Complications Ensue: The Crafty TV and Screenwriting Blog
Complications Ensue:
The Crafty TV and Screenwriting Blog



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Saturday, May 30, 2009



I've been reading Gavin de Becker's book THE GIFT OF FEAR, about how you should pay attention when your intuition tells you that the person in front of you is dangerous.

He makes an interesting claim about movie romances: that a lot of them glorify stalking, and / or abusive behavior.
It was The Graduate. In it, Dustin Hoffman dates a girl and then asks her to marry him. She says no, but he doesn't hear it. He waits outside her classes at school and asks again, and then again. Eventually she writes him a letter saying she's thought it over carefully and decided not to marry him. In fact, she is leaving town and marrying another man. That would seem a pretty clear message -- but not in the movies.

Hoffman uses stalking techniques to find her. He pretends to be a friend of the groom, then a family member, then a priest. Ultimately he finds the church and breaks into it just seconds after Katharine Ross is pronounced the wife of another man. He then beats up the bride's father, hits some other people, and wields a large wooden cross against the wedding guests who try to help the family.

And what happens? He gets the girl. She runs off with Dustin Hoffman, leaving her family and new husband behind. Also left behind is the notion that a woman should be heard, the notion that no means no, and the notion that a woman has a right to decide who will be in her life.
I dunno. Is that still true? THE GRADUATE was a long time ago. Would we find Ben's behavior a bit stalkery now?

On the other hand, Disney's BEAUTY AND THE BEAST is about a guy who threatens a girl's father with death in order to get her to move in with him, prevents her from leaving, yells and screams and breaks things, generally terrorizing her ... and she falls in love with him.

On the other hand, Disney movies often have terrible morals. I can't help watching THE LION KING and wondering why Simba deserves to be king of anything, and why the animals of the savannah don't deserve a say in who's going to be their ruler.

Do movie romances still glorify stalkery and abusive behavior that's excused because we see everything from the deluded point of view of the hero? Discuss.

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Friday, May 29, 2009

I've heard from a few different people that during the old studio system days of Hollywood screenplays were written from lengthy treatments. I've heard as high as 300 pages. Were these regularly produced before screenplays?
Beats me. I do know that Telefilm asks for a twenty-page treatment before you go to script, and I find that unbearably long. At that point you're writing dialog, you're just not writing it in the format.

Many people have learned how to read a script, but few people really know how to read a treatment. So it may be that to communicate all the things that a good script does, some writers overwrote.

But it seems to me a good way to take all the fun out of writing the script.

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Thursday, May 28, 2009

Emerging writer/blogger Mary Pedersen gets it about the need for a premise. Here are her twin posts about why you need a hook, and what happens when you don't have one.

Oh, and don't forget to check out my online seminar on The Hook!

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Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Mystery Man on Film blogs about the early drafts of STAR WARS:
Let it be said, my friends, that the early drafts of Star Wars should be a rich source of encouragement to every aspiring screenwriter the world over - because they royally sucked. They are of the same low, amateurish quality that may be found in many first screenplays written by newbies on TriggerStreet. (Thus, many scripts and new writers have the potential to reach Star Wars heights.) Had Star Wars never happened, had Lucas uploaded his first draft onto TriggerStreet, and had he theoretically asked me to review his script for him, I’m not sure I could’ve even finished reading the darn thing.
I read that first draft. It is shockingly bad. Huge hunks of steaming unsayable dialog. Crappy space opera plot. Incoherent narrative.

But if you're willing to throw out your darlings and rework, you too can come up with something shootable, and good.

The post has links to the drafts, btw.

Meanwhile, CHUD has an interesting analysis of what went wrong in the TERMINATOR: SALVATION rewrites after Christian Bale came on board.

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Monday, May 25, 2009

We watched the GLEE pilot. I was surprised at how rough it was. There were a lot of what seemed to me like beginner's mistakes, which may account for the plunging ratings over the course of the airing. (According to Entertainment Weekly,"it held on to less than half of its tailor-made Idol lead-in and, more worrisome, dropped 3.5 million viewers over the course of the 60 minutes.")

