Write for Love ... ?Complications Ensue
Complications Ensue:
The Crafty Game, TV, and Screenwriting Blog


April 2004

May 2004

June 2004

July 2004

August 2004

September 2004

October 2004

November 2004

December 2004

January 2005

February 2005

March 2005

April 2005

May 2005

June 2005

July 2005

August 2005

September 2005

October 2005

November 2005

December 2005

January 2006

February 2006

March 2006

April 2006

May 2006

June 2006

July 2006

August 2006

September 2006

October 2006

November 2006

December 2006

January 2007

February 2007

March 2007

April 2007

May 2007

June 2007

July 2007

August 2007

September 2007

October 2007

November 2007

December 2007

January 2008

February 2008

March 2008

April 2008

May 2008

June 2008

July 2008

August 2008

September 2008

October 2008

November 2008

December 2008

January 2009

February 2009

March 2009

April 2009

May 2009

June 2009

July 2009

August 2009

September 2009

October 2009

November 2009

December 2009

January 2010

February 2010

March 2010

April 2010

May 2010

June 2010

July 2010

August 2010

September 2010

October 2010

November 2010

December 2010

January 2011

February 2011

March 2011

April 2011

May 2011

June 2011

July 2011

August 2011

September 2011

October 2011

November 2011

December 2011

January 2012

February 2012

March 2012

April 2012

May 2012

June 2012

July 2012

August 2012

September 2012

October 2012

November 2012

December 2012

January 2013

February 2013

March 2013

April 2013

May 2013

June 2013

July 2013

August 2013

September 2013

October 2013

November 2013

December 2013

January 2014

February 2014

March 2014

April 2014

May 2014

June 2014

July 2014

August 2014

September 2014

October 2014

November 2014

December 2014

January 2015

February 2015

March 2015

April 2015

May 2015

June 2015

August 2015

September 2015

October 2015

November 2015

December 2015

January 2016

February 2016

March 2016

April 2016

May 2016

June 2016

July 2016

August 2016

September 2016

October 2016

November 2016

December 2016

January 2017

February 2017

March 2017

May 2017

June 2017

July 2017

August 2017

September 2017

October 2017

November 2017

December 2017

January 2018

March 2018

April 2018

June 2018

July 2018

October 2018

November 2018

December 2018

January 2019

February 2019

November 2019

February 2020

March 2020

April 2020

May 2020

August 2020

September 2020

October 2020

December 2020

January 2021

February 2021

March 2021

May 2021

June 2021

November 2021


Sunday, April 22, 2007

On Lotsa Words I read this:
I want to write for tv.

So why is it that I can't get this screenplay idea out of my head? I keep coming back to it and it's finally gotten to the point where I just have to write the damn thing - just to get it out of my system.

Is it commercial? Not particularly.
Is it high concept? Nope.

So why do it? Don't I want to write for tv? Shouldn't my limited time be spent writing that Veronica Mars spec that I've started?
Originally I was going to write something passionate about writing what you love. Then I went back through the past few years in my head and pondered which of the things I wrote strictly for love, that I didn't think were commercial, have gone anywhere.

I couldn't think of any. All the series ideas I've set up, and all the movies I've optioned, were ideas I liked that I also thought were commercial. I'm passionate about the series I'm writing a pilot for. But I chose to develop it because it was one of the speculative fiction ideas I had that seemed the most easily grasped by the mainstream audience, that had the least special effects. I wrote my medieval zombie picture because it was a goofy fun concept I knew I'd enjoy writing -- but also because it is a natural co-production shot almost entirely in one easily found location. (There are lots of empty castles in Europe. Especially in Eastern Europe, where it's cheap to shoot.) The series I developed last year had a great commercial hook.

I've got a stack of scripts that I wrote because I just had to, even though I wasn't sure I could sell them. They make great writing samples.

Now bear in mind: I'm not writing anything I don't love. I don't develop commercial ideas I don't actually want to work on. I don't think I'd be able to do a good job on them if I did. Lisa is always coming up with commercial ideas I don't think I can write, along with the ones I think I can. I put them on the backburner until I see an aspect of them that I love. Which may not happen.

I don't take writing commissions on projects I don't think I'll be able to love. On the other hand I am lucky enough that I can almost always find something to love about projects I'm asked to come in on. So I haven't had to turn down very much because I wasn't turned on by the material.

So it's tricky. You have to write what you love, but you have to write what other people are going to love, too. Is it a matter of training your muse to love commercial stuff? Or is it a gift that some people have and others don't?

Where are you? Are you trying to figure out what the market wants? Trying to figure out what you love? Trying to put the two together? Let us know.

Labels: ,


I'm at the point in my career where industry professionals are reading my work, so I don't have time to write something out of pure love. But I wouldn't say I'm writing solely for the market, either. At the moment I'm concentrating on original pilots, not specs. My manager has generated interest in a few agencies for after staffing season - I got in the game too late - but the stuff I'm working on is not necessarily anything dictated by market pressures or what my managers thinks will sell. They're my ideas - ones I am really passionate about and want to see on the small screen. I wouldn't say my stuff is mainstream - it's unique - but it's not out there, either. Besides, if I was writing for pure passion without regard for the market, I'd write a play or short story, not a script.

By Blogger Shawn, at 11:18 AM  

Imagine my surprise to be front and center on your blog! Yay!

So...turns out that I did go back to the Veronica Mars spec, which I've recently finished. It doesn't take much for me to get passionate about any project I'm working on and writing TV specs is definitely included in that passion. As far as my in-the-works screenplay goes, I think that it's something that I'll come back to here and there because it really is something I need to get out of my system. However, there is something to be said about using one's writing time wisely. I have certain goals for myself: get an agent, get staffed, rule the world...Writing tv specs is part of the path to that goal. So the screenplay becomes an in-between-ideas type of project. I'm sure it's something that I'll get around to, even though I really don't think that it's anywhere near commercial.

I make my living as a reality tv story editor, so I work on plenty of projects that are super commercial and not always my cup of tea. Still, I always manage to find a way to become passionate about MY work on those shows. When I do actually have time to do my own writing, I really want to write something that I love. And hopefully it's also something that helps me approach my goals.

I think one has to balance writing from the heart with writing with one's head.

By Blogger Danny!, at 1:43 PM  

I'm building a portfolio I hope will get me an agent. I doubt any of the scripts has a chance of getting made, but - hopefully - they demonstrate the sort of stories I tend to write.

In the past I've made the mistake of tying myself in knots trying to write what I thought other people wanted, rather than writing what appealed to me within the parameters of the opportunity.

BTW, thanks for recommending The TV Writer's Workbook in a recent posting, it's great.

By Blogger DAVID BISHOP, at 2:49 AM  

Post a Comment

Back to Complications Ensue main blog page.

This page is powered by Blogger.