TVWriter™ October Newsletter

TVWriter™ Newsletter – October 2012

Um, more or less. The exact date on which we’ll start accepting entries is January 1, 2013, and we’ll have a short period – probably that magic number of 2 months – in which you can do the Early Bird Entry thing for $30 instead of the usual $40.

We’re still deciding whether or not to offer any kind of Feedback. Right now LB is leaning in the direction of sending the judges’ score to each entrant after the Winners have been announced, along with a general definition of what the various numbers mean. so you can use that as a guide to what about your work needs to be improved – if anything, because of course the Winners are going to be near-perfect, right?

We’re also trying to decide on a fairer category system for the People’s Pilot. As of this writing the thinking is that instead of just one overall winner we would have two categories and two sets of Semi-Finalists, Finalists, and Winners. We’re not sure what to call the categories. Maybe 1-hour and half-hour series?

For all practical purposes, this would mean an action/drama category and another for sitcoms, paralleling the broadcast and cable network development process for scripted shows. We’d still like to keep most of the sub-categories, though, like children’s show, animation, etc., but mostly for informational purposes.

Our question to you: Does this sound fair? Does it sound easier/simpler for you to deal with as entrants? Nothing’s set in stone yet, and your input is vital so please give us a shout on the subject.

You can learn more about the People’s Pilot here.
The Spec Scriptacular details are here.

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



What’s At Stake?


Long before I got into the television business, back when I was a television viewer, I would go off on a rant about cop shows at a moment’s notice. “Why are people’s lives always in danger?” I would shout. “Why does TV always have someone looking down the business end of a gun?”

Now that I’ve been writing for what seems like 8000 years, I know the answer. The reason television gives us so many cop shows and medical shows and lawyer shows is that in those situations something very important is always at stake – usually someone’s life. You don’t get higher stakes than that, and without the risk of a very big loss, all the audience can do when it sees your hero being agitated is yawn and say, “Who cares?”

Drama occurs when someone has a need that must be filled and must work like hell to overcome obstacles standing in the way of filling it. Notice that I said “need.” Merely “wanting” something isn’t enough. The situation has to be an absolute “must have or else” or the audience clicks that remote.

This is THE basic story. In a sense it’s the ONLY story, and to make it work effectively not only does the need have to be great, so do the consequences of failure – and the obstacles in the way of success. When you design your story, remember that the more serious the danger, the more involved the audience will become. If your hero is a millionaire, and he stands to lose a thousand-dollar bet, that ain’t enough. But if your hero is broke and stands to lose his wife and kids unless he comes up with a hundred bucks to save the day – well, now you’ve got something that will hold the viewers’ attention – and yours as the writer as well.



We’re currently in Week 2 of the latest Basic Online Workshop, but we’re thinking of holding another one in a few months – probably in March – instead of waiting the usual year. Sound good to y’all? Let us know!

Basic Workshop info and sign-up form

The next TVWriter™ Advanced Online Workshop starts November 1, 2012, and right now we have three openings. The Advanced Workshop always fills up, so we ever-so-respectfully suggest that you hurry to:

Advanced Workshop info and sign-up form

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




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Larry Brody – Head Dood
Tim Muncher – Keeper of the Faith
Various Volunteers – Mucho Appreciated Scapegoats
Gwen Brody – Beautiful Dreamer

One thought on “TVWriter™ October Newsletter”

  1. I’ve never entered your contest so my input you asked for needs to take that into consideration. I do intend to enter The People’s Pilot when it is open and was planning to email with questions regarding any feedback that is provided. I would definitely want to know what my score and score break-down would be. Ideally, I want as much feedback as you all can provide (I almost typed “y’all” as I also live in the Ozarks but I can’t bring myself to type it or say it). I also would be more excited about a 30-minute category and a 1-hour category. I’d feel more confident pitted against somewhat similar shows and formats. I appreciate that you’ve asked for thoughts and are considering the proposed changes!

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