I'm editing the last chapter of Crafty TV Writing
today. I'm wondering how far to go. The previous chapters take you from how to watch TV (yep!) through how to manage a writing room. The last chapter is about creating your own show.
Now that's a bit arrogant, since I've only co-created one show on the air, though I have been commissioned to write sundry bibles and such, and I've optioned some pitches and spec pilots. But someone has to go there. And David E. Kelley wasn't available for an interview.
I'm debating how far to go, though. Just cover the "spec pilot" that you write as a sample, with the off chance it'll actually get bought? Cover actually doing a bible, not that everyone does a bible? (In Canada we do bibles, you might say, religiously.) How much depth? How helpful is it to the beginning or intermediate TV writer to know what's going through someone's head as they're trying to create a show?
You guys are my readership, so you tell me.
Labels: spec pilots
All the way!
You've created exactly one more show than I have, so any advice is welcome.
I finished the first book last night and have begun recommending it to other writers I know.
Yes, go there, just be honest about your experience. If you can wrestle an interview with a showrunner or creator, that would be great.
But if not, your insight would be valuable for a young writer to understand the motives behind a showrunner's decisions.
The more detail the better. Think of those details as "signposts" for people to judge their own work.
Cover it all, including the bible and spec pilot, pitching to prodcos, everything. I didn't have that info when I first decided to create my own show (I didn't even know how to write a script at the time) and I was terribly overwhelmed those first few years. I made some huge mistakes and took too much advice from other beginning screenwriters who, themselves, had only written a script or two and had never even pitched anything to a prodco or network exec in their lives.
Now, almost a decade after the show idea first struck me, I'm being courted by various prodcos and networks, and contacted on an almost daily basis by writers, actors and below the line talent who want a job on my series when it finally sells and goes into production.
Where were you when I needed you back in 1996, Alex? :-)
I read your screenwriting book and enjoyed it. I have never even considered writing for television, as I hardly watch it, but I'd buy your book as a place to start.
To answer your question, I'd love it if your book had everything. From the spec all the way to running the show.
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