Larry Brody: Live! From Paradise! #8 – ‘Buck and the Flag’

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NOTE FROM LB: From the summer of 2002 to  the spring of 2010, Gwen the Beautiful and I were the proud and often exhausted owners of a beautiful Ozarks property we called Cloud Creek Ranch.

In many ways, the ranch was paradise. But it was a paradise with a price that started going up before we even knew it existed. Here’s another Monday musing about our adventure and the lessons we learned.

Oh, and if y’all detect any irony, please believe me when I say it comes straight from the universe and not your kindly Uncle Larry B.

by Larry Brody

My friend Buck the Ex-Navy Seal is the best neighbor anyone could have, a long haul truck driver who’s good with his hands and doesn’t think I’m an imbecile because I don’t know a monkey wrench from a baboon. Name any mechanical breakdown and Buck can repair it for you. Name any home improvement project and Buck can do it for you. And will, because as far as he’s concerned that’s what neighbors are for.

Last week was Buck’s birthday, and Buck’s wife, Delly, invited Gwen and me over to their place for dinner. We wanted to bring him a gift, but what do you give 65 year old Ex-Navy Seal who can make just about anything he wants or needs with his own two hands? We couldn’t come up with a thing until, while looking for an envelope, I opened a cabinet and saw a folded piece of yellow fabric on our office supply shelf.

It didn’t look familiar so I unfolded the fabric and discovered I was holding an eight foot long flag of Vietnam. At the top were the words, “Vietnam Veteran.” Along the bottom were the names and insignia of the U.S. military units that had served in the war. Buck hadn’t talked much about ‘Nam other than to say he was there, which made him like most Vietnam vets I know, but this seemed like the perfect gift.

That evening, Gwen, Delly, and I watched as Buck opened the box I’d stuffed the flag into and unfolded it. He looked at it closely. Kept looking.

“Buck?” Delly said. “Buck, you all right?”

Buck put the flag down on the floor so everyone in the room could see it. Tears welled in his eyes. “I’m not a Vietnam Veteran,” he said.

“Sure you are, honey,” Delly said. “You were there—“

“Yeah, I was. But not officially. Our unit’s not on this list. It’ll never be on any list.” Buck got down on his knees at the map. His finger traced various routes around and into the northern part of Vietnam. “We were Top Secret. Our job was to rescue American troops. Downed pilots, mostly. Guys who’d been bombing North Vietnam.”

He looked past us, at something far away. “You know, sometimes you can’t help it. You get into situations. You do terrible things. You kill people. Real people. Maybe good people. You kill them because you’ve got to. Because they’re trying to kill you. And sometimes you don’t kill ‘em. You hurt ‘em. You hurt ‘em so much they wish they were dead…”

“Buck…you never told me any of this…” Delly’s voice was a whisper.

“It’s not exactly a man’s finest hour, Delly!” Buck yelled without looking up. “Not something you want to talk about. Or remember.”

The tears were pouring down now. Delly tried to wipe Buck’s face with a napkin. He pulled away. “They tried to kill me,” he said. “They were trying to save themselves while I tried to save our guys. We did so many terrible things.”

I sat down beside him. “Buck, I’m sorry,” I said. “This present is a mistake. It’s not for you…”
Buck took a deep breath. Made the tears stop. Picked up the flag and folded it expertly. Held it while his other arm went around Delly, holding her close.

“Yes it is,” he told us. “This is a birthday gift from great friends. I’ll never be able to thank you enough.” He hugged Gwen and then me. I can still feel that hug, even though I can’t remember what time we went home.

As I write this, Buck and Delly are on the road. Before they left I lent him my twenty foot ladder so he could start framing the barn he’s building. When he returned it he stayed to fix the starter on my lawn tractor. As I watched him, he laughed. “You must’ve been an officer,” he said. It’s the closest either of us came to referring to that night.

Buck the Ex-Navy Seal has no war stories. It’s been thirty years, and only now are his wounds starting to heal. How can all of us understand and come to terms with the horrors for which there are no words?

I have another question too. About that Vietnam Veterans flag. Where did it come from? Who do Buck – and I – have to thank?

Writing Gig: ‘Cards Against Humanity’ is Looking for Writers!

by munchman

This just in.

Cards Against Humanity, one of our favorite non-video games, is looking for new writers. In case you’ve played it, or, worse, never heard of it, here’s the bottom line about the game as expressed by the manufacturers themselves:

Cards Against Humanity is a party game for horrible people. Unlike most of the party games you’ve played before, Cards Against Humanity is as despicable and awkward as you and your friends.

The game itself is very, very simple. A player draws a black card and read a question from it out loud. After which everyone else answers with the funniest phrase they can find on one of their white cards. Hilarity – or at the very least greatly entertaining snark, results.

You can learn all there is to now about Cards Against Humanity (including how to make your own deck) HERE

And, just as importantly if you’re looking for some paying work, you can find out all you need to know about becoming a contributing writer to the game HERE

Don’t just sit there, click forth and conquer. And don’t forget to tell everybody that TVWriter™ sent you. And that a certain dood here who calls himself munchman is a “hot single dad.” (Um, see, the site you’re going to says that they’re also looking for hot single dads, so, er, you know….)

