View Full Version : new to screenwriting

09-11-2006, 05:27 PM
Hi, this is my first post here and I was hoping someone could help me.

Iím sure hundreds of people have asked this type of question before but Iíll give it a go anyway.

I have a concept for a TV show and Iíve started writing a pilot episode but I have no idea what to do after that. Iím completely new to this and as far as I know, I don't have any friends in the entertainment industry that could help. I just need to know where to begin.

Iím not expecting anything amazing, I just want some one with some expertise to either say "this is good" or "damn, this is awful!"

thanks in advance

scrub 9x
09-11-2006, 05:41 PM
Try and finish writing the pilot episode if you can.

The next things I would suggest (in no particular order):

1.) Buy a few copies of (legit) pilot scripts for shows that you like and that you think are similar. Read them over a few times. Compare them to your own. Look at the structure. Character introduction. Character Description. How can you make yours better?

2.) Find a few people who's opinion you trust (and who actually know what they are doing vs. Joe Yahoo Screenwriter) and ask them politely if they would be willing to take some time and help you out with reading your pilot and giving honest feedback. Look for writers where you live, on this board, on other boards. Make sure you trust them and that you value their opinions. Don't go after pro's only because chances are they are too busy to do it, they get deluged with requests, and it can be a legal quagmire for them. Although you never know, if you can establish a relationship with one or more, it could happen.

Something I cannot stress enough--reading and feedback is a major committment. People are taking time out of their busy day and from their own writing to help you out.

If you are ready to hear honest criticism, then pass along your script. If you are going to be argumentative and debate every single point they have to make, you probably don't have a thick enough skin to make it as a screenwriter.

Good luck.

09-11-2006, 05:51 PM
Before you do anything else, I would suggest thinking about where you hope all of this goes (if you haven't already). Do you want to work as a television writer? Do you live in L.A. or are you willing to move there? Or is your goal just to bring this one idea to the screen? Do you have a long-term plan or are you just trying this out because it sounds like fun? Do you want to write features as well as television?

09-12-2006, 11:42 AM
Thanks scrub 9x, Iíll buy a few pilot scripts and ask someone to read my pilot, maybe my old media teacher.

As for criticism, I like getting constructive criticism. You don't know what your doing wrong until someone tells you so I always listen to people opinions.

Iíd love to be a television writer but right now, Iíd just like to see if something could be done with this idea. I don't live in LA but Iíve always wanted to move there.

09-12-2006, 08:22 PM
One of the challenges is that it is difficult for a new writer to sell an original pilot, and most television writers live in Los Angeles. If you go to the television forum, there's a post at the top of it that explains more about television writing. That may answer a lot of your questions.

David Alin
09-14-2006, 01:14 AM
Keep a positive attitude... visit the ScreenWriter's Expo next month. I believe this Friday is the last day to buy your tickets for it before the prices go up!

Buy them, jump on a plane, and it would be rewarding for you to experience this wonderful industry we call screenwriting... LOL!

The Expo is great! It helps you get involved with your craft and ideas. It's purpose is to learn, study and share and eventually the ultimate of course is to sell that spec script in a pitching session. Now, I don't want you to go crazy, buy that ticket, fly out here and figure you will make it big in the four days you are here.. {yeah, four days this year!} but at least you will have some educational chances to learn things, and maybe find your voice in this industry. I'm not trying to sell you here, although it does sound like it.

But, the experience will help you get your feet wet to determine if you want to seriously pursue this career as a writer. I live in the LA area, and I always admire writers visiting LA to come to the Expo. Networking is good, and meeting people always help, because you learn from your peers. I'm going to shut up now, but IMPO. (It's my personal opinion).


09-20-2006, 03:01 AM
Writing for tv is a bit strange. First, you have to write a show similar to the show you want to write for. Second, they don't hire new writers, you must be in the system (established something in the industry) as something first before they consider you as a writer. Then, you have to do all this side work within the writing staff/staff to get on the writing staff, think of it as a glorified PA's because there will be a bunch of position that you can take on. After that, you have to wait for your episode to run to get full credit. Then once you get enough credits and get exposure, assuming that your show is a hit, you can start pitching around town for your pilot for financing... That's it.
Don't take this as a sarcastic remark... well, maybe a little. But reality is, there is a way. This is one of them. Maybe one of the hardest, but one of them.
Oh yeah, make sure that you actually finish writing the pilot in script format. You'll need a calling card. Good luck!