Posts Tagged ‘Terminator’

 

What Should I Spec for 2016 – 4. June, 2015

Who is a glutton for punishment?

Tony_Illustrated_Web

Me!

Why? Because I’m already thinking about shows I can spec next year. As the greatest limiting factor is the Warner Brothers list of approved dramas, here are the shows on their 2015 list that I’d consider for next year.

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (ABC) – Renewed for season 3

Halt & Catch Fire (AMC) – Season 2 just debuted

Orphan Black (BBC America) – Season 3 currently airing

Sleepy Hollow (Fox) – Renewed for season 3

The Blacklist (NBC) – Renewed for season 3

The Flash (CW) – Renewed for season 2

Arrow (CW) – Renewed for season 4

Gotham (Fox) – Renewed for season 2

Hannibal (NBC) – Season 3 airing this summer

Shows absent from this year’s list but that I think / hope will be on the 2016 one…

iZombie (CW) – Renewed for season 2

Daredevil (Netflix) – Renewed for season 2

Agent Carter (ABC) – Renewed for season 2

Better Call Saul (AMC) – Renewed for season 2

So, which to spec? I’m not looking to spec my favorite show. I’m looking to spec the show that I can knock out of the park. Therefore, let’s look at my newest spec and the 3 previous ones that have placed in contests / fellowships. They are…

The 100

The100_PromoArt

The Americans

the-americans_cu

Nikita

Nikita.jpg

Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles

cameron-tscc.jpg

What do they have in common? All four features 1) bad ass female leads, 2) non-traditional families, and 3) violence/action. Two of the above feature spying/undercover work. Two are firmly science-fiction dealing with the post-apocalypse. Based off that, let’s narrow the list to shows that have at least three of the above elements. Those shows would be…

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. – Bad ass females (May, Skye), non-traditional family (the team), tons of action, sci-fi (super heroes), spying/undercover work

AgentsOfSHIELD_May-Skye

Orphan Black – Bad ass females (the clones), some action (more suspense than action, really), non-traditional family (the clones, Fee, Ms. S., et al.), sci-fi

OrphanBlack_Alison

Agent Carter – Bad ass female, action, spying/undercover work

AgentCarter_Shotgun

Sleepy Hollow – Bad ass female co-lead (Abbie), non-traditional family (Ichabod’s family + Abby), plenty of action, sci-fi, preventing the apocalypse

SleepyHollow_Abbie

The Blacklist – Bad ass female co-lead (Elizabeth), lots of action, spying/undercover work

iZombie – Bad ass female lead (Liv), sci-fi, pending zombie apocalypse (kinda)

iZombie_Liv_Eating

If I had to pick a show right now, it’d probably be iZombie or Agent Carter. I still have a viable Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. idea but it’s getting increasingly difficult to get excited about that show. I also harbor a deep desire to spec Orphan Black but it’s serialized within an inch of its life (but boy, do I love the difficult ones). Did I miss any shows? Did I get something wrong?

Posted in Writing

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).

FX-TheAmericans_Elizabeth_Look

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.

GotG_Group

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_Year-Caprese

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

Colorless-Tsukuru_Cover

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.

InjusticeGodsAmongUs_Cover

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

Destiny_Screenshot

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.

The100_PromoArt

How did I just discover this awesome show?

Favorite Animated Show of the Year – Rick and Morty

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

Now You Don’t Need Editors – 21. September, 2011

So someone created a website where you can upload clips and it’ll edit them into a video for you.

Um, why isn’t this a bigger story? Why aren’t more people FREAKING OUT?!

Apparently they churn out a montage set to music but the company claims their algorithms can analyze your footage and pick out the most interesting parts.

Am I the only person that feels like we’re one step closer to Judgment Day?

Posted in Post-Production

Public Spanking – 2. September, 2011

When I say public spanking, I know you’re thinking of this…

Bettie-Spanking.jpg

But that’s not what I’m talking about. No, I’m talking about a critique I received on my TERMINATOR: THE SARAH CONNOR CHRONICLES spec. As you might remember, I entered my spec into the Austin Teleplay competition. I received my rejection letter with the requisite “thanks for trying, better luck next time” paragraph and that was that.

