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Tuesday, May 31, 2005

I like writing for episodic shows. I'm not big on stand-alones. So say I'm writing a spec for "Lost". Now that the season finale's come and gone, how much do I invent? For instance, should I go ahead and assume Charlie's back on the heroin? Some things you can get around discussing at all, but I worry about how my spec will go over when the show comes back on the air. Will my spec be useless if the things I've guessed about are addressed on the show?
The good news is, now is a good time to write a new spec. In a few weeks people will have recovered from staffing season. That's the time to hit them for representation. There's just not that much for TV agents to do in July and August, compared to late Fall and Winter.

If I were writing a Lost spec, I would write a stand-alone episode in the middle of the last season that focused on a character we know but don't know that well. The storyline would be tangential to the big what's-in-the-hatch uberplot. It would be an episode that could fit anywhere in the back 9 of last season.

The danger of basing an episode on Charlie being back on the smack is, by the time your spec is set to go out, the writers might have taken an entirely different direction. And then your ep is wack. You can't write a second season Lost ep without knowing what they're going to do with the show and its characters.

Sorry 'bout that.

By the way, an "episodic" show is a show full of stand-alone episodes. As contrasted with a linear show, aka a "soap." 24 is utterly linear. Lost is semi linear, semi episodic. Law & Order is highly episodic.


For LOST could you get away with writting an episode involving one of the "extras" (aka the other 30 survivors that have just been in the background)... but only as long as the character's story ends at the end of your script?

I.E. Instead of creating new backstories of an existing character thru the flashback tool-which has been in every single episode, create a new one episode character that is central to your stand alone episode. Along with this you'de have B and C storylines involving the main characters.

This seems like it would fit better with how the show works...every episode reveals new info about a given character thru flashbacks...and at the same time not being to "creative" with the main characters on the show. ex. Writting an episode where it turns out Locke is the real Sawyer,or gay, or Boone's dad etc etc etc.

LOST is one of my favorite shows and seems to allow for a huge amount of creativity in writing a spec, but it also seems the most confusing when it comes the to certain guidelines I always hear about writing specs for a show.

By Anonymous Bryan G., at 3:32 AM  

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