Consumed April 2016 – April 30th, 2016

April showers bring… actually, we really didn’t get any April showers in Los Angeles, and they sure didn’t bring me much of anything because I’m still banging out this iZombie spec. That’s right, it’s still not done. Am I worried?

Airplane_Sweat

Therefore, this update will be short and sweet, right?

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Let’s go.

Television
Gotham
Blindspot
Doctor Who – Finally started the season where Capaldi joined. Have only seen the season premiere but this is my favorite moment so far.

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Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD
iZombie
Justified – Only ever manage to watch this while traveling but damn, it’s good.

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Arrow
DC’s Legends of Tomorrow
Daredevil
Catastrophe – So glad this is back.

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The Flash
Bob’s Burgers
Crazy Ex- Girlfriend – Goddamn, this show keeps getting better and better.

Crazy-Ex-Girlfriend_Becca_Chanukah

Movies
Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice – Best unintentional comedy of 2016.

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Aliens – Maybe one of the best goddamn movies ever made. Just bad ass.

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Music
The Kills, The Big Pink & LA Witch live @ The Mayan  – Holy s**t, I miss live rock n’ roll.

Books
Marvel Comics: The Untold Story by Sean Howe – A must read for anyone considering a career in the comic industry (emphasis on industry). Uncompromising. Brutal. The naked truth.

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Mr. Splitfoot by Samantha Hunt – Creepy as f**k!

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Comics
The Punisher
Tokyo Ghosts
Plutona – In the best possible way, a super hero comic version of Stand By Me.

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Saints
Ringside
Rat Queens
Monstress – Holy crap, this comic is 13 kinds of awesome.

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Injustice: Gods Among Us Year Five
Black Magick
Citizen Jack
Limbo
DC Comic’s Bombshells
Deluge
Karma Police
Past the Last Mountain
The Spire
Locke & Key: Welcome to Lovecraft – Just an epic comic. Can’t wait to read more.

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The Walking Dead
Jupiter’s Circle
Invincible
iZombie
Virgil – A brutal revenge story from a unique perspective.

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And that’s a wrap on April. Would love to chat more but I have a ton of writing so this is me.

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Except that I’ll mostly be doing my writing at night. Mostly.

Aliens_Ripley-Newt

Posted in General

Judging A Comic Book By Its Cover (2016 Eisner Nominees) – April 28th, 2016

Comic book covers can be a controversial topic. Some feel that art by anyone other than the interior artist is tantamount to bait-and-switch. Others see it as a way to maintain buzz — witness one book that had over 20 different covers for their first issue. Regardless, we can all agree that sometimes they’re just beautiful as f**k, so let’s celebrate those nominated for a 2016 Eisner for Best Cover Artists.

David Aja for Hawkeye, Karnak & Scarlet Witch

Scarlet-Witch_i04_Cover_David-Aja

Amanda Connor for Harley Quinn

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Rafael Albuquerque for Ei8ht & Huck

Ei8ht_i01_Cover_Rafael-Albuquerque

Joelle Jones for Lady Killer & Brides of Helheim

Lady-Killer_i01_Cover_Joelle-Jones

Ed Piskor for Hip-Hop Family Tree

Hip-Hop-Family-Tree_i03_Cover_Ed-Piskor

Which cover artist do you love most? Heck, pick two.

Who is your favorite 2016 Eisner nominee for "Best Cover Artist" (pick up to 2 artists)?

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Posted in Industry

Why I Already Lurv Rogue One – April 21st, 2016

By now I assume you’ve all seen the Rogue One trailer.

Me, I already LOVE this so much that it scares me, and I’m not one of those people that loves all of everything blindly. I had my defenses up for The Force Awakens despite the amazing trailer. I love cautiously (ask any of my exes).

So why is this one getting to me?

One, it appears to have a strong female lead that’s not an innocent. She’s been bad. She rebels.

Star-Wars-Rogue-One_Felicity-Jones

Then we’ve got some great casting, like Diego Luna…

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…and Forest Whitaker.

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You know you want to see him grab a lightsaber and go all Ghost Dog.

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But most importantly, this is the kind of Star Wars movie I would have written. See, I’ve been writing spec scripts for all the television fellowships and my favorites have been where I take one forgotten story thread, usually based on a throwaway moment/character/remark, and I weave something brand new from it. I’m the guy that would have asked, “I wonder how they got the Death Star plans?” and then have written that story.  That’s why I’m already in love with this goddamn movie.

Star-Wars-Rogue-One_Cast

Good or bad, I’m ready to be heart broken.

Posted in General

The Emerald of My Eye – April 14th, 2016

If you LOVE comic books then you owe it to yourself to attend Seattle’s Emerald City Comicon. While it has a strong cosplay element…

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ECCC lacks any major television and film presence (no offense to the actors signing but the con had no Film/TV premieres or studio/network panels). The focus of this con, the third largest comic book convention in the United States, is comic books.

