SOME MISCONCEPTIONS - Complications Ensue
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Saturday, August 13, 2005

I hear that NBC is looking for spec series script so I want to try TV writing from film writing. But the screenwriting formatter that I use is for film so now I need something for TV. Your FAQ recommends the Final Draft software but isn't that for feature films? I noticed that your TV spec sheet sample that everything is not centered as in film writing so evidently the format is different from one medium to the other.
A couple of misconceptions here. One, character names are not necessarily centered in feature screenplays. Standard format has character names indented a bit from parentheticals, which are indented a bit from dialog.

Two, except for sitcom format, tv scripts are formatted much the same as feature scripts. There's a page break after each act out, but the margins and spacing are the same.

Three, moving from feature writing to tv writing is a huge endeavor. You have to know at least twice as much to write tv as to write movies. I have a FAQ about this, and a forthcoming book.

Four, "NBC is looking for specs" means they are asking for established writers to send them spec pilots. They are never looking for spec pilots from inexperienced writers. You get into TV by writing spec scripts of established series, but all networks look at represented spec scripts every year, not just NBC. (For that matter, they look at spec pilots from established writers every year, too. I don't know why NBC felt it had to put out the word.) I've blogged on the tv season here and there, and so have other people.


NBC ended up putting out the word about it because they want something ASAP and the September deadline they've imposed on themselves is not usually the time of the year when they're making these kinds of fast-track plans. And it makes for an interesting story because it suggests that NBC isn't enthused about their own fall lineup.

By Blogger Jeff, at 6:16 PM  

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