SPOILERS...

1. It's a show about a high school glee club and the teacher who supervises it. Yet, weirdly, the teaser showed cheerleaders going through their paces, and ended with the cheerleading coach telling them, "You think this is hard? Waterboarding is hard." What? No glee club. No glee club teacher. The teaser for a pilot for a series wants to be the series in microcosm. It either shows you who it's about -- Meredith Grey waking up from her one-night stand and then discovering he's a doctor at her new hospital -- or it shows you what it's about -- the clever BUFFY pilot teaser which shows you that vampires are alive and well, uh, or at least well, in Sunnydale's high school.

2. Then you want to quickly set up the driving question for the episode, so we know what we're rooting for. The episode ends with the glee club teacher deciding to coach glee club after doubting whether he should, because his wife wants him to be an accountant, not a teacher. Therefore Screenwriting 101 tells you that the episode needs to start with that question: can he / should he / dare he coach glee club? Because we want to be rooting for the eventual ending.

Instead, it starts with glee club auditions. And then the hero volunteers to coach glee club. Even offers to pay $60 a month to do it. (Huh?) It doesn't become clear that coaching glee club will be a problem for him until act 3 or 4 or so. So we're not rooting for him to coach, because he already is coaching. Instead, we're rooting for the club to win a regional competition, because we're told that the club will be canceled otherwise. That's different jeopardy.

Meanwhile, the audition sequence belonged to a pilot where there was no glee club to begin with. Tragically, though, we didn't get to hear anyone sing except the kids who were chosen. It's always fun to watch people audition badly. That's one of those Sequences that Always Work. But if the pilot is supposed to be about whether this teacher will get up the gumption to coach glee club, then you don't have auditions because there already is a glee club. If there isn't a glee club already, then we don't really need to worry about glee club being shut down because there wasn't one to begin with!

If you are going to end with the glee club teacher braving his wife's displeasure (!) to coach glee club after all, then you'd think the story would be something like this: previous glee club teacher is fired for feeling up a student. Principal says "we're going to have to shut down glee club unless we can find someone qualified to coach it." Hero teacher says, "I can't afford to do this permanently but I'll do it until someone qualified comes along." And then he comes to love the kids and when they finally say, "we can't find anyone permanent, we're going to shut it down" he finally decides to do it.

Oh, and you have to throw in some better obstacles to his saying yes. Not "we can't find a space to sing in." The club is a mess. The kids hate each other. They fight over parts. They're singing the wrong parts for their voices. They sound like crap. They're all on the verge of quitting.

3. Be brave. The show is supposedly about what misfits glee club kids are. And they've got a bunch of misfits: geek in a wheelchair, sassy fat black chick, Asian lesbian, suspiciously high-voiced effeminate boy. And we all love misfits who succeed, because most of us have felt like misfits at one point or another. But what happens is that the teacher blackmails a handsome football player into joining glee club because he heard the guy sing in the shower, and no one will support the glee club unless the "popular kids" are in it. So now the fantasy is ruined. The moral stops being "you can sing your way out of being a loser" and now it's "only handsome jocks need apply." It doesn't help that the handsome jock can't actually sing anywhere near as well as the effeminate boy. Meanwhile, the sassy fat black girl (! what is this, the 80's?) with the killer voice gets relegated to backing vocals because, um, she's a fat black girl.

What if the lead guy is more like Adam Lambert? Instead of a handsome jock, he's a pudgy red-headed bisexual kid who gets the crap beaten out of him? But onstage he becomes a star. And the sassy fat black girl is the lead girl?

That show I'd watch.

I know, America voted for Kris Allen. But I don't think Kris Allen can carry a show. He's nice enough, but no one tunes in every week for "nice enough." And there were 32 million votes for Adam Lambert. Who knows how many actual voters there were (those 12 year old girls are pretty handy with their text messaging), but there ought to be enough to carry a show.

