY PREPPY TEENS
THE GOOD DOCTOR
LETHAL WEAPON SNEAKY PETE
SNOWFALL CHICAGO PD CHICAGO FIRE PERSON OF INTEREST THE WALKING DEAD RIZZOLI AND ISLES COLONY ONCE UPON A TIME THE SARAH CONNOR CHRONICLES SMALLVILLE ROME PRIVATE PRACTICE
Plus various TV movies & other one-offs!
You’ve got from now until the 10 p.m. November 1, 2018 to pay the entry fee of $50 (with some discounts still available) 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.
Truly original stories are tough to come by. We all have to get really creative. The screenwriting market is completely saturated.
Believe it or don’t. Like it or not. That’s the truth. The slush pile is deep. We may all think, “yeah, but” my script is one of those “truly great scripts” that “always get noticed and find their audience”.
Think of it this way. Have you seen a herd of cattle? Sheep? Well, that’s the slush pile and the script we want to sell is in there… somewhere…one cow.
Now maybe you could teach that cow to tap-dance or you could try some other methods of getting noticed, so let’s talk, and I don’t mean about how to teach that cow to tap-dance.
Let’s all consider how to avoid the ‘thanks for the read, but not for me’ rejection we all dread.
First things first – imagination followed by fantastic execution. If the idea isn’t imaginative enough then no amount of polished, amazing execution and presentation is gonna help.
The writer NEVER wants his/her script to feel like just one of the herd. As a writer you’ll have to dig deep and force that creativity to the surface.
It’s not like you don’t have it, you know you do. And, you can write your own version of pretty much anything, but you’re going to have to come up with that new twist the audience hasn’t seen before or a new character no one has seen brought to the forefront in the past.
Creativity is a skill. Work on it. Develop it, and never stop working on it. Creativity isn’t something that you have or you don’t. It’s something you work at and develop, like public speaking skills or woodworking.
THEN apply the fantastic execution so the producer sees that film in his/her head when they read.
Another thing. Do you know your world, the one you created, down to the last blade of grass?
You’ve given your story a setting, Africa somewhere, Brazil, New York City. The goal is to make your setting a character in the story you write. It’s not a cardboard cut-out backdrop, it’s integral to the story being told. If not, why not? It must feel real and present and most important, original.
There are a lot of writers out there and you don’t want to get lost in that crowd. The writer has to know the characters in the story down to the bone as well – and create fully fleshed out characters.
The characters have to be ones the audience can identify with. Not necessarily like, but care about. Give them real lives, know them well. Everything YOU know about your characters won’t literally be up on the screen, but if you’ve created the characters well, it will shine through.
Create characters with depth the audience can bond with emotionally and you’re going to grip them through to the end. The combination of setting and character, both done to perfection is something that can’t be ignored.
And, lastly, take some time to invest in the genre you’re writing in. I
f you want to write mystery, watch mysteries, old and new. Science Fiction? Watch lots of it. And on and on.
Check out the classics, the recent hits and the ones that bombed. Why, why and why? Learn from the best. Really know about the genre you want to write in.
And, on that note, know how to take criticism because you’re going to get a lot of it, no matter what genre you’re writing in.
Very few scripts are great from the get-go. BUT, there are lots of scripts with potential if you, as writer, can examine your own work critically, listen to valid criticisms and be ready always to ‘kill your darlings’.
Listen to the feedback of others. They might not always be right, but they most certainly possess another perspective. And, if it’s a producer odds are pretty high they’re right at least in many of their notes – this is, after all what they do.
If you can’t take criticism because you’re unable to listen to it or unwilling to take action on it you might reconsider what your professional goals are.
Imagination. Stoke your creativity. Listen to criticism. Don’t settle and the skills you need will be refined until your script does stand out from the herd and that cow tap-dances.
Peggy Bechko is a TVWriter™ Contributing Editor. Learn more about her sensational career HERE. Peggy’s new comic series, Planet of the Eggs, written and illustrated with Charlene Brash-Sorensen is available on Kindle. And, while you’re at it, visit the Planet of the Eggs Facebook page and her terrific blog.
