coming up for air...

You may have noticed that I haven't posted in a while... okay, in a LONG while... ;-)

I've been doing my best to keep up with everything, and my apologies to those of you who keep checking here only to find the same old information. I don't suppose it will help to say that I'm just now coming back up for air after an intense (and challenging) couple of writing months? Or that my brain has been fried? Or that the dog ate my homework? Okay, okay, ya got me: I don't have a dog.

So here's what happened... at the end of July, we got notes. Notes are a usual thing you get whenever you turn in a draft of anything, be it the overall arc for the season, an episode beat sheet, a script, or the lovely little haiku you composed about global warming (note to self: network execs are way too busy to fully appreciate the glory of first-draft haikus on global warming). In a perfect world, the notes get less significant - and there are less of them - the more drafts of something you do and the farther along you are in the process. So, for example, the first draft of a beat sheet may (and probably will) get you significant notes that cause significant story and/or scene changes... by the time you write the first draft of the script, the notes are typically not story-changing but are focused more on character, story clarity, tone, etc... and then by the time you've done several drafts of a script, the notes are mainly dialogue polishes. Sounds perfectly do-able, right? Aaah, I can almost hear the birds chirping in my happy writing wonderland...

Except that we don't live in a perfect world...

In an imperfect world, all the execs are doing their absolute best to get us notes as quickly as possible - but sometimes things get in the way. Usually, those things are not a huge deal. For example, maybe you turn in a draft of a beat sheet but one of the execs who needs to give notes is on set for another show, or is traveling, or is buried under piles of paper in their office waiting for Search & Rescue to come save them. It would be nifty if you, the writer, could simply kick back with a margarita and your TV remote and just relax in your barcalounger until that executive is able to give his or her notes... but with preproduction deadlines looming and eight scripts to write, you don't have that luxury. So, you forge ahead with all the notes you do have - and then incorporate the new notes from the recently-rescued executive once you get them. See: Not a huge deal.

Except then there are times when the imperfect world is experiencing a full moon and mercury is in retrograde and toilets start flushing the opposite way and the hot water tap delivers cold water and some of the key executives have been - for reasons completely beyond anyone's control - unable to weigh in on any of the documents you've turned in until you're months into the project, with several scripts in progress, and the rest of the beat sheets in development. And then you get their notes... and the notes are significant enough that you have to go back to square one on your scripts... and on your beat sheets... all the way back to the characters' loglines in some cases... with only a month to go before the start of preproduction... and that's when you take a moment with your blankie, and you cry...

So, that was the world I marched into at the end of July. I'll be honest, it's been pretty stressful. No margaritas in my barcalounger... lots of coffee (yes, with vanilla creamer)... and a lot of missed sleep... The good news is that the overall arc of the season didn't change - meaning, where each of the characters starts the season and ends the season is exactly the same - but the paths they take to get there... their individual storylines that make up each episode... much of that was out the window.

But let me also say this: If this situation isn't exactly ideal for the writers, it's definitely not ideal for the executives either. Because when the writers have to go back to the drawing board on the first scripts of the season, the same preproduction deadlines are still looming... and the execs are waiting... and then all of a sudden the writer's fast and furious pace causes the executives (who, as you may remember, were just barely found by Search & Rescue) to be buried under a whole new pile of scripts and beat sheets and first drafts and rewrites... and then we need their notes to be able to continue moving forward... And did I mention this isn't the only show they're working on?

So now you're probably thinking to yourself: Yikes! It sounds horrible! The season must be a mess! Michelle must be in an asylum wearing one of those scary-looking white jackets! The executives must be bald from pulling their hair out! What will happen to Jen? What will happen to Sam? Will Chris and Kris ever stop dressing alike? And Crutch? And Emmy? What will happen to the 5-foot tall beaver mascot at the Beever Cafe? And...???

