Brad Feld posts about why he writes for an hour each day:

Finally, after almost 20 years of writing, the light bulb went on for me.

I write to think.

Forcing myself to sit down and work through these ideas in a logical sequence for an audience of readers required me to refine my thinking on how I invest in startups. How could I make the financing process more efficient? What’s the best way to structure a deal? I learned a lot, both from my writing and my readers’ responses.

I also love this gem on Jeff Bezos from Brad’s post:

Consider Jeff Bezos’s approach to meetings. Whoever runs the meeting writes a memo no longer than six pages about the issue at hand. Then, for the first 15 to 30 minutes of the meeting, the group reads it. The rest of the meeting is spent discussing it. No PowerPoint allowed. Brilliant. (I’ve long felt that PowerPoint is a terrible substitute for critical thinking.)

This aligns nicely with what Edward Tufte says:

PowerPoint… usually weaken(s) verbal and spatial reasoning, and almost always corrupt(s) statistical analysis.

I spent the last few days in bed with the flu. In addition to missing the company of visiting family, I also missed writing time.

During those couple of days, my friend Tac Anderson asked on Facebook about people’s goals for 2014, as opposed to resolutions.

That got me thinking. What I’d like to achieve in 2014 includes completing, editing, and publishing my next adult novel, editing and publishing my children’s novel, and rewriting Avogadro Corp. (Avogadro Corp is a great story, but it was my first written work, and it’s got some rough areas that could benefit from time and attention.)

One way or another, I will get those books done, but I’d prefer to do it with less stress than its taken to get some of my past books out. I balance a day job, a family, and writing, and although each book is a joy to write and publish, it’s also exhausting to do on top of an already full life.

So my goal for 2014 is to get my day job commitment down from 80% time to 60%. (Hi boss!) To do that, I’ll either need to bring in more book income, find alternate sources of income, reduce expenses, or some combination of all of the above.

I’ve been investigating foreign rights and traditional publishers, and I’ll think more about kickstarter campaigns. I’m open to ideas if you’ve got any.

What are your goals for 2014, and how do you hope to achieve them?

