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  1. deadrats

    deadrats Contributor Contributor

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    forumla for a TV pilot

    Discussion in 'Scripts' started by deadrats, Feb 19, 2019.

    I've been working on a tv pilot, sort of toying around with an idea. Now, I don't usually outline, but I've found it very hard to just wing it with this. I recently drafted a loose outline to keep things on track. I know I only have 30 to 60 pages tops and with script writing that seems to go pretty fast. Also, writing for tv seems to have more of a formula than other than other writing. I'm wondering if anyone knows a good place that sort of breaks down the formula. I want to make sure my scenes are not too short or too long. And I would like to have around the average compared to other pilots. If you know of a good resource for this, please share. I'm curious to see how I do following an outline with this format. It actually seems easier than I thought. I'm sure I'm wrong and it's not that easy. Thanks in advance for any tips or links.
     
  2. EBohio

    EBohio Banned

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    From: http://www.movieoutline.com/articles/television-script-format.html

    The time breakdown works like this:

    Teaser: 2-4 pages
    Act One: 14-15 pages
    Act Two: 14-15 Pages
    Act Three: 14-15 Pages
    Act Four: 14-15 Pages
    Tag: 1-2 Pages
    Total: 59 to 66 pages
     
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  3. deadrats

    deadrats Contributor Contributor

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    Thank you so much. This is perfect and is exactly the sort of thing I was looking for. I came across similar things, but I like the one you linked better. I can follow this. I think it will work. It's interesting that I feel a need to develop my outline a bit more given that I really never outline my writing before I start. I guess this will be both an exercise in outlining and script writing for me. This is my writing project for the week. I don't really want to take to much longer than that because what I really want is to get a feel for the form and format.

    Do you have experience with this form of writing? Any tips or things to watch out for? Is it harder than it looks? It must be. I've attempted scripts before, but everything has always come out off balance. It's interesting because with a script it seems all about the story. With novels and other writing, the writing seems to count for more. I'm somewhat treating this as sort of a color-by-numbers approach. I've got my idea and an outline, but, to me, it seems like a completely different creative process. And one I've failed at with past attempts.
     
  4. EBohio

    EBohio Banned

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    I have written 8 screenplays.

    3 contests that I placed either 1st or second.

    3 options. One came so close to being produced I almost sold the house and moved to Hollywood.

    Maybe you can call these tips:

    1. The difference between scriptwriting and novels/short stories is that you don't get in the characters head so you reveal "character" by dialogue and action.

    2. There's no drama without conflict. Must have clear protagonist with motivation and obstacles.

    3. "Show don't tell" very important in scriptwriting. Even though dialogue will be important to move the story and reveal character, write it as if you're watching the movie/tv show with the volume turned to off. You should still be able to tell what is happening. Too much exposition and prose is a turn-off, keep it visual.

    4. If you don't have an agent then enter contests. It gets you read. And you'll be noticed if you place 1st or second.

    Since you are writing for tv, if it is not for a contest then good luck getting it read without an agent. If you do try to sell a pilot you must have a series bible completed at least, especially if you haven't written other episodes.

    If you write an episode for a particular tv show you have in mind, you must NOT submit it to the production company or producers of that show. They'll accuse you of stealing their ideas before you can get a chance to say they stole your idea. You submit it to the producers or production company of another tv show. You'll be demonstrating that you know the genere and have the skills. If they like it they may hire you on option or to be a staff writer. They will not touch the script you submitted.

    I'm personally trying to write something to enter in the Rod Serling Night Gallery/Twillight Zone competition.
     
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  5. EBohio

    EBohio Banned

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    I just noticed in the article I linked to that she said if you are a newbie DON'T write a pilot.
    But if you insist I would go the contest route. You can also use a series bible as kind of an outline. The series bible is an art form of it's own and can be harder to write than any of the scripts. But if you're into it they can be fun.
     
  6. deadrats

    deadrats Contributor Contributor

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    Thanks for the advice, @EBohio. I sort of just want to see if I can do it. I've seen some contests and such, but I've never been able to even finish a script to submit in time. I'm giving it a try. We'll see if anything comes of it or if I can even pull it off. I don't think I could ever write a series bible. That would drive me crazy. But I was reading about pilots and what goes into them and figured it was manageable given the length and such.
     
  7. John Calligan

    John Calligan Contributor Contributor

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