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!












April 2014
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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: 12:00pm PDT

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: 11:13am PDT

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: 12:00pm PDT

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: 12:00pm PDT

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: 12:00pm PDT

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: 1:39pm PDT

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: 12:04pm PDT

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: 12:00pm PDT

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: 12:00pm PDT

What is it like to face the dread of the empty page... when you are doing it for pay and as part of the writing staff of a television series for the first time? In this thrill-packed episode, Jose and javi share the stories of their first episodic assignments on staff (on Dark Angel and seaQuest, respectively), and give you a blow-by-blow of the process so that you do NOT make the same mistakes they did!

Direct download: 5._Your_First_Script_On_Staff_-_Surrender_Your_Ego.m4a
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm PDT

The great unspoken truth of television writing is that - by and large - writers spend most of their time not at the keyboard, but in a conference room collaborating on stories with other writers. In this super-sized episode, Jose and Javi use case studies from their work on "Lost" and "The Vampire Diaries" to discuss how the writers room works, how stories are created in most television shows, but also the procedures and etiquette of this most misunderstood part of the TV writing process.

Direct download: 4._The_Writers_Room-_How_Do_I_Work_This.m4a
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm PDT

Episode 3 - Staffing Season

Once a year, every writer - and aspiring writer - in television takes part in what amounts to nothing less than a (metaphorical) all-city job fair... the period after the networks have picked up their new pilots, renewed their returning shows, and every one in town with a spec and a dream tries to get a job on a writing staff... but what really is staffing season? How do you get in it? How do you survive it?n In this episode, Jose (Firefly, Sleepy Hollow) Molina and Javier (Lost, The Middleman) Grillo-Marxuach break down this mystifying Hollywood ritual, and share their successes and failures in the hopes that you will not make the mistakes they made!

Direct download: 3._Staffing_season_-_am_I_doing_it_right.m4a
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm PDT

Episode 2 - Agents - Who? Why? And How?

Javi and Jose demistify one of the most misunderstood components of the entertainment business: agents. what they do and why they are crucial for a successful career in television is a little undertstood face of our work as television writer/producer... not anymore!

Direct download: 2._Agents_-_who_why_and_how.m4a
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm PDT

Episode 1 - Your first step into a much larger world

In this inaugural edition of the Children of Tendu Podcast, veteran television writer/producers Javier Grillo-Marxuach (Lost, The Middleman, Helix, Medium) and Jose Molina (Sleepy Hollow, Firefly, Haven, Castle, Dark Angel) begin at the beginning: explaining how they started their careers in television, and how someone at the ground floor might navigate the early stages of the urban jungle that is the business of writing for the tube!

they also explain the strange name of the podcast, briefly discuss "mangut" and engage in a lively discussion of how a chance meeting in a Puerto Rican Supermarket sparked a lifelong friendship.

javier Grillo-Marxuach and Jose Molina have over forty combined years of experience as writer/producers in television - the Children of Tendu Podcast is their attempt to give away their experience in the entertainment business for free in the hopes that others will not make the same mistakes they did!

Questions for the Children of Tendu Podcast? Find us on Twitter at @childrenoftendu.

Direct download: 1._Your_first_step_into_a_much_larger_world.m4a
Category:podcast -- posted at: 12:00pm PDT

Welcome to the Children of Tendu podcast, featuring Jose Molina - writer and producer on shows including Firefly, Sleepy Hollow, Castle, Dark Angel, Terra Nova, Without a Trace, and Law & Order SVU - and Javier Grillo-Marxuach - writer and producer on Lost, Helix, Medium, Boomtown, Charmed, The Pretender, and creator of The Middleman

Children of Tendu is - without a doubt - the best podcast on television writing, the business of television, and getting started in television, ever to be named after a misheard song lyric from the 1990's!

If you are considering a career as a television writer, or are already on your way, Jose and Javi will share their war stories and give straight-shooting practical advice on how to make your way through the jungle that is television... all while giving an uncensored, unexpurgated look at their own award-winning careers!

And if you ever wanted to ask questions to not one but TWO working television writer producers, follow us on Twitter at @childrenoftendu - the next question we answer may be yours!

Category:general -- posted at: 3:48pm PDT