Anne Bishop

Matt Vancil
Jim Kling
  • Background
    • JK: Quit day job in 1992 to go to grad school. In 1995, decide he didn’t want to complete PhD in chemistry, eventually decided to science writing internship. Then went on to do freelance, and has done it ever since.
    • MV: Screenwriter and filmmaker. Have a day job, but it’s a writing job. Got that as a result of a string of other writing. First time he’s had a consistent gig.
    • AB: Author of multiple series. Pretty much a full-time writer. Working on 18th novel, but still have a day job, two jobs a week. 
  • What is the writing life like?
    • JK: 
      • Currently have home office. Had an outside office, but stop using it. 
      • I don’t get dressed or shower until noon. Doesn’t keep regular hours.
      • Had a regular job briefly, hated the regular hours. Would rather work when he wanted to in order to be happy and healthy.
      • Deadlines dictate when he needs to get certain work done.
    • MV: 
      • Required to have bit of structure because of the company he works for.
      • To work at home, he prefers a place that quiet, cool, and calm.
      • But at work, he’s forced into an environment that loud and chaotic.
        • because of this, he’s abandoned the idea of structure, and just embraced the chaotic nature of the work.
      • On his own work, its about a routine: an outline and a quota. Because at the end of a day of work, the last thing he wants to do is write.
    • AB:
      • I like structure. I treat it as a job I have 5 days a week.
      • I don’t get dressed for the office.
      • I throw on clothes, make coffee, and as soon as my brain is engaged and start working.
      • The less time between waking and getting to the keyboard the better.
      • The less input, less sensory, the better.
      • I set a weekly word count equal to 1,500 words a day. This is what is needed to make the deadlines for the size of the novels I write.
      • I sit down from 8:30 in the morning until about 1:30.
      • At that point, it’s time to meet the day. Get cleaned up, and tend to all the other stuff. Nobody gets time in the writing slot except for the characters.
  • MV: The development is actual work too: sometimes its not just typing characters into a keyboard. It’s deep thinking about motivation before you’re ready to put words on the page.
  • AB: No matter what the process is, you have to be willing to produce the end product.
    • JK: You have to be willing to deal with the self-doubt. As a hobbyist, there’s no external pressure. If you never send off the novel, the editor doesn’t even know. But if you’re self-employed, you have to finish it and send it off, because you need it for the check, even if you’re worried that its a piece of shit.
  • AB: Know your writing style. Are you a sprinter or a marathoner? All of these are valid ways to get to the end-goal. But know what it right for you.
  • How do you deal with writing time vs. all the other things you can do?
    • MV: Ultimately it’s about holding yourself to a quota. And what helps you make that quota is an outline. Problems in Act 3 are almost always due to problems in Act 1 that weren’t resolved because there was no outline. Also, give yourself permission to suck. 
    • AB: There’s a difference between 10 minutes of minesweeper to rest your brain and an hour of minesweeper to avoid writing.
  • Q: If you get blocked somewhere in the first draft, do you ever go back and edit as a way of making some progress?
    • AB: I do what I call musings. I open up another file, and just start typing about what I think the problems might be, what the characters might be thinking about. Sometimes this is like warming up after you’ve had an injury: you have to get the muscle warmed up.
      • Give yourself an ultimatum to do the chore you hate the most or write a 100 words. I guarantee that you’d rather write 100 words than to scrub the kitchen floor.
  • Before you quit your day job, what do you need to get from your writing?
    • AB: I’ve gradually decreased my hours at my day job down to two mornings. This has been very good to be able to gradually decrease.
      • If you hope to quit your day job and pay your mortgage and feed your kids, you should be writing under contract long before you give up your day job.
      • Don’t give up the day until your fiction is earning enough to pay all of your bills for a year.
      • Ideally you need to not only pay bills, but also put aside money for emergencies, savings, etc.
      • Agents will say you should have ten books in print before you consider it…
    • MV: It’s better to have a job and work some minimal hours than to simply quit. Determine how many hours a day you need to write, and then try to find a job that will support it.
      • You have to be prepared that this is a long haul… I went to a film school and they beat into your head that you’d need to do this for at least five years before you’d be able to make money at it.
      • Embrace any job that helps you further your goals: e.g. a tech writing job that gets you access to publishers.
    • JK: It’s hard to do this and it requires some luck. But it also requires being willing to embrace a different lifestyle. If you want to drive a new car, have new clothes, eat your meals out… then don’t quit your day job.
      • There are some, but not very many.
      • Be willing to scale back the lifestyle.
      • AB: Leave lean.
    • MV: If you’re writing you are probably doing it because you love it. Be prepared that at some time it’ll feel like a job, and you’ll hate it. Remember why you started doing it.
  • Q: What’s a likely amount of money to make?
    • AB: First advances are lucky to be $5,000, except for an exceptional few. And that comes in 3 payments over about 3 years, so it’s not a lot of money. 
      • If you have 10 books in print, then royalties will start to add up, but it’s still a live lean lifestyle.
    • JK: I have a second income in the form of my wife who works.
  • How do you force yourself to get dressed and leave the house? How do you avoid feeling isolated?
    • AB: Why do I want to leave the house?
    • JK: It is isolating, and sometimes it bothers me, and sometimes it doesn’t.
      • I go out and meet with other writers every other week.
      • I get sick of being at home and go out.
      • My dogs force me to take them out.
  • Q: You’ve talked about the income, what about the expenses particular to writing?
    • AB: You need a computer, paper, electricity and time. The expense of writing is not great except that it is time.
    • MV: One cost is that you’ll have a scary credit history if you don’t have a steady income. 
    • AB: Self-employment tax: the other 7.5% you need to pay into social security.
    • MV: Keep very clear records of your sources of income. I have 8 sources of income.
    • JK: Deduct everything you can.
  • Q: How does it work between writing and film-making?
    • MV: Over the last two years, I didn’t have a day job. When I had a film, I could film it. Now I have to negotiate the time off work from a job I want to keep.

