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‘Glee’ Cast Raises Money for Budding Screenwriters at Young Storytellers Annual Benefit

Cory Monteith, Jayma Mays, Dot Marie Jones and Harry Shum Jr. turn out for the fundraiser for the charity, which was founded by “Glee” co-creator Brad Falchuk.

What happens when The Simpsons meet Star Wars and the actors from Glee perform it? Well, a bundle of cash gets raised for Hollywood-favored charity Young Storytellers.

On Saturday night, the organization — which connects mentors in the industry with schoolchildren to help them write short scripts — held its annual “The Biggest Show” benefit at Santa Monica’s Crossroads School for Arts & Sciences.

Four kids were chosen from around 700 students who took part in the program over the past year, and such actors as Raven-Symone, Diary of a Wimpy Kid’s Devon Stock and Glee’s Dot Marie Jones, Cory Monteith, Harry Shum Jr. and Jayma Mays did cold readings-performances of the material. Among the highlights was a script by 12-year-old Noam Greenfield from L.A.’s Canfield Elementary.

“Noam’s script was a mash-up of Star Wars and The Simpsons. You had characters like Bart Skywalker and Darth Homer,” says Abram Makowka, writer-director of the 2010’s Tug, who mentored Greenfield last year. “We do encourage the kids to come up with something wholly originally and not to riff of their favorite show or movie. but this was so beyond his years that we just let him run with it. It’s called The Simpire.”

The Young Storytellers runs program in about 30 Title 1 schools, which are schools with a very high percentage of free or reduced-price breakfast and lunch program participants, a poverty indicator. Ten students per semester are paired with industry professionals, who they meet with for an hour a week for seven weeks. At the end of each session, actors come to the school to perform what’s called “The Big Show.”

The group can thank Glee co-creator Brad Falchuk for getting cast members to attend the penultimate “Biggest Show.” He co-founded Young Storytellers with Burn Notice exec producer Mikkel Bondesen and screenwriter Andrew Barrett.

“For a lot of these kids in the program, either English is a second language, or they don’t have a lot of opportunity to be seen and heard, whether it be by their teachers or peers,” says Falchuk. “Oftentimes, they are seen as troublemakers or don’t do that well in school or seen as kids who don’t have much to offer. Through writing the screenplay, they gain self-esteem. Sometimes it doesn’t come together until they show up at ‘The Big Show’ and suddenly there are these famous actors doing a reading of their play and it’s really good. Suddenly everyone sees them differently.”

Adds Makowka: “It’s exceptional for building their self-confidence and for teaching them that they each have a voice.”

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The TV Chick Interviews Brad Falchuck

My favorite TV blogger, The TV Chick, had the incredible chance to interview Brad Falchuck at Comic Con this year!  Check out part of Alix’s interview below and click the read more link to see the rest!

Glee returns tomorrow night and despite what many may have thought of as a very up and down second season (I agree to an extent with this sentiment), I am very excited for it to be back. I am happy the show has gotten a full writing staff and I look forward to seeing what is next for the New Directions crew. And I am definitely needing some new Glee covers on my iPod! I recently had the chance to talk to Brad Falchuk (Executive Producer) at Comic Con, about what his goals are for this coming season, the new writing staff and what’s going to happen with the characters that are graduating.

What are your goals this season?
Big picture, my goal is really to make it the best season we’ve ever done. And I think we’re doing that through really focusing on the stories in a very specific way which is really building these story engines to drive us through three or four episodes at a time. So the goal is to really use those, to really get deeper into the characters, to really figure out a little more about them. Give it the urgency of what happens when a bunch of people graduate.

How carefully do you want to use guest stars and doing occasional theme episodes?
The idea is that this year, we came up with some amazing engines, so many of them. Frankly, the first nine or ten episodes, there’s no room for any big guest stars. Maybe a guest star, I shouldn’t say never. But there’s no real room for theme episodes because there’s so much story going on. So I don’t think there’s as much of as a balance as when do we need that in terms of storytelling — to find the time when that’s appropriate.

How has the dynamic changed now that you have a writing staff? Are we going to see more story-focused episodes?
It’s our job to drive what the show is and decide what is the tone of the show and what the stories are the show are. So what a writing staff provides is fresh, new ideas to help what determine what we think is a good idea. So when we’re stuck with something, they come in and they help us solve the problem. What it’s allowing us to do is more of what we want to do because you have all these great brains out there to really help us.

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Q&A With Brad Falchuck

Deadline has a great article out with a Q&A with Glee’s own Brad Falchuck.

