Sunday, May 31, 2009

I've given in...

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Friday, May 29, 2009

More of me

In addition to this blog, I'm also now blogging about various entertainmenty things for Twirlit.com. Here's my first post:

Weekend Movie Preview - Fri, May 29th


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Sunday, May 24, 2009

Adventures in pilot writing

This post might be totally uninteresting, but maybe readers who are currently writing pilots will learn from some of my struggles.


Ryan writes: How is your drama pilot coming along?


(btw - thanks for the kind comments, Ryan!) As for the pilot: Eh. It's okay. I started it last fall, then took a break and wrote a feature (of which I recently finished a much-revised second draft), and now I'm trying to revise the pilot simultaneously. Problems I'm running into:


Both my leads need work. Even though it's a character-based drama, I started with the concept, the WHAT and not the WHO - and now I kind of have to go back and figure out who these women really are. Also, when you have a character who is stoic and professional and not very funny, it's harder to fall in love with her.


The two leads go from hating each other at the beginning to wanting to move into together at the end. They're big arcs with big character growth, and it takes a lot of work to make that believable.

The whole pilot story happens as a result of a death - and it really brings down the tone. It's hard to write jokes when everyone's grieving - unless you want it to be pretty dark (which I don't). I'm not quite sure of the tone yet. I'm aiming for something like Brothers & Sisters or Gilmore Girls, but a) the story might better lend itself to a Weeds/Six Feet Under kind of thing, and b) the tone I'm probably most successful with is a kind of romcom "clubbing Juno" style (someone else's words). Color me disappointed that Samantha Who just got cancelled.


But...pilots are hard. There is so much to think about. I feel like maybe in another draft or two I'll have something worth reading.





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Friday, May 22, 2009

Glee


Did you guys watch the GLEE pilot? I loved it. The tone is really fun and wacky, and it's different than anything you'll see on TV right now. I mean, a one-hour musical comedy? Really? I'm also excited about the fact that Fox is offering up something much less testosteroney than its usual fare (besides Idol, the Kool-Aid of which I refuse to drink).

It's also interesting that Fox chose to air the pilot this week to gain buzz, while the show won't be on regularly until the fall. I feel like pulling shows off the air for months at a time can be damaging - but this might be different since it was only the pilot.

Anyway, you can check it out on Hulu.


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Monday, May 18, 2009

Spec stuff

Amy writes: Did it seem like specs written for a timeline that accounts for the developments of the most recent season but maybe not the season finale would have a fair chance? Or would they totally be discounted?

Other people have asked similar questions. And I think the answer is: think about the BIG picture. Think about writing a solid spec that shows your ability to mimic character voices and tone while also showing off your own unique talents. Be interesting. Be smart. Explore a theme. Beef up your act-outs. Write subtext. Weave your subplots into your main plot. Polish your dialogue.

It is always a good idea to have a spec that's up-to-date in terms of plot and storyline, but remember that most producers, execs, agents and readers will not have seen every single episode of the show. They won't be totally up-to-date. They might not have seen ANY episodes. They also don't expect that you have a brand new spec every single week. So, no - a spec that did not take the most recent season finale in account would probably not be discounted. Because there's a good chance your reader did not see that season finale. Someone asked if an OFFICE spec in which Pam is a receptionist and not a salesperson would be ready for the recycle bin. I say no - because many readers probably still think Pam is the receptionist. But in a few months, it won't be so viable. (And also - would it really be that hard to take a pass at the script and make her a salesperson?)

Anyway, please don't worry about this stuff so much. Worry about writing a really great script.


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Friday, May 15, 2009

Inside Scoop on the ABC/Disney Fellowship

I went to another event with Frank Gonzales (which you can read about at the Hollywood Writers' Office Assistants blog) and found it very informative.

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This Sunday at ScreenPlayLab, ABC Disney Fellowship director Frank Gonzalez will talk about work opportunities and answer audience questions. It's the one time a year there's open access to an ABC Disney exec to get career advice. There's no fee to enter the ABC Disney Fellowship. Find out what it takes to make it.

For those pursuing a fellowship, there are significant changes in the fellowship programs this year.

