Blogging? What's that?

All my thoughts are formed in 140 characters or less these days.

Yes, you can now follow me on Twitter @awrymag. Aren't you just the luckiest!


Pushing Daisies resurrection

On Tuesday, I was scoffing at the idea that Pushing Daisies would ever come back, and then this from the Hollywood Reporter this morning:

Finally, ABC will finish off its former Wednesday lineup at 10 p.m. on summer Saturdays, airing remaining episodes of "Pushing Daisies," "Eli Stone" and "Dirty Sexy Money." "Daisies" returns to the schedule May 30-June 13, "Stone" from June 20-July 11 and "Money" from July 18-Aug. 8.

I also found out in the news this morning that my former boss, who was pretty useless and a bit of a coke fiend, has been promoted to head of a large media company. That really grinds my gears.


Trends in speccing

Did an informal poll at that West Side meet-up the other night. Turns out, everyone is writing web series. Almost all of the people I talked to are writing a traditional pilot and also working on web series at the same time. When I started to think about it, I realized that all of my TV-writing friends who aren't writing film scripts are dabbling in web now.

So if you want to keep up with the cool kids (and create a cool calling card for yourself) the web is seriously where it's at.

Don't expect to make a mint though. Even some friends with semi-successful series have not made any money writing for the web. Then again, how much money are you currently making with your traditional specs?

Another trend I've noticed lately is kids' TV. I've had a few friends mention that they're working on specs of Suite Life and are hoping to break in that way. How hard is it to cross over from kids' to grown-up telly? Anyone know?


Happy Hour TV Writers on the West Side

For those of you in LA, a chance to drink and talk TV with other writers.

Monday, April 6
5:30pm to 10pm

Happy hour ends at 7pm and karaoke begins at 10pm, so choose your time zone carefully! I believe the extremely capable Amaya has secured a private space (upstairs) for us. I hope to see you there (and I hope my work schedule will actually let me go)!


Who gives a crap about a few adorable seals anyway?

Canadians have a reputation for being affable sorts, with big hearts and liberal views. Why then do we still think it's okay for hunters to bash the crap out of defenseless baby seals as they lie in their nursing grounds? 

Now it's your turn to bash some sense into the heads of the Canadian government and the EU Governments who may ban the import of seal products.

Find out more on the Humane Society website, where you can also see some seal pictures by noted fashion photographer Nigel Barker. 

Or read more about it right here:

International organizations all agree that this large scale commercial seal slaughter is unsustainable, does not economically benefit Canada (it provides a miniscule return and is partly government subsidized), perpetuates the unnecessary use of fur in fashion, is cruel and is not engaged in by aboriginal groups.

This link to the Humane Society has a list of the things you can do to help save seals https://community.hsus.org/hsi/hsi_protectseals_actions.html. This includes contacting the Canadian government, supporting a boycott on Canadian seafood, and supporting the EU's proposed ban on seal product trade. 

This link is a quick one which makes it easy to send an email to the PM. https://community.hsus.org/campaign/global_harper_protectseals08

This is a link to the International Fund for Animal Welfare where you can support a senate bill to end seal killing. http://www.stopthesealhunt.ca


LA traffic tips

It is raining, people. Turn on your effing headlights!

This has been a public service announcement.


So tough, so killer, so Fox

I feel like I should blog because I haven't blogged in millennia and I'm a bad bad blogger for that. But then my lazy brain reminds me I'm on holiday and besides that post I wrote (but never posted) about how disturbing it is that both Echo in Dollhouse and Buffy in Buffy need to have a male watcher/handler/father figure out there taking care of them didn't really hold water when I started to think about it more. I could revise it but it's on my other computer, so that ain't gonna happen.

Instead, here's Eliza Dushku and Summer Glau laughing at the ludicrous Fox promos they had to do for Sci-Fi night. As if men need any more prompting to watch those two kick ass in hot outfits each week.


Now I'm gonna go put my feet up and read the National Geographic and drink a nice tall gin 'n' tonic. No lemons though, cuz we didn't think to buy any. Damn. Poor me.


So many choices

You wait all week for a decent TV show, and then, bang!, three come along at once.

Tonight at 9pm: Battlestar Galactica, Friday Night Lights, and Dollhouse!

Thank the gods for DVRs. Now I just need to decide which one to watch first.