4. You sure you want this show to be about a teacher? Is that some kind of weird co-viewing deal because it's a 9 pm show? the show seemed confused about this, too. The two cute white singers got a backstory sequence each, complete with voice over. The teacher didn't. The fat sassy black chick, the Asian lesbian, the effeminate kid and the cripple don't get any introduction at all. We spend a lot of time with the teacher and his wife, whom we're supposed to hate; could we spend some of that time getting to know the students in the glee club, and in particular, setting up a love triangle or two in there?

It's theoretically a show about a glee club, but the kids spend almost no time interacting with each other. So it comes across as a show about a mopey high school teacher who's trying to relive his glory days as a high school glee club star. Which, let's face it, is a bit pathetic.

If you're chasing the tween and teen audiences, especially the HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL audience, why on Earth would you make it about the teacher instead of the kids?

5. Tone. Was this show trying to be a realistic drama? Or a campy send-up? The teachers seemed cartoonishly fun. But we're actually supposed to take the handsome jock's angst seriously. But the jock bullies are outlandishly vicious. (Seriously, picking on kid in a wheelchair?) But we're supposed to believe they're real. I remember watching ROBIN HOOD PRINCE OF THIEVES and thinking that I'd like to watch the movie Alan Rickman was in, but I wasn't very interested in the movie Kevin Costner was in. The characters didn't seem like they were in the same TV show.

6. Period. Relegating all the minorities to supporting characters? What is this, the 90's? Myspace pages? Isn't that, like, so fifteen minutes ago?


I don't think this show will be on the air long. But it was certainly instructive to watch. It's often easier to learn from a show's mistakes than from its successes, because the mistakes show where the seams are.

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Thursday, May 21, 2009


A fellow wrote me to ask whether he should take a certain free week-long workshop; the downside was losing a week of salary, and he's broke.

One of the marks of someone who's going to make it in the biz is the willingness to make sacrifices. I wrote him back to ask if a month or two of Kraft Dinner would clear up his finances. There are going to be times when you need to be painfully frugal in order to be able to afford to take certain breaks. For example, the mailroom jobs at major agencies pay ridiculously little.

Of course it's easier if Daddy's subsidizing, and you're up against people who are being subsidized. But if you're living on whole wheat peanut butter sandwiches (cheap as KD but a lot healthier), you will have a motivator they won't have. While they're out partying, you'll be at home staring at the TV, analyzing the act breaks, and thinking how the hell do I get promoted out of the mailroom so I can afford cucumbers?.

As Terry Rossio says, "it is a rare man who succeeds in the face of comfort."

This is, by the way, the real reason why Hollywood seems to be ageist. It's not, really, but in your twenties it's easier to work all day and all night, and live in a crappy room in an apartment with four other people. When you have kids, not so much.

When you have money, live frugally anyway. Store up your money so you can afford to seize your opportunities. I turned down a job interning on one of the very first digital editing systems, because they refused to pay anything. I'm not sure the other things I did with the time would have been more useful in the long run. (In my defense, I wasn't really interested in editing as a career.)

Right now I'm at a relative lull. Oh, I'm writing a pilot and I have a lot of irons in the fire, but the money isn't flowing in like last year. Fortunately I've got a few years in the bank. Otherwise I'd be looking at writing animation scripts that would do nothing for my brand, or teaching lots of seminars, or who knows what.

There are items you need to look successful. Everyone seems to have an iPhone these days. In LA, there's a point in your career past which you can't afford to drive a beater any more. (Hint: a vintage Mustang is cheaper than a Lexus.) And unless you're really broke, grabbing the check is usually a swell move.

But most of us spend 10% or 20% of our money on things we don't really, really, truly need. Starbucks. Dinner out. Drinks out. Movies on the weekend. (Many theatres have one cheap night, and often the first show is free. You have to see movies, but you don't have to see them Saturday.) Not paying your credit card off in full. Bite the bullet on those things a bit. The time will come when you'll feel really smart about it.

