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Old 08-16-2019, 11:28 AM   #1
Cheese
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Default Parallel development and samples

Hi all, I've got a question for the community:


A while back I wrote a pilot, but was barely beaten to the market by a nearly identical project. Dismayed at being a week late, I put my pilot on the shelf. But I believe my version is still a strong sample, and I'm wondering if I should put it back in my portfolio. If I do, I'm not sure how to clear up any potential confusion between my pilot and the show that's now airing. Since the two projects cover the exact same ground, share the exact same storytelling approach, and even have the same title, I'm not sure how to put my version out there without it seeming like a spec episode, or worse yet, some kind of derivative fan fiction. I can always offer an explanation when I send the script out myself, but if the script makes its way into the wild, it's bound to cause some confusion. Would it be wise to add some kind of note to the title page? It's not Chernobyl, but for the sake of argument should I do something like:


CHERNOBYL

an original pilot
by
Cheese

(Not to be confused with the Craig Mazin project of the same name currently airing on HBO.
This sample was conceived of and written completely independently of the Mazin project.
Any similarities between the two are coincidental - expected even, considering the specifics of the subject matter.)




Thoughts?
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Old 08-16-2019, 11:33 AM   #2
Merrick
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Default Re: Parallel development and samples

Why not put the finishing date on it which predates the show's airing?

I wouldn't write all that text in parentheses.
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Old 08-16-2019, 11:55 AM   #3
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Default Re: Parallel development and samples

I'm only half jesting when I suggest you realize you've lost this battle, but could win the war: Redo your script as " Nonoksa", about the recent radiation release and (seeming) cover-up?
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Old 08-16-2019, 01:02 PM   #4
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Default Re: Parallel development and samples

Sadly, I think you're probably dead. Maybe other's will feel different, but I think your best bet is to change the title and try to fool people into reading it as a sample (as a show, you're dead). Same title as a hit show, probably can't use it at all... strategically.

I had the same problem with a show. Similar title, not exact same show/execution (theirs is done as a comedy, mine is dark drama -- two totally different audiences). Rep was like idk I think we stand the best chance if we change the title, so I did...

Also... know that the people involved in the same concept will NOT read it as a sample. Tried. They said "NOPE! Legalities."

Also... not sure I believe you missed it by "a week." If you mean that's when you finally heard of it, they'd surely already been out pitching (very least) for a while. May have already soft pitched it to folks BEFORE the actual pitch. That happens. For example: HBO let me soft pitch them before the actual pitch. Went into HBO TWICE before the real pitch (and they were nice enough to give me tips as to what they expected of the real pitch... on the same project, not two different shows).

So, someone coming out with this pilot after me would have been, what, 6-8 months behind me? Something to consider.

But I feel you... sucks ass to be late on something. Timing is a b!tch in this town!
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Old 08-16-2019, 01:54 PM   #5
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Default Re: Parallel development and samples

Quote:
Originally Posted by GucciGhostXXX View Post
Also... not sure I believe you missed it by "a week."

I hear ya. Just to clarify, I was polishing up my version and working on the series bible when I started hearing rumblings about the other project around town. That's when the sinking feeling hit. A week later the trades announced the deal, and I knew I was officially dead. So yeah, I'm sure it had been in the works for a while, but I didn't have access to that insider info in time. I was planning on sending my project into the world six days after the other project hit the trades. Cut to 16 months later and the other project is on the air and signed up for a second season. Shrug. Whattaya gonna do? Sucks, cuz I really love my pilot as a sample.
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Old 08-16-2019, 02:20 PM   #6
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Default Re: Parallel development and samples

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cheese View Post
I hear ya. Just to clarify, I was polishing up my version and working on the series bible when I started hearing rumblings about the other project around town. That's when the sinking feeling hit. A week later the trades announced the deal, and I knew I was officially dead. So yeah, I'm sure it had been in the works for a while, but I didn't have access to that insider info in time. I was planning on sending my project into the world six days after the other project hit the trades. Cut to 16 months later and the other project is on the air and signed up for a second season. Shrug. Whattaya gonna do? Sucks, cuz I really love my pilot as a sample.
That's why I believe in soft pitching people I know preemptively. They have intel you may not otherwise get, and they'll straight up tell you. Which is my entire angle in the soft pitch (Merely trying to learn "Am I wasting my time? Already got something like it in development that I wouldn't otherwise know about?"). I ain't worried about them stealing it (for those who worry 'bout that sh!t).

HBO told me "There's this other show that is totally different, and that we're considering ('cause he's a huge player), but his show is only vaguely related, I wouldn't worry about it. Doubt it gets picked up." A VERY high up told me this, decision maker. Cut to: "Yeah we picked it up, your show is dead, at least with us. Sorry." And yes, that other guy's show is a hit today. My show was super different, but more expensive. Plus, I'm a nobody.

This is my life!

Maybe that's a new thread "How many times have you been beaten to the idea by smidge?"

Good luck figuring out a work around!
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Old 08-16-2019, 05:17 PM   #7
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Default Re: Parallel development and samples

Quote:
Originally Posted by catcon View Post
I'm only half jesting when I suggest you realize you've lost this battle, but could win the war: Redo your script as " Nonoksa", about the recent radiation release and (seeming) cover-up?
Or call it Fukushima and chase the Asian market?
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Old 08-18-2019, 12:14 PM   #8
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Default Re: Parallel development and samples

I've come from the other thread. No, I haven't used my stories that were close in spirit to the produced ones as samples. But mostly because I had better work to show as a sample.