My notes from OryCon 35 (2013) are a little shorter than usual this year, so rather than one blog post per panel, I’m consolidating posts.
(One meta-comment: There have been a fair number of panels about the future, including one that I was on. In every case, it feels like panelists consistently under-estimate the amount of change I think we’ll see in the future. In a panel I attended entitled “300 Years from Now” panelists discussed issues facing us today: water shortages, climate change, global economic divide, etc. while assuming that humans remain much like we are today. In 300 years, I think we’ll have gone past those problems, and we’ll be dealing with questions of what it means to be human when we’re 90% machine and 10% biological.)
Notes from The End of All Things at OryCon 35 – 2013 

Kat Kenyon

Karen Azinger
Nancy Kress
Ru Emerson
Richard A. Lovett
  • What makes a bad ending
    • A scene so preordained the reader anticipated it for 100 pages
    • A climax that happens offstage.
      • This happens before the end, but it’s the most important. The very ending is the mopping up.
    • A scene that is obvious.
      • It should seem both inevitable and yet not obvious
  • The book should wrap up on its own terms
    • It should feel satisfying on its own
    • Especially for a first time novelist — there’s no trust that you’ll wrap it up later. No guarantee that the next book will come.
  • The inciting incident suggests what the story problem is. And at the climax it should be resolved.
  • The marrying and the burying: this is what comes after the climax.
  • What is the cost of success for the protagonist?
    • it should cost your character something. An emotional cost to the choices they make. 
  • A writer’s secret weapon is theme.
    • The reader may or may not be able to articulate it. But if a book has no theme, the reader will say it doesn’t work.
    • Both the plot and the ending must involve the theme.
  • An action oriented book will have an action scene for its climax. The reader can see it coming. But there can often be an internal story was well (about the journey of the character, where they are moving to, what their shortcomings are.)
  • Dual arc story:
    • the arc of the situation
    • the arc of the character
    • the situation arc: the events of the story. it must affect the character, or the reader doesn’t care.
  • How to construct an ending both surprising and inevitable?
    • Plan for reversals
      • Even if the main story arc isn’t very surprising, other things will
      • There are betrayals, a surprise, a mystery.
      • Something that the reader didn’t see coming. So some is a surprise, and some seems expected.
    • Plant subtle clues ahead of time.
      • It leads to the sense of “oh, i should have known this was coming.”
  • What can go wrong now?
    • Then make it go wrong.
    • Then the character will be forced to change.
  • The choice ending…
    • As the reader progresses, it becomes obvious that the character is going to be forced to choose between two alternatives. Those alternatives become more obvious as the reader reads. But we don’t know which they’ll choose. The options should be roughly equally weighted.
Notes from One Lump or Two: How much Technology is Too Much?

Richard A. Lovett

Patrick Swenson
Gordon Eklund
Annie Bellet
David W. Goldman
  • How much science in a story for it to be science fiction?
    • RL: None! Science fiction is extrapolation from something. It’s based in reality. But it doesn’t need to be about science.
    • PS: My stories are about what-if… extrapolation about what we know now into the future. not just science, but our culture and society. But… cool science and cool tech goes a long way. My editor asked me to add more technology into the the early chapters to ground the reader. Happy to do that…required research on my part.
    • GE: Heinlein quote: the perfect science fiction story is a story that, at some point in the future, would just be a contemporary fiction story.
    • RL: Explain enough of the science so that people understand how it works. Work out a lot, but put the minimum necessary in the story.
    • PS: Consulting with (editor? scientist?), asked what was necessary: Don’t violate certain principles, and then hand wave the rest.
    • DG: You don’t need to explain what we don’t know (e.g. how a warp drive would work), but you do need to avoid explaining things in a way that violates what we do know (e.g. faster-than-light travel without special conditions).
    • DG: There are some stories that are about science. They’re about a specific scientific idea, and then a story is wrapped around it. But that’s the minority of all stories.
    • RL: Lots of research that doesn’t go into the book. Had to write a spreadsheet tracking oxygen consumption over 24 hours according to exercise levels of the protagonist. That doesn’t go into the book, but its there to make sure the science is right.
  • What makes a story age well or not with respect with technology?
    • The emotional arc of the story.
    • The story has to hold up without the technology.
    • Don’t put dates in story, because that really affects how people perceive it.
    • A lot of science fiction written during the cold war is about the soviet union: now it’s alternate history.
    • Older science fiction is a time capsule to the future of a different time.
    • Now matter how forward looking science fiction is, it’s always a commentary on the time in which it was written.
The Future of Publishing