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Brad Falchuk had quite a summer. While working on two shows at once as the co-creator of Glee and FX’s forthcoming American Horror Story, he found himself recently disputing reports of Glee stars Lea Michele, Chris Colfer, and Cory Monteith leaving the series after Season 3. Despite the fan backlash and gripes online about the quality of its sophomore season, Glee still snared a dozen Primetime Emmy nominations, including for Outstanding Comedy Series. Falchuk spoke with Deadline TV Contributor Ray Richmond:

DEADLINE: Glee has been whacked hard on the Internet. What do you think fueled the backlash?
BRAD FALCHUK: I have to say it really just goes with the territory. What I can tell you is that we worked 7 days a week all season. We just worked our asses off. And I’m really proud of what we did. I make no apologies for it. When you have 3 creators who are so directly involved with every story and every word as Ryan Murphy, Ian Brennan, and I were, what you wind up with onscreen is going to be different each year depending on where we are creatively. So it was what it was, and we’re all very proud of it. When you’re on top like we were from the start, you make yourselves a very big target. But in terms of the storytelling, how the episodes played out, the talent, the choreography, I make no apologies for it.

DEADLINE: Did you hang around chatrooms gauging the feedback from the fans and the critics?
FALCHUK: The only feedback I read was on Twitter, and that felt mixed. I don’t read blogs or go to chatrooms, because that’s just asking for it. I’m a big baseball fan, and I liken this to being involved in a ballgame. If I’m a manager who won a lot of games and I get a lot of crap for taking out a pitcher who’s won a lot of games, and then my reliever implodes, I realize I’m going to hear a lot of flak. But going into the chatroom reading how awful I am as a manager isn’t going to help me. It’s the same in this situation with my show. So I try to avoid it.

DEADLINE: Does any of that Twitter feedback help you in any way?
FALCHUK: Well, we’ve never actually used anything we’ve seen there to generate an actual storyline. But it’s helped us to figure out directions for characters to go in. In a way, none of us ever leave the high school mindset. And at the same time, everything that happens in high school is exaggerated. Every romance is Romeo and Juliet. And even the slightest shunning feels like you’ve been booted out of town. So I think it’s those feelings we hit on that have resonated and felt somehow real to fans. Somehow we’ve been able with Glee to cut the noise and touch people. We’ve not only entertained people but made a big effort to have them feel something.

DEADLINE: What are you doing differently in Season 3 to cut down on the negative fan reaction?
FALCHUK: Not really all that much, honestly. It’s hard to look back and say that creatively we should have made this choice or that choice. You always want more time. Maybe a few weeks extra here and there would have made a difference. But I truly believe that the season coming up is going to be our best, in that we’re figuring out how best to do this show better all the time. But our mandate is still to be great with every episode, and having the incredibly talented people around us that we do has helped a lot.

DEADLINE: Jane Lynch is hosting the Emmys. And Glee has another 12 nominations, including for Outstanding Comedy Series.
FALCHUK: Poor Jane. We give the woman pages and pages of monologues to learn with little time. She comes in, nails it, is hilarious, and never complains. She’s a superstar. Emmys are a wonderful honor. We don’t expect this stuff, so hopefully we’ll never take it for granted. It’s a tribute to how hard everyone works on this show, including our crew who are so incredibly good with our makeup and costumes.

DEADLINE: Now you’re working on two hour-long shows at once with American Horror Story.
FALCHUK: We’re writing both shows. I wasn’t sure what it would be like to have to switch gears so dramatically day after day. But we also did Glee and Nip/Tuck at the same time for a while, too. What’s interesting is the shift between Glee and Horror Story isn’t that radical in terms of the part of the brain we use. At the end of the day, it’s all just storytelling and making choices.

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Pictures from Comic-Con

Comic-Con Video Mega Post

I’ll update this as more stuff comes in, so keep checking back!

Press Line Interviews

GLEE AT COMIC-CON PANEL

(huge thank you to firegaze21 on YouTube!)

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Comic-Con 2011: ‘Glee’s’ Brad Falchuk (Q&A)

The co-creator of Fox’s musical hit says convention attendees are “the people you want to give the really good stuff to.”

With hundreds of thousands of people attending San Diego Comic-Con every year and the July 20-24 event quickly approaching, The Hollywood Reporter chatted with the big names in television to discuss their favorite memories and tips for attending the annual event. THR’s Live Feed will talk Comic-Con with actors, writers and producers in the days leading up to the event so check back soon for interviews and the latest news on panels and screenings.

