For your Emmydiate consideration

( That’s Michael with the beach at Oceanside in the background.  See the fire ring?)

Michael Reave’s career reached its zenith recently when he attended the meetup of Anti-Social Writer and Creative Misfits at the towers that are A Word with You Press.  Prior to that he was just another struggling Emmy winner ( and novelist. Stephen Cobert may have The Cobert Bump, but only at the towers here in Oceanside can you get the Thorn-in-your-side prick.  Now just watch is career take off.  Hope he remembers us when he’s famous. (I’ll remind him)

Michael sent this bit of insider inflammation for me to pass on to our readership. Thank you so much for this, Michael.  You who receive this can help the towers tower if you pass this along on your FB page and tweek–oops!–TWEET.

From Michael Reaves:

Lots of aspiring writers ask me what qualities I look for in a freelancer when I’m wearing my producer or editor hat. The answer is very simple: I look for someone I can use more than once. By that I mean someone who’s reliable, who’ll turn in something producible, and turn it in on time. In short, someone who’ll make me look good. That’s it. That’s all there is. There’s no handshake or code word, no secret organization of the Illuminati — I just want someone who’ll make my job easier. I made a living for over thirty years by being very good at my craft, but that was only half of it: I also had several go-to writers whom I knew I could count on. You’d be surprised how rare a good professional is. When someone comes along who can write good comedy and good horror in the same script, for example, grab him and handcuff him to a word processor, ’cause there’re maybe five writers that good on the planet at any one time.But unfortunately, you can’t count on being discovered without making some effort. So go thou and mingle; attend Writers Guild events, sci-fi conventions, parties, etc. Meet people. Talk to them; you’ll be surprised at how much most writers love to give advice. (In fact, once you get ’em talking you can’t shut ’em up.) If there’s a specific show that you love and want to write for above all others, watch that show until you know it by heart, liver and spleen. Then sit down and write a script that hasn’t been seen before, that feels fresh and new while staying true to whatever tropes it conjures. This is as true for sci-fi and fantasy as it is for straight drama or comedy. No matter the genre, if it’s an episode of series TV, it’s about one thing:

With that in mind, write something that has a sense of inevitability in the way it unfolds, yet still manages to surprise and thrill while unfolding. You want to bring people to your story’s end with them feeling that it couldn’t have been resolved any other way, an ending the inevitability of which is supremely satisfying, and yet staged so elegantly that they don’t see it coming. If you can do that, you’ve created gold.

(Want an example? How about the ending of “Robocop,” in which corporate yuppie bad guy Dick Jones is fired by the director of OCP, thus negating the protection guaranteed by Directive 4 and leaving Robo free to shoot him a whole lot. An ending that’s inevitable in hindsight, yet leaves the audience laughing in delighted surprise every time. I remember complimenting one of the two screenwriters on its ease of execution; its simplicity and inevitability. He replied, “Yeah — it was so simple it only took me three weeks to think of it.”)

I’m not surprised. That’s another truism about inevitable endings: the more effortless they seem, the harder they are to dream up.

It may sound overwhelming; in which case, consider another line of work. But remember: I did it, which means just about any mammal can. It isn’t easy, and it takes knowing the series inside out. And don’t just research the series; learn as much as you can about the showrunners as well. Why? Pop quiz: let’s say I’m a producer on a weekly series. I’ve got one slot open and two scripts from two different writers on my desk. Everything about them is pretty much equal: they’re both producible, well-written and original in ways that illuminate the characters without costing half the season’s budget. The only difference between the two writers is that one of them is someone I don’t know, while the other is someone I met at a convention, or at the gym, or in rehab or whatever. Which one will get the assignment? (The answer counts for half your grade.)

That’s the way it’s done. If you can do it, you’ll never do anything else remotely as satisfying. Making stuff up and getting paid for it is the main event, the big time, no question. Trust me; I’ve been doing it for over thirty years, and it still beats working for a living.


Here is one of Michael’s most recent books. He patterned the hero after me which I modestly must confess is brilliant seeing as we had not yet met at the time of publication.

In The Empire Strikes Back tradition, Jax must save the world/universe and hit the bad guys.  The original title was going to be Jax’s Hit but the editors didn’t go for it.

You can find it on Amazon here:

Just highlight and click.

7 thoughts on “For your Emmydiate consideration

  1. Glclark says:

    He had me at, “write good comedy and horror at the same time…” He needs to meet Granny and that damn Vampire Rooster!

  2. tlrelf says:

    So, it’s who you know as usual, and this gent brings the point home nicely. Anyone here have any leads? I can write horror and funny and SF and funny and just plain weird and funny, can’t I? I bes’ stop by ‘n see Granny and that rooster as I’m a feelin’ one a ma visions comin’ on!

  3. Diane Cresswell says:

    My son is a sound recording engineer and yes it does come down to who you know. But and that’s a big but…if you can’t produce good stuff – who you know don’t come knocking again and its all worth less than a hill of beans – and Cowboy have Granny go plant them beans but if she done et them…send her out to the furtherest back back 40 with the wind blowing the tuther derection. So says the fried sage tomata down in the valley of scary experiences…

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