It's for you.

Published: 4 years ago

Oscar thoughts (2011)

Well, it’s already been a year since we were treated with the Baldwin/Martin hosting duties and, although not that amusing, they fared much better than this year’s duo.

But let’s get something out of the way first.
Was The King’s Speech the best movie of 2010?
Probably not.
Was it undeserving of recognition?
If you’ve seen the movie, then you know it was not only entertaining and funny, but also fresh.
There, I said it.
I went in expecting some heavy period “Oscar-grabber” piece, and I came out feeling invigorated.
Hell, it was the complete opposite of what many people are comparing it to: Shakespeare in Love.
So, no, I don’t feel the win was that much of a rip-off, and if you look at the list of the nominees, 2010 was a pretty great year for cinema.

Now onto the hosts.

Call it bland, call it grey, call it apathy, but the hosting this year was plain boring.
Even Franco seemed to be pretty absent throughout the show (maybe it was due to the Bruce Vilanch-written jokes?).
There’s not much else to say about that, except to add that Hathaway’s visible enthusiasm was misplaced.

If there was one great addition this year though, it was undoubtedly the magnificent set. Now that’s a step in the right direction.

It was also pretty funny to see how the ceremony itself was not unlike Inception: we have to go deeper!
An announcer announced the next announcer who then announced the next announcer, and…so on.
Anne Hathaway introduced Billy Crystal who introduced Bob Hope who introduced Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law who then presented the SFX award.

Speaking of Bob Hope. Though I appreciate the effort of recreating his persona on stage, they do realize the world, and people, were not black & white in the 1950s right?

Also note that they apparently removed the “applaud your fave” during the In Memoriam segment.
No more ghoulish popularity contest!

Surprisingly, another positive thing this year were the acceptance speeches. Both Aaron Sorkin and Christian Bale were not only humble in their victory, but also self-deprecating. Others, like Tom Hoper, were actually inspiring.

As for Billy Crystal’s comeback, well, that was met with a lot of relief from everybody.
Maybe he’ll get so much hype from his performance that they’ll rehire him next year…

And what to say about Kirk Douglas?
I love the man but, damn, that presentation was downright embarrassing for everyone involved. And what was going on with the aide battling for his cane?

Oh, I almost forgot to point out that Modern Family served us with another, funny, Oscar promo.
Probably the most entertaining 30 seconds of the evening.
That’s two for two.

As for the various winners (and losers)…
Although everyone was hoping for Exit Through the Gift Shop to win (and get a Banksy party-crashing in return), I’m glad that Inside Job got the award. Even better was director Charles Ferguson’s opening statement about how “three years after a horrific financial crisis caused by fraud, not a single financial executive has gone to jail—and that’s wrong”.
A lot of people are also whining about the Inception snubs and how everyone was thanking Chris Nolan–except the Academy voters. Although somewhat true, I do feel Nolan Fincher will get recognition from the Academy soon.
As in, next year with The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.
As for the rest of the winners, there isn’t much to add that hasn’t been said. I don’t consider any of the wins to be surprising (yes, even Melissa Leo).
This year’s ceremony was, overall, probably the least surprising in quite some time.

Finally, we were treated with a (somewhat awkward?) end-of-show choir.
Under-privileged kids, singing happily with Oscar winners getting their $30,000 gift-bags.
Stay classy Academy.

Published: 4 years ago

#TheGreyBox — Week One

It has been a week since #TheGreyBox was launched and we’ve already been having great discussions with great people all around.

It was a bit tough the first couple of days after the opening as people kept joining for a span of a few seconds and then quit. Fortunately though, people quickly understood that a chatroom doesn’t work like a virtual game and they started hanging around (i.e. idling) a bit more.

In just seven days, we’ve already had an impressive total of over sixty actual chatters engaging in conversations!
The best surprise however was the diversity of the people that have been joining en masse.
Any of our visitors will tell you about the wide variety of guests we’ve been having, including repped writers and writer’s assistant–and they were all graciously answering questions.
Plus, all television genres have been represented, from the obvious like comedy and drama, to even animation.
Interestingly, some of the best discussions and advice given on #TheGreyBox did not happen when a gazillion people where hovering around, rather at random, impromptu moments.

The lesson to be learned here is that great advice is always around the corner on #TheGreyBox.
And this is just another reason to hang out more on the chan!
I’ve already talked numerous times about the benefits of staying in the chatroom, not the least of which is, just as I said, being present when something epic is going on.

It is a pain to keep a browser tab open 24/7, especially with virtually no notifications of incoming messages.
If you’ve already checked out the chan and like it, I therefore encourage you to get an IRC client.

What is an IRC client?
Think of it like a dedicated software for IRC and its chatrooms.
TweetDeck for instance is a Twitter client. GTalk is also a client, but for Google Talk.
The same way you can check Twitter on their website or use GTalk via GMail, you can use a webchat for IRC (probably what you’re using right now).
Although it is easy and simple to use a webchat when you are at work or away, it is always nice to come back home to a personal client customized to your needs.