Brad Falchuk
Geek Cred: Glee
Upcoming: FX’s American Horror Story
Comic-Con panel: Glee, Sunday, July 24, 10 a.m. Hall H

THR: Ahead of your first Comic-Con, what have you heard about the event?
Falchuk:
I hear it’s a complete mob scene — in a good way; that it attracts the people that are most passionate about whatever they’re going there to see. It’s a safe passion.

THR: What’s the purpose of Comic-Con for you and Glee fans?
Falchuk:
To provide fans with something special; for something like Glee, come in with footage that’s never been seen before. There’s a commerce quality to it as well in that these are the people who spread the word online; these are people that people trust. These are the people you want to give the really good stuff to. Comic-Con is mutually beneficial; we’re like sharks and remoras.

THR: What does the hype about American Horror Story mean to you?
Falchuk:
There’s a track record that people say [Ryan Murphy and I] put out very interesting and unusual material, so you know it’s going to be something you’ve probably never seen on television before. In any medium the thirst for something really fresh and different is why I think there’s been excitement about AHS. I also think that the horror genre is something people are intrigued by. There’s also the P.T. Barnum of it all in that nobody knows what it is. Don’t show them the shark or it’s less scary.

THR: How much pressure is on you to deliver?
Falchuk:
You can’t not feel it. Ryan and I try and make it what we think is good and then there’s very little you can do about how people are going to respond. You can’t make someone like it but you can hopefully get them, with the right sales pitch, to try it.

THR: What more can you tell us about the top-secret project?
Falchuk:
We started in the writers’ room soon, but you’re not going to get anything out of me.

THR: If you were involved in any other show what show would it be?
Falchuk: I love Curb Your Enthusiasm and South Park; South Park is probably my favorite.

THR: Any genres you’d like to do?
Falchuk:
I’d love to do historical drama, like a period piece. That’s always been something I’ve been really interested in. I’m a big history buff, so any World War I movie or some neat Renaissance or medieval thing would be cool.

THR: For television or film?
Falchuk:
There’s no difference anymore; it’s all about production values. The reason you couldn’t do a great medieval drama on TV was because you couldn’t get the production values, but now they’re doing it. They’re not doing Lord of the Rings with epic special effects, but you can get pretty close. Shows like Rome or Deadwood were able to get production values, so it’s where you can tell the best story. So it would be wherever I had the freedom to tell the stories I wanted to.

THR: How will Glee’s third season build upon Season 2?
Falchuk:
We’re really focusing a lot more on larger story arcs and less about romantic relationships and more on character relationships, outside forces pushing inward on the Glee club. We’re more interested in larger arcs that we did in Season 1.

THR: What did you learn from Seasons 1 and 2 that you plan on applying?
Falchuk:
Last season we spent a lot of time on relationships, with people dating other people and next season we want to spend a little more time on letting the stories play out. Some said there was a little too much music, so we might pull back on the music a bit. But in general, we love these characters and we want to spend more time with them and find more ways to explore different parts of them. We want to keep making it appointment TV that you don’t want to TiVo.

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‘Glee’: Co-creator/exec producer Brad Falchuk Discusses Tuesday’s Finale and What’s in Store for Season 3

Glee’s season 2 finale was highly crtisized and the majority of people in the entertainment world did NOT like the end of Glee’s sophomore year.  Just take a look here, here, and here (to name a few).  But then read below and see what Brad Falchuk has to say about it all.

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SPOILER ALERT: IF YOU HAVEN’T WATCHED GLEE‘s SEASON 2 FINALE, WHICH AIRED LAST NIGHT, STOP READING……… By now, most of you Gleeks know that New Directions didn’t even place in the top ten at Nationals. On the bright side, Finnchel is back together, Quinn got a jaunty new haircut, Kurt and Blaine both said, “I love you,” and Sam and Mercedes are now a couple! “Samcedes?” “Mersam?” That’s gonna be a tough one to combine into a catchy nickname. EW talked exclusively with Glee co-creator/executive producer Brad Falchuk about the New York City-set finale as well as what’s in store for season 3.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Did you always think New Directions would lose?
BRAD FALCHUK: Yeah. They’re not ready yet. I think there’s something about them winning that deflates things oddly. We knew what was going to happen. It’s not even that they lost but they didn’t even make that top 10. That’s how unprepared they were. That’s how unfocused they were. I kinda liked that. To me, if they make it to the top 10 after they’re so clearly not focused, they’re clearly not invested because they all have other things going on — it would have been a little disingenuous.

