Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Kidnapped being yanked after 5 episodes

No word on if production has halted. I'd say we can consider Kidnapped cancelled.

Link: the futon critic

Happy Halloween!

Last year, I was a a script in development hell. Yes, I know. What do I do to top that? Well, I almost choked, until I found what most would consider to be a run-of-the-mill costume, but you add one prop and whammo -- you've got a theme.

So this year, I was a SCRIPT DOCTOR. (My sister there is 'Grapes of Wrath'. Yes, she's a genius.)

And here's a picture of me from the L.A. Zombiewalk earlier this month.

I'm running out of screenwriter-themed costumes. I may go as writer's block next year.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Start your Engines Minear fans!

Tim Minear's latest and greatest has gotten the greenlight from Fox for 12 episodes. Production starts very soon, with episodes possibly able to air in the spring. Details here: Variety.

Saturday, October 28, 2006


I finally went through the blogroll -- if you haven't posted in 4 months (yes, I was kind this time), you were removed from the blogroll. Added some new faces who link here. I guess you can consider this one of my semi-annual call for links. If you are a blog owner who is linking to 'Shouting' or you have some other fabulous reason I should link to you, comment below. You may get included in the next batch of updates.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Script orders vs. pickups

Interesting article on how the networks seem to be taking a 'wait and see' attitude on most of their shows this year. More scripts were ordered for 'Help Me Help You', 'The Nine', 'Men in Trees' and 'Studio 60'.

The upside: writers are still working and the shows aren't just wholesale cancelled. Downside: full season pickup isn't a sure thing, even with script orders these days.

Link: Four more score script orders

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

An exercise in insanity

Not that I need any other writing projects, but there is something very alluring about this. Could you allow yourself the creativity to write a novel in 30 days?

Link: National Novel Writing Month - Content

Monday, October 23, 2006

The return of a screenwriter

There is no feeling in the world like that of a renewed sense of purpose in life. I have had these moments on a few times in my life, but each time led me to that proverbial fork in the road, whereupon the direction I selected seemed justified. It is also the feeling one gets when you drink a rootbeer float too quickly -- the delicious ice cream gives you brain freeze while the fizzy rootbeer tickles your nose and throat.

Yeah, kinda like that.

I have attended the Screenwriting Expo 3 times in the last 5 years. I was there the first two years, skipped a year, went last year. When I saw the dates of the Expo overlapped those for the Austin Film Festival, I knew I faced a quandary.

But I'm getting ahead of myself.

I made the decision to go to Austin a year ago. The day after some of my online friends returned from their sojourn to Texas, I found myself a tad jealous. They had such stories of camaraderie, intellectual stimulation, good contacts and lots of free booze. I knew this was something I wanted to to experience myself.

But what about the Expo? I'm good friends with many of the people who make that event happen. I'd miss Tim Minear! Ronald D. Moore! The Pixar guys!! Chris Soth and Fun Joel! And thus the aforementioned quandary.

The economics of course screamed 'go to the Expo'. I live in L.A., the 4 day pass was $125 plus whatever I'd spend on the panels or any parties (and the parking). I'd have to fly to Austin, get a hotel room, buy the (very expensive) Producer's Pass if I wanted to get the full benefit of the event.

But the decision could not be made on cost alone. And while some would value William Goldman over Shane Black or Oliver Stone over David Milch, I had to decide what I wanted, what I needed out of one of these events. While the Expo would provide me with a pool of 4,000 people to potentially meet, the AFF Screenwriting Conference would give me 10% of that number, but I'd meet directly with agents, managers, producers, accomplished writers, and spend time in the evenings with a wealth of aspiring filmmakers and writers, not to mention all of the people invited panalists I had heard during the day. The decision was easy. I had to go to Texas.


I'm home. 5 days later, I feel reborn, renewed in spirit and focus. All I want to do right at this moment is write. All I can think about doing for the next several weeks involves writing and working my long term plan. While I expet the Expo would have energized me, I'm not sure it would have given me this feeling of rebirth. I feel the NEED to be a screenwriter, not just the WANT.

And to quote Robert Frost:

Two roads diverged in a wood and I --
I took the one last traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Kidnapped and Vanished get 13, not yet cancelled

Apparently the network spin on these two shows, is that they will only run 13 episodes, but they COULD be renewed, depending on performance. Uh, ok...

Link: the futon critic

Runaway Cancelled

And is pulled of the schedule immediately. Also looks like Las Vegas won't return this Friday, but rather next Friday, so 1 vs. 100 has a chance at capturing an audience.