One of my friends told me an anecdote about the show DEADWOOD, and how David Milch originally wrote it set in Rome. He pitched it at HBO. They told him they just went into production on show about Rome. So he took a few weeks and reset it in the wild west. I found this blurb on IMDb trivia to back up that story, wasn't sure I imagined it.

David Milch had originally planned to write a series set in Ancient Rome, telling the story of a society amid the development of law and order. However, when he approached HBO, he was informed of the series Rome (2005) that was then in development. He took the suggestion to change the setting and created a Western using the same themes instead.

I think this is easier to do when you're mostly moving a location.

Okay, another reference to his moving from Rome to the West, from Esquire:

He first approached HBO with the idea of a series set in the time of Emperor Nero, without realizing the network had already green-lit Rome. Asked if he could explore the same themes in a different world, Milch said, Why not? Rome became the American West; the Christian Cross and its promise of salvation became gold. The constant was society's organization around a single illusion. "The extent to which the truths of a story engage," Milch says, "it's because they are universal truths rather than confined by any particular setting or time frame."

https://www.esquire.com/entertainmen...erview-011411/

I think if I really wanted to mine one of my stories that had some parallel development, I'd go back and see if I couldn't change it into something else like Milch dead with turning the Rome show into DEADWOOD.

This is a bad example. But like what if my characters were tech geeks, they're like in their early 30s and the realize they're getting a little long in the tooth (because 30 is 50 in Silicon Valley!), and they decide to get their first start up out of the way, as a throwaway, so they look legit. So they have a 'starter' start up. It's a really bad idea and its causing chaos in their personal lives. And I guess the expected story (I didn't say this was good!) was the really bad idea gets totally funded and they're stuck with it, and then they have to get out of it. (Like Springtime for Hitler.) Like maybe it's a dating app for woman over 50, and the success of this thing has every older MILF hitting on them -- Cougar Finder.

OMG, I've had too much coffee. Let me stop now before I get attached to this very stupid idea.

That's a way of taking my original STARTER MARRIAGE (RIP) concept and refreshing it in a different setting.
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Old 08-18-2019, 01:52 PM   #9
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Default Re: Parallel development and samples

Quote:
Originally Posted by lostfootage View Post
I've come from the other thread. No, I haven't used my stories that were close in spirit to the produced ones as samples. But mostly because I had better work to show as a sample.

One of my friends told me an anecdote about the show DEADWOOD, and how David Milch originally wrote it set in Rome. He pitched it at HBO. They told him they just went into production on show about Rome. So he took a few weeks and reset it in the wild west. I found this blurb on IMDb trivia to back up that story, wasn't sure I imagined it.

David Milch had originally planned to write a series set in Ancient Rome, telling the story of a society amid the development of law and order. However, when he approached HBO, he was informed of the series Rome (2005) that was then in development. He took the suggestion to change the setting and created a Western using the same themes instead.

I think this is easier to do when you're mostly moving a location.

Okay, another reference to his moving from Rome to the West, from Esquire:

He first approached HBO with the idea of a series set in the time of Emperor Nero, without realizing the network had already green-lit Rome. Asked if he could explore the same themes in a different world, Milch said, Why not? Rome became the American West; the Christian Cross and its promise of salvation became gold. The constant was society's organization around a single illusion. "The extent to which the truths of a story engage," Milch says, "it's because they are universal truths rather than confined by any particular setting or time frame."

https://www.esquire.com/entertainmen...erview-011411/

I think if I really wanted to mine one of my stories that had some parallel development, I'd go back and see if I couldn't change it into something else like Milch dead with turning the Rome show into DEADWOOD.

This is a bad example. But like what if my characters were tech geeks, they're like in their early 30s and the realize they're getting a little long in the tooth (because 30 is 50 in Silicon Valley!), and they decide to get their first start up out of the way, as a throwaway, so they look legit. So they have a 'starter' start up. It's a really bad idea and its causing chaos in their personal lives. And I guess the expected story (I didn't say this was good!) was the really bad idea gets totally funded and they're stuck with it, and then they have to get out of it. (Like Springtime for Hitler.) Like maybe it's a dating app for woman over 50, and the success of this thing has every older MILF hitting on them -- Cougar Finder.

OMG, I've had too much coffee. Let me stop now before I get attached to this very stupid idea.

That's a way of taking my original STARTER MARRIAGE (RIP) concept and refreshing it in a different setting.

Ha!

Your example is EXACTLY the show I was up against.

Btw - to add. I meet with a certain (well known) company who designs all the billboard graphics around town. Later, I see 2 shows using my same ideas I pitched. Hmmmmm... coincidence? Maybe. But maybe not. If I showed you my mock-up you might immediately know what 2 shows Im talking about.
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Old 08-18-2019, 02:20 PM   #10
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Default Re: Parallel development and samples

Cheese -- best name on the board. I'm sorry, but that's GOOD HANDLE there. Sorry Gucci Gaga ZZZ or whatever your name is.

Yeah this is dead to me, even as a sample. You even said yourself how close it is, so how can you even win in that scenario? What skills are you showing that most people in town won't go -- the show I just watched was so much better than this... It's almost worse to have that as your sample in a way.

If you had your own disaster like show set in history or made up even, I can see that. I don't see a good way to use your hard work since it's a hit and popular show.

If you wrote like a sitcom version of that terrible tragedy -- maybe. But you have the same exact thing. So I don't see the way out...
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