You May Have Writing Talent, But If Not, There's Always Tv

Posted: May 08, 1995

Do you like to rip headlines from newspapers? Do your friends and relatives admire your ability to make something out of nothing (or do they just wish you'd make something of yourself)? Do you spend hours every day watching TV talk shows?

If so, you might have what it takes to make it as a writer, director or producer of made-for-TV movies. Here at the Infamous Writers School, we take people like you - people with a working knowledge of English, a rudimentary command of punctuation and a dream - and we turn them into the kind of people who can see a reason to make three different movies about Amy Fisher and Joey Buttafuoco.

Just take this simple test, then close cover before striking. (No sales representative will call. Honest.)

1. Which of the following would not make a good TV-movie title?

a. Deadly Desire: A Moment of Truth Movie

b. Injured Innocence: The Little Red Riding Hood Story

c. The Burning Bed: The Goldilocks Story

d. Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered: The Snow White Story

e. Forrest Gump

2. You need to cast a Former TV Daughter in your movie. Which of the following actresses is probably not available?

a. Tracey Gold

b. Melissa Gilbert

c. Kellie Martin

d. Sally Field

e. Valerie Bertinelli

3. You may also want a Former TV Mother. Which of the following would you probably not consider?

a. Joanna Kerns

b. Judith Light

c. Kate Jackson

d. Barbara Billingsley

e. Meredith Baxter

4. Plot's important, of course. A good one can be used over and over. Which of the following plots would not work for a TV movie?

a. Woman suffers years of abuse from husband, then kills him.

b. Poor Southern boy with 75 I.Q. becomes football hero, war hero and wealthy shrimper.

c. Woman fights for custody of child stolen from hospital/stroller/front yard 10 or more years ago.

d. Woman gradually (over two hours) comes to realize that husband of many years is also serial killer/serial rapist/bigamist.

e. Woman gradually (over two hours) comes to realize that the man her daughter wants to marry is the child she gave up for adoption years before.

5. You'll probably want a Former or Present Sitcom Guy to play your male lead, the cheating husband/abusive father/serial killer. Which of the following actors should you avoid?

a. Alan Thicke

b. Tony Danza

c. Ed O'Neill

d. Tom Hanks

e. Michael Gross

6. See how many movie titles you could make, using one or more words from each of the following lists:

Deadly, fatal, haunted, injured, tainted, silent, dark, ruined, intimate, indecent, true, Forrest

Surrender, innocence, whispers, screams, attraction, obsession, compulsion, cries, lies, shadows, youth, Gump

ANSWERS

1. e. No alliteration, no colon. 2. d. Her price has gone way up since ''Gidget." 3. d. Leave her to "Beaver." 4. b. Might work if you could get Joey Lawrence. 5. d. Who remembers "Bosom Buddies" anyway? 6. That should keep you busy for a while.

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