Where the Hell I’ve Been

You might have been checking out The Experience this week and wondering where the hell I’ve been.  I’ll tell you where the hell I’ve been.


But I promise, it’s all for a very good reason!

Outline and script.

Outline and script.

My writing partner, Adam Hunault, and I have been putting the finishing touches on our second script together as a writing team – a spec script of the show, Elementary – and preparing our application materials for the various network writing fellowships, most of which have deadlines around this time. The NBC Writers on the Verge program had its deadline today, and the WB Writers’ Workshop has its deadline tomorrow. So we spent the first three days finishing up the script, writing our “writer’s statement,” etc, etc. It kinda feels like we’re applying to college all over again. 🙂

But hopefully it’ll all be worth it.

For those of you who don’t know, these network writing fellowships are a way for new writers to be trained by professional TV writers. They’re super-competitive programs of varying lengths where you spend time writing scripts, meeting industry professionals, and being prepared to be able to take on a TV writing job. They don’t guarantee you a job, but many people who graduate from these programs are staffed, and that’s always the goal.

When I say they’re competitive, I mean that they get thousands of applications a year and only take, like, 12-20 people each.


So CLEARLY we’re gonna have these programs fighting over us, right? I mean, clearly.

Anyway, our entry for NBC Writers on the Verge…



And our entry into the WB Writers’ Workshop….



We’re currently getting together our materials for the Disney/ABC Writing Program, which has its deadline in two weeks. Wish us luck! 🙂


When I heard this version of “That’s Life” this weekend on Saturday’s episode of Smash, I felt an instant connection to it. First, it describes exactly how I’ve been feeling for the past couple of months, and secondly, Megan Hilty and Katharine McPhee sing it exactly the way I feel it, if that makes sense. I love the soul they each put into the song.

I love Smash and, as unlikely as it is, I really hope it gets a third season as I’d love to see “Bombshell” and “Hit List” go head-to-head at the Tonys. 🙂

Anyway, today’s Song of of the Day is the Smash Cast version of “That’s Life,” sung by Megan Hilty and Katharine McPhee.


Al Día Post: “Shakira comes to ‘The Voice,’ but has she lost her own?”

Shakira comes to The Voice in March.

Shakira comes to The Voice in March.

Wow! For the first time ever, something I’ve written for Al Día has been printed in English! Which is great, as I think it might appeal to all Shakira fans, whether they speak Spanish or not! Check out my latest column!


I love Shakira. Especially her Spanish-language music. I was thrilled when I heard that she, along with Usher, would be joining The Voice as a judge (http://insidetv.ew.com/2012/09/17/the-voice-usher-shakira/) this year! I’ve loved her since Dónde están los ladrones? I was just starting college when I bought that album, and I was amazed by her lyrics as well as by the fact that a Colombian rock star existed, which I’d never thought to expect. I’ll admit it, growing up Nuyorican I was surprisingly sheltered when it came to Spanish-language culture. I watched novelas, Sabado Gigante, and Cristina with my mom. I knew of Olga Tanon, and Selena, and Thalia…but that was about it. I figured all of Latino culture could be neatly divided into Salsa, Merengue, Mariachi, and Son. And sometimes there was crossover pop music. Sometimes.

And then there was Shakira, who was not only a Latina Alanis Morrisette (I was really into Alanis in high school and college, so this was a good thing), but one-upped her and everyone else I was listening to with her poetic, substantive lyrics. She was not only a rock star, she was smart and had something to say. She was beautiful, but you always felt that she would beat the crap out of you rather than allow you to underestimate her as just another hot, female musician. I loved her, because she is intelligent and singular and brave; because she seemed to want to challenge expectations.

I was listening to the radio the other day (yes, the actual radio. My iPod has that function and I use it. For my feelings about radio, click here) and Shakira’s “Rabiosa” came on. As I listened, it occurred to me  that Shakira’s been man-crazy lately. After all, she’s rabiosa. Sometimes men make her Loca with desire. Her Hips Don’t Lie and do all her talking for her, and when it’s really bad, she turns into a Loba.

I don’t know how I feel about all this.

To read the full article, or to comment on the post, CLICK HERE!

Al Día REDUX: La-la-la-laaaaaa Llorona

Heh. It just occurred to me to think of the title “La Llorona” to the melody of the Knack song. 🙂

Anyway, here is the English version of my original Grimm piece over at Al Día. Enjoy!

Bitsie Tulloch as Juliette Silverton in "La Llorona"

Bitsie Tulloch as Juliette Silverton in “La Llorona”

Grimm Broadens Its Horizons to Latin America and Beyond

If you’re a fan of fairy tales, or police procedurals, you should be watching NBC’s Grimm, a police procedural that incorporates myths and fairy tales. David Giuntoli stars as Portland police detective Nick Burckhardt, a cop who is also a Grimm. In this world, a “Grimm” is someone with the power to see fairy tale creatures when they don’t want to be seen, and he uses this gift to solve some of the more strange cases that come to the precinct. The show seamlessly blends the fairy tale elements with the elements of cop drama, and in its second season is an even stronger show. The ensemble cast is uniformly talented, the stories – generally modern takes on fairy tales – are well-executed, and in its second season Grimm is finally embracing the global feel it hinted at in Season One, in part, because of the diversity of its cast and crew, and the producers wanting to bring those diverse experiences into the show more fully.

