Wednesday, June 15, 2011


Woo-hoo! We've now more or less broken even in contest and fellowship entry fees because after several delays and then a few weeks of utter silence (I understand, these things take time), Creative Screenwriting just announced the winners of their AAA Contest and our spec of The Good Wife is one of them!

Charlie Sheen never had it so good. Except, you know, when he did.

Here is the list of winners. Congratulations to everyone!

AAA Screenplay Contest Winter 2010-2011 Winners
And Finalists
(For Semifinalists and Honorable Mentions, click here)

Feature Film
Shiny PennyDan SheaGrand PrizeFeatureSci-Fi or Fantasy/Drama
Dead Below ZeroEdward CaseSecond PrizeFeatureHorror Genre or Horror-Comedy
Dec Homer's OdysseyAlex DrummondThird PrizeFeatureRomantic Comedy Genre

Top Ten Finalists
WipeBen ArnoldTop 10 FinalistFeatureThriller Genre
M.a.x. 101 - Edge Of ForeverSam LuTop 10 FinalistFeatureSci-Fi or Fantasy
Ticket to MarsJason GinsburgTop 10 FinalistFeatureSci-Fi or Fantasy
Rising PhoenixRyan MukaiTop 10 FinalistFeatureSci-Fi or Fantasy
SomervilleJames C. VictorTop 10 FinalistFeatureDrama Genre
OathkeeperElisa GraybillTop 10 FinalistFeatureSci-Fi or Fantasy
Olympian (tie)Tamsyn Harker &
Esther Venning
Top 10 FinalistFeatureDrama Genre
The Best Part of the Day (tie)Betty Ellington SmithTop 10 FinalistFeatureDrama Genre
Best Comedy
Dec Homer's OdysseyAlex DrummondComedy PrizeFeatureRomantic Comedy Genre
Best Creature Feature
Dead Below ZeroEdward CaseCreature FeatureFeatureHorror Genre or Horror-Comedy
Best Thriller Or Drama*
WipeBen ArnoldBest ThrillerFeatureThriller Genre
* "Best Thriller Or Drama" was not an official prize category. However, judges and contest management agreed that this script, which finished second in the feature judging overall, merits special recognition. Because it did not fit one of the genre categories in which cash prizes are offered, we created this additional category to recognize this script.
Best One-Hour TV Show

The Good Wife: SlippageJosh Weiss-Roessler &
Juliana Weiss-Roessler
First PrizeTV--Hour-Long
Lie To Me:
Lost And Found
Jenna RyanFinalist

Men Of A Certain Age: I Feel Like Having Me Some Ribs:Dan SheaFinalist

Mad Men:
The Lion Sleeps Tonight
Alex SimonFinalist

Best Half-Hour TV Show
Parks and Recreation:
Renaissance Faire
Julie Cross
First Prize

Modern Family:
Our Sacrifice
Garron Ma

The Walking Dead:
The Drowning Pool
Jeremy McCann

Modern Family:
To Catch A Thief
Matthew Kellard

Best Opening
Dead Below ZeroEdward CaseBest OpeningFeatureHorror Genre or Horror-Comedy
Dec Homer's OdysseyAlex DrummondBest OpeningFeatureRomantic Comedy Genre
Rising PhoenixRyan MukaiBest OpeningFeatureSci-Fi or Fantasy

Monday, June 6, 2011

In less funny GoT news...

The members of the Broadcast TV Journalists Association just named Game of Thrones as one of their 10 (yes, 10!) nominees for best dramatic series this year. Awesome news for a show that's like the medieval fantasy version of The Wire.

On the whole, their list of nominees is pretty great, and I can't really argue with much of it. Scroll down on the Deadline story to see the whole list. Here are the drama series nominees:

Boardwalk Empire - HBO

Dexter - Showtime

Friday Night Lights - DirecTV

Fringe - FOX

Game of Thrones - HBO

The Good Wife - CBS

Justified - FX

The Killing - AMC

Mad Men - AMC

The Walking Dead - AMC

Stupid Ned Stark

Despite misspellings, this meme is pretty great. Even better is that it comes from a blog called Winter Is Coming, Bitches.

My favorite: "Household guards not being discrete enough? Stroll into brothel yourself."

Friday, May 20, 2011

Fall TV Faceoff!

Well, it's done. Network shows have been chosen for the fall and the cleanup crews have made all the upfront locations bright and shiny again. Overall, I have to say I'm pretty excited for the new fall season. Lots of shows I'm interested in, though I'm still mourning the loss of a few *cough*Poe*cough*Locke & Key*cough*.

