I try to keep this blog confined to the subject of screenwriting, but today, I'm going to do something different. I'm going to promote someone who really doesn't need promoting.
The gentleman in question is Chuck Lorre, the writer, producer and creator of numerous situation comedies; my first love in the industry. If you aren't familiar with Mr. Lorre's name, you will certainly be aware of his track record. He is the creator of such shows as "Dharma and Gregg," "Two and a Half Men," "Mom" and "The Big Bang Theory," among a host of other credits. In the world of situation comedy, Mr. Lorre is a show-runners show-runner.
At the end of his currently airing shows "Mom" and "The Big Bang Theory," Mr. Lorre leaves us a gift, called a "vanity card." The object of a vanity card is much the same as that of a blog, in that it serves to express opinions, thoughts or observations about pretty much anything. In Mr. Lorre's case, it might be industry related, personal or political. It runs from a single line of text to several paragraphs. It is sometimes insightful, sometimes ironic but always humorous.
Before I go on, a word of warning. On the political front, Mr. Lorre leans left, so if you're conservative in your politics, you may be rankled by some of his statements. His first vanity card following the election of Donald Trump consisted of one word:
He is never offensive or mean-spirited, but he is not afraid to tell you how he feels. That's what vanity cards are for.
Finding this little Easter egg can be a challenge. It arrives when the show is over. I mean over, after the last frame has faded from the screen, and you're expecting a commercial to pop up, which it will, almost instantly. Before it does, though, Mr. Lorre's vanity card "blips" on the screen for less than a second.
You can only access the vanity card if you have a DVR and can find just the right second to freeze the frame. If you manage, though, you'll likely be rewarded with a smile.
There is an index of past vanity cards, hundreds of them, on his production company website: http://www.chucklorre.com/index.php so this isn't really a big secret. Still, they don't advertise it, either, so I'm sure many people don't know about it. I consider it a rare gem and felt the need to pay it forward.
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A professional screenwriter for more than thirty years, Robert Gosnell has produced credits in feature films, network television, syndicated television, basic cable and pay cable, and is a member of the Writers Guild of America, West and the Writers Guild of Canada.
Robert began his career writing situation comedy as a staff writer for the ABC series Baby Makes Five. As a freelance writer, he wrote episodes for Too Close for Comfort and the TBS comedies Safe at Home andRocky Road. In cable, he has scripted numerous projects for the Disney Channel, including Just Perfect, a Disney Channel movie featuring Jennie Garth. In 1998, he wrote the Showtime original movie, Escape from Wildcat Canyon, which starred Dennis Weaver and won the national "Parents Choice Award." Robert's feature credits include the Chuck Norris/Louis Gosset Jr. film Firewalker, an uncredited rewrite on the motion picture Number One With A Bullet starring Robert Carradine and Billy Dee Williams, and the sale of his original screenplay Kick And Kick Back to Cannon Films. Robert was also selected as a judge for the 1990 Cable Ace awards, in the Comedy Special category.
In 1990, Robert left Hollywood for Denver, where he became active in the local independent film community. His screenplay Tiger Street was produced by the Pagoda Group of Denver and premiered on Showtime Extreme in August of 2003. In 1999, Denver’s Inferno Films produced the action film Dragon and the Hawk from his script. In 2001, Robert co-wrote the screenplay for the independent feature Siren for Las Vegas company Stage Left Productions. His feature script Juncture was produced by Front Range Films in March of 2006.
Robert is a principal member of the Denver production company "Conspiracy Films." He is frequently an invited speaker for local writers organizations, served on the faculty of the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers Conference in 2002, and in 2007 was chosen to participate as a panelist for the Aspen Film Festival Short Screenplay Contest. Robert regularly presents his screenwriting class "The Elements of Screenplay," along with advanced classes and workshops, in the Denver area.