View Full Version : screenplays & reality TV

04-03-2005, 06:43 PM
I'm thinking of writing a screenplay about a couple who are selected to be featured on a reality TV program. The program would be fictional but the concept would mirror one program in particular.

I'm wondering how close I can parody the program without running into legal problems?

Is it enough to change the name of the program, the gender and style of the host, create a fictional network, there's a prize (none in the real program) and even the way participants are selected (strangers versus friends and/or relatives in the real program).

It's akin to doing a moving about a person who enters a survivor-styled program but the host is a woman, the name is called "last person standing" and people are selected out of the phone book and there is no prize. But there are still two teams, they compete in exotic locations and have to compete against each in survival scenarios.

04-03-2005, 08:52 PM
I would suggest that you consider a different concept, not for legal reasons though, but because writing a movie about a Reality TV show is generally perceived as a bad idea.

I have read several, including one I just covered today, and they are all awful.

Which is not to say that yours will be awful, but anyone you contact in the future, after months a sweat and toil, will be quick to dismiss your idea as amatuer before they've read a word.

Once you are established, you will have some chance at overcoming these preconceptions, if indeed proving that small screen concepts make good feature film material is your goal.

Write whatver you feel passionate about, but be forewarned you will start with yet another strike against you if you go down this road.

04-03-2005, 09:06 PM
Would it matter if it was one of those home reno programs instead of a survivor or amazing race program? Or would you lump them all together?

04-03-2005, 09:52 PM
As some assistant might say to his boss "It's a movie about a reality show."

04-03-2005, 10:27 PM
The other option is to go for something way out in left field...

Premise: A reality show takes it to the next level. A dozen people fight to the death on a deserted island for 10 million dollars.

Premise: It's proven the Holy Grail exists. And a billionaire TV exec wants it. He's about to film six of the best archeologists in the world racing to find it.

Same idea for the Loch Ness Monster. Or maybe ten scientists race to not only build a rocket to the moon, but they have to land on it.

Use your imagination, man. You're a writer.

I wouldn't go see "Trading Spaces" at the theater if someone put a rocket launcher to my head.

04-04-2005, 11:40 PM
"Premise: A reality show takes it to the next level. A dozen people fight to the death on a deserted island for 10 million dollars."

This sounds very close to 'Series 7'. It came out a few years ago - a great concept, wish I'd seen it....

Details here: www.zone-sf.com/series7.html (http://www.zone-sf.com/series7.html)


04-05-2005, 12:31 AM
I used the same premise in a script. Characters were way over written and cliched. But I still might resurrect it one day. Think it was my third one or something. Long time ago. It seems, anyway. Five years I think.

English Dave
04-05-2005, 05:44 AM
I think ''My Little Eye' was the first of the 'reality show where one of the contestants is a serial killer' movies.

Doesn't mean it can't be done again of course.

04-05-2005, 01:17 PM
Sometimes a guy's happy just getting a story out of their system so they can look down at it and say...

Well, that was fun, but writing myself into a corner without an outline and promptly using a deus ex machina to get the hell out probably wasn't the best plot twist in the world. But I wrote it, now I can forget about it. Finally.