Embarrassed but not ashamed,

Hi, I’m munchman! If I was working at Cards Against Humanity, that would be a black card in my mouth.


Oh, lest I forget: If you give the gig a try, please let us know how it goes. And, as we say all the time because our mealy-mouthed lawyers insist, “this post isn’t to be construed as a recommendation of the potential employer. We’re just passing on some info we think will be of interest to our visitors.”


Most Viewed TVWriter™ Posts of the Week – August 20, 2018

Time for TVWriter™’s Monday look at our most popular blog posts of the week ending yesterday. They are:

Larry Brody: Live! From Paradise! #7 – ‘Elaine the Not So Wild Mustang’

‘The Following’ Season 4 was Cancelled by Fox Because the TV Series Became a Victim of Lazy Writing

How To Write The Perfect TV Series Review To Captivate Your Readers

Looking for TV Pilot Scripts?

Empty Promises: My experience submitting scripts to Amazon Studios

And our most visited permanent resource pages are:

Writing the Dreaded Outline

PEOPLE’S PILOT 2018 Writing Contest

The Logline



Big thanks to everybody for making this another great week at TVWriter™ . Don’t forget to click above and read what you missed and re-read what you loved!

Bri Castellini: Mid year checkin- New Years Resolutions 2018 – @brisownworld

by Bri Castellini

It’s… going ok?

Resolutions: 2018 Edition

Produce 2 new projects I write to completion.- IN PROGRESS

Back in January I filmed my latest short film, co-written and co-produced by my buddy Colin Hinckley.

We also just completed crowdfunding for my second of the year, season 2 of Sam and Pat Are Depressed! That shoots… starting this weekend… so we’re on track!

Write a feature-length screenplay- PROBABLY AIN’T GONNA HAPPEN

I’d love to be able to end the year with a new feature script, but this has been a challenging one to say the least, and given my workload at my day job (and the four projects I’m producing in full this year- the two I mentioned above and two that I was hired on earlier in the summer) I don’t see this happening. I could surprise myself, especially as I don’t have anything lined up post-August, but I’m also not gonna force inspiration that isn’t coming.

Post a blog twice a month and a personal YouTube video once a month.- PARTIAL FAILURE

I’ll definitely meet the blog post criterion, but I’ve already skipped… two months of videos. Well, vlogs. I’ve shot/edited around 20 videos in the past two months for the Sam and Pat crowdfunding campaign, so it’s safe to say I had other things going on. There was also a part of this resolution that had to do with doing more interesting shots in vlogs which also definitely is not happening.

Write 2 new TV scripts- one original pilot, one spec script.- IN PROGRESS

I’ll definitely have a new original pilot written unless I do nothing from now until January 2019, but I doubt I’m gonna get to the spec script. In terms of my personal creative/career priorities, like the feature screenplay, it might just not be my year.

Close caption all previous (and new 2018) projects – IN PROGRESS 

Brains, Sam and Pat season 1, and Relativity are all entirely closed captioned! What remains is Ace and Anxious, both Brains extended universe projects, and anything new I release online (might be Sam and Pat, might be Buy In, might be neither). This one I’m pretty confident I’m gonna complete. The hardest stuff is already over!

Save $1500  IN PROGRESS

Savings so far: $1060

I’m on track AF!

Leave New York City at least twice.– COMPLETE

Trip #1: New Jersey to speak on a panel/ participate web series screening!

Trip #2: Toronto for work

Technically I also left the city for Hoboken for a web series shoot, and I will be home in Colorado before the end of the year as well. So DOUBLE completion!

Eat out less than three times a week and do something active every day.- FAILED

This happened for a little while, then work started piling up a pretty excessive amount and I had another infected ingrown toenail issue which made walking pretty painful, so I have not kept this up in a while. I wouldn’t say it’s entirely my fault, but it’s a little my fault, and it’s definitely a failure overall.

Take a photo every day- FAILED

Having a cell phone that makes a noise (that I cannot turn off without jailbreaking it) really hampers your ability to do this well, because taking photos in public, even of random stuff, is super embarrassing. I have definitely taken MORE photos this year than previously, but the letter of the law was not met, so this one is defo a failure.

Talk less, listen more.- IN PROGRESS

I feel like I’m doing alright at this? I definitely forgot this was a resolution, but in general I am making a concerted effort to talk less in conversations as I tend to be a bit of a bulldozer. I’ll keep a closer eye on this one for the rest of the year.

Final tally…




Not great? But not terrible either. This year has been stressful in a way I’ve not ever experienced, which I’m sure I’ll write about next month when the main stuff is over. In the meantime, I should probably memorize my lines for Sam and Pat this weekend…..

*if anyone wants to help me CC Ace and Anxious, let me know!

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.

“Sexiest Man Alive”

“Breathes there a man with a body part so dead that he’s never wished he was called ‘sexiest man alive?'”

Etymologist Arika Okrent may or may not have given our question above any thought, but there’s no doubt that she’s thought long and well about the phrase itself. And, as usual, her knowledge and research expertise are our gain:

More about Arika, YouTube’s Patron Saint of Wordsmiths