Posts Tagged ‘Contest’


A Look Back at 2014 – 31. December, 2014

Was your 2014 a goddamn roller coaster ride? Mine was. There were lows, there were highs. One of which was finishing my third spec and making it to the Second Round of the Austin Film Festival Writers Conference (as well as making the semifinals of the Final Draft Big Break Contest).


For those keeping score, I’ve placed three times at Austin with specs for The Americans, Nikita, and Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles. To me, that’s definitive proof that I can write. Television is a good arena for me. Now I need to level up… but that’s for my next post. Let’s get to the fun. Let’s get to my “Favorite _____ of the Year”. Ready? Let’s do this!

Favorite Movie of the Year – Guardians of the Galaxy

Guardians of the Galaxy was pure fun, an unexpected joy. With this movie Marvel proves they can do just about anything and we’ll go see it.


Here’s to many more years of fostering good will amongst the fans.

Favorite Line from a Movie This Year – Snowpiercer

Favorite Album of the Year – Year of the Caprese by Cherub


Cherub was my discovery of 2014, my favorite live act of SXSW and their album is equally awesome. Go. Pick. It. Up.

Favorite Book of the Year – Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki & His Years of Pilgrimage by Haruki Murakami


I enjoyed the hell out of this book. Yes, I wanted to truncate the first third, loved the second third, and wanted to rewrite the final third but the language is so lush, so seductive, it’s irresistible.

Favorite Comic of the Year – Injustice: Gods Among Us

I’m not that familiar with the DCU — I grew up a Marvel kid — but the Injustice books are an awesome introduction to the characters.


Yes, it’s an alternate universe not beholden to company wide events but it’s such a great, heartfelt story that you won’t feel cheated. If you want to get into DC comics, this is the best introduction.

Favorite Game of the Year – Destiny


I know. Everyone hates the game. The acting is awful but it hooked me… for about 3 months straight, until the first DLC dropped. Plus we can thank them for this awesome music video.

Favorite Television Show of the Year – Hannibal

What ya cooking, Dr. Lecter?

What ya cooking, Dr. Lecter?

I loved the first season of Hannibal and I couldn’t fathom how the second season could get any better. But it did. It was freaking awesome. I’m very excited for the third season. But let me also say that over the Xmas break I discovered The 100.


How did I just discover this awesome show?

Favorite Animated Show of the Year – Rick and Morty


You must watch this phenomenal show. Need proof? The best thing about Rick and Morty is that it can have both DMX and Mazzy Star as part of their soundtrack.

And with that, I say adios to 2014.

Posted in Off-Topic

Four Acts And A Teaser – 12. May, 2014

That, my friends, is what makes up an episode of The Americans.


I’ve finally finished a draft of my spec.

Wait a second. Those of you that are astute readers of this blog thought this was due back on April 30. That was the early deadline and if listening to ScriptNotes, Nerdist Writers Panel and Children of Tendu has taught me anything, it’s to never deliver anything early.

Now that a draft is done, it’s time to rewrite. I have 17 days until my first deadline but really I’m only going to give myself 12. Why? Because I still need to write all the supporting materials, like a bio, statement of purpose, etc.

And what about Disney and that pilot they want? I have a very rough draft of a pilot and 31 days until that deadline.

Will I make it? Tune in next time to find out.

(Gotta end a TV post with a cliffhanger, right?)

Posted in Writing

Disney Sends Me Into A Panic – 3. April, 2014

Yesterday I caught an update from blogger, and my Twitter crush, Amanda Pendolino. In short, Disney has changed the application requirements for their writing fellowship. Not only do they want a spec of a current show, they want an original pilot too.

Crap. I don’t have a pilot written.

Help Button

So my choices are either 1) don’t apply to Disney, who offer a one-year fellowship that pays $50k, or 2) get a pilot written by June 13. That’s in addition to my comic book pitch (due April 18) and my spec of The Americans (due April 30).


