Archive for the ‘Writing’ Category


What’s the Best Action Movie Script? – 17. November, 2016

What are the best written action movie scripts out there? Many will say Die Hard


… or Aliens


… or — if you require a contemporary example — Gravity.


What do you think is a terrifically written action movie script?

Posted in Writing

A Personal ZD30: Week 1 – 3. November, 2016

On November 1, I (along with my friend Sylvia) started a personal Zero Draft 30. I’m rewriting a pilot but I’m going back to basics. This week I have to bash out a beat sheet. Can someone give me a beat?


What is a beat sheet? For me, it’s a bullet point list of scenes and sequences. How many beats do I need? I was taught that I should aim for roughly half the number of pages in my script. If I were writing a feature, I’d be aiming for 60 beats (which is half of 120 pages). If it were a sitcom, then 15 beats (half of 30 pages). As I’m writing an hour-long drama, the goal is 30 beats.

Normally I would just find 30 “things” that I want to happen, make sure it roughly resembles a story (beginning, middle, ending), spilt the beats into acts (I usually write a teaser and five acts), and then I’d move onto a treatment.

This time around, I’m being a bit more methodical. After every 5 beats I go back and figure out…

-What’s at stake for each major characters (there are two major characters).
-What is each character’s goal in the scene.
-What is the goal of the scene (for me).

I also ask “is this the laziest version of this scene or can I think of something better?”

So far I’m at 21 beats and it’s already better than the draft I pounded out last November.

Next week: the treatment.

Posted in Writing

A Personal Zero Draft 30 – 27. October, 2016

Short and sweet: I will rewrite my pilot in November and want to run my own Zero Draft 30 (like a National Novel Writing Month but for screenwriters). I have one friend that’s interested (thanks, Sylvia) and one friend that’s tepid (come one, Angela).


Who else will join me?

Posted in Writing

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

A Tale of Two Leads – 25. August, 2016

I’m just starting to rewrite a pilot — the second pilot I’ve started rewriting this year…

… let’s not race over what I just said. I started the year rewriting one pilot, then gave up and moved on to rewriting a second pilot. Why? I was obsessed with fixing the first pilot and it resisted me at every turn.


After months of racing head first into dead ends, I talked to a friend about it. I spent 30 minutes explaining the first pilot and I could see that “sorry I asked” look on her face.


Kindly, politely, she interjected, “you said you had another pilot? What’s that about?”

I took 90 seconds to pitch her the second idea. She practically fell out of her chair as her face lit up like it was the 4th of July. “That one! Oh my God, you should do that one!”


So I shelved the first pilot and started to crack open the second one. And it flowed. So now I’m rewriting that second pilot, but I’ve digressed…

As I was saying, I’m rewriting this pilot and I’ve run into an issue. I have two main characters that I adore and I don’t know which perspective to favor. On the one hand, I have the classic fish-out-of-water character. His story point of view strikes me as the easy audience surrogate. But I also feel like I’ve seen that character arc before. On the other hand, I have a character that’s resisting change. She’s kinda badass but I can already feel that audiences might not find her sympathetic.

I was thinking to write the teaser from both POVs, then let a handful of readers help me decide. But I was wondering if you had a litmus test for this.

Posted in Writing

Time to Wake Up Early – 14. July, 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) – 7. July, 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)?

View Results

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See you at San Diego Comic Con!

Posted in Industry, Writing

Mid 2016 Check-In – 23. June, 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