Category Archives: Media

Writing in Multiple Media at Captivate Conference!

If you think one size fits all when it comes to creating a story for a medium or platform, you’ll get a chance to learn how wrong, wrong, wrong you are this Sunday in Austin at the first annual Captivate Conference. When you’re not learning about leadership from Warren Spector, you can come on by to my presentation with the extremely original title “Writing for Multiple Media.” I’ll be exploring how the medium and the business model impacts the kind of story you can tell, whether it’s games, TV, film, or webseries.  Heck, I might even throw in comics and animation, why not?

Writing in Multiple Media
When: October 6, 2013, 3:30-4:15pm
Where: Palmer Center, Austin, TX
Story is king, but storytelling isn’t a one size fits all proposition. Learn the strengths and weaknesses of each medium, or you may alienate your buyers and your audience rather than engaging them.

Come on down! Bring your questions, bring your jeers, and then we’ll all go grab a beer!

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Filed under Announcements, Media, Transmedia

SDCC Pitching Hour panel this Thursday!

Learn to pitch at Comic-con!  Or make a good approximation of it!  Join me and a wonderful panel of actual experts as we discuss what to pitch, how to pitch, and to whom to pitch it!

Thursday July 18, 2013 12:00pm – 1:00pm
Room 5AB

The Pitching Hour

Jermaine Turner (director, current series, Disney TV Animation), Ted Biaselli (VP programming, The Hub Network), Jill Sanford (VP, Nickelodeon Animation Development), Derek Hoffman (VP, Donner Co.), Anne Toole (writer, THE WITCHER, LOST GIRL: THE GAME), Charlie Chu (editor, Oni Press), Lindsay Rostal (game producer, The Odd Gentlemen), Jennie Kong (PR strategist), and moderator Dan Evans III (freelance writer, Stoopid Monkey), will take an idea from conception through production for various media. This process will include creating a pitch document, obtaining agents, and getting a pitch meeting. The panelists will explain, through hypothetical example and humorous stories, the process that new creators should adapt to make their way through the creative battleground of the entertainment industry. Knowing that each project is unique, there will be a Q&A to allow the audience to really hone in on the solutions to obstacles they may encounter. Also on hand will be Brendan McFeely (IP lawyer, Kane Kessler) to give creators insight on protecting their ideas as they navigate Hollywood!

Come on down and get your questions answered!

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Filed under Animation, Announcements, Comics, Games, Media, TV

WGA Strike picketing report

Writers, Canadians, and an occasional star.  It’s not about the art of writing, but it sure is about the business.  Here’s my strike report, by gate!

FOX Galaxy gate 

I am especially fond of the Galaxy gate, because it’s literally the closest gate to my house.  Too bad it’s so far south — I have to walk down from Santa Monica to get there.  It’s even worse when I have to walk back after picketing for hours.  But I’m strong like bull!

FOX Pico gate 

Earlier this week, the Galaxy gate lacked water, so I had to head down to the Pico gate.  It’s a much bigger crowd and much more organized, which isn’t necessarily my cup of tea.  However, once I was crossing at the crosswalk, I was back in familiar territory.  And, as often happens, you find yourself talking to the strangest people.  Before I knew it, I was talking to Larry David, and a OLTL writer I was with ended up rubbing sun block on him.  Truly odd. 

Paramount Main Gate

I decided to see how the other half lives so I went to Paramount today.  I didn’t like it as well as FOX, but it could be because I now know more people there.  I managed to corner a certain Mr. Z. Estrin, writer of various shows I’ve watched perhaps too much, into a long conversation.  If he’d had the rest of his show with him, I probably wouldn’t have gotten to speak with him. 

The biggest burst of energy came when a couple of vacationing Canadians joined in the picket for a couple spins round the crosswalk.  They were having such a good time, and, really, what’s cooler than going to Hollywood and being part of entertainment history?  I’m just sayin’.

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Filed under Media, TV

WGA Strike action photo

Was picketing in front of Fox yesterday and took this fine action photo:
WGA Strike action photo
Not bad composition for a cell phone, eh?

The guy in the middle talked about how his first year in LA he gained like 40 pounds because he would eat a loaf of fresh French bread every morning.  He called it his “delicious year.”  Everyone expects to lose quite a few pounds from all the walking.

Oddly enough, the walking wasn’t as tiring as the talking.  While I feel physically tired afterwards, I get over it.  It’s the talking to people for 4 hours straight that is particularly draining.  Says the introvert 😉

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Filed under Film, Media, New Media, TV

Pitching not aided by vague execs

I crack myself up sometimes.  Lately I’ve been likening pitching projects to randomly going up and punching someone in the face.  Part of the reason for this, of course, is that so many people recommend coming up with ideas and then just making the rounds.  Sometimes you know what companies are looking for — kids and animals for animation, procedural and supernatural for TV.  Just for example.  But often, you don’t really know what they want.

Just e-mailed a ton of people in comics regarding the upcoming comic-con, and I get this response: “We’re not looking for anything specific, but we’re always keeping our eyes open.”  Not helpful!  At least in TV you know what demographic they’re going for, maybe what they’re counterprogramming against, something.  But no luck.  So, I guess I’ll just have to punch some people.

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Filed under Comics, Media

Genre TV Dramas 2007-8

I posted this article on Popsyndicate!

