Showtime vs Starz: Fight! – August 18th, 2016

Veering wildly from my usual navel-gazing-as-therapy posts, I need your help with one super-duper important decision: Showtime or Starz?

See, I’ve budgeted for a year of one Amazon add-on and it’s down to one of the above cable networks. Thanks to the internet, there’s a great infographic (click it to enlarge — if you dare):


But I’m also thinking about what show I might spec next year. Along those lines, it breaks down like this…

Showtime has…


The Affair


Ray Donovan

Masters of Sex





Twin Peaks


Starz has…
Black Sails

Black Sails Season 3, Black Sails Season 3, Black Sails Season 3, Black Sails Season 3



Ash vs. Evil Dead


The Girlfriend Experience


American Gods

American Gods Season 1 2017

So, help me decide…

Which cable network should I add to my Amazon subscription?

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Posted in Off-Topic

80s X-Men Because They’re Radical, Dude! – August 11th, 2016

Man, it’s been a s**t week. I need a pick me up. That’s why I’m pulling some of my favorite images from Kevin Wada’s #80sXMen call for totally awesome art! Hope they brighten your day. Enjoy.

Posted in General

The Coke Bottle Writers Room – August 4th, 2016

You know the Coke bottle figure, right? Curvy at the top, a little heavier at the bottom…


Yup, that’s it. Now, how does this relate to writing?

A few weeks ago an Amigo broke the news that he’d booked a staff writing gig on a new drama. Awesome, right? I immediately started asking a hundred questions.

Me, “How big is the room?”

Amigo, “Eight.”

Me, “How does the room break down?”

Amigo, “It’s top and bottom heavy, but a little heavier at the bottom, kinda like–“

Me, “Yup, I know, but what are the titles, exactly?”

Amigo, “There are 2 Executive Producers, 1 Co-Executive Producer, 1 Co-Producer, and 4 Staff Writers.”


And I was like…


See, this is the pecking order, from most senior writer to baby writer:

Executive Producer
Co-Executive Producer
Supervising Producer
Executive Story Editor
Story Editor
Staff Writer

My Amigo is in a room with three senior writers, one mid-level writer and four newbies. The way staffing is supposed to work, you get a title (and salary) bump to Story Editor after your first season. I’m pretty sure the show won’t promote four writers to Story Editor. They’ll promote one, boot the other three.

Man, that’s feels cold blooded.

Friends with greater experience, tell me: is this common in the modern television landscape or more of a sexy aberration?


Posted in General

Consumed July 2016 – July 31st, 2016

It’s as hot as a goddamn oven in my apartment. Kinda makes me wish I could live in the fridge.


Therefore, let’s sprint through what I consumed this past month.

Mr Robot – About half way through the first season. Super stylish but this show really is for 20 year old me. Also, I’m a little disturbed about the show’s attitude towards women (something about it is making my spidey sense tingle).


Lucifer – Really fun! Also, did I get named checked in one of the episodes?


Wayward Pines – Not bad but nowhere as good as season one.


Dr. Who

Pacific Rim – Let’s be honest here. There’s a lot that’s fun about this movie but there’s as much that makes this unwatchable.


Star Trek Beyond – Fun. Not great. Not special. But fun.

Train to Busan – More like train to snooze-an.


The Devil’s Backbone – Now that’s an awesome GDT movie.



Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff – Still not done but still a great read.

Pilots – As these have not aired I won’t be speaking about specifics. Maybe a few generalities.
Time After Time – Very promising.
Cruel intentions

Scripts – Same as above.
Bed Rest – Such cleanly written action lines. Every writer should read this.
Man of Tomorrow – Wow! A great “what if…”
Passengers – Simple and smart. A great study in how to escalate drama.
Black Sunday – My friend won a fellowship with this script. Just started and so far it’s really fun.

The Walking Dead
Injustice: Gods Among Us Year Five
DC Comic’s Bombshells
Wonder Woman – I love the way Cliff Chiang draws Diana.


Green Arrow
Scott Pilgrim’s Precious Little Life
Fresh Romance
We Stand On Guard – What if we invaded Canada and they weren’t so nice about it? From the master, Brian K Vaughn, so it’s worth a read.


