Introducing the Writers Guild Foundation Podcasts

Today’s a pretty magical day. It’s the day our events become easier to experience than ever. It’s the day we introduce the WRITERS GUILD FOUNDATION PODCAST. It’s the day you can start listening to our events on your phone! Your iPod or non-Apple music player! Your tablet! Or right here on your desktop in this very blog post!

 

Click the play button on the media player above to listen to our recent GENRE SMASH! evening with the amazing Marti Noxon, who wrote (and ran) unforgettable shows like BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER and PRIVATE PRACTICE. She’s also the seasoned feature writer behind the FRIGHT NIGHT remake, the upcoming TOMB RAIDER reboot and the (also upcoming) film adaptation of the Jeannette Walls memoir THE GLASS CASTLE. It’s a great chat; Marti is a goldmine of insight into the writing process, the unique hurdles faced by women in the industry, and the value of pop culture in the public sphere (during her time at BTVS, Willow came out as gay, becoming one of a relative few LGBT characters on television at the time).

You can also subscribe to our podcast, so you’ll never have to worry about missing an episode:
Click here to subscribe to our podcast via RSS.
Click here to subscribe to our podcast via iTunes.

We’ll be releasing new episodes every two weeks, including one-on-one chats with writers, panel discussions from our day-long craft symposia, and more great stuff we’ve got in the works.

For many moons now, folks who love what we do have been asking us: Is there any way to watch your events online? Are you going to stream this event for people who don’t live in Los Angeles? Are you recording this event?

Over the years, our approach to recording and distributing our events has varied. As recently as the late 1990s, we were recording our events on VHS tapes.

tapes

Tapes for events in 1999 and 1989. Lego barista included for scale.

You used to be able to come to our library and watch any event you missed. We still have the tapes, but, uh… we don’t have a VCR to play them on anymore. So you can watch them if you want, but you’ll have to bring your own VCR. We’ll loan you some headphones.

After VCRs, we moved to DVDs, which we sold at events and here on the website (and still do, actually – but more on this soon). As most of the folks reading this may already know, we’re a nonprofit (HINT HINT, YOU GUYS) and so any little source of income is welcome. And this was definitely a “little” source of income; DVD sales made us a few thousand bucks in a good year. Not bad, but there were production costs to consider, as well as the annoyance of having to lug a bunch of copies around to sell at our events.

So we switched to online streaming via Ustream. Click the link and check out our channel, and you’ll see just how skilled we are at using the latest technology to produce masterful videos with crystal-clear image and concert-quality sound. You’ll also see that we’re pretty good at sarcasm.

Long story short: Maintaining a live stream of an event is a fairly cumbersome process when you don’t have a staff dedicated to it – or even a staff member dedicated to it. Streaming was a huge pain, and in the end it wasn’t making us a heck of a lot of money. So we started uploading all those Ustream videos – which, despite their poor video quality, were chock full of great information – to our YouTube channel, where people could access them for free.* We figured: Better to make them available to thousands of people around the world for free than to make a pittance selling them to a couple dozen people a year. People don’t like paying for stuff on the Internet, as it turns out. Who’da thought?

And now, today, we introduce our podcasts. They’re audio-only, but don’t worry – we’ll still record video of many of our big events like our BREAKING BAD panel or our WALKING DEAD panel and post them here. We record nearly everything we do, so if you miss an event, don’t worry – you’ll eventually have a chance to hear it on the podcast.

* Please note – because we have a small staff and a lot to do, uploading these can take a while.

 

New Video: Writing and Acting THE WALKING DEAD

A few months ago we brought the writers and actors behind THE WALKING DEAD to the Writers Guild Theater, along with Nerdist extraordinaire Chris Hardwick as host. I wish everyone reading this could have been there with us, because it was an amazing night.

And so here it is: Hardwick interviews showrunner Scott Gimple; Robert Kirkman, who created the original comic and wrote several episodes of the show; and Lauren Cohan and Steven Yeun, who play Maggie and Glenn on the show.

I won’t bore you with a lot of chatter. But watch for the Ray Romano impressions. They’re not exactly dead-on. But they’re hilarious.