Why you should use an IRC client:
1) Connectivity
You won’t need to keep a browser tab open to reach the chan. Your IRC client will be able to be minimized, run in the background or even comfortably rest in your taskbar. No need to keep going back and forth between websites or reconnecting every time you want to join.
2) Awareness
Even if your client is running in the background, you will be instantly notified when someone logs in and/or when a discussion is happening. Never will you miss another conversation about television writing.
3) Logging
Remember that great advice Amy gave you about your spec last week? Neither do I.
Now you don’t have to worry about relying on your fragile memory with the introduction of logging. As the name implies, your client will log every conversation going on in the chatroom inside a simple text file (with as much information as you want it to contain). That way, you will easily be able to read back Friday’s discussion about fellowships without missing a beat.
And if you’re busy/away but your client is running in the background, you will actually be able to log discussions you were not able to attend.

I wrote a simple, straightforward guide (with pictures!) to help you install and configure your client as you wish. You can check it out over here.

Obviously, if you don’t want to deal with all the technical hassles (though they’re worth it), you can always join the chan the old fashioned way, by going to

And since Monday morning is “Comic-Con ticket sale” day, we’ll be hosting an e-party on the chan starting at 5:30AM PST/8:30AM EST!

We’ll see you on #TheGreyBox.

Published: 4 years ago

#TheGreyBox is here

#TheGreyBox, the only chatroom dedicated to television writers and spec writing, is finally open!

How to access it?
The webchat version is available to all through the following site:
All you have to do from there is input your name, click ‘Connect’ and wait a couple of seconds.
Welcome to #TheGreyBox!

You can also familiarize yourself with IRC and dedicated clients with this simple guide we wrote.

Alternatively, if you have an IRC client of your own, here are the infos you need:
Port: 6667
Channel: #TheGreyBox

If you’ve been brought here without any idea as to what I’m referring to, you can check out this presentation post.
#TheGreyBox is an actual, old-school chatroom dedicated to TV writers, aspiring and pros alike.
Regardless of where you are, it is difficult for anyone to meet new people, let alone ones dedicated to the same craft, and have honest conversations with them. I hope an open, free and accessible place like a dedicated chat can become a neutral space that sparks intense discussions and exchanges between writers and the like.

Now that #TheGreyBox has been launched, it is up to you to make it a lively place where people can meet, exchange ideas/questions, and discuss television/spec writing.
Once again, this post can only take us so far, so please spread the word as best you can with a tweet, blog post, Reddit submission, Tumblr update, Facebook status or carrier pigeon.
Hopefully you are as excited as I am about this opportunity to meet other writers, and join an amazing community.

I’ll see you on #TheGreyBox.

Published: 4 years ago

A TV Writing Chatroom: #TheGreyBox

Blogs and other Twitter accounts about writing obviously exist, but I have yet to encounter a place where television writers are able to discuss and interact, let alone “in real time.” A Starbucks is fine if you’re living in the same block as one, and a small writer’s group is great if, well, you’re a member.
Besides your run-of-the-mill message board though, there doesn’t seem to be a place where a community of TV writers, aspiring and pros alike, can get together and talk. Incidentally, the best way to recreate that experience online, and without the barrier of geography, is an old-school chatroom.

Ladies and gents, I present to you #TheGreyBox.

I was looking for a space dedicated to television writers and spec writing where people could interact. Besides niche blogs and sometimes Twitter, there’s pretty much no place like that.
Through this chatroom, I’m hoping at least to be able to bring people with similar passions and goals together.
Even if you’re in LA, it is difficult for anyone to meet new people, let alone people dedicated to the same craft, and have honest conversations. Hopefully, an open, free and accessible place like a dedicated chat can help a little.

If you seem surprised that the name of the channel is a hashtag, don’t be (because it’s not).
The chat/channel will be on IRC (Internet Relay Chat), where all ‘chans’ are actually prefaced by the hash symbol.
For those not in the know about IRC, Wikipedia describes it as a “a form of real-time Internet text messaging (chat) or synchronous conferencing. It is mainly designed for group communication in discussion forums, called channels, but also allows one-to-one communication via private message.“
It predates Facebook, Skype, BitTorrent, Kazaa, and even AOL Messenger, yet is still extremely active, simple to use, and just great. Twitter’s whole existence is pretty much based on IRC. The @ in front of people’s names? Those are OPs in the IRC world.

Not that I’m complaining about this walk down technolane but we have more pressing matters at hand.

How to access it?
The webchat version is available to all through the following site:
All you have to do from there is input your name, click ‘Connect’ and wait a couple of seconds.
Welcome to #TheGreyBox!

What now?
This post can only get us so far so if you can, please spread the word.
Of course if you don’t care about TV writing you can just hang back and watch the Titanic sink.
I’m hopeful however that you’re as excited as I am about this opportunity to meet fellow writers and (re)create an amazing community.
If you have ideas or thoughts about the chat, feel free to drop a comment below.

Write on!