What is a character’s voice?

15 10 2013

find-your-voice

What is wrong with me? I’ve neglected my blog for far too long. When last we spoke I was in the middle of shooting my short with Anjelah Johnson AKA Bon Qui Qui. It was produced for FOX digital platform that has yet to launch. That was months ago. I absolutely adored writing those short-coms as they were being called in the biz. Seriously, Bon Qui Qui is hilarious and an amazing character and I have no idea how i was able to capture her voice so immediately. It actually scared me how easily I took to her sassy voice. I wonder if my parents would be that surprised that i could easily turn on attitude! I highly doubt it. Fine i have attitude!

But it got me to thinking about how to capture a character’s voice. So what is voice? Think about how two different greet you. The first person says: “Yo, what up?” The second person greets you by saying: “how do you do?” These two people are saying the same thing, but how they say it reveals a lot about who they are, if they’re casual or formal, what they are like around people.

So now when you’re writing a spec script how do you mimic the voice of a character someone else has created? Well, ever since I started writing spec scripts, I would sit my butt in front of the TV and watch back to back to back to back to… well you get the point. I would watch entire seasons of shows just to understand how the characters speak to each other. It’s really one of the most effective ways to get that voice into your brain so you can then get it out on the page. Try it and let me know if it’s an effective strategy for you! Or tell me what you do to get a character’s voice into your head! Let’s share what works so we can have great scripts coming out of our group!

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bon Qui qui part deux

25 06 2013

Hey guys,

I can’t wait for you to see my Bon Qui Qui Short com on FOX digital.  It turned out really well. The shoot went great. Sometimes like I mentioned before you write a for a character that is so fun, full of life and outrageous that you just can’t help yourself be so delighted in what you do for a living!  Here are 2 photos from the shoot including the amazing, incredible Anjelah Johnson who is not just Bon Qui Qui but an amazing stand up comedian!  Go see her show in a town near you!ImageImageI can’t wait for you guys to watch it! I’ll keep you posted.  Other than that, are you guys writing? PItching? Thinking?  what’s up?  I hope you’re all feeling good about your fellowship submissions.  Good luck!





Bon Qui Qui

18 05 2013

Hey guys, i’ve been super busy these days. I sold a short to FOX last month and it had to be shot within the month so naturally my life was all about getting it done.  The webisodes star Bon Qui Qui, a character from Mad Tv who is ridiculous and hilarious and just about the most awesome character around! I had such a blast.  The actress/comedian who plays Bon Qui Qui is Anjelah Johnson and she’s amazing and funny and one of the nicest folks in showbiz.  It was an honor to work with her.  

I can’t believe how well i was able to write for this outrageous character!  It was such a blast.  You work on some projects where you never care about the show or the characters (mostly because you’re working for a horrible person who is insane, with an ego and a mean streak who is also a coward.. yes they exist in TV as well.  never work for a certain person with the initials WC.)  and then you write a quick digital short and you fully embody and embrace and  love who you’re writing for and have the best time doing it.  I simply adored it! We shot last week and i can’t wait for you all to check it out.  stay tunedImage!

 

 





Will Smith and John Lassiter TV script contest

14 03 2013

Hey guys, I just discovered a cool new contest from Will Smith and John Lassiter’s company, Overbrook. Free to enter and you can win cash and script deal! I mean, say what? Run don’t walk to this new contest. Only a week left to enter so get on it. This is the way you get into hollywood if you have a great script!

It is being judged by Overbrook Entertainment, the award-winning entertainment production company co-founded by two-time Academy Award nominee Will Smith and acclaimed film producer James Lassiter

• The contest is free to enter

• Two winners will win $5,000, a meeting with Overbrook Entertainment, an opportunity to have their TV script further developed, and an 18-month option agreement on their script

• The contest submissions end on 3/21/13 by 1 p.m. PT

• The contest has two categories: a 30-minute comedy and a 1-hour drama

 

http://bit.ly/YKjcNP

 





TV writer fellowship season

11 03 2013

guy-at-computer

Hey guys, so it’s about that time of year!  You’re all thinking about what scripts should I submit for the disney or warner brothers or nickelodeon upcoming fellowships.  It’s pretty exciting!  Check out my posts below on which comedies and drama specs to write and which ones to straight up avoid.  Why waste your time on a script that might not be use-able in 6 months right? 

I’m here to help get your scripts into shape! I read them and give you tons of notes to address some of the story problems or character problems that all us writers come across in our daily writing!  I mean every single writer is given notes on the most granular details of their scripts, but what ends up happening is those notes always  make the script better.  I have no seen a time when notes ruined a script… okay, that’s not true. One time on That 70s Show a writer got re-written and I’m not entirely convinced it was needed! (BTW it was not me!) Sometimes writers on staff get re-written and the re-write is totally linear. But whatevs it happens.  But it won’t happen to you! So contact me, send me your scripts and let’s do this!

 





I love notes!

8 02 2013

 

Image

Every writer has to deal with notes.  We get tons of notes. Notes from friends who read your script when you’re first starting out. Notes from your agent when you finally get one, notes from your showrunner on your first job, more notes from your agent on everything, notes from your friends on what you’re wearing (maybe that’s just my situation)

No matter when you get them, notes can be hard to deal with. Most times I get notes from TV network or studio execs and it takes my brain 2 days to work them out on how i’m going to apply them to my script. 

Anyway, I love giving notes. That’s why I love being the tv script doctor!  And for all those who have been my clients, you know I give insanely thorough notes, pages and pages of notes, really specific and also over all general notes. But we’re writers and we’re used to getting notes.

