Write an Alternate Finale?Complications Ensue
Complications Ensue:
The Crafty Screenwriting, TV and Game Writing 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

December 2021

January 2022

February 2022

August 2022

September 2022

November 2022

February 2023

March 2023

April 2023

May 2023

July 2023

September 2023

November 2023

January 2024

February 2024

June 2024


Sunday, May 11, 2008

Q.  As a fan of the show Stargate Atlantis, I wasn't entirely happy with the recent season finale. I'm thinking about writing an alternate finale as my submission to the ABC/Disney Fellowship.
This is risky for a couple of reasons.

One, Stargate: Atlantis is not a show you can count on anyone having read. It's just not one of the shows that show people are watching. That's why you call agents' assistants to ask what shows people are speccing. You should spec one of the shows everyone's speccing, because those are the shows people are watching.

Two, it's really hard to write a satisfying season finale. Much harder than writing a "center cut" episode. There's just a lot more work to do resolving story arcs and tying up loose ends, while creating a convincing hour of television. So you're raising the bar for yourself.

Finally, the season finale is the culmination of the whole season. You're trying to show how you can pay everything off better than the showrunner. But the reader may not have even seen more than one or two episodes of the show you're writing. You can rely on any decision maker to have seen BATTLESTAR GALACTICA, but you can't count on him knowing every last detail of which Cylons are "out" as Cylons to the humans, and which are secret, and what Baltar did on New Caprica, etc. A season finale is more dependent on detailed knowledge of the season than any other episode. Readers who aren't fans won't get it; readers who are fans may have very strong opinions about whether your approach is canonical or not.

Now these are only risk factors. If your Stargate:Atlantis alternative finale reaches a big S:A fan, and it sings to him, then you have broken out of the pack. High risk can bring high gain. A highly competent CSI may not grab anyone who's had to read twenty other highly competent CSI's. Anything you can do to set yourself apart can work in your favor.

(But I still wouldn't do this for S:A. I just don't think it's got enough buzz.)

Labels: ,


I think it'd be a horrible idea. The finale sucked, yes, but saying "hey guys, your finale sucked, let me show you how real writers do things" is a bad idea.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:34 PM  

I'm not sure I agree, Carlo. Kay Reindle got her break by critiquing Chris Carter and explaining how she'd have done better. Saying an episode sucks is easy, but saying how you'd do it is hard, and if you can do that well, you might impress the showrunner.

That said, you never show a spec to the show you're speccing, anyway, so it's a moot point.

By Blogger Alex Epstein, at 6:34 PM  

"That said, you never show a spec to the show you're speccing, anyway..."

Dumb question here, but: why?

By Blogger Brandon Laraby, at 10:41 AM  

They know too much. They'll see everything that's wrong with it. I don't think I could read a NAKED JOSH or CHARLIE JADE spec without thinking, "That's not how *I'd* do it."

By Blogger Alex Epstein, at 11:06 AM  

Oddly, after hearing the rule for years that you would never show a spec to the show you're speccing, I got asked to do exactly that. I sent a prod. co. a pilot, and they said "Ooh, actually, we only want to see an episode of our own show."

Which seemed totally strange to me, but of course I did it. And now they'll probably see EVERYTHING that might be wrong with it and not hire me. But at least I have a new sample.

By Blogger Crystal, at 3:00 PM  

Coming in late on this one, but I always figured you wouldn't want to send a spec script of a particular show to that particular show without it be it being requested first because of issues of a spec writer making a big fuss or trying to file some kind of lawsuit if that particular show "executes" their ideas. At least if it's done upon request, the people for a show could have the speccer sign an agreement that they wouldn't cause any problems afterward (but then again, that might be dumb of the speccer. . .oh, the complicated web!).

By Blogger The_Lex, at 3:06 PM  

Post a Comment

Back to Complications Ensue main blog page.

This page is powered by Blogger.