Archive for the ‘Festivals’ Category


Hitting The 2016 Austin Film Fest Like Godzilla – 13. October, 2016

Today I’m at the Austin Film Festival and I’m THIS excited to meet you!


This is me…


This is my bio…


Come find me!

2016 Austin Film Festival Half Hour Spec Competition – 6. October, 2016


And to prove that I am, in deed, bipartisan, here are the half-hour specs that placed in the second round (or better) at this year’s Austin Film Festival.

TV Sitcom Specs 2016
Create your own infographics

What can we take away from this gorgeous infographic?

-Everyone and their mother wrote a Broad City spec (and they were mostly good).

-Comedy thrives on Fox.

-Second and third season shows rule (just like in the one-hour competition).

That’s all for now. See you in Austin real soon!

Posted in Festivals, Writing

2016 Austin Film Festival One Hour Spec Competition – 29. September, 2016

Another year, another complete whiff with my iZombie spec.


Still, I don’t want to be that sourpuss that gripes. I want to be that sourpuss that gives you an awesome infographic about the drama specs that made the second round or better at this year’s Austin Film Festival.



TV Drama Specs 2016
Create your own infographics

So what can we glean from this beautifully presented info?

-The popularity of Daredevil and iZombie prove that comic books rule the small screen.

-Writers love to spec CW and Showtime series the most, Netflix and AMC the second most, NBC and FX third most. Also, there’s at least one talented writer watching Audience and El Rey, respectively.

-Folk are busting out the 2nd season shows.

Congrats to everyone that placed.

Posted in Festivals, Writing

Hacking Sleep: Water Logged – 12. May, 2016

With all these upcoming deadlines, I need to sleep less and wake up earlier. How can I ensure that I wake up early? There’s this method…


Or I can drink a lot of water before bed. I’ll let The Simpsons explain.


5:04AM? Yes, please. And wish me luck.

But before I go, I see that the Austin Film Festival has been tweeting stats about their spec competitions. That all nice and such but let me provide you with robust infographics.

First, One-Hour Dramas.

TV Drama Specs 2015
Create your own infographics

And for my Half-Hour Sitcom brethren.

TV Sitcom Specs 2015
Create your own infographics

Break a leg.

Posted in Festivals, General

Looking Back at AFF 2015 – 5. November, 2015

I put my foot in my mouth often. Only at the Austin Film Festival Writers Conference would calling Pamela Ribon “the B.A. Baracus of the fest” — to her face — result in a “save” that turns into a story she can dine out on.


This was my third time attending AFF and, while it has only been four days since I left Austin, I can tell you that it is absolutely the best thing any aspiring writer can do for themselves. Why? Well, yes, the panels are awesome; show of hands, who attended Michael Arndt’s 3.5 hour presentation on insanely great endings?


…pardon, Academy Award winner Michael Arndt (PS, he can’t talk about Star Wars).

And yes, the parties will stuff you so full of brisket that you’ll be crying smokey, beefy tears.


But it might be the sense of community that makes AFF the best fest for writers. I had an amazing time meeting old friends and making new ones. This is why you attend. These are the people that read your next script and give you the notes that’ll propel you in the rankings next year. These are the people that will introduce you to someone looking for a project just like yours. These are your future peers. That’s why you must attend AFF.


Okay, enough of the mushy reminiscing. Time to get back to my Zero Draft Thirty pilot.

Posted in Festivals

AFF 2015 Day 4 – 1. November, 2015

This is it. The last day of the fest. Are you ready?


Let’s do some panels.

10a, Hair of the Dog Brunch – Gotta start the day right. Extra points if you’re still wearing your Halloween costume.

11:30a, Creating and Sustaining a Kick-Ass Writer’s Group – Newsflash: I’m currently in four writers groups so this is pretty much mandatory for me.

1:15p, Building Worlds: The Development Side – I got a few “world building” projects in my future, so it’d be good for me to check this out.


1:15p, ENDINGS: The Good, the Bad, and the Insanely Great with Michael Arndt – Kinda says it all, no?

3p, The Write Program: Labs, Fellowships, Competitions, and Workshops – Seeing as I want to land one of the television writing fellowships so I can muscle my way into a staff writing job, attending this panel is a no brainer.

And that’s a wrap! I’m still around Austin for the rest of today (and some of tomorrow), so if you want to try Gourdough’s or Shake Shack or just get into trouble, drop me a line or find me in the Driskill Hotel Bar.


Over and out.

Posted in Festivals

AFF 2015 Day 3 – 31. October, 2015

So yesterday Austin experienced a once in a century deluge. I spent the entire day — 3 panels, 1 roundtable, lunch and one BBQ supper — soaking wet. I mean like-a-dog-caught-in-a-downpour wet.


But today is a new (not as rainy) day. Here’s what I’m thinking of attending.

9a, Pros and (Comic) Cons – Shane Black (Iron Man 3), Christos Gage (Daredevil) and Nicole Perlman (Guardians of the Galaxy) dissect the art of successfully adapting comics into film/television — and then my nerd heart explodes.

10:45a, Based on a Short Story: Sleepy Hollow – the guys behind the film and television show do a compare and contrast. Could be damn interesting.