Personally, I enjoy the size and scope of its artist alley. It’s great discovering up and coming talent seated right next to comic book royalty. This year, I met plenty of potential collaborators, along with a couple of comic book editors. But enough of my blah, blah. Let’s check out my stash.

Here’s my haul…

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In greater detail, Joyride #1 signed by Jackson Lanzing (Writer), Collin Kelly (Writer), Marcus To (Artist) & Jorge Corona (Cover) and HeartThrob #1 signed by by Robert Wilson IV (Artist) & Babs Tarr (Cover).

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4 Kids Walk into a Bank # 1 signed by Matthew Rosenberg (Writer) and Goldie Vance #1 signed by Hope Larson (Writer) & Brittney Williams. (Artist).

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Power Ranger #0 signed by Kyle Higgins (Writer), Mairghread Scott (Writer) & Corin Howell (Artist) and Archer & Armstrong Gold Edition #1 by Rafer Roberts and David LaFuente.

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Maiden of the Machine: North and South by Caitlin Like and Heist: Best Laid Plans by Danielle DeMartini.

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Wayward #2 signed by Jim Zub (Writer) and The Fix #1 signed by Steve Lieber (Artist).

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Whiteout volume 1 signed by Steve Lieber (Artist) and Stringers signed by Justin Greenwood (Artist).

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A couple of prints by Cameron Stewart. I know the first is Jessica Jones but whoever can ID the second gets a beer.

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Furiosa by Kris Anka.

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Oh, there was also karaoke and comic creator arm wrestling, but some tales are meant to be secrets… okay, here’s a glimpse.

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See ya at the next con.

Posted in Industry

To TV or Not to TV – April 7th, 2016

Last night I presented a beat sheet of my iZombie spec to my writing group and I got some great feed back. I’m ready to make adjustments, jump into a proper outline, and then pivot into scripting. Then it’s time to practice some project stacking. If I’m writing my spec then I need to start (re)breaking my undercover cop pilot. Technically this is a rewrite of a pilot I scripted last year but so many elements have changed that it’s like starting over again from square one… maybe square two.

But what about after that? I then confront the age old question: be a Jack of All Trades or a Master of One? Diversify or deep dive? Date around or commit to one… oops. Let’s ignore that last analogy.

Jack-All-Trades

Do I focus on another television project or do I try my hand at features and comic books? Is it better to have a diverse portfolio or is that diluting my focus? Right now I’m currently brainstorming the following…
-A sci-fi roommate comic book (or possibly a “comic strip”). Think of SPACED after snorting a line of uncut RICK & MORTY.
-An 80s haunted house feature. I’m already building an EPIC soundtrack!
-A New Orleans set monster movie. I started this last year and I really should finish it (but that haunted house idea is calling).
-A pilot about a cult.
-A pilot about stopping Armageddon.

I could keep going but these are the ones that have passed the “let me sleep on it” test. That’s one comic, two features and two television pilots.

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What’s the best thing for me to do: go all in with television or hedge my bets? What have you done in the past? How did it work out?

Posted in Writing

Consumed March 2016 – March 31st, 2016

As we bid “adios” to the moody month of March, I look back at all that I’ve consumed and realize that I need to hunker down and nail these goddamn scripts for fellowship season.

The time for naps is over!

Cat-Asleep-Laptop

Let’s get cracking’!

Television
Arrow
iZombie
DC’s Legends of Tomorrow
The X-Files – What the hell was going on with those last two episodes? Joel McHale, why?

Joel-McHale

The 100
Blindspot
Gotham
Brooklyn Nine-Nine
Bob’s Burgers
The Flash
Crazy Ex-Girlfriend – Everyone finally kissed. Now things can get weird.

Crazy-Ex-Girlfriend_Rachel-Bloom

Lucifer
The Last Man on Earth
Daredevil – Only two episodes in and so far it’s better than last season.

Punisher-Daredevil-S2

Music
Changing Light by Mirah – This will be the year of the goat.

Through The Looking Glass by Siouxsie & The Banshees – Trust that all you need is this song.

Strangers by RAC / Katie Herzig – In love with this song.

Books
Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff – Taking my time with this one.
This Census-Taker by China Mieville – A slight, forgettable book.

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This Dark Road to Mercy by Wiley Cash – The best yarn I’ve read in a long time. Big props to the lovely woman that suggested this book to me.

This-Dark-Road-Mercy_Cover

Comics
iZombie
Injustice: Gods Among Us Year Five
DC Comics: Bombshells
GI Joe: Cobra 2 – Why aren’t they making the Chuckles story into a Netflix series?

GI-Joe-Cobra-2_i02_p02

Star Wars
The PunisherGreg Rucka’s run kicks ass. Only thing I don’t like is seeing Morgan Freeman in this comic.

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Video Games
Fallout 4 – I’ve limited myself to the workshop and helping my settlements when distressed. Otherwise, this game is boxed until June.

Fallout4_Sanctuary-Hills_Workshop

Black Ops 3 – But I did start playing this. Limiting myself to the Safe House until June.

