Learn How to Write by Watching Good Stuff

Amazon Prime wants everyone to know that it’s now streaming FRINGE and THE WEST WING. (And nobody else is, nah, nah.)

These are two of the best written shows ever on TV, yet written entirely differently. Inspiring this advice to new television writers:

  • Watch
  • Listen
  • Get hold of some scripts for the shows and compare so you can see what parts of the actual writing worked and what parts didn’t…and make sure you understand why

Viacom and DirectTV Kiss and Make Up

“Nobody’s right when everybody’s wrong.” (Some silly song lyric from back in the day.)

DIRECTV and Viacom Reach Agreement to Renew Carriage of Viacom’s Networks
by TeamTVWriter Press Service

New York, NY – July 20, 2012 —Viacom (NASDAQ: VIA, VIAB) today announced that the company has reached a long-term agreement to renew carriage with DIRECTV.

All 26 Viacom networks, including Nickelodeon, Comedy Central, MTV, BET, CMT, Logo, Spike, TV Land, MTV2, VH1, VH1 Classic, Palladia, Nick Jr., Nicktoons, TeenNick, Tr3s and Centric, will return to DIRECTV’s channel lineup immediately. As part of the overall carriage agreement, DIRECTV has an option to add the EPIX service to its entertainment offerings.

Viacom is extremely pleased to bring its programming back to DIRECTV subscribers, and thanks everyone affected by the disruption for their patience and understanding during this challenging period.

Kinda terse, huh? Like the thing a kid says when his mommy makes him apologize. Hmm…

This Week’s Best Pitching Advice

Proving, in case you doubted it for second, that showbiz is everywhere:

Pitch Any Idea in 15 Seconds
by Thorin Klosowski

Ever needed to quickly convince a friend to go to your favorite restaurant instead of theirs? Or maybe you’re trying to sell an idea to someone? A well crafted pitch can convince people in a short amount of time, and Forbes outlines exactly how to do it with a message map.

Forbes concentrates on using a quick pitch to sell products, but it’s just as applicable to selling an idea. They suggest using a message map to craft the pitch and breaking it down into three steps:

  1. Create a Twitter-friendly headline: Basically, create a short, one sentence pitch of your idea. For example, “Sloppy Joe’s BBQ Shack sells wings, beer, and Oreo-based desserts.”
  2. Support the headline with three key benefits: These are the three reasons why the person should care about your idea. To continue our example above, “The shack has a cheap happy hour, they were voted the best wings by Your Favorite Magazine, and they have clean bathrooms.”
  3. Reinforce the three benefits with stories, statistics, and examples: The above two steps should get you through most simple pitches, but if you need to extend it slightly, you can reinforce the idea with some personal notes. This probably takes you past 15 seconds, so keep it short and to the point.

Read it all

And don’t forget to watch this:

Adult eBook Sales are – Erm – Up

No, no, no, not that kind of “adult eBook!”
This kind

Adult fiction ebooks outsold hardcovers in 2011: survey
by Christine Kearney (Reuters)

Electronic books more than doubled in popularity in 2011, with ebooks outselling hardcover books in adult fiction for the first time, according to a survey released on Wednesday.

Net sales of e-books jumped to 15 percent of the market in 2011 from 6 percent in 2010, according to a report by the Association of American Publishers and the Book Industry Study Group. The groups compiled data provided by nearly 2,000 publishers…

While ebooks increased in strength, bringing in more than $2 billion in 2011, the majority of publishers’ revenue still came from print books, with $11.1 billion in 2011…

Ebooks have been growing in popularity for the past several years, even after major publishers were initially slow to embrace digital formats.

According to the report, in the adult fiction category, e-books accounted for 30 percent of total net publisher sales compared to a 13 percent share the year before.

Adult fiction ebooks beat hardcovers for the first time, however the combined print formats including hardcover, trade paperback and mass market paperback still had more revenue than ebooks.

“Ebooks have demonstrated unprecedented acceptance among readers but the various print formats remain dynamic as well, showing that consumers want options,” Vlahos said.

Read it all

In other words, there’s no story here. At least not one that fits the headline Reuters gave it. Why make an announcement of sales figures into a pseudo-conflict between eBooks and print and then further emphasize a non-existent “winner?” Oh, OldMedia, why can’t you play fair? Is it because you know you’re doomed?

Hmm, our last sentence just showed that there really is a conflict after all. Sorry, folks, we’ll just tiptoe away…

EDITED TO ADD: Okay, okay, we confess! The only reason we ran this was  because we wanted to do the thing with those two pics and their captions. Man, life sucks when you get caught. Damn.