Could you Write for a TV Show?

I found a job posting for someone to write for a TV show here in Toronto. I bet it would be an interesting job. I’m too far outside of Toronto to be there for the meetings and such. I doubt they would want to make it a telecommute sort of thing. Anyway, here is the information posted about the job just for the interest of knowing what they expect and what they are looking for.

Position: Journalist/Writer, Marilyn Denis Show, Digital Media (12 month contract)
Location: CTV-299 Queen Street West, M5V 2Z5
Salary: Commensurate with qualifications and experience
Hours of Work: 40 hours per week. Overtime as required.

The Marilyn Denis Show is looking for a sharp, savvy, energetic writer to help us develop and deliver the voice of the Marilyn Denis show online. Reporting to the Lead Producer of Digital Media, this position will work with both the broadcast and digital group and will be responsible for:
•Developing and executing fresh ideas to support the brand, which includes interviews, articles, photos and video to enhance the website experience
•Participating in production meetings and brainstorms
•Other duties as required

•2-4 years experience developing content for online audiences, preferably in an editorial capacity
•Must have strong lifestyle and entertainment background; clear and concise writing ability as well as an excellent command of the English language with the ability to write accurate and engaging content
•Ability to conceptualize and deliver content across various platforms; broadcast, web, mobile and social. .
•Self –starting individual with a passion for lifestyle topics such as fashion, beauty, home décor, health and wellness, as well as popular entertainment categories (television, movies, music)
•Ability to work under constant tight deadlines; time management skills and multi-tasking abilities are essential.
•Excellent interpersonal skills with a strong focus on collaboration and communication. Must be able to work individually or as part of a team.
•Must be familiar with social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, etc.
•Knowledge of HTML, FTP and Photoshop an asset.
•Broadcast experience an asset.
•Must have a valid driver’s license and passport as travel may be required.

Is this your dream job? Why not look into a job with TV shows in your local area? They are out there, see if you can talk your way into something great you never dreamed of even asking for before. If you have what they are looking for, give it to them!

Abandoned on the Planet

Remember that being by oneself is not the same as being abandoned. The world is still there. – Barbara Feldon

What if the world stopped being there? What if one morning you woke up to the sound of your alarm clock. You start your morning routine and begin to notice how very quiet it is. When you look out the window you can see cars on the street, all the usual things are there but not one person anywhere in sight. Depending on where you live this could see a big deal or no big deal at all. You turn on the radio or the TV to get an update on the news, only it’s all just static. Every station, every channel… just fuzz.

The water works, you have a shower, brush your teeth. The power is still on you notice as you open the fridge for breakfast. But, it’s all quiet. Oddly quiet.

You feel cheered up when you hear a bird outside. Things must be ok if the birds are still chirping.

But, things are very different today. Without explanation you are suddenly the only person in the world. All the other people have disappeared overnight. Like a mass alien abduction… what else could even come close to explaining such a freak thing. Unless this is all just a dream. Surely that’s it.

A month or so later you have to admit to yourself the dream theory is not working.

Other than the mystery of wondering where all the people went you are doing ok. You have plenty of resources since you don’t have to share anything. (The animals don’t count, they take care of themselves and don’t tend to bother you). The electric power and water are running just fine, no sign of a slow down. It must help that you use so little compared to how much was used when everyone was still here.

You’ve done all the things you thought you would ever do if you had all the time and resources in the world. Because, you do have all the time you want to do anything and everything. No one tells you not to.

It’s an odd feeling to be this alone in the world. Like driving a massive space ship all by yourself, you as the pilot, navigator, engineer, and everything else. Some days the world feels so huge when you thing of how big the planet is and how small you are. Some days the world feels small when you get into a good book and forget how alone you are.

Write about being alone in the world. How does it feel to be the only person on the planet? Describe the feelings of being this alone, create some metaphors to describe how you feel.

Can’t Sleep?

My nephew, Zack, is having trouble getting to sleep. I think part of the problem is himself. Before he even gets into bed he has already told himself he will not be able to get to sleep. With all the power our brains have over our body it makes sense to me that if the brain says it will not sleep the body is not likely to relax and let sleep happen. My sister says it is all the video games he plays, right up until bedtime and I’m sure that isn’t helping but it is not the only thing.

