Story Analysis and Script Development for Film and Television

That rather long title is the name of a course that I just started taking.  The class started Friday and for the next twelve weeks I’m going to be immersed in watching films; reading scripts, books, and articles; and writing coverage and development notes for the assigned reading material.  Fun! 

Coverage, for those of you not familiar with the term, is the process of reading and analyzing a story and then writing a summary and critique of it.  Story analysts or “readers” are employed by production companies to do this job, and some independent producers also hire readers.  They are usually the first person to read the scripts sent to production companies and their opinion counts.  If they don’t think a script is any good, it usually doesn’t get passed on to the producer for consideration. 

But for independent producers who don’t have the luxury of having a reader, having the ability to analyze a story and assess its potential both artistically and financially is an extremely important skill (and, really, all producers need this skill).  Contrary to what some people believe, producing isn’t just about business.  It also has a creative side.

The timing for this course couldn’t be better for me.  I’ve been giving notes and comments about the story in progress to the writer for a few months now, but I’m really looking forward to this class to sharpen up my skills and help the writer make the story the best it can possibly be before I submit it to the cast for consideration.

If I thought my life was busy before, it’s now going to be absolutely insane.  But this beats being bored any day.

Nestor No Longer “Lost”

Well, it looks like Nestor Carbonell, who has been playing the recurring guest role of Richard Alpert on Lost, might be taking a break from the series.  He’s landed a series regular role on the new CBS drama Cane, which premieres tomorrow night, September 25, at 10:00 p.m. on CBS.

Cane Trailer

There’s been a lot of concern among Lost fans as to the fate of Nestor’s character and even Cane creator Cynthia Cidre gets asked if Nestor will be available to guest star in Lost in the following interview.

Exclusive Interview: ‘Cane’ Creator Cynthia Cidre

And she’s not the only one getting asked that question.  Lost Executive Producers Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse also touch on that question in the Official Lost Podcast.

However, the Star Ledger takes it right to the top.  CBS entertainment president Nina Tassler was asked whether she’d let Carbonell do a guest spot on Lost.  “‘Probably not,’ she said, arguing that they’re trying to establish a new show and a new character, and she felt it would confuse the audience to see Carbonell playing roles on two different series at once.”

I think Nina may be underestimating the TV audience a bit, don’t you?

So there you have it.  When and if Richard Alpert ever appears on Lost again remains to be seen.  In the meantime, Nestor is in the enviable position of being in demand on two TV shows…an actor’s dream.


And just when you think things couldn’t get any better for Nestor, Variety reports that Nestor has been cast as the mayor of Gotham City in the new Batman movie, The Dark Knight.   

The Dark Knight Movie Teaser

Official Dark Knight Site

The Dark Knight is scheduled to be released July 18, 2008.

Anybody else find it ironic that Batmanuel will appear on Batman?

Paul in “Machiavelli”

Paul Ben-Victor will be appearing on stage for one night only on Monday, September 24, at 8:00 p.m. to perform a staged reading of Machiavelli.  The reading is a part of The Hayworth Theatre’s Bruno Kirby Celebrity Reading Series.

From Playbill comes this description:  “Set in Florence in the early 1500s, Machiavelli centers on a military police major and his wife who ‘must use their wits to navigate the outrageous whims and violent behavior the Medici family… as well as  their own daughter’s shocking rebellion,’ according to production notes.”

Tickets are $15.  Parking is $7.  For reservations visit Brown Paper Tickets  or call 213-389-9860.   


Hayworth Theatre
2511 Wilshire Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90057
Map to Theatre

Broadway World:  Vetere’s ‘Machiavelli’ Reading at Hayworth 9/24

Mike Sings A Cappella!

Back when Mike McCafferty was attending college at Eastern Michigan University, he and three of his college buddies formed an a cappella group called the A.Y.U. Quartet (Atomic Young Ultrasonics).

Now, you have an opportunity to see Mike perform live with this group because, after 15 years, the A.Y.U. Quartet is having a reunion concert!  They’re going back to Ypsilanti, Michigan, for a one-night-only performance to be held at the Sponberg Theater on the Easter Michigan University campus.  The date is Saturday, September 22, 2007, at 7:00 p.m.  Tickets can be bought at the door or through EMU Online Ticketing.  Prices are $15 for general admission,  $12 for students, $9 for Mainstage Members, and $6 for kids ages 5-12. 