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Wednesday, May 20, 2009

I rarely link to other screenwriting blogs 'cause you're probably reading them. But this one from John August seems particularly cool and I don't want you to miss it.

The question is "how do I keep rewriting when I've lost perspective." August offers three techniques:
  • Challenge yourself to remove one seemingly important scene. Imagine what would happen if the actor you needed died during production, and that scene never got shot. Could you work around it? Could you make the movie better for its absence?
  • Push yourself to use better words. Particularly in the back half of a script, there’s a tendency to get a bit sloppy and repetitive. Make that scene description on page 98 as sharp as it was on page 13. Here’s a test: Are you using “there are?” If so, you could do better.
  • Imagine a secondary plot that we’re not seeing. Like Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, perhaps there’s an offscreen adventure taking place that a reader will never see. Only you as the writer will know it’s there. Dangerous? Sure. But on your fifth draft, a little danger may be what you need.
Each of these is the moral equivalent of standing on a chair to help find your wallet. You'll see the terrain differently. Try it.

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Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Q. I queried Madhouse Entertainment (a management company) with my pilot premise, and they're interested in reading the script. However, they want me to sign a "release form," which basically waives my rights to the script so they could actually take my idea. I got a bad feeling about it (especially since my bible-format has already gotten me to episode three, and nine more to follow).

So, I decided I'd wait until June to query the big shot agencies. I actually contacted assistants at ICM, UTA, and William Morris about whom I should address my query letter to. They said they only take writers with industry referrals (what the hell, right?). You recommend in your book these are among the ones to contact. What's up with these agencies? Is this the way it's always been? Do you know the names of agencies off the top of your head that actually take unsolicited TV scripts?
First of all, sign the goddamn release. Yes, the language of just about every release form is unconscionable. The CBC release form states that if they somehow happen to develop a show that is word for word identical to your show, there's nothing you can do. It's an outrage, and the Writers Guilds should do something about it. Until then, that's how it's done.

The good news is that agencies and management companies are not in the business of stealing ideas. (Just clients. But that doesn't hurt you.) Even production companies and studios and networks almost never do it; why steal an idea from a newbie when you can option it for chump change?

Anyway, they won't read you without a release, so grab your lube and relax and think of England.

You ought to be able to scrape up an "industry referral"; isn't that just any producer? But it's going to be hard to get in at the top agencies without credits. It is screamingly unlikely they'll rep you even if they like your script. Those agencies are not in the business of breaking baby writers. They're in the business of stealing clients from smaller agencies, and selling them to networks.

The WGA has a list on their website of agencies that take "unsolicited" scripts; you'll do better with them.

Good luck!

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Monday, May 18, 2009

I'm writing a spec for a TV show called Party Down on Starz. It's like Arrested Development and all those other comedies on the pay networks. No laugh tracks, not your typical sitcom, so should I write the script in sitcom format with those annoying A and B scene headlines, or like an hour long drama, that I'm more comfortable with?
Scripts for single camera comedies like ARRESTED and 30 rock use drama format. Three camera comedies may or may not use sitcom format.

However, there's no real point in speccing a series that no one's heard of. If people don't know the show, they don't know how well you've reproduced its template, characters, voices, etc., in your spec.

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Thursday, May 14, 2009

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Sunday, May 10, 2009

We just re-watched the first four episodes of DAWSON'S CREEK for research for the pilot we're writing for The N. What strikes me about the show -- the "secret," if you will -- is a series of disconnects.

The fifteen-year-olds are, as usual, played by actors who are obviously not fifteen: James van der Beek is 21, Katie Holmes is 20, Joshua Jackson is 20 and only Michelle Williams, at 18, is a teenager. That's normal. It's pretty rare for a show about minors to be played by minors; that's why DEGRASSI was such a revelation. It's more expensive to shoot with minors, they don't have the same level of acting chops, they have bad complexions, they can't sign their own contracts, it's a pain.