If I do submit to Disney, then my schedule might look like this…

Week One (Now – April 6)

  • Tear Apart the First Draft of My Spec – I just printed out the first draft of my spec and I know I need to create a new outline and breakdown the character/emotional conflicts/arc for each scene. It’ll be a lot of work but it’ll give my script a dynamic energy, a sense of speed and flow. I also need to watch some episodes of The Americans so I can have all the characters’ voices in my ear. This will take up the majority of my free time this week/weekend.
  • Send Out Comic Book Pitch for Critique – I signed up for the Comic Book Creator Connection at WonderCon on April 18 and I need to have a 1-page document and a 2-minute pitch ready to rock by then. This week I will start sending out my pitch document to some trusted readers for notes.
  • Logline Due for Pilot – I must be able to articulate the plot, interpersonal conflicts and emotional territory of the pilot in 3-5 sentences. I can work on this whenever I have 5 spare minutes.

Week Two (April 7-13)

  • Start Rewriting Spec- I will to start from page one and concentrate on the Teaser and Act One this week. I’ll focus on the character’s needs/wants and give the dialog a major face lift. If I can rewrite 3-4 pages a day, I can make good headway while digging deep into the pages.
  • Rewrite Comic Book Pitch Document Based on Notes – It’s 1-page. People can get back to me in a week, right?
  • Practice Comic Book Pitch- I can probably do this in the shower and while driving in the car.
  • Start Outlining Pilot –  I’m going with a basic cable format (thinking FX or AMC) so it’ll have a teaser plus five acts. An hour a day should help get this rolling.

Week Three (April 14-20)

  • Continue Rewriting Spec – This week I’ll be concentrating on Acts Two and Three, but I’ll still be reviewing the script from start to finish. Again, 3-4 pages a day over two weeks will get me to somewhere between pages 42-56.
  • Polish Comic Book Pitch & Execute – I give my pitch Friday. Also, when the heck will Top Cow announce their winners? Friday night I’m getting ripped at Trader Sam’s. Feel free to join.
  • Keep Outlining My Pilot – I ‘m aiming for a 5-10 page outline.  Over two weeks that’s less than a page a day. That’s doable, right?

Week Four (April 21-27)

  • Start Writing Pilot – No bones about it, I have to hit 3 pages/day. By the end of this week I’ll be at page 21.
  • Last Chance to Rewrite Spec Draft – This week I’ll focus on Act Four (the show is a teaser plus four acts). Once that’s done, I’ll start a polish by reading my script from the last page to the first; it helps freshen the script for my tired eyes. I should do this for 2 hours a day minimum.

Week Five (April 28-May 4)

  • Submit Spec – It’s due April 30. Maybe I’ll pay someone to do a spelling/grammar check.  Once submitted, I’m calling an Uber, I’m getting a stiff drink, I’m eating a steak and I plan to sleep at least 12 hours.
  • Keep Writing Pilot – Another 3 pages/day will get me to page 42 by the end of the week.

Week Six (May 5-11)

  • First Draft Due – That Sunday I should have a 62 page pilot script. I will print the first draft. It’ll be ugly but it will be a first draft.

Week Seven (May 12-18)

  • Take Two Days Off – It helps me regain perspective and it allows me to rest those creative muscles. I’ll exercise, eat healthy, catch up on other shows, read.
  • Tear Apart My First Draft – I always do this with a pencil and a printed script. I figure three days of reading and notes in the margins.
  • Start Rewriting – If warranted, I’ll start moving scenes and rethinking action.  But if my outline served me well, I’ll be concentrating on dialog, character and tone. I’ll try to give the whole script a pass but I’ll really concentrate on the Teaser and Act One.

Week Eight (May 19-25)

  • Second Draft Due – This week I’ll be concentrating on Acts Two and Three, but I’ll still be reviewing the script from start to finish.

Week Nine (June 2-8)

  • Third Draft Due – This week I’ll focus on Acts Four and Five. Once that’s done, I’ll start a polish by reading my script from the last page to the first; it helps freshen the script for my tired eyes.

Week Ten (June 9-13)

  • Fourth Draft Due – Last chance to be awesome. Also I’m sure I’ll have a ton of supplemental material to hand in, such as a resume, bio, statement of purpose, all the stuff you leave until the last minute, right?
  • Submits Spec & Pilot – Friday I hand in my materials. And then I think I might take the weekend off and head out of town.

And that’s how I would get the job done. Now I just have to decide and commit.

Posted in Writing

WB Will Not Read My Script – 7. February, 2014

I have to abandon my Orphan Black spec. Why? Because Warner Brothers refuses to read it.

