And it can happen to you. But before the hijinks commence …. Why your show? My book is optioned for television. In addition to the pilot script, your situation must have storylines that are sustainable for at least four years. Tell us what happens in episode two.
And then? After that? And bizarre stuff in year three. Guess who dies at the end. Oh wow—I have to watch that show! Gone are the days where Roseanne had thirty-two writers. Hours are long and you might be in the same room with these weirdoes, so as in any job interview you have to be someone they want to spend fourteen hours a day with. Read Variety and Deadline every day. Look, I had no idea what I was doing when I enlisted in the U. Marine Corps. But I reached the rank of Sergeant.
If I can become a U. Marine, you can write for television. I wish everyone success. Television is a good medium for writers to find work. Write your spec scripts, send queries to agents, take an online course from UCLA. Author, television writer, blogger, world traveler, actor, and inveterate bon vivant Greg White is also a former sergeant in the U.
He served six years in the Marines. His book, The Pink Marine , is optioned for television. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed. If it were, imagine the crowd. Still want to write TV? Wait, not so fast. First, watch TV—really watch it. Listen to the characters. Write a script for an existing show. Make it look right. If I have to explain a joke to someone, cut it. But before the hijinks commence … Make your show unique.
Make your show last. You got homework. And never ever ever listen to anyone that says too much TV is bad for you. Greg White. A pre-watershed, sixty-minute single drama? Remember that writing for established formats isn't the same thing as writing to a formula — strong established formats allow for individual expression, but it's hard to be individual when writing to a perceived formula. The shape and tone of your story will relate in many ways to the format and slot.
A Doctors episode tells a self-contained, character-driven guest story while an EastEnders episode normally interweaves multiple storylines - both are continuing series told in thirty-minute episodes, but they are placed at different times in the schedule, and their tone and form is likewise different. TV is easy to turn off or turn over, so open your story as dynamically as you can.
Try to hook the interest of the audience as soon as possible so that they will want to stay tuned and, if there are more episodes to come, will want to keep tuning in. Ask yourself if there's a strong enough sense of character, drama, and story to sustain an audience's engagement. Engaging characters are at the heart of all good drama, no matter how mainstream or unusual your idea may be.
Your characters should be believable, even if they are in an incredible situation. We should be able to empathise and engage with the main characters, even if we don't necessarily like them. It's hard to care about a character that plays a passive role in their own story, so make your central characters as active as possible. There should be all kinds of conflicts and difficulties for your characters to deal with — scripts are rarely interesting if the writer is too easy on or too nice to the characters.
TV is a visual medium. Reveal your characters and their story through the action. Good dialogue should serve the story rather than 'relate' it, so check whether it is awkwardly explanatory and expository "But I thought you said you hated dogs ever since your favourite nephew was attacked by a particularly vicious poodle? All good drama has a meaningful structure. A common problem is that the structure is too episodic - a conflict is introduced but is then either too quickly resolved or never fully resolved.
Another common problem is that the storytelling is too undynamic - in drama things should happen as a consequence of, and not merely after, what has happened before. Another common problem is that of redundant scenes — make sure that every scene moves the story forward.
Format your script as closely to industry standard as you can. We do not penalise writers for imprecise formatting, but presenting your work appropriately suggests a professional approach and an understanding of the medium and format for which you are writing. There are script formatting programs available.
You can also read formatted scripts in our Script Library. The minute-to-a-page measure of classic screenplay format is a useful rule-of-thumb, but isn't a cast iron formula as it ultimately depends on the style of the piece.