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Re: The Great MZPtv Reboot 2018 by el Monstruo-0
[Tue Dec 12 2017, 16:48]


Re: The Great MZPtv Reboot 2018 by el Monstruo-0
[Tue Dec 12 2017, 16:47]


Re: The Great MZPtv Reboot 2018 by el Monstruo-0
[Tue Dec 12 2017, 16:45]


Re: The Great MZPtv Reboot 2018 by el Monstruo-0
[Tue Dec 12 2017, 16:40]


Re: The Great MZPtv Reboot 2018 by el Monstruo-0
[Tue Dec 12 2017, 16:30]


Re: The Great MZPtv Reboot 2018 by el Monstruo-0
[Tue Dec 12 2017, 16:26]


Re: The Great MZPtv Reboot 2018 by el Monstruo-0
[Tue Dec 12 2017, 15:00]


Re: The Great MZPtv Reboot 2018 by el Monstruo-0
[Tue Dec 12 2017, 14:57]


Re: The Great MZPtv Reboot 2018 by DarkwingChuck
[Tue Dec 12 2017, 14:15]


Re: The Great MZPtv Reboot 2018 by Andrew Corvero
[Tue Dec 12 2017, 11:57]


Re: The Great MZPtv Reboot 2018 by CaptainPash
[Mon Dec 11 2017, 19:49]


Re: The Great MZPtv Reboot 2018 by Jay
[Sun Dec 10 2017, 04:58]

Recent Posts

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11
The MZPtv News Room / Re: The Great MZPtv Reboot 2018
« Last post by CaptainPash on Mon Dec 11 2017, 19:49 »
I’ve been around MZP since 2006. At least one message board, maybe 3 or 4 website redesigns, two Tony Black spin off networks, a fanfiction only spinoff,  and a serial kickstarter ago. There is probably more I missed. My point is that you guys have tried to change a lot, but I don’t think there is a good way to address the fundamental problem with the entire endeavor. MZP doesn’t attract people that want to read other amatures work, it attracts people who want to write.

When I first got here it was clear that you guys were a bunch of friends who loved Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I too loved Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and wanted to hang out explore the possibilities of a massive Buffyverse. I read all the Buffy stuff because I loved Buffy and wanted more. I tried to read some of the original content. I liked a few Natasha Tyreen, The High Life, Sib, but I wanted to write.

You guys attempted to let be a part of the gang. I know that the rest of the guys from Stargate Destiny weren’t fans of you style. However, at least to me it seemed like you guys were willing to give guidance on writing, and take a young writer under your wings. I pitched like two or three horrible show ideas. You guys gave great feedback on that. Eventually you even let me be in the writers room on a few shows.

The projects I got to work on were mostly doomed to failure. I don’t remember how many episodes of a show I was given an outline for that ended dying 6 episodes before mine, not that I finished all that many of those episodes. When I did manage to have a couple episodes go out, I got little feedback from the wider community. I think Tony gave me some generous reviews, but I had maybe one comment in the episode threads for my two episodes. No one read my work, probably better for them, but it was disheartening,

I graduated high school and went off to college, and this place went from a board I would check every day, to a place that I would check every few months, get excited about, and then realize nothing was going anywhere and forget about it. If you guys took Jay’s idea and agreed to work on one cool show, that was actually going to be finished, then it would make me want to stick around. This time to read it.
12
The MZPtv News Room / Re: The Great MZPtv Reboot 2018
« Last post by Jay on Sun Dec 10 2017, 04:58 »
Oh, I do agree that pilot season was first introduced with the best of intentions, but I think in retrospect we probably took it several steps too far. It made all the sense in the world to the admins and mods and established showrunners, I'm sure, but I have no doubt there were new members (and potential new members) who saw that and were like "who do these arrogant assholes think they are?" and took a pass on MZP as a result.

Also, and this is something I've thought for many years: weren't we all spread a bit too thin looking back? Tony has touched on this with you, Lee, and the idea that you were trying to be everything all at once rather than having more help with the actual day-to-day running of the site. But I think there were plenty of others, too. How many showrunners did we have running multiple shows at once? How many were also writers/producers for other shows while also producing their own? How many were doing websites and graphics for 2-3 shows while running their own and pitching 2-3 others every 6 months? I count myself in that last one for sure.