So imagine my surprise when I received a brief one-page write up. This one-page write up.

Now, allow me to address some of their points.

  • This was my first spec.
  • I was using the pilot script for my formatting (I should have used a regular season episode).
  • The dream sequence is a staple of the series (both the films and series) and I think I use it well.
  • They wanted Danny to be better developed? He’s not in 4/5 of the episode. I’m taking this one as a compliment (“damn, I’m really into this spec and now I wish the show wasn’t canceled” is the exact compliment I’m taking from that. Friedman, do you hear that? You should hire me.).

I thank the AFF for the comments. They should look forward to a FRINGE or CHUCK next year… unless I get hired or into the Disney/ABC Writing Fellowship.

(Fingers crossed)

… to be completely honest, I first wrote that post a long, LONG time ago.  At some point after getting those notes from the AFF (I’m still waiting for word regarding the fate of my feature), I let a friend, who’s also a TV producer (he spent a long time on a very successful but recently cancelled network show), read my TSCC spec.  Here are his notes.

And now you’ve read all the notes I’ve received on that spec, which I’m damn proud of.  As I write more TV specs, I suspect my TSCC script will disappear into some never-to-be-opened folder on my laptop.  At that point, I might post it here for people to read.  Until then, you’ll just have to speculate about a not-too-distant future where computers and robots become self-aware.

Posted in Writing

Previously on… – 11. January, 2010

I have a question and I’m putting it to you, or at least those of you with experience in the scripted television industry.

I wrote a spec for TERMINATOR: THE SARAH CONNOR CHRONICLES and I’m getting ready to submit it to a management company. That show, along with most hour-long scripted shows these days, is heavily serialized. Therefore, should I include a paragraph to catch up the reader, something akin to the “previously on…” most shows employ, like this example from FRINGE?

Also, if my spec occurs at a specific point in the show’s chronology, should I point that out? For example, “this takes place just after episode 3 of the second season”.

Thoughts?

Posted in Writing

New Goals 2010 – 4. January, 2010

I don’t do New Year’s resolutions but I find it important to have goals and reevaluate them at least annually. Last year I had many goals and like a lot of folk I enjoyed some success and some failure. I know that’s not a very American thing to admit but if you work in the entertainment industry rejection is a fact of life. That’s okay. You just have to take another whack at that piñata. Maybe you’ll hit it dead center, maybe you’ll just graze it but you always gotta take another swing. That’s success. Plus it’s important to bite off more than you can chew.

But enough of the aphorisms, let’s get back on topic. What are my goals for the new year?

Write Another TV Spec – Last year I managed to successfully write a TERMINATOR: THE SARAH CONNOR CHRONICLES spec. It placed in the Austin Teleplay contest, was strongly considered for writing fellowships at both Warners and ABC/Disney and a management company is considering me for representation so only good has come of it (plus it was incredibly fun to write). That’s why I want to write another TV spec. I was planning a DOLLHOUSE but now that it has been canceled I’m down to a couple of options. I feel confident that I could write a strong FRINGE or CHUCK. I have to catch up on watching the 2nd season of both but let me get a show of hands from my readers. As you’ll see on the sidebar of my blog’s homepage, I’ve created a poll asking you which I should write. I’m looking forward to your vote. Also, a free beer to anyone that can draw a tie between those two shows (why is it that I feel I can write either of those particular shows?).

Finish My Feature – It’s embarrassing but my first feature has just been sitting there. Yes, it was a hard 2009 and a personal tragedy late in the year really rocked my world but if I don’t do this I’ll only beat myself up more and that yields no good. Besides, finishing this thing is one of the keys to taking the next big step in my career…

Get Hired to Direct – I don’t care if it’s another person’s project or my own, I gotta make this happen. I have to hustle this up for myself. This is mandatory.