10:45a, The Three Page ChallengeJohn, Craig and Kelly Marcel put a handful of writers through the wringer, live and in person.

12:30p, Dual Protagonists – Do I spend another session with John as he explores two-handers…


12:30p, Structurally Sound – Do I spend another session with Craig as he takes a new angle on structure?

2:45p, Breaking In? Check! Now What? – You gotta plan for what happens after you jam your foot in the door and trip over the (un)welcome mat.

4:30p, Die Hard vs. Lethal Weapon – That panel title alone makes my little geek heart scream out in joy.

11p, Heart of Film Conference Costume Party – So I don’t have a costume. Anyone want to help me put one together at the last minute?

So, are these the panels you’re looking for?


Happy Halloween, y’all!

Posted in Festivals

AFF 2015 Day 2 – 30. October, 2015

What’s up! You enjoying your AFF? I had Torchy’s so I’m excellent!


Here’s what I’ll be checking out today.

9a, Dystopian World’s – I write a lot of apocalypse fiction so this would be a good panel for me.


9a, Hybrid Writers: Diversifying Your Portfolio – I do write television, features and comics, plus I sometimes direct, so maybe I should attend this one instead.


9a, No Business Like Show Business – It never hurts to know a little more about the business, right?

10:45a, Roundtable: The Art, Craft and Business of TelevisionYo, been trying to meet ya.

12:45p, Toy Story 3: Mistakes Made, Lessons Learned – Am I gonna cry all over again?

1:30p, Finding Representation: The Writer/Rep Relationship – It’s a business about relationships, right?


1:30p, The Creative Carer: Practical Tip for Starting Out – Dreamers gotta be practical, no?

3:15p, Scriptnotes, Live! – Party time with John & Craig!

4:45p, Film Texas BBQ Supper – No description needed.

11p, Filmmakers Happy Hour – It runs two hours, not one, so I’m very happy about that.

And on a complete tangent, apparently I’m rebooting The A-Team with an all female cast and I just locked in Pamela Ribon for B.A. Baracus. I think Pamela wants Jenny Lumet to play Hannibal or Face but I’d like to add Nicole Perlman to that line up. Who would you cast?


Posted in Festivals

AFF 2015 Day 1 – 29. October, 2015

Welcome to the first official day of the 2015 Austin Film Festival Writers Conference.


Technically, things kicked off last night at the Film & Food Fundraiser/Party (where I stuffed my face with Shake Shack).


Of course once I wandered down to the Driskill Hotel Bar, I kept meeting old friends and making new ones.


Enough about last night. Here’s what I’m attending today…

12p, Opening Remarks – Shane Black (Lethal Weapon) and Terry Rossio (Pirates of the Caribbean) would like to welcome you to Fantasy Island… I mean AFF.

1p, Anatomy of the Writers Room – Writers from Justified and The Americans lay down the law of the writers room.


1p, The Life of a Screenwriter: Structure On and Off the Page – Practical tips from Justin Marks and Terry Rossio.

2:45p, The Hart Chart – I’m told there will be graphs.

5p, Austin Film Commission Opening Reception – A good excuse to meet, mingle and drink.

11p, WGA West Late Night Welcome Party – Hey, I love your library!

See ya at the fest.

Posted in Festivals

The Polite Con-Stalk – 15. October, 2015

I recently met with a friend that’s going to the Austin Film Festival and she asked me what’s my goal. Am I going to corner development executives so I can pitch them my pilot? Am I going to schmooze up agents and managers in the hopes of locking in some new representation?

“I’m going to politely con-stalk interesting people.”

I got a funny look but when I explained myself she stared back at me like I was Jeff Goldblum in Jurassic Park explaining Chaos Theory.


After a year of going to comic book conventions where I wanted to meet artists and editors, I developed this “strategy” (good lord, I hate calling it that because, as you’ll see, it’s not really a strategy). What I’d do is go up to an artist’s table, check out their wares, ask a question, strike up a pleasant conversation. Maybe I’d buy something, maybe not. Then the next time I saw them I’d say “hi!” and tell them how much I enjoyed their book/print/poster/whatever. Then I’d move on. When I bumped into them yet again — remember, we’re both at a convention so there are only so many places to hang out — I’d say “hello,” maybe offer to buy them a coffee. Then maybe we’d walk across the con floor and we’d talk about a shared interest.

…okay, I know this might seem like the lamest strategy in the world but a guy I met at Emerald City Comicon in March recognized me at Rose City Comic Con six months later… AND WE HADN’T KEPT IN TOUCH. He asked me, “what are you up to these days?” I told him I was looking for an artist for a short script I was writing. I asked if he would ever be open to working with a new writer. He told me that he’s pretty busy these days, but that I should drop him a line once I have finished the script.

See, there you go. It worked. My “strategy” to be a polite, informed guy that asks thoughtful questions that can spark a short, memorable conversation resulted in my being remembered half a year later by an artist whose work I admire and now there’s a chance we could collaborate. That is what I call “The Polite Con-Stalk.”

Or, as your mom probably advised on your first day of kindergarten, “be nice, try to make friends, but don’t try too hard.”


Posted in Festivals