Posts Tagged ‘Austin Film Festival’


Focus on the Positive – 20. October, 2016

With the conclusion of last week’s Austin Film Festival Writers Conference, I have wrapped up a year long stint of con and festival attendance. I’ve been to Austin, Portland, Long Beach, Los Angeles, Seattle, Phoenix, San Diego and New York — and I am exhausted. I can’t imagine how real con warriors (those that make more than a dozen appearances in a year) do it.

In that year I’ve learned everything from how to pack more efficiently (leave the hoodie, bring a flannel shirt)…


…to how to find a nicer bathroom at a con (trade secret).

But maybe the most important thing I’ve learned: focus on the positive because…


Time to get back to writing.

Also, I’m already planning my trip to Emerald City Comicon 2017. Who’s with me?

Posted in General

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

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

Hacking Sleep: The Cat Nap – 19. May, 2016

When you’re dead tired, do you know how to fight exhaustion? By sleeping! Specifically, by taking a cat nap.


Want to maximize that nap and not accidentally doze off for three hours?

1) Set an alarm for 15 minutes. Don’t sleep for longer.

2) Set a second alarm and put it far enough away that you have to get up to shut it off.

3) Nap with the lights on.

4) Drink a small tea or coffee before napping.

As for my writing, the deadlines loom large. Then I learn this fun little fact.

So I’m submitting the second most popular drama spec? Guess I can expect a lot of competition.

Cool. Bring it.

But first…


Also, don’t forget to vote for your favorite comic book cover artist. This poll will close in one week.

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

View Results

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Posted in General

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

I’m Gonna Git Edumacated – 10. December, 2015

I’ve been an absolute demon when it comes to writing this year — more on that in a later post. Still, sometimes I feel like a total slack jawed yokel.


Why? I suffer from a near fatal case of “Impostor Syndrome“. This is why I’m always pushing myself. This is why I’m in four writing groups. And this is why I’m looking for a screenwriting class in 2016.

Here’s what I am considering:

UCLA Extension – I took two of their classes earlier this year. One was great. The other was okay. I might take another but I feel like I need to branch out, find something that will push me to the next level even faster.

Script Anatomy – I know two people that have taken their classes and both gave glowing reviews. To boot, one did the NBC/Universal Writers on the Verge program and the other is currently in the WB Writers Workshop, so their recommendations have weight. I also dig that S.A. is almost exclusively geared towards those seeking a television career and those applying to the popular spring fellowships.

Writing Pad – I have one friend that’s currently taking their TV Comedy Pilot class and so far she finds it valuable. The classes offered cover both features and television, as well as other formats like publishing and memoir writing.

Corey Mandell – One guy in my writing group took one of Corey’s classes and he couldn’t stop raving. Corey seem to offer only a couple of classes, but maybe his strength lies in teaching the basics, laying a rock solid foundation, instead of diving into specific topics.

Pilar Alessandra – I’ve been listening to her podcast after meeting a writer that was devoted to her (I should note that this writer then went on to attend the WB Writers Workshop and is currently staffed on The 100). I think Pilar has a lot to offer feature writers but I know she’s new to teaching television. Then again, like I said, my acquaintance got into a popular writing program and got staffed, so Pilar must be pertinent when it television.

Jen Grisanti – I first heard of Jen at the Austin Film Festival where writers from Los Angeles, Seattle and Austin extolled her virtues. I’ve met a few people that have taken her teleseminars — she doesn’t really offer classes, per se — and they’ve had good things to say.

So, have you taken classes from any of the above? If so, did you love it? Hate it? Indifferent? Maybe you could offer me better advice if I told you what I’m looking to get out of a class.

One, I’m looking for a class, not another degree, or an ongoing sequence of learning, or a cult. At best, I might take two classes this year. It all depends on time and budget.

Two, I’m looking to concentrate on television. I’m looking to jump into television either by getting into a fellowship or by begging my friends for a job. Yes, I want to write features and develop comic book ideas but the tip of the spear is TV writing.

Three, I want an in-person class. I want people that will judge me for being tardy and guilt me about deadlines.

Four, I’m looking to write a new pilot or rewrite one of the two pilots I wrote this year… but I might take a class to nail a spec script — yes, I’m that serious about getting into one of big fellowships.

So, do you have a suggestion for me?


Posted in Writing

The #ZD30SCRIPT Awakens – 3. December, 2015

I did it.


… and then I was like…


But before I completely collapse, how about a postmortem?

I’ve had the germ of this idea for a while. It started with the typical “wouldn’t it be cool if…” conversation you have with friends. We toyed around with writing a feature script but it never coalesced.

But the idea still banged around in the old noggin.

Cut to October of this year. I started seeing all those Zero Draft Thirty posts and I was kinda interested in joining. It wasn’t until the Austin Film Festival that I fully committed. At the fest I met a handful of people that kept talking about ZD30 and I caught the bug. I enlisted two festival goers to be my ZD30 buddies and I was off to the races.

While in Austin, I thought about the idea, let it tumble about. When I got home, I started working in earnest. Once I knew the beginning, ending, and the general show engine, I started my beat sheet. It only took me a day to come up with 27 story beats, then break them into a Teaser and 5 Acts. After that I wrote a 7 page outline. Honestly, I feel like I could have started writing from the beat sheet but I think it was the outline that got me through the toughest parts of Acts 3 & 4.

I then started scripting. Initially I planned on an 18 day schedule where I had to write 3 pages every weekday, 5 pages every weekend day. I started off on track but started to pick up speed around day 7. I finished my pilot in 15 days (note: that was 15 days while also holding down a full-time job).

I am now the proud father of a 68 page one-hour pilot that’s in desperate need of a rewrite, and I couldn’t be happier.

Now who’s ready for the hottest remix album of 2015?


Note: I stole that joke from someone on Twitter but I’m too lazy to look it up right now.

Posted in Writing

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