I think as liberals, especially liberals who are well-educated about discourse and rhetoric and identity who could be considered the “intellectual elite”, we often get the idea into our heads that if we just won the argument, those who disagree with us will finally come around. I can cite endless clips from comedy and straightforward news programs alike where a liberal reporter or correspondent interviews people on the street with simple questions designed to make them think about their preconceived notions differently. Like most viewers of these programs, I held my breath waiting for just one interview subject to notice how absurd they’re being. Spoiler alert: it never, ever works. And so we all feel superior and smug and work on new thought experiments to try again. But in watching the endless and yet also far too brief Supreme Court hearings these past few weeks, I remembered that that’s not how it works. It’s not that these powerful men don’t believe Dr. Ford. Even if the FBI investigation had been allowed to run its full course, the decision makers wouldn’t be any more or less convinced. It’s not about belief. They just don’t care.
People who voted for Trump were not unaware of his history, or his hateful rhetoric, or the disgusting way he speaks to and about women. They didn’t care. There are lots of other reasons they voted for him, but it comes down to the fact that they cared about someone with enough boxes checked in favor of their beliefs being in power. And yet during the election liberals pretended that if we could just show those voters what an awful man he was, we could swing them back to reality. But it wasn’t that we just hadn’t showed them the right news clip or the right audio clip or the right densely-cited thesis on all the ways Donald Trump being in power is the most toxic thing we could do to ourselves. They. Don’t. Care.
And that’s terrifying. And makes me, clutching my degrees and my 6 years in competitive public speaking, feel absolutely powerless and unprepared. How do you combat hate if not with logic? How do you convince the hearts and minds of half the voting public that Russia influencing our elections and perpetuating hate crimes at the Mexican border are not “better than having a Democrat in the presidency” without a well reasoned argument?
One of the most interesting and alternatively most upsetting articles I’ve ever read and then kept bookmarked for occasions such as these is the one about Derek Black, a boy raised in white supremacy who over the course of several years was convinced that maybe people of other colors and backgrounds weren’t so bad after all. That article details how a group of Black’s college peers took him under their wing to slowly but surely get him to a place where he wasn’t just convinced that white people weren’t inherently better, but he cared that they weren’t. That’s the interesting part. The upsetting part is that obviously that’s not a replicable strategy for half the voting public. And it’s all well and good to feel like changing one person’s mind is something we should all strive for, that means nothing when half the voting public elected a man who in public stated an alleged child molestor was better for public office than a Democrat.
I don’t have a nuanced take on all this. I don’t have a solution. I do think it’s worth us all recognizing that the better argument doesn’t win. Power does. And I don’t know how to change that. I don’t know how to look someone who doesn’t care about rape culture in the eyes and say anything that will change his (of course it’s a “his”) mind. I Don’t Know How To Explain To You That You Should Care About Other People. I don’t know how to do anything but argue and present arguments and do research and present thought experiments with obvious answers that apparently don’t mean anything.
For whatever it’s worth, the image on this post is one I took when I attended a McCain/Palin rally with a press pass for my High School newspaper. Palin mentioned “Joe The Plumber” 11 more times than she did the economy. What a thing to be nostalgic for.
Bri Castellini is an indie filmmaker and Community Director at Stareable, our favorite web series hub. Watch the remarkable Ms. Castellini’s award-winning web series, Brains, HERE. See Sam And Pat Are Depressed HERE. This post first appeared on Bri’s wonderfully refreshing blog.
Duck Tales, one of the most well-written animated kids’ shows in all of TV, has been renewed for Season 3. We know because Disney said so, right here:
What makes the announcement video above particularly notable to us here at TVWriter™ is that the voice actors who play Huey, Dewey, and Louie actually recorded together for the very first time. Animation voiceovers usually are done one lonely actor at a time in a teeny booth with a screaming director on the other side of the glass partition.
Well, okay, we made up the “screaming director” thing. But, you know, it sounds kinda neat that way, yeah?
More about the series and its latest pick-up is HERE