For Zack I have been looking for ideas that help people get to sleep.

From All Women’s Talk I thought the best tips were to clear your mind, have a clean environment and a cold bedroom. I always sleep better if it is at least cool versus warm. So much nicer to snuggle under a blanket than feel smothered by the air itself. WikiHow had the most unique ideas for falling asleep.

Other tips:

  • A warm bath or shower can help. Also, the evening is a better time to use the hot water than the more expensive daytime hours.
  • Practice good hygiene. Give your teeth a brush and swish some mouthwash. Clip your finger and toe nails. Brush your hair a hundred strokes.
  • A hot drink, like the standard warm milk.
  • Close your eyes.
  • Gather everything you will need for the next morning. Set your clothes out and all the accessories you will wear. If you need to take anything with you or have a plan for getting somewhere do it all before bed so it can be off your mind.
  • Have regular exercise. Giving your body a work out causes the need for sleep later.
  • Don’t exercise right at your bedtime.
  • Don’t eat a meal or snack right at bedtime. Better yet, don’t eat 3 hours before going to bed.
  • But, don’t go to bed hungry either. Have a very light snack rather than lying there feeling hungry.
  • Have a regular schedule for your bedtime. Condition yourself to know when your body will expect to be getting to bed and sleeping.
  • Silence, as quiet as you can manage. Try earplugs if there are still outside noises you can’t control.
  • Darkness, cover the windows if necessary. Close the door for more darkness, you can plug in a fan if you want air flow.
  • Change your mattress. Get a new one if it is old and giving you backaches. Try several types of mattress to find one which really suits you.
  • Try a new pillow. As with a new mattress you may need a firmer, softer or less fluffed pillow. Find which type suits you. There are even full body pillows which you can have at your back.
  • Get some sunlight during the day. Your body clock needs to be kept on track.
  • Sleep in another room if sharing your bed or someone snoring is keeping you awake. Of course, this is only a temporary solution. In the morning you need to talk about a better solution.
  • Sound therapy. Use ocean sounds, gentle rain and other simple recorded sounds to help you relax and fall asleep.
  • Relax your jaw, then go through all the other parts of your body, relaxing each one.
  • Count sheep or goats or something else that will be dull and monotonous. Don’t count anything that will make you want to get out of bed.
  • Massage. You can rub your own temples, up and down your arms and use a back scratcher to give yourself a backrub.
  • Plan your next vacation.
  • Read awhile to take your mind off your busy, frustrating or upsetting day. Don’t pick something that will be too stimulating.
  • Try a couple of different sleeping positions, even try sleeping with your head at the other end of the bed. But, don’t get into doing bed Olympics, just try a couple of positions and then settle on one.
  • Give meditation and/ or self hypnosis a try.
  • Talk to an imaginary friend, no heated arguments.
  • Plan your dream for the evening. Begin with the location, what you will be wearing, what kind of weather it will be…
  • Wear nightclothes/ pajamas which don’t bunch up and become uncomfortable or have tight elastics and such. You need to be comfortable.
  • Practice deep breathing. Lie on your back and take slow, deep breaths. You don’t want to feel like you are suffocating yourself, the idea is to slow your breathing until you are already breathing as if you are asleep.
  • Try aromatherapy.
  • Don’t use your bed for anything but sleeping. (Or sex, which tends to lead to sleeping too). If you are used to doing work, watching TV and etc. in your bed then it isn’t a place just to relax and sleep. Your mind isn’t conditioned to think of your bed as just the place you sleep.
  • Daydream in bed. Put yourself into a situation where feel relaxed and are with people you like having around you.
  • Be your own kid and tell yourself a bedtime story, not out loud, just think it to yourself. Don’t make the story too exciting and keep yourself awake.
  • Tell yourself you are tired. Yawn for extra effect.
  • Imagine a pendulum, steadily swinging back and forth.
  • If you’ve been lying there 15 minutes or longer and have not begun to relax get up and do something boring which you have been putting off: match your socks, clean out the medicine cabinet, or watch the shopping channel if you’re feeling anti-productive.

