Thu, 28 September 2023
A few days before the WGA made its historic deal with the AMPTP, Jose and Javi made one last trip to the line, this time at Universal Studios, to interview our sisters, brothers, and others in the guild who bravely walked the lines to the triumphant end. Featuring interviews with established writers like Marc Bernardin, Julie and Shawna Benson, as well as our union representatives (who dropped amazing information on the organization of the strike... down to the black SUVs and secret WGA phones!) this is an amazing snapshot of the last days of a labor action that resulted in amazing gains for writers everywhere! SOLIDARITY!
Direct download: on_the_line_-_the_final_chapter_-_92723_4.31_PM.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 10:45am PST
Wed, 26 July 2023
On a hot and noisy day, Jose and Javi set up shop on the strike line at CBS Radford and talk to WGA luminaries ranging from showrunners Julie Plec and Craig Silverstein to show creator Evan Bleiweiss and the strike captains who keep out labor action safe and coordinated! If you are curious about how we organize, where the signs come from... or how to humanely run a writers room, you won't mind the horns blaring in the background!
Tue, 27 June 2023
Taking their cues from Lucy Van Pelt, the Children of Tendu set up a booth on the strike line and took questions, gave advice, and even quizzed their betters about their methods and madness. Featuring interviews with producers of "Elementary", the showrunner of "Queen of the South" as well as several amazing up and comers from shows including "Superman and Lois" and "Law & Order: SVU" this is a raw look at what's going on in the frontlines of the WGA strike, and a stark reminder of how much the craft of writing has changed, and why the strike matters!
Wed, 21 June 2023
In this extra special episode of the podcast, Jose and Javi take a deep, show-by-show dive into Javi's career, dissecting his experiences and distilling the lessons he has learned over the course of his decades-spanning adventures in TV!
Tue, 13 June 2023
In this extra special episode of the podcast, Jose and Javi take a deep, show-by-show dive into Jose's career, dissecting his experiences and distilling the lessons he has learned over the course of his decades-spanning career!
Wed, 7 June 2023
As veterans of the WGA strike of 2007 picketing in the strike of 2023, Jose and Javi break down the differences between the two labor actions. From the role of social media in the Guild's messaging, to the differences in the message itself, the rise of the #prewga cohort, and the decline of the auteur showrunner, Jose and Javi don't just break it down, but also use the differences in the two labor actions to explain how vital the current struggle is to the art and business of writing for media.
Sun, 21 May 2023
Being Latino/a/e/x in Trump's America is an increasingly precarious business. As white Puerto Ricans whith careers spanning over a quarter century, Javi and Jose have seen, heard, and experienced the pervasive racism of the industry in many of its forms, while also benefitting from their own white privilege. In this unusually revealing episode, Jose and Javi dig deep into their lives and upbringing as colonial subjects of the United States to explore not just what it is like to be latino/a/e/x in Hollywood, but more specifically, what it means to be Puerto Rican and the many issues of race, class, and colonialism that entails.
Wed, 10 May 2023
Jose and Javi are back and older than ever! As the Writers Guild strikes for higher pay, job security, and reform in how writers are employed and compensated, Jose and Javi aren't just walking the picket line but also breaking down the many changes in the industry that have lead to the current labor action. In the fifteen years since the dawn of the streaming age, the way television is made and consumed has changed enormously, and Jose and Javi have experienced those changes in real time... this is not the same business Jose and Javi came into at the start of their careers, and it isn't the same as when they began recording the Children of Tendu podcast... it's a new era, and Jose and Javi are here to tell you all about it!
Sun, 5 September 2021
Remember when we said our previous episode would be our series finale? WE LIED. And we are back to prove it with a super sized episode where we answer YOUR questions about OUR process. How do we write? Why do we write? Where do we write? (and it's not in the bathtub like Dalton Trumbo) All these questions and more! Answered right here! With our usual career-endangering candor!
Wed, 5 May 2021
Seven years ago, veteran television writer/producers Jose Molina and Javier Grillo-Marxuach set out to consign all their experience to a podcast and to give it away for free. One Golden Age of television, a pandemic, and several complete disruptions in the industry later, Jose and Javi look to the future and ponder the fate of the Children of Tendu Podcast... and more importantly, their own transition from wizened veterans to fellow travelers with newcomers in a rapidly changing world!
Sun, 1 March 2020
Most writers have very little idea of what goes on in an edit bay, and how to best manage the collaborative relationship between a TV writer/producer and the show's editor. To remedy this situation, Javi and Jose have brought in one of the most prolific and acclaimed editors working today - Shawn Paper, whose credits include Parks and Rec, Veep, What We Do In The Shadows, Flight of the Conchords, and countless others - to discuss how writers and editors can, and should, be best friends!
