Posted in Content Creation, Writing

Out of the Pilot’s seat and into the Driver’s seat

This week was the start and finish of two separate episodes for my TV series. I finished my TV pilot, and I am incredibly proud of the finished product. I liked my original draft of the pilot episode, but I knew it was missing a lot. My pilot episode had only 16 pages, which isn’t nearly enough to sell an idea. After reviewing all the feedback I got, I was able to add so much more depth to my script. I even ended up adding a few more characters, to not only the pilot episode, but to the entire series. I got amazing feedback from my friend Matthew, who, luckily for me, is in the same field as I am. His knowledge of TV scripts really helped to bring out the best in the pilot episode. He even gave me a few ideas to enhance my script, which eventually made the pilot episode 26 pages long (which is 10 more than the original draft).

After researching how to write a TV pilot script, I feel as if I’m off to a great start. “You might still get somewhere writing a spec of an existing show. Nowadays, though, it’s more advisable to write a TV pilot based on your own original idea. People want to see not only that you can write to order, but that you have the imagination to come up with original, exciting ideas. And sustain them over the course of a whole season.” (Script Reader Pro). My idea is original, but it has its roots connected to Arthurian legends, as well as a little connection to Game of Thrones. I think that an original idea with connections to what people know, could do very well in today’s media.

Once I the final draft of my pilot episode, it was time to start working on episode one. I realized that when forming my production plan I had creating the storyboard before the treatment, which is a little hard to do. Mapping out a story before the story is created is nearly impossible, so I had to switch the order of how I was doing things. That meant that I was writing the treatment this past week and I’m going to create the storyboard this upcoming week (no big deal).

When I had originally mapped out how all the episodes would go, I didn’t think that my original idea for episode one would make it long enough. Well, that all changed when I started to actually write out the treatment. It seemed as if all the feedback that I had gotten from the pilot episode, helped me form a better treatment for episode one. One of the best pieces of advice that I got from the feedback was, “I think it has potential but you should probably leave more things to mystique.” Which I definitely didn’t do in the original draft. I was able to use that while writing my treatment. I wasn’t so upfront with everything this time and left more for the audience to try and figure out. I’m sure it’ll be easier to showcase the mystique of the episode when I start to write the actual script, but I felt as if knowing that allowed me to add so much more depth to my treatment.

Speaking of depth, one of the major things that I learned this week, is that the depth of your protagonist can make or break your story. Your protagonist can be well-written, but if it’s a typical character, the script won’t make it to the next round. Film Courage had an interview with Carole Kirschner, where she described a script, she read, that didn’t make it to the next round, “The character wasn’t that interesting. It was a female, it was a young woman who was going against what her family wanted, to do this thing in a man’s world. We’ve only seen that…a hundred thousand times,” (Kirschner). The fact that the protagonist was female, kind of scared me, since my protagonist is also female. Finding this out made me really give an in-depth look into Aurora to see if she’s a typical character or if she has layers. “…she [the character] had something that she was passionate about, but it didn’t reveal enough about her, it wasn’t a character. You know, Walter White [Breaking Bad] had layers and layers and layers. This character had a lid” (Kirschner).

Now, I have to admit that part of my backstory for Aurora (my main character) could be considered “typical”. Her parents are murdered (Batman) by demons, but I think the way that everything unfolds for her is not quite typical. As she ages throughout the series, she grows through various different events that I haven’t quite seen before, which adds new layers to her character. It also makes the audience sympathize with and like her.

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