Friday, September 18, 2015

Friday Fun: Emmy Award Predictions!

Over the past few years, the Emmy Awards have become my Oscars. I'm far more invested in TV shows than I am with movies these days. 

This year's Emmys feature some really exciting nominations (among a few glaring omissions). I thought it'd be fun to put together a predictions list. I'm going for a mix of who I'm personally rooting for along with who I think will win. 

The awards will be hosted by Andy Samberg of SNL and Brooklyn Nine Nine fame, and most importantly, from my favorite Big Dumb Comedy of the last decade Hot Rod!

The Emmys air this Sunday night 9/20 on FOX. I'll be tweeting using  the #Emmys tag on twitter.

OK, let's do this:

Outstanding Comedy Series
Modern Family
Parks and Recreation
Silicon Valley
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
My vote: Parks & Recreation. It was one of my favorites. The whole cast is so good, I'd have a new favorite every week. 
Who I think will win: Veep. Someone has to upset Modern Family after all these years! I'm betting on Veep given all its other nominations. And though critically praised, have enough people seen the Amazon streaming series Transparent? 
Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series
Lily Tomlin, Grace and Frankie
Amy Schumer, Inside Amy Schumer
Edie Falco, Nurse Jackie
Amy Poehler, Parks and Recreation
Lisa Kudrow, The Comeback
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep
My vote: Amy Poehler! I don't see Parks & Rec getting best comedy series, so I'm rooting for her all the way here. 

Who I think will win: Will it be Old(er) Amy (Poehler) or new Amy (Shumer?) OR could queen Julia Louis-Dreyfus take it all? The force is strong with this group.
Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series
Anthony Anderson, Black-ish
Matt LeBlanc, Episodes
Don Cheadle, House of Lies
Louis C.K., Louie
William H. Macy, Shameless
Will Forte, The Last Man on Earth
Jeffrey Tambor, Transparent
My vote: Louis C.K. Admittedly, I've only regularly watched The Last Man on Earth. I loved Will Forte on SNL, but I'm back-and-forth on his Fox show. I would give this to Louie because he's so central to his own show, and his take on humor is unlike anything else (IMO) going on in TV right now. 
Who I think will win: Jeffrey Tambor, Transparent 
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series
Niecy Nash, Getting On
Julie Bowen, Modern Family
Allison Janney, Mom
Kate McKinnon, Saturday Night Live
Mayim Bialik, The Big Bang Theory
Gaby Hoffman, Transparent
Jane Krakowski, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
Anna Chlumsky, Veep
My vote: Kate McKinnon is my favorite on SNL currently, but she's an underdog here.  
Who I think will win: Allison Janney. She's funny, consistent, and on a well-received network show.
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy
Andre Braugher, Brooklyn Nine-Nine
Adam Driver, Girls
Keegan-Michael Key, Key & Peele
Ty Burrell, Modern Family
Titus Burgess, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
Tony Hale, Veep
My vote: Keegan-Michael Key deserves this. Key & Peele is such a hilarious, on-point sketch show. If he doesn't get this, I would root for Andre Braugher on Brooklyn.
Who I think will win: Tony Hale or Ty Burrell have previous nominations. Modern Family doesn't have the buzz it once did, so I think Tony Hale will win. Key, though. Key needs to win. 
Outstanding Drama Series
Better Call Saul
Downton Abbey
Game of Thrones
House of Cards
Mad Men
Orange Is the New Black
My vote: Mad Men. The overall series itself deserves the win. (Though not-so-secretly would love a Better Call Saul upset!)
Who I think will win: Mad Men. With a close call by Game of Thrones (I never pick one, did you notice??)
Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series
Claire Danes, Homeland
Viola Davis, How to Get Away with Murder
Taraji P. Henson, Empire
Tatiana Maslany,Orphan Black
Elisabeth Moss, Mad Men
Robin Wright, House of Cards
My vote: Let's take a moment to appreciate this list. Every single actor here is good, Viola Davis is good in everything, but her current show is sort of ridiculous. Claire is fascinating, but Homeland is depressing. Taraji was great on Person of Interest and she makes Empire. Tatiana is PHENOMENAL at playing different clones of main character. And Elisabeth Moss was the corner we could latch onto in Mad Men with the reasonable and often-trampled upon Peggy Olson. Any of them win, I am cool with that outcome. I vote we give each of them an Emmy! Ok, do I really have to choose? I'm so torn. Agh! OK. Tatiana Maslany TIED with Elisabeth Moss. 
Who I think will win: Viola Davis or a Mad Men legacy win for Elisabeth Moss. Don't count out Taraji Henson.
Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series
Kyle Chandler, Bloodline
Jeff Daniels, The Newsroom
Jon Hamm, Mad Men
Bob Odenkirk, Better Call Saul
Liev Schrieber, Ray Donovon
Kevin Spacey, House of Cards
My vote: Jon Hamm. Though my heart says Bob Odenkirk because Better Call Saul is as good as Breaking Bad but in different way, he's got time ahead, while Jon Hamm hasn't won yet for Mad Men.  
Who I think will win: Jon Hamm because Don Draper became a cultural icon. 
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series
Joan and her iconic pen necklace
Joanne Froggatt, Downton Abbey
Lena Headey, Game of Thrones
Emilia Clarke, Game of Thrones
Christina Hendricks, Mad Men
Uzo Aduba, Orange Is the New Black
Christine Baranski, The Good Wife
My vote: Christina Hendricks because Joan is also a cultural icon thanks to Mad Men. 
Who I think will win: I can see Lena Headey taking this due to her very dramatic walk of shame scene last season on GoT.

