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Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Writing Prompt: 1/20/2010

Our one-day classes at Writing Pad are almost full! Call 323-333-2954 to sign up.

Delectable Dramas and Scrumptious Sitcoms Pt II (Sat., Feb. 6) is new. It's not on the Writing Pad site yet. Below is the description. Writing prompt is also below.

Delectable Dramas and Scrumptious Sitcoms Pt II

Ever thought your quirky co-workers or soapy love life could make a great TV show? They can be! With brand new writing exercises, we’ll help you mine your life for the kinds of characters and stories that networks, producers, and audiences find irresistible. Whether you want to create the next Mad Men or Modern Family, we'll help you brainstorm an exciting premise, and you’ll learn what producers and execs look for in sell-able pilots and series. By the time you leave, you'll have drafted a one-sheet to pitch your next sitcom, drama, or reality show.

Note: Delectable Dramas and Scrumptious Sitcoms Pt I is NOT a prerequisite for this class. Includes new writing exercises and mini-lecture.

Instructor: Chad Gervich
Chad is a television producer, bestselling book author, and award-winning playwright. As an executive at the Littlefield Company/Paramount Television and NBC Studios, Chad helped develop and maintain scripted series and pilots for ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX, UPN, and the WB. As a writer and producer, he has worked on numerous scripted and reality shows for both TV and the Internet, including The Wanda Sykes Show (Fox),Wig Out (Warner Bros.), Spellbound (The Weinstein Company), Foody Call (Style Network), Celebrity Drive-By (E!), Speeders (TruTV), and Reality Binge (Fox). Chad has also worked in production on such shows as Malcolm in the Middle, Girls Club, and Star Search. He is the author of Small Screen, Big Picture: A Writer's Guide to the TV Business (Random House/Crown), and he writes regularly for Variety, Writers Digest, Fade In, Moving Pictures, and Orange Coast. Chad holds a B.A. from Vanderbilt University and an MFA in Playwriting from UCLA.

Saturday, February 6
10:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.

Cost: $75 ($65 for continuing students)

Includes gourmet brunch tasting plates

Writing Prompt: Make a list of 5 things that you believed when you were a kid. For instance, I believed that if I held my blanket up to my chin, a vampire would not bite me. Pick one item off of your list and add a sensory description to it (ex. fluffy soft, down comforter). Then write about it for 10 minutes and post it in the comments of this blog!

Comment on this blog: what did you believe when you were a child? Write about that for 10 minutes and post it in the comments. You could win a free class, and I'll only tell you what I like and remember.


H.M.R. said...

I thought that if I ate a yellow M&M last, my mom would not be able to tell I had eaten the contraband chocolate! (Why is every one of my posts about things my mom wouldn't allow me to do? She was really pretty lenient. Weird.)

Writing Pad said...

I love this post! This is hilarious and charming, and I love the detail that it is a yellow M&M.


claydanger said...

At one time or another, bedtime was an intimidating process. I was convinced that a ferocious alligator resided under my bed, just waiting for me to turn the lights out so it could strike (I apparently also thought alligators were nocturnal or something). So as soon as I flipped the lights off, I would take a running leap into bed in order to evade that dreaded SNAP! of his jaws. I was also careful not to let my arm or leg hang over the side of the bed, for surely, the alligator would be only too eager to snatch them away.

Writing Pad said...


This is fabulous! I love the sound of the "SNAP", the ferocious alligator, and the description of the narrator taking a running leap. Thanks for posting!


SC said...

My mom said my dad could breathe smoke. I thought that meant he was related to dragons in some way. It was a scary thought, yet a comforting one. If he was related to dragons, he could always protect me, always ensure that no bad guys would take me away or hurt me. I had no idea at the time that he was one of the bad guys, and that in fact he would be the one to leave me. That he wouldn't stay around and protect me from the unknown, scary images I dreamt about, but instead, he would become my worst nightmare. The one where I woke up scared that I had no dad, that I was left alone in a house of females. No one to protect me in the world.

It turned out that he couldn't breathe smoke. He would take a hit off his tobacco pipe in the other room and then charge into the kitchen and blow the smoke out of his nostrils.

I found the pipe in his room one day after walking home from third grade. He had left by then, so I guess, technically, it wasn't his room anymore.

And, it turned out that I was damn good at protecting myself. The problem was that I never felt safe enough to put down my shield. I had created my own smoke, and it wouldn't allow me to see safety in the world around me. It was a smokescreen of fear and aggression- one that never seemed to dissipate in the wind. It stayed sturdy and strong, protecting me from the bad guys, and the good ones.

Writing Pad said...


I love this story! I love the whole concept of the Dad breathing smoke and the fantasy of protection that the narrator had in relation to the smoke and the Dad. I love the description of him smoking his pipe as well.



Christina said...

As a child I thought when I sang, everyone could hear me on the radio. I would find a station broadcasting white noise and claim it as my own. Making up songs, singing old 50’s songs I heard at my friends house, or telling stories I knew millions were out there listening. Sometimes I would feel confrontational and take over existing radio stations like KIIS FM. But if a song I liked was on, I would politely wait for it to end before my hostile takeover. When my Dad would come home from work at night I would eagerly ask him if he heard me. He said he listened to me and the traffic station. When I told my cousins about my broadcasting adventures they called me a baby for believing my own stories. I still hold it against them.

Julie said...

When I was little, I loved the rain. I loved the sound of it on the roof, the way it dripped from the trees into puddles and plop-plopped into the soft, wet grass. I loved shiny umbrellas, tall boots and yellow coats.

