Posts tagged with “TV Pilot”

TRAMBLINGS

Tuesday, 23 January, 2007

TRAMBLINGS. . .

Good Morning. OSCAR NOMINATIONS were announced today. This is the first time in about twelve years I didn’t get up at the crack of dawn to watch the announcements live. That’s my thing. Every year I wake up to watch. Too exhausted this time. But I do get a kick out of the actresses (it’s almost never actors) who say they were asleep when the nominations were announced and a phone call from a publicist, agent, manager, friend woke them up. Don’t buy that for a second. You know your ass was up all night waiting. If I get up every year to watch, you know someone who might possibly be nominated is biting their nails. UPDATE: Here’s a link to a NEWSWEEK OSCAR ROUNDTABLE with Helen Mirren, Cate Blanchett, Forest Whitaker, Penelope Cruz, Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt. Enjoy!

Anyway, my program started last week and to say it’s competitive is an understatement. Three hundred and twenty eight applicants, seven of us were chosen. Great group of people with interesting backgrounds. I’m looking forward to getting to know everyone.

I’ve been meeting with my network mentor every week since early December. Last week I learned the name and primetime show of my second mentor. Thrilled! (Notice the exclamation point). I’ve been assigned to a show that I love which is a nice bit of good news. My goal: to finish the spec epsiode with Mentor Number One by the end of February, then write an original one-hour drama pilot by the end of the program. All that to say, that’s why I missed the nominations this morning. Sleep is now a precious commodity because I am still putting in seven to eight hours a day on the book. An additional goal, of course, is to turn in the book by the end of April, possibly sooner. I sent 200 pages to my editor last week, Friday to be exact so I am waiting to hear her thoughts. My writer’s group meets on Saturday and I am one of the writer’s up for critique on those same bundle of pages. This time, as I’ve stated before, I am trying not to be so precious about every single word. I am getting down on the page so I can actual forward movement then going back to work out the kinks. My previous m.o. was to write a paragraph, sentence, word, page, chapter, then go over it with a fine tooth comb until I got it as close to “my perfect” as possible.

My new m.o.: I start the day with a specific goal (i.e., get to page 120 today, add additional chapter, etc.) and I only stop once I hit the mark. I do, however, re-read the pages from the beginning before I start just to get back into the world. I also make edit marks as I go but I don’t implement them until the end of the writing session. It’s working so far so keep your fingers crossed for me. And, once my program is complete, I’ll provide a link for the next application period (for those of you interested in applying) and I’ll tell you the name of the show I was assigned to shadow and the titles of the specs I wrote. I’m playing it safe here, for now, which I am sure you can understand.

Anyway, regarding the drama pilot, last week I had two ideas that I’ve been turning around in my head. Thinking about characters, thinking about the world, the situation, etc. But this weekend, while up in the Bay Area, I remembered a news story from about two years ago. It was wild and I thought, “Damn, that would make an excellent crime show.” But because I was swamped with other things, I “gave” it to the Crown Prince. He was looking for a new project (did ya’ll know he was also a writer? A screenwriter to be exact? Not sure if I ever said that) and I pitched to him over the phone. He whistled in appreciation when I told him because it was so vivid. (And to think, it wasn’t even the lead story on the news).

He ended up getting into something else and never moved forward with the story. Saturday, while sitting around with his mom, the Queen Mother, I remembered the story. It took me about an hour searching the local newspapers until I found it. I had the original story back in L.A. buried in a file so I printed a new one just to shake out the details. I had the city wrong but not the awesome potential of the story. Seriously. (Can’t even use that word without thinking of GREY’S ANATOMY – warning the lastest entry from Krista Vernoff might make you cry). But, seriously, the story is damn good. The Crown Prince read it and agreed for the second time. We looked at each other for a long moment then I said, “Yeah, okay, I am taking it back. You cool?” He was. So, for now, I think that story has moved to the head of the pack.

Last night after a mixer with the executives associated with the program, C.P. and I went to dinner and talked out the story. I was married to an opening scene (the teaser) and pitched it to him while we ate. He liked but had a suggestion that broke open the entire story. Once he said it, I said something else and we were off and running. I wrote it all down because I can’t take myself away from the book and the spec but come March 1st, “It’s on like Donkey Kong.” (Okay, did anyone else say that when they were little kids?)