Mike Shepherd / Moscoe – Traditionally published author

Linn Prentis – Literary Agent in Pacific Northwest
Tod McCoy – 
Liz Gorinsky – Editor at Tor Books
Peter Smalley – Indie published author
Phoebe Kitanidis – Ebook publisher and traditionally published YA author 
  • What are the threats to traditional publishing?
    • LG: The main issue is not ebooks or self-publishing but attention. The number of people buying and finishing books. How do we find and keep and communicate with readers?
      • Reading on screens – notifications pop up, getting an email to watch a youtube video. Many people complain that its harder to finish a novel. People get excited about interactive media on the web.
    • PS: A challenge to traditional publishing is the platform… People have multiple electronic devices and its a chore to move between them. The competition for attention is not just what form of entertainment we want, but the cost of moving to the platform where the books are.
      • MS/M: The counter to that is that if someone recommends a book, I can easily and immediately go buy it. So I’m more likely to buy a book.
  • Is the business changing?
    • LG: Absolutely. The challenge is getting readers in contact with our authors. The main job of editors is not editing. 60-70% of the time in the office is spent figuring out how to get books to readers, anything from managing blurbs to editing meta-data, etc. In the past, getting attention meant getting 12 traditional book reviews. Now it might mean two traditional reviews and fifty blog mentions.

Amazon is a pretty amazing company. They create a very compelling shopping experience encompassing nearly every category of product, they make the discovery and shopping experience easy, and customer reviews have transformed shopping by helping us find quality products and avoid crappy ones. Shopping online helps save time when shopping and running around town. And of course, as an indie author, 99% of my book sales are through Amazon.

For all that, Amazon is not a panacea. The same scale that allows recommendations, reviews, and low pricing to work also has negative side effects. There are many, but I’ll just mention a few:

  1. As more book buying moves online to Amazon and to ebooks, it becomes harder for local bookstores to survive. Some might say “who cares?” but for the 20% of Americans without Internet access, bookstores and libraries are how they access books. For younger children, bookstores are an exciting place of discovery. My kids love visiting any bookstore. But bookstores can’t survive on childrens books and only a small percentage of adults visiting them. 
  2. As an author, I’m very concerned that 99% of my book sales are through Amazon. What if they change their policies and decide to offer half the royalty rate? Without any other effective distribution outlet, I’d be screwed. I’m delighted to sell as many books as I do there, but I’d be much more comfortable if I was also selling elsewhere.
  3. Local, indie bookstores are owned by people, whereas Amazon is a global corporation. As I’ve mentioned before, every time we make a credit card purchase with a global corporation, we’re sending our money to the 1% of wealthiest people. Yes, we’re supporting them. If you spend your money at a local bookstore, a much greater percentage is actually staying people like you and me. 
Recently I’ve learned about two great ways you can support local bookstores: IndieBound and Kobo.
Kobo is an alternate ebook reading platform. Like Amazon, they have ereader devices and reading apps for all major smartphones and tablets. Like Amazon, they have millions of books, usually at the same price as Amazon. What’s different from Amazon is that they sell their ereading devices through local, indie bookstores. And when you buy a Kobo ereader from a local bookstore, a percentage of revenue of every single book you buy continues to support that bookstore for the life of the device. If you use a Kobo app instead, you can still support a local bookstore by purchasing ebooks through the affiliate website of your local bookstore.
In other words, you can get most of the benefits of shopping with a major online ebook store while still supporting your local bookstore.
IndieBound is an affiliation of local bookstores that are members of the American Booksellers Association. Through the IndieBound website, you can find and order books online, just as you would through Amazon, but instead your purchase benefits your local bookstore. And because the IndieBound website searches the large, commercial databases, nearly everything available on Amazon is also available through IndieBound, even if it’s a specialty, published-on-demand book.