Well I just was sent a video promo from my friend who I went to Business School with.  He asked me to give him some feedback on his video commercial for his new website. I said of course, because I LOVE GIVING NOTES!  Well, I just finished and for a 50 second commercial, I gave AN ENTIRE PAGE OF NOTES! I’m talking an entire word document single spaced page of notes.  But he’s not a writer and I’m wondering what he’s thinking now!  But given my MBA and my notes giving skills I know this next version will be so much better and clearer as to what the product is and that’s what we all need!





TV Writer Fellowships and Writing Programs

6 02 2013

universal_entrance

 

Is everyone getting their writing on to start applying for all the fellowships deadlines coming up in the next few months! Last year I was reading 3 scripts a day for clients who were applying. Some of you literally waited until 3 days before the deadline, but no fear, we crushed it!  It was awesome.

Anyway, here are some of the upcoming deadlines I want you to start thinking about!

First up is the NBCDiversity Initiative for Writers. This appears to be an ongoing rolling application but since shows staff up from March – June that’s when the real fun begins and you should shoot for trying to get your script in then.

“In order to further encourage diversity among our writing staffs, NBC provides funding for a diverse Staff Writer position, open to all scripted NBC Primetime Series. These positions are filled with writers selected and hired by the Showrunner/Producers of each show, with the guidance of the network and studio(s). Though submissions are read on an ongoing basis, positions are generally filled during the March – June staffing season.

If you would like to be considered, and have material for submission, please follow the steps listed below.

  1. Send an email with your name and address to diversityinitiative@nbcuni.com. Please indicate in the email that you would like a copy of NBC’s submission release form for the Diversity Initiative. You should receive a submission release form from the NBC legal department within a few weeks.
  2. Complete, sign, and return the submission release form to the NBC legal department at the address provided to you.
  3. Once the release has been approved by the NBC legal department, you will be contacted and informed of the proper procedure for submitting your material. If you have an agent and/or manager, your material MUST be submitted through them.
  4. Once received, your material will be evaluated and you will be notified of any potential opportunities.”

DIVERSITY AND FELLOWSHIP PROGRAMS

ABC FELLOWSHIP
Writers become employees of Disney | ABC Television Group and will be paid a weekly salary of $961.54 ($50,000.00 annualized) plus any applicable benefits for which they are eligible in accordance with the then-current Company benefits plans. The program is designed to expose writers to key executives, producers and literary representatives – all essential in the development of a writing career. Additionally, while in the program, writers have the opportunity to work one-on-one with a current programming or development executive to create spec scripts of series from the current broadcast season. The ultimate goal is to prepare the writers for television staffing.

http://www.abctalentdevelopment.com/index.html
ACCEPTING SUBMISSIONS – May –June

NHMC LATINO WRITERS PROGRAM
During the five-week, Los Angeles-based, intensive program which takes place in November and December, participants have the opportunity to develop at least one television spec script under the guidance of an entertainment industry professional. Those writers accepted into the program will have the opportunity to build relationships with broadcast network executives.

How to Apply
Deadline for submissions is typically late August to early September.  Please visit http://www.nhmc.org/writersprogram/ for further information and application details.
ACCEPTING SUBMISSIONS – April – August

NBC WRITERS ON THE VERGE
Writers on the Verge is a 12-week program focused on polishing writers and readying them for a staff writer position on a television series. We are looking for writers who are “almost there” but need that final bit of preparation with their writing and personal presentation skills. We particularly encourage writers of diverse backgrounds to apply.
ACCEPTING SUBMISSIONS – May-June

CBS Diversity Institute Writers Mentoring Program
CBS’s program focuses on opening doors: providing opportunities to build relationships with network executives and showrunners; to support new and emerging writers in their efforts to improve their craft; and to develop the interpersonal skills necessary to break in and succeed.
ACCEPTING SUBMISSIONS -March 1, 2012 – May 1, 2012

Fox Writers Intensive
Writers selected will be invited to attend a six-week session at Writers Boot Camp and be offered a consultation with WBC mentors during which time writers will rewrite and improve their scripts. The goal is to execute scripts at a level of professional quality equal to those purchased by Fox in the course of its normal television development.
ACCEPTING SUBMISSIONS – November

Warner Bros. Writer’s Workshop
The Warner Bros. Television Writers’ Workshop consists of three components, Lectures, Simulated Writer’s Room, and Staffing, all geared towards preparing the writer for a successful career in TV writing.
ACCEPTING SUBMISSIONS – May – JUNE 2013

THE NICKELODEON WRITING PROGRAM

http://www.nickwriting.com/home/

WGA TRAINING PROGRAM

http://www.wga.org/content/default.aspx?id=933

GETTING INTO THE INDUSTRY TYPE FELLOWSHIPS

ABC PRODUCTION ASSOCIATES PROGRAM
The one-year program offers access to entry-level positions within television production management for individuals from diverse backgrounds. Candidates work closely with ABC Studios personnel and executives who mentor the associates and take a personal interest in their progress. The ultimate goal is to help prepare promising individuals for future career advancement within the television industry.
DEADLINE TO APPLY – Spring 2013

www.productionassociatesprogram.com

Production Apprentice Program

The Production Apprentice Program is a one-year program within production, where participants work both in a corporate environment as well as on-set. The program will expose the candidate to all aspects of physical production. From working with top level Production Executives at the studio to supporting the production office on-set, you’ll gain real first hand experience. This is a one-year program that is designed to foster a pipeline of talent who are ultimately seeking mid to high-level positions within television production. This is not an NBCU staff position. (CHECK ON NBC’S WEBSITE FOR DEADLINES)