Sun, 8 December 2019
In this super-sized deep-dive, Jose and Javi interview Jeremiah Chechik - director not just of the pilot episode of Javi's show "The Middleman" but also TV shows including "Chuck", "Gossip Girl", "Shadowhunters", "Helix", "The Bronx is Burning", "Burn Notice" - and, oh yeah, a couple of classic feature films including "Benny and Joon" and "Christmas Vacation".
Though the discussion is wide-ranging, the focus is on the relationship between the writer and director both in TV and features: how we collaborate, how we interact on and off the set, and how do we stay true to each our vision without trampling on the other's! This one's a must for all TV writers - because our work doesn't end at the keyboard, and directors can, and should, be our best friends!
Tue, 2 July 2019
The Writers Guild is currently engaged in a landmark labor action which has already changed the face of the entertainment industry. In this special episode, Jose and Javi have a lengthy and candid conversation with WGA President David A. Goodman about the how's and why's of the guild's goals and strategy as it seeks to redefine the role of agents and agencies in the business of representing writers.
Sun, 22 April 2018
As part of their "Living in the Middle" sessions at the WGA, Javi and Jose host a talk about the writers room - what sort of personalities thrive in the collaborative creative environment that fuels the creation of TV narratives, and how does a writer find his or her voice among the talented many who make up a staff!
Sun, 22 April 2018
In this the second part and conclusion of "The Big Pitch" Jose and javi discuss what happened after The Big Pitch... what networks heard The Big Pitch, who didn't and why? What was it like in the rooms where they pitched? What sort of feedback did they get? Did anyone buy The Big Pitch? What was it like to develop a role playing game into a potential TV show... and, most importantly: did the rigors of working together after 24 years of friendship destroy Jose and Javi... or did it make them stronger?
Sun, 22 April 2018
Most TV writers do not hear a series being pitched until they are the ones doing the pitching. In this brand new episode, the Children of Tendu discuss the process by which they developed a pitch for a TV adaptation of a popular role playing game... and they throw in the entire pitch for free! That's right, rather than just talk about pitching, Jose and Javi rehearsed their pitch live at the Writers Guild, and now you can hear it here!
Mon, 21 November 2016
In this special episode of the podcast, the Children of Tendu enlist guest stars Natalie Morales - star of Javi's show The Middleman - and Jason O'Mara - who starred in, and worked with Jose on, Terra Nova - to discuss how actors and writers work together, and how this crucial creative relationship can be made better in the fast-paced and ever changing world of television. How do these series leads approach scripts when the arrive fresh off the printer? How do they deal with writers on and off the set? What do they wish writers would - or wouldn't - do on the page and off? Join Jose and Javi as two of their most famous collaborators drop their hard-earned wisdom and advice!
Mon, 24 October 2016
There is one question. The ETERNAL question. The question that all who want to write in Hollywood ask themselves over and over again.
How do I get an agent?
In this very special episode, Jose's first agent, Matt Bedrosian not only answers the eternal question of "how do you get an agent?" but also gives a no-holds-barred look behind the scenes at a talent agency and answers some of the most pressing questions asked by writers, both repped and non-repped...
What do agents do?
Why don't they answer my calls?
What are they doing when they are not answering my calls? Why do you even need an agent?
But mostly, we talk about "how do you get an agent?"
Really. There's an answer.
Sun, 18 September 2016
When a guy writes on shows ranging from "Family Guy" to "Futurama" and "The Golden Girls", you pay attention to what he has to say. When that same guy is also Vice President of the Writers Guild, you clean out your ears, dust off your glasses, take out a pencil and a pad and take down some notes! In this candid, no-holds-barred conversation, Jose and Javi talk to David Goodman about his successes and struggles in comedy - animated and live action - and also have a lively discussion about the Writers Guild: what it does, who is in it and why, the strike of 2007 and how it affected working and neophyte writers alike, and why involvement with the union is crucial for all writers!
Fri, 12 August 2016
In which Jose and Javi settle their Gladiator vs. Braveheart feud once and for all - in front of a live audience at the 2016 San Diego Comic Con! Putting that issue to rest with a sense of drama unseen since the Roman Colisseum, Jose and Javi then answer audience questions about writing for television, breaking into the business, the art of the argument, collaborative storytelling and Role Playing Games, how new media is affecting the television staffing landscape, and many, many more topics!
Fri, 15 July 2016
The Children of Tendu know drama... but they are not nearly as knowledgeable about the world of comedy... so to tell you how to break into comedy, what the work is like for writers there, and how to have a long, successful, and productive, career, Javi and Jose called in a team of experts: Steve Baldikoski and Bryan Behar - a writing team with twenty years in comedy who currently co-executive produce the hit Netflix series "Fuller House" - and Kate Spurgeon - who recently completed the Warne Bros. Writing Fellowship and is currently in her first writing gig, also on "Fuller House". In this very special episode, these amazing ambassadors from the comedy world drop some serious wisdom on the funny!
