Script Notes

“Script Notes” explores the craft and business of writing for film, television and new media. TV producer Chad Gervich takes a look at the latest Hollywood developments and what they mean for writers. He’ll also incorporate interviews and advice from some of the industry’s top players, from agents and execs to writers, directors and producers.


Top 50 Movies of the Decade… or Not?

Time Out New York has posted their list of 50 movies that “mattered” over the last decade.  Take a look, see what you think… http://newyork.timeout.com/articles/film/80947/the-tony-top-50-movies-of-the-decade/2.html My two cents?… terrible list.  I don’t know what their criteria was, but it certainly doesn’t seem to be the “best” movies… and I’m not sure how most of...

Diversity in Writers Rooms? Think Again…

Interesting, but sad, article in this morning’s Variety… detailing the WGA’s 2009 Hollywood Writers Report about diversity amongst writers.  And it turns out… there isn’t much. “White males continue to dominate in both the film and television sectors,” says Darnell Hunt, the UCLA professor who wrote the study. “Although women and minorities closed the...

WEBSITE OF THE DAY: JayCut.com

Wanted to pass along a pretty cool website… For those of you who don’t need all the bells and whistles (or pricetags) of Final Cut or Avid, but still want to edit home movies or online videos, check out JayCut— a simple online editing application that lets you upload and edit videos, then put...

Meet Rick Qualliotine, Co-EP

I’m writing this while sitting in the office of our Co-Executive Producer, Rick Qualliotine—the only person at The Wanda Sykes Show who has actually PAINTED HIS OFFICE… making this easiest the coolest office in the place (one wall is a bright warm orange-yellow).  Rick started his career in theater, producing plays and stage shows,...

Live from the Wanda Sykes Show…

I’ve been meaning to write about this for the past couple of weeks, but I wanted to let you all know about the premiere of the new show I’m working on… “The Wanda Sykes Show,” FOX‘s new late night talk show which premieres tomorrow night, November 7, at 11 pm (EST). I’ve been a...

Pilot-writing Seminar next Tuesday!

Hey, everyone– Thanks so much to all of you who came to last week’s Final Draft/Script magazine and Writers Boot Camp panel, “Getting into the Writers Room.”  It was a terrific evening, and it was great seeing some of you there! Wanted to let you all know about another great opportunity… Next Tuesday, Nov....

READER QUESTION: Are screenwriting contests a waste of time?

Thanks to Elaine Luddy Kionicki for today’s question, which she asked in response to Sunday’s post about Scriptapalooza.  Elaine writes: Hey Chad. Most screenwriting books say that contests are a waste of time and money, and you’ve said in a previous post that contests rarely pay off, but it sounds like you’re endorsing this...

Scriptapalooza deadlines approaching

Hey, screenwriters– Got an email from the folks at the Scriptapalooza screenwriting contest, which opens for submissions in a couple months, so just wanted to pass along the info!  Here ya go… Scriptapalooza is now accepting submissions of screenplays for its twelfthannual screenwriting competition. Every script that is entered into Scriptapalooza is read by...

Get into the TV Writing Room… for FREE!

Hey, folks– Just wanted to invite you all to a great event next Monday, October 26… Final Draft software, “Script” magazine, and Writers Boot Camp are hosting a series of FREE writing panels designed to help film and TV writers navigate Hollywood… and I’ll be speaking on next week’s TV panel, “Getting Into the...

Chuck's question: Am I wasting my time if I don't live in L.A.?

Hey, folks—   Today’s question comes from Chuck, who writes…   “I am writing some spec screenplays, and a pilot.  But let’s face it – I will never move to LA.  Meetings – yes.  Move – no.  Am I wasting my time?  I’ve met managers who have said “Send me something when you have...

CREATING POTENT VILLAINS – David's Pitch Workshop

Hey, folks– A few weeks ago, loyal reader David submitted to the Pitch Workshop a synopsis for his hacker thriller, Hacktivism.  So first of all, thanks to David for submitting… and thanks to all of you who responded with comments and constructive criticism. For those of you missed it, here’s the synopsis, followed by...

Colbert Nails Glenn Beck – BRILLIANT!