But you can cast 18-year-olds who look 16, and Kevin Williamson didn't do that. James van der Beek has enough forehead wrinkles to pass as 30, and Joshua Jackson towers over his teachers.

And they talk like 30 year olds. Not just ordinary 30-year-olds. They talk like 30-year-olds who have had five years of therapy. Kevin Williamson raises on-the-nose dialog to an art form. With the exception of Katie Holmes's Joey, the characters say exactly what's on their mind to a degree that only people in really good marriages do in real life. They say what they feel, what they're scared of, what they think the other person thinks... I think it's safe to say that 15-year-olds don't make a habit of confessing themselves to their loved ones. I think it's safe to say that most 15-year-olds only have a fairly vague idea of what they're scared of.

Aside from raising the subtext to text, the conversation is highly literary -- very much dialog that sounds written rather than spoken. Complex sentences, literary locations -- the actors almost carry it off convincingly but it still winds up sounding wordy.

This is not how I write dialog, myself. I try very hard to have my characters sound like they're struggling to get their thoughts out, while revealing more than they mean to, and failing to get across all of what they really mean. But obviously it was an experiment that turned out rather well. Can't argue with 128 episodes.

Meanwhile, the characters have the innocence of pre-teenagers. At least, Dawson, Joey and Jen do. In the first four episode, Dawson aspires to kissing Jen, and then gets bent out of shape when he discovers that she is (gasp!) not a virgin. And she, an alleged New Yorker, feels guilty over not being a virgin. Meanwhile, Pacey comes onto his English teacher, but when she calls his bluff and offers to do him in a classroom at night, he chickens out. In my experience, straight 15-year-old guys don't aspire to kiss the girl except as a prerequisite to getting to the other bases. And had any hot female teacher offered to have sex with me anywhere when I was 15, I believe I would have a story to tell. I can't speak for the 90's, but when I was in high school, fifteen was hardly an unusually early time to lose your virginity. Granted, I went to Dalton, a pretty fast school. But these days, whether rainbow parties actually exist or not, 15-year-olds are definitely sexting and hooking up.

So there's a disconnect there too.

And the guys, talking amongst themselves, talk like women. Pacey spends much of a scene working himself up to telling Dawson that he had sex with Ms. Jacobs, apologizing all over himself, worried that Dawson will think less of him somehow. As opposed to what you'd expect between 15 year old guys:
  • Pacey enters, shuts door.
  • Pacey
  • Dude, you'll never guess who I had sex with last night!

  • Dawson
  • Your hand?

  • Pacey
  • Eat me. No. I totally had sex with Ms. Jacobs!

What does all this mixing up give the show?

First of all, the actors are a lot hotter than actual 15-year-olds would be. And we feel safe digging their hotness. I'm sure I'm not the only guy who felt relieved when Emma Watson had her 18th birthday. Do you really want to see a 15-year-old girl having sex on screen? That's going to be a bit pervy, innit?

Second, the mixing up spreads out the demographics of the show. Adults can watch it because the characters are in some ways emotionally 30. You can let your 12 year old watch it because the only transgressive sex is clearly and repeatedly labelled as transgressive and problematic. Teens can watch it because it is theoretically about their lives, if they happened to live in a resort town.

The female-friendly male dialog isn't accidental either. A show about relationships is bound to skew female. So it's no wonder that Dawson is written in some ways like a girl or a gay guy. (I wonder how autobiographical the show is, given that Kevin Williamson, the creator, is a handsome gay guy.) Any time you're writing about guys in relationships, you have to either fake it and have them talk like women, or you have to bust out all your writer's tricks to illuminate their emotions: have their girlfriends enunciate their emotions for them, or have the conversation where he's talking about some other person but he's really talking about himself, etc.