Lastly, I think I am finally getting the hang of dressing for the “industry” here in L.A. Most anyplace else, if you have a business meeting you put on a business suit. Not here. C.P. wears shorts and flip flops to his meetings, jeans and T-shirts and baseball caps are just standard. I cannot tell you how much that freaks me out. Whenever I get dressed, C.P. yells into the bedroom, “Don’t put on your prom dress. Wear something casual.” Then I walk out in what I believe to be casual and he shakes his head and says, “Uh-huh, dude, put on your jeans.” That’s when I melt down and start screaming, “It’s not f*c*ing casual if you have to spend this much time stressing about it.” Jeans at a meeting just seems all kinds of wrong to me but he’s right. Anyway, I got a really nice pair of jeans (yes, Virginia, there’s such a thing) and a bunch of interchangeable tops. And like everyone else, I dress it all up with a cool bag. . .

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and cooler shoes. . .

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At least I hope. Both my mentor and my program director complimented both so I am on the right track. Well, kinda, I am wearing cords instead of jeans but, you know, a girl has to be herself.

Until next time. . .

TRAMBLINGS

Friday, 5 January, 2007

TRAMBLINGS. . .

Here is some great WRITER REAL ESTATE PORN. Based on the story, and the pictures, they read like a couple in a movie. The house looks like a film set, the kids coloring around the table, the students in and out, the portrait painting, etc, etc, etc.

Turned in my five page teaser for my TV spec script on Wednesday and got a big thumbs up. That was encouraging. Next week I have to turn in the first half of Act One. Can’t tell you what show I am writing (don’t want to jinx it) but I can tell you that it’s a one hour drama that I watch, love and write about on this blog. It’s not FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS just in case that was your guess.

I plan to write a long post this weekend. In the meantime, talk amongst yourselves and pick up a book by a new author.

Until next time. . .

TRAMBLINGS

Tuesday, 19 September, 2006

TRAMBLINGS. . .

It’s been seven days since I posted which means I’ve had seven straight days of writing. My manager and new agent (yeah!) came back with notes (not as extensive as the Crown Prince’s notes but in line with his thoughts) and I am working hard to make the changes. Nothing major, just tweaking scenes here and there and maintaining the lead character’s thru-line. Anyway, I promised to have everything done first thing Monday morning which means that after this post I am going right back to work. The new agent replaces the one who was let go in the big agency merger this summer. He’s not taking over for my main book guy. When the main book guy hangs it up I will have a serious nervous breakdown. He’s been great. Supportive and patient.

Anyway, here are a few things to keep you busy while I’m gone.

Jerome Weeks says GOODBYE and it’s a sad day for author’s everywhere. Weeks was very kind to me on my first book tour and went on to assign me a couple book reviews for the DALLAS MORNING NEWS.

Also, at CRITICAL MASS, Lev Grossman, book critic for TIME magazine has this to say about reviewing genre fiction.

Q: After a decade or so of covering books, how would like to see book pages change in the coming years?

A: . . . at the risk of sounding reverse-snobbish, I’d like to see more serious review attention go to genre fiction. It is, after all, what most people read. The worst of it is very bad, and the best of it is very very good. Why not help potential book-buyers divide the one from ‘tother? I agree.

MERMAMA has a revamped WEBSITE. Very cute. Very clever. I always steal ideas from her. I got the idea for the “wild woman” quote and the little girl photo directly from T.

Lastly, I picked up a couple new books. Reading is the only thing that I have time for when I’m writing. It keeps the creative juices flowing.

YOU’RE NOT YOU by MICHELLE WILDGEN. Opening: “It would begin on Thursday morning. The idea was for me to arrive early, by seven thirty, so Evan could show me what he did for his wife before he left for work, and afterward I’d follow him and Kate through a typical morning and afternoon. I had one day to observe and then training was over.” Read an excerpt HERE.

BALD IN THE LAND OF BIG HAIR by JONI RODGERS. Opening: Prologue BC (Before Cancer). “When tomorrow was still a given and ignorance was still bliss, I was floating along like a paper sailboat on a lazy river, too caught up in my life to know that I was dying. But the day you’re diagnosed with cancer, you stop dying and start surviving. You stop living and start staying alive.”

THE EMPEROR’S CHILDREN by CLAIRE MESSUD. Opening: “Darlings! Welcome! And you must be Danielle?” Sleek and small, her wide eyes rendered enormous by kohl, Lucy Leverett, in spite of her resemblance to a baby seal, rasped impressively. Her dangling fan earrings clanked at her neck as she leaned in to kiss each of them, Danielle too, and although she held her cigarette, in it’s mother-of-pearl holder, at arm’s length, its smoke wafted between them and brought tears to Danielle’s eyes.”

Until next time. . .

