Complications Ensue: The Crafty Game, TV and Screenwriting Blog
Complications Ensue:
The Crafty Screenwriting, TV and Game Writing Blog


April 2004

May 2004

June 2004

July 2004

August 2004

September 2004

October 2004

November 2004

December 2004

January 2005

February 2005

March 2005

April 2005

May 2005

June 2005

July 2005

August 2005

September 2005

October 2005

November 2005

December 2005

January 2006

February 2006

March 2006

April 2006

May 2006

June 2006

July 2006

August 2006

September 2006

October 2006

November 2006

December 2006

January 2007

February 2007

March 2007

April 2007

May 2007

June 2007

July 2007

August 2007

September 2007

October 2007

November 2007

December 2007

January 2008

February 2008

March 2008

April 2008

May 2008

June 2008

July 2008

August 2008

September 2008

October 2008

November 2008

December 2008

January 2009

February 2009

March 2009

April 2009

May 2009

June 2009

July 2009

August 2009

September 2009

October 2009

November 2009

December 2009

January 2010

February 2010

March 2010

April 2010

May 2010

June 2010

July 2010

August 2010

September 2010

October 2010

November 2010

December 2010

January 2011

February 2011

March 2011

April 2011

May 2011

June 2011

July 2011

August 2011

September 2011

October 2011

November 2011

December 2011

January 2012

February 2012

March 2012

April 2012

May 2012

June 2012

July 2012

August 2012

September 2012

October 2012

November 2012

December 2012

January 2013

February 2013

March 2013

April 2013

May 2013

June 2013

July 2013

August 2013

September 2013

October 2013

November 2013

December 2013

January 2014

February 2014

March 2014

April 2014

May 2014

June 2014

July 2014

August 2014

September 2014

October 2014

November 2014

December 2014

January 2015

February 2015

March 2015

April 2015

May 2015

June 2015

August 2015

September 2015

October 2015

November 2015

December 2015

January 2016

February 2016

March 2016

April 2016

May 2016

June 2016

July 2016

August 2016

September 2016

October 2016

November 2016

December 2016

January 2017

February 2017

March 2017

May 2017

June 2017

July 2017

August 2017

September 2017

October 2017

November 2017

December 2017

January 2018

March 2018

April 2018

June 2018

July 2018

October 2018

November 2018

December 2018

January 2019

February 2019

November 2019

February 2020

March 2020

April 2020

May 2020

August 2020

September 2020

October 2020

December 2020

January 2021

February 2021

March 2021

May 2021

June 2021

November 2021

December 2021

January 2022

February 2022

August 2022

September 2022

November 2022

February 2023

March 2023

April 2023

May 2023

July 2023

September 2023

November 2023

January 2024

February 2024


Monday, November 30, 2009

I will probably see this movie even if it is bad.

Via Kung Fu Monkey.



Post a Comment

Sunday, November 29, 2009

I've seen practically no movies this year. Partly it's being a parent, partly it's watching TV in the evenings, partly it's cocooning. What have I missed? What are the best movies you've seen in the past year (or 18 months) that might be out on DVD by now?



Post a Comment

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Who decided it would improve my FRINGE watching experience if someone put a Twitter feed on top of it?

How can I get rid of it?

This is why I'm not so fond of the "Convergent Media" concept. I like my story telling unadulterated. There are some shows that can benefit from Internet add-ons (the BSG web series, for example), but when they get in the way of the show itself, you're not dealing with synergy, you've got an infestation.

And, no surprise, what people have to say when they're "Live-Tweeting" makes them sound like inane twits.

At least give me a "close this box" option.


Post a Comment

Friday, November 27, 2009

I just watched a slew of FRINGE eps. I'm at the point where, having issued a Big Revelation with Earthshattering Consequences, the series goes back to being almost entirely episodic: weird cases with small consequences. Procedural stuff. A monster attacking people. A Bad Scientist.

I'm trying to thread this needle with a show I'm developing, but it's difficult, because once you introduce the Earthshattering Consequences, what are the heros doing fooling around with these minor cases? It was a problem we faced on Charlie Jade: once we establish that the stakes are the destruction of our entire universe, how can Charlie do anything that isn't directly related to stopping that from happening?

In the third of several episodic episodes (DREAM LOGIC, EARTHLING, OF HUMAN ACTION), there was a last minute tie-in to the uberplot, but it seemed fairly vague.

Is this some sort of fight between the network wanting an episodic weird-science-of-the-week show, and writers wanting a Big Season Arc? I don't know, but I know which show I'd rather watch.


Post a Comment

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

There is currently a pretty big disconnect, as far as I can tell, between the kind of tv shows that writers love to watch, and the kinds of tv shows that networks want to be pitched.

