1. RibEye
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    RibEye New Member

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    Where to go from here?

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by RibEye, Feb 9, 2016.

    I developed a story which I conceived as a serialized drama, each episode 1 hour long about a young guy from New York who is stranded in L.A. which he doesn't know. He can't face returning to NY and his parents due to his humiliation (which is in the pilot) and his lies so he decides to stay in L.A. for a few days until he can get up the courage to go back home. He ends up staying with a couple who turn out to be drug dealers. They offer him a temporary position distributing which he accepts (because, being a writer, it will make a great story, he thinks). He falls in love with a girl in L.A. and is drawn into the life there.

    I've submitted the pilot to several readers (companies) all of whom either hate it almost completely or at least feel the protagonist is weak and uninteresting. Some like the story idea but each time I make changes to address the issues the next reader hates it more.

    They all say he is weak and unchallenged but, to my thinking, this is the pilot, it sets him up for staying in L.A. where he learns how to grow up, etc.

    What to do? (I know, very open ended question; so apologies for it).
     
  2. ChicagoDave
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    ChicagoDave Member

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    Sounds like he should have been challenged plenty. How did he become stranded? What are these "lies and humiliation"? Was it a difficult decision to get into drug dealing? It would be for me. Has he had a gun stuck in his ribs in a dark alley yet? Or lost a bag of herion while out on a run?
     
  3. Shadowfax
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    Shadowfax Contributing Member Contributor

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    Make it a comedy.

    As drama he comes across as somebody who just goes with the flow. Nowhere to stay? I'll just stay with this couple. They ask me to break the law? Yeah, why not, it'll make a great story. (This is ignoring the fact that only the rare few make enough money out of writing to opt out of the day job. And, as a young guy who's just left Mom and Dad, he's not old enough to have written enough to know he's a writer, so this "plan" is just pie-in-the-sky. Which, again, paints him as a do-nothing-but-dream-about-riches kid)

    As a comedy, make him lovable but accident-prone. A kind of Forrest Gump.
     
  4. RibEye
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    RibEye New Member

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    WOW! Both Shadowfax and ChicagoDave got it totally correct. I see it, but then I don't. I guess I'm so wedded to the story, it just sounded (or sounds) so right. Both readers said something like that, he goes with the flow; he's passive. Uninteresting. One reader was quite harsh in the assessment (which I appreciated; I always appreciate honesty even when it hurts). Comedy is really hard. He became stranded because in the opening scenes of the pilot, his parents found out he is being thrown out of school for non-attendance. He spent the time writing his book. They are working class people. When the reviews come in and they are fantastic, the one thing the parents are concerned about is, will the book sales pay them back? When they realize they won't, they are furious again. But then he gets an offer to go to Hollywood and takes it and everyone sees $$$ so they are thrilled again. He promises to never lie to them, etc. But when he gets to L.A., the "deal" (such as it was) falls through and he just can't face letting them down so he lies. The only people he meets who help him are a couple who, unbeknownst to him (for a brief while) are drug dealers. And when he agrees to help, it's not just on a whim; there are reasons.
     
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2016
  5. ChicagoDave
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    ChicagoDave Member

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    I like it - but I'd make him really struggle with the decision to sell drugs. Reject it strongly at first, maybe end up broke and hungry and on the street for a night, then make a deal that he'll do it just once to get enough money to get out.

    Or not...just spitballing. :)
     
  6. RibEye
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    RibEye New Member

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    That's really an interesting approach. Broke and hungry and still unable to tell his parents the truth. I'll see if that works. THANKS!
     

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