Sunday, August 26, 2012

People and Blogs and Things

Thanks to everyone who voted for our project! If you didn't, what are you waiting for? Tick tick, people!! The project is called The Path, and the link is right here. We really want to make this show!!

There. Shilling: Over.

Because people posted and retweeted and Facebooked and liked, I shall endeavor to return the favor. Firstly, Emma Bull and Steve Brust, two writers you SHOULD have read if you haven't, have had major medical procedures done, and because this is America, these things ain't free or covered. They are not asking for help but fellow writer Scott Lynch is donating a portion of the proceeds of the sales of his serial adventure book Queen of the Iron Sands to foot medical bills. Please read his blog on the subject, if you are so inclined. I feel like he's onto something with the idea of creators donating a portion of their sales to a pool that could help other creators who find themselves in need. I'm pretty sure I'm not at Scott Lynch's volume level but he's inspired me to look into doing something similar. Producing work that could actually help alleviate the financial problems of people who've inspired me is, well, inspiring.


Anyway, Scott Lynch's blog is here.

Secondly, I've been talking to people who aren't in the business but feel like they are because they can listen to podcasts and watch behind-the-scenes stuff on DVDs and panels online. They have easier access to scripts and showrunners and writers than they ever have. It's film school without wasting all that money. But I've noticed that a lot of these panels are usually given titles like "How to Break into Television" and whatnot. Which is great, but then you look at the make-up of the panels and it's a sea of people who haven't thought about how to break in or how to get work in about twenty years. Which seems weird to me. You aren't going to get useful advice from people who are that far removed from when they got in, or who have never had to struggle. It's like asking Mitt Romney how to start a small business.

But we are a celebrity culture, so we gravitate towards the people at the top because if they are successful, all you have to do is recreate what they do and you too will be successful.

(no you won't)

I'm less interested in the celebration of this success than I am in the nuts-and-bolts, everyday existence of writers. How do you get inspired, how do you get focused, what are the steps that someone outside the business can take to get in, etc. So I've got two blogs for you. The first is from Kam Miller, who is the very definition of a go-getter who Gets Things Done. Kam's blog is informative, her posts are a hella lot shorter than mine, and she also has a great feature called Friday Drinks, where she explores a cocktail your parents used to drink at those key parties. Kam's blog is here. Go check it out.

Also blogging is Pang-Ni Landrum, wickedly funny comedy writer, interviewer of people, dispenser of information, teller of stories. Like Kam, Pang-Ni puts her spin on the TV business and when she does an interview, she's terrific at getting at the information aspiring writers will want to know. She eats at and talks about food trucks. Yum! Also did I mention she's funny? Go here for her blog.

If anyone has any other suggestions for blogs by people who are in the trenches, by all means mention them in the comments. It's great to be inspired by your favorite show creators but if you're looking for really serious, useful information on the stepping stones to a television career, you'd better be following these two.

There's a theme here: alcohol and food trucks. Find me a TV writer who blogs about TV and artisanal salt and I'm yours for life.

Next time, a belated post on my reaction to the coverage of the London Olympics. I was delighted.

(no I was not)

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The Path

We have a new project!

We've teamed up with Smokebomb Entertainment, a Canadian production company, to produce a project for the CFC Media Lab's IdeaBoost, an innovative creative development lab with a business model that focuses on pre-selling an idea to an audience rather than to advertisers. It has similarities to Kickstarter but IdeaBoost isn't about getting funding. It's about gauging interest. So there's a campaign on right now, where people vote for projects they'd like to see. And then, if there are enough votes, it gets shortlisted, voted on by a jury, and then hopefully gets made and you get to see it.


A new way to tell stories and take advantage of digital space is something I've certainly talked about here. What I love about Kickstarter is how invested you feel when you back a project. Rather than just sitting back hoping someone creates something you want to see, read or buy, you can be empowered by contributing to make it happen.

Given how much easier it is to see and read television pilots, I know hardcore TeeVee viewers are disappointed when certain pilots don't get picked up. Instead of the same kind of focus group testing they've been doing for years, how cool would it be if a television network could gauge the size of an audience and know if there was a market for the show?

That's the thought behind IdeaBoost. If successful, we'll make a digital series that could platform out into other mediums. MANY OTHER MEDIUMS. ALL OF THEM.

The IdeaBoost program works on a tiered application process.


Basically, vote until September 18th to get us into the next round. If you vote like crazy magpies and we make the cut, then it's up to a jury to decide if we get to make our show.

There are three ways to indicate your unrepentant desire to see this show get made. You can tweet the link, like the page or boost the project. Boosting the project means that if the project is a go, you will have a front-row seat to the development process. And a boost carries ten times the weight as a tweet or a like. That is a sentence that even five years ago would have been mystifying. So we'd love it if you would boost the project, which involves giving an e-mail address that will be used for updates. At the very least, click on Like, you lazy bastards. Seriously.

Click here for the link to the IdeaBoost page. On the page, you'll see a snazzy teaser trailer (with some pretty great graphics that totally represent the idea of the show), a pitch from Jay Bennett, Smokebomb Entertainment guru, explaining this stuff a lot better than I can. And you can tell we really, really want to do this because we actually appear on film.

Smokebomb believes that a digital experience is an interactive experience, and that means fans can get involved with artwork, posters, stories set in the world and hell, songs if you want. Here's an example of a really cool poster:

So, you're probably wondering, what the hell kind of project would you be supporting? The reason we were so jazzed about getting involved was because the people involved with the company were so jazzed about us doing an urban fantasy show. We've wanted to do a show set in this world for over ten years. But so far, we haven't gotten one produced. So now it's imperative. This is our enigmatic show summary from the IdeaBoost project page:

We’ve all been there, that first day at a new school, terrified we won’t fit in, that we’ll be labeled with an unshakable designation that will follow us forever: Geek. Goth. Brain. Jock.


This is the shocking truth facing Delaney Connors, a level-headed, practical girl who discovers that everything she knows about herself is a lie. Her parents have been keeping a huge secret from her, the cute neighbor boy is super good with a sword, the school’s queen bitch can turn her opponents into frogs, and her artsy new school is a gateway to a hidden world of magic. If this wasn’t enough, Delaney has to learn to master frightening magical powers before an ancient war spills over into our world. And then there’s her chemistry final...

It's a show about fairies, but not the fairies that have been flitting across your television screen. These are real ones. They're vicious, and beautiful, and while they're drawn to humans because we can produce art and music and they can't, they also carry a grudge. A big one. They used to live in our world, but the advent of technology and industry shoved them out. Now they're back and this time, they aren't going to go away and hide. Delaney is not only caught in the middle of that, she's the center of it. And as a girl who spent the majority of her life being home-schooled, she has her hands full not only with the newness of interacting with actual students, but also with this whole "we will either fight over you or kill you" nonsense. What's a girl with sixty thousand Twitter followers to do?

You may think you know about fairy mythology and Faerie, but trust us. You don't. If you like the kind of urban fantasy that makes you think you've seen something magical out of the corner of your eye, then you will want to get involved with this project. And if you boost/tweet/like your little fingers off, I'll tell you even more about the world, the story and the characters.

THAT, Sir, is a bribe.