Time: Sun 5/17 from 2-5 pm

Location:
Fine Arts Theatre
8556Wilshire Blvd.
Beverly Hills, CA 90211
Limited seating

RSVP at www.screenplaylab.com


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Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Script Pimp

I didn't think the scriptwriting contest Script Pimp had much credibility... but according to today's Hollywood Reporter (for some reason I can't find the article online, it's just in the hard copy), Warner Brothers and Silver Pictures have hired writer Evan Daugherty to rewrite GRAYSKULL, based on the Masters of the Universe cartoon and toy line.

Daugherty entered Script Pimp, and as a result, signed with manager Jake Wagner of Energy Entertainment. Then his script made the Black List. And now he's got a big rewrite gig.

UPDATE from my friend Charles: The announcement is online now. Thanks dude!

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Thursday, May 7, 2009

Should I be a tour guide?

Q: I just moved to LA from the east coast about two months ago and, like everyone, I'm trying to get my foot in the door as a writer. I'm currently in the interview process for a tour guide position with one of the studios here in town. I was just wondering if this is a good move career-wise, or should I be looking for something different? Will being a tour guide lead to anything as far my writing career goes?

If you just need to pay your rent, go for it. Unfortunately, I don't see any way that being a tour guide is going to help your writing or lead to any kind of job that would.

If it's at Universal and you could possibly leverage the job into getting into the NBC Page Program, that might be different. The Page Program could lead to a lot of helpful jobs (but it is extremely competitive and tough to get into). But being a tour guide in itself? No. You're going to be meeting tourists. I don't think you're going to have any contact with agents, managers, studio execs, network execs, producers, writers or their assistants. You need to find a job that will give you contact with these people.

That being said, I know sometimes you just need money - so being a tour guide wouldn't be the worst thing in the world. (I worked as a reality PA for a while...it didn't get me anywhere, but it was a paycheck.) But don't fool yourself that working on a studio lot means you're advancing your career.

(If anyone has worked as a tour guide, feel free to comment and shed more light on the opportunities involved.)

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Wednesday, May 6, 2009

ABC fellowship & WB workshop

Both programs have updated their sites:

Disney/ABC Writing Fellowship - deadline July 1

WB Writers Workshop - deadline July 25


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Cool interview with writer/director Kirsten Smith

Be sure to click & watch her short film the SPLEENECTOMY, which she wrote and directed as part of Glamour's Reel Moments program. It's a great program that puts the spotlight on female directors. She says of the experience:

"The stories are all very different, but I think they're offering a message of empowerment and inspiration and, you know, seizing that moment at that crossroads in your life and doing something great with it. Daring to be yourself and follow your bliss, I suppose."

Below the video, click on "Discussions" to read the interview.



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Monday, May 4, 2009

Glee and other musical thoughts

Paley's presenting a special screening of GLEE following by a Q&A with the producers on Monday, May 11th @ 7 pm at Santa Monica High school.

More info here: http://www.paleycenter.org/glee-premiere-in-los-angeles

Sounds fun, but few of us Hollywood drones can get over to Santa Monica by 7. :)

In other musical thoughts, I was thinking about the soundtrack to my writing sessions today. Now, I'm almost always opposed to including songs in scripts. There are just too many things that can go wrong:

1. The song will be old and overdone by the time people get around to reading your script

2. Your song will be too obscure and the reader won't know the song, which will take them out of your story and give them a negative feeling

3. You song will be too popular and if the reader's a music snob (as many Hollywood types are), they'll scoff at you

4. It's a waste of time because the music choices aren't up to you anyway

Still, you can have a lot of fun with music WHILE you're writing. Last night when I was writing the yay-we're-in-love part of my romcom screenplay, I rocked out to Michelle Branch, and it really put me in the zone. I'm totally thanking her when I get my Oscar. And you better believe I listened to some depressing crap at the end of act two when all the romance went to shit!



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Sunday, May 3, 2009

PlayWrightGirl

PlayWrightGirl was amazing! Congratulations to all the mentees on such wonderful, profound and funny pieces - and thank you to everyone who supported us. I am constantly inspired by all the girls and women.

If you want to donate or get involved with WriteGirl, click here!


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