Fri, 8 July 2016
In the last two Children of Tendu podcasts, Jose and Javi walked you through Pre-Production and Production... now comes the Grand Finale: Post - AKA: "what happens after you have written your script and it has been filmed". In this supersized special episode, Javi and Jose describe not just the massive effort required to get a show from the camera to the air, but also describe the vast army of artists involved, and lay out a blueprint for writers to successfully work their way through the process the Tendu way!
Mon, 13 June 2016
The script is done. You have navigated the slings and arrows of pre-production. The cameras are rolling: what does the writer/producer do on the set? What are the pressures, politics, and practicalities of filming an episode of television? And what are the common mistakes and missteps for new and experienced writers to avoid when they step foot in that mysterious maelstrom of activity known as "production"? Jose and Javi answer your questions, and question your answers in... The Production of Tendu!
Thu, 2 June 2016
In this special, super-sized, episode of the podcast, Jose and Javi break down what happens in that crucial time between the moment a television writer finishes writing a script and when the cameras roll... what is Pre-Production? What is the role of the writer/producer during this crucial process? How do all the pieces that go into making an episode of your television come together, and how do all the problems get solved - or don't - before your favorite show actually gets filmed? Tune in to this information-packed episode... and stay tuned for the cliffhanger ending, in which Jose and Javi promise to eventually cover... Post-Production!
Mon, 16 May 2016
On Friday, May 13, the internet was abuzz with news of the pickups and cancellations of dozens of television shows -- feeling the nervy vibe, Jose and Javi took to Periscope to answer questions about pilot season, the upfronts, network ad sales, why some shows get cancelled -- and why others get picked up -- and if there's hope for your beloved but cancelled favorite (we're lookin' at you, Agent Carter) to find a new home after being kicked off the network nest! The thrills and confusion of pilot season was demystified during this hourlong live session... and now, here it is in podcast form!
Fri, 6 May 2016
As part of his "Anatomy of a Pilot" class at UCLA, writer/showrunner/show-creator/nice guy Richard (Miracles, Grimm, Witches of East End, Supernatural) Hatem invited the Children of Tendu to speak to his students, and to submit to his rigorous questioning about the business of television, the role of the writer in the writers room, the set, and in the collaborative hierarchy of series television... the Children of Tendu, as you might imagine, had some very pointed opinions about all of this! to find out more about the UCLA extension writers program - without whom this recording would not have been possible - check out their website at http://writers.uclaextension.edu
Wed, 27 January 2016
In this brand new, supersized episode, the Children of Tendu look at the business of television from the tippity-top, leveraging their combined forty years of experience into a discussion of showrunning. In our Golden Age of television, what does it mean to lead the creation of a television, how does it work, and what are some of the sins committed by both experienced and inexperienced managers in the pursuit of getting the show on the air by any means necessary.
Mon, 27 April 2015
We are now in the thick of that most dreaded of seasons: staffing. For three to four months, every television writer in Los Angeles waits on pins and needles to find out which shows will return the next season and which pilots get picked up to series -- and hovers over the phone to hear whether they will be getting job interviews to become staff writer/producers on those shows. To soothe your frayed nerves and talk you down during this nerve wracking time, the Children of Tendu have recorded "Tendu or Do Not: Children on the Ledge," in which Jose and Javi not only dispense useful advice on how to survive this trying time of the year, but also share war stories from some of their most harrowing staffing seasons to date. Also, Javi sings the Spanish-launguage jingle from the Schaeffer beer commercials of his youth, and Jose delivers the best ever reading of the line "large cocks."
Mon, 13 April 2015
In a very special two-hour Children of Tendu Special, Jose and Javi interview special guests Akela (V, Grimm, The Witches of East End, The 100) and Deric (Warehouse Thirteen, Beauty and the Beast) Hughes on the controversial topic of diversity inb television. Informed by personal anecdotes illustrating the good, the bad, the questionable, and the blatant, Jose, Javi, Akela, and Deric provide an in-depth discussion of what it is like to be a "diverse" write in an industry that has not always - and may still not entirely - welcome difference within its ranks. They also digress... a lot.
Mon, 2 March 2015
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.
Wed, 19 November 2014
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!
Mon, 26 May 2014
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!
Mon, 19 May 2014
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.
Mon, 12 May 2014
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 PST
Mon, 5 May 2014
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 - http://www.nerdist.com/podcast/nerdist-writers-panel/
Mon, 28 April 2014
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?
Mon, 21 April 2014
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."
Mon, 14 April 2014
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!
Mon, 7 April 2014
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."
Mon, 31 March 2014
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 PST
Mon, 24 March 2014
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.
Mon, 17 March 2014
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!
Mon, 10 March 2014
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!
Mon, 3 March 2014
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.
Sun, 2 March 2014
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 PST