Get My Transmedia Project Up & RunningThis is another project that’s just hung in limbo. I now have the HDD I need so there’ll be few excuses for me to not get editing what we’ve shot… but we also need to set up our web presence and strategize our development, following a model similar to THE GUILD (BTW, using “we” just now was not a mistake).

Write a Feature Script – I’ve been working on an idea for a while, now it’s time to develop the outline and then crack open Final Draft.

Develop a TV Pilot – If I’ll be writing another TV spec, I need to have a strong idea for a new show. Here’s where things get a bit tricky. That feature film idea I just mentioned, I think it’d also work as a television show, maybe even be better as a TV show. Unfortunately, I don’t know anything about developing a TV show treatment/pitch and I feel like I owe it to myself to do the feature version first. And heck, if it doesn’t work then I can revamp it as a show ala GLEE. Maybe I should start with my web series idea and just practice serialized short-form storytelling. Maybe you’re wondering why I don’t develop this into a TV pitch? Because it’s raw, crude, funny and skirts the law. How bad to do you want to see my web series now?

And like the rest of the world, I have a laundry list of personal goals. Last year I was rather vague but how about I get specific? This year I’d like to…

  1. Take up a sport.
  2. Use my passport to leave this hemisphere.
  3. Jump out of a plane.
  4. Take a class that isn’t related to filmmaking or computers.
  5. Buy a new acoustic guitar so I can start playing again.
  6. Read four books that have just been sitting on my shelf.
  7. Invest my savings more aggressivly.
  8. Finally go out with Micki.

I’m sure I’ll come up with more but that should occupy my January.

😉

And you? What are your goals?

I Heart Bad Ass Sci-Fi Chicks – 12. November, 2009

But according to Variety I’m the only one because Fox just canceled DOLLHOUSE. Well, at least this time they cancelled the show before I wrote the spec.

Yes, I miss TERMINATOR: THE SARAH CONNOR CHRONICLES.

Granted, DOLLHOUSE had a rough start but the series did improve with each episode. Plus how could you cancel this?

Dollhouse01Dollhouse02Dollhouse03
Dollhouse04Dollhouse05Dollhouse06
Dollhouse07Dollhouse08Dollhouse09

So I guess this means I better get cracking on my CHUCK or FRINGE spec before they cancel one of those. Also, I should start watching FLASH FORWARD and V before they suffer a similar fate.

Time to write!

Posted in Industry, Writing

Mini Meetings – 8. October, 2009

Wondering about the radio silence? Yes, I am back from all my travels but I’m also attending the Filmmaker Forum by Film Independent this weekend. It’s a 2-day seminar on the current-yet-always-evolving state of independent film.

I know, I know, you’re saying “attending a seminar shouldn’t preclude you from blogging regularly” but I also I signed up for their IndieLink. Normally an IndieLink is a moderated meet-and-greet between two groups of up-and-comping professionals. For example, they regularly have ones where directors and producers get together with composers.

For the Filmmaker Forum, they’re a bit differnt. This time around they’re 10-minute meetings with industry professionals. I sent in my preferences expecting to maybe get one meeting but probably get shutout.

Imagine my surprise when I scored four big meetings. This Saturday, in the space of one hour, I’m meeting with a distributor, a creative executive, an agent and a hybrid distribution consultant.

Therefore, I’ve been doing my homework for the past few days. I’ve been studying up on the kinds of films they package/sell/distribute. I’ve also been trying to figure out how I want to spend my time with them and how to make their time with me, at the very least, pleasant.

In ten minutes, I have to tell them how awesome I am without coming off as an arrogant or clueless jerk. I also have to tell them about one rad project I’m working on, a project that will prove to them that I’m a filmmaker they should want to track.

I think I have a strategy.