Link: CW's Runaway Out; NBC's Las Vegas Delayed

You know the drill...

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Headed to Austin

I'll be at the AFF Screenwriting Conference for the next 5 days. Hopefully I'll see some of you there. I am going to try to make it to the Scribosphere gathering on Sunday which Fun Joel is coordinating.

I'll post a few blog entries about the goings on in Austin. See ya soon!

Monday, October 16, 2006

They stole my watchlist!

Have you looked at the Futon Critic home page lately? They have their own 'Show Watch' list. Hey, guys, you could've hired me for that gig, ya know.


Brothers & Sisters picked up

ABC has given the show a full order. Updating the Watch List...

Link: the futon critic

Sunday, October 15, 2006

What to Watch

Joe writes:

I'd like your help, Shawna. I'm tired of answering "NO" when people ask if I watch this show or that one, and my patented answer of "I don't really watch TV shows" is not helping me make friends or influence people.

If I had to watch two or maybe three shows on TV right now, which would you recommend?

They may not be enough to pry my attention away from movies, but at least I can reference your diligent blog each week and bamboozle people into thinking I know what I'm talking about.

Joe, I'm glad you came to me. If there is one thing I want to do, it is help people watch good quality television. Of course, I wish I could put you on a diet of about 12-15 shows, but I think for you, adding 3-4 shows to your diet should suffice. Your question leads me to believe that you have other motives than just watching good TV. No, you want to watch what other people are watching, to hold conversations. I suspect you've already been asked if you are watching 'Show X' or 'Show Y', so you will probably already see my answers coming. But stay tuned to the Bonus Round.

So, what should you be watching *right now*?

The 'right now' is important -- it eliminates 2 shows from contention right off the bat because they do not have new episodes airing *right now* (24 and Rescue Me). So, since we are going to work with what is airing right now, today, new episodes, we'll narrow the list. I also don't want to put you on a strict diet of one-hour dramas. That might be too much for your delicate system. I also feel it is important to give you options. If one type of show isn't your thing, there's a substitute available (consider it the vegan/vegetarian option!)

So, let's start with sitcoms. It's a shorter list.

Two shows. Two sitcoms which will sate your diet. One is animated, one is not. You get a choice on animated, but there are different reasons to choose either.

The Simpsons or South Park The Simpsons has been around for 85 years (ok, it only seems like that long), and it is still potent. You can watch any episode of the show, anytime, anywhere and laugh at least once, probably at least five times OUT LOUD. It is also a smart show (and we want to watch smart shows, don't we?) Perhaps you feel The Simpsons is just too 'been there, done that' though. And, admittedly, there are a lot of people out there who will say they watch The Simpsons, but probably haven't in about five years. Especially in Hollywood. So, what will they watch? South Park. Yes, it is long in the tooth too (Only 50 years!) but it is still edgy and hip, especially this year, after regaining notoriety for the 'Tom Cruise Comes Out of the Closet' episode. Certainly the South Park humor is a bit more crude that The Simpsons, so pick your poison.

As for live action, only one choice: The Office. If Extras were on, I'd be recommending that, but it isn't, so watch Steve Carrell and join the watercooler discussion about Jim and Pam. You'll be one of the cool kids.

Okay, so one hour filled. Let's fill the other 3 with dramas. The best dramas. Airing right now. One of these is required. The other two you can pick from a list of 5 shows.

Required: Battlestar Galactica Hands down, the best TV around. Gripping drama, great characters, relatable stories, and yet, it's on the SciFi channel. What, you missed the first 2 seasons? One word: Netflix. Get caught up. You'll be glad you did.