And then, of course, you have a title character who is written like a massive dweeb: he's insensitive and selfish, and relates to women only through a filter of being a film buff. He's the kind of guy who avoids going to the dance and sits at home watching John Travolta movies, and who films his first kiss with the girl he's hot for, because it's not real for him unless it's on film. If you were being realistic, you'd cast the young Woody Allen.

But then we'd lose interest. So you cast an extremely handsome and charming actor, and just go on writing the show as if he's a dweeb who doesn't know how to kiss a girl. (A problem, I suspect, that James van der Beek never had growing up.) It's an old TV trick. 30 ROCK stars Tina Fey, who is at a minimum a very handsome woman, and writes her as if she's nerdy and overweight. For NAKED JOSH, we wrote Josh as if he didn't have a clue about women, and cast David Julian Hirsh, who has leading man looks. In WHEN HARRY MET SALLY, Sally's kind of a bitch, really; except that Meg Ryan plays her, and she's just as cute as a bug in a rug.

It's funny to see just how much of a fantasy a supposedly realistic drama like DAWSON'S CREEK really is. It's not just the resort atmosphere and the good-looking cast. It's not just the twenty-something actors playing teens. It's a whole texture of fantasies that allows Williamson to tell the stories and allows the characters to be so much more transparent and the stories more illuminating than they might be in a more "realistic" show -- while drawing and holding the widest possible audience.

Not than anyone needs me to say it but ... nicely, nicely done, Mr. Williamson.

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Thursday, May 07, 2009

You'll sometimes see this in a script:

  • ALFRED
  • Respectfully, Master Wayne, perhaps this is a man you don't fully understand, either.

  • ALFRED
  • (looks at Wayne)
  • I was in Burma. A long time ago. My friends and I were working for the local government...


(From THE DARK KNIGHT.) A reader suggested that this is a good way to break up dialog without putting an extraneous line of action in between the two speeches.

I disagree. What it looks like to me is that there was a line of action that got cut, and the writers (the Nolan brothers) forgot to join the two speeches. It's jarring, and it throws me out of the read. I would suggest joining the speeches:

  • ALFRED
  • Respectfully, Master Wayne, perhaps this is a man you don't fully understand, either.
  • (looks at Wayne)
  • I was in Burma. A long time ago. My friends and I were working for the local government...


Or, put in a line of action:

  • ALFRED
  • Respectfully, Master Wayne, perhaps this is a man you don't fully understand, either.

  • He looks directly at Wayne.

  • ALFRED
  • I was in Burma. A long time ago. My friends and I were working for the local government...


I don't know whether there was a line of action there or not. The Nolan brothers may well have broken up the speech for rhythm. Or it may just be sloppy. I suspect it was for rhythm. But the Nolan Bros can do whatever the hell they want in their scripts at this point. I would hesitate to learn formatting from either (a) directors who write or (b) anyone who gets paid over a million bucks a pop. Their scripts get read much more carefully than yours or mine do, and with more respect, too.

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Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Warner Bros has been kind enough to post the entire script to THE DARK KNIGHT. (Warning: PDF.) I guess they were hoping for a Writer's Guild Award.

Good readin'.

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Just spent an hour chatting with Lisa about a science fiction show concept I'm having trouble with. She wants to change the main character from a 35-year-old [snip] struggling with what he does to a 17-year-old [snip] struggling with who he is. Her point was: who's the audience? What network is this on? And she had a very good point, because while I think I have an interesting show concept for the 35 year old guy, it is hard to imagine what network it would be on. It's a very pay cable network. But The Movie Network has a primarily female audience who probably wouldn't relate to the thing that the guy does, and the SF networks have a much younger demographic.

The point here isn't the details, which I haven't told you, but the process: you don't want to create a show that doesn't have a natural outlet. In TV there are very few outlets, and they are fairly well-defined. In the US there are the broadcast networks, which have slightly different flavors. There's HBO and Showtime. There's AMC and F/X. Lifetime. And then the family and youth channels. You will rarely have a show that's right for broadcast and pay cable; and even if you do, you'll need broadcast and pay cable versions of the show.

