Category Archives: About Derivative Works

Derivative Works IV: Taking Back the Culture

In previous Derivative Works pieces, I’ve written about how the stigmas regarding fanfiction are inaccurate, and how derivative works can use a majority-centric work to create a space for a minority. In that last essay, I wrote about how cover songs can ‘queer’ a mainstream song, giving queer voices a way to access a song friendly to them in a landscape that usually isn’t. I’d like to explore, for a moment, how fanfiction does something similar with other works; in this example, television.

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Derivative Works III: Cover Songs and Culture

I originally wrote this article for Generamus Magazine, though I remain unsure if it was printed in their most recent issue, or whether it was slated for the third, upcoming, one. Here, it will work as the third in my series of articles about derivative works, this time discussing how cover songs can stand in where mass culture can’t.

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WRITING/PERSONAL: Building a Portfolio I

So, in amongst the many projects I’m tackling for school and elsewhere, I’ve begun thinking about the breadth of work I’ve done over the past few years, and what would add up to a good, wide-ranged sample of my work. And, of course, what it means to have a portfolio in the first place…

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WRITING/FANDOM: Fan Seasons

Writing is often both fun and purposeful, such as writing a pilot or a spec for my portfolio, or blogging to increase my exposure. But sometimes you just want to work on a project because it’s just fun. Fan seasons, known by many other names by their faithfuls, are such a project. To sum up… what would happen in a season of a television show you love if you were in charge?

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WRITING: Writing Specs II

One of the best practices for writing for TV, I’ve been led to believe, is writing spec scripts. What’s a spec script? It’s a ‘speculative script’, and in the context of the television industry it’s typically a speculative episode of a television series that you’re not affiliated with. Writing one proves that you can take on another person’s format and characters and pull them off flawlessly, and also typically showcases your work in a specific genre. I’ve only written a couple myself, but I’ve read and been told plenty on the subject. So, where do you begin writing one? Read more of this post

Paratexts in TV: Glee and The Walking Dead

I’m currently reading Jonathan Grey‘s Show Sold Seperately, a book exploring the effect of paratexts on, particularly, media productions like television shows and movies. Over the course of the introduction, I was reminded deeply of a number of recent situations I’ve encountered that many of you should be familiar with, which took place after the book’s publication. Below, I’m going to explore (in shallow detail) two recent examples of paratexts and how they effect the text: song previews (as well as a handful of other issues) for Glee and the fan-made credits for The Walking Dead created by Daniel M. Kanemoto. All of this after the jump…

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WRITING: Writing Specs I

Spec scripts are one of the most important forms of writing to an aspiring TV writer trying to get their first job, particularly in Hollywood. These are how one gets agents, and how those agents get you jobs. Not only that, though, they’re immensely fun to write if you’re a fan of the genre you’re tackling.

What’s a spec script? It’s a ‘speculative script’, and in the context of the television industry it’s typically a speculative episode of a television series that you’re not affiliated with. Writing one proves that you can take on another person’s format and characters and pull them off flawlessly, and also typically showcases your work in a specific genre.

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Derivative Works II: Fanfiction vs. Original Works

Did you know that the pieces of writing most aspiring TV scriptwriters use to secure jobs are close cousins to fanfiction?

The TV spec script is a script of a currently-running (or very recently cancelled) show, written by a writer unattached to the show to use as a calling card. This script is offered to literary agents and showrunners as proof that the writer can handle a certain tone, genre and structure. It’s conceived, outlined and written by (typically) a fan of the show, using characters and plots from the official show, typically written so as to slot effortlessly into the series.

In other words, it’s a very specific brand of fanfiction. While not open to public scrutiny, it’s considered a respectable kind of work, which industry professionals read on a regular basis. I’d like to explore a little what divides fanfiction from other ancillary works as well as original pieces, and get to the bottom of why it receives such wide criticism as an area of writing.

What is fanfiction?

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