Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Tuesday links!

Mindy Kaling writes her own script [LA Times]

Watching people watching people watching [NY Times]

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Friday, November 18, 2011

Does your conflict stem from concept?

I'm alive! Sorry, guys. I know the blog has been a bit quiet lately. I've been working on several writing projects, doing a lot of copywriting/blogging to keep my (leaky) roof over my head, and attempting to work off a lot of restaurant food at the gym.

But I thought I would throw out at least one thing I've been thinking about lately: does your conflict stem from your concept?

I guess you can file this under the list of things that might be wrong with your script when you finish it and it's just not "right." It also relates to Blake Snyder's idea of fulfilling the "promise of the premise."

You have a high-concept idea. A compelling logline. You have plenty of conflict and obstacles. Your character wants something and has a lot of trouble getting it.

But do your obstacles stem from your concept? In Veronica Mars, the title character is a PI who's still in high school. So when she goes out on PI missions, the fact that she's a young girl is what keeps her from solving her cases. People don't take her seriously. She can't just march into any biker bar she wants. And she still has to go to school. Of course, the concept also creates plenty of fun, and grants Veronica some special abilities (since nobody expects a high school girl to be a PI)...but it also creates specific obstacles. Your concept might offer a few different kinds of obstacles; on The New Girl, conflict results from the fact that Jess is newly single, and also that she lives with three dudes who don't really know her or understand her. Especially in the beginning, it wouldn't make sense for a New Girl ep to be about Jess having problems with a student at work, you know? Her problems come from being newly single and living with three dudes who don't really know her or understand her. In this week's ep, she brought home a date (Justin Long) - and the conflict stemmed from her new roomies trying to get along with him. Along these same lines, if you're pitching a show, you want your episode ideas to be stories that come directly from your concept - not stories that could be told on any show on TV. I came up with a ton of episode ideas before it really clicked that they weren't specific enough to my show (and concept).

The same goes for movies. In Like Crazy (have I told you that you have to see this movie?!), two characters attempt a long-distance relationship. With an 8-hour time difference, they're never around for phone calls. They aren't together to celebrate each other's career developments. Relationships can have plenty of conflict - but this one's specific conflicts come from the fact that the couple lives apart. Like Blake Snyder says, you want to fulfill the promise of your premise...so if you tell us the movie is about witches getting trapped in a prison, we'd better see a lot of set pieces of witches trapped in a prison.

Perhaps this all sounds obvious...but it took me a little while to figure this out. If you have a decent concept and plenty of conflict, you might miss the fact that the two aren't connected.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Intern Sushi & Laugh Factory Present: The Business of Comedy Panel

Next Monday, Intern Sushi is hosting a FREE panel event at The Laugh Factory.

Host: Mark Gordon
Heather McDonald, Comedian, Writer & Story Producer, Chelsea Lately
Erik Baiers, VP Production, Universal Pictures
Julie Darmody, President of Management, Mosaic
Stuart Cornfeld, Partner, Red Hour Films
Daron Moore, Director of Marketing, The Laugh Factory

The panel will be followed by a one hour standup comedy show, featuring T.J. Miller, Deon Cole, Melissa Villasenor and more!

Date: Monday, Nov. 14th at 7:30pm
Location: The Laugh Factory - 8001 Sunset Blvd., Hollywood
It's FREE, but RSVP is required: internsushi.eventbrite.com
Limited tickets available.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Tuesday links!

No film has affected me this year quite like Like Crazy... go see it.
Interview: 'Like Crazy' Director Drake Doremus on Filming Romance [FirstShowing.net]

Young Hollywood: How 40 became the new 30 for actors [Slate]
The average age of female Oscar winners, after remaining steady for almost half a century—40 in 1960s, rising slightly to 41 in 1970s, 41 again in 1980s, 40 in the 1990s—in the 2000s dropped to 35 for the first time, pulled down by wins for Charlize Theron (28, Monster), Reese Witherspoon (29, Walk the Line), and Natalie Portman (29, Black Swan). And those are Oscar wins, not nominations, the culmination of careers, not their beginnings.

Interview: 'Happy Endings' producers David Caspe and Jonathan Groff talk Halloween, friendship and more [HitFix]
Caspe offers an honest, interesting perspective on the similarity among shows premiering at the same time: Obviously, when I pitched the show, all those others were being sold simultaneously. None of us were aware of each other. I know that from the outside, some of the reception was, "Oh, that's the thing to do this year," but that's not how it works. I was completely in a vacuum, and unaware of what's being pitched, and the people on those other shows were the same way. So not until things start to air did I realize, "Uh-oh, there's like 5 or 6 of them coming out." Then there is the concern, especially because we aired last, I believe. If you count 'Mad Love,' 'Perfect Couples,' 'Traffic Light,' only 'Friends with Benefits' came on after us. I felt the writing on the wall and felt we were going to have a tough road. I didn't quite realize how tough it would be, and some of that's my inexperience in television. And then there were some things that I kind of wasn't aware of. I thought a guy getting left at the altar to start a show was an interesting way to start a pilot, and I think people felt it was too similar to Jennifer Aniston's character running away from the altar. To be honest, I haven't seen the pilot of "Friends" in a long time and didn't realize that similarity. Once one thing went against us, everything looked even worse. I look like I ripped a show off even more. But it is what it is, and we just keep plugging away and trying to make funny shows.

Producers and Executives at Odds as the Sweet Studio Deal Dies [THR]

The State of the Studio Deals: Who's Doing What Where [THR]

The Script Writer for 'Anonymous' Defends His Controversial Movie [The Atlantic]