Sunday, June 27, 2010

A New Look, A New URL

Media Industries and Other Stuff was a good starter name, sure, but it proved to be far too clunky and unwieldy. Please welcome the newly re-branded and oh-so-simple The Media Industries (  (As long as you think this re-branding effort is better than, say, the one shown above, I'm happy.)

Along with a new name, you will notice that the site has a spiffy new look. I have also gone through and updated the links throughout, adding some new ones and deleting dead ones. As always, please do contact me via Twitter ( or email (aperren at gsu dot edu) if you have any suggestions.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Advice for Aspiring Film & TV Writers: A Chat with Burn Notice's Michael Horowitz

As part of research for an essay (forthcoming), I recently interviewed Burn Notice staff writer, Michael Horowitz. After years of developing a career as a feature film writer, Horowitz transitioned into television writing at the start of the second season of Burn Notice. We chatted at length about how much more fulfilling he often found writing for TV to be these days, as opposed to writing for feature films. During the course of our conversation, he also offered some useful advice for those interested in writing for both film and television, which I wanted to pass on here.

AP: Do you have any recommendations for people who want to become writers?

MH: There is some basic advice that I got a long time ago. Everybody who is trying to do any version of this, I think will succeed. If you really want to write anything for film or television, there is no better litmus test: Write ten scripts and throw them away. And just keep powering through. Everybody just gets obsessed with their first script. Stuck on it forever.

AP: Yes.

MH: And I think nothing gets you better faster than writing a script, giving it to some friends. Have them read it and give you notes. Then go do a revision – actually go through and take it all the way to the end, you know, like two drafts. Then throw it away. Because it’s terrible. And then do it again. I legitimately think I would say do ten [different scripts] if you can. I sort of wish I could go back in a time machine to the college me, when I had endless stamina for writing and all the time in the world and liked to stay up all night. Write ten and throw them away. Five is more reasonable for people, but just keep powering through stuff. If you want to do TV, if you want to do hour-long series, you should be writing one episode of every show. 

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Call for Curators: In Media Res (updated June 26, 2010)

As you might have noticed, I put this blog in hibernation while I focused on finishing a couple of major projects. However, now that those projects are winding down, I hope to be posting here more frequently. One of the big pieces of news on my end is that I will be taking over the position of Coordinating Editor of In Media Res from Avi Santo. If you aren’t familiar with In Media Res, it is a website devoted to experimenting with collaborative, multi-modal online forms of scholarship. Every day, a different individual provides a 300-to-350 word impressionistic provocation to accompany a 30-second to 3-minute clip of their choosing. It is one of several projects affiliated with the MediaCommons digital scholarly network. (I highly recommend checking out this week's fantastic posts on fan/celebrity relationships while you are there!)

Avi has developed and run an amazing site for several years, and it will be hard to match what he has accomplished. Fortunately, I have a terrific team of graduate students at Georgia State University that will be helping me out. With a larger team working on the site, we hope to build on what Avi has created. I will post more information about our plans over the next several months.

In the meantime, below is our summer call for curators. I hope you will consider curating a clip for one of these theme weeks. Proposals need not be any longer than a sentence or a general idea. Additional guidelines will be provided upon receipt of your proposal (don't worry, we handle the tech).

Summer Call for Curators

In Media Res is currently seeking theme-week curators for the period of July 19, 2010 through September 17, 2010. Please forward this CFC to anyone you think might be interested in taking part. Descriptions of the planned theme-weeks included below are meant as a guide only—individual contributors have wide berth for their own creativity and interests.

July 19-23 Gulf Oil Spill. We encourage curators to employ examples of official and unofficial discourses, images, videos and responses about the spill.