So the next time you reach for the mouse to buy a book, give Kobo or IndieBound a try.

My books are available through both:

To give you a little incentive to try Kobo, you can pick up a copy of A.I. Apocalypse for FREE on Kobo through the end of November, 2013 by entering the code jansbooks. Detailed instructions:

  1. Visit Kobo.
  2. Click on A.I. Apocalypse, then click Buy Now. 
  3. Sign in with your Kobo UserID and Password. If you don’t have one, create an account.
  4. On the “Confirm Your Purchase” page, click on the link for “Have a gift card or promo code?” and enter the PROMO code: jansbooks
  5. A box will pop up saying that you’ve covered your cost so they won’t have to bill your credit card.
  6. Now you will see at the BUY NOW button that $0.00 will be charged. Click the BUY NOW button.
  7. Download the epub to read on your computer, tablet, or Kobo ereader.

Kobo Books is a great ebook retailer with worldwide distribution, their own reader-focused ereaders, and reading apps for all major platforms (iOS, Android, Mac, PC, and web).

Free on Kobo through the
end of September 2013 with
the coupon code elopesgift

Kobo is also an indie-bookstore friendly company. Their devices are sold in indie bookstores, and many indie bookstores have an affiliate relationship with Kobo. If you care about DRM, my books are all DRM-free on Kobo.

Avogadro Corp, A.I. Apocalypse, and The Last Firewall are all available from Kobo.

And now through the end of September 2013, Avogadro Corp is available free on Kobo with the following coupon code: elopesgift

Just enter the coupon code before checkout and Avogadro Corp will be free!

So if you or a friend want to pick up Avogadro Corp or just check out an indie-friendly alternative to Amazon and Barnes & Noble, go visit Kobo today.

The Last Firewall
Minus Four Paragraphs

By the time a novel is done, from rough first drafts until final proofing, I’ve read it close to twenty times. However, the one of the best reads is when it’s finally Done, with a capital D, Done. That’s when I get to read it as a reader, not a writer. It usually happens a few weeks after it’s been published. I get a paperback copy that’s not already spoken for, and I hole up in a comfy chair or couch and start reading.

That happened with The Last Firewall this past weekend, when I had four days at the beach with my family.

But I was shocked to find a missing page in the paperback — and in one of the most exciting scenes, no less. I’m so sorry for the mistake!

Most copies sold so far have been the Kindle version, but for the thirty or so folks who have the paperback, you’re holding what we can hope will someday be a rare collector’s copy. 🙂

I will get the paperback copy fixed as soon as possible (and will clean up the other smaller mistakes I found as well.) In the meanwhile, if you get to the bottom of page 151, in the bar fight scene, these are the four missing paragraphs you’re looking for:

      Knowing the robot used the visual channel to attack, she instead built a three-dimensional wireframe from street and security cameras, calculated the bot’s location, and pointed the muzzle in the direction of the window.

      The three-inch rocket whooshed out, guidance fins snapping into position. It exited the bar at two hundred miles per hour and twisted hard, gunning for the bot.

      Cat’s wireframe fuzzed out, right in the middle where the robot should be, and the rocket veered off. Her heart sank as it exploded against a neighboring building.

      “Catherine Matthews,” boomed the robot. “Surrender. You are surrounded. I am a military-grade combat bot. You cannot hope to succeed and we do not wish to harm you.”