I always did wonder how good it could be if we all pooled our efforts and energy into one project rather than dividing our time/energy/resources into a dozen different shows/movies. There were always plenty of good ideas; that we certainly never lacked. What we did not have was the time (or staff) to properly develop all of them. So why bother? Why didn't we just pick one and pool our efforts and see what we could come up with? With that kind of staff we'd have been able to actually do the whole concept of the virtual series justice. Because, in the end, I don't think that concept ever really worked (at least in the long term) using the approach we as a community took, trying to build an entire network of multiple high-quality series with what was, even at our height, a pretty small number of people.
13
The MZPtv News Room / Re: The Great MZPtv Reboot 2018
« Last post by Stevie_G on Sat Dec 9 2017, 00:51 »
Also I’d just like to point out that we shouldn’t demonise Pilot Season from a distance; yes it became a bit of a superiority love-in but it started with great intentions & did without a doubt help develop some really interesting concepts. It just lost touch with that over time.
I agree with Tony. While it did become a bit of a love-fest towards the end, the intentions behind Pilot Season was right.   If done again, I think whoever judges it needs to go in with more of an open mind.  Sometimes you can have an awful script but an amazing concept pitch, other times you could have an amazing pitch but awful script. With a little more encouragement to those that pitch with interesting ideas, it could lead to new material being commissioned, or at least given a trial development of some kind to help develop a writers talent.

I'm not saying we'd have an influx of amazing material, and some may not be up to the standards of past - but it could strengthen the site while ushering through new writers who are learning, or those yet to be discovered.

I'd like to think as seeing MZPtv as not only a site of some great pieces of written work, both past, present and (hopefully) future - but maybe as a site to guide and nurture undiscovered writers who wish to learn, write and where possible, to showcase their work to everyone interested.
14
The MZPtv News Room / Re: The Great MZPtv Reboot 2018
« Last post by Stevie_G on Sat Dec 9 2017, 00:39 »
I posted up (back in 2015) a Development Diary with several posts about things I'd found, as well as a 'Structure of a Pilot Episode' guide (in the Writing Class section) using Pilot Episodes of established TV Series to show how to write a show (images and PDF's now don't work sadly as I lost my webspace) - unfortunately, both of those had a lack of response.

Just wanted to let you know I remember that and got a lot of good info and food for thought out of it. Not sure what the level of response was but it was appreciated by me at least.

Me too. I loved those guides, and totally appreciated them. Although my pitched pilot didn't follow the structure you set out I certainly knew of it and liked it. Thank you for all of your effort in that - it was certainly helpful.
Thanks DarkWingChuck and Jadams, and glad you both found some of it useful.

I think more of a 'Newbies Writing Class' or 'Guide to Screenwriting' also needs putting out there. I posted up (back in 2015) a Development Diary with several posts about things I'd found, as well as a 'Structure of a Pilot Episode' guide (in the Writing Class section) using Pilot Episodes of established TV Series to show how to write a show (images and PDF's now don't work sadly as I lost my webspace) - unfortunately, both of those had a lack of response. Maybe I'll try again - even though I'm no expert, it's just things I picked up along the way to help me in my writing, from here and other sites that others may find useful.

And just to highlight this again - more people appreciated this than you realise, but without a simpler feedback system (like the 'Likes' we have now, as a good example), it was very hard to judge the reach of these things. The lack of response was unfortunate, but it definitely had an effect.

Thanks el Monstruo-0, and I understand what you mean, as looking at them again they did get a good number of views which I didn't pick up on at first, so despite the few likes - a lot of people did view them, and hopefully found some of the information useful along the ways.

Regards the idea you were talking about (writing class), I've sent you a message regards something to see what you think.
15
The MZPtv News Room / Re: The Great MZPtv Reboot 2018
« Last post by Tony Black on Fri Dec 8 2017, 14:02 »
^The problem we always found with this was readership. Fan fiction almost always did better than original stuff. Most of the popular original stuff was either feted by the other writers on the site or a following developed around the writer - The Company & Afterlife were probably the best two examples of that.