Why are Sam and Mercedes hiding their relationship?
We’re gonna have to wait and discover that. They have their reasons. That was something that was born out of the prom episode. We felt the chemistry there.

Quinn seemed so over the Finn break-up by the end of the show. Was that an act?
It was all in her hair, man. It really was. All the bad juju was in her hair and she cut it all off and everything got better. It wasn’t that she got over it all but I think she’s just grown up. Every culture has a ritual like that where you make some sort of physical change and it transforms you inside too.

It seemed like you were planting seeds of Sunshine Corazon returning to McKinley?
Unsure yet. We have some big plans for next year. It’s not worth getting into them because who knows? When we talk in September, everything I say will be different anyway. Don’t even bother. It’s a waste of time. That’s how we work. We have ideas and then we also wanna leave some room for a little discovery.

There was a lot of talk in the finale about graduating and going to New York. Does that mean this is the last season of Rachel, Finn, Kurt, etc.?
Oh, we’ll get into all that later.

Would you ever think of doing a spin-off with Rachel, Kurt, Blaine and Finn living in New York?
I don’t know. Like I said, I am basking in the glow of finishing. Talking about starting is way too soon.

But you all at least have a plan for the issue of most of the characters graduating?
Yes, we have plans definitely. This is not a willy nilly thing. We have plans for stuff and it’s gonna all be great.

It seemed like a lot of people were hoping Santana was going to come out of the closet. Was there any thought of that?
No. When we (co-creators Ryan Murphy and Ian Brennan) talked about doing that story and about her really being gay, it was a big conversation because it’s a big deal. She’s a major character. We knew we were going to get some blowback, frankly. I think we’re all very progressive but the reality is a lot of the country isn’t as progressive yet. But we wanted to take the risk because it was a group of people that weren’t truly identified on the show. We were so respectful on the Kurt story and really have focused so much on that and the character and making the sure the struggle of a gay teen in Ohio was looked at. We wanted to do the same as this one. We knew it was going to take some time. We didn’t wanna rush it. We didn’t have the time to really tell that story. I’m not gonna just have her come out in the last scene of the episode. That’s a big deal. We dedicated two episodes to Kurt coming out and then it went on. We want to give it some time so we’re giving it some time and we’re going to get into it next season.

What did you wanna say to fans who watched the finale?
The episode’s first cut was 20 minutes long so we had to cut it down to really make it work. That episode was really about these kids and seeing them really out of their league and putting them in a big city and really wanting to get that Rachel/Finn thing going. I think a lot of people were let down by like, What happened to Will and Emma? What happened to Brittany and Santana? What happened to Quinn? There was a Will and Emma scene but we had to cut it for time. The Will and Emma people can rest assured that they’re both single now and he’s helped her get better. There will definitely be some hot action there.

You can’t please everyone.
No. But I wanted people to understand that it wasn’t like we forgot everyone: the story of the episode was the Rachel and Finn story. That was the driving story. It was about learning like, Look, you wanna win so badly that you wanna be a Broadway figure so badly that you’ll turn your back on everything. Then the moment you decide not to, you lose the championship because of it. You don’t make the top 10 because you decided to kiss instead. At the end of the day, even Rachel, who was so determined at winning, is good with it. And Kurt is good with it. Everyone understands that being together is more important than anything else.

I heard that you all are hiring new writers. So it will be more than just you, Ryan and Ian?
Yep. We’ll have an actual television writing staff like other places do. We’re trying to get a lot of quirky people and interesting people and people that are not what you’d expect. I think it’s gonna help us to get some fresh voices. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still our show.

So when will you start breaking stories for season 3? Have you even thought about that?
Oh, absolutely. We start at the end of June.

Can you give any kind of tease for season 3?
If  I could, I would. Just know that we have some really great, big ideas. I am under the opinion it will be the best season.

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Meet the ‘Freaks’ of Ryan Murphy’s Top-Secret Horror Story Pilot: Who Would You Cast?

I wonder if this will take off…

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Though we still may not know what exactly Glee co-creators Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk’s American Horror Story is about, we at least are beginning to find out who’ll be in the FX thriller. From the latest intel making the rounds, I can reveal that among the characters are:

Ben Harmon | Though as sensitive as a woman, this 40ish therapist is also a man’s man. (Paging Stargate: SG-1’s Ben Browder… )

Vivien Harmon | Ben’s gorgeous wife, she is a force to be reckoned with in spite of her vulnerable demeanor. (The breakdown suggests a young Susan Sarandon; I suggest Buffy alum Juliet “Drusilla” Landau.)

