Tom Galloway: I'll pass along the bit about using Google Calendar to its tech lead (no longer at Google myself, but after 4.5 years you get to know a fair number of folk there).
Although instead of Google Groups, you might want to look at Google Docs, which can be used for collaborative documents over the Web (and worked on offline). There's also spreadsheet and presentation web-based software. The Help Center with links to intros and the like is at http://docs.google.com/support/?hl=enThanks for passing the compliment along. I use Google Docs myself (wrote the WOTC stuff on it) and I dig it, but I wasn't sure I was comfortable enough with it back when the staff fired up to be able to force it on the other writers and then be able to handle any questions. A month or two later, though, and now I actually wouldn't hesitate to make it the show's default outlining tool. We're just a bit far in to start. (On the other hand, I've turned a batch of my co-workers on to the whole suite.)
That said, if you're passing along info -- the lack of WYSWIG on that word processor is CRIMINIAL If not for integration with my other Google tools, I'd be on ZOHO instead if only because of this flaw.
If Google Docs had proper page formatting tools, I'd use it as my default word processor. As is, I always have to make a clean-up pass with PAGES or OPEN OFFICE.
JoeNot Charles: Holy shit, you're the "fat irishmen plummet" guy! I got so sick of that clip in college when I had nothing to do but sit around and watch the Comedy Network all day.
Um ... thanks?
Berg: "...I decide to write the outline of 105..." I gotta call BS on this one, Rogers. With a side of hubris. Were you drinking on the private jet?
Absolutely right. The entry has been rewritten to indicate how you wrote the outline for 105, and I only rewrote the ending. We will discuss in a further post how a production arbitrates the credits when a writer's been removed from a script for snarking on her boss's blog.
Juancho: John- I'm someone who hated teachers who wrote their class notes in outline form. While I understand how it's used in the film/tv biz (and all creative writing, for that matter), what exactly are you putting in there to get 20 pages per ep? How do you differentiate between a pitch/treatment/outline, and how do you write each accordingly?
We're really writing treatments. They started as outlines, but when you break an episode all the way down to the sluglines, plus one or two choice lines of dialogue per scene (comedy/heist show, so you need tone beats), you wind up with 20 odd single spaced Courier 12 pages.
One of the beauties of Movie Magic is if import outlines into it, the program will aggressively format that text as a script and you can begin writing right off the previously accomplished work. You could in theory even do the outlining we're doing on MM's built-in index card system, but we don't have the big-screen display for everyone to see.
Otter: You know what I'd love to hear? WotC's reaction to your description of the playtest sessions. :-) And yes, let me join John in asking for your thoughts on 4E once the books come out.
The playtest feedback process is actually pretty dry. The only real back and forth we did was about healing and hit points -- they're not really "hit points" anymore, more like the Vitality in Vitality/Wounds, or a separate "Endurance" pool , but ... sacred cows, etc. That said, I like the new mechanic and really dig about 90% of the work done on the system, from soup to nuts. There's an underlying logic to the system that was always lacking before, and they've stripped out a lot of defined action choices in order to, counterintuitively, give you more freedom. No more looking up quirky rule 1101-A -- the GM can wing it easily and logically and consistently.
That said, although I love what they've done with the basic mechanic -- static save defenses, etc -- I still slightly prefer True20 and the powers system of Mutants & Masterminds from a pure design standpoint.
caseyko74: Nuts and bolts question, when do you start getting into full pre-pro and filming? How long after is it from you folk knocking out stories in the room?
As noted in this week's post, we started writing farther out than is normal. We start shooting in mid-July, with official pre-production starting 5-6 weeks out from filming. That's not to say we're not already having meetings, hiring humans, etc.
anonymous: Can you point me to any place where I can see examples of [ed: the old pulp writing technique]? I'm doing a lot of pulp these days (I've had a story in every issue of Astonishing Adventures to date, entirely due to you blurbing the mag lo these many moons ago) and this sounds like an incredibly useful technique.
When I quit university to "find myself", one of the thing I did was go to the Taunton Public Library and find an old book on novel writing, which had the old two-column pulp style described within. As that was twenty years ago, I have not a clue who wrote the book or if it's even still in print. Please note that I wound up working on a natural gas pipeline and soon decided I could just as easily "find myself" back at university, not breaking concrete and getting blown up.
The main value to the technique, throwing its particulars aside, is something that came up in the pitching this week. Causality. When you can track causality, all the way up from individual actions through major story beats, you can more easily stay on beam in your own writing, and in particular it's easier to pitch. You won't get lost, as the next beat is the only logical, inevitable one following the previous beat. You can pace your pitch better, not be afraid to engage the audience, take little breaks, throw out a neat couplet without worrying about getting lost. Keeps you from getting a bad case of the "and then's" too.
It's also easier to see when you've just thrown in a complicaiton for the sake of a complication. Causality is linked to motivation, so a wrinkle for the sake of a wrinkle just sits there like a turd in the outline.
Right then, hope you had a good long weekend. See you all later this week.