Grimm has always layered in elements and fairy tales that go beyond the Germanic stories we’re all used to, incorporating tales from Japanese, Native American, and Greek traditions, among others. In Season Two, not only are the stories being pulled from global sources, but the world of the show is expanding as we learn that the world of Grimms and Wesen (the fairy tale creatures) extends well beyond Portland, Oregon.

Halloween provided a treat for Latino audiences this year when Grimm presented their episode, “La Llorona,” based on the famous Latin American tale of the same name. Nick and Hank investigate the mysterious disappearance of a Mexican boy after his father insists to the police that the boy was led away by a mysterious woman in white. The woman is then responsible for the disappearance of a little girl, and the detectives race to track her down before she takes another child. Nick and Hank are joined by a detective from New Mexico named Valentina Espinosa, played by Mexican actress, Kate del Castillo, who helps them track down the woman, and helps reveal her true nature and the supernatural reason behind the children’s disappearances.

The episode is a welcome respite from the usual both in tone and content. It’s refreshing, for example, that the episode begins with a father and son speaking to each other entirely in Spanish, and there are no subtitles used, forcing the audience (whether Spanish-speaking or not) to immerse themselves, not only in the supernatural world, but in a world (and culture) in which they might not immerse themselves otherwise.

The writers got to immerse themselves as well. Akela Cooper, the writer of “La Llorona,” while she’d vaguely heard of the story, she didn’t really know the legend’s darker details. “I was assigned the Halloween episode which turned out to be the ‘La Llorona’ episode,” she says. “I was vaguely familiar with it. I knew it by the “Woman in White” ghost story, but I didn’t know the backstory of the weeping woman or the part about her drowning children.  It was actually fun to research because it gave me a lot to take from the various versions of the story, but still keep the emotional core intact.”

A scene from "La Llorona"

A scene from “La Llorona”

“La Llorona” was actually created in partnership with Telemundo, and Cooper praises NBC’s efforts toward diversity saying, “NBC is very big on bringing diversity into television both on-screen and behind the cameras, and they’ve worked with various coalitions on how to do that with respect to cultures.  Though I don’t know specifics, I know NBC wanted to do a Latino-themed Grimm episode in Season Two that would be simulcast with Telemundo, and “La Llorona” provided a great Halloween episode so it worked out perfectly.”

“La Llorona” also prominently features Bitsie Tulloch, who plays Nick’s girlfriend, Juliette, and is experiencing a very interesting storyline this season involving magical, selective amnesia and having inexplicable feelings of love for Nick’s boss while not being able to remember Nick at all. Tulloch was able to exercise her fluent Spanish as Juliette assists Nick in his investigation by translating for the family of the missing boy. Juliette’s childhood mirrors Tulloch’s own in that they both grew up in Spain and Latin America.

Tulloch is thrilled that Grimm’s producers bring the actors’ own cultures, languages, and experiences into the stories they tell. “David Greenwalt and Jim Kouf have been remarkably, amazingly generous with the cast,” she explains. “Sasha [Roiz, Grimm’s Captain Renard] for example, speaks Russian, because his parents are Russian, and a little bit of French having grown up in Montreal, and they wrote that into it. It’s one of the things I’m really proud of – that the cast is very ethnically diverse and multilingual. Reggie Lee [Grimm’s Sargent Wu] speaks fluent Tagalog. He’s Filipino. I speak Spanish because I grew up overseas in Spain, Uruguay and Argentina. And so when they decided to do “La Llorona” they thought What a wonderful way to sort of have this episode that’s incorporating the fact that Bitsie can actually speak Spanish and we’re doing what is basically a South American/Central American and Southwestern United States fairytale.”

And yes, Tulloch was familiar with “La Llorona” before tackling it on Grimm, having been told the story by her Spanish mother.

The plan for Grimm is for it to continue to tell stories from all over the world since that is one of the reasons it does so well internationally. In fact, Tulloch reports that Grimm’s producers “mentioned saying to Reggie [Lee], like, can you think of any Filipino or Chinese or other Asian fairytales that you were told as a child? So that might happen down the road.” Meanwhile, Cooper confirms that “we love expanding beyond just the German fairy tales so most definitely in the future we’ll do more fairy tales from other countries.”

And as for a return to Latino characters and stories, there’s the mysterious figure of Pilar, the missing boy’s grandmother, who seems to have insight into magic and Juliette’s condition. Will she return? Cooper says, “Though I cannot make promises, the return of Pilar has come up in discussions. If we can make it work story-wise we’d love to.”

Insightful Latinas solving problems? Stories with an international scope? Hot actors and frightening monsters? Grimm is a show I can get behind. The show is currently on mid-season hiatus, but will return in 2013, giving you some time to catch up. You’ll be glad you did.

Al Día Post: “Llorona, llévame al río”

I realized that I hadn’t posted my second Al Día post, and since we’re going to be suffering a Grimm drought until MARCH (*sigh*), I figured now would be as good a time as any to do that!