Some things i watched this week

There's a lot of great and some terrible TV swirling around out there this week. And I've been watching all of it.

Friday Night Lights
One of the best episodes ever. Seriously. There is still not a single show, past or present, that I would rather write for. For which I would rather write. Whatevs. Anyway, this week's episode just tore my heart out. I had tears streaming for the last half-hour, so much great stuff going on. I still want to marry the coach, even though I totally love Tammy as well.

After that unbelievably wonderful episode, I couldn't stop myself from watching the "Next Week On FNL" spoilers. Good. Effing. God. They're bringing back Jason Street? And doing a Julie tatoo storyline? Please, spare us. My two least favorite characters doing boring things unrelated to football or the coach or anything we care about as an audience. It will be a miracle if they can pull it off. But then, FNL is a pretty miraculous show, so we'll see.

Trust Me
I kinda love Eric McCormack, maybe as a human being, rather than an actor. Not that I know him or anything, but he just feels like he'd be an awesome uncle or something. And Thomas Cavanagh has a certain scampy charm, so I figured I'd give Trust Me a look, even though I don't want to see another workplace drama ever ever ever. The pilot episode was pretty decent. Enough that I'll watch the next ep anyway. 

I'm intrigued with the set-up (odd couple best friends become boss and employee) and I even liked the one female character, who is just like so many writers I know. (One female, in the whole office though? I know the ad world is sexist, but it's not that sexist, is it? Tangent. I have a black male friend who is an ad copywriter. He says when he steps into agencies for the first time, everyone just gapes, like they don't understand why he's not out playing basketball or something.) So yeah, I'll be watching another episode or two. But TNT has seriously got to do something about their online video player. It's pants.

I had 10 unwatched episodes of Leverage on my DVR. I was always intrigued, but a heist show? I mean, that's even worse than a workplace drama. I find whenever I'm watching anything remotely procedural, I just kind of tune out when the characters start talking about the evidence, or the symptoms, or the crime, or whatever. When they get back into personal stuff, I snap back to attention. And that's the problem with the Leverage pilot, it's all heist, no personality. OK, not 100% true, but true enough that I tuned out a good 80% of the time. I now have 9 unwatched episodes on my DVR, and I'm not sure if that will ever turn into 8.

Battlestar Galactica
Everyone loooved the Battlestar before last, but I thought this week's was better. But that's like saying, this Red Velvet cupcake is better than that Double Chocolate. I mean, who cares which one is better? I want to eat them both.

Wife Swap and Supernanny
Yeah, I know it's traitorous to watch reality TV. And I never ever do. But Friday night there was something about these two shows the glued me to the TV, hard. I was just stuck. On Wife Swap there were these two poor little kids who were so obviously just-- stupid-- there's no other way to say it. They were several stops short of Dagenham (as Will Self would say, obliquely, unless you've lived in London) and their parents were home-schooling them. Except they weren't really. They were just letting the kids take care of their own education. They could barely write. They could barely speak a full sentence. It was awful. I couldn't look away. 

And then on Supernanny, the nanny had to work with a family of 10 kids and an alcoholic dad, who was also clearly gay, but no one mentioned that. The clueless mother still wanted two more children, even though everyone around her was, like, nooooooo! Poor Supernanny just wanted to give her a good slap, but I guess that would have been unprofessional. Anyway, it's good every once in a while to watch these shows and remember that real life is so totally effed up, nothing I could write could be half as interesting.

Of course, I have not been watching Dollhouse, but I've been reading the interviews and watching the commercials and waiting and waiting. I'm more excited than when Studio 60 was about to air. And we all know how that turned out...


Loving the internets in America

For my new contract, I've had to spend a lot of time looking at TV and movie sites on the web, nosing through their content, assessing their video players, seeing how they have things organized, that kind of thing.

Now, I already knew there was a lot of good stuff to be watched online, but really, I had no idea the extent of it.

For a start, I found 30 Days on Fancast. I loved the first season of this Morgan Spurlock series that's like wife swap without the nuptials. I'm definitely going to dig into seasons 2 and 3 when I get the chance.

After seeing Milk the other night, I said to my man, "that was pretty good, but it just makes me wish I'd seen the documentary about Harvey Milk instead". Guess what, Fancast has that, too. Sweet. 

From an interview with Joss Whedon I discovered The Guild, which must be the best web series ever. It's at least as funny as your average episode of The Office, and it makes me want to be best friends with Felicia Day. Already finished watching all of the eps, so hurry and make more please, best buddy!

