Barrelhouse Television Workshop

For the longest time, when somebody asked me to explain why we started Barrelhouse, I would say something along the lines of this: It seemed to us at the time that most of the people running most of the literary magazines were the kinds of people who, if you ran into them at a party, would proudly exclaim the fact that they did not own a television. We were the other kind of people, the kind who nodded and smiled and then grabbed a bottle of something and slipped out to the fire escape to talk about The Wire, or Beverly Hills 90210, or Jersey Shore. So it's kind of amazing that it's taken us so long to virtually group ourselves into a corner and official talk television on Barrelhouse's dime, and that's what we're going to do here. 

Specifically, we've pulled together a bunch of writers to talk about the ways certain shows might use some of the very same elements and tricks -- "moves," we'll call them -- that we use in fiction. A character spontaneously jerks his steering wheel West instead of back to the safety of his high-paying job? Total fiction move. At the climax of a long first date, one character beckons another to the very ledge of a New York skyscraper? Fiction move. You get the idea. We hope that this will serve as an entertaining and maybe kinda sorta illuminating look at the way we tell stories across media, the way those "fiction moves" work, and why they may or may not work in certain situations. And most importantly, they'll be making themselves feel real good about watching so much television.  

Read our first workshop, Mad Men, "Lost Horizon" (Season 7, Episode 12) here.