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series
Jonathan Banks, Better Call Saul
Ben Mendelsohn, Bloodline
Jim Carter, Downton Abbey
Peter Dinklage, Game of Thrones
Michael Kelly, House of Cards
Alan Cumming, The Good Wife
My vote: Jonathan Banks for Breaking Bad recognition and Saul
Who I think will win: I could see Alan Cumming winning since The Good Wife has a long-standing following. Peter Dinklage could edge out a win though since he's so beloved on GoT.
Outstanding Limited Series
American Crime
American Horror Story: Freak Show
The Honorable Woman
Olive Kitteridge
Wolf Hall
My vote: Wolf Hall
Who I think will win: Wolf Hall
Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series or Movie
Felicity Huffman, American Crime
Jessica Lange, American Horror Story: Freak Show
Queen Latifah, Bessie
Frances McDormand, Olive Kitteridge
Emma Thompson, Mrs. Lovett
Maggie Gyllenhaal, The Honorable Woman
My vote: I didn't watch any of these. 
Who I think will win: I'm going with Frances McDormand or Felicity Huffman due to their previous accolades. 
Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or a Movie
Timothy Hutton, American Crime
Ricky Gervais, Derek Special
Adrien Brody, Houdini
David Oyelowo, Nightingale
Richard Jenkins, Olive Kitteridge
Mark Rylance, Wolf Hall
My vote: I didn't watch any of these (sadly, Wolf Hall deleted during the second great DVR crisis of 2015). 
Who I think will win: Give this to David Oyelowo for his Oscar snub this year in Selma!
Outstanding Reality Show Competition
The Amazing Race
Dancing with the Stars
Project Runway
So You Think You Can Dance
Top Chef
The Voice
My vote: I love Project Runway, but over the years it's become more of a commercial and gameshow than about real fashion. Top Chef also suffers from sponsor gimmick overload.I like The Voice, but overall So You Think You Can Dance is the most inspiring and still fresh with talent. 
Who I think will win: The Voice
Outstanding Reality Show Host
Tom Bergeron, Dancing with the Stars
Jane Lynch, Hollywood Game Night
Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn, Project Runway
Cat Deeley, So You Think You Can Dance
Anthony Bourdain, The Taste
My vote: Cat Deeley! 
Who I think will win: Jane Lynch has a strong chance because she's relatable and funny.  
Outstanding Variety, Music, or Comedy Series
The Colbert Report
The Daily Show
Jimmy Kimmel Live!
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver
Late Show with David Letterman
The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon
My vote: The Colbert Report 
Who I think will win: All eyes on this category! With Colbert, Daily Show, and Letterman ending this year, all three are contenders. Oh, and John Oliver who (IMO) was the best fit to take over The Daily Show had they jumped on that sooner. Given Colbert took over for Letterman, he has more opportunities ahead. I think this leaves a legacy win for either Jon Stewart or David Letterman. In the end, going with Jon Stewart
Outstanding Variety Sketch Series
Drunk History
Inside Amy Schumer
Key & Peele
Saturday Night Live
My vote: Key & Peele. Especially if Key doesn't win himself; the show overall deserves this for being so consistently funny, and managing cultural commentary that was spot on whether it's about racial profiling or the petty and selfie-obsessed. Also: Terries gettin' froggy.
Who I think will win: I'd be cool with any of these but SNL winning. SNL is just too uneven and often doesn't know how to showcase their best talent. Everything else on this list is doing something unique and different. Overall though, Key & Peele better get this.  
Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series
Joshua Brand, The Americans, “Do Mail Robots Dream of Electric Sheep?”
Gordon Smith, Better Call Saul, “Five-O”
David Benioff and David Weiss, Game of Thrones, “Mother’s Mercy”
Matthew Weiner, Mad Men, “Lost Horizon”
Matthew Weiner, Mad Men, “Person to Person”
My vote: Mad Men, Person to Person 
Who I think will win: Mad Men, Person to Person
Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series
Tim Van Patten, Boardwalk Empire, “Eldorado”
David Nutter, Game of Thrones, “Mother’s Mercy”
Jeremy Podeswa, Game of Thrones, “Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken”
Lesli Linka Glatter, Homeland, “From A to B and Back Again”
Steven Soderbergh, The Knick, “Method and Madness”
My vote: I'm a TV nerd going back a ways. David Nutter is an X-Files longtimer. At the same time, I didn't 100% love that GoT episode, though I can appreciate the challenges in directing with such a huge cast and a naked lady getting poo thrown at her (yes, really). 
Who I think will win: David Nutter, Mother's Mercy, Game of Thrones
That about covers it! Many other categories have already received trophies during the Creative Arts Emmys
How about you? Will you be watching? Who are your favorites?