Also I’d just like to point out that we shouldn’t demonise Pilot Season from a distance; yes it became a bit of a superiority love-in but it started with great intentions & did without a doubt help develop some really interesting concepts. It just lost touch with that over time.
16
The MZPtv News Room / Re: The Great MZPtv Reboot 2018
« Last post by worldbreaker on Thu Dec 7 2017, 18:52 »
Maybe turning it into a website that promotes only original works of fiction is the right approach. There are a plethora of websites that promote fan fiction already but there are few sites that encourage writers to put their creativity to the test and do original material.
17
The MZPtv News Room / Re: The Great MZPtv Reboot 2018
« Last post by el Monstruo-0 on Thu Dec 7 2017, 16:47 »
I think more of a 'Newbies Writing Class' or 'Guide to Screenwriting' also needs putting out there. I posted up (back in 2015) a Development Diary with several posts about things I'd found, as well as a 'Structure of a Pilot Episode' guide (in the Writing Class section) using Pilot Episodes of established TV Series to show how to write a show (images and PDF's now don't work sadly as I lost my webspace) - unfortunately, both of those had a lack of response. Maybe I'll try again - even though I'm no expert, it's just things I picked up along the way to help me in my writing, from here and other sites that others may find useful.

And just to highlight this again - more people appreciated this than you realise, but without a simpler feedback system (like the 'Likes' we have now, as a good example), it was very hard to judge the reach of these things. The lack of response was unfortunate, but it definitely had an effect.
18
The MZPtv News Room / Re: The Great MZPtv Reboot 2018
« Last post by el Monstruo-0 on Thu Dec 7 2017, 16:45 »
It basically turned us into the X-Factor/Pop Idol of VS's. I was never too comfortable with the slightly cocky "yeah but we're better than fan-fiction" claim certain members *coughing fit* had. It was trying to protect The Old Guard *hack-hack-cough-cough-splutter* rather than trying to promote people to actually write. We were vicious. I still have guilt towards Lara Croft Genesis - how ace would that seventh season have been? *wheeze-cough-hiccup*

It was two things, I think - not wanting to be associated with bad fanfiction and becoming more paranoid of copyright disputes. Some projects had great ideas but bad people running them, and in a more open ecosystem we're always going to run into bad apples. I'd like to think by now we have better mechanisms for dealing with them.

I still feel bad for being a bit tough on some scripts when the tone should've been constructive. Not defaulting to the usual blog-trope of "omg I want to be Charlie Brooker so badly". When Brooker knows when to reign it in nowadays and still maintain his wit.

That was something a lot of us were guilty of, and it comes down to the idea of reaching for top quality at the expense of letting people get bad writing out of their system on their way to great writing. Our 'premium' shows had a high bar to entry, but all the writers who started new and made the jump into a proper writer's room benefitted from it. As we started to run out of those top-tier shows, the opportunities dried up, and that's what started to hurt us most.

At the time I believe the idea was to try and just not let the site be full of stuff that wasn't fully formed or just rushed and wouldn't last six episodes. Looking back - we've had stuff by stronger writers that didn't last long. Perhaps the idea was just to keep encouraging and not being vicious. So perhaps someone should be able to write their twelve part My Little Pony/Power Rangers/Batman/Ironside crossover. We were never professionals back then - but it should've felt like fun rather than a stressful job interview.

I think a degree of quality control is still necessary, but making sure there are spaces where amateur writers can be just that and not be criticised or demonised for it will be important. Critique is a different animal to negativity, because one is aiming to make something be the best it can, while the other just wants to point out flaws with no solutions.
19
The MZPtv News Room / Re: The Great MZPtv Reboot 2018
« Last post by el Monstruo-0 on Thu Dec 7 2017, 16:40 »
Looking back at the 'prime' years of MZP, I think the biggest difference is how tight-knit the community was. We never had a TON of readers or staff (relatively speaking) but we made up for that with enthusiasm. That said, I suppose it's no surprise that the site began to drop off as that core group of members got older, less interested, and eventually the number of new members began to drop and some of the ones that did stick also lost interest as the amount of new content began to fade.

This is coming up over and over, and has to be the #1 lesson I learn from all this. Community comes first.