Never fear, friends... Things are actually in good shape - and getting better every day. Billy and I have been keeping an insane work pace, churning out new scripts and beat sheets at a speed that even makes our heads spin. The network pushed our start date by 2 weeks, which means that preproduction officially started yesterday (instead of two weeks ago), giving us that much more time with the scripts. And the changes we've made to the stories and scripts have been really, really good... For as challenging as the last few months have been, I'm grateful to have had the opportunity to have made all these changes because the season will be all the better for it. Not that what we were doing before July 30 wasn't good. It was. We loved the stories we were working with. But hindsight is 20/20, as they say, and I think being forced to go back over everything with a different eye has really helped us pull everything into focus (wow - a lot of optometric analogies there!).

Anyhow, so that's where we are now... and where I am now. The production offices are up and running. Key crew members are starting their work. Episode 201 is being distributed around the office later this morning. Casting for recurring characters is underway. I'm already starting to wear my EP hat for production questions/concerns. And everyone is excited to get going. Including me.

Of course, there's still A LOT to do on this end before I can relax with that margarita... one more first draft needs to be written, a lot of rewriting needs to happen, and I haven't even thought about packing yet! But it's coming together... and getting a little easier with each passing day... and now that you've read the rough stuff, I'll share with you a very funny story of something that happened to me at my absolute low point in all this. It's very Jen-esque...

But you'll have to wait for the next post for that story... because if I keep typing, I won't have any typing-energy left for episode 208 later this morning... and I have writing to do!

More soon - I promise!


another vlog going up soon - and a quick update

I'm about to leave for my work day, but thought I'd let you all know that a new vlog (#3) will go up on the afterellen site probably within the next day or so... also, I'm currently uploading vlog #2 to youtube now that it's been archived on afterellen.

Doing the vlogs is a blast for me, and I hope you're enjoying them. The new installment is all about the writing process and what phases we actually go through from ideas to scripts over the course of a season.

For those of you who are unable to see the vlogs, here's the update as to where season 2 stands as of today:
SCRIPTS: the network has several scripts in various stages (first and second drafts) that they're currently reviewing
BEAT SHEETS: the network has two beat sheets that they're reviewing, and we're going to send them two more today (these are all second, third, and fourth drafts)
STORYLINES; all the basic storylines are set... we all know where each of the characters is going this season; now, with the remaining beat sheets, we're just finding the specifics of the characters' journeys

That's about it from this end... now, one more chug of coffee (with vanilla creamer, of course!) and I'm off!!

Until next time...



Just a quick post to share the exciting news that I've posted my very first youtube videos! (yes, I've joined the technology revolution a wee bit late... but thanks to my Mac, now I can actually do things like that)

If you haven't seen my youtube page, click here.

I'm going to be posting my "Exes & Ohs" behind-the-scenes-of-season-2 video blogs on youtube every few weeks. These are the same vlogs that I'm doing for AfterEllen, so I'll put them on youtube once they are archived on the AE site.

Hope you enjoy!


type, type, type

Every time I realize that I haven't posted in a while, I think "oh, it's only been a week or so..." And then I look at the actual date of my last post and am shocked and horrified to realize that it's been closer to a month. Yikes! I have to get back on the regular posting bandwagon! As soon as I'm done with this update, I'll put a post-it note on my desktop to remind me.

In my defense, I've been doing stuff. Ya know, writing season 2, filming vlogs for afterellen, appearing in commercials for psoriasis medication and mood enhancers... that kind of stuff. ;-) The vlogs you can see for yourself by clicking here. As for the writing, it couldn't be going better!!! Billy and I spend all day every day working through the stories, the beat sheets, the scripts... doing revision after revision... and every revision just gets better. It's definitely not a fast or easy process (in fact, my most recent vlog was all about the brain-sucking few days I had recently), but it is the process and I'm really proud of how everything is turning out. I obviously can't tell you anything specific about the stories - but I will say that if you were a fan of season 1, you'll love season 2 just as much... and probably even more!

The thing I can be specific about is what my schedule is like these days (it's riveting - try not to yawn): I'm usually at my computer early in the morning getting a jump on the day; then Billy and I meet up either in our Logo office or in our office-away-from-the-office by 10am, where we talk story and type, type, type our way through breakfast and lunch, then we leave at about 6 or 7pm, at which point I go home and catch up on whatever I missed during the day of typing. It's a very do-able schedule right now, and I'm enjoying it immensely because once pre-production starts up it's going to get incredibly busy... as you know if you followed this blog during season 1 (and as you'll discover if you follow me through season 2).