  • For the distributor, I can talk about my recently shot feature, ask what kind of distribution is typical for a film of its size and how I can best position my film (as is) for niche distributors.
  • For the hybrid distribution consultant I can also talk about my feature but I also have a multimedium project (aka, transmedia) that I can mention. I’ll be sure to ask about the possibilities/realities of generating revenue for such a project through non-traditional streams, how to maximize social media exposure and the possibilities of sponsorships (I keep thinking Nerve or Match might be a good fit for my feature).
  • As for the CE, I can talk about my feature as well as these two scripts I’m cooking up; one a twist on the bromance genre and the other a haunted house/possession story.
  • As for the agent, I should cover the aforementioned projects while also talking about my recently completed TERMINATOR: THE SARAH CONNOR CHRONICLES spec and the CHUCK and/or FRINGE spec I’ll write next… but of course I’d rather be directing those shows.
  • I have to engage these people, get their advice and expertise, while pitching myself (and my works, both current and future) without coming off as a desperate creative.

    So, is there something I’m missing? Am I misguided in my logic and approach? What’s your advice?

    Posted in Education, Industry

    You Will Read My F**king Script! – 11. September, 2009

    Everyone is buzzing about this Village Voice article. Why? I think it’s because in the age of Reality TV Celebutantes sex tapes we love watching idiots make asses of themselves but let’s save that for later.

    First, let me say that “I get it.” When I recently turned in my TERMINATOR: THE SARAH CONNON CHRONICLES TV spec for contests, I suffered over every sentence, every word. Not only did I employ all of John August’s tips but I also read it from last page to first and I reread the first ten pages ten times more than the rest of the script. If I go back and find I dropped an apostrophe from a contraction, I want to commit seppuku in the shower.

    But that’s not everyone’s policy. Terrible writing chocked full of grammar and spelling mistakes isn’t just for the amateur either. I once worked for a small indie film production company run by a titan in the field and they asked me to clean up a certain filmmaker’s script before it went out. This writer/director, who shall go unnamed but I will say that he won Sundance, became an overnight success, still makes films and now also stars in big Hollywood productions, handed in a script that looked like it was typed up by a retarded orangutan. I, who am not an expert in grammar, could spot the syntactical carnage miles from the page… but I digress.

    I get why this guy doesn’t want to read your script. No one wants to hear the truth. I know. The older I get the more honest I get and the more folk look hurt when I give them said honesty but in this industry you gotta develop thick skin. There’s a reason that all the filmmakers that make it are jerks.

    But does this guy have to be such a douche? Maybe. But do I want to hear him rant about it? Let me say this: yes, that guy was a dick for cornering you but you are a dick for writing this article. Hey, I’m sorry if your diamond slippers are too tight. Might I help you slide them off with a chainsaw?

    That’s what I thought.

    Posted in Writing

    “No” Means “Try Harder” – 3. September, 2009

    Before I get bombarded by some womyns group, let me assure you that 1) my momma raised a good boy and 2) I’m talking about perseverance in the film industry.

    I know it’s frowned upon to share defeat but it’s the reality of working as a creative in the movie industry. Recently, I suffered two hits.

    First, the spec commercial I made for the Amazon “Make-Your-Own-Ad” contest wasn’t chosen for one of the top 5 spots. I have no idea how many entries there were but I would assume a lot of people would take a shot at $20k.

    Second, I topped out at the second round of the Austin Teleplay competition. They did send a letter saying that making the second round means I was in the top 10%. Someone even took the time to send me a hand written note with the form letter congratulating my courage for writing on a new show (the recently canceled TERMINATOR: THE SARAH CONNOR CHRONICLES).

    Obviously I’m bummed but if I dwell on the negative while trying to hack my way into this industry, I’d have committed suicide a long time ago. No, instead I take great pride in the work I’ve done, add it to the portfolio and move on to the next short (an actress from my Amazon spec pitched me an idea) and spec teleplay (I’m pretty sure it’ll be a FRINGE but I’m considering a DOLLHOUSE or possibly an EASTBOUND & DOWN).

    As I say to my colleagues, I must heed as well: Chin up, gather your strength and keep moving forward.