But now there's a bigger problem -- how the hell am I going to watch all of them? I can't think of the last time so many shows I want to check out have been scheduled in competing timeslots, especially on Friday. It's great and all that Sci-Fridays have returned, but there are literally too many conflicting shows for my eyeballs and DVR to keep up with. But what can you do?

Below is the fall schedule grid for the networks. Which shows will you be watching? And what do you think will succeed or suffer a quick cancellation?

*Note: I couldn't fit the whole table side-by-side, so click on Sheet 2 for FOX and CW.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Must. Stop. Obsessing.

We're only about a week out from network upfronts, and you can just feel the nervous crazy coming off of TV writers. Which pilots will make it? Which won't? Why was that one picked over my favorite?! Will I have a job for the fall?! Will I lose out on being put up for procedural shows because my pilot is a soft, character-based family drama? Why didn't I write that fantasy pilot that would have been a perfect sample for one of the 9 fairytale pilots in contention for shows? What's happening? Tell me!

And even though you know that no one really knows anything until everyone knows everything, you find that Deadline has owned your soul for the last week or so when you realize that you've been refreshing the page every hour or so.

Take a deep breath and repeat this mantra: There's nothing you can do.

That's right, I said it -- there's nothing you can do. But instead of letting that debilitate you, allow it to free you. Write something new. Go to the dog park or the gym. Cry about the Lakers. Read more Song of Ice and Fire (it's really good!).

Most importantly, take a deep breath and go on with your life... because after next week, it's going to get even crazier.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

With all apologies to Chris Morgan...

...this is pretty damn funny:

Today Now! Interviews The 5-Year-Old Screenwriter Of "Fast Five"

Thanks to Adam for this (I totally stoled it!).

Monday, May 2, 2011

Fantasy Pilot League

I'm totally stealing this idea from someone (thanks, Clayton), but I just think it sounds like so much fun, and might be a way to soften the heartbreak you feel when your favorite pilot inevitably doesn't get picked up to series -- have a fantasy pilot draft with your friends!

Huh? If any of you play fantasy football, this will be a pretty familiar idea. Form a league with some friends and set a "draft day" to pick pilots you each think will move on from to becoming actual shows next year.

The best/easiest way to do this is to limit your selections to network shows -- ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX, and The CW -- since cable channels tend to announce their new shows at different points throughout the year.

Try to pick enough people for your draft so that everyone can get an equal number of shows -- and set your draft day soon, because upfronts are just a few weeks away. Here's the calendar for May:

May 16 - NBC
May 16 - FOX
May 17 - ABC
May 18 - CBS
May 19 - The CW

The person who ends up getting the most pilots picked up to series is the winner! Or, if you're really ambitious, you can continue the contest into the actual season to see who ends the year with the most shows still on the air.

I wonder what kind of prize you should win for something like this...?

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

HWAS Networking Event Tonight


Not burnt out on all the various networking events with staffing season upon us? Me either (he lied)!

Hollywood Writers Assistant Social (HWAS) is having a little get together tonight for some drinking and schmoozing and more drinking.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

"You know what's cool about The Killing? That there's nothing 'cool' about The Killing."

That's what I turned to Jul and said a week ago as we were watching the premiere, and I feel the same way after having seen the third episode.

Now, don't misunderstand -- The Killing is awesome. It plays out like you're watching a more or less real time investigation in a very realistic fashion, seeing how this one event (a missing -- and we quickly discover, murdered -- teenage girl) affects the lives of a variety of people in a city. The cops leading the investigation. The murdered girl's family. Her best friend, classmates, and teachers. A councilman running for mayor and his campaign. We're with all of them and feel for every one, and I'm just as engaged by their personal struggles as I am by the slowly unspooling investigation.

So what does that title mean? Well, that there's no flash. No pizazz. No 'hook.' Our cops don't have any super special skills that they have to use to solve the mystery every episode -- they're just detectives. No flashbacks like another season-arc show, Damages, to whet our appetites for what's to come and wonder how we'll get there, the show just plays out linearly. There's not even that much in the way of shock value -- what little blood, sex, or gore they have is downplayed, and the story twists feel natural rather than, well, shocking.

And what was amazing to me, watching that premiere, was how engaged I was without any of that superfluous noise. An event occurs and we bear witness, discovering character only in how people react to the situations they are put in. The Killing is a slow burn, to be sure, but it's also just good old fashioned storytelling.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Guest Post: Turn Your Screenplays Into Books

Hi gang --

I don't know how much of this I'll actually be doing, but while Juliana and I are navigating the waters of rep meetings during our first real staffing season, I thought I'd post this article from some friends, who have actually started doing this with their own scripts. It's certainly interesting, and the idea of cutting out the middle man is always appealing. Judge for yourself.