Map to Theater

AYU Quartet

You can check out how talented these guys are by listening to a small selection of their songs on the A.Y.U Quartet MySpace Page and also on the CD Baby site (where you can buy their CDs).

Scroll down further on their MySpace page to watch a video of their various performances.  The same video is also available for viewing in two different sizes on the Michigan Travel website.  It’s lots of fun to watch and it includes some high praise from comedian/actor Soupy Sales.

“The Dreamer Examines His Pillow”

That’s the name of Eddie Jones’ new play, which is currently playing at the McCadden Place Theatre in Hollywood, California!  Eddie’s wife, Anita Khanzadian, is directing.  The play started September 6 and it runs until October 14.  Six weeks only, so don’t hesitate if you want to see Eddie perform live! 

Days and times:

Thursdays – Saturdays at 8:00 p.m.
Sunday Matinees at 2:00 p.m.


Thursday – Saturday $20
Sunday $15

Phone Reservations:  (818) 765-8732


McCadden Place Theatre
1157 N. McCadden Place
Hollywood, CA  90038

Map to Theatre

Dreamer MySpace Page
Interact Theater Company

Dreamer Poster

Paul, Paul, and More Paul

Paul Ben-VictorOkay, I’ve got a whole gaggle of Paul Ben-Victor news to share with you, so let’s get started.

First, let’s get the bad news out the way.  I’m sorry to report that, after only nine episodes, John from Cincinnati has been cancelled.  Even though Paul’s character, Palaka, has been praised, the show itself hasn’t been getting many good reviews and it just couldn’t seem to find its audience.

Now for some good news.  The Foxhole site has a really great podcast interview with Paul.  In it they cover a whole range of topics from John from Cincinnati to The Wire to how Paul got his start in show biz and more.  The podcast is an hour long and I should warn you that there are a couple of swear words in this interview. 

In addition, there are a couple of links given during the course of the interview.  One is to Paul’s old Atari video game commercial (You might remember that one from when I posted the link on The Invisible Man Online back in September of last year.) and the other is to Paul’s father’s photography website.  Note:  If you click on those links during the podcast, you’ll have to restart the podcast from the very beginning each time.  It doesn’t pick up where it left off.  So for your convenience, I’ve included the links below.  Now you can listen to the podcast without interruption and then come here to click on the links or vice versa.

Foxhole Podcast Interview with Paul Ben-Victor

Young Paul Ben-Victor

Here’s the link to the Atari video game commercial that Paul did many years ago (note the hair).  His costar is a very young Elisabeth Shue.

Atari Video Game Commercial

Paul’s father, Victor Friedman, has been a photographer for over 40 years.  You can view his work at the link below.  Warning:  There is some nudity.

Victor Friedman Photography

Paul’s Upcoming Projects

In the above podcast interview Paul mentions that he will be back in season five of The Wire in his role as Vondas.  He will be in at least three episodes, possibly four.  No word yet on when season five will start or which episodes Paul will appear in.

While one series ends for Paul, another series is getting underway.  In Plain Sight is a USA original series being shot in New Mexico.  It’s the story of a no-nonsense federal marshal who masquerades as a parking attendent, but really works in the witness protection branch of the FBI.  It is purported to possibly start after the new year.  Here are a couple of articles about the filming of the pilot:

Albuquerque Journal:  TV Pilot to be Filmed Here

Valencia County News-Bulletin:  Highland Meadows Gets Visit From Hollywood Crew

In the feature film arena, Paul appears in the movie Randy and the Mob, which is scheduled to be released in Atlanta, Georgia, on September 21, 2007.  According to the official website, which is still under construction, there will be a national tour to promote the film.  In the meantime, go check out the trailer that is up at the official site. 

Official Randy & the Mob Website

Paul’s Website

Last, but certainly not least, if you haven’t been to Paul’s website in a while, go on over and pay it a visit.  While still under construction, Paul’s website has been given a whole new look.  Do some exploring and you’ll find some really great info about Paul’s character Bobby Hobbes.  I’ve found that the site can be extremely slow sometimes in loading the links, but if you click one of the small pictures under Paul’s demo reel, you can get into the rest of the site.

Paul Ben-Victor’s Official Website

Okay, that’s it for now.  When I hear more, I’ll pass it along.