Children of Tendu
Javier Grillo-Marxuach and Jose Molina are television writer/producers with over forty years of combined experience on shows including "Lost," "Firefly," "Sleepy Hollow" and "Helix"... and they are giving away all their knowledge for free! Find us on Twitter @childrenoftendu!






March 2015
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A mere week ago, Jose (Agent Carter, Sleepy Hollow) Molina and Javier (Lost, The Middleman) Grillo-Marxuach set off on an epic road trip to Las Vegas Nevada - their goal? To not only make it to Sin City alive, but to record a super-sized podcast answering your questions about television, the business and the cradt of writing during the drive!

Among the topics Jose and Javi cover in this rambling mutual interview?

How do writers decompress after a season of building stories... can one burn out on a show, and how do you leave gracefully... writing spec scripts for staffing versus writing pilots or plays... the concept of "eye protein"... weird things happening at a circle K... how do jose and javi critique their own, and other people's material... how do you get a script from good to great - or from great to good... "writer hypermilling"... what would be their dream show to run... their twenty years ongoing debate about ER vs Chicago Hope (hint, Jose is WRONG)... how do you respond when a showrunner insists that a made-up word is a real word... the caloric load of a snickers bar... what is a "murdernook" and how was integral to the writing process on Agent Carter... the problematic engine of Firefly... and finally, a lengthy and informative conversation about adaptation - and these two writers opinions not just about great adaptations like Game of Thrones, but also some real practical advice taken from their numerous attempts to bring some of your favorite non-TV media to the air!

So strap on your seat belt on and join the road trip - this is the closest you can come to spending three hours and change in a car with two veteran writers...

only without the smell.

oh... the smell.

Direct download: tendu_or_diev3.m4a
Category:general -- posted at: 8:00 PM

Batten down the holiday hatches and gird your Yuletide loins -- Jose and Javi are back at the mic for a two-hour, no-holds-barred, three-fisted discussion of that most mysterious part of their job: the writing process!  Do they make outlines? Do they just "wing it?" Do they plan in advance? Do they "find their plot and characters on the page?" And most importantly -- do they know what's in every one of their characters' pockets? Let's face it, these two guys can tell you all sorts of stuff about how to make it in showbiz -- but when they face the empty page -- do they have what it takes?  Only one way to find out... and it's going to take two hours of your life!

Direct download: 14._The_Children_of_Tendu_Christmas_Special.m4a
Category:general -- posted at: 8:00 PM

In this - the final episode of the first season of the Children of Tendu Podcast - Jose and Javi sit down with a small group of avid listeners - all of them aspiring writers, producers, directors and executives - and answer their questions in real time! Topics include race and gender in the entertainment industry, adapting other people's original material, what should you ask for when you are a new writer and your project gets optioned, great moments in Spanish profanity, one person's completely irrational hatred of Eddie Money, and why EVERY writer should have a good psychotherapist. For a grand finale, Javi and Jose subject one another to the famed questionnaire used by Bernard Pivot AND James Lipton to probe the depths of their guest's psyches... and then, in a thrilling act of shocking destiny, Jose makes Javi cry!

Direct download: 13._Our_season_finale.m4a
Category:general -- posted at: 6:13 PM

The holy grail of television writing is creating, selling and running your own show... but what happens when you sell a pilot and are not yet a showrunner, or when you are a showrunner but do not have a pilot? In this - the second to last episode of season one of the Children of Tendu Podcast, Jose and Javi tackle the rocky road from idea to script to pilot to series - a journey whose many possible outcomes will shock, amaze, and perhaps even terrify you.

Direct download: 12._So_you_wanna_write_a_television_pilot....m4a
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00 PM

Ask any writer what they hate most and you will very soon arrive at the answer "notes." As the Children of Tendu podcast races to the scintillating climax of its inaugural season, Jose and Javi take on the creative and business relationship between writers and their studios and networks, debunking the notion that this is by nature an adversarial process between creativity and commerce, and discussing how and why notes are not only unavoidable but also a crucial and useful part of creating television. Also, what are "scroutlines," "scriptments" and "sproses"? Why Javi can't remember "timey-wimey-wibbly-wobbly" when he's on the spot? And why "taking a time out" is not just for toddlers anymore.

Direct download: 11._Theres_a_lot_of_good_stuff_here..._but_we_do_have_some_notes..m4a
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00 PM

Part 1 of a special Nerdist Writers Panel/Children of Tendu event!

If you listen to Children of Tendu, you have heard the names "Rene Echevarria" and "Naren Shankar." Both are fantastic writers, both are veterans of the Star Trek: The Next Generation writers room, and both are important mentor figures to Jose and Javi.

In this first part of our interview with our mentors, we are aided by the indomitable Ben Blacker as Rene and Naren discuss the early days of their own career with a special focus on their relationship with Star Trek, it's showrunner Michael Piller, and how that series's culture helped them become both successful writers as well as successful mentors to otger writers.

And if you like part one, part two - featuring tons of useful advice from Rene, Naren, Jose and Javi on process and creativity - goes live Tuesday, may 6th, 2014 on the Nerdist industries website, under the aegis of the Nerdist Writers Panel -

Direct download: 10._Meet_our_mentors_-_part_one.m4a
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00 PM

Showrunners. Some are great. Some are lousy. Some are geniuses. Some are legends in their own mind. What do showrunners actually do? What is their day like? How do you relate with someone who has the weight of the world - and a myriad of strange managerial, creative, and executive problems - on his or her shoulders, and who - most importantly - is responsible for every facet of your existence while you work on a show? Bluntly: the showrunner is the alpha and the omega, and you serve at their pleasure, so how do you go along, get along, and avoid making the rookie mistakes made by Javi and Jose as they made their way through the trenches of television?

Direct download: 9._Your_showrunner_and_you.m4a
Category:general -- posted at: 8:39 PM

Picking up from last week's topic - "What Do All Those Producer Credits Mean" Jose and Javi move from defining the role of the writer/producer on TV to giving practical examples of the work of the upper level producer with a focus on post-production. From dealing with actor notes, to editing, sound, giving and receiving notes - and carrying "Ned Stark's sigil" - Jose and Javi only leave a few facets of the work of the writer producer unexplored. Also, they tell poop jokes, discuss "spotting" and sing the song from "Pinky and the Brain."

Direct download: 8._Mo_Producers_Mo_Problems.m4a
Category:general -- posted at: 7:04 PM

The career path for a television writer is a long and winding road that leads to a producer credit - but what does it mean to be a writer who becomes a producer? Do writers who rise to producers still write? What do all the different producer credits mean? What are the responsibilities of writers when they become producers? In this scintillating episode, Jose (of Firefly and Castle) and Javi (Lost, The Middleman) talk about what it means to rise up the food chain as a television writer, how writers become managers of a TV show's crew... and what is it that all of your collaborators on and off the set actually do - and why knowng is crucial!

Direct download: 7._What_Do_All_Those_Producer_Credits_Mean.m4a
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00 PM

In this very special episode of the Children of Tendu podcast, Jose and Javi welcome Michele Fazekas and Tara Butters: creators and shorunners of the beloved "Reaper," showrunners of "Resurrection" and executive producers of Marvel's forthcoming "Agent Carter" to answer some questions about the life and creative process of a writing team, the specific challenges faced by women writer/producers in the entertainment industry, how to run and staff a successful show, the role of mentorship in their careers, how to get yourself staffed... all that, and to learn the meaning of the the mysterious filmmaking trick known only as "the cowboy handoff."

Direct download: 6._Special_Guest_Stars_Fazekas_and_Butters.m4a
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00 PM