What is your best sleeping tip? Write something new and creative and send it to someone who could use help getting to sleep.

Stay Tuned Next Week has Gone too Far

I am tired of science fiction (and other) TV shows that become too tangled and twisted in their own back stories. Did it start with Twin Peaks?

I miss science fiction where you could watch one episode and it made sense. Yes, it is nice to know some of the background and the stories that develop with each episode. But, I want to understand and enjoy each individual episode without feeling I should have read the book first.

TV shows like Lost in particular have let me out in the cold. I’m not in their clique. Maybe this is how they build up a loyal and devoted fan base. Not many people could really become interested in these shows enough to really follow them. It becomes a status symbol to be in the know and have conversations about theories and plot twists. To join online groups and discuss them long into the night.

It’s an addiction, like the game applications on Facebook. You get all wrapped up in collecting these little computer graphics that you may even pay real money for. Yet, you do not own anything at all, not even the computer graphics you have worked so hard to collect.

As writers we need to be aware of things like this. Changes in how stories are presented.

In my opinion this new style of very complicated back stories have sucked the life out of the weekly TV shows. People may get addicted and need to watch each week but it’s not for the weekly story, just more hints to what the back story is. If Lost had come out in a book (not a TV series) you might have read it. You might have looked at the back cover and read the preview and decided it was too far fetched, too complicated to really get interested in. Isn’t that ironic? A real case of “the medium is the message”.

I feel the new science fiction shows are all about their own back stories. Watching an episode is like reading one random chapter in a book. Not a full story with a beginning, middle and an ending. Not satisfying. Stay tuned next week… has gone too far.

Choreography in Battle

Men like to fight, scrap around and have a little horse-play in general. Most of it is fairly harmless. Like other large predators they have the instinct to not injure each other too badly unless it’s over something really important. Last night I watched a group of men fighting (on TV). They wore cardboard, used cardboard battle gear, it was kind of funny to watch them go at each other with plain brown cardboard boxes. They call it Box Wars.

Box Wars begin in Australia. The local Toronto chapter here in Ontario are the men I saw on TV. I’m sending the link to my 14 year old nephew. Not just because it looks like fun for himself and a group of his friends, but because I’d like to see him get into the engineering and planning of building equipment and battle gear out of cardboard. It will take some thought to figure out how to make the cardboard work, how to build effective fighting gear that doesn’t just fall apart.

What else would be interesting as material for men to slam each other with, something that isn’t likely to hurt them, too much? Could you write about a battle with this material or the cardboard as above? Have you ever written a battle scene. It takes some choreography to keep track of the arms and legs, not unlike a sex scene.

Look for Signs to Lead you to New Things

“Ignore your old life and look for signs that lead you to your new life”.

  • Quote from an episode of Charmed which I happened to leave on after The Gilmore Girls on Cosmo TV.

Isn’t it a great quote. I hope I caught it and wrote it down right. I was sort of watching the show and doing other things. But this registered in my brain. It is so much what I need to do right now. I’ve been on a losing life path for a long time, always going forwards (after awhile) to end up right back where I started. Feeling that I am only getting older and not any better. So this quote was pin pointed for me. Maybe it will be inspiring for others too. 🙂

Red Green’s Word Game

On the Red Green Show they have a skit where a word is chosen and Red Green tries to get the guest to say the word. Of course, it’s comedy and the word is not a secret at all. But, the guest is fed clues which lead to the word, pretty obviously, yet each guess is another way of looking at the clue. The actual word is only said at the very end as a mistake. If you have never seen Red Green is it not easily explained. But, it does make an interesting writing exercise.

Pick a word. Let’s say the word is ‘lemon’.

The first clue given is “Something sour.”

The answer is “My Mother-in-law.” (It is a guy show).

The next clue is “No, it grows on trees.”

The answer is “Well, it’s not money that’s for sure. Did I tell you about the time I tried to plant…”

“No, it’s something sour and yellow”

“My Uncle Bob. He stunk real bad too.”

And on it goes. Once you actually try to write it this is not so easy. If you see Red Green come on TV watch for the word game. They do it very well.

