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Write On

Archive for April, 2013

“Conversations with a Twitter Feed”

By Alex J. Mann

The pilot episode of my web series “Conversations with a Twitter Feed” (CWATF) was conceived, written, shot and edited in about 12 hours. I was working on a writer’s packet for a pop culture variety show that I was submitting for, and in the final section, I had to pitch and write a segment. I knew I wanted the segment to incorporate social media, because that’s what my background is in, and executives love the sound of “social” and “media” together.

twit-feed-2 I spend a lot of time on Twitter, so I poked around there, hoping for a breakthrough. At the time, the most important news of the minute was Kanye West’s rant about one of his favorite bad words. As I read Kanye’s Twitter feed, I commented on his tweets out loud to no one in particular. (I was by myself, but swear I wasn’t “talking to myself.”) Then, I had that thought that writers often have: What if I wrote down the narrative in my head?

I copied Kanye’s tweets into a document and wrote short, punchy responses to them. Eventually, I had reactions/responses to about 15 of Kanye’s b-word tweets. It was a one-sided conversation with a Twitter feed. Since it’s just the Internet, I decided to drop the “one-sided” technicality and call the segment “Conversations with a Twitter Feed.” I had the missing piece to my writer’s packet.

I pitched “Conversations with a Twitter Feed” in my packet as a recurring show segment in which comedians have conversations with celebrity Twitter feeds. In order to sell it, I wanted to shoot an episode. So about an hour after I wrote the script, I sent it to David Monk, a DP/editor I’d worked with on previous projects. A few hours later, we had cut a rough two-minute video of me responding to Kanye’s tweets. I put the link and script in my writer’s packet and sent it in. I was sure I’d get the job.

Unfortunately, I didn’t get the job, but I found a solid web series premise. All I needed was more comedians who were interested in chatting with Twitter feeds.

twit-feed-1As of writing this, we’ve released about 60 episodes of “Conversations with a Twitter Feed.” We’ve featured comedians who have performed on shows like Conan, Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, Late Show with David Letterman, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Comedy Central Presents and television networks like NBC, HBO, MTV, Comedy Central, VH1 and Adult Swim. The series has received some great press. It’s been written about in The Huffington Post, Splitsider, BuzzFeed, Thought Catalog and Tubefilter. Someone told me we were mentioned on one of the Nerdist podcasts.

Views and subscribers are growing. My goal is to continue to grow the series online and eventually get it to where I originally envisioned it: on television. I think that given the speed we can produce an episode, especially around topical pop culture stories, the series would be a great segment on a show like Best Week Ever, Late Night with Jimmy Fallon or Chelsea Lately. It’s cheap to produce (all you need is a comedian and green screen), and it uses social media. Executives love social media.

To keep up with CWATF, please subscribe to our YouTube channel, like our Facebook page, and follow us (and chat with, if you want) on Twitter. New episodes every Monday and Thursday.

Guild Nine Win Opener, 8–7 over WABC-TV

by Timothy Cooper

New seasons beget new beginnings. But apparently we, the 2012 Coed Slow Pitch Broadway Division Champions, like doing things the old, tried-and-true way; that is, by winning.

softballOur abrupt yet decisive comeback in our season opener “surprised us even more than it stunned them,” quoth Parnie, and he’s not wrong: A deficit of 5 at the top of the fourth didn’t prevent us from making a tremendous comeback in the back half of the game to eventually beat WABC-TV 8 to 7. The surprise was shared by literally all, as our skill of rotating in basically everyone was tested to its fullest extent, with 19 different WGAers playing at some point, somehow. Here’s how it went down:

The first hit and first run was by yours truly, eventually RBI’d in by Jo, but 6 straight runs by WABC went unanswered until I enacted a substitution bonanza in the fourth, like a corrupt governor handing out pardons the hour before his term ends. (The comparisons end there: No one has offered to corrupt me, and no end to my term is in sight.)

At that point, both Erik and I scored, with Erik and Parnie getting the RBIs. After Mike scored in the fifth and Erin, Erik and Tina (pinch-running for Jo) went home in the seventh, it was all tied up. A rather Purple Haze-y seventh inning took care of the rest of our business.

That’s right: The strong smell of Colorado’s top reason for tourism wafted over our dugout from unseen sources, threatening to destroy our motivation, but Emmitt was having none of it. After some feistiness with Mike the Ump and six innings of intense third-base coaching, Emmitt stomped in to take his one and only at-bat. With Lisa poised on third to score the winning run, Emmitt ripped into a pitch with the same force that a lioness rips into a young gazelle’s throat after it’s been culled from the herd. Much like that innocent baby mammal, WABC was exposed to nature at its most brutal, and may never recover.

A big welcome is extended to newcomer Alicia, as well as to returning veterans Mike, Lisa and Erin, who somehow look younger than when we last saw them. All played admirably. Doug pitched quietly and powerful, striking out several and forcing them to bat regularly.

Other notables:

  • Marni’s roll at first base
  • Erin’s triumphant return to second
  • Scott and Erik looking solid at left; Jake extending reliably at first
  • Zach and Mike forming a sharp outfield duo, albeit nonconcurrently
  • Sharon finding out she was DH’ing after I said she wouldn’t get to play, in one of only 25 about-faces I made while creating a sometimes sketchy but ultimately victorious lineup
  • And an impenetrable Stu and Other Stu and shortstop and shortstop, respectively.

Let’s play them all like this one: as a team, hitting those singles in the hole, holding onto the ball to be safe, and writing a storybook ending… with plenty of secondhand illegal substances.


Opening Week: 2013 Softball Season

by Timothy Coopersoftball

The 2013 Softball Season is about to begin! Last season was a triumph, marking the first time we made it to the playoffs in two years, through a combination of tenaciousness, gumption, stick-to-itiveness, and other qualities probably mentioned in A League of Their Own.

This year, the majority of our opponents are brand new: In addition to WABC “Who’s Dave?” TV, there’s HipCricket “We’re Embarrassed to Work at a Place Called HipCricket,” Christie’s “We Only Sell Forgeries,” and ValueLine “We’re Probably an In-Flight Magazine” Publishing.

Our first game is NEXT MONDAY, April 8, at 5:30 (call time 5:10) at Heckscher Field #4An Evite will be forthcoming. PLEASE RSVP to all Evites, whether yeah or nay; that’s the only way I can know whether you’re showing up. If I don’t know that you’re planning to be there, I might not be able to schedule you in to play. Not everyone can be scheduled in to play every game anyway, but I’ll try my hardest.

If you know anyone who wants to join (women; we have more than enough men), send them my way. If you don’t want to be on this list any longer, e-mail me and I’ll take you off.

Note that if you want to find out whether a game is canceled due to rain, I will send an email as soon as I know, but sometimes they don’t tell me before I get there. So to find out the official word concurrently or before me, don’t call me; call the Central Park/Heckscher Ball Field Hot Line: 212-628-1036. Then press some random numbers to try to hear the updated conditions for Heckscher (the extension is constantly changing, so good luck).

If you want a team shirt, I still have some; they’re $19 (cash, thx). Team shirts are required to play.