Who's the audience for your show? Who's going to sit down and watch it? There's a reason there are so few broadcast shows about old people. It's not because old people are boring. It's because the audience for broadcast is young. And young people spend money on toothpaste and cars. Old people tend to watch TV less, and tend to spend money on ... well, medicine, mostly.

If you're going for a network with a female demographic, do you have a female protagonist? If not, is the show mostly about relationships?

As networks and cable channels define themselves better, it gets harder and harder to pitch the same thing across the board. Instead, you find yourself working up a perfect show for, say, ABC Family. Or something that can only fly on HBO. It's more work that way. On the other hand, both HBO and ABC Family want shows that reflect their branding. HBO wants shows that can only air on HBO -- e.g. transgressive shows about dysfunctional families. So if you do the work, you can give yourself a good shot at the one network the show is right for.

Sometimes the "natural" form of your show isn't the ideal form for any network. Unfortunately, you'll have to rethink it so that it does fit a network. You may need to make your protagonist a girl instead of a guy. Or young instead of old. Or make your protagonist an intimate antagonist and create a new protagonist who's a foil. (It worked for Melville, didn't it?)

Try to see the show through your potential network exec's eyes. Sure, your show sounds fun. But does it fit the network's brand?

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Monday, May 04, 2009

Bram Stoker's novel DRACULA is, of course, as you all know, an epistolary novel. Which means each entry has a distinct date.

As someone has already done with Sam'l Pepys' diary, someone else is posting the entries from the novel in real time.

Clever people. Clever internet.

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Q. Last year I applied to the ABC/Disney Fellowship with a spec of Breaking Bad. A few months later I reread it, only to find it was terribly flawed, not the least of which because it revolved around a "guest character." So I slashed it apart, shuffled the note cards, re-outlined, and eventually came up with a new script that was probably 70% original 30% recycled scenes . That script has since been read by a few people, working writers among them, who have responded to it very positively.

Iis it safe to submit a reworked spec to the ABC fellowship? Certainly the script is fresh enough to be "new" and I feel that it is thus far the strongest of my specs. My only fear is that somehow a reader will stumble across a scene or even a twist of dialogue or scene setting and feel like "Didn't I read this last year?"
They get a huge whack of scripts. The odds are excellent that you'll have a different reader this time, or that your reader will not, in fact, necessarily recognize your script.

But if they do, it might be a plus. I can imagine rereading the script, recognizing the dialog and thinking, "Okayyyyy, this is way better." And then I'd give you kudos for taking your rewriting seriously.

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Sunday, May 03, 2009


We had a lot of fun last night playing a board game with a couple of friends and their kids. Yes, a board game. LAST NIGHT ON EARTH is an awesomely fun game in which you are in the middle of a cheesy zombie movie. You are Betsy the Nurse or Jake Cartwright the Drifter or Sheriff Anderson or ... the zombies. Event cards you play against each other create the effect of zombie movie events. "Okay, I run past the crowd of zombies into the church--" "But the door is locked! Oh! Such bad luck for you!"

Which makes for a very fun evening.

In the end, the heroes torched three of the zombie spawning grounds, but not before Father Joseph had heroically died fighting off hordes of zombies, and it was a close run thing -- Jake the Drifter got to the last zombie spawning ground wounded, but he had Nurse Becky there to bind his wounds, but the zombies played Bickering on them so they wasted a whole turn arguing while the zombies closed in. And if he hadn't fended off that last zombie, he would never have been able to toss the last stick of dynamite...

Good fun.

UPDATE: Many stores are out of it at the moment, including storefronts and Amazon. You can buy it from Flying Frog. As you'd expect, the Growing Hunter expansion pack only works if you have the original game.

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Friday, May 01, 2009

There's one movie I'm going to see this summer.

Check out the District 9 trailer at the Apple site. Awesome.

I miss South Africa. I really enjoyed working there.

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