Sometimes You Don't Need a CritiqueComplications Ensue
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Friday, October 24, 2014

I want to send one of my stories (6 page of containing outline, show summary, story headlines, characters directions and derivations, show themes that lead the entire series ) a "Tv concept idea" contest in L.A. 

I get some script consulting about it such as " it will be not a bad idea for TV " from a reputable blogger .He says that the core idea is interesting and the concept has some potential for future episodes, but the only thing is my language barrier . 

I know my english as a second language will not be sufficient to write in english like an american fellow even I know all about TV show business ; ... Would you suggest me to get another idea from another guy of business or stick the consulting and suggestions of him ? at least before sanding my outline for the contest. 
I am also work for TV time to time in my country, I know everybody says lots of things, usually of non sense to make money esp. in this business. 
I want to learn what is the criteria to have "story by" credits, especially on tv. ...
Realistically, the only way for someone to sell a TV concept if English is not his or her first language is to make the series in his own language and then sell the format. For example, the Israeli series PRISONERS OF WAR (חטופים) became HOMELAND; the Israeli series בטיפול‎ (IN THERAPY) which became IN TREATMENT and a dozen other series in different languages; the Dutch series BIG BROTHER which became a metastatized cancer afflicting the entire television medium.

If a paid evaluator says "This will not be a bad idea for TV," I think they are maybe taking your money. That's about the smallest possible thing someone can say about a TV concept. On the rare occasions I read something that really could work, I say, "I think this really has a shot."

(Though generally when I'm evaluating other people's material, I don't say whether it's good or bad; I generally say how to make it better. I don't think it's helpful to say, "This stinks." If you want me to tell you if it's good or bad, you have to ask. The truthful answer, however, is usually, "It's not good now. If you do everything I tell you, and do it well, then I think you have a shot.")

The criterion for getting a guaranteed "Story By" credit in the US under WGA rules is to have written the first draft of the pilot. ("Story by" is the irreducible minimum credit for the original writer.) If you're not a native English speaker, or Vladimir Nabokov, the odds are they won't let you write any draft of the pilot; and they won't read your spec pilot, either. However if you write the pilot in your native language, and sell the format, then you can negotiate something like a "Based on the series PRISONERS OF WAR created by Gideon Rafi."


thanks for your quick response and honest approach !Maybe I will try to get some help from you as a consultant..

By Blogger handan, at 7:33 AM  

That is very kind of you, but I think you don't need critiques of your English. You need to make a hit in your own language. That's really the path. Native speakers of English spend years and years breaking in; you're trying to beat Olympic runners while wearing a cast.

By Blogger Alex Epstein, at 1:46 PM  

I know at least after years in the business every language has its own sound and slang I think.I know my language barrier stands there even you are too polite not to say it .But I can tell you I am beyond the people who spends years and years for breaking with all my respects.After many years in Tv and advertising business ,I can tell you easily I know what to write and how to write after selling one tv show of 13 ep. and another of 90 ep, over these years.I am just about to sell a Tv quiz show bible.Maybe they are not as good as to be a hit,but you can not be so lucky to create a hit even if you are in the business for forty years.This is sometimes a chance or a coincidence.

By Blogger handan, at 5:32 AM  

If you've sold TV shows in your own country, then why not try to sell the formats to the US?

By Blogger Alex Epstein, at 12:22 PM  

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