How To Be A Paid Writer In Less Than A Week

We've all been there. You toil away on your screenplays, only to never be able to a Hollywood insider to read them. So your hard work sits unread on your hard drive. You start to wonder if you're ever going to make it. If you'll ever land an agent. If you'll ever get your script produced. It's time to stop leaving your writing future up to Hollywood. It's time to take charge of your career. We were just like you. We spent years having our work ignored by agents and managers. Then one day, everything changed for us. Now we actually get paid to write. And you can too.

Sounds too good to be true, doesn't it? But the fact is, there's still hope for your unproduced screenplays. They don't need to sit on your computer completely unread by everyone but your Mother. Thanks to the Amazon Kindle and Barnes & Noble Nook, you can turn your unproduced work into digitally published books. Best of all, you can finally be a paid writer.

How's it work? Turns out, it's simpler than you think. The days of printing out your self-published books, then trying to hawk them to brick and mortar stores are over. You can do it all digitally now for free. Through Amazon's Direct Publishing System ( and Barnes & Noble's Pub It Platform (, being published is only a few clicks away.

How easy is it? Well, all you have to do is upload the Word file of your document, add a cover photo and description, then your book will be digitally published and available and in less than three days. You can choose to get paid by check or direct deposit into your bank account.

How much will you get paid? You get to decide what you charge for your material. If you charge $2.99 or less, you get 35% of each unit sold. When you charge $2.99 or more, you get 70% of the royalties. Most of the ex-pat screenwriters that have been successful have priced their work between 99 cents and $2.99.

What can I publish? Screenplays, Short Stories, Stage Plays, Novels, Poetry. Anything and everything if you want. But although you can publish screenplays, I don't know how much of a market there are for them. We've had much better success novelizing our screenplays. But it's entirely up to you.

What do we do once we've published our work? Now you get to be your own agent. How much your work sells is entirely up to your ability to market. You have to become your own agent. You hit up the amazon forums, social networking sites, get the word out about your work. Amazon and B&N both have active and helpful forums for self-published authors (www. kindleboards Is marketing your writing easy? No. But if you put in the effort, you'll see results.

The good news is, many self published authors have gone on to make good money. One author, Amanda Hocking, has sold over 2 million copies, and recently had her books optioned for movies. Another, H.P. Mallory, has sold over 100,000 copies. Are these results typical? No. But the fact is, even if you only sell 100 books a month, that's a hundred more than are reading your work now. And you can finally say you're a paid writer. Besides, it doesn't cost you anything.

Take us for example. We converted our zombie screenplay Undead Reckoning and vampire script Hollywood Vampires into novellas, uploaded them a month ago, and have sold over 100 copies. With our 8 books combined, we've sold almost 500 copies in less than three months. In years writing screenplays, we made no money, and could barely get anyone in Hollywood to read our work. But now the digital publishing revolution is here. Take charge of your career now.

Kevin Michael & Lacy Maran are the authors of 99 cent ebooks Cupid's Dating Disasters, The New Wizard Of Oz, Cruising For A Boozing, Hollywood Vampires, and Undead Reckoning. You can check out their work at:

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Pilots, Pilots Everywhere

First off, I just have to say that I love how we've doubled (tripled?) the number of people following this blog by NOT POSTING for the last 5 months. Maybe we should learn from that. Or maybe that's just the power of getting into NBC's TV-writing program.

Now, to business. Tis the season for TV writers to do any and everything to track down all of the scripts going to pilot and power through them, which is exactly what I've been doing for the past month.

I've managed to get my grubby little hands on all but a few *cough*ALCATRAZ*cough*, and I've been pleasantly surprised with how much I like most of what I've read so far. Viewers who like sci-fi/fantasy and smart, character-based dramas might have a great season of TV to look forward to, depending on what actually gets picked up to series.

What have you all been reading, and what are your favorites?

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Officially on the Verge

Referring to two things here.

One is Lonestar's status as a show on the verge of not only likely getting canceled, but as one that might not even have the second episode aired. I'm a little late to the game here as Amanda and others have already called on people to watch the show, but consider this a reminder before it *hopefully* airs its second episode on Monday. It's not everyone's cup of tea, and frankly I think FOX set it up for failure by placing it in one of the toughest timeslots on television, but if you like smart, nuanced drama, with morally ambiguous (or stunted?) protagonists, it deserves your attention.

Two is our still somewhat shocking acceptance into NBC's writing fellowship program, where we'll be spending the next 12 weeks working with Jen Grisanti, Karen Horne, and the rest of our fellows -- most of whom we've yet to meet -- crafting a spec and an original pilot in the hopes of getting staffed on an NBCUniversal show at the end of it. But right now I can't even think about that; we just want to come up with a kickass spec idea to write. Methinks we'll be watching lots of TV over the next week and a half... wish us luck.