Hey, guys– Just had to post this clip from last night’s Colbert Report— it’s not only hilarious, but it’s one of the most powerful pieces of social/political satire I’ve seen in a long time.  Dead-on, never-wavering, and pulls no punches… and Colbert’s summation at the end is sheer genius.  Love this… wonderfully written! The...

Don Draper > Barack Obama?

Is Don Draper (the main guy in Mad Men) more influential than Barack Obama, Steve Jobs, and Simon Cowell?  According to 500,000 men who read AskMen.com— YUP. Check out this poll abput the 49 most influential men in the world… pretty interesting!   (And people say scripted programming is dying!  Uh, apparently it’s more influential...

The State of Hollywood… from a Mogul

Hey, folks– check out Nikki Finke‘s post of former Fox Films CEO Bill Mechanic‘s (Coraline, The New World) keynote speech at yesterday’s Independent Film & Television Production Conference.  Great insight into the state of movies today… Click HERE to read the speech… You might also like:No Related Posts

Pitch Your TV Idea to Agents, Execs, and Producers… on Oct. 5!

Hey, folks—   Just wanted to let you know, I’m hosting and moderating Mediabistro’s “Pitch Slam” next Monday, October 5… and for anyone working on an idea for the next “Royal Pains,” “30 Rock,” or “Kitchen Nightmares,” this is an incredible opportunity!   Here’s how it works: we bring in a panel of TV...

Two and a Half Men: Giving Characters Tangible Wants & Conflicts

I often talk in my TV-writing classes about the importance of giving characters TANGIBLE wants, obstacles, conflicts, etc.  In other words, we sometimes give our characters internal objectives and obstacles– like the desire to find love, absolve guilt, give forgiveness, be at peace, etc.– but it’s important to find physical, tangible, or visual ways...

Formatting Questions? Try This…

I’ve gotten a lot of formatting questions lately, everything from how to do slugs and shot headings to the correct way to show different sides of a phone conversation.  I’ve emailed some of you back directly (and some of you I’ll get to shortly, I promise), but I also wanted to introduce a great...

Defending Josh Olson

When I was in grad school at UCLA, one of my professors always said one of a writer’s most important skills was the ability to see things—without judging—from different characters’ perspectives, especially villains’ and bad guys’.  He used to give us an exercise, asking: “How was Hitler right?”  (And before I continue, let me...

Dear Kay and Josh…

First of all, huge thanks to Mary for her comment pointing out Kay Reindl’s Seriocity blog post “ripping me a new one!”  (Kay wrote a response to my response to Josh Olson‘s Village Voice piece, “I Will Not Read Your Fucking Script.”)  Josh Olson then posted a response to this blog in Kay’s comment...

BOOK REVIEW: The Invisible Cut

I was chatting with my friend Mark the other day, a playwright who’s recently started writing and directing his own short films.  He’d sent me the latest cut of his new short, and we were going over some notes I’d written for him… and he made a pretty astute comment.   “I learned two...

Josh Olson Is Wrong

A few days ago, I posted a link to screenwriter Josh Olson’s Village Voice column, “I Will Not Read Your Fucking Script,” in which he rails against an aspiring screenwriter who asked him to read his script.   Now, first, let me say this… Josh is fairly vitriolic in this column… and on certain...

MOVIE TALK: 9

I’ve seen a lot of movies this week, but 9, the new animated movie produced by Tim Burton (The Corpse Bride, Edward Scissorhands) and Timur Bekmambetov (Wanted, Night Watch, Day Watch), is easily the most disappointing.  It’s not the WORST movie I’ve seen this week (that distinction is saved for My One And Only)…...

Some Seriously Glourious Basterds

Okay, I know I’m a little behind the bandwagon on this, but I FINALLY got around to seeing Inglourious Basterds tonight, and I have to say… THAT IS AN AWESOMELY BAD-ASS MOVIE. I’m not usually a huge Quentin Tarantino fan… I like him, but I always feel like he recycles his same bag of...

Why Leno Will Fail… Maybe?

Jay Leno‘s new not-the-Tonight-Show-version-of-the-Tonight-Show hits the airwaves Monday, and Hollywood is anxious to see how this will play out for NBC.  It’s been a huge controversy in the world of television… with some people applauding NBC for finding inexpensive, ratings-proof (possibly) programming, other vilifying them for axing 5 hours of scripted programming, and others...