As for what it means when I say that I "type, type, type"... well, the best way to explain that is to tell you what I've done in the past week. Let's see... last Friday, I sent three scripts off to the network (one was a new draft; the other two were second drafts). Monday, yesterday, and today were spent talking through and revising two beat sheets (a "beat sheet" is basically a detailed outline of the story, and from the beat sheet you write the script). I sent those two beat sheets off this evening, so tomorrow and Friday will be spent talking through and revising two more beat sheets. I'm hoping they'll be ready to send off by Friday evening - but if not then, then they'll certainly be ready for Monday. Once they're in the network's hands, then it's time to get started writing a first draft of another script.

There's always a cycle of writing/rewriting on this end and reviewing/noting on the network's end. We'll keep re-working the beat sheets until they're solid and approved by the network; then we use the final beat sheets to write drafts of the scripts, which we keep re-working until they, too, are solid and approved. But I should add that saying a particular script is "done" doesn't mean it won't change again... it's more of an ongoing process until the day you shoot the material. There are always little tweaks that need to be made due to production-related issues (for example, if a scene is supposed to take place in a submarine but you can't actually get a submarine for the shoot, so you have to set the scene somewhere else). Once you've shot it, then the story changes again in editing... but that's a whole other post...

As for the season 2 writing schedule, we're on track to have all the scripts written and in solid shape before we head up to Vancouver (which is good because it would be impossible for me to write scripts and act in the show at the same time!). I'm really having a blast doing this... in case you couldn't already tell. :-)

Let's see, what else can I tell you? Well, I'm still addicted to vanilla coffee creamer... I'm beyond thrilled to be back working on another season... and I appreciate your patience with how infrequently I've been posting. But I just stopped typing to put the post-it on my desktop, so hopefully I'll remember to do this more often!

Until next time...


season 2 is well underway...

Not much to report these days because almost all of my time is focused writing season 2 of "Exes & Ohs." It's going really, REALLY well... I couldn't be more excited about the storylines, the directions the characters are going, and how it's all coming together. I know it's a long wait between seasons - but I promise you it will be worth it!

You might notice that I said "almost all my time" is spent on XO season 2... I have been working on a few other things on the side (but don't worry, they haven't time away from my work on the show). The most exciting thing is that I've brought my video blog back to AfterEllen! The first installment should be up this week. I'm planning to do a couple of vblogs every month so you can watch the making of XO season 2 as it's actually happening. I'll take you into the writing room, up to Vancouver for pre-production, onto set for production, into the editing room for post, and then all the way through to the premiere and beyond. It's going to be a blast!!!

In other insanely exciting news, I was selected as one of Go Magazine's "100 Women We Love." HOW COOL IS THAT?!? If you want to check out the article, it's available online... just click here. A huge thank you to the folks at Go Mag for including me in that amazing list...

And last, but certainly not least, one of my most recent commercials is now on the air. If you want to check it out, you can also see it online by clicking here. My Barclay's Bank and Comcast commercials should be on the air soon, if they aren't already.

Time to get back to writing! More very soon...


season 1 DVD update (if you're having trouble ordering)

I've heard that some of you are having difficulties ordering the DVD through LOGO, possibly due to stocking issues on their end (which is annoying for you, I'm sure - but isn't completely a bad thing, because it means lots of people are buying their "Exes & Ohs!").

If you're unable to order through Logo, please try through Amazon. They seem to have plenty in stock.

Happy watching!


SEASON 2!!!!!!

It's official!!! We were picked up for a second season of "Exes & Ohs"...




Below is a copy of the official press release that just went out... If you want to see the special "message" video, click here.

I'm so excited, I can't even tell you... It's such a privilege to get to do this show, and the fact that the network and the viewers want us to come back for another season is a tremendous compliment.

To all of you who have supported this show, all I can say is: THANK YOU.

Thank you for watching on tv, thank you for downloading the episodes, thank you for taking the time to contact Logo and Showcase with your feedback, thank you for emailing them to ask for a second season, and - especially - thank you for your kind thoughts and words of support throughout this process. I'm looking forward to posting about what goes on in the making of a show's second season (and yes, I'm sure it will involve epic amounts of coffee and vanilla creamer). And more than anything, I'm looking forward to delivering a kick-ass season 2 that you will all enjoy.