Sam and Dean Winchester’s Last Meal On Earth

(Bloggery Trifecta! This Fan Foods post is cross-posted at the mouthwatering Garlic My Soul blog AND the geek-freakin’-tastic Fanboy Comics website. Because SYNERGY. But seriously: Check out both sites. GMS is a wonderland of culinary delights, and the sheer volume of material at Fanboy Comics will keep you glued to your screen for days.)

[Mild but good-natured spoilers ahead]

Sam and Dean Winchester have a pretty tight schedule. Who of us would be able to juggle starting the apocalypse, dying, being resurrected, clawing hand and foot out of purgatory and generally being the last line of defense between us and our worst nightmares? It would be enough to drive any of us to the drive-thru.

Supernatural Pilot Page

But while pre-frozen foods in aluminum wrappers work on the fly, what Winchester would snub his favorite foods, homemade? Plus, we owe them. For a time they took care of a thing we’d rather not get into just now.

So here we have it. Hot off the grill. Bacon cheeseburgers for Dean (and Castiel under the right influence) and a Health Quake Salad Shake for Sam.

Burgs

The meat is organic and the bun gluten free. Just in case. Dean will never notice the difference but maybe we can entice Sam into eating some protein for a change.

Pecan pie is obviously on the menu too but we’re not sure pie itself isn’t akin to a cursed object for Dean so we’ll get back to you once we’ve run a few tests of our own. Doesn’t it seem a little suspicious to you too just how easily and consistently it slips through his fingers?

Either way, I don’t think anyone would argue if our choice of dessert was simply beer. Of which we have plenty.

Hey, Sam and Dean, the next time you’re staring down the barrel of all eternity, be it heaven, hell or purgatory, come see us first. We’ll serve you up a formidable last meal.

(And for those of you who missed this week’s chat with SUPERNATURAL creator Eric Kripke, fear not! We’ll have audio of the event posted soon-ish.)

The Walking Dead: Let Them Eat Pudding…and Brains

Warning: WALKING DEAD spoilers ahoy in this post.

In getting ready for our upcoming WALKING DEAD event, we realized something: We’re worried about Carl.

I mean, the kid’s drawn a short straw, no questions about it. And who are we to judge? But we’re slightly concerned he may be turning into a sociopath.

Then again, maybe in these dire times it’s the sociopaths who will inherit the earth.

Whatever the future holds for young Carl, one thing is clear: The boy loves him some pudding. So in an effort to keep him at least loosely attached to his humanity (and high in zombie-murdering calories) we’ve decided to arm him with our homemade chocolate tapioca in convenient post-apocalyptic pudding cups (aka the best we could spare of our resources).

Carl's Pudding Cup

They’re chock full of protein and a bit more portable a size than 112 ounces all at once. Perfect for a boy on the lam. It’s even got cocoa chili powder and a shot of rum because, hey, life is tough. Why not indulge while you still can?

And then because everybody’s hungry for something these days, we made the walkers a treat too: small, alcoholic shots of brain (excellent diversion while running for life and limb from herds of the undead).

Zombie Brains

Here are the recipes for each:

Zombie Brain Shots

What you’ll need:

1 shot of vodka
1 teaspoon lime juice
Bailey’s Irish Cream
A splash of grenadine
1 straw

How to go about it:

1. Mix vodka and lime juice.
2. Use straw and finger to hold in Bailey’s, like you used to do with soda as a kid, pre-apocalypse. It will curdle in the vodka lime juice mixture and turn into brain-like strands. It’s pretty gross.
3. Add a splash of grenadine for extra blood-like affect.
4. Throw at zombie.
5. Run.

Carl’s Chocolate Tapioca Post-Apocalyptic “Pudding Cups”

What you’ll need:

1/3 cup tapioca pearls
¾ cup water
2 ¼ cups milk (any percentage or type you can scrounge up)
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ cup sugar
2 eggs, separated
1 cup combined chocolate and butterscotch chips
1 large shot of dark rum
½ teaspoon vanilla

How to go about it:

1. Soak tapioca in water for 30 mins., or as long as you have before the next herd of walkers sets in.
2. Combine tapioca, milk, salt, sugar and egg yolks (lightly beaten) in a large saucepan.
3. Bring ingredients to a low boil then add chocolate, butterscotch and rum.
4. Let simmer for 10 mins or until thickened. Stir often.
5. Beat the egg whites to firm peaks.
6. Stir a ¼ cup of hot pudding into the peaks then fold the mixture into pudding.
7. Take off heat, stir in vanilla and let cool.
8. Put in your best portable, zombie-proof ware.