Okay, here are your electives. Choose two. I'll give you the pros/cons of each choice.
  • Veronica Mars - No, it is not a chick show. It is one of the best written shows on TV, great dialogue and fun characters. Downside, not a lot of other people are watching it. This though can make you hipper than your friends, however! While watching the first 2 seasons is recommended, it is not required.
  • House - Third season going strong. Again, I recommend watching the first 2 seasons, but it is not required. Some of the most clever plots on TV. And House is a larger than life character. Downside: Isn't back for 2 weeks due to baseball.
  • Grey's Anatomy - I personally HATE this show, but it is what all the cool kids watch. It's soapy, so it trends more female. So, if you watch, it could get you in with the babes, but guys might think you are strange.
  • Lost - Still the coolest show and always fun to form theories about what's actually going on. Downside: if you can't watch the summary episode of what happened the last two years (or the last 2 season box sets) you could be...well, lost.
Bonus Round!
Okay, so you've decided to round out your weeknight diet of TV, by taking extra credit. This is where you can be better than your peers, on the cutting edge of great TV. Are you ready? These shows are just starting to show greatness, and you can be in on the ground floor. You can be an early adopter! Three choices here:
  • Dexter - It's about a serial killer who stalks serial killers, and it is getting great buzz. Downside, it's on Showtime, so unless you subscribe to it, can be tough to catch. Upside: the pilot is online...or was as of this posting. (Go to Showtime's site)
  • Heroes - Not as grand and sweeping as Lost, but still has moments of greatness. It's also new this season, so you can catch up quickly.
  • Top Chef - What? A reality show?? Have I lost my mind? No! Engaging in its own right, once Project Runway bids farewell on Bravo, Top Chef takes over. It hasn't even started airing yet!! You can get in very early. Downside: if the cast sucks, it won't be as great as I predict. Upside: if the cast sucks, no one will be watching and you can stop watching it too.
So, there's the list. Anyone want to argue for substitutions?

Friday, October 13, 2006

Ugly Betty gets a full season order

Told ya so. Late afternoon press release from ABC.

Link: the futon critic

Travesty in the making

I agree wholeheartedly with Alex Epstein -- Friday Night Lights is a fantastic show, and yet no one is watching it! I can't imagine the population is *that* dumb that they can't find the show -- I know the title says 'Friday' but it is on Tuesday. I hear the whining all the time that Hollywood doesn't put shows on that reflect real family values. This show does. I'm putting out the call to my Red State friends to start publicizing the show, get people watching. Because if you don't, it will go away, and Hollywood might not try to listen to your demands again.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Jericho gets a full season order

Score 1 of 4 so far for CBS new shows. The Watch List will be updated shortly.

Oh, in case you didn't hear, '3 LBS' will premiere in 'Smith's' old timeslot on Tuesday night at 10 starting November 14. Medium returns to NBC on Wednesdays at 10 on November 15 (once The Biggest Loser wraps up) (Times are Eastern/Pacific).

Link: the futon critic

Dinked again.

Got my Warner Bros Writers Workshop reject letter today. I tell myself it will just make my victory that much sweeter when I am a full blown TV writer without their program...


*sigh* and this is why writers drink...

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Hot Specs

I plan a much longer, much more comprehensive discussion of this topic after the first of the year, when the new season of shows has taken a more decisive direction on what will stay and what will go. Until then, here are the "hot" specs, as I have culled from multiple sources:

Drama specs:

  • Grey's Anatomy (probably the #1 spec right now)
  • House (probably the #2 spec)
  • Desperate Housewives
  • The Closer (keeps moving up the list)
  • Rescue Me
  • Medium
  • Monk
  • Boston Legal
* Now that The Unit has been picked up, it is a good spec.

Sitcom specs:
  • How I Met Your Mother
  • My Name is Earl
  • Weeds
  • The Office
  • Everybody Hates Chris
  • Two and a Half Men (popular show, but I don't know anyone who loves reading these)
* Now that the New Adventures of Old Christine has been picked up, I expect this to be a valid spec very very soon.

Shows which can be specced but require a lot of extra effort:
  • Lost
  • Deadwood
Valid specs, just not in the top list:
  • Supernatural
  • Without a Trace
  • CSI
  • Law & Order: SVU or CI
  • Cold Case
  • Nip/Tuck
  • Veronica Mars
Shows which may become good specs should the shows survive:
  • Ugly Betty
  • Shark
  • Jericho (tricky, but doable, unlike Heroes, which I still haven't figured out a way in to a spec for)
  • Justice
  • 30 Rock
  • Friday Night Lights
  • Standoff
  • Brothers and Sisters (ugh)
  • Dexter -- getting lots of industry attention
  • Las Vegas
  • The Ghost Whisperer
  • Bones
  • Prison Break (it's good, but I seriously doubt a spec will get you noticed)
  • Invasion (it's gone, get over it)
  • 7th Heaven
  • Gilmore Girls (yeah, it's off the list now)
  • CSI: Miami
  • CSI: New York
  • According to Jim
  • What About Brian?
  • The War at Home
  • ER
Wild Cards (I have never seen anyone spec this or I've never heard of anyone read a spec of this. Spec at your own risk.)
  • Big Love
  • Close to Home
  • Battlestar Galactica (as much as we all love it, no one seems to read these)
  • Psych
  • Saved
  • Eureka (probably not a good idea)
  • Smallville (I know it gets specced. I don't know if anyone is reading it)

Stay Tuned...