Allow me to elaborate. The one big reason why I’m writing a spec script instead of a pilot, which has more value in the market, is to have the fresh, requisite sample when I apply to contests and fellowships run by the Austin Film Festival, NBC/Universal, ABC/Disney, CBS, Final Draft, The NHMC and Warner Brothers. So what’s the problem? WB has one unique requirement: they only accept specs from their approved list of television shows. Guess what. Orphan Black isn’t on that list.


So I’m faced with two options: write my Orphan Black script and forget applying to the WB Writers Workshop or pick another show to spec from the WB approved list. Is it worth having one less potential opportunity just so I can keep writing the spec I started or would it be better to to start something new and have a greater field of possibilities? Considering that Warner Brothers is a television powerhouse, I have to apply to their program. I have to pick another show to spec.

[my inner, armchair economist and Freakonomics-listener is pretty sure he just employed both “The Upside of Quitting” and “The Sunk Cost Fallacy“.]

So now I have to choose a new show from their list. Those that both interest me and intersect with my personal branding are…





The Americans


I’m giving myself one week to decide. In that time I’ll read some scripts, watch some shows and come up with at least 2 log lines per title. Wish me luck.

Posted in Writing

Not Bad Nikita – 18. October, 2013

Final Draft just announced the semifinalists for their Big Break contest and look at whose name I spotted.

Shameless Self Promotion

Shameless Self Promotion

So that makes a Second Round finish at the Austin Film Festival Teleplay Competition, a semifinalist with the NBC/Universal Writers on the Verge program and now this (a bit more context here).

I guess people are responding to my NIKITA script.  I’m doing something right.

[End humble brag]

Posted in Industry, Writing

2013 Austin Film Festival Half Hour Spec Competition – 16. September, 2013

Still waiting to hear back from an organization so I made another data visualization. This time I tackle the sitcoms. And please forgive my spelling of “Curb Your Enthusiasm” as “Curb Ur Enthusiasm.” (stupid infographic).

TV Sitcom Specs

| Infographics

Next post I’ll do a very unscientific extrapolation of my findings.

2013 Austin Film Festival One Hour Spec Competition – 12. September, 2013

This year I wrote an hour long spec and I’m just starting to hear back from all the big fellowships and contests.  So I don’t go nuts from waiting, I made my first infographic (who doesn’t love their information in graphic form?  I know, right.).  Enjoy, and please feel free to suggest improvements.


TV Drama Specs

| Infographics

And as you’ve probably guessed, my spec is up there.  As for its fate, that’s for another post.

Amazon Spec: Uploaded – 31. July, 2009

Apologies for the blogging blackout but I’ve been furiously working on my Amazon spec and I can now declare it uploaded. My entry is in. It’s done. It’s out of my hands.

Here’s where I would give my debriefing but I’ve only slept 9-12 hours in the last 3 days so I’m not exactly coherent; I promise to blog about the production experience tomorrow.

Right now I just want to go home, shower, crank some Appetite for Destruction, drink heroic amounts of vodka and flirt with reckless abandon.

Hey, you, with the really big…eyes… how you doin’?

Amazon Spec: Shoot Day – 22. July, 2009

Today is my shoot day. That splash of panic has washed over me. Now I’m but resolve and a few random to-do’s (I sure hope Rite Aid sells a 1GB CF card).

24 shots in one day, most of them involving stop-motion animation. This will be a long day.

Wish me luck.

Tomorrow: on my way to Comic-Con

Amazon Spec: First Call For Help – 17. July, 2009

Yesterday I pulled out the old Oxygen 8, hooked it up to GarageBand and pounded out a tune, more of a beat, actually. I also shot some photographic research and doodled a few storyboards (first graders can draw better than me but my boards get the job done). Later today I gotta take care of a legality but then it’s dressing the set and a mock runthrough.

This idea is coming together.

Holy, I think I’m doing this.

So this is where I come to you, the reader. There are two things I’m gonna need.

  1. I need voice talent, especially folk that can do a few voices, the kind you might hear in a cartoon.
  2. I need someone to help me animate. I’m shooting stop-motion animation. I’d say the key qualities I’m looking for are attention to detail and patience.

And for an example of my only serious attempt at stop-motion animation, here ya go.