TRAMBLINGS

Thursday, 13 July, 2006

TRAMBLINGS. . .

Greetings, beautiful people. Big thanks to EMILY RABOTEAU for joining us last week. I loved her thoughtful answers.

I am happy to report that the archives have finally been fixed by BLOGGER. Now you can access all of the Q&A’s I’ve done so far. Take a look, browse for awhile, check out what writers like ELIZABETH GILBERT, PEARL CLEAGE, GARY PHILLIPS, TERRILL LEE LANKFORD, MARITA GOLDEN, and T. GREENWOOD had to say. There are many more but I wanted to give you just enough to whet your appetite.

JOSHILYN JACKSON one of the first authors to participate in the Q&A has a new book out. BETWEEN GEORGIA is already a Number One Book Sense pick. Joshilyn blogs about touring at FASTER THAN KUDZU, and you can read an excerpt HERE. If you guys remember, Joshilyn’s first novel, GODS IN ALABAMA opened with that great line, “There are Gods in Alabama: Jack Daniel’s, high school quarterbacks, trucks, big tits and also Jesus.”

Moving on. Years ago, while writing THE DYING GROUND, I spent months researching how drug-related crime transformed the Bay Area (specifically Oakland) in the late 80s and early 90s. One name came up again and again whether in the newspaper articles I read in the library, or in the personal stories told to me by people who’d grown up in and around the area. At one point, I even had this man make an appearance in the book but I took the scene out for many reasons. It’s hard to explain, from a distance of twenty odd years, how mesmerized, terrified, enamored folks were with his exploits. Some even went so far as to wear T-shirts that shouted their devotion to him. It was wild. Anyway, imagine my surprise when I received an email from an associate of this man. I knew him only through larger-than-life stories and by a nickname that still gets Bay Area folks talking and telling stories. The email subject line included his real name so it took me a moment to put it all together. I called the Crown Prince and asked him to confirm the guy’s real name. He did and then I read the email. Dead silence on the other end then a barrage of stories. I got another call that evening from a close friend (the real-life model for the Holly character in THE DYING GROUND and THE LAST KING) and he was curious about it as well.

Long story short, according to the person writing on his behalf (he’s been incarcerated for the past twenty years) he’d read both my novels and thought that I’d accurately captured the what/why/when and how of that time period, the motivation behind some of the action and the psychology of poverty in the harsher Oakland neighborhoods. It was flattering, to tell you the truth, especially coming from someone who’d lived the life I’d written about. I’ll keep you posted but the email exchange was very, very interesting. Who knew a lil’ ole gal from Alameda could make a man who struck fear in many hearts stand up and take notice. Life takes strange turns, doesn’t it?

In other news, I got a package from a group of Minnesota high school students who’d read THE DYING GROUND as a class assignment. Their letters made me cry. Seriously. They were so heartfelt and personal that I just got overwhelmed. A few of the kids wrote to tell me that they were so excited to find out about the sequel to THE DYING GROUND that they threw a fundraiser/rummage sale in order to raise the money to buy THE LAST KING. Felt like Christmas.

In the meantime, check out this ride-or-die COVER for the mass market paperback edition of THE DYING GROUND. It goes on sale September 26th at the very affordable price of $6.99. I am thrilled that we’re finally moving into the Mass Market Paperback arena. That cracks a whole new audience because they’re portable, cheap and readers pass them along. Tell me what you think.

Oh, and before I forget, one of my reps called me Saturday afternoon to say that she loved the project I finished last week. Remember that I made my deadline which is no small thing for me. (Shout it from the rooftops). When I saw the Caller I.D. I knew it was good news. In Hollywoodland, agents/managers/lawyers NEVER make weekend calls unless it’s good news. Or “special” news as the Crown Prince said. His response, and the response of three other friends, was “Damn, a Saturday call. Really.” It was nice that she was so excited about the project because if you go back in the archives you’ll read that she read my ass the riot act back in April. I got dressed down like I was a snotty-nosed, breast-fed little punk. The worst thing about it all was that I deserved it. I melted down, of course, but even in the middle of that special little freak out I couldn’t even lie to myself about the fact that she’d told the truth. I was being lazy, I was flip about my deadlines, etc. etc. I had the vapors for one afternoon and then I got down to business. So, it felt good to hear her enthusiasm but the more sobering fact is that I recognize that it needs WAY more work than she thinks. Back to work for me and on to the next deadline, August 31st, which is the book deadline. Send good thoughts.

Finally, all is well in the world, PROJECT RUNWAY is back on the air. Enjoy.

Until next time. . .