Friday, September 11, 2015

Personal Fall Reading Challenge

Happy (almost) Fall! Hey, it's September and school has started for pretty much everyone (if you're that lucky--yes, lucky because I love school). Taking a look at my happily crowded bookshelves the other day, I realized I needed to take action. I'm cut off from the library (except audio books).

I freely admit, I stole this idea from my writer friend and fellow Pitch Wars mentor Valerie Cole, who created her own summer reading challenge to read books off her own shelves. I've amassed a number of books from conferences, book events, and trips to the bookstore. I really don't want to be that person who hoards books she doesn't read.

Here's my list of book categories to read through the end of 2015!

My Personal Fall Reading Challenge 

  • A book you really want to read
  • Something short
  • Something new
  • A book you've had for a long time
  • Finish a series
  • A friend-recommended book
  • A non-fiction title
  • A book by an author I know or have met
  • An e-book
  • A book by an author I've been meaning to try
  • A book by a favorite author
  • A book by a celebrity or public figure 
  • A holiday or seasonal book
Feel free to use this list or a variation for your own reading challenge. Let me know if you do and link your post here!

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Insecure Writers Support Group IWSG

IWSG Badge

The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds! Click here and visit a few IWSG blogs!

Welcome Pitch Wars people! I've been talking up the IWSG to Pitch Wars contest hopefuls on twitter because this writer community is supportive and consistent. I hope more writers jump on the monthly blog hop and IWSG Facebook group.

So, last night in a video chat on the Whiskey, Wine, and Writing video chat show (which is weekly on Mondays about writing topics!) the Pitch Wars crew revealed the 125 (!) writers chosen to pair with a more experienced writer to prepare manuscripts for an agent pitch round in November. Woohoo!!

Pitch Wars celebration is much like it is on Endor ... so many Ewoks!

This post is for those who aren't feeling so cheerful. Like any contest, for all the writers who got in, there are more who did not. 

It's easy to say keep going, or look how many entries there were (1500!) so statically.... or, don't be sad, there's always another contest, another manuscript, etc. It's easy to say all that when it's not your ninth manuscript that's going nowhere. Or if it's not the fifth contest entered that didn't lead to recognition. Easy to say if it isn't you feeling sad.

I've seen writers comment openly on twitter that they want to give up. And like IWSG, the evolving Pitch Wars community is supportive, so many writers are rallying around them with encouragement to keep going, which is great and wonderful.

A few things I want to pose:

  • It's okay to feel sad that you didn't get chosen for a contest (or to be sad about an agent rejection, editor rejection, or negative feedback on manuscript.) Give yourself permission to feel what you do. Don't feel pressure to artificially cheer up if you aren't ready.
  • If you're sad/mad/frustrated, take it offline. Vent to friends you know in real life, or find writers to talk to within a closed community and not a public forum. The Internet is forever.
  • Decide if you do really want to give up. No one can walk this road for you. Publishing is competitive and difficult, even after you get an agent. Even after a book deal. No one can decide if you should keep going except for yourself.
  • Reassess your goals. You can dream big always, but what can you do today to move forward with your writing? It could be reading a writing craft book, joining a writing community for support, or finding critique partners. Maybe it's to take a break and do something else. 
Insecure Writers Group and Pitch Wars are ultimately about writers helping writers. Sometimes we'll be in the position to give support, and other times we need it.

Here's to September being the month of new goals and new opportunities! Please visit a few blogs linked above next to the IWSG photo.

Comments: what are your upcoming writing goals? What opportunities are you looking for? Do you know of a writer community you can share here that might benefit others?