Going back to what Tony said, I think he makes some great points. The idea shouldn't be to "get the band back together" via a reboot of MZPtv like it's 2007 all over again, but to start something new with a fresh approach to writing and storytelling that realizes that the foundation of whatever 'this' will potentially be won't be found by using the same old ideas and vowing to "do it right" this time, but by finding a new approach that works in 2018. And I don't even claim to know what that is, but I know what it's not and that's like anything the previous attempts to reboot or revitalize something that, if we're honest, has been pretty much dead for years now.

Yep, and it's got to be more about a fresh recruitment drive to fill the place with some enthusiasm. I do plan on getting in touch with key previous members to drop by now and then, but as guest stars rather than regular characters because it'll give their contributions a degree of weight.

All that said, I do think any new version of MZP (whatever it's called) can learn from some of the mistakes of the past. Personally, I always thought one of MZP's biggest problems was our inability to just have a solid base of readers. It seemed like everyone who joined didn't want to just read and enjoy high-quality virtual series, but they all had ideas of their own and wanted to join the staff. Now, I suppose that was inevitable to a large extent given the nature of what MZP was, but by the time 2007/2008 rolled around we essentially had one big echo chamber where the only readers were fellow staff and the only feedback we ever got was from each other. That's just not sustainable; anyone here who has run or written for or produced an active VS can tell you it can be a very time consuming process and that means what energy you devote to MZP isn't likely going to be reading someone else's work, but writing and producing your own.

Amen to the nth degree on this, too - it was something we started to notice but never figured out how to change. Writers and readers are two VERY different sets of audience, and while we wanted to create an environment where every reader had the opportunity to pick up a pen and write something, I have to wonder if there was a degree of pressure involved in that. Almost as if certain writers wouldn't take your feedback seriously if you didn't understand or partake in their craft.

Which is ridiculous - it's a reaction to the systemic thing of contemporary keyboard warriors, who think that just because you consume media you are more informed and skilled in it than the actual creators. It's all about showing the man behind the curtain without expecting everybody to join you behind it.

I also think we really made a mistake by turning the pitch process into this long, drawn-out process. I get why it was done, and at the time I admit I was on board with the idea of Pitch Councils and writing tutorials and guides, but in hindsight, it was a terrible idea that I think scared a lot of people off and probably turned even more off. I mean, at the end of the day we were all here for fun, so what ever gave us (the admins, established showrunners, mods, etc.) the right to tell someone their ideas and/or writing weren't good enough? Shouldn't that ultimately be left up to the readers? In that sense, I think maybe we tried a little too hard to turn MZP into something it never could have - or should have - been: a true virtual TV network. Maybe what it should have been was what it always was at its best: a place to write (fan fiction or original) stories as part of a larger community of readers/writers who had similar interests. I certainly appreciate trying to maintain a certain minimum level of quality, but I think we really went overboard with it.

Oh Christ, did we ever create a monster with that one!

It started off as a great idea to encourage a high standard - we wanted people who were serious about their ideas and had the energy to create them if we gave them the go-ahead, rather than saying 'yes' to everything and risking flooding the site with unfinished junk.

The ideal approach is somewhere between the two, which is why I'm considering 'tiers' of applications or something to help newer writers not be judged against the standards of more experienced ones. We should treat every idea as having merit unless it hits some obvious red flags - obvious derivitation, that kind of thing.

I want it to be less 'virtual TV network' and more 'storytelling network'.

As far as the suggestions re: social media, I'll add something else to the discussion that hasn't been discussed here yet: YouTube videos. Not full-on web series and not podcasts or anything like that (although, I could certainly get behind both of those) but something like the following YouTube channels.

These are quick, relatively well-produced videos posted anywhere from once a day to once or twice a month, but they cover a wide variety of subjects and can be adapted to almost any content. Remember our old pitch games? An old style MZP series pitch could be adapted perfectly into that sort of video and could be done at a much quicker pace and could generate some interest in what else is going on here, and maybe even get people re-reading some of our old material.