Violet | The Harmons’ 16-year-old daughter is a goth with more issues than a Borders magazine rack.

Tate Langdon | This 17-year-old is as dangerous as he is seductive. And not “Glee’s Puck dangerous,” either; we’re talking “Charles Manson dangerous.”

I’ve got goosebumps already. How about you? Any guesses as to what the show will actually be about — or how long it’ll be before Rob Zombie passes through as a musical guest? Sound off below!

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Brad Speaks Out

There has been some major damage control since the “news” of Justin Bieber broke.  Looks like Brad jumped on that train too…

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Brad Falchuk says some people have jumped the gun on the planned Justin Bieber episode of “Glee.”

And he should know.

As an executive producer and creator of the hugely popular Tuesday FOX show — along with Ryan Murphy and Ian Brennan — Falchuk was in from the start on talks about incorporating the teen star’s music into an upcoming episode.

“It was so crazy over the weekend,” Falchuk tells Zap2it. “We’re not doing a Bieber tribute episode. It was never the idea to do a Bieber tribute episode. We went in and broke this story about Sam’s (Chord Overstreet) relationship with Quinn (Dianna Agron). He’s trying to juice that up and impress her, and he decides to sing to her … because that’s what people do on ‘Glee.’

“In his way of seeing the world, and his hair, Sam decides to do a Bieber song … and that’s really the extent of it. A lot of the other guys are sort of impressed by that, so they want to get involved. And that’s it.

“We do stuff like that all the time, for many different artists,” Falchuk adds, “but if you’re a reporter and you put ‘Glee’ and ‘Bieber’ in your story, you’re going to get a lot of traffic. I think people got a little ahead of themselves. By the time the episode airs, this will have died down, but I think we’ve earned a certain level of trust with the audience that we’re not going to sell out just yet.”

While production continues on the post-Super Bowl “Glee” episode to air Sunday, Feb. 6, Falchuk also is looking forward to the two-show return appearance by Gwyneth Paltrow — also singing on movie screens now in “Country Strong” — as teacher Holly Holliday later this season.

“We fell in love with that character as we wrote it and as she did what she did with it,” he says, “and it’s obviously easy to love her. She’s incredible, and she and Matt [Morrison] had great chemistry. Our original intention was for those characters to have a relationship, but we couldn’t really make it work unless it was in sequential episodes.

“If you watch that first episode, that’s obviously being cultivated, so it’s perfect that she was available for more. It’s a gift.”

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The 3 Glees

It saddens me that I am beginning to agree with this article…

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Glee has become one of the most immensely charming shows in recent memory. It has, however, also become one of the most schizophrenic.

What started as an exciting story of teenage angst, underdogs and lots of ill-timed singing and dancing has now transformed into a much larger multimedia beast.

It would be interesting to see how someone who only watched the clever pilot episode over a year ago would react to the recent Britney Spears episode. Aside from Will Schuester, Sue Sylvester and Rachel Berry (minus 20 or so pounds and 5 or so inches of hair), I’d imagine he or she would recognize very little of it.

This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Not all shows are required to honor the themes and tones of their pilots, and many fare better by deviating anyway.

Glee has changed even while maintaining some of its underdog swagger. But the change of tone on Glee is so fast and so furious that it’s hard to orient one’s self before each episode.

In a recent review of the show, The A.V. Club’s Todd VanDerWerff coined the term “the 3 Glees.” This refers to the fact that Glee is run by three head writers, all with equal narrative power: Ryan Murphy (the show’s actual creator), Ian Brennan and Brad Falchuk. Instead of operating in unison, each writer seems to have a different idea of exactly what the show is.

Brennan’s Glee is the quieter, more introspective dark comedy about broken dreams in small-town Ohio. Murphy’s Glee is the stylized musical behemoth and Falchuk’s Glee is a combination of

the two.

The effect is rather dizzying, and because of it, Glee has become television’s version of Russian Roulette, with two chambers holding bullets, two holding nothing and two containing glitter. There really is no consistency to Glee from week-to-week. Even this season has seen a three-week span of episodes about drug-induced Britney Spears hallucinations, religious tension in small-town America and typical high school self-esteem issues.

Despite the inconsistencies, Glee remains an entirely watchable show, if not necessarily a great one. And even if Glee weren’t entertaining it would still probably be critic-proof.

Something that can generate so much money through iTunes and other ancillary means just has to be a hit. Also, it’s not like fans of musicals on television have any other show to turn to.

For full enjoyment, however, viewers can’t expect a life-changing experience every Tuesday night. Or expect anything else at all, for

that matter.

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