I’d like to announce that The Last Firewall is available!

In the year 2035, robots, artificial intelligences, and neural implants have become commonplace. The Institute for Applied Ethics keeps the peace, using social reputation to ensure that robots and humans don’t harm society or each other. But a powerful AI named Adam has found a way around the restrictions. 

Catherine Matthews, nineteen years old, has a unique gift: the ability to manipulate the net with her neural implant. Yanked out of her perfectly ordinary life, Catherine becomes the last firewall standing between Adam and his quest for world domination. 

Two+ years in the making, I’m just so excited to finally release this novel. As with my other novels, I explore themes of what life will be like with artificial intelligence, how we deal with the inevitable man-vs-machine struggle, and the repercussions of using online social reputation as a form of governmental control.

The Last Firewall joins its siblings. 
Buy it now: Amazon Kindle, in paperback, and Kobo eReader.
(Other retailers coming soon.)

I hope you enjoy it! Here is some of the early praise for the book:

“Awesome near-term science fiction.” – Brad Feld, Foundry Group managing director

“An insightful and adrenaline-inducing tale of what humanity could become and the machines we could spawn.” – Ben Huh, CEO of Cheezburger

“A fun read and tantalizing study of the future of technology: both inviting and alarming.” – Harper Reed, former CTO of Obama for America, Threadless

“A fascinating and prescient take on what the world will look like once computers become smarter than people. Highly recommended.” – Mat Ellis, Founder & CEO Cloudability

“A phenomenal ride through a post-scarcity world where humans are caught between rogue AIs. If you like having your mind blown, read this book!” – Gene Kim, author of The Phoenix Project: A Novel About IT, DevOps, and Helping Your Business Win

“The Last Firewall is like William Gibson had a baby with Tom Clancy and let Walter Jon Williams teach it karate. Superbly done.” – Jake F. Simons, author of Wingman and Train Wreck