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Comic Conventions

I attended WonderCon and picked up a few goodies, like Faith #1 signed by Jody Houser.

Faith_i01_Signed_Jody-Houser

The Man With No Name print by Claus (he did the end credits animation for Deadpool).

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The Tinkers of the Wasteland Mutated Edition by Raul Trevino.

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A couple of small prints by Raul Trevino.

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A large print by Raul Trevino… yeah, I dig his art and really want to work with him in the future.

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This Rick & Morty #11 comic signed by Pamela Ribon.

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Check out the inside cover…

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Specifically what Pamela wrote me…

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Look closely at the parenthetical…

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You do know the “Pamela Ribon / B.A. Baracus story,” right? Good. Then this update is DONE! Back to writing.

Posted in General

(Non) Update on the Comics Career – March 24th, 2016

Since WonderCon looms large, let’s talk about my nonexistent comics career. The last comic script I wrote was a short piece for the Millarworld Contest.

Newsflash: I didn’t win.

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Since then I’ve been fretting over my iZombie spec and the page-one rewrite of my pilot. If I want to accomplish my goal of actually publishing some sort of comic book or comic strip by the end of the year, I need to start kicking ass. So, where to start? Here’s what I have.

I have an idea. It’s a precursor to a larger idea, a prequel to a bigger story, a gateway drug to awesome town. I’m pitching it as a “sci-fi roommate comic book/strip. Think of SPACED after snorting a line of uncut RICK & MORTY.”

Kieron-Gillen_Jamie-McKelvie

So what do I do next?

-I need to figure out if this is a book or a strip.

-I need to figure out how long the first arc runs. The smart thing is to shoot for a short initial run.

-I need to write some scripts.

-I need to audition artists. I’m looking for someone that can do something like Jake Lawrence.

-I need an editor. There, I said it. If I want to get this thing done on time then I need a drill sergeant. I need a motivational coach.

Brian-K-Vaughan_Fiona-Staples

So, who wants to make some comics?

Posted in Writing

INDEX CARDS RULE(d)! – March 17th, 2016

Why do I love index cards? Because they’re portable, because they’re tactile, and because I can go from this (the A, B, C and D stories for my iZombie spec)…

iZombie-Spec_Index-Cards_01

to this (the 6 acts of my iZombie spec)…

iZombie-Spec_Index-Cards_02

Are index cards for everyone? No, every writer has a different process. Heck, I feel like each of my projects demands a different process. Still, all that matters is that I get to “the end” on time and I finally feel like I have an actual episode on my hands.

Posted in Writing

I Miss SXSW – March 10th, 2016

2016 marks the 2nd year in a row that I’m skipping the SXSW Music Conference and I miss it so bad that I’m about to…

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And not just because I’m missing some of my favorite acts like Crystal Castles

Crystal-Castles_Live-Crowd-Walk

Frightened Rabbit

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and The Kills

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But also because I’m going to miss a keynote by this guy…

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And this lady…

Goddamnit! As all of you as my witness, I’m going to SXSW next year!

SXSW-Music-2016_Logo

[MIC DROP]

Posted in General

You Aren’t Watching Enough TV – March 3rd, 2016

John Landgraf is wrong. There is not “too much television“. It’s that you aren’t consuming enough. And if you’re an aspiring television writer drafting a spec of a current show, then you aren’t watching television correctly.

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Last week I wrote about how watching TV is work for a writer, with an emphasis on the data you need to collect per episode. This week we look at questions you need to answer after you’ve watched at least a half season of your show. Some of this is more data collection. Some of this is interpreting the data collected. Let’s begin.

-Is this show episodic or serialized?

-How many stories (A Story, B Story, etc.) does each episode contain?

-How many of the stories are related to the series threads?

-How often do stories wrap up? Every episode? Every few episodes? Every season?

-What is the typical focus of each story?

-Who is the protagonist of each story?

-Who is the antagonist of each story?

-What is the key relationship for each story?

-What is the theme of the show?

-How is each episode related to that theme?

The above might seem fairly general but the answers are insightful. For example, this year I’m writing an iZombie spec and after breaking down all of season 1 and season 2 (at least up until the winter break), I can tell you with authority that my show is…

-Serialized

-Contains 4 stories (A, B, C, D). For this example, I’ll concentrate on the A Story.

-The A Story (which is always a case of the week story) rarely relates to the series thread (curing zombie-ism).

-The A Story wraps up every episode (it is called the case of the week).

-The A Story focuses on solving the case of the week.

Liv is the A Story protagonist. Clive and Ravi support her throughout the A Story.

-The criminal of the week is the A Story antagonist.

-The key A Story relationship is Liv/Clive (occasionally Liv/Ravi).

Doing that kind of work will bring the show’s structure and mechanics into sharp focus. You’ll clearly know the boundaries, which in turn will help you identify areas where you can spin your magic.

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Now get off your butt and go write a great spec.

 

Posted in Writing