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: