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rookie 01-30-2008 07:37 PM

Don't know squat... rookie question
Until recently, all my previous writing efforts where in another industry and not related to this one. Roughly five years ago I thought I would channel some of my more subversive work activities into something that would get me into less trouble and amused myself with writing some TV Premises and putting the best couple up on one of those industry content search sites that supposedly sometimes people in your industry look at.

Around the beginning of October I heard from a Producer that actually had some decent credits on that has cut some deals with one of the Networks before. This individual had seen my most recent one and was interested in the show premise and wanted to know if it was available and for sale. I haven't heard from them since the Union decided they wanted some of the crumbs from the table of the Five Star Restaurants the owners frequent, however I think I will based on the individual's track record and based on some input some from some friends who have always worked in non-entertainment TV and somehow have crossed paths.

When the strike is over!!!, if either this individual or one of the others that keep pulling it up repeatedly to view it decide to contact me, what usually happens if that interest turns into something more concrete? I know from lurking here the past few days that they surely would not allow an unknown to write the pilot by themselves if they bought it. With the price of these things I would guess they would want someone with a track record in your business. Basically my questions are:

1) Is there any chance I could get attached to it if I didn't write the Pilot or only had minor participation in it?

2) What is the best case you ever heard of in this situation?

I have jumped around a couple of writer type web sites and I have seen what the probabilities are of a sale are. Understand that speech, just need information in case some deranged individual decides when this is over that they want to risk their career by trying something that doesn't look like everything else

NYNEX 01-30-2008 07:57 PM

Re: Don't know squat... rookie question
What people say on this forum is not FACT. Much of it is opinion and speculation.

You've no real evidence to suggest that newcomers don't get to write pilots.

I'm not a tv writer, so I can't give you the break down on this. I would suggest you go out and find real people who work in television, and ask them for advice.

Also, if you are getting serious offers, consult with an entertainment lawyer or agent. They'll be able to guide you on this. Done Deal has lists of agencies and lawyers.

CutteRug 01-30-2008 08:18 PM

Re: Don't know squat... rookie question
Hi Rookie,

I'm not a TV writer either (I do features), so take this for what it's worth. There's a great book on writing treatments for both features and television. It's called Writing Treatments That Sell by Atchity and Wong.

There's an entire section on creating and marketing television premises.

Your best tool will be what's called a "show bible", which will consist of the following (taken from the above-mentioned book)
  • a one-page overview of the pilot
  • a one-page description of all the major characters
  • extended description of each character
  • a one-page description of the franchise or setting
  • "background" on the series concept, where appropriate
  • the pilot treatment
  • a brief description of from four to twelve future episodes

Basically, unless you write the pilot and most of the first season into scripts that blow people away (and even if you do), you'll most likely be paired with a "show runner" (an experienced creator of past television shows) who can guide you and keep the show on track.

Then, ideally, you learn the ropes and someday be your own show runner, or get brought on as a show runner for some other "rookie's" great idea.

Good luck to you. And again, I highly recommend that book!



rookie 01-30-2008 08:56 PM

Re: Don't know squat... rookie question
Thanks for the encouragement NYNEX. Figured I would need to get some kind of mouthpiece if they are serious when the strike is over.

Cutterug, also thanks for the encouragement. Inadvertently I probably did do a short Bible. I didn't know about that excellent source you mentioned, so primarily I backed into that kind of format based on following the organization and structure of some models I had seen on some web sites and using my content. I do need to go out and buy a copy. From what I gather, most premises are pretty short and I was having some trouble putting it across without going long.

I like this board. Very helpful members

artisone 01-31-2008 01:38 AM

Re: Don't know squat... rookie question
I am a TV person. I think in order to be a viable candidate to write the pilot you would have to show the producers and the network a couple of specs. Have you written any? I think without them, you're out of luck.

rookie 01-31-2008 08:00 AM

Re: Don't know squat... rookie question

Originally Posted by artisone (Post 418071)
I am a TV person. I think in order to be a viable candidate to write the pilot you would have to show the producers and the network a couple of specs. Have you written any? I think without them, you're out of luck.

No specs, probably based on lengrh something that is much longer than a premise and conceivably closer to a bible.

That is kind of what I thought, so I was just wondering about the probability of getting attached to it in any capacity after the fact, if they were interested in the premise/bible and planned on hiring someone who has written a successful Pilot to up the odds. The specs seem obviously designed to exhibit writing talent and how versatile the writer may be. You are obviously about a continent ahead of me in versatility if you can take any series and make an episode your own. I only feel particularly pationate about this one idea, and am wondering if going through the exercise of writing a couple of full potential episodes is ever considered a viable substitute for some association.

thanks for the advice

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