You can find these and other TV-inspired recipes here, but for the sake of all that is still good in this world, enjoy at your own risk.

Inside the Writers Room with BREAKING BAD

You asked, and we answered. Here’s the recording of our INSIDE THE WRITERS ROOM WITH BREAKING BAD event, recorded December 3, 2013 at the WGA theater.

In it, Glen Mazzara interviews (from left to right) creator Vince Gilligan and writers Moira Walley-Beckett, Sam Catlin, Peter Gould, Thomas Schauz, Gennifer Hutchison and George Mastras.

Why are you still reading this? Start watching!

Bob’s Burgers in a Kitchen Near You

Big News. We had a visit from our all time favorite celebrity chef: Bob Belcher.

He stopped by our office and completely failed at not being a total hot shot because he made us the most fantastic burger in honor of our upcoming panel with Lizzie and Wendy MolyneuxThe Genre Smash Burger. We’re trying not to have an excitement-induced crap attack.

We don’t have much of a kitchen here at the Foundation but he came prepared: Starched white apron, grater, industrial burger flipper and briefcase cook-top.

The ingredients were marched in and out by various member of the Belcher family, none of whom we ever saw in the same place at the same time. Tina attempted to help but was quickly distracted by something she calls “erotic fan-food fiction”. She then drew us a rather graphic portrait of a hamburger bun shaped like a man with remarkably realistic butt-cheeks.

Meanwhile, Gene started a small but manageable trash can fire in the archive.

And Louise spent most of her time on the corner of 3rd and Fairfax asking irreverent questions of fervent proselytizers who were chanting things Linda tried but couldn’t get on board with even for the simple sake of a good chant.

All the while, Bob patiently crafted our specialty Genre Smash Burger.

Here it is in all its glory.

 IMG_0752

Happy-cow, grass-fed burger patty replete with fried onion shoestrings, red wine sautéed mushrooms and blue cheese on a grilled bun.  Embodying the number one principle of Genre Smash: layer good things on top of good things like pre-historic sediment, if pre-historic sediment was fun and delicious.

What can we say? The man is an artist.

Come to Genre Smash on February 18th at the Nerdmelt Showroom and who knows whose bunny ears you may find amongst the crowd. And look for more Fan Foods from us in the future (erotic or otherwise).

Oral History: Our Garry Marshall Interview, and an explanation

Over the years, the Writers Guild Foundation has conducted dozens of interviews documenting the oral histories of screen and television writers. We did it in an effort to preserve their stories before they passed on, and to document the conditions and experiences that crafted the experiences of the creators of the 20th Century’s most memorable popular culture.

It was a great idea with near-perfect execution, with one flaw: Once we recorded these histories, we burned them to DVDs and put them on a shelf in the back room of our library. And we never really publicized the fact that we had them.

Lately, we’ve been trying to change that. Slowly, we’ve been moving all of the content that we own to YouTube – including streamed events that were previously kept behind a paywall. It’s all on our YouTube channel, including our look inside the writers room of NEW GIRL, our oral history of Sherwood Schwartz (part 1, part 2), and more.

We’ll be adding more content in the coming months, as well as podcasts of our recent events, like our evening with Billy Ray, our GENRE SMASH! interview with Ash Miller and Zack Stentz, and some of our upcoming events as well.

In the meantime, here’s our most recent addition: Our interview with TV maestro Garry Marshall. I haven’t watched this video yet, but it’s got a special place in my heart – I grew up watching HAPPY DAYS, LAVERNE & SHIRLEY and THE DICK VAN DYKE SHOW in syndication every day after school, and along with a handful of other shows (mostly comedies from the late 70s, including GOOD TIMES, WHAT’S HAPPENING! and THREE’S COMPANY), formed the basis of my passion for good screen storytelling.

So without further ado, here’s Garry.