July 1, 2007

Blogs of Hollywood Writers

I've been trolling around the internet, looking for blogs by writers working in show biz. Turns out there are a lot, and some of them offer a really fascinating peek into the day to day work of creating popular entertainment. Have you ever wondered how all of that stuff is really done? What are pitch meetings like? How do you convince a producer that your idea is worth putting millions of dollars into? How does a whole roomful of people mesh together to effectively write anything?

First, the blog of Ken Levine, an Emmy-winning tv comedy writer, producer and director. He worked on "Cheers," and talks about how the now famous "Norm!" moments didn't make sense to the audience at first:

"We filmed the first eight episodes of CHEERS before the series aired. So studio audiences were unfamiliar with the characters. As a result, when we did 'Normisms' they just died horrible silent deaths. Week after week. No one understood it was a running bit. We kept writing them though, staunchly believing when the series finally aired it would catch on."

Then, the blog of John Rogers, another tv and film writer. Here he talks about tv and film writing jargon:

"'the Gilligan cut': When you cut directly from a character declaring there's no way he's going to do something, to him doing it, for comedic effect...'a Bono': a place in the script that, no matter what joke you put there, it fails...'a Squiggy' or 'the 'hello' gag: From Laverne & Shirley. Can only be defined by example..."

And finally, from "If this is LA, I must be a screenwriter,"an example of how the "backwards read" I've been using for catching mistakes in proofreading is good for getting perspective on other types of writing, too:

"I've just discovered the most fabulous excellent rewriting tool ever...The Backwards Read...What you do is go through your script scene-by-scene, starting with the last scene and moving towards the first. This allows you to really view the scene as a separate entity, and make sure it contains all the drama, action, suspense, conflict, and character it needs, without any reliance on the other scenes. Later, when you re-enter the forward world, you can check for flow and all those lovely forward-looking things."

Also worth checking out: Complications Ensue, the blog of writer Alex Epstein.


nora said...

Thanks for all of these great links and ideas.

You can find my Broad Ripple Gazette columns on www.queenbeemusic.com, I need to put all of the NUVO pieces in one place also. Uggh. Being organized is my biggest challenge.

Happy Independence Day!

Bella Rossa said...

Glad you liked the links, Nora! And thanks to your links to your stuff. I especially like your review of the Ted Nugent show. Happy Independence Day to you, too!