I used the Showtime website to watch the first episode of United States of Tara. I can't decide which is more lackluster, the actual show or the Showtime website. Both made me never want to return, which is too bad, because I loved Juno and I love Toni Collette, so I was hoping for good things from UST. Maybe it'll get better as it grows into itself. Which I will never know unless they put more episodes online for free.

Flight of the Conchords premiere episode was on Funny or Die for a while. Oh wait, it's still there. I love this show almost enough to fork out for HBO. Only, I think I can wait until the DVDs come out.

Then there's Hulu, which has House and Lost and Scrubs and all the other shows my DVR
 insists on accidentally not taping each week. Plus, Hulu's website is  waaay better than any of the network's sites, which just adds to the watching pleasure for me. Plus, on Hulu, you can watch a load of old favorites like The O.C., and Party of Five (remember when Jack was
 Charlie?),  and um, Silver Spoons, and Sliders. 

Really? Who is watching Sliders?

What does all this mean, besides even more hours logged watching the goggle box? Well, to me, it's just TV pointing itself in the right direction. Why tie us down to schedules and 42" screens when we can watch anywhere, anytime, ad-supported and free? I love it. 

Now if only someone could -- a. tell me where to watch True Blood for free and b. get the BBC to open its borders so I can watch their video, too -- things would be extra super cool.

Guess I can't complain though, since my Canadian and UK friends are locked out of all the goodies I've just mentioned. And it's snowing where they live. Ha. 

Right now, in sunny California, I'm gonna watch that episode of the O.C. where they use the word 'yogilates' like 300 times. Golden.


It's an addiction

Every single day I think about quitting. I'm kind of like a cancer-conscious smoker, who thinks about quitting every time they light up. Every time I sit down at the keyboard I think "Maybe I should just quit. Maybe if I quit then I'd have time to have more fun and relax and just enjoy life."

So why don't I? Why don't you? What keeps us writing? 



Girls can write, too

Watching the Golden Globes this year and looking at the list of Oscar nominees, I was struck, as I always am, by the monoculturism (did I just make this word up? I like it) of the nominees for best screenplay. So many white men. What is it that makes white guys movies' so much more award-worthy? Don't ask me, I'm just a woman.

Being a woman, I can't really think of a clever segue right now, so I'll just get to the point. 

Write Girl, one of the coolest non-profits going, has their annual gala event coming up in just a few short days (Jan 29 to be exact). It's the Bold Ink Awards, where they honor some of our favorite non-male writers for their stellar achievements. Even better, they welcome members of the public to attend and find out more about the organization. 

If you don't give a crap about anything besides your own writing career, think of it as a chance to hob-nob with these snazzy writers:

Wanda Coleman, Poet
Jennifer Crittenden, Screenwriter
Naomi Foner, Screenwriter
Gigi Levangie, Novelist/Screenwriter
Sonia Nazario, Journalist
Gina Prince-Bythewood, Screenwriter/Director
Carolyn See, Novelist
Dian Warren, Grammy-winning Songwriter

More info on the Write Girl website.

Call this number for tickets 213-253-2655. Mention you were referred by Celine Malanum for a super-duper extra discounted rate (keeping in mind that if you happen to be a very rich person, the proceeds go to the foundation, so you could consider paying the full ticket price).


Watcha watching?

Friday Night Lights starts this week. Friday, January 16, 9pm, NBC. Watch it, or else.

Oh, and yay! for Anna Paquin winning the Golden Globe for True Blood. I know awards are wank, but God I love, love, love that show.


Breaking all the rules

I've been known to blab on at length about the powers of a solid outline. About how you need to know where you're going before you start going there. (In the real world, I'm a Google maps addict.)

But you know what? Sometimes you just gotta write.

I have 51 pages of my new pilot drafted. It's rough. Of course it's rough, but you know what, it's a damn sight better than the half-finished outline I have for that last pilot I tried to write. 

For this current pilot, my outline was a bit rough when I started writing scenes, but I know the story I want to tell. I've been rolling it over in my mind for about a year now. So I'm flying by the seat of my pants a bit. I'll clean it up in post. Anyway, it feels good to knock out pages. It feels good to get something done.

So that's it. That's my advice for this post.

Sometimes you just gotta write.