Shelley and I spent much of yesterday walking and talking, and sitting and talking and (inevitably) drinking and talking at our new show, which we're tentatively callling Untitled George Clooney Project
. Talking at the question: what is this show? Who's the lead? Who's his antagonist? Who's his rival? His love interest? Who's the wide-eyed innocent? Who's the Judas? What other character slots do we need to fill? How do we twist the characters so they're not the usual suspects?
We haven't completely answered the biggest question, which is the most important question in series TV: what happens every week? We have story territories, of course. The field we're setting our show in is largely unexposed and rich. But TV audiences like two things: fresh stories, and consistency. The B stories can be soapy and serial. But how do we define what kinds of A stories we'll be telling -- episodic stories, which have to become urgent and critical over the course of a forty minute story, and then resolve neatly -- and, almost as important, how do we define which ones we won't be telling.
Sounds like another day of walking and talking...
Jeez, how'd that spam get through?
Yes, Alex, these are the issues that will make or break a great tv show. Ultimately, I find the simple solution (ha!, did I really mean that?) Okay, the best "orchestrated" solution, is if the situational reality and the emotional reality of your story have the most conflict. For example: situational reality: Single man (george clooney say) is a writer who's a bit of a chauvanist, out of work, can't get hired, then he gets a job. Thing is, he gets a job at a woman's magazine. Emotional reality: Selfish lazy thinker forced to think in new ways. Okay, it's not a brilliant example - but it shows the orchestration I'm talking about and you know there will be conflict every week. Starting with orchestration of conflict, for me, always yields the best results. Talking a bit about this in terms of structure on my site right now. Best, Phil.
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