Kate del Castillo, Russell Hornsby, and David Giuntoli in the "La Llorona" episode of Grimm

Kate del Castillo, Russell Hornsby, and David Giuntoli in the “La Llorona” episode of Grimm

The piece was about the Halloween episode of Grimm called “La Llorona,” based on the Latin American legend of the same name. I not only discuss the episode, but also the multicultural aspects of Grimm in general, and how the show has increased its global scope between Season 1 and Season 2. It incorporates interviews I did with Bitsie Tulloch, who plays Juliette, and Akela Cooper, the writer of the “La Llorona” episode.


[“Grimm”] combina a perfección elementos de fábula con elementos del drama policial, y en su segunda temporada se ha convertido en un espectáculo poderoso. El elenco es uniformemente talentoso, las historias —en general, relatos modernos basados en cuentos de hadas— están bien realizadas, y en su segunda temporada, “Grimm” está, por fin, abarcando la sensibilidad global que se insinuaba en la primera temporada. Esto es en parte debido a la diversidad del reparto y del equipo de producción, pero también porque los productores quieren resaltar diversas experiencias culturales.

“Grimm” siempre ha usado elementos que no se encuentran en los cuentos de hadas de origen alemán que se acostumbran oir y ver en EE.UU., y el programa ha incorporado el folclor japonés, indígena estadounidense, y griego en sus guiones. En la segunda temporada, no simplemente son las historias que se extienden a fuentes mundiales, sino la trama del relato en sí: Aprendemos que los “Grimms” y “Wesen” (así se llaman las criaturas de leyenda que conviven con los protagonistas del programa) se encuentran en todos lados, no sólo en la ciudad de Portland.

En Halloween de este año el episodio de “Grimm” fue un regalo para el público latino porque se basó en el famoso cuento latinoamericano de “La Llorona”. Nick y su compañero de detectives, Hank, investigan la misteriosa desaparición de un niño mexicano después de que su padre le insiste a la policía que al niño se lo llevó de la orilla del río una misteriosa mujer vestida de blanco. La misma mujer es responsable por la desaparición de una niña, y los detectives se apresuran para seguir su rastro antes de que ella rapte a un tercer menor. Una detective de Nuevo México, Valentina Espinosa, protagonizada por la actriz mexicana Kate del Castillo, se une a la investigación de Nick y Hank y les ayuda a localizar a la mujer, a revelar su verdadera naturaleza mítica y la razón detrás de las desapariciones.

Para leer el examen completo, o a dejar un comentario, haga CLIC AQUÍ.

Also, the piece didn’t only post on the web. It was also included in the La Cultura section of the print edition of Al Día dated Nov 25-Dec 1st, where it looks rather more awesome! 🙂 Check it out below! And keep your eyes peeled for the English version of the article coming up as an Al Día REDUX post!

Grimm La Llorona article – Nov 25-Dec 1

Grimm La Llorona article pg 2 – Nov 25-Dec 1

Tor Post: “Bad Teeth, Mommy Issues, and Royal Kisses: Grimm Season 2”

Grimm is back! YAAAAAAAY!

What isn’t back are my weekly Tor.com reviews. Grimm coverage is going to be handled a little differently over there from here on out, and a little less frequently, but you can check out my write-up on the two-part season two opener of Grimm now! And I just might be keeping up my weekly reviews here at The Experience, so stay tuned…


Full disclosure: I have a thing about memory loss. With Alzheimer’s in my family, memory loss is one of the scariest things in the world to me, and when we get that glimpse in “Bad Teeth” of Juliette losing Nick in her memory, it was more frightening to me than any monster they could come up with. Having Juliette wake up and not know Nick nearly tore my heart out, and this will be one of the more interesting storylines on the show to me now. I’m interested in seeing how Juliette will change while undergoing this experience, and I’m looking forward to seeing how Nick now handles balancing his relationship with Juliette and his life as a Grimm now that he’s literally been given a blank slate with which to start over. He’d better do things right the second time around, because he screwed up the first time.

For the full review, or to comment on the post, CLICK HERE!

Tor Post: Grimm Special – “Big Feet”

SEASON FINALES ARE UPON US! Once Upon a Time‘s season finale aired on Sunday, and Grimm‘s is TONIGHT (I’ll be live-tweeting on the #grimmlive hashtag during the West Coast broadcast). Up now at Tor.com is my last Grimm Special before my coverage of both season finales next week. Check out my review of “Big Feet.”


The story not only provided a suspenseful, edge-of-your-seat plot, but gave Monroe, usually a fan favorite because of the comic relief he provides, more substance than he usually gets, which was really refreshing. Not since “The Three Bad Wolves” have we gotten to see something truly resonate with Monroe personally, and it was great to see his helpfulness on the case in this instance be less about wanting to help Nick and more about wanting to resolve things after a friend’s death hits too close to home. The issues of choice and identity that this case brought up for Monroe were beautifully explored, and fed nicely into Nick’s issues with his own identity that are starting to come to a head with those he cares about most.

For the full review, or to leave a comment at the post, CLICK HERE!