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*He is not a secret agent. Not at all.



Yesterday, I attended the Breaking into the Box thingy at the Writer's Guild Foundation. Largely just for infotainment purposes, but there's always unexpected highlights. Hanging with Shawna, certainly, and speaking geekese. Ran into some other friends as well. Talking to Josh Appelbaum, he formerly of October Road and no sooner mentioned than he being currently of Life on Mars. Talked to Kevin Falls (and managed not to say the word "Sorkin").

And any time you've got Shawn Ryan, Brannon Braga , Allen Heinberg and Damon Lindelof on one panel at the same time, you will be infotained. Lindelof spoke of being showrunnerless at the beginning of Lost. Heinberg was very enlightening and candid about the Grey's Anatomy writer's room. Past and present.

Actually, the most interesting stuff came from the non-writers. It was interesting to hear executive points of view on a variety of subjects. Their main point (and you really should now this by now) is write your own voice. Specs serve a purpose, but original material is the thing. Short original material. In fact, David Babcock (Reaper) mentioned that he would have his agent send only the first act of one of his plays.
One of the coolest thing is that brand new Queen of HBO (really, isn't that a better title) Sue Naegle was on hand. An interesting view as she makes the agent to exec transition.

Some few things, random things.

  • Life on Mars pilot will be reshot, rewritten and recast (not Jason O'Mara, though, thankfully should have asked about Colm Meany,) it'll be done in New York (can you say tax break). Pleases me to no end because of my well-known weariness of stuff set in L.A.).
  • Told Kevin Falls that I just can't bring myself to delete the last (best) episode of Journeyman from my DVR. He says music rights are boggling a DVD release. Of course.
  • You wanna be an assistant. Call Appelbaum's office. He's only had the show for five days. He is, however, already staffed.
  • I wasn't aware that Desperate Housewives is reshooting (or rather just reshot) their finally because ABC rejected the original. Hmm.
  • You cannot get into the business if you don't know Winnie Holzman. Can't be done.
  • Seriously though, lots of breaking in stories. I'm always interested in these, despite the fact that they are basically unrepeatable. Best one was Appelbaum's. A CAA agent asked out a waitress friend of his and his partner. She made it conditional on the him reading their spec. Bam.
Attendees I spoke with were waffley on the usefulness of the day in actually "Breaking into the Box" ( a lot of common sense advice, really) but every single one, myself included, said, "it makes you want to write stuff. Right now."

And when I got home. I did.

Will I go again next year. Yeah. Probably.
©2024 Michael Patrick Sullivan
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