These are my notes from Luke Ryan’s talk on Writing for TV at Willamette Writers Conference 2013.
Luke Ryan
Writing for TV
·      Started as screenwriters
·      Turned studio exec
·      Still writing pseudonymously
·      Having the most fun creatively is in the world of television
·      Feature film has become more about concept and spectacle
·      We’re making movies more for the people outside the united states, because of the economics of the industry.
o   That’s why we’re seeing more big action movies, and less comedy.
o   That’s because comedy doesn’t travel well, but action does.
·      So the best writing right now is in television, especially one hour cable shows
·      Television is all about character, character, character
·      Three homes for television
o   Network
o   Free cable
o   Premium cable
·      Network
o   Driven by advertising and ratings. Bigger stage, bigger money.
o   Networks think in terms of big movie studios: concept driven.
o   Procedurals
§  Cop shows
§  They’re about collecting information about the resolution
§  Primary content consumed by American TV watchers
o   A season finale of Mad Men while do less than a quarter of what a rerun of NCI will do.
o   Broadcast television is an older audience.
o   Q: Are they going to crumble [in the context of no young people watching broadcast shows]
§  Total viewership of something like Castle is very high, even though they have nothing in the prime demographic of 18-35.
§  The thing that’s keeping TV afloat is sports.
·      Basic Cable
o   FX, AMC, USA, Lifetime, MTV, etc.
o   Driven by advertising and ratings, but less so. Have figured out how to have interesting programming at lower costs.
o   They think like interesting indie producers in the feature film world.
o   Very character driven…
o   Can be very formula: breaking bad, dexter, etc: take ordinary person, give them a secret that forces them to try to live a normal life, but creates an conflict
o   FX: the bad-asser network.
o   Each has their own specific branding – certain kinds of shows they’ll look at.
o   Luke had a big board of all the places he could sell a show. When he’s got a specific show, he’ll only consider writing it if there’s at least 3 places to pitch it.
·      Premium Cable
o   HBO, Showtime, Cinemax, Starz
o   Have no advertising – you pay for them as part of the cable bill. Therefore they have no ratings. Therefore they…
o   Operate like rich film investors who do whatever the hell they want.
o   They’ll do risky stuff, like Game of Thrones.
o   You can do whatever you like…no advertisers to offend.
·      Three Kinds of Shows
o   One hour drama
o   Half hour comedy
o   Game shows/reality shows (no writers required.)
·      Cable wants serialized shows…one story told over 13 shows.
·      Network wants stand-alone stories…with maybe a small story arc that goes across the season.
·      Serialization makes syndication harder.
·      Hybrids:
o   X Files good example:
§  16 episodes are monster of the week.
§  The other six episodes are ongoing story line.
·      One Hour Drama
o   Approximately 60 page script
o   4-6 acts w/ cold open for network
o   Write without acts for cable/premium
o   Tend to be procedural on network (cop, lawyer, medical shows)
o   Mostly sold:
§  on pitch at networks
§  pitch or spec at cable/premium.
§  Often with valuable talent attachments.
o   Cold Open: The body is lying there, the detectives walk in, “Oh my god”, cut to credits.
o   Each act has to be a cliffhanger, to get the audience to come back.
o   But on cable, no need for act breaks.
·      Executives
o   Will order 60 pitches
o   Get 25 pilots
o   Shoot 6 pilots
o   Get 1 show
·      Timeline
o   Buying season is the summer
o   Pilots are shot in October
o   Shoot show in spring
o   Show introduces in September
o   this is changes over time.
·      “spec script” vs “pitch”
o   most things in tv are bought on pitch
·      getting paid
o   you get paid when they want to buy it
o   you get paid when they do the pilot
o   you get paid when they produce it
o   you when the TV show earns money
o   you get paid as the creator, on every show that is created, regardless of who writes it
o   you get paid as the executive producer, if you are involved in the actual writing.
o   if you write the episodes, you get paid as the writer.
§  This is basically a day job. You’re showing up at the office every day, probably in LA.
§  Each show has a lead writer who will lay out the episode, do the main writing, but then all the writers will collaborate on the details.
o   You can get paid as all three.
·      Sample One Hour Structure
o   Cold Open (2-3 minutes, episode problem)
o   Act One (to 15m, end w/ cliffhanger)
o   Act Two (to 25m, end w/ cliffhanger)
o   Act Three (to 35m, end w/ cliffhanger)
o   Act four (to 45m, end w/ cliffhanger)
o   Act Five (to 55m, w/ episode climax/solution)
o   Tag
·      Formats:
o   Use anything you want
o   Final Draft was long the standard, but as long as it looks correct, it’s fine
o   Send as a PDF
o   If something is formatted incorrectly, it makes it easy to say no
·      Half Hour Comedy
o   Approximately 30 page script
o   3 acts w/ cold open for network.
o   Write without acts for cable/premium
o   Either multicam (cheers) or single camera (the office)
o   Mostly sold on pitch at networks, pitch or spec at cable/premium. Often with valuable talent attachments.
·      Story Threads
o   A Story: Your Main Story Line/Concern
o   B Story: Secondary characters and secondary concerns to your main character, but tied has cause/effect with “A” Story
o   C Story: Often a disconnected adventure with a secondary character
·      Network Seasons
o   Buying is July 4th through late fall
o   Pilots due at end of the year
o   Pilots are ordered, shot at the beginning of the new year
o   Upfronts happen in the late spring where shows are picked up
o   Buying season begins again
o   New shows debut in the fall starting in September (while another buying season is in full swing)
·      Netflix, Hulu, Amazon
o   Netflix noticed that people are binging: people watch the whole season at once.
§  So they did House of Cards.
§  Specifically engineered to apply to their core audience based on the extensive data they have.
o   But we start to lose the cultural conversation:
§  “Did you see episode 10 of X”?
·      “Yeah, like two years ago”
§  “Let’s watch the pilot honey.”
·      Next morning she’s on episode 5. No reason to stay in sync anymore.