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Media Carnivores

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Media Carnivores are Erik Hanberg and Brent Hartinger, two media entrepreneurs who consume and digest all manner of media and media-related news (with a special emphasis on television, movies, and books). We also give an ongoing account of our own efforts as professional creators of entertainment media. Books, movies, television, or video games, it's all fair game to a media carnivore. THE HOSTS BRENT HARTINGER is the award-winning, best-selling author of many novels, eight of them traditionally published (by major publishers like HarperCollins), and four of them self-published. One of his novels, Geography Club, has been adapted into a feature film co-starring Scott Bakula, and he currently has two other movie projects in very active development. He's also the co-founder of the website AfterElton.com, which was sold to Viacom/MTV in 2006 in a multi-million dollar deal. Visit or contact Brent at brenthartinger.com ERIK HANBERG is the author of four novels (three mysteries and a science fiction adventure) and two nonprofit guidebooks. In addition to his writing, he runs a boutique marketing company with his wife and is an elected official in Tacoma, Washington. He blogs regularly at erikhanberg.com




What’s Up With Our Writing? – Episode 088

We haven’t checked in about our own writing and publishing. Brent talks about the possibility of a new Geography Club TV show and what it was like to be nominated for an Edgar Award for...

Duration: 00:25:57

What Does Stephen King Have That We Don’t? – Episode 087

Writers exist on a sort of continuum: the best selling phenomenons at the top, and then a long tail of writers of various success as you go lower and lower on the continuum. What truly...

Duration: 00:29:17

What Is The Otto Digmore Difference? – Episode 086

This special bonus episode of Media Carnivores is about Brent’s new book, The Otto Digmore Difference. Otto is a recurring character from the Russel Middlebrook series (he appears in both the original series and the...

Duration: 00:22:11

What Do Movies Get Right (And Wrong) About Love? – Episode 085

Movies can make us fall in love all over again. But they also can show us terribly inaccurate stories about love. Brent and Erik talk about movie love stories—the good, the bad, and the fantasy. Brent and...

Duration: 00:41:36

Does The Lord of the Rings Hold Up? – Episode 084

The Lord of the Rings was an important moment in recent cinema: the scope of its filmmaking and audacity in filming three movies at once, the elevation of the fantasy genre, its pioneering special effects,...

Duration: 00:34:47

Should Movies And TV Be ‘Politically Correct?’ – Episode 083

“Political correctness” is an unfortunately-named shorthand description for how we talk about gender, race, privilege, and more. As it applies to stories like movies and TV, questions can arise about how certain tropes, characters, or stereotypes...

Duration: 01:01:10

How Is Technology And Science Portrayed in Movies and on TV? – Episode 082

How technology and science are portrayed in movies and TV is always changing. Science fiction writers have dealt with this for years, but what about non-science fiction stories. How are these things treated in stories...

Duration: 00:39:55

Why Do We Spend So Much Time Watching Food? – Episode 081

Food is everywhere in movies, TV, and books. Why does the camera linger so much on a grilled cheese sandwich in the movie Chef? Why do meals create such good drama? In preparation for Thanksgiving, Brent...

Why Do Alien Invasions Make For Good Movies? – Episode 080

In this episode, Brent and Erik talk about alien invasions—when are the aliens the monsters and when are we the monsters? We cover the fear alien invasions inspire, and the deeper issues about how aliens can force us to...

Duration: 00:31:51

What Are The Best Movies And TV Shows About Politics? – Episode 079

In this episode, Brent and Erik talk about how politics and power are portrayed in movies and TVs. How are US politics portrayed? How does Game of Thrones speak to our modern politics? We also talk...

Duration: 00:40:53

Would You Rather Be a Bestselling Hack Or A Critical Darling Who Never Sells? – Episode 078

In this episode, Brent and Erik talk about the choices writers face as they consider their future career. “Would you rather be a bestselling hack or a critical darling who never sells?” How writers approach...