I loved the rain most of all because I firmly believed that when the skies opened up, all the bad guys stayed inside. I thought that robbers lived in the knots of trees and terrible old rickety houses, and that they chose to stay squirreled up in their holes during bad weather. Why would a robber break into your house on a stormy, wet day, when it would be easier and more convenient to break in on a dry day?

This thought lulled me to sleep on many a cozy, rainy night, snuggled safe beneath a pile of blankets and quilts. Listening to the drip, drip, drip of raindrops on my roof, I knew for sure that nobody was going to get me.

Writing Pad said...

Christina and Julie, I LOVE your stories. What fantastic imaginations your narrators had/have!

Christina--I love the whole concept of believing that when the narrator sang, others could hear her on the radio. I LOVE the confrontational take over of KIIS FM, and the last sentence is fab!

Julie--What a lovely story! I love the sounds of droplets, the belief that robbers lived in the knots of trees and returning back to the image and sound of the rain.


Writing Pad said...

When I was a kid, I used to think that if you were in a room with seven guys, and you all breathed the same air for at least 10 minutes, you would get pregnant. My friend Rosemary, who I thought knew everything, and who I looked up to, told me this in second grade. I had no reason to doubt her. She was one year older. And she was sure about the 10 minutes.

After learning this, I was always careful to count the number of guys in a room, and check my time constantly.

I grew up with seven brothers. There were so many of us (there were three more sisters to boot) that rarely were we ever in the same rooms because everyone was out playing, creating mayhem and mischief in the neighborhood - anywhere but our crowded house.

Sunday was my favorite tv day. The line-up was awesome: Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom, The Ed Sullivan show and Marcus Welby, M.D. and they were family favorites and the only thing likely to pull in most of us at any given time.

One Sunday, while watching my favorite, "Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom" I looked around to do my counting: 1..2...3.....4......5.....6.....7! Then my dad walked in with snacks and sodas for all of us! 8! Holy Crap! I got up, ran straight for the kitchen (too freaked out to scream) terrified because I was now pregnant (I was SURE we were breathing the same air for more than half an hour because Mutual of Omaha was almost over!) I was mostly bummed out, I knew my life was over. I cried and sat in the kitchen trying to imagine what my life would be like and if my parents would hate me, really bummed out because I wouldn't be able to play on the 'Slip n Slide' anymore.

Everybody was confused because I ran out of my favorite show, and laughing because I kept saying 'oh, my god, oh my god.' How could I tell them?

For about 1 1/2 years I was tormented with my secret pregnancy - dreading, constant dread. Every day I thought about it, and every day i was miserable. Afraid what my parents would say. I was about 7 or 8- however old you are in 2nd grade!

One day the school held an health education assembly class on the female body and the menstrual cycle at school (only risk of getting pregnant again), with real explanations, pictures and everything!

If Rosemary and her family hadn't moved away the summer before, I would have killed her.

But there was an upshot to a year of dread and torment: it taught me what happiness felt like.

Marta Ceja Mora

Writing Pad said...

Hi Marta,

Here is my delayed like and remember--sorry I don't usually respond to posts once that month is up!

But you wrote a fantastic story! I LOVE the whole concept of believing that the narrator could get pregnant under that scenario. I love the scene while watching Wild Kingdom when the Dad brought snacks and sodas and the narrator freaked out. It was hilarious and well described. :)


Benny Blanch said...

I, like most children, believed in the jolly man coming down the chimney, that our condo didn't have, into my living room to place wondrous gifts underneath the lit evergreen that reeked of pine. How did he leave me such a terrific present like SEGA Genesis? How do Elves in the North Pole have access to technology that is on par with the Japanese? They must use magic or maybe, just maybe they're aliens! All of these thoughts never really popped into my head as a seven year old, I just saw that it was from Santa, opened the gift and went on playing for hours. My mom was much better at masking the whole Santa facade than my father. My mother would write "From Santa Clause" in this fabulous ornate caligraphy that could only be replicated by a scribe up north. My father on the other hand, had shoddily wrapped gifts without name tags and the To and From written in Sharpie on the package. Needless to say there wasn't a font difference between the ones from dad and the ones from St. nick.

Around the age eight is when I began to to realize the difference in writing. Why is it that the presents from Santa at mom's house are way different and better than the ones at dad's. If they're all from Santa you think there'd be some consistency, right? This doubt led me to go on my own investigation to see what was real and fake.I began to look around the house everyday after school. The garage, the closets, under beds, everywhere I could only to find nothing. Then, about a week before xmas, on my routine search, I opened my mother's door to find an abundance of wrapped gifts. "Holy Shit," I thought (I was an advanced profane eight year old) and when I examined the the packages none were labeled. That year, on Christmas, the presents I found under the tree that morning, were indeed the same presents that were in my mother's closet. She did a damn good job of keeping the secret. Labeling all the gifts on Christmas Eve and bringing the gifts down the stairs well after I went to sleep. I credit her in her illusory attempt at keeping the fantasy alive. I must say that my innocence was shook the day I found out about the fallacy of Santa because it rocked my entire belief system.

My parents, the people I am supposed to trust most, have lied to me all of my life in the month of December. A time where love and honesty should shine through the brightest. I think that this discovery turned me into a life long cynic, as I never take anything for its face value. I'm constantly questioning facts and hidden agendas because I know not to be naive. Now, you may ask if I will tell my kids about Santa Claus's ill-conceived existence and to be honest, I don't know. Because even though I was saddened by the fact that this old man isn't real, the years that he was real, to me, were terrific Yuletide memories. Not to mention I'll probably be at the mercy of my wife, so if she wants to tell our child that there is a Santa, I will not disagree.