That’s all I read, watched, consumed. See ya next month.

Posted in General

Au Revoir John August, My AFF Hi Bye Friend. – July 28th, 2016

I was devastated to learn that John August is moving to France.



Yes, I know that his moving will have little effect on the Scriptnotes podcast but John August was my secret “hi bye” friend.

John has no idea who I am but at every Austin Film Festival I would run into him at least once and I’d say, “morning, John” or “afternoon, John” or “hi, John!”

And every time he’d say the exact same thing…

John, “(a slightly longer than expected pause) Hello.”


This has been a staple of my AFF experience since I first attended but now, with John in France, I’m worried that he won’t be at this year’s Austin Film Festival. I will have no “hi bye” friend this year.


(that’s an homage to last year’s deluge)


Posted in Off-Topic

My Favorite Garry Marshall Story – July 20th, 2016

I never met Garry Marshall, I watched a lot of his shows in syndication, but I love some of the stories I’ve hear about him. For example, apparently he first met with Jennifer Jason Leigh for Pretty Woman


JJL, “Wait, so it’s about a happy-go-lucky hooker with a heart of gold?”

GM, “Well, Jenny, you see, she just started hooking, so it’s new to her. It’s still fun and exciting for her.”

JJL, “Hooking. Exciting? Fun?!”

GM, “Yeah. Let’s just say she’s been doing it for two weeks, max. So, you in?”


Amazing, right? Almost next level. This from the guy that convinced us that the coolest dude was a 30 year old that lives over a garage, hangs out with teenagers, is friends with their parents, and drinks milk.


Next level shit, right?

But my favorite Garry Marshall story has to be from The Other Sister, starring Giovanni Ribisi.


GM, “Okay, Gio, now, in this scene, I want you to remember one thing. This is maybe the most important thing for you to remember in this scene.”

GR, “What’s that, Garry?”

GM, “You have to remember that you’re retarded.”

[… they shoot the first take…]

GM, “CUT! Whoa! Gio, come here. Yeah, okay, so you’re not that retarded.”


…and apparently he gave the same direction every day of the shoot.

Okay, yeah, I know, that story is probably not true but I love it.

Garry, thanks for the awesome tall tale.

Also, I’m at Comic Con. Find me and say, “hi!”

Posted in General

Time to Wake Up Early – July 14th, 2016


I gotta start waking up earlier to write. It’s not because I think I’d be a better early-morning writer; I’m a strong afterwork writer. It’s that when I get home I either have commitments (the joy of three writing groups) or it’s so freakin’ hot in my apartment that it’s near impossible to concentrate. Sometimes I can do public spaces but sometimes I need peace and quiet.

Therefore, getting up earlier seems like the answer.


So how the hell do I do that? First I need to look at my normal routine. I’m up around 6:30a, get to work just before 8a. I would like 60 minutes of uninterrupted writing, but that means I would probably need 30 min for getting up, making a coffee, cursing the dawn, that sort of stuff. So now I’m looking at waking up around 5a. Okay… let’s breakdown this plan into bite sized tasks.

5a is the target. Currently, I wake up around 6:30a but I go to bed around Midnight. 6.5 hours isn’t enough sleep, I’m always tired, but let’s work with what we got. So, if I roll everything back, I need to be in bed by 10:30p. That’s doable. I just watch less TV, play less PS4. That’s good. That’s fine.

I also need to prep my morning so I minimize hurdles. Growing up, my Mom always nagged me, “if you have everything ready before you go to bed, then you won’t be rushing in the morning.” I need to heed that advice. My computer needs to be booted up and ready to go. I need a glass of water within arm’s reach. If I’m making coffee, it’s ready to brew. My backpack needs to be packed for work. If I’m going to try to exercise before writing — friends, note that this is when the plan spiraled out of control — then I need my workout clothes right next to my bed. Also, I need to know exactly what I’m going to write. I need to set a writing goal before going to bed.

Lastly, I should set an alarm for going to bed. I should have an alarm set for 10p that says “stop playing Fallout and get ready for bed.”

What else? What have you tried that’s worked for you?

Posted in General, Writing

Best Word Using (2016 Eisner Nominees) – July 7th, 2016

Last but not least, let us celebrate those writers that were nominated for this year’s Eisner award.