Duration: 00:29:20

Is One Great Thing The Secret to Success? – Episode 077

In this episode, Brent offers up a theory about how to write something that will be successful over the long run: either write something perfect or write something with just one great thing that outweighs any...

Was Summer 2016 Different? – Episode 076

Summer 2016 felt a little different, especially when it came to movies. Sequels bombed, and Netflix killed it with Stranger Things. So did something change? Was Summer 2016 a tipping point somehow? Brent and Erik discuss the summer. We also check in about writing and publishing. Erik talks about setting up a pen name for his mysteries and Brent talks about the first month of publication for Three Truths and a Lie, published last month by Simon & Schuster and how it differs from the...

What Is Three Truths and a Lie? – Episode 074

We're talking about Brent's new book, Three Truths and a Lie, published August 2, 2016, by Simon and Schuster. The YA/psychological thriller/horror is a new direction for Brent. Four teenagers go for a weekend vacation to a remote cabin in the forest. They play a game called "three truths and a lie" and discover things about each other they may not have wanted to know. In the podcast, we talk about the book, his other work, and the world of traditional publishing. Your Hosts Brent...

Has Fandom Gone Too Far? – Episode 073

Fandom brings artists and storytellers the opportunity to create art for a waiting and eager audience. Fans can be brought in to give feedback early, which helps both the fans and the creator. But sometimes fans can go too far. Their affection for a movie or a TV show can translate into extreme behavior (racist tweetstorms, death threats, and other targeted campaigns) when they don't like a certain project or a direction of a story. We delve into the positive and negative of fandoms and...

Is Spielberg America’s Best Director? – Episode 072

It is easy to say that Steven Spielberg is the most successful American director. Just look at the box office of the movies he's directed. But is he the best? That's a much trickier question. Brent and Erik look into this quintessentially American director's thirty films as a director and weigh the evidence. We also check in about writing and publishing. Erik talks about a mysterious order of his books and Brent shares why he calls himself the Editor Slayer. (If you want to skip the...

Why Do We Love Scary Movies – Episode 071

What is it about humanity that makes us enjoy watching scary movies? Why do we pay to go into a dark movie theater and watch terrible things? Brent and Erik delve into horror films and look at why this genre is so powerful and how it's changed over the years. Your Hosts Brent Hartinger Erik Hanberg Links Mentioned This Episode Media Carnivores Patreon Campaign Media Consumed This Episode The Omen (film, 1976) The Thing (film, 1982) Saw (film series) Paranormal Activity (film series)...

Is Shawshank The Best Movie Ever? – Episode 070

Since 2008, The Shawshank Redemption has been at the top of the IMDb Top 250 Films. It is a fixture on cable television. It is one of the most commonly cited "favorite films." Why is this? Why has a film remained so popular for 22 years? We delve in with the obvious question: Is Shawshank the best movie ever? We also check in about our own writing, publishing, and the ins and outs of our careers. Brent talks about his music video and how it's inspired him to create a short film, and Erik...

What Are Some Good Beach Reads? – Episode 069

It's summertime, and that means it's the season for avacation to the beach (or the pool). We love reading on vacation—a good read that can just suck you in for hours at a time in a way that is hard to do during a work week. Brent and Erik share some of their favorite "beach reads" so you know what to pack (or to download to your Kindle). We also check in about our own writing and publishing. Erik shares his experience interviewing a retired labor nurse for his book and Brent talks about...

What’s The Deal With Twist Endings? – Episode 068

We are continuing our two-part format for our episodes! First,Brent and Erikcheck-in about writing and publishing.Brent shares his experience selling a script to a film producer in China and Erikasks whether he's confusing readers by writing too many genres under the same name. Our second half covers the main topic of the day, which is about twist endings.Why does Brent think that allgood stories have twist endings?And why does Erik think twist endings are frequently overrated. We delve in...
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