Midst a week of season and series finales, the broadcast networks announced their fall schedules for the 2007-8 season.  The popularity of HEROES, the break-out hit of the year, figured strongly in development.  Come fall, immortal detectives, gifted romantics, geek heroes, and bionic women will battle for your eyeballs in what may be the strongest season for genre shows yet.

Both CBS’s MOONLIGHT and FOX’s NEW AMSTERDAM follow an immortal who investigates crimes while looking for love.  In MOONLIGHT, Mick St. John is a vampire private investigator who falls in love with a mortal.  In NEW AMSTERDAM, homicide detective John Amsterdam was gifted with immortality for saving the life of a Native American girl in 1642.  Once he finds his one true love, however, he will become mortal again.  NEW AMSTERDAM boasts Lasse Hallstrom (“Cider House Rules,” “Chocolat”) as director, giving it a compelling visual style.  Airing Tuesdays at 8pm in the fall, it may lose viewers when it makes way for AMERICAN IDOL and moves to Fridays at 9pm against MOONLIGHT.  For its part, MOONLIGHT will benefit from a stable time period throughout the year and a strong lead-in from returning favorite GHOST WHISPERER.  If both series survive the fall, the Friday audience may well decide which of these shows has a chance for immortality.

Aside from men with the ability to survive the ages, we’ll see two men with special abilities all their own.  NBC’s JOURNEYMAN can travel back in time and change the past.  He is attracted by the lure of seeing his deceased wife, which strains his current marriage.  A romantic note also plays prominently in ABC’s PUSHING DAISIES.  The hand of Bryan Fuller (“Dead Like Me,” “Wonderfalls”) is evident in this series following Ned, a man who can bring others to life with a touch.  Unfortunately, a second touch kills them, which complicates his relationship with his newly resurrected childhood sweetheart.  With colorful art direction, PUSHING DAISIES will air 8pm on Wednesdays facing no competition from another scripted drama.  Although up against CBS’s ratings winner CSI: MIAMI, JOURNEYMAN on Mondays at 10pm can expect a boost from HEROES, which returns at 9pm.

Geeks made a name for themselves on the fall schedule, from sitcoms to drama.  The sitcom THE BIG BANG THEORY, airing Mondays at 8:30pm on CBS, features two nerds who have a beautiful woman (Kaley Cuoco, “Charmed”) move in across the hall.  Geek comedy isn’t limited to sitcoms this season, however.  NBC’s hour-long CHUCK features a young man working tech support for the Nerd Herd.  He unwittingly gains knowledge of value to the CIA and other nefarious groups, earning the interest of a woman sent to find out what he knows.  The CW will also offer THE REAPER, a cross between feature film IDLE HANDS and SUPERNATURAL.  While working a dead-end job, Sam learns his parents sold his soul to the devil, and now he must track down renegade souls from hell using what looks like a super-powered dust buster.  With humor and nods to geek culture, CHUCK and THE REAPER both air Tuesdays at 9pm.  Although the CW has already found success with the monster-of-the-week formula on Thursdays, clearly the hour is up for grabs. 

Finally, two highly anticipated series based on popular properties will grace the airwaves next season.  NBC’s BIONIC WOMAN heralds the return of Jaime Sommers, retelling her origin as a state-of-the-art fighting machine with a job as a bartender and a hearing impaired sister.  Courtesy of Executive Producer David Eick of BATTLESTAR GALACTICA fame, Katee Sackhoff (Starbuck, BSG) will recur as an enemy bionic woman.  FOX also boasts strong women with a technological boost in the SARAH CONNOR CHRONICLES.  Set between the second and third TERMINATOR films, Sarah and John Connor team with a female terminator sent from the future to protect them against the one sent to kill them.  BIONIC WOMAN airs Wednesdays at 9pm against the new Grey’s Anatomy spinoff and FOX’s BONES.  SARAH CONNOR CHRONICLES will take the stage in early 2008 on Sundays at 9pm opposite NBC’s MEDIUM. 

Lovers of genre will feast on a smorgasbord of shows this coming season and may suffer from an embarrassment of riches when similar shows go head to head on Tuesdays and Fridays at 9.  Regardless, viewers will be sure to find a genre show every major night of the week. 

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NBC Upfronts and, oh, that party

It’s already day two of my quest to attend all the network upfronts this week.  NBC’s went off without a hitch.  I got the opportunity to meet and speak with Jason Katims (FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS), Jason Smilovic and Michael Dinner (BIONIC WOMAN), and ate small chocolate-covered cheesecake.  Katims seemed open to the product integration that NBC touted during the presentation, while Smilovic was unaware that the Sarah Connor Chronicles also features a female character who can kick butt due to robotic enhancements. 

Afterwards, I slinked on over to the WMA party.  While I didn’t speak with any showrunners there this year, I did have the opportunity to speak with Les Moonves himself!  I found out that he would indeed say something like “You can never have too much comedy in a drama.”  Those who have visited my samples page know that’s the top quote on the page!  In the Head of Network department, I also spoke with Matt Blanc, who, in addition to being CEO of Showtime, was headed to Paris the next day.  We should all be so lucky.

And in the great get-Anne-a-cool-job department, I spoke with a lawyer who actually specializes in TeeVee.  He agreed to read my material, so fingers crossed, comrades!

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Filed under Media, TV