Jason Aaron for Southern Bastards, Men of Wrath, Doctor Strange, Star Wars, Thor


John Allison for Giant Days


Ed Brubaker for The Fade Out, Velvet, Criminal Special Edition


Marjorie Liu for Monstress


G. Willow Wilson for Ms. Marvel


And now it’s time to vote for two of your favorite.

Who is your favorite 2016 Eisner nominee for "Best Writer" (pick 2 writers)?

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See you at San Diego Comic Con!

Posted in Industry, Writing

Consumed June 2016 – June 30th, 2016

If it weren’t for all the stupid double shifts I worked, I’d say that June was a pretty good month for consuming content.


Damn it, Cube! I said “month,” not “day!” Roll the list.

Catastrophe – Not as good as the first season, but that Frenchie… YAS!


Dr. Who
Better Call Saul – Still waiting for season two to get great.


The Flash
Agents of SHIELD
Lady Dynamite – Very weird, but I liked it.


Brooklyn Nine-Nine
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt – Maybe the most I’ve liked Tina Fey, ever.


Legends of Tomorrow
The 100
The Last Man on Earth
The Path – Had to quit after three episodes.


Agent Carter
Wayward Pines – I really hope it’s as good as the first season.


Mr Robot – Goddamn good (but immediately sensed the Fight Club influence).


Flaked – Three episodes in and I know this is what I’m supposed to watch while washing the dishes. #FlakedSoWhite


11.22.63 – Couldn’t even finish the pilot.


…holy smokes, I’m in a bad mood. I know why. The day-job asked me to do something terrible and it’s poisoning my soul.

Godzilla – Watched it on a plane and I cried… NOT (but it’s not a bad movie).


Edge of Tomorrow – Also watched on a plane and damn this is a great movie.


Finding Dory – Made me smile.


The Girls by Emma Cline – Wanted so much more from this book.


Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff – Taking the slowest read but loving it.

Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff

Training Day – See, I’m trying to read more pilots before they’re produced but since it’s not out I don’t want to say anything.

Bed Rest – Same as above, expect that I’m loving it.

Jughead – Goddamn great. Chip & Erica are gold.


The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl – Apparently I’m madly in love w/ Erica this month.


The Walking Dead
Injustice: Gods Among Us Year Five
DC Comic’s Bombshells

Bright Star – The lead was A-ma-zing!


The Crucible – So damn good but two of the directing choices left me scratching me head.


See ya in a month.

Posted in General

Mid 2016 Check-In – June 23rd, 2016

Hello June!

June Carter Cash

You are a hot bitch… of a month. No seriously, it’s been over 100 degrees in my tandoori oven of a bedroom. I wish that were an excuse for my pathetic creative output but it’s not. I lost my mojo the first part of this year and… blah, blah, blah. You don’t want to hear me whine. You want to see the half-time score card. Let’s roll.

Feature – Haven’t touched it since last year but I do need to bang out a draft this year.
Comic Books – Just started working on my script again. Going to San Diego, Portland and possibly New York to look for an artist.
Pilot – Just starting rewriting one of my pilots. I’m hoping to have a draft done by September.
Spec – HEY! I ACTUALLY DID THIS ONE! I wrote my iZombie spec and have sent it to the WB Writers Workshop and the NBC/Universal Writers on the Verge fellowship — still need to submit to the Final Draft Big Break contest and the NHMC fellowship.

As for the other goals:
-Still looking to take a full fledge class this year but I did take a great seminar with Meg LaFauve, considering seminars with Aaron Sorkin and Corey Mandel.

-I’ve told a few people that I’m looking for work as a Writer’s Assistant or as a Writer’s PA. Okay, I’ve told exactly one person but it’s a start.

-I’m still looking for a sport. A couple of people are trying to convince me to take up running. One person wants me to start doing triathlons… but maybe I should start with something a little less ambitious.

-I still need to do more traveling. Yes, I’ve been to New York and Seattle this year. And yes, I’m traveling to San Diego, Portland and Austin later this year but I would love to still love to see Canada.

-I am looking to get more music back into my life.


So that’s me. How has the first half of 2016 treated you?

Posted in General, Writing