Ask anyone, the networks want episodic shows. They want shows you can tune in for episodes 5 and 8 and 11 and not feel you missed anything.

The kinds of shows I like are, oh, BATTLESTAR GALACTICA and DEXTER and MAD MEN. Sure, each episode tells some kind of story that completes by the end of the hour. But you really can't appreciate what you're seeing if you haven't seen a few recent episodes.

For sure, serial shows are harder to write. We painted ourselves into one or two pretty tight corners on CHARLIE JADE. Expectations are higher. No one would have minded the mess at the end of BSG if it hadn't been the culmination of years of story arcs.

But serial shows are more satisfying to write. You get to take the characters places. We got the BUFFY boxed set and we're watching Willow change from Hacker Girl to Cute Teenage Witch to Power in Her Own Right to Big Bad. And that's on a show that strives to give you an hour's complete entertainment.

Network execs will tell you that even viewers who say they watch a show tend to watch only about 1 out of 4 episodes. (That's hard to fathom because when my friends watch a show, they watch every episode or stop watching it. They buy the DVD or TiVo the whole thing. But I've heard this from several people who ought to know these things.) The danger with a serial show is that every time you lose a viewer, they don't come back; while it's very hard to get new viewers in mid-season. Who's going to start watching 24 in the middle?

When I'm pitching, I'm continually trying to thread the needle. So are many of the writers I know. We talk about X-FILES and how there was always an episodic story but it often contributed a clue to the überplot; or VERONICA MARS. We try to stay away from mentioning LOST; apparently it doesn't count because no one knows why it's working in spite of its ridiculously complex story arcs. (Maybe because of the ridiculously complex story arcs? But you can't say that.) And we try very hard to make sure there is a strong episodic story motor in the template of the show.

It's frustrating, because you can point to any number of successful shows that are blatantly serial. Soaps, even. DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES. GRAY'S ANATOMY. GOSSIP GIRL. Anything on HBO or AMC.

I dunno, maybe there's a list of showrunners who are approved to write serials. Obviously, serials get made. Maybe it's like movies and hooks: it's not that movies don't get made without hooks, it's just that you can't get a movie made without a hook.

But the moral of the story is: the TV you love may not be the TV network executives want more of. Serial shows are a pain in the ass. You lose audience when you preempt them. You lose audience when you move them. And then if you cancel then, people mail you boxes of nuts. Safer to license CSI: WASILLA.

Or you can just go ahead and pitch what you love, and hope it comes out all right in the end.



Post a Comment

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

I haven't been blogging lately because I am plumb out of new things to say. So here's someone's else's words of wisdom...
"Write about what you know hurts," [Paul Castro, writer of AUGUST RUSH] told students Monday in the Career and Technology Center's TV and multimedia production program. "If you explore that pain, if you get to the belly of the beast that is that pain, you'll have the keys to the castle as an artist. ... They don't buy screenplays in Hollywood, they buy emotion."


Post a Comment

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

That was Douglas Campbell's fitting toast. (Mine is "Outrageous happiness.") I met Douglas only at the end of his long and rich life; he and Moira graciously lent their townhouse to us for the FALLEN writing room. But you only had to meet him to know immediately that this was a grand old Shakespearean.

Douglas was a truth-teller, as one friend after another told us, always willing to bust a bad production, but always willing to explain exactly what was wrong. (I got a bit of his truth when I tried to get him to come to a Justin Trudeau fundraiser once.) I wondered whether he got in a lot of trouble for that. I have the same ailment -- I find it extremely hard to say something is good if it's not, and I've pissed off any number of people for it. I suspect Douglas got away with it better, as a theatrical man can.

The memorial reminded me of the memorial for Robin Spry, who was another grand old man, always helping other people get their careers started, always trying to get something going, whether it was a theatre in North Hatley or a film company. I think Douglas was someone who brought you up to his own level, by criticizing, by advising, and by simple demanding it. I hope if my life and career last as long as Douglas's, people will remember me for helping them break in, or get to the next step.

It was a memorial more joyous than sad. Douglas was never about the past, we heard. He was always about what was next. So we drank a spot of whiskey and sang Auld Lang Syne with all the words, and walked out into the warm night determined to do something great tomorrow.



Post a Comment

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Jim Henshaw points out that the Stimulus Package passed by the US Congress prevents US companies that get stimulus money from buying Canadian, and proposes that Canada retaliate.

I'm down with that.



Post a Comment

Friday, November 06, 2009

Pilot School is a terrific collection of pilot scripts. Lisa says the pilot script for MAD MEN is laugh out loud funny -- quite a change from the dry way it came out, eh?



Post a Comment

This page is powered by Blogger.