TVWriter™ Newsletter – July 2013

Here’s what everybody’s been waiting for since the month began – the TVWriter™ e-Newsletter that went out to subscribers yesterday. You can subscribe too. HERE.


TVWriter™ Newsletter – July 2013


So here we are with summer half over and instead of lolling around and enjoying a unique opportunity to tan (yes, the sun is out in the Pacific Northwest…which is always a unique situation), I’m doing what I always do – trying to come up with ways to make TVWriter™ better.

Another site redesign? Nah, been there, done that, way too recently.

More exclusive daily articles by our very own writers committed to doing the best for this site? Hey, that’s a great idea…but I’m still not finding nearly enough people who want to write their hearts out on a daily or even weekly basis for our usual fee (AKA my eternal gratitude, good will, and merrily given advice when it’s needed). But if anyone reading this wants to give it a go, let me know.

Which reminds me – how about our pal Herbie J Pilato, eh? Gotta love a guy who goes all out, 25 hours a day, writing till he drops. Thanks, Herbie J, for returning to the TVWriter™ fold.

What about this one? A special net meeting giving an overview of television writing? Just me talking to as many of you as our bandwidth can cram into an online meeting room. You ask. I answer, on some to-be-announced balmy August evening? Absolutely free.

Back in the early 2000s I used to hold very well-attended regular monthly free-form live chat sessions, the only condition being that what we talked about had something to do with television. You guys up for doing that again, but with video?

Yeah, I like that last paragraph. Let me know if you do too, by replying to this email, and we’ll get it going. (Silence means disagreement. You’ll know I’ve gotten a lot of silence if you never hear about either of these ideas again.)

Oh, would you look at that? Sun’s still shining brightly in a big, blue sky. Why fight it? Time to make my way up to second floor deck and arrange myself so I can sip some tequila and look out at both the Pacific Ocean and Puget Sound.

“Gwen! Where’s the sunscreen?”

Wait. It’s no fun doing this alone. How about next summer we have another Brodystock, AKA TVWriter™ Summer Seminar? Right up here in the newest trendy spot in the U.S.A.? So we can party and learn together. Oh, and party too. (Did I already say that?) How’s the second weekend in August, 2014 sound? Save the date. I mean it.




Good news, contest fans! Especially for all of you who pushed your limits and entered the People’s Pilot and Spec Scriptacular contests that closed June 1st.

As of this moment we are thisclose to being finished with the first round of judging. It’s been an awesome – make that fearsome – challenge because all the entries have been so striking, but we’re just three or four weeks away from announcing the Semi-Finalists.

In other words, hold onto your, oh, let’s say “hats” cuz we don’t want to scare the old folks. The next step in your futures will be up on TVWriter™ for all to see around mid-August.

And, hey, if you didn’t enter and need to more about the contests in general:

The People’s Pilot is HERE.

The Spec Scriptacular is HERE.

Or just go to TVWriter™ and click on the contest of your choice in the right hand index.


Add Urgency

by LB

One of the things that keeps viewers viewing is a constant increase in the dramatic tension of a teleplay. That means you have to do more than just drop your hero or heroine into a jam and then help him or her get out of it. Even as the heroine is doing all she can to achieve her end, life, circumstances, and bad guys should be doing all they can to stop her.

In other words, no matter how hard your protagonist works to make things better, you the writer have to work even harder to make things worse. I think of teleplays as video games. Win one level and you move onto the next one…which turns out to be even harder. Extensive audience testing has proven that how well this element is used–how much the tension is increased–is a major factor in the popularity of any game. And my own extensive experience has proven the same thing when it comes to TV.

This device is crucial in dramas, comedies, and action shows. Ever wonder why the prosecution is always coming up with a surprise witness that the defense attorney hero has to counter in legal shows? Or why on medical series something unexpected always seems to go wrong during an already dangerous surgery? Or why every sitcom heroine’s plan for doing something great always backfires and gets her in trouble she has to dig out of before the end?

Here’s a handy trick for when you’ve piled all the crap you can think of on top of your hero and can’t figure out how to ratchet up the tension any further. Add a timeclock. Your hero has been going along, knowing he has to do X in order to achieve his goal. Now, when s/he should be coasting to the end of the story, s/he finds out that s/he doesn’t just have to do X, s/he has to do it in the next 15 minutes or s/he’s toast! That always shakes things up.


The next TVWriter™ Advanced Online Workshop starts August 7, 2013 and considering how quickly it fills up, there’s no better time to sign up than right now.

This is the workshop for writers who already know the basics and have a specific project to workshop with LB. The Advanced Workshop is limited to 5 students, so if you’re interested in getting in on the fun in August, you really should have a look-see at the Advanced Workshop info and sign-up form

The next version of Larry Brody’s Master Class will begin August 8th. But it’s already full, so you’ll have to wait for the next one, which will happen some time after that, whenever Our Beloved Leader is in the mood. He does it this way because, well, because he can.

The Master Class is the online workshop for professional level writers who want to spend an intense month perfecting your current work. That means you have a draft of 60 pages ready to be read and tweaked. Or revised, or, who knows, maybe thrown away, but we don’t want to scare ya. Let LB himself analyze your story, plot, and characterization just as he would if he were producing your masterpiece.

LB accepts a maximum of only 3 students at a time in this one so if you’re interested you definitely need to get more info and reserve your place ASAP.

Or find out more about everything TVWriter University is currently offering HERE.

That’s it for now. Or as your friendly neighborhood zombie might say, “Rrrrr…”

Team TVWriter™

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3 thoughts on “TVWriter™ Newsletter – July 2013”

  1. I’d be interested in participating in the monthly chats (I don’t have a video cam–have a huge desktop for animation here, no laptop–so couldn’t do the video part, but still…)

  2. Getting a big response to the monthly chats idea, where no video would be necessary anyway except on my end. So that looks like something I’ll start in the fall.

    Also a big response to Brodystock. Which means I’m going to look into venues. Maybe we’ll join the summer lineup of area festivals. (Start saving. This might cost some real moolah.)



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