I like this too - I have some ideas on podcasts and the like, and if we attract people with the right skills there's no reason we can't make more videos. I always use the example of the Bitter Script reader's 12-step program:



Also, and this is more general, I think the notion that MZP should be a writing-first community could be the wrong approach. Why not go the other direction? Make it a pop culture channel/group/site/community/etc. that discusses the shows, movies, books, etc. that we all love and have the writing be something that sort of naturally evolves out of that. Hell, when I first was introduced to the concept of a virtual series, it wasn't because I went looking for fan fiction scripts or even prose. I just happened to stumble onto Star Trek: Renaissance on a general Trek message board and was hooked.

This is one I want something different on. There was a real divide within the admins about this - some wanted more organised cultural discussion, some wanted none at all. I think given the number of members past, present (and maybe future) who run or write for blogs covering all this stuff, I'd prefer to lean more into networking this stuff out. Tony runs a pop culture blog, lots of people like Emma or Wilson have podcasts, and rather than have the same things discussed at mutplit locations I'd like to show some love to Friends of MZP by farming a lot of non-writing discussion outside the site/forum.

I'd still like some, but the balance is something I need to decide on.
20
The MZPtv News Room / Re: The Great MZPtv Reboot 2018
« Last post by el Monstruo-0 on Thu Dec 7 2017, 16:11 »
I did always feel (forgive me for saying) there was a slight 'clique' on the site, which I fully understood (to some degree) as MZPtv wanted to showcase the 'best talent' out there, but as stated by others - it created a gap that has slowly opened up into a large sinkhole, with some of the core moving onto other projects and life etc, leaving a lot of open space and with little to no one to fill in.  Don't get me wrong, there was some who seemed happy to offer guidance of their richness of experience to those wanting to learn - but I think it came over the last few years, when the site started slowing down with people pitching ideas etc.  I will always be grateful to Alden, Tom East and Matt Latham - for giving me an opportunity and trust to write webisodes/episode for the shows they created/published and sliding my foot in the door towards the possibility of a series of my own being placed into further development, among others who offered support/guidance on several sites along the way.

You are far from the only person to have felt that, and we can only apologise for the change in atmosphere over the years. Hopefully now this is something we can leave in the past.

As for moving forward:  I think Social Media (despite me not being a fan) can be one step, and a suggestion would be to find someone who has a good handle on that end and making that their particular job, promoting, advertising, etc all the positive stuff on MZPtv to try and draw new members to the site who are interested in the subject matter.

Current thinking is to pull together a handful of 'street team' posts - open roles where we give keys to social media channels to members we can trust to do something with it. Short, fixed-term roles basically, so we always have different voices and opportunities, but people who want to stay on and have done good work can just keep going.

II think more of a 'Newbies Writing Class' or 'Guide to Screenwriting' also needs putting out there. I posted up (back in 2015) a Development Diary with several posts about things I'd found, as well as a 'Structure of a Pilot Episode' guide (in the Writing Class section) using Pilot Episodes of established TV Series to show how to write a show (images and PDF's now don't work sadly as I lost my webspace) - unfortunately, both of those had a lack of response. Maybe I'll try again - even though I'm no expert, it's just things I picked up along the way to help me in my writing, from here and other sites that others may find useful.

100% to all of this - I want a big, healthy learning resource section and to make much more of that going forward. Pulling together this resource won't be difficult, and my ultimate goal is to have self-contained 'lessons' people can work their way through. The basic stuff that seems obvious to some will have never occurred to others, but until you get told these things, you may never encounter them. It's the danger of being too 'self taught' - I've been playing guitar for 25 years but I wouldn't say I was very good purely because I've never really focused my energies on learning.

Don't know if this would work to be honest, but we need more people to READ those established work already posted up - not only to learn from and understand the craft better, but to enjoy the talent we once had on the site and inspire other new writers to pitch.  Maybe a 'MZPtv Book Script Club' Section? Each month a script on the site is chosen that we all should read, and then share our thoughts on them. (Once a week may be too much, but once a month gives people time to download, read and talk about it).

We have tried initiatives like this before, and we often struggled with take up or finding the time to read, but it's something I want to generate some more ideas for. It does require a degree of commitment we didn't always enjoy from our members, so there's bound to be better ways of doing it.

As for myself, although I'm no expert - I'm happy to help out where I can if needed. I do have several ideas in the pipeline of my own work, one still under current development (Purgatory), plus another two I pitched which are also in the works (slowly).

And my plan is that this will always be a place to develop your ideas!
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