TV People are Not Real

It kind of bugs me when you watch someone order a coffee or food on TV and then it just sits there, uneaten. Next thing they all leave and the food they said they wanted is pretty much untouched. This happens a lot on soap operas. In one, General Hospital, people go to Kelly’s Diner, sometimes they just get coffee but other times it is a whole meal put down in front of them. Maybe they take one sip, a pretend sip? Next thing they leave and it is all just left sitting there.

In romance novels women never get their period. It is never a problem for them to have sex on any given day, as long as they can find a condom. Even the condom is a recent addition to the ‘rules’. But, when did you last read a romance where the woman had to pass on sex because she was OTR, as my brother calls it.

In movies, TV and books seldom does anyone go into the bathroom to actually use the bathroom. They may chat in there, as if the bathroom’s real function is a place for discreet conversation. How would you feel, being an ordinary mortal, if you were in the stall peeing when a whole gang of women walk in and start talking about their issues? Would you just keep right on peeing or would you be frozen, feeling like an eavesdropper and wishing they would all hurry up and leave? I think TV people are all some kind of remote controlled cyborgs who don’t need or have any human functions. Just toss them a can of lube so they don’t squeak and they’re good to go.

What have you noticed about TV, books or movies that bugs you? What do TV people never do? Have you ever written basic bodily functions into a story you wrote? Is it important or better just glossed over as who really wants to know that the leading lady can’t hop into bed right now cause she needs to change her tampon?

Because We Love Them

This idea was inspired from HappyandBlue2 (Social commentary through sarcasm). His post about Christmas shopping for your man (if you have one tucked away in some cage, closet, where ever you find it handy to keep them).

Think of a sarcastic Christmas gift for the man in your life (or someone else you love, like a lot, or are related to).  The first part is knowing what they really do want. The second part is turning that around to give them what they really want but in a way they never expected.

  • If he wants a big screen TV, give him a big hole in the wall where the TV could fit. If it also happens to be where you wanted a wall removed at some point… all the better.
  • If he wants power tools get him a long extension cord and a small gift card from the hardware store. Include a note listing all the great home repairs he will be able to do now.
  • If he longs for a vacation, you should take one. Where will you go and how long do you think he can look after the kids by himself?

Write Every Day aka The Reality of the Day of a Writer

From Chris Baty, the NaNoWriMo Newsletter:

Write every day. Even if you just knock out 75 words before collapsing into bed, those 75 words will keep you connected you to your story in essential ways, and make diving back into your book much easier.

Between one and a hundred things I have not even started for NaNoWriMo. Yesterday I said I was just giving up on it and I might still do that. But, this morning, when I was still waking up and not quite back into my life yet, I thought that I could still do it. I’d just need to write double the regular words per day. The month isn’t half gone by. It is still a possibility.

So I turned on the computer, waiting for it to load up all the Windows stuff, the Acer stuff and then some update it just had to do for Java. It finally finished loading up a second time after the annoying Java thing… then I was called away. My Mother needed me to get the lawn mower out from the garage where my brother had put it away behind a bunch of lawn furniture he had stored away for the winter last weekend. So I did that. Then she wanted me to do something else, then something else still and then a couple of other things… about two hours later I came back to my computer.

Now I have about 10 minutes before I leave for a birthday party for my niece who will be 5 today and is very excited and especially phoned me last night to make sure I remembered her birthday and to tell me (again) that I am on her invited list.

Knowing the usual at my sister’s house I will be making the dinner, after I clean up her kitchen. Then it seems she bought a cake mix so I am probably going to be making the birthday cake. Then the party itself. Then the running around and pinging off walls while my sister and her husband forget they are parents. I will be getting the girls into the bath and then tucked into bed. Then, by 8:00 or so I will come back downstairs. My sister may want to play cards but these days she is nearing the end of her pregnancy so she may not and just watch TV or go to bed early herself.

I will get home any time from 9:00 to midnight, as I have in the past on babysitting days. I will try to write then when I sit here in front of the computer. But, first I will need to unwind a bit. So I check email, probably put on a computer game and end up going to bed cause my eyes cant’ stay open to do much of anything.

So that will be another day of not writing for NaNoWriMo. But, I did update for my daily post here. That’s a good thing!