Again, thank you.


Greenlight news comes on heels of release of Exes and Ohs: The Complete First Season DVD

New York, NY – May 21, 2008 – Through a special video message posted by Exes and Ohs stars Michelle Paradise and Marnie Alton at Logo’s AfterEllen.com, Logo today announced the greenlight of season two of Exes and Ohs, the first-ever scripted comedy about lesbian friends and relationships for a basic cable channel. The eight-episode, half-hour scripted series – based on the short film The Ten Rules: A Lesbian Survival Guide – will premiere in early 2009.

The announcement, made by series creator and star Michelle Paradise and co-star Marnie Alton, is now available for viewing at AfterEllen.com, the nation’s top-ranked lesbian-themed website, which helped propel Exes and Ohs’ first season success through video blogs about the show and a powerful community of fans who shared in the show’s experience. The news was announced on the heels of the availability of Exes and Ohs: The Complete First Season DVD at retail stores and at the shop at LOGOonline.com.

Exes and Ohs follows the adventures of Jennifer (Michelle Paradise), a documentary filmmaker and her search for Ms. Right, telling the story of lesbian survival in life and love in Seattle, WA. Jennifer tries to keep up with the high-drama dating world, fulfill her creative ambitions, avoid the danger of professional and romantic complacency and embrace the “rules” of lesbian life, love and community.

Jennifer is surrounded by a group of close and diverse friends: Sam (Marnie Alton), was Jennifer's first love but is now her fun-loving, commitment-phobic ex-girlfriend; long-time partners in love and business Chris (Megan Cavanagh) and Kris (Angela Featherstone) are trying to run a home-based pet accessory enterprise while overrun by pets with whom they’re too in love to give up for adoption.

Exes and Ohs will air on Logo's 24/7 television channel and significant features will be available at AfterEllen.com, home of the exclusive Exes and Ohs video blog and the largest and only community of Exes and Ohs fans. Exes and Ohs Executive Producers are Michelle Paradise, Lee Friedlander, Billy Grundfest and Blueprint Productions (Noreen Halpern & John Morayniss).

- MORE -


Logo is the world’s leading ad-supported cable, satellite, online, mobile and digital entertainment network for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) audience, from MTV Networks, a unit of Viacom (NYSE: VIA, VIA.B). Launched in 2005, Logo’s cable channel is in more than 33 million homes across the United States and is complemented by a federation of online properties, including LOGOonline.com, AfterEllen.com, AfterElton.com, 365gay.com, DowneLink.com and NewNowNext.com. Logo’s content is distributed across all leading download-to-own, streaming and mobile services. The most influential brand for the most influential audience, Logo provides a mix of original and acquired entertainment as well as news, social networking and community building that are authentic, smart, fun, entertaining, and inclusive. Logo joins MTV Networks' roster of popular and highly targeted brands which include MTV, Comedy Central, VH1 and Spike TV.


MTV Networks, a unit of Viacom (NYSE: VIA, VIA.B), is one of the world’s leading creators of programming and content across all media platforms. MTV Networks, with more than 130 channels worldwide, owns and operates the following television programming services – MTV: MUSIC TELEVISION, MTV2, VH1, mtvU, NICKELODEON, NICK at NITE, COMEDY CENTRAL, TV LAND, SPIKE TV, CMT, NOGGIN, VH1 CLASSIC, LOGO, MTVN INTERNATIONAL and THE DIGITAL SUITE FROM MTV NETWORKS, a package of 13 digital services, with all of these networks trademarks of MTV Networks. MTV Networks connects with its audiences through its robust consumer products businesses and its more than 100 interactive properties worldwide, including GameTrailers.com, IFILM, Neopets, Xfire, Y2M, and online, broadband, wireless and interactive television services. MTV Networks also has licensing agreements, joint ventures, and syndication deals whereby all of its programming services can be seen worldwide.


Steven Fisher
Logo Communications and Public Affairs

Ashok Sinha
Logo Communications and Public Affairs