Well, this was certainly an interesting week.
Lemme catch you up:
Last Friday, I noted that there was a lot of increased engagement with this newsletter likely due to my piece, “No Good Deed…”, regarding the Arrowverse and James Gunn’s new DCU.
I had no idea what was coming.
‘Cause a little over 24 hours later, Deadline.com published an article about it:
In short order, outlets like Variety, TV Line, TV Insider, Entertainment Weekly, Digital Spy, and many, many others followed suit.
It’s taken as an axiom that “there’s no such thing as bad publicity” but the problem is that with virtually no exceptions, the coverage focused on my statement that “I really wasted my time” with the Arrowverse while conveniently leaving out the important modifier “at least on a career level.”
They also managed to leave out how I was explicit in being “deeply grateful” for all the fan engagement over the years.
Ah well. Never let the facts get in the way of a good story (or clickbait headlines), I guess.
My only regret is that articles like these give aid and comfort to the Arrowverse’s small contingent of trolls. (As if Mr. Gunn cares a whit about their objections to character romances or deaths.) Then again, such folk have always insisted on making themselves the subject of the narrative and that’s not likely to change anytime soon.
Thanks largely to the foregoing, we gained over one-hundred new subscribers in the past week.
To those of you who newly discovered and subscribed, welcome. I generally try to publish this newsletter every Friday and focus on topics like what I’m up to writing-wise, content that I’m enjoying, and — on occasion — remarks about writing or the entertainment industry.
If there’s anything you’d particularly like to hear about — or not like to hear about — please sound off in the comments.
Last but most certainly not least, thank you to the large and vocal majority of people who reached out to me via phone, text, email, Twitter, and in the comments section to offer their appreciation, empathy, and support. I’m grateful to each and every one of you.
As I’ve mentioned in previous newsletters, I’ve been developing several pitches for new TV projects. Those pitches started being scheduled in earnest this past week, so that’s where my focus has mainly been.
After years of hating it, I’ve come to enjoy pitching (more on this below) and now have it down to a routine that, at least, works for me.
At the same time, however, the television landscape can only be described as apocalyptic. (And a little pre-apocalyptic given that potential buyers are fearful of a writers strike.) Accordingly, there’s a significant likelihood that I’m shouting into the void. Nevertheless, I soldier on. Mainly out of stubbornness.
Next week, after a few weeks of story-breaking and cogitation, I’m going to start writing in earnest on a PROJECT MARBLE, another feature.
At the same time, I have a tranche of deadlines looming in comics: Issue 2 of the next Star Wars project, Issue 4 of Star Trek: Echoes, and Issue 3 of PROJECT HOURGLASS for Marvel.
HOW I LEARNED TO STOP WORRYING AND ENJOY THE PITCH
I used to hate pitching.
I told myself that my dislike of the exercise was rooted in the fact that hiring a writer based on how well they make an oral presentation is like picking an oncologist based on how well they do your taxes.
And although this feeling still remains, the truth is that I didn’t like pitching because it just made me uncomfortable. For some reason, I always felt, well, silly whenever I pitched.
At the same time, though, I had no problem taking what’s called in Hollywood “general meetings” — relaxing, shoot-the-shit, “what are you up to lately?” meetings with free bottled water (at least when such get-togethers were in person instead of over Zoom).
The experiential difference between pitches and generals was so stark, that I puzzled what the difference between the two — pitch and general — truly was. After all, in most generals, I managed to slip in some form of a “soft pitch.” Was it the informality of the general meeting that made me comfortable? What was the difference, really?
Then it occurred to me: When I pitched, I tended to lean forward, resting my forearms on my thighs. In a general, however, I sat back, with my legs crossed. In a pitch, I was physically tense and uncomfortable. In a general, I was at ease and relaxed.
And I started to wonder if I could “trick” myself into getting comfortable with pitching by forcing my body to pretend it was in a general meeting.
The results, for me, were remarkable.
Your mileage may vary. But what could it hurt to try?
STUFF I’M LIKING
Right now, there’s no television series I’m looking forward to more each week than the new episode of Star Trek: Picard. It is the most interesting of beasts: Not quite The Next Generation, Season 8 nor is it the fifth NextGen feature film. It boasts qualities of both to be sure, but it’s really its own wonderful thing: A new, compelling story featuring the crew of the Enterprise-D.
You’ll note that I didn’t say that it’s the third season of Picard. That’s because the show does its level best to present itself as something else. All but two characters from the previous two seasons are absent — and one of those two characters is actually a refugee from a prior Trek (Voyager). The main titles have been gorgeously redesigned and pushed to the end of each episode (like the credit sequence of many feature films these days). Almost everything screams that Picard Season 3 is distinct and different from its prior two seasons. For certain, knowledge of the events of those seasons isn’t required to enjoy “Season 3.”
All in all, now four episodes deep, Terry Matalas and his team have done a brilliant job and I have no reason to think things won’t get even better from here on out.
Be good to each other.
I finished Too Dead to Die and really loved it. I especially enjoyed the conceit of it being this hit property from years ago that’s finally coming back. I just wanted to share that I thought it was a great graphic novel, and I hope it’s selling well for you and Mr. Chaykin.
Excellent "Inner Game" exploration of the hate of pitching and the love of the general. The "stakes" appearing different by awareness of both the label and the chair position. And maybe you find more pleasure in war than in baseball?