Monday, October 09, 2006

Smith cancellation quadruples my web traffic

Apparently a lot of Comcast customers are very concerned about the cancellation of 'Smith'. I haven't seen this kind of web traffic since 'Invasion' was cancelled, yet I am seeing 4-5 times my normal web traffic today. I'm sorry to be the bearer of bad news to all the 'Smith' fans. They probably didn't even make enough episodes for a DVD release.

It is weird to see most of the hits coming from the Comcast search page. Any of you who are coming here by way of that method care to comment on what you were hoping to find? I'm always curious about what my visitors are looking for...

EDIT: Actually, I'm seeing a tenfold increase of my traffic today. Amazing.

Buy coverage or a pitch for charity

Found this through Film Diva:

Two auctions benefiting Love Without Boundaries. I have no way to validate if these auctions could benefit you, but they are there and they do not have high bids on them as yet.

Phone pitch to film producer/manager - Trevor Engelson

Script Analysis by Film Producer Tariq Jalil

Good luck!

Friday, October 06, 2006

Smith cancelled

Effective immediately. Watch List updated. Repeats of CSI and Criminal Minds will air in its timeslot the next 3 weeks.

Link: the futon critic

NBC picks up 'Heroes' for a full season

Our first potential spec, ladies and gents! The question is, a) how will you spec this and b) should you spec it? Only time will tell...

Link: NBC picks up 'Heroes' for a full season

Thursday, October 05, 2006

'Kidnapped' Headed for Early End

According to Zap2it (and other sources), Kidnapped will exit early.

Link: 'Kidnapped' Headed for Early End - Producers told to wrap up story in 13 episodes - Zap2it

CW switches Sunday, Monday lineups

So now we have CW swapping nights. The Sunday comedies are moving to Monday night (Everybody Hates Chris, All of Us, Girlfriends and The Game). 7th Heaven, and Runaway will move to Sunday starting 10/16.

Link: CW switches Sunday, Monday lineups

Fox Schedule change

After baseball, Vanished will move to Fridays starting 10/27 and Justice moves to post-Prison Break slot on 10/23.

Keep an eye out for NBC schedule changes. Kidnapped is going down and is being added to the 'likely to be axed' list.

Link: the futon critic

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Random Thoughts

Vanished -- there's some audience. still getting google hits on the dang show.

Invasion -- you people are insane. It's cancelled. Over. Finito. Move On, or start holding conventions a la 'Firefly'.

Studio 60 - Do I like this show? Can someone tell me if I like it? I'm so confused.

Heroes -- More Greg Grunberg, less of the 'Wonder Twins', thanks.

Men in Trees -- kill me now; I actually LOOK FORWARD to this show. It must be a sign of the apocalypse.

Knights of Prosperity - if it's bad enough to postpone the premiere AGAIN, can we just pretend it doesn't exist and move on to midseason?

Friday Night Lights - why didn't anyone watch it? You'll watch the umpteenth retread of CSI but you won't watch this? I hate you all.

Standoff - Memo to Tim Minear: I'm available to help on this or 'Drive'. Whatever you need, really.

Eureka seson finale - wait, the show was still on? it got renewed? Curse you lingering summer shows!!

Things no longer on my DVR Season Pass: Brothers & Sisters, 6 Degrees, Vanished, Kidnapped, Smith (done after last night -- just whatevery about it), Runaway.

Shows I stupidly forget to set season pass for: The Nine. Anyone got a screener??

Monday, October 02, 2006

Just found...

... this. It's a blog written by one of the junior writers on 'Standoff'. Keep an eye on it -- some interesting (and some pointless) stuff so far...

adding to the TV show blog list as I type...well, after I type this, actually.

If you watch Vanished backwards, it says 'Gale is dead'

Or at least that must be what people think -- I got a bunch of google hits from the following search terms 'gale harold vanished dead [or] fired'.

I didn't watch 'Vanished' tonight (or really any night since the pilot) but I gotta ask -- what's the deal? I don't think the guy's been fired (that would be news I'd ponder since I believe he was poorly cast to begin with).

Anyway, just another weird night in cyberspace...

In other fox news, Justice got three more scripts ordered. The limbs are still twitching.

EDIT: Highlight the invisible text below. I'm doing it this way to protect the few on the planet who are a) Vanished fans and b) still haven't seen tonight's episode.

Okay, so they did kill off Gale Harold. I may have to reconsider a show willing to kill off one of the leads. I wonder if it was a contract dispute, a creative decision or he quit/was fired? Either way